Whenever we have an impromptu affair, with friends crowded around the tiny table in the kitchen, Sarah makes hummus. It’s so quick and easy and we always have tinned chickpeas in the pantry and tahini in the fridge. We’ve got a lemon tree hanging over a fence at the end of our street, so armed with a little stool and impervious to the stares of our always-vigilant elderly neighbours, we’re never without a lemon.
Flat bread (from A1 Lebanese bakery in Brunswick) freezes perfectly, and almost puffs up to it’s original freshness given a moment in the oven. Or if you prefer something crunchy to dip into the hummus, cut the flat bread into triangles, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with a little salt and rosemary (from our other neighbour’s front garden), baking in the oven until crisp.
This recipe comes from Moro, The Cookbook, which never fails to deliver. Chefs Sam and Sam Clark have distilled here the tastes and scents of Mediterranean cooking. We seriously couldn’t live without this cookbook, it’s changed the way we eat.
Our friend Murray first started cooking from this book for barbecues on long summer Sunday afternoons at his house Baby Blue. He’d make hummus, baba ghanoush and poor man’s potatoes to go with the ubiquitous sausages and chops. I can’t help but think of him when I taste the lemony, creamy garlic-ness of this hummus, because he’s way away overseas, hopefully storing recipes in his mind to make us when he finally returns.
The Moro hummus is topped with ground lamb, caramelised red onions and pine nuts. This is the way Murray made it, but we’ll save the caramelised onion topping for another day when we have the time to watch the onions on the stove, and friends aren’t waiting hungry at the tiny table.
200g chickpeas (soaked overnight with a pinch of bicarbonate soda or ready from a tin)
juice of 1 lemon
two garlic cloves, crushed to a paste in a mortar and pestle with Maldon sea salt
3-4 tablespoons of tahini paste
3 tablespoons of olive oil
pepper and sea salt
Blend chickpeas in a food processor with a little cooking liquid, or water from the tin, to help the chickpeas along. When smooth add the lemon juice, garlic paste, tahini and olive oil. Add salt and pepper, and some more liquid if necessary. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt or lemon juice here if needed. Spread the hummus on to a plate and sprinkle with paprika and drizzle a little olive oil.