Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Recipe Wednesday! Houmous

It’s Recipe Wednesday!

Home-made Houmous with wholegrain bread and Cothi Valley goat's milk feta. 

Recipe Wednesday is a lie. It’s very unlikely that there will ever be a recipe Wednesday on this blog. I do enjoy cooking, but it very much depends on how stressed I am, how depressed I am, how much the children are driving me insane, how my back feels.

The 'sampled' cake, beside the second cake.
But today I somehow spent the whole day cooking. I decided to make a coffee cake for my husband’s birthday (typical Victoria sponge recipe of 4oz flour, 4oz butter, 4oz sugar, and two eggs, from my wonderful 1960s Good Housekeeping cookery book.) The same recipe is here on the BBC. You have to add a little instant coffee dissolved in warm water to the mixture before you add the flour, for the coffee flavour.

So I cooked the cake. It seemed rather flat, so I decided to cook another to put on top of it. I had to go out for more eggs, walking down to the local shop holding almost-three-year-old Ben’s hand all the way. (He seemed rather surprised we had to pay for the eggs. He’s used to his grandparents’ eggs coming straight from the chickens.) So I came home with my eggs and cooked another cake. I left it to cool while I did half an hour of exercise.

I came back into the kitchen after my exercise, rather tired and looking forward to a rest. Ben was still sitting innocently in the living room playing on Club Penguin. But I went into the kitchen to find that while I had been diligently exercising in the hall, Ben had been helping himself to half of the first cake.


I baked another cake. By the time that was done it was time to pick up the other children from school. Now we have a three-tier coffee cake with a rather wobbly middle.

Some basic ingredients - chick peas, garlic, and lemon.
In the middle of all this cake baking I was inspired to try making my own houmous by a friend on facebook. I have to believe that hers was more successful than mine because she’s more stylish than me and lives in Milan. I have no style and live in Wales. But it seemed like a refreshingly easy challenge, especially after my three-cake day.

I used this recipe from the BBC, but I stuck to it rather loosely. We didn’t have any tahini or cumin, and I put more garlic in than I should have. My husband, who has such a lack of taste buds that wine gums all taste the same to him, surprisingly found the garlic overpowering. The garlic had a kind of hit-you-in-the-back-of-the-throat quality, which I quite enjoyed, but I found the olive oil overpowering, and I think next time I’d find a blander oil. I hate the taste of olive oil. But spread on a sliver of toasted wholegrain bread with a slice of sublime Cothi Valley garlic, lemon, and parsley feta goat’s cheese, it was rather yummy.

Tomorrow I might blend in some more chick peas to even out the taste and thicken it up a bit – it’s a bit too sloppy. If I did it now I’d wake up Ben, who is sleeping soundly above us, and needs his rest so he can wake up at 5am, as is his wont at the moment. If I made it again I think I’d change the oil, use more salt, and make the effort to get tahini, because I think the bitterness of the sesame seeds would help to even out the flavour. But after all, it's a learning experience. Better luck next time!

[EDIT - so, today I put a whole new tin of chickpeas in and a very little sunflower oil, and it's much better, has more of that creamy houmous texture, and is less overwhelming on the garlic front. The olive oil taste still detracts somewhat for me, but it's much less strong. I have some for lunch with couscous and a little of last night's leftover chilli and black pepper belly pork, and a ratatouille type vegetable mix. At least, I try, while Ben tantrums over his boiled egg not being served in a precisely correct manner, feeds it to the dog, and then comes and aggressively sings Twinkle Twinkle Little Star at me.]

That lovely goat's cheese.
A little bite.

Next day's lunch. We have good leftovers when my husband's been cooking (which is pretty much every night.)