Sunday, 22 December 2013

Hummus Irritation And This Year’s Kitchen Music

If you saw the Simon Hopkinson Cooks TV series earlier this year, then you may remember that as part of one of his menus he made hummus. Nothing too unusual about that, of course, except that he insisted that the skins of the chickpeas should be diligently removed. That way, according to Mr Hopkinson, it would be the smoothest possible hummus. I've never done that and, frankly, I thought that life’s a bit too short to go to that amount of effort.

Since then, every time I've eaten or even set eyes on hummus, I've remembered the thing about the skins. Recently I finally gave in and tried it. Removing all the skins is very irritating and I’d love to say that it made no difference, but, dammit, he was right and I apologise for ever doubting the great man. The hummus really is better. Mr Hopkinson’s recipe can be found here.

Hummus
Now, useful as that information may be, I'm afraid it’s just an excuse because it’s time for my favourite kitchen music of the year again. I know it’s self-indulgent and it’s not cooking, but it’s only once a year, so please forgive me. It’s actually been a fine year – new music from Prefab Sprout, Vampire Weekend and Laura Marling, another excellent album - ‘Alaska’ - from those fine tunesmiths The Silver Seas, the 30th anniversary of Capercaillie and Jane Horrocks singing Joy Division among many other lovely and unexpected things. But here are a few delights that might be a little less well known.

I've been haunted by this song and video all year. Less than 2 minutes of pure, if slightly sombre, pleasure from the British band Feldspar.


Marble Sounds are from Belgium and their admirably beautiful album ‘Dear Me, Look Up’ was released in March.


The Trouble With Templeton are from Brisbane, although they did a mini tour of England this year. Their album ‘Rookie’ was released in August.


Finally, someone (actually someone from France) said to me this year ‘It's all very well having French recipes on your blog, but you wouldn't have French music’. This is not true and to prove it this is Baden Baden with a track from their album ‘Coline’.


The management thanks you for your patience and assures you that normal recipe service will be resumed shortly.

25 comments:

  1. As we hurtle towards the Big Day (and for us an even bigger day on Boxing Day when we set off for France at 4am) I will try to snatch a few minutes to treat myself to a listen to your music videos, they are usually very good.
    It's more likely that I will save it for a quiet evening by the log burner in our little French cottage, as we have no TV there and that's when I can catch up on my blog reading.
    I must say I admire your stamina in peeling the chick peas. It's the kind of thing I always thought I would have loads of time for once I retired but I am astonished that I still have the mince pies to make and the cake to ice with only two days to go.

    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and I look forward to another year of your wit and recipes.

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  2. you must ha e the patience of a saint!... but dammit I need to try this now... love your musical choices, very chic... no Andy Williams though? Merry Christmas x

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    1. Once you get the idea in your head, you just have to try it sooner or later.

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  3. I love hummus (with the skins) but I cannot find tahini in the Charente! Have a great Christmas. Diane

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    1. I've made many different dishes while in France, but I've never made hummus there and so I didn't realise that tahini was tricky to find. I've often been caught out by some of the things that are unexpectedly hard to find in France. (Of course, that's balanced by the excellent choice of other products).

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    2. Bonne Annee! I have always thought that life was too short to peel a chickpea (stuff a mushroom, join a cult, clean windows etc) but dammit, now I am going to have to try it too. Do you have any shortcut tips?!
      As for your reader with the tahini shortage problem, I have a DIY recipe (presuming you can buy sesame seeds?): http://kitchen-maid.blogspot.co.nz/2011/07/kitchen-diy-tahini.html
      I do love your selection of kitchen tunes. I find I do a lot of cooking while listening to current affairs and it can be risky, getting cross when you're chopping vegetables, so music is a much better idea (though dancing with a knife in hand can be equally risky). The French one is my favourite. Can you make this a regular feature, do you think?

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    3. Mr Hopkinson's method of rubbing the chickpeas in a tea towel sort of works - it's not foolproof, though. I might try Wendy's method next time (see below). Is once a year not regular enough for music? Actually, I love music in the kitchen and I could talk about it all the time, so I'll think about it. Even more time spent listening to obscure music might cause a domestic incident, though, if I'm not careful.

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  4. I love this post. Totally identify with your frustration at finding that peeling the skins off chickpeas does actually make for better hummus. How irritating. Your music choices are gorgeous. I am maddeningly behind with any quality music listening so to be given these new (to me) bands on a plate to go off and explore musically is a real joy. Thanks!

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    1. Happy to be of service. I was going to post the video for Marble Sounds 'Leave The Light On' It's a lovely song, but I though the ending was a bit too sad for Christmas.

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  5. well, actually my sister used to keed the skin on since she said it nutritious too...
    i guess skin on and skin off chickpea is almost the same if you got a good quality food procesor!

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    1. Well, I used to think that skin on and off were pretty much the same if processed thoroughly but I'm willing to admit that I was wrong.

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  6. Hmm not so sure have enough time to skin chickpeas..maybe next time I can't sleep perhaps!!

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    1. I resisted trying this for months - there just aren't enough hours in the day. I gave in eventually. You could try thinking of it as meditative and therapeutic, maybe. (It's not).

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  7. Chickpeas are soaking right now for hummus so I'll try, Oh no see what you make me do! next it will be stuffing lentils......brilliant choice of music

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    1. I'm feeling suitably guilty. But don't blame me - it's all Simon Hopkinson's fault. He led me astray.

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  8. The skins are a pain but you could try this next time - soaking the chickpeas overnight then draining them. Place a medium saucepan over high heat and add the drained chickpeas and 1 tsp baking soda. Cook for about three minutes, stirring constantly. This scuffs up the skins and helps them float off. Only then add the water and bring to a boil. Cook, skimming off any foam and any skins that float to the surface. The chickpeas will need to cook for 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the type and freshness, sometimes even longer. Once done, they should be very tender, breaking up easily when pressed between your thumb and finger, almost but not quite mushy. It does work :-)

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    1. Thanks - I'll try that. It does mean that I've got to give up the last minute hummus making habit, though, if I want the smoothest result.

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  10. ^^Ooops! deleted because somehow it posted twice! Happy New Year!

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  11. You're kidding me about the chickpea skins right? dag. You know that means I'm going to have to try it now. Dang.
    Janie x

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  12. In case you were wondering, that 'dag' should actually say 'Dang'. I'll go back to bed now I think...
    Janie x

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  13. That really is a good hummus Phil, thanks for sharing. Here is a wish for a happy, healthy, delicious 2014!

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  14. Love the Feldspar track - a new discovery! Thanks for sharing :-) I shall have to remain in perpetual wonderment about hummus without skins, since the chances of me having the patience to do the necessary are slim to none - it does look wonderful though :-)

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