Tag Archives: hummus

Six salad party food

Plate of party food

Party food chez Winkler. I was too excited to eat, so took small portions. This one went down a treat despite hostess-nerves: the wild rice salad with oven-roasted morsels of beetroot, pumpkin and carrots, and crunchy oven-roasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds. My off-the-cuff invention, it’s made the grade for next time.

The six vegetarian salads (see unposed picture above) were easy-on-the-purse and high-on-health:

1. Wild rice salad with pumpkin, beetroot and carrot – followed clockwise in the picture by…

2. Ingrid Rose’s hummus (using her 5 x amounts hummus recipe) – her birthday present to me!

3. Butter bean, mushroom and coriander salad with lemon juice

– a perennial winner thanks to Rose Elliot’s The Bean Book

4. Red split lentils with chilli. Simple dhal – light with bite.

5. Organic wholemilk yogurt with diced cucumber, black pepper and mint

6. Classic potato salad – boil halved-and-quartered (if possible NEW) potatoes until soft enough to fall from a a sharp knife when speared.

The party was on Saturday. I aimed to be prepared and avoid last-minute superstress.

Most of the shopping was done midweek.

Thursday I emptied the packet of butter beans (500g) into a large pan and covered the hard ones with water. Overnight they swelled. Some say throw away the rinsing water to reduce farting – what do you think?

Friday I cooked the swelled-up beans in enough water to cover them and boiled them for 1 HOUR, then drained. I defrosted the frozen wild rice I had cooked earlier that week (with chilli). Texture mushy but taste good.

The drained butter beans mingle eventually – with onions fried in olive oil plus 5 teaspoons of cumin sizzling for seconds. Into the spicy mix go sliced mushrooms, lots of them. You may need to add more olive oil to prevent sticking. Once the mushrooms are cooked but not soggy, then you add the drained butter beans.

I  roasted the root vegetables a day-ahead too

– seasonal local beetroots and carrots and (imported) pumpkin roasted for only 20 minutes because they were cut-up so small, and the seeds – they take minutes.

Saturday Boiled potatoes for potato salad and slouched them with olive oil, rock salt and garlic while still warm.

Peeled and diced 3 English cucumbers + mint + 3 large pots of organic yogurt, emptied into a bowl.

Assembled the wild rice salad and cooked roasted root veg and seeds.

Assembled the butter beans + mushrooms + cumin with lemon juice and fresh local organic coriander.

Wow. This was the first time I have been so prepared.

I had even sorted out the serving dishes in advance.

All the more time to party.

Me and my birthday cake Me and Richie

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Homemade hummus


The cast is assembled. The starring ingredients (pictured) in a classic production of hummus are: olive oil, a jar of tahini,  lemons and garlic, and chickpeas soaking in a pan of water.

Thanks to kineseology, I was recently diagnosed as lactose-intolerant. Ah ha! The missing piece of the jigsaw – no wonder I prefer vegan food.

I am sad to ban eating cheese, butter and cream but not when I realise those yummy darlings make my gut sore because I lack the digestive enzymes to process them. Apparently most non-Europeans (including Mediterreanean/Eastern European types like myself) are lactose-intolerant.

This makes me ponder: our dairy-filled western diet may be dominant but is it giving the rest of the world a belly-ache?

So instead of eating cheese, I concoct homemade hummus every week. Although made from plants, hummus is a complete protein because it is combines different groups of plants, in this case, chickpeas and sesame seeds.

You can buy cooked chickpeas in a can in most shops and search out a wholefood shop or Mediterranean/Middle east delicatessen for a jar of tahini (sesame seed paste) and raw chickpeas. This recipe uses raw chickpeas.

The amounts are enough for a party dip, or eight-ten servings. I dollop it on toast, brown rice, grated carrots, lentils, fried eggs…

[Note: Chickpea upped from 100g to 150g following Ingrid Rose’s helpful comments below. So do take note when doing five times the amount, Ingrid Rose!]

150g dried organic chickpeas soaked in over twice the amount of water. Soak overnight (or speed up the process by soaking in boiling-hot water) in a pan. The chickpeas will go from shrunken to plumped-up pellets.

Bring the pan with chickpeas to the boil then simmer for an hour (on a low light with a lid) until they are soft-enough to mash.

Drain the chickpeas (hang on to the cooking water for later) and put them in a large deep bowl ready for mashing (or blending) together with:

3 Tablespoons of organic tahini or sesame seed paste. I use a dessert spoon for measuring because it will fit in the jar – give the tahini a jolly good stir before spooning out.

