Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Post-midnight Hummus making

A couple of nights ago I had a hankering for hummus. I blame my son for this - he introduced me to hummus and I've been hooked ever since. We've been trying various types from the local supermarkets, but we wanted to try and make our own as our village shopkeeper, who is Greek, told us it was easy to do.

Our first attempt some weeks ago was a bit of a failure. It was too runny and the flavour was all wrong. Then came the hankering and no hummus in the fridge - what to do?

Finding a recipe online - one of those really helpful ones with a video so you can see what it's supposed to look like as you make it - I went raiding the pantry for the needed ingredients. I knew we had chickpeas - tinned ones from ALDI as I use them for stews and bean burgers. Tahini - yes we had that - two jars reduced to £1 a jar in Tesco a few weeks ago and dated late 2017 so still fine to use. Olive oil - yes, it's the only oil we use for cooking. Fresh lemon juice - no, but we usually have a bottle of lemon juice and one of lime juice in the fridge (both from my local ALDI), garlic, cumin and salt from the spice rack and I was ready to experiment again.

I was a bit worried as the recipe said it used a food processor to mix things up, and we don't have one. Initially I used the potato masher on the drained and rinsed chickpeas until they were all nicely mashed and lump-free, but discovered that using the end of a sturdy wooden rolling pin in a large flat-based bowl worked even better for mashing them (think large pestle and mortar!)  The tahini and citrus juice (half lemon, half lime) I mixed using a wooden spoon - it really doesn't need much effort as it goes very quickly after a minute's beating with the spoon. Once the tahini and citrus was mixed, the olive oil and the spices went in, followed by the chick peas, and it was all mixed by hand for a couple of minutes.

A taste test showed it needed a bit more seasoning, so my son went rummaging and found a tub of Tesco's Tikka curry powder and a bottle of chipotle sauce, so we added some of each (1 tsp of each approx.) and a small pinch of salt (we use sea salt for preference, but any salt works. Just don't add too much!)

The result was very tasty hummus in less than half an hour, which we spread liberally onto warm seeded paninis and thoroughly enjoyed at two in the morning!




Our final recipe:

1 400g can chickpeas, drained and well-rinsed
¼ cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice (1 large lemon)
¼ cup (60 ml) well-stirred tahini
2 garlic cloves, minced (use 1 clove if you prefer a milder garlic flavour)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon Tikka curry powder *
Dash pf ground paprika and a little olive oil, for serving if liked

* If you want to make your own there is a recipe here: 
http://www.food.com/recipe/tikka-spice-mix-2654

Method:

In a bowl mix the tahini and lemon juice for around 1 minute, using a wooden spoon, until mix changes colour and goes lighter and a bit fluffy looking. 

Add the 2 tbsp's olive oil, the minced garlic, cumin, curry powder, chipotle sauce, and the sea salt to the whipped tahini and lemon juice (you can substitute a ½ teaspoon of table salt instead of sea salt if you prefer it.)

In a 2nd bowl put the chickpeas and mash them until there are no whole peas or lumps visible, then add the chickpeas to the tahini mix and combine well until you have a creamy mixture. 

You can eat it immediately, or leave it in the bowl in the fridge for an hour to let the best flavour develop. 

"Tasting of barnyard and goat..." (Adventures in Cheese)

A couple of weeks ago my hubbie went shopping alone as I was busy working. He's quite good at shopping, gets what we need but also keeps an eye open for interesting bargains in the reduced aisles... and so it was that he came home with a huge grin on his face. "I bought you some cheese" he announced, "two chunks from Booth's." My ears pricked up - firstly I adore cheese, and secondly if it came from Booth's then the chances are it's not a common "mousetrap cheese."  

So it transpired...  in the fridge were two cling-filmed packets, each about the size of the palm of my hand, containing a dark skinned aromatic cheese.  The label didn't enlighten me much... Monte Enebro it said, each pack weighed 0.086kg (that's 86g or just over 3 oz for us non-metric folks), and was reduced from £2.58 per pack to 52p per pack. Hubbie stood looking smug, "Did I do well?" he enquired.  

Well it was certainly a good saving, but what is Monte Enebro? It smelled interesting, not too overly pungent but probably a goat's cheese, I thought.  A quick search on Google brought the answer - it is an award-winning goat's cheese made in Spain by one family in Avila. Originally created by the "legendary cheese maker Rafael Baez and his daughter Paloma" at the Quesería del Tietar, it is now made by Paloma and her children (Rafael died in 2012) at the Queseria. 


Regarded by many as the best goat's cheese made anywhere in the world, Monte Enebro was certainly a new experience for me.  It was sharp with the distinctive goat cheese flavour and a hint of lemony-ness, but with a good texture and was strong enough to hold its own and not be drowned out by my favourite Piccalilli. 

A review on Culture, the cheese magazine website, described it as, 
"Flavors in the younger cheeses are mild, bright and tangy, with distinct citrus notes combined with a cellar-like aroma and flavor imparted by the blue rind. As the cheeses mature, the aromas become more pungent and the flavors evolve and strengthen, becoming quite assertive, tasting of barnyard and goat."
If I had read that before buying it might have put me off... cellar-like and barnyard are not attributes that I normally go for in a cheese!  The outer rind was a bit peculiar too - very dark and dusty - apparently it is made using a sprayed on coating of water mixed with a blue mold Penicillium Roqueforti. I assumed I shouldn't eat the rind, and to be honest the outside looked less appetising, unlike the inside which was creamy and enticing!


"Was it worth buying?" hubbie wanted to know. Yes indeed at 52p/pack!  Would I have paid £2.58 for such a small amount?  Probably not - I am such a frugal shopper that I would feel guilty doing so - and if you translate the per pack price before the reduction it would equate to £30 per kilo! Yes I know it's rare and special, and so for me it will probably remain the one and only time I get to try this amazing goat's cheese!