Friday, July 20, 2007

Wake up and smell the hummus...

hummus

We all have a tendency to fall back on the familiar in times of need. Friends, family, the local vicar, yoga instructor or evolutionary biologist (I always fall back on Mr Dawkins in times of doubt, safe in the knowledge that being reminded I share most of my DNA with a puffer fish and that onions have more DNA that I do, makes me feel a lot better about the world). We fall back on the things that make us feel safe, comfort us and generally reassure us that everything will be alright in the end. The bacon sandwich post below is indicative of that tendency in myself, preaching about the joys of a bacon sandwich as if it where Philosophers Stone, Middle East peace accord (now, that would be a surprise) and Unified Field Theory rolled into one. What an arse.

I made a choice last night. The only way to deal with feeling shitty, tired and bored was not to retreat into comfort food and feeling smug. It was to face dinner with a rakish, devil may care, fuck the pasta and pesto and let's make some shit up attitude. I whizzed some hummus together. I've never made it before. I spiked it with cumin and a sprinkle of smoked paprika. I scooped great mouthfuls of it on chucks of flat bread and made a big stupid mess. I coated chicken thighs in rose harisa, lemon juice and olive oil and pan fried them and threw them into the self same breads with a sprinkle of toasted almonds. I sliced cucumber and mint for a salad salad to add crunch and freshness to all this spice and chili.

I was doing all this with a sense of abandon, not lavishing the care and attention that it might have deserved but just revelling in the act of making something a bit new, something a little different, letting the kitchen become a playground. This wasn't anything groundbreaking, it was just playing and like every good session of reckless play, someone got hurt. I sliced a huge chunk out of my finger and ended up holding it above my head wrapped in a panty liner for the rest of the evening. Hell, that's creativity for you.

7 comments:

Shaun said...

Couldn't agree with you more - there are always days when no routine, no demanding recipe and no tried and true kitchen charms will do. Hummus is good and gloopy like that - it feels sinful but one can go without having to do more ab crunches the next day. I'm curious about the rose harissa. Is it harissa with dried rose petals?

Nan said...

I love love lurve making hummus. It really is a food that begs experimentation and absolutely no recipes. The first time I made it I used way too much garlic and it tasted like grass.

I've been reading your blog for a long while (lurking, I suppose) and this is the first time I've commented. I'm trying to write my own at the moment...would you mind if I linked to you?

erin said...

I remember being little and watching my dad hover over the blender in his terrycloth bathrobe for the better part of an hour, mixing in a glug of oil here, more lemon juice there. It was the only thing he ever "cooked," and the only thing he was fussy about. But the taste--heaven!

Catherine said...

ahh.. a sense of abandon in the kitchen leads to beautiful things. feeling hot? add some jalapenos and cilantro. trust me.

Krista said...

dude, where've you been? missing your posts!

joy of cooking said...

hey- where'd ya go? I love your blog. But I only just discovered it. Write more please.

Antonia said...

Mmm. That hummus looks good. I've never made it but have had chickpeas lurking in my cupboard for ages - you've inspired me to finally give it a go. Thanks!