Do you ever get all like, this superfood is going to solve all the problems in my life? Well that's how I feel about this pomegranate-laden hummus that I made. This is not a new thing for me; in fact I've probably discussed it before on here where I place enormous pressure on, say, goji berries or chia seeds or something to have some kind of ripple effect on the rest of my life, rather than actually doing anything about the rest of my life.
Let me tell you a story to illustrate this. I swear I must've told it here before because it's one I wheel out often to elaborately self-deprecate, but it bears repeating. So: I attended a girls boarding school for a couple of years in the early 2000s. This was peak time for two fads: the Atkins diet, and hating your own body. What can I say, we were all just humans with human bodies crammed together in a boarding house with not much to do, it's going to happen. It's going to happen outside of that context too. It just...is a thing. Anyway, not having any disposable income to buy the trappings of the Atkins diet - of which our interpretation was eating a lot of blueberries and unsweetened whipped cream - I was DELIGHTED to discover a grapefruit tree round the back of the boarding house. The grapefruit diet was even more hardcore and old-school than the Atkins one and I smugly lined up four plump, pale grapefruit on the windowsill, ready to be eaten for my breakfast.
After all that lead up, herein lies the kicker: I was boasting about my cunning ruse to someone. Grapefruit! For free! What larks!
There's no grapefruit tree here, they told me. That's an orange tree. You've been eating unripe oranges for the last four days.
Well that explains my sore stomach, said I.
So yeah, I've had idiotic ideas about food and the effect it will have upon me since way back; however I can't deny that there really is something oddly calming about making yourself a vast quantity of hummus - allowing the dried chickpeas to swell up and grow plump in a bowl of water; slowly cooking them in an enormous pan till they're completely tender; blitzing them to a soft, pillowy mass in the food processor, adding oil and lemon and salt and spice to reflect your own instinctive tastes; absentmindedly pouring tahini into your mouth and then nearly choking on it because it's like actual glue in food form; spreading the nubbly hummus into a large bowl and tumbling over jewel-like pomegranate seeds, sliding a knife into a perfect avocado, eating the lot in one go; somehow finding yourself hooning the tahini again because it's so delicious in spite of the quicksand perils of its texture.
There is literally nothing stopping you just buying a tub of hummus from the supermarket and having, y'know, hummus right then and there, but this is a food blog and as such I'm afraid I'm going to occasionally expose you to, y'know, cooking.
Making your own hummus from scratch aside, is it weird that I just ate a whole bowl of the stuff? As is? I'm going to say no, but there is absolutely nothing stopping you from serving this as it usually comes, as a dip to be plundered by lots of crackers and breads and such. I'm not going to call this a Hummus Bowl or Loaded Hummus or anything like that, it was just...this delicious stuff that I ate a lot of. As with the unripe grapefruit story, sure there's some context there but it's also not that deep: this hummus just tastes amazing.
Final caveat: I just started making it without following a recipe or anything and there will be truly about one billion recipes online already for this stuff, but if you're lacking one you could do worse than to follow mine. It's neither traditional nor perfect, but it's mine. No wait, one more caveat: you OF COURSE don't have to soak dried chickpeas and then simmer them in unsalted water for an hour and then drain them, you could just use canned, but they cost hardly anything and since you're already making your own hummus you might as well go all out, yeah?
hummus with avocado, pomegranate, pine nuts and pumpkin seeds
- four cups of dried, soaked, cooked chickpeas.
- five tablespoons tahini
- around four tablespoons of olive oil plus more for drizzling
- one heaped tablespoon ground cumin, plus more if you like
- two tablespoons lemon juice, plus more if you like
- plenty of sea salt or similarly "nice" salt, but use regular if it's what you've got
- up to one cup of water
- the seeds from half a pomegranate
- one small avocado
- a few tablespoons each pine nuts and pumpkin seeds
Place the chickpeas in a food processor and blend the heck out of them, till they form a kind of nubbly, sandy rubble. Add the tahini, the olive oil, the lemon juice, the cumin, and a good pinch of salt, and process the actual heck out of it some more, while slowly pouring water down the feed tube till it appears to be a pleasing consistency. It will thicken up once it's sat for a bit, so don't worry toooo much if it looks too soupy. The important thing is the taste - is there enough salt? Enough cumin? Enough lemon? Add more and keep tasting till you're happy.
Transfer the lot - this makes around a litre - into a sealed container. Spoon some into a bowl, cover lavishly in pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds, slices of avocado, pine nuts, more salt, and a drizzle of olive oil. Eat.
I probably over-emphasise this with every recipe I make but also I feel the need to tell you that of course you don't have to use the specific things on top of the hummus that I did, or indeed use anything at all. It's just really nice with this specific combination. Put coffee grounds and Lego on top of it for all I care. (Damn it, no, I care too much: please don't do this.)
Pomegranates are getting cheaper and cheaper at the supermarket right now though and avocados are slowly becoming more reasonable and more likely to be ripe and perfect. Together - the silky bite of avocado as your teeth slide effortlessly through them paired with the sour crunch of the pomegranate seeds against the creamy, soft hummus - they're rather wonderful and it all makes for a very satisfying snack-thing. And it's so serene, like I couldn't emphasise the serenity of this more if I was running through the streets yelling "Serenity!" through a megaphone while also crashing some cymbals together.
If you're vibing making your own dips, may I suggest also: Nigella's Peanut Butter Hummus; this incredible Turkish dip called Tarator which is almost literally just bread and water but tastes like a thousand things more; and this honestly INCREDIBLE Cambodian Wedding Day Dip which is, as I explain in the blog post, all the more delightful because it's a recipe that also sounds like a dance.
title from: Azealia Banks' perennial hit for the ages, 212. Say what you will about her, but we are blessed to have this song.
Slow Ride, by Foghat. I've been watching a LOT of NewsRadio lately and there's an episode that features this rather quintessential 70s rock song and well, now it's in my head.
About A Girl, Nirvana. I saw Montage of Heck, the melodramatic but amazing and incredibly sad Kurt Cobain documentary last night, and now I obviously need to listen to a lot of Nirvana. Wasn't their MTV Unplugged album just perfect, though?
next time: Possibly 12,000 uses for hummus since I made around a litre of the damn stuff.