Monday, 10 January 2011

(almost) Nigella Lawson's Peanut Butter Hummus

A new book from Nigella is always a treat. I think that I have all of her books, at least I don't think I'm missing any. They're generally all quite thick doorstoppers, and I certainly haven't made every recipe from them, but have made a recipe or two from most of them. And I don't remember any flops.

I first made a wonderful capsicum salad from How To Eat. An amazing gammon from Nigella Bites. Ok, so maybe Nigella Bites was a bit of a flop- both stylistically and in form- but that gammon was nice. Gammon is a little known, little consumed product in Australia, and the smell of it made my butcher very nervous. We took him a piece of the end result to try as I remember.

And so I was very excited to receive Nigella's new book Kitchen as part of my Christmas haul. I like her recipes, and I love her chatty conversational style in the introduction to her recipes. You can hear her voice saying the words as you read.

There are always scads of new recipes that I want to try in a new Nigella book. When I was away at Christmas I succumbed to the lure of Lemon Meringue Fool- oh my that was so good. No pictures of that, it was gobbled up too quickly. And it possibly wasn't low GI. 

The other recipe that I was really drawn to was Peanut Butter Hummus. It was interesting- my initial reaction was lip curling disdain, but it was Nigella's chatty introduction to the recipe that swayed me. Elegant. Without the slight clagginess that tahini can give. She goes on to talk of the palate-thickening clay of tahini. And it was an Oprah lightbulb moment for me. I do like hummus, but sometimes if the tahini ratio isn't right- well it's claggy. Just the perfect word for it. So when I thought about her non-claggy, elegant peanut butter hummus, then I knew that I had to try it. 

Peanut Butter Hummus
(adapted from Nigella's Kitchen)

400g cooked chickpeas (of course a tin would work very well, but it's rather simple and so satisfying to cook your own, even if it does take a little bit of planning)
1 clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
3 English tblsp (45ml) olive oil
3 English tblsp (45ml) smooth peanut butter
Juice of half a lemon (about 20ml)
1 tsp Maldon salt
1 tsp ground cumin
2 English tblsp (30ml) Greek yoghurt
drizzle olive oil
ras el hanout to serve
crudites or low GI crackers, to serve

Put chickpeas, garlic, oil, peanut butter, lemon juice, salt and cumin into a food processor and blitz to a knobbly puree.

Add the Greek yoghurt and process again. If the hummus is still very thick add another tablespoon of yoghurt and oil.

Taste for seasoning, adding more lemon juice and salt if you feel it needs it.

Serve drizzled with good olive oil and sprinkled with ras el hanout

I made a half recipe of Nigella's version (and took it to a friends place for nibblies before a bbq). Mainly because a whole recipe wouldn't fit in my ancient food processor. I've made it twice since the weekend. So easy to whizz up once you have the stuff. 

I cooked 2 packets of 375gm of chickpeas, which resulted in 1850gm of cooked chickpeas- why oh why did I cook 2 packets? So, 375gm packet chick peas makes roughly 925gm of cooked chickpeas. I must remember this for next time. I've got a lot of left over chickpeas. I had a chickpea salad for lunch at work today. I'm trialling freezing them, my mother reckons I can do it. So I've got a huge container of frozen chickpeas ready to go. Should be handy if it works.

Chickpeas are a wonderful low GI food (GI 36). Canned chickpeas seem to have a slightly higher (but still low) GI value (38-42). Peanut butter is low GI (although/because it is high fat)

Ras el hanout is a glorious North African spice blend. It has a beautiful aromatic, sweet aroma, and tastes fabulous. I have a wonderful pot of it which was a souvenir of a visit to Maha in Melbourne. 

Nigella topped hers with finely chopped peanuts, mixed with smoked paprika. 

I'm toying with the idea of replacing the cumin with ras el hanout, but don't know if it would be overpowering. I've got so many chickpeas I might need to give it a go sometime


  1. Oh, I am *so* in! Must make this soon :)

  2. Ha. I just knew that you would be keen on this one! It's delicious Hannah. I had some more for lunch today.

  3. Yum! This really sounds fantastic.

  4. It is really fantastic- my favourite hummus at the moment. Everyone I've served it to has loved it. My mother made it also and she (and her neighbours) loved it too.

  5. It looks really delicious Louise! I'm just a little worried it might taste as if your sneaking a dollop right from the peanut butter jar??

    I love Nigella too -- wish she had a vegetarian cookbook! How about Nige Slater? Like him as well? I find they're the same 'type' of cook. I made nigel's beet & poppyseed cake in December and it was delicious!

  6. I was worried about that too Gnoe, (particularly as I'm not one to sneak dollops of peanut butter, I like it well enough, but always with bread) but it wasn't the case at all. In fact, I couldn't discern peanut butter as a separate taste at all. It tasted distinctly like hummus, but without the overt clagginess from the tahini, more a light and refined taste and texture.

    I've heard of Nigel Slater, but don't think I've ever used one of his recipes, and don't think I have any of his books. Beet and poppyseed cake sounds delicious though. Australians generally love beet(root), it is often used in salads here, we don't think a burger is complete without it, and we make chocolate beetroot cakes. Also orange poppyseed cake was wildly popular here in the 90s, and I ate my share of it back then, haven't had any for ages. Did you blog the beet and poppyseed cake?

    Nigella does have quite a number of vegetarian recipes, but also many carnivore recipes in her books too.