I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist. I used to think this was a good thing, and it’s true that there are some benefits to this type of personality: perfectionists tend to be hard-working, detail-orientated and driven. There are also, however, many negatives: I am my own worst critic and can find it hard to relax and enjoy achievements, before leaping into worrying about the ‘next step’ on my list. I tend to obsess over anything that has gone wrong and barely spare a thought on all that’s gone right.
The only area in my life in which I am not striving for the impossibly perfect is in the kitchen. I think this is why I find cooking so relaxing. Who cares if my chocolate cake looks nothing like as perfect as the picture in the recipe book and has to be prettied up with some icing? Amazingly, I don’t. After all, I tell myself, it’s not like Nigella hasn’t burnt a cake or two in her time. Whenever I make anything that doesn’t burn and tastes remotely edible, I feel incredibly proud of myself. There are few things that taste as good as something you’ve made yourself, even if it’s just spaghetti bolognese. Never one to give myself much of a pat on the back, I become positively smug with self-congratulation on serving up a good dish.
Take this hummus for instance. I made it the other day and it blew my mind. I’ll never buy hummus again. Even the most kitchen incompetent could throw this together and feel pretty good about themselves on tasting it. So if, like me, it’s about time you gave yourself a bit of a break and indulged in some self-praise, make this hummus! And if you’re blessed with a relaxed, happy-go-lucky personality, make this hummus anyway because it’s delicious and the perfect summer snack.
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sesame tahini paste
1/2 – 1 cup water
2 cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cumin seeds (grind with pestle and mortar)
Salt to taste
Olive oil to drizzle on top at end
Smokey paprika to sprinkle on at end
Place the garlic, lemon juice and tahini in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process to a smooth paste. Add the water and chickpeas and process until the mixture is very smooth, almost fluffy (adding more water if necessary). This process can take longer than you might expect so be patient! Season with with cumin and salt to taste. Put the hummus in a bowl (it lasts for a week in a fridge, so you can portion it out into tupperware containers if you wish) and drizzle some olive oil on top, swirling slightly with the tip of a knife. Sprinkle over the smoked paprika.