Sometimes, after a few too many chocolate cakes, glasses of wine and coconut cream ice cream you find yourself needed something a little bit healthier in your life. Something a little lighter, a little fresher.
Hummus is one of my favourite foods year round. I’ve spoken before about my love of mezze food, and no mezze selection is complete in my eyes without a generous heap of hummus to dip everything else in. It is, however, a food that really shines in summer. Eaten in little bowls late into the evening over a bottle of wine with friends. Something to nibble on over long awaited catch ups.
This hummus is the perfect summer food. It makes me want to pack it into a tupperware, throw a blanket in a bag and head off into the countryside for a picnic. To lie under a blue sky, watching flufy white clouds skit slowly across. Serve it with colourful, crisp vegetables. Pile it high on slices of toasted pitta bread. Dunk fresh, crusty white bread into it, mop the hummus out from the bottom of the bowl.
My usual Hummus recipe is made with tahini and lots of olive oil. This recipe, from the Hairy Dieters cook book, uses only a small amount of oil to fry the onion and spices. The roasted red peppers add a delicious sweet dimension, set off by the hint of fresh chili and tang of the lemon juice. It has a beautiful, tempting rich red colour and is incredibly moreish. My fridge is full of little pots ready to take to work to eat with lunch. Not quite a picnic under the summer skies, but still delicious.
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
(serves 6 – 8)
2 Large Red Peppers
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 headed tsp cumin seeds
400g can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped or crushed
1 red chili, deseeded and roughly chopped
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp fine sea salt
Cut the peppers in half length ways and de-seed them. Place them cut side down on a baking tray under a hot grill. Grill for about 15 minutes until the skins are blacked. Take them out from under the grill and let them cool for about 10 minutes, until they are cool enough to handle. Be careful moving them when just out of the oven as steam collects under the peppers.
Meanwhile, finely chop the onion. Heat the olive oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and the onion. Cook until slightly softened. Leave to cool for a few minutes.
Put the onion mixture into a blender. Reserve about a tbsp of chickpeas, then put the rest into the blender along with the garlic, chili, lemon juice, salt. Roughly tear three of the red pepper halves and put into the blender. Blend until the hummus is smooth. You may have to push the mixture down into the blender a few times. Once it is very smooth, add in the rest of the chickpeas and pepper. I like to leave these a little rougher, to add a bit of texture and bite. Give the mixture a few final quick blasts in the blender leaving a few chunks in your smooth hummus.
Keep in the fridge in sealed containers for up to two weeks.