Leaving behind the "I Was an Awkward Awkward" chapters for now, I'd like to bring your attention to hummus. I know, hummus, that ubiquitous beige lotion which has gone from Moosewood territory to the sort of thing we get charged $5.50 for and purchase more per head of population than we ever did of pesto. How can it have still more surprises up its sleeve? Well who more reliable to elicit such surprises than my idol Nigella Lawson, who only goes and replaces the tahini (sesame seed paste) in homemade hummus with Peanut Butter. So important. And so importantly, so delicious. Peanut butter has a somewhat brash flavour, but against the mild chickpeas and smoothing yoghurt it mellows out and provides this sweet, nutty, oleaginously compulsive edge to your hummus. I really love tahini - sesame being one of my favourite flavours - but the tastebuds grow weary, and peanut butter doesn't so much deliver the goods as urgent courier them while wearing appealingly fitted shorts and saying in a warm voice, "I've got a big package for you".
Peanut Butter Hummus
Recipe from Nigella Lawson's book Kitchen, I've simplified it slightly. Really, just play with quantities of the ingredients as they please you. If you're not able to eat dairy, I'd add an extra tablespoon of water and lemon juice and peanut butter and it'll be all good.
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons Greek yoghurt
1 teaspoon cumin
Blend all together thoroughly till smooth. Add a little more yoghurt or water if it's not spreadable enough.
Because I feel that hummus alone isn't quite enough to bolster this blog post, a second recipe for you. I'm really sorry that both of these require a blender/food processor - I hate when recipes give directions for making cake batter in a cake mixer when said cake mixers cost many hundred dollars, or when an ice cream recipe finishes with "and then put it in your ice cream maker and follow their instructions" or whatever. I'm sorry. You could effectively crush up the chickpeas with a fork or a potato masher, but the strawberries really need the swift action that only an electric rotating blade can provide.
What, you don't have a dedicated hummus knife commemorating the Parahaki War Memorial in Whangarei? Look I'm not saying your party is "ruined" as such...
If you do have a blender though, there aren't many happier foodstuffs in this world than pink lemonade. I first tried making it with raspberries, and that was great, but strawberries are even more delicious, which is brilliant because they're also half the price.
A recipe by myself
2 1/2 cups frozen strawberries (bully for you if you've got real ones, but it's winter in NZ right now. And frozen strawberries are really pretty cheap any time of year)
2 1/2 litres of lemonade
Optional: passionfruit syrup, mint leaves
Place the strawberries in a blender and allow them to defrost somewhat. Add 1/2 cup of water and blend till smooth and gloriously pink, adding more water if your blender can't deal with it. Spatula into a jug and slowly top up with lemonade. The bubbles and the strawberry puree will form scuzzy bubbles on top, just stir it with a wooden spoon to break it up.
And lo, a joyful jugful of deeply pink, wondrously delicious lemonade shot through with the fresh taste of strawberry. A little passionfruit syrup helps sharpen up this berry flavour, and mint leaves are just delicious with nearly anything, but simply strawberries and lemonade on their own are more than fine.
I served both these delights over the weekend at my inaugural Ice Cream Demonstration Party (that's not necessarily what it's called but the capital letters make it seem official) where in front of a small group of lovely people I demonstrated and imparted pretty much every particle of knowledge I have about ice cream, taking them through recipes for said ice cream and sauces to go on top, then we all built our own ice cream sundaes and then they went home with a goodie bag. It was super fun and you can check out photos from the night (one of the guests was also a great photographer) on my Facebook page, if you please.
__________________________________________________________Title via Rock the House by Gorillaz. Tim and I were lucky enough to see them in 2010 and it was so brilliant that my brain starts melting every time I think about it. Like, there's Damon Albarn, one of the first people who got me realising that I could have a crush on another person. Also present: Bobby freaking Womack.
Lee Fields, Faithful Man. Tim insisted we buy this record. He insisted accurately. Fields is just really, really good.
Madeline Kahn, Getting Married Today. Mixing my obsession for the musical Company with my new fascination for the hilarious, babely, and sadly late Kahn, she does well with this horrendously challenging song.
Next time: Still have some quinces lying there looking at me reproachfully. The time has come to do more than just sniff them rapturously, any suggestions?