Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Spicy Pita with "Steve's Garbanzo and Tahini Paste"

Spicy Pita Bread with Hummus

A little confession here; I do love hummus, but have always struggled with its kind of dull pita friend. Everyone knows that men are shallow and that we only hang out with dips that have cool and interesting friends. Fate stepped in with a nice solution this weekend. I found myself in a “pita moment” (hah hah, I’m hoping this takes off); watching morning TV on Saturday morning. Worse still, I found myself watching a food program. Rachel Allen was presenting her creatively titled “Rachel’s favourite foods” on the BBC. One recipe that appealed to me was for spicy pita bread, intrigued we decided to see if she had recommended a good solution for boring pita bread...

Pita Bread
Olive oil

Bit of trivia here; cumin (I still pronounce this in the feisty “come-in” style rather than “queue-min”) is the second most popular spice in the world (to black pepper). Sumac is a berry from the Mediterranean and the Middle East, it is sour (similar to lemon).

Cut the pita bread into small triangles. Mix with moderate amount of olive oil in a bowl (warning; I probably added too much olive oil, but that’s ok as I’m supporting Spanish industry). Add a teaspoon full of each of the spices according to taste. Bake in an oven until golden brown. This is really good, nice mellow spices and a toasted crunch that really improves on the regular pita bread.

In the course of writing this blog, I have come across 7 different spellings of hummus, hummos, hummous, humus, homos, hoummous and hoummos. I’m thinking of calling it “Steve’s Garbanzo and Tahini Paste”, it is simple and I’m sure many of you have made it before, however I’ll quickly describe:

1 can of chickpeas
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Water (may be required according to mixture)
Cumin or chilli (optional & to taste)

By the way, I was surprised (and saddened) to find that chickpeas didn’t feature on until I realised that they are under their Latin American name; garbanzo beans. As with most beans, they are a good source of cholesterol-lowering fibre. They process blood sugars and are therefore good for those with diabetes. Interestingly, they are full of molybdenum which detoxifies sulfites from many prepared foods. I know that many people are allergic to sulfites (e.g. wines); perhaps chickpeas can help?

Rinse the chickpeas to remove excess salt. Put in a processor and blend until smooth. You will most likely need to add water in order to get a sufficient texture. Add the garlic, lemon, tahini (a sesame-seed sauce; it is like peanut butter. Blanca just got a present of a big heavy pestle and mortar, in the future we’ll make our own tahini), salt and pepper to taste.

For some less homemade, but possibly easier food; we’ve been having a Middle Easter theme to our dining out lately. One great restaurant that we’ve recently been to; Noura on Regent Street. The mezze (hors d’oeuvres) here is fantastic and, alone, is worth the visit, ranging from hummus, baba ghanoosh to tabbouleh.

For anyone that is interested; we couldn’t work out who Rachel Allen was, she had a kind of posh Irish accent. A phonecall home to Ireland didn’t give any relief. Later on Saturday we were out with Risteard and Jeanann, they confirmed that she’s the daughter-in-law of Ireland’s favourite home cook; Darina Allen.

1 comment:

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