16 février 2006

Cooking up a storm



Quite often, recipes on food blogs are accompanied with a nice story. The highlighted dish brings back childhood memories, travel experiences, cultural enlightments... That's great reads, as readers we travel time and space, we experience, we are part of a culinary journey.
I feel bad. My approach to food is only moved by my cravings and various experimentations. Most of the time recipes just "happen" to me. I love to eat and I find cooking quite exciting, even soothing in some occasions. Writing about food is a very new experience for me. My old approach to cooking used to be: "Me cook that because yum".
I need to go beyond my spontaneous approach, explain my techniques (if any), the reasons why I chose to cook this particular dish and tell about it... A very tricky exercise.

Let's take the above hummus, for instance. I felt like making my own. I quite liked the ones I buy from supermarkets but somehow felt there could be more to it. I found a recipe in a book I borrowed from the library: it seemed to be easy enough, just a few ingredients and no special iron chef type of skills were required.

I do not know where I went wrong but I definitely did something un-right at some stage. I could not stop olala-ing (screaming olala, as the French do when upset). The chickpeas soaked in water overnight, after that I intented to cook them but olala, it took HOURS. I stopped counting after 4. (I know it is just mad). I started to lose my temper, swearing I would NEVER cook hummus again, when you could buy decent one for NZ$5.
Eventually they tenderised and accepted to be mashed. Then came the tahini, home-made too and WOW I take back my promises of never making some again. Heaven! So much more flavoursome than the supermarket ones.

After hours of intense cooking I tasted hummus for the first time in my life and it was superb.


200g dry chickpeas - I also read it is possible to use canned chickpeas and skip phase 1 and 2 (Soaking and cooking). I am convinced the dry ones are better on the job because you need the actual chickpea taste for hummus. Their flavour will not absorb others, like in couscous, for example)
Juice of a lemon
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste with salt
Olive oil 

3 tbsp sesame seeds
1 ½ tbsp Sesame oil
¼ cup tepid water

Cook the chickpea in the same water you used to soak the chickpea. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Drain the chickpeas, keeping aside the cooking liquid, and blend in a food processor with a little cooking liquid to help the chickpeas, add liquid if necessary. When smooth, add the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and tahini (see recipe below) blend and add some more liquid if necessary. 

lend sesame seeds in a blender and grind until smooth. Add sesame oil, salt, and then slowly add water while blending. Blend until completely smooth. Do not prepare in advance as its flavour decomposes pretty quickly.

Posté par GiantSquid à 11:12 - - Commentaires [8] - Permalien [#]

Commentaires sur Cooking up a storm

    Me Thinks that Yum

    Wow, I've never heard of anyone making hummus from totally scratch. I've planned on making hummus using canned chickpeas and store bought tahini, but I guess there's no real "cooking" with all those shortcuts. You picture looks great, I like the Ritz crackers in the background! How did they taste with the hummus by the way?

    Posté par Gerald, 16 février 2006 à 12:40 | | Répondre
  • Hi Gerald! well, the plan was to bake pita bread to dip in but all that intense chickpea cooking got me exhausted so I've done the unthinkable: I bought crackers. They tasted somewhat industrial with the homemadee hummus. Carrots (flowershaped carrots) were a better match.

    Posté par Céline, 16 février 2006 à 17:24 | | Répondre
  • Céline,

    How wonderful! I love hummus and am always looking for new variations. I will definitely try yours.

    But I must say I've never thought of making my own tahini ... I usually use store-bought. This is an interesting idea!

    Posté par Ivonne, 16 février 2006 à 18:26 | | Répondre
  • It's unusual for chickpeas to take so long to cook. Did you put salt in the water ? You are not supposed to salt the water until the end. Glad to hear it turned out fine in the end.

    Posté par barbarab, 16 février 2006 à 21:59 | | Répondre
  • Celine--most of my decisions about what to cook are made on the spur of the moment too. I made my own hummus several weeks ago and it was better than the store bought stuff. And you made your own tahini!!! WOW!

    Posté par Sher, 17 février 2006 à 05:03 | | Répondre
  • oh i love hummus! i made a variation with thaini using beetroot very pink and girly but delicious

    Posté par fiordizucca, 17 février 2006 à 23:01 | | Répondre
  • bonjour celine
    never made hummous from scratch all shops here sell hummous..

    dont feel bad that you blog the food that you crave this is your niche

    food that i crave...

    anyway my egyptian/greek friend will be back soon I will ask her to show me how she does hers

    bon weekend

    Posté par sha, 18 février 2006 à 01:50 | | Répondre
  • Hi

    This looks beautiful and delicious. Such wonderful photography!

    Posté par tokyoastrogirl, 28 février 2006 à 14:06 | | Répondre
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