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Hummus (again!) with Harissa & Pine Nut Topping

August 26, 2017

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Hummus again! you’re probably thinking if you’re a regular follower of the blog. But yes – I do almost live on it! Or to be more correct, variations of ‘hummus’, made perhaps with butter beans or even roasted veg like beetroot or sweet potato. It’s not so long ago I posted a hummus recipe with Harissa mixed into it but since then I’ve taken to putting some Harissa on top with a few roasted pine nuts – hence this recipe!

What got me writing again was the very word ‘hummus’ itself. It’s becoming a general term for a certain type of dip but what makes a hummus a hummus? I thought. I looked back at my other dips and saw that I had called them ‘dips’ and not ‘hummus’ most of the time. Hummus is a Levantine dish and since ‘hummus’ is the Arabic word for ‘chickpeas’ and the dip is traditionally named ‘hummus bi tahini’ – i.e. ‘chickpeas with tahini’ then by rights a real hummus should be just that – chickpeas with tahini. But even once you’ve got that, there’s the whole question of whether you add olive oil or just water; even bicarbonate of soda … like lots of traditional recipes, hummus is fraught with conflict (see this recipe for more info). Well, I like quite a bit of olive oil in my ‘hummus’ so I use that and water. In the end, it’s really about what you like. For today, I used my fail-safe Simon Hopkinson recipe that I’ve been using for years, though I do add more tahini than him and as that thickens it more, I use the same amount of olive oil but thin the mixture with water. He says use the juice of 1 lemon but lemons are more juicy than they used to be, I find. When I was editing cookbooks many years ago, the juice of 1 lemon = 2 tablespoons. Nowadays you usually get more than 2 tablespoons of juice from 1 lemon – so, good readers, I measured for you today! I added just 2 tablespoons of lemon juice … then I tasted and decided I wanted it more lemony so added some more … but this is a crucial part of cooking, taste as you go! And what’s lemony for one may not be too lemony for another.

Hummus with Harissa & Pine Nut Topping

Hummus

  • 400g tin chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 2 generous tablespoons tahini
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • a few drops Tabasco sauce
  • sea salt to taste
  • 100 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • a little water

Extras

  • 1 teaspoon Harissa
  • a little extra virgin olive oil
  • a handful of pine nuts, roasted

 

   

Put all the ingredients except the oil and water into a food processor or bowl if you’re using a hand blender. Slowly add the olive oil as you blend together. Once all the oil is incorporated and you have a fairly smooth mix, add a little water and mix more until you get the consistency you’re happy with; I like mine quite smooth. Check seasoning – you may want to add more salt or lemon. Transfer to a serving dish.

Mix about a teaspoon of Harissa in a small bowl with a little extra virgin olive oil, until you get quite a runny consistency. Carefully spoon it over the hummus.

   

Do try to use a decent make of Harissa. I found a certain supermarket’s own make recently was horrid and I ended up throwing it away. But my Belazu Rose Harissa is so wonderful I could almost eat it by the spoon straight from the jar! Now dry roast a handful of pine nuts in a small pan until golden.

   

Let them cool a little then sprinkle over the top of the hummus and Harissa.

I just love the combination of the creamy hummus, the occasional hot punch from the Harissa and nice crunchy sweet pine nuts. Eat with pitta or other nice bread.

I was making a Greek meal for lunch with my brother Adam and niece Clara (14) and nephew Leo (12) – all lovers of good food. I made a moussaka, this hummus and thought I’d roast some peppers (see recipe here) to serve with just some olive oil drizzled over them as I often had in Crete a couple of years ago. Then at the last minute I decided to crumble some feta over the top of them, scatter a few roasted pine nuts (as I had some left over from the hummus) and some roughly chopped fresh oregano from my garden.

Then I drizzled over the olive oil and seasoned it all lightly. It looked very pretty and delicious.

I bought wonderful bread from Your Bakery Whitton in the morning, had some Kalamata olives and roasted almonds and made a green salad.

I love putting together this kind of ‘sharing’ meal where everything goes on the table and people just help themselves to what they want. It also makes it easier on me than keep jumping up and down to prepare different courses!

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