Presentation night at our swim club. Casual get together. Bring a plate. It’s late Sunday afternoon and after a jam-packed weekend I want something that is easily transportable and easy to throw together. Hummus and pita crisps. A marriage made in heaven!
I like my hummus with just a hint of garlic, zinging with the tang of lemon. My pita crisps have to be thin and light; crunchy like autumn leaves, seasoned with garlic, sea salt and pepper. If I have it on hand I like to use za’atar, a wonderful Middle Eastern spice mix of wild thyme, sumac and sesame seed. Sadly I’d run out and had no time to duck out to the shops. Za’atar is quite easy to blend in a mortar and pestle but why bother when Herbies Spices have an exceptional version which is readily available at any good providore.
I know tubs of hummus and bags of pita crisps are available in almost every suburban supermarket and deli, but once you realise how delicious the home-made version is and how very easy it is to put together, you won’t want to go back. All it takes is half an hour in the kitchen, one can of chickpeas, one bag of lebanese bread, some tahini, olive oil, garlic, lemon and seasoning.
Hummus with Lemon and Garlic
Makes 1 cup
400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 garlic clove, bruised
1 tablespoon tahini
pinch mild paprika
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, zest finely grated and juiced
PLACE the chickpeas, garlic, tahini, paprika, 2 tablespoons of the oil, lemon zest and juice into a blender or bowl of a small food processor.
BLEND until pureed, gradually adding the remaining oil. If the hummus is too thick, add water to thin it out to desired consistency. Season to taste. Garnish with a sprinkling of paprika and a drizzle of olive oil to serve.
Homemade Pita Crisps with Garlic, Sea Salt and Pepper
1 packet of Lebanese bread (6 rounds)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 large clove garlic
Sea salt flakes and black pepper, freshly ground
GRATE garlic into a small bowl of olive oil.
SPLIT each round of Lebanese bread into two, thin layers.
For each of the 12 rounds, split side up:
BRUSH lightly with the olive oil and garlic mixture. Sprinkle liberally with sea salt and pepper.
PLACE bread on baking sheet and bake in a moderate 180° C oven for 5 – 10 minutes, until crisp and lightly toasted. (The thinner the bread, the quicker it toasts).
BREAK toasted bread into shards when cool.