3 Tablespoons of olive oil

Juice of two lemons – cut in half and rotate a fork vigorously to extract the juice and pulp or use a lemon squeezer. Organic lemons can be smaller than non-organic ones and have more pips but they are more juicy.

2 fat cloves of garlic – crushed with a garlic crusher or the flat of a knife. It’s optional – not everyone loves immune-boosting garlic.

Add salt and black pepper for taste and/or crushed chilli and/or ground cumin.

A word on chickpeas. You can buy them tinned – conveniently and organically – but I prefer dried. Dry, rattly chickpeas which you soak are cheaper, tastier, less watery and have twice the nutrients than canned ones.


I blend half the drained chickpeas with:

garlic, lemon juice, tahini and olive oil

and whizz till smooth. It’s easier to work in small batches.

Then I add the remaining chickpeas – see picture above. If the mixture is too stiff to blend, add a teaspoonful or two of the cooking water. You are aiming for smooth and creamy not runny.

I am addicted to my electric handheld blender but a strong fork or potato masher will mash the chickpeas – just make sure the garlic is well-crushed before adding.

And here’s the mystery, every homemade hummus turns out differently.

Have you made hummus?


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I love hummus

A blog of hummous on toast made with spelt on a plate

One of the best things about not being in the office this week was having time to make hummus. I ended up making several batches, each as subtly different as the last.

I kicked off with 200g dried organic chickpeas (from some supermarkets and all wholefood shops). Hard as bullets, I soaked them overnight in water and then cooked them (in the same water) for an hour until soft enough to eat. Of course, you can use tins for speed and this is a fab recipe.

(Mind you, the comments in above website were also instructive. I learnt I could use roasted sesame seeds instead of tahini. I had panicked because no exotic tahini could be found in this English seaside town. Luckily my saviour, Marshford, had a jar or two of the wondrous middle-eastern sesame seed paste.)

Using the hand-held blender, I noisily blended one clove of garlic (use more if no one objects) in the juice of one lemon, water from the cooked chickpeas (2 Tbs – that’s table not teaspoons!), olive oil (2 Tbs) and the yummy, runny, organic sesame seed paste (2 Tbs).  I added rock salt to taste (being careful not to oversalt – so easy to do), and a teaspoon each of ground cumin and coriander.

Once all the easy bits were blended, I added the fibrous chickpeas and mashed through them with my trusted electric tool.

I have written about hummus before but it is a food that bears repetition. And experimentation. When I ran out of lemon juice, I used lime and no one noticed.

Served with toast (in my case, spelt from the wondrous Common Loaf), I produced a nutrient-rich and high-fibre protein-filled snack.

The vegetarians and the world’s wise peasants know that combining pulses with grains (and subsituting, if you wish, pulses/grains for seeds) makes a protein equal to that delivered by the dear animals.

Soho hummus

A dish of hummus

Down memory lane in London’s Soho. 1978, unmarried, pregnant, I saw a poster in a funky vegetarian cafe’s noticeboard that changed my life.

Fast forward to 2008. I walked past Food for Thought (it’s still there!) and smiled nostalgically. I did not stop as I was on my way to the 24/7 internet cafe, Netstream.

Starving at 2pm on Wardour Street I found my dream eaterie, Hummus Bros. If you love hummus and in London, you have to go.

Hummus Bros serve each dish (see pic) with a free and unexpected egg, a choice of rye bread (from Fresh and Wild) instead of the traditional pita bread, chilli relish, extra lemon juice and if that wasn’t enough love, a complimentary glass of mint tea made with the fresh herb.

One of my top fave foods, hummus is both comforting and nourishing. It packs protein by combining plant foods. Two different plant groups roughly equals one complete protein, and hummus, with pita, offers three: chickpeas (bean), tahini (seed), and the pita bread (grain).

I yearn to tell you how to make hummus at home because it will be a lifelong friend. The cooked (high fibre, low-GI) chickpeas are mixed in a blender to a creamy gunk with olive oil, lemon juice, a bit of garlic and tahini – now that’s a convenience food I approve of. I also prize tinned organic chickpeas as a larder-friend. (So there, Delia.)

Cooking from scratch saves money and takes planning (beans need an overnight soak and one hour of cooking). This recipe explains it really well. I have never used yogurt, as it suggests. Must try.