Posts Tagged ‘chickpeas’

Chickpea discovery (or “The small and simple things”)

Confession. The nation celebrated the Queens Diamond Jubilee this weekend, commemorating the 60th anniversary of her coronation. That wasn’t the confession. The confession was- we didn’t really celebrate it.. At all.  No reason actually. On Friday, it has to be said, we had red, white and blue pancakes (spelt pancakes with strawberries, blueberries and sweetened natural yogurt) the kids had a party at school, and I may have stuck union jacks on all their tupperwares in their special Jubilee lunch.

Over the weekend however, we were involved with various activities over the weekend that completely EXcluded the Queen (I repeat- not consciously, nor maliciously- God save the Queen…) and INcluded cinema, swimming, walking, jogging with my girls, family bike rides, paella, car boot sales, snuggling beautiful new nieces, hide and seek in a field of knee-deep grass in the pouring rain (nope, not me- I was (happily) busy making food!), and finally today (though Jubilee weekend is officially over) fun and games at Cheshire Ice Cream Farm. Nary a union Jack in sight. I never even heard a bar of Land of Hope and Glory. I think I may have heard them sing God Save the Queen in church on Sunday, though I was playing Lego with my delicious rambunctious son in the nursery at the time. Bless him. Please.

All of this to say….I should be posting an alternative “red,white and blue “cheese”cake or something , and instead I have a really lame offering, but only because I am busy having family fun.

Here it is. My lame offering: Home-cooked chickpeas taste waaaaay better than canned. I am sold. I am never using canned chickpeas again. I actually cannot believe the difference.

I threw a whole bag into the slow cooker WITHOUT SOAKING and left it cooking as we gallavanted over Cheshire. When we returned- perfect, tender chickpeas.

My Mum said “What did you cook these chickpeas in?”

Me: water.

Mum: But what else???

Me: Just water.Not even any salt.

Mum: You didn’t cook them in stock or something? They taste so….good!

Me (popping a chickpea in) Mmmmm! Wow! They taste good!!

Now I love chickpeas but I would never call them a two-exclamation-mark-worthy food (hyphen overkill). But these were. They really were tasty. And I realise that canned beans and legumes have something added to them called FIRMING AGENT, and that is the reason that canned chickpeas don’t even seem fully cooked when you take them out. They could almost pass as “aldente”, and I am not really keen on that.

So I felt like a domestic goddess today, because the brown rice chicken paella tasted AMAZING, my best one so-far, and so did my Vegetarian Alternative- Chickpeas and Spinach (featured on this website under maindishes. (My too-lazy-to-hyperlink)  Furthermore, I bagged up my ready-to-eat chickpeas in ickle freezer bags ready for a chickpea moment (Firming-Agent Free).

I have good memories of the Queen’s Jubilee weekend. None involve Union Jacks, but plenty of small, simple things, and these are the things I love. Oh- and some very tasty chickpeas.

Lazy Salad dressing

When Isaac is asleep and I am working through the old “To Do” list, I know it must be time for a lunchtime salad. We have a ton of leftover hummouses and dips in the fridge from a family get together this weekend; and hummous is not just for dipping, it makes a great salad dressing! Just whisk in a bowl with your choice of flavourings. I tried:

  • 1/3 cup regular hummous
  • the juice of half an orange
  • the juice of half a lemon
  •  1/2 teaspoon cumin

Whisk until smooth, and pour over your choice of leaves, chopped raw vegetables, chopped almonds, raisins, sesame seeds, or whatever else you may wish to have with your salad. I think I will play some more with this, it hasn’t reached its pinnacle yet. Luckily, I have plenty of hummous, and  Alfredo got 4 bags of organic spinach at 30p a bag. Hooray for lazy salads!


Erm...for some reason I saw the freeze dried strawberry powder and thought I would garnish my salad with some. well, I do have strawberry and spinach salad in my salad section.......

Peas and Thank You: Spicey African peanut stew

Autumn days seem so right with chickpeas, sweet potato, red lentils and curry spices all in the same bowl.  To me, anyway. So right, in fact, that I just ate a massive portion now (lunchtime) and am wondering what I can eat tonight when everyone else is eating this. It’s just that my hands were so cold, and Isaac was so…asleep, and I just wanted to reward my long walk in a cold wind.

This Spicey African Peanut stew is courtesy of Peas and Thank You so to reciprocate courtesy, if you want to make this, follow the link below for the recipe quantities. However, I will tell you, it’s a throw-it-all-in-the-slow-cooker dish, and it contains the following ingredients:

  • Chickpeas
  • Tinned tomatoes (I used tinned cherry tomatoes, she used “fire roasted tomatoes”)
  • Peanut butter (not that much)
  • Coconut milk (I didn’t have any; I added some coconut oil but you can’t taste it. Oh well…)
  • Curry powder, and a few other common storecupboard spices
  • minced garlic
  • minced fresh ginger
  • vegetable stock
  • red lentils
  • sweet potato

    Better than peanut butter sandwiches.










No salt! Other than a little if you use it in the stock (I just added a little bouillon powder) 

I am proud to be thoroughly enjoying a meal seasoned only with spices, and me a salt-lover.

Here’s the link then:   Peas and Thank You: Spicey African Peanut Stew   (It starts with an anecdote of her children. Read on)

Really, click that link. It is one delicious stew.

As I mentioned at the beginning, autumn days and warm curried stews with pulses are a marriage made in heaven in my opinion.

Perfect. Almost…….I think I will just add a pinch …just a pinch….of sea salt  🙂

Quirky cookie dough, anyone?

I am still in disbelief as to what I have just made.  Let me just prep you a little. Do not peek below until you have read this. I have not lost it. I know I eat some things that may be considered  wierd  alternative  okay, wierd……  I am alright with that. Honestly. However, this one, quite frankly, takes the biscuit. I mean cookie (dough). And it works, it really does!

I am crediting this to this blog right here but there seem to be plenty of other versions of this recipe flying around.SO! That said….I give you…….drum roll…..

Hummous Cookie Dough Dip (Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip)

I know!  Read on! This is utterly ridiculous, and delicious. I am all of a flurry, I tell ya!  All you need is a food processor. I used my mini chopper. (I honestly do not have shares in Kenwood, but I cannot live without my little £18 mini chopper.)

Ingredients for your dairy free-gluten-free-refined-sugar-free-egg-free-white-flour-free-fibre-packed-Bvitamin-fullcookie dough dip

  • 2 cups of chickpeas (about one can, well rinsed)
  • 1/4 +  1/8 cup peanut butter (Whole Earth do a version with no added salt or sugar)
  • 1  1/2 Tablespoons almond or soy milk
  • 6 Tablespoons  honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips, 


  • Blend everything except the chocolate chips in your food processor.

It will be easier if you put the honey/milk/peanut butter in first, with about half a cup of the chickpeas. Blend to a smooth paste and then add the rest of the beans in two batches.

  • Add your chocolate chips. Serve with apple wedges, and feel smug joyful for all things plant-ey!  🙂


  1. There is a second version to this: With a small tweak, you can bake them as cookies! See below.*
  2. You honestly don’t get the chickpea flavour, because of the sweetness of the honey/syrup, and the earthy peanut butter flavour.
  3. Isaac (2) is at the age of loving to dip things. This a great sweet variation for toddlers to dip into, and you could leave out the chocolate chips. You wouldn’t need to sweeten it as much either. It’s our adulterated adults palates in the West that crave the very sweet flavours in recipes.
  4. I have added dark chocolate chips, even though I normally don’t use regular chocolate or sugars. I just don’t get on with it of late, and I find when I eat it, all my old cravings return, so I am happy to stay away from it. When I found this recipe I decided to make an exception. It is, after all, garbanzo bean cookie dough, and I felt I could cut  some slack 🙂
  5. If you have a Millie’s Cookies love affair, you may not be satisfied with these. Though I suspect that if you have a very sweet tooth, you will be reading other recipe blogs, not this one  🙂  Unless you simply read this because you love me. In which case, thank you, and I (probably) love you too.

Version 2: Cookies!

  • Follow all instructions above, but add 3 tablespoons of a flour of your choice (I used brown rice flour, no reason)  The texture should be like a soft dough like in this photo. Mine was a little runnier, but it still worked fine. Chickpeas are a good binder- no egg required
  • Use a 1/8 cup to scoop dough onto greased parchment paper.
  • Flatten gently
  • Place into a pre-heated oven  180 C  for 10-12 minutes or until the bottoms are golden brown.
  • Leave for a few minutes on tray, then transfer to a rack, leave to cool.
  • An important note: DO NOT use honey if you plan to bake your dough, it will burn underneath, barely in the oven. Use maple syrup or agave nectar….or…if you are thinking “What is her ridiculous obsession with not using a bit of sugar, it’s no worse than syrup?”… may well be right; go ahead and use a dry sugar if you prefer. I just do it my preferred way and make suggestions, ’tis all.


Good Hearty Fare: Mediterranean Chickpeas and Spinach (under 15 minutes)











This post is dedicated to the Misiego family, where I first ate this simple and delicious dish 20 years ago, and I still love it. It’s proper cosy, hearty food, without being heavy or fatty.

Protein-packed chickpeas, high in fibre, low in fat, with plenty of zinc, potassium and lots of iron in both the legumes and the barely-cooked spinach.

It is a great emergency meal,  (I always have some leaf spinach either in the fridge or freezer) and is so quick to whip up. The 15 minute thing only works if the chickpeas are already cooked, obviously 🙂 I use canned chickpeas. The first time my father in law bumped into me in the supermarket and caught me buying pre-cooked chickpeas, he was horrified!  He is a proper Andaluzan live-off-the-land man, and he almost demanded “What are you getting these for woman?!” I felt really naughty.  It’s so useful though, and I have some dried ones too for sprouting.

The authentic Spanish dish is a little different but this is how I do it.

  • Start by heating your extra virgin olive oil in a pan. Medium heat. Not too much oil, just enough to saute:
  • medium onion and 3-4 garlic cloves , chopped or pressed
  • 1-2 pinches of sea salt

When soft add:

  • 1 can of drained and rinsed chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato puree (concentrate)
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • Leave on heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring until water has almost gone
  • Lower heat and add 4 big handfuls of leaf spinach.
  • Stir slowly over the low heat until it has wilted down.
  • Finally take off the heat add:
  • A small glug of extra virgin olive oil (great word)
  • a Splash (one capfull for example) of white wine / apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin

I add the cumin at the end, even though everyone says you are supposed to saute the flavours out; my mother in law always has, and she is my kitchen mentor so far as mediterranean dishes go.

You can also do this, but in more of a stew, with a vegetable stock, and chopped carrots and potatoes, bayleaf, stirring in the leaves and cumin at the end. It is a bit less scarey for older kids than Just Chickpeas and Leaves.

I cannot express how delicious this is with wholemeal toast droozled with extra virgin olive oil, and tomato (see here for details) And please don’t count how many times olive oil shows up in this one meal. It’s good for you, okay?*

*Extra virgin olive oil has been shown to reduce inflammatory markers in the blood; subsequent pressings (regular olive oil) do not seem to be so beneficial.  The extra virgin oil is rich in anti-inflammatory polyphenols- about nine different categories of them!  It also contains more than two dozen  anti-inflammatory nