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Legume with a view

A favourite hobby of mine is indulging in something I call a ’Fridge Safari’ . It involves standing in front of an open fridge finishing off left overs and pondering on just about anything except what you are eating. It was during recent ‘Safari’ that I finished off a whole tub of humous without so much as a backward glance. After running my pinkie around the rim of the near empty tub I started to wonder what we all did before this simple chick pea puree became as ubiquitous as it is today. I’m sure half of the country’s toddlers would starve to death if it wasn’t for Mum’s constant supply of humous and carrot sticks.

As delicious and convenient as humous may be the chick pea has a lot going for it beyond the blender. Chana dhal is a great vegetarian curry and is found throughout the Indian sub continent. It’s usually a fairly simple dry curry of chick peas and tomatoes and makes great side dish to serve along side other curries with rice and flat breads.

Falafel is probably my favourite use of the chick pea not least of all because if there’s a food stuff that doesn’t taste better for a quick dip in hot oil and a smothering in chilli sauce, I’ve yet to find it. Arguments rage about the origins of falafel with the Arab world taking great ofence at the Israelis claiming it as a ‘National dish’. But world politics aside the one thing that unites all traditional falafel lovers is the practice of making them from soaked but not cooked chick peas. Don’t take any notice of anyone who urges you to crack open a tin of chick peas when making falafel – It’ just doesn’t work. They will fall apart in the frier and lack the all important chick pea flavour. Not what you are looking for at all.

Beetroot and Lime Humous – enough for 4 as part of a mezze

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300 grams of cooked chickpeas

250 grams cooked beetroot (the vac packed kind from the supermarket is fine for this but not the pickled stuff)

2 large tablespoons of light tahini

2 cloves garlic

juice of 2 limes

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

Method:

Place all the ingredients in a food processor except the olive oil. Puree until smooth and then with the motor running drizzle in the oil. Check seasoning and adjust if necessary. Serve with toasted pitta bread or crudite.

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