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Sunday, 8 July 2012

HOUMOUS

Good Morning  Everyone,

Thank you for joining me today.  I am looking forward to showing you  my version of houmous.

 Whilst thinking about the ingredients for this recipe, I was thinking about  the time I spent on the Island of Cyprus.  I love the book BITTER LEMONS, written by Lawrence Durrell where he talks about his experiences in Cyprus.... it brought a smile to my face. Here is an excerpt.

"Within a week, I had a dozen firm friends in the little town and began to understand the true meaning of the word - KOPIASTE, which roughly speaking means "Sit down with us and share".  Impossible to pass a cafe, to exchange a greeting with anyone eating or drinking without having the word fired at one as if from the mouth of a gun.  It became dangerous even to shout "Good appetite" as one does in Greece, to a group of labourers working on the roads when one passed them at their lunch hour seated under an olive tree."

 
PHYLLIS AND ME
AND THE
ISLAND OF CYPRUS

Phyllis as a young woman


Phyllis and I experienced the same Cypriot hospitality whilst living on the Island of Cyprus. 

 Phyllis moved to Cyprus  in 1955 when she was a young wife and mother  to join my father who was already there. 

It must have been an exciting time for Phyllis, but tinged with sadness, to say goodbye to her father, brothers, sisters and friends. To pack her suitcases and to move thousands of miles away from the place she had lived all her life, to start a new life in Cyprus with my father.

 The journey was not an easy one, as travel wasn't as straightforward as it is nowadays.  Phyllis travelled to London by train, then from London she flew to Rome where the plane refuelled and  flew on to Nicosia in Cyprus.   It must have been so difficult for her to complete this long journey, with a three year old child, in a time when the average person  experienced very little foreign travel.


Me.....4 years old


 I lived on the Island of Cyprus when I was a young girl, again when I was a teenager  and then again later  in life.  I love the relaxed, easy going attitude to food.  To eat lunch under grapevines and take one, maybe two hours to eat with friends and family, then to retire to bed for an afternoon snooze.  The Island of Cyprus is where we first experienced houmous.  I hope you enjoy my version of houmous as much as we do.

HOUMOUS



houmas with Peppadew peppers , black olive houmous and plain houmous


THE INGREDIENTS


200g (7 oz) dried chickpeas
3 lemons
3 cloves of garlic, finely grated (2 if you prefer a less garlic flavour)
120 ml/4 fl oz tahini
Level teaspoon of ground cumin
Olive Oil
Salt



METHOD

Place the dried chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with water (I usually fill the bowl with 2/3rds of water)

Soak overnight



Drain the chickpeas and place in a large saucepan
add enough water to cover the chickpeas by about 3 inches



Bring to the boil,
then reduce to a simmer for approximately 1 hour (depending on the age of the chickpeas, the older they are the longer it takes to cook them) might be more, might be less, check after 50 minutes, mine actually took 1 hour 15 minutes to cook.

Remove any froth which forms with a slotted spoon




When the chickpeas are cooked, drain and reserve the cooking liquid



Place the hot chickpeas into a food processor, add 3 ladles of cooking liquid and pulse.

The same effect will be achieved with a hand blender,
be careful the hot liquid doesn't splash you.




Add the chopped garlic,
ground cumin,
salt
juice of 2 lemons (reserve 3rd lemon in case you have to adjust the taste at the end)




 pulse until smooth
(if you prefer a chunkier houmous, reduce the pulsing time)


Add 3 tablespoon of olive oil and the tahini
 and pulse again

oops forgot to include tahini in the picture!


At this point, check to make sure there is sufficient lemon juice and seasoning, if more is needed add a little at a time

If you prefer a thinner houmous add another tablespoon of olive oil
or
a tablespoonful of cooking liquid
until the required thickness is reached




Allow to cool and serve with warm pitta bread.

My family love houmous with a little bite and quite thick, but we all have different likes and dislikes, so find the one which you enjoy eating, maybe it will be like the Cypriot houmous which is quite thin, maybe it will be like ours ....chunkier.  You will find what is right for you and it will become your family recipe.







As a useful note, the ingredients made the three dishes of houmous as shown in the photograph. I divided the mixture into three and then added the black olives and Peppadew peppers.

HINTS AND TIPS

You can substitute dried chickpeas with tin chickpeas.  Most recipes suggest that you make houmous with cold chickpeas, but in my experience, the flavours are enhanced if the chickpeas are heated. 

Tahini can be bought in supermarkets. Tahini is sesame seeds which are ground with oil.  I have never tried this, but I will in the future and let you know how I get on.

To ring the changes, I added chopped black olives, but reduce the salt added to the chickpeas until you have tasted the black olive houmous as olives are salty.


Also try using,
 6 chopped Peppadew peppers as they have a mild tang!



NEXT WEEK

I really enjoyed chatting to you on Wednesday ...... so  I will see you next Wednesday when I am going to share with you  my favourite pieces of  kitchen equipment.  See you then.

Best Wishes


Daphne xxx


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