#TheSimpleThings : Hummus


… or houmous … or hummous (if you are taking a wild orthographical stab)…

I’ve just returned from holidays; four weeks of self-satisfying and socially-acceptable selfishness where the ‘what’, ‘when’ and ‘where’ were mine alone to decide.

Holidays always involve a supermarket shop (because, I believe that the supermarket is a unique place that offers the visitor a rare insight into the non-visitor’s everyday)

Holidays always involve some sort of food discovery.

Last time it was France : madeleine …

The madeleine is simple perfection where success relies on knowledge and patience.

I read the history and the poetry and shopped for conventional wisdoms; I ate wholes and halves and crumbs and asked questions of kitchens and salons and bistrots ; I collated recipes and bought moulds and started exploring …

But I have not yet read Proust in the original French; and I believe that any exploration of the madeleine should involve a little Proust.

No comments necessary.

… laughing …

It’s a self-imposed bar.

… laughing …

And so, my musings on the alchemy of a perfect madeleine have been shelved … for the time being.

There is no Proust-shaped equivalent in the history of hummus … that I know of.

The exploration has a realistically-located end point.

This time – food discovery was Jordan : hummus. And I ate ladle, spoon and bowl-fuls; from tetrapacks, Lonely Planet-identified “Places to Eat” and self-identified holes in the wall …

And it turns out that good hummus, really good hummus, is quite the difficult concoction to achieve; contrary to better and common judgment.

It requires two things … craft and attentiveness.

In other words #TheSimpleThings …

In other words it was the perfect subject for exploration …



What ‘food’ is … for me

Gut feel.

Creativity + Artistry + Experimentation.

Colour + Texture + Flavour …


… sensory explosion.


A shared experience …

… a connector.

A bookmark for memories.



A vehicle to show love …

to give comfort …

… pleasure.


Passion …


Risk + reward.




Simple …

… and complex.


A way of moving through cacophony and into flow.







There is no joy is not licking

On the 4th of January, I started an 8-week program designed to reduce and then eliminate all sugar from life … no refined sugar, honey, maple syrup as a first step and then no sweetness of any kind including fruit as the next …

“I Quit Sugar” …

… which, on typing the title strikes me as grammatical insouciance verging on disrespect … … tangent …

My day-to-day contains very little sugar – I’ve done IQS before and the overarching habits stuck.

But I am super conscious of how I feel in the skin into which I was born as well as that in which I choose to clothe myself. I am also highly aware of my tendency to snack more than I should, to eat less than I should and do both more irregularly that I care to …

… and to overthink all of the above.

A 2-month food routine offered a solution that solved all of the above with brain computation optional.

Breakfast – particularised  :  Lunch – last night’s dinner  :  Dinner – detailed.


… unless there is office-requested baking to be done.


Margaret Fulton’s (fail safe) Sour Cream Chocolate cake.

Rich, but not too. Light, but not too. Sweet, but not too.

Perfect, precisely.

It was 8pm when the chocolate was melted with a stream of still-steaming water,  8pm when the scent of cacao first wafted into my (super sensitive) olfactory system, 8pm when I was acutely aware of the richness offered by a cocoa, fat, sugar emulsion.

10 minutes later, the KitchenAid was creaming butter with sugar and I realised how much I craved sweetness – not just the taste, but sweetness in life … hugs and kisses and spontaneous laughter; swings in parks and spatula licking.

Spatula-licking gives such satisfaction – such joy. Feeling the still-crystallised sugar on tongue-tip and tasting the creamy, light-as-air sweetness of the whipped beginnings of a cake.

There is something deliciously illicit about the action …

… and the smell and imagined taste enticed my brain like mythical nymphs of the classics.

But I didn’t. No sugar. None. Not a crystal.

The stoic addition of three yolks. The stiff beating of an equal number of whites.

Shoulders tense. Stress rising. Concentration wavering.

I added melted chocolate in a steady stream. Again, the spatula, hugging the sides of the bowl, the final droplets submitting to gravity.

Rising desire … caving to distraction of Kombucha fizz. Skolled.

I added flour … and mixed in the two thirds of sour cream. I folded in the air of egg white and created the perfectly toned batter.

There was little love but an all-consuming desire to taste; to leave an index-finger strip across the mixture. There was little care, but a need to finish before the desire was consummated.

The pillowy-plop of batter dropping onto tin, and the resolute mind of the batter-dropper.

And those last streaks of batter in bowl. The ones crying for a finger to capture or tongue to lick. The ones that I would hope that my Mother would leave; the ones that my grandmother did leave.

The chocolate batter of childhood – made in family kitchens, with shared understandings, complicit spatula sneaking and bowl licking. The innocent joys …

And the chocolate batter of adulthood – made in the quiet, with self-imposed rules, calories. The ‘shoulds’ ruling the ‘wants’.

There is no joy in not licking.


‘Something’ is a pre-requisite …

… because apparently joy does not come from ‘nothing’.

Today was an experiment in what joy is … with a finding of what it is not.

The day started with the goal of ‘doing nothing’. ‘Doing nothing’ – truly nothing – is the dream yes? No lists to make, no pressures to respond to, no expectations to meet … the perfect life.


At the moment, I’m craving sweetness, hugs, lusciousness, juiciness, voluptuousness … I thought that ‘doing nothing’ would offer time to luxuriate, to stretch into …

Turns out … ‘no’.

Turns out … ‘doing nothing’ is not joy … for me …

And I had a sneaky suspicion that this would be the case. And yet, the idea of ‘nothing’ appealed; it beckoned and the magpie me swooped on its shiny appeal.

And it turns out that the shiny coin of ‘nothing’ is value-free.

I watched television on television, I watched television on the computer, I went to the gym, I Skyped, I made hummus, I made a sprouted lentil, chickpea and roasted capsicum puree w sprouted lentils, I read, I responded to texts and I cleared out my Inbox.

I did nothing of value (except perhaps the gym … and the recipe development – the sprouted lentil, chickpea and roasted capsicum puree really was quite delicious)

And then I went to yoga …

… where I was forced to fact the fact that I felt like lead. My body felt solid, unwieldy, heavy … and the same three adjectives provide an equally-adequate description of my brain.

Joy, a sense of ‘aliveness’, apparently, requires action, and interaction. While the lure of ‘nothing’ is strong – and, for me, ever-present, the reality sits at an angle of 180 degrees …

Doing ‘something’ appears to be a pre-requisite …


As this is not a ‘food’ site – this is not a ‘food’ recipe. It is an invitation to play with different flavours until they meet the fancy of your tastebuds (aka don’t expect details – just have the confidence to play)

Sprouted lentil, roasted capsicum and chickpea puree


Roasted capsicums + sprouted lentils + chickpeas

Smoked paprika + harissa + lemon juice + s&p


STEP 1: In a blender throw 4 roasted capsicums, 1/2 cup sprouted lentils and 1/2 can chickpeas. Add a half teaspoon of smoked paprika and a half teaspoon of harissa plus a half lemon and a pinch of salt.

STEP 2: Blitz until you have a puree-y puree.

STEP 3: Taste.

AND THEN: Add a little extra of whatever flavour you think it needs. And think about it – does it need more salt? (add salt) More sweetness? (add another capsicum) More acid? (squeeze a little more lemon juice) More heat? ( insert thinking emoji here)

STEP 5: Blitz again.

STEP 6: Taste. Again.

Ask yourself the question – does this taste good to me?

If the answer is ‘yes’ – use the puree over roasted cauliflower or quinoa patties or roasted vegetables.

If the answer is ‘no’ – repeat steps 4,5 and 6 until you smile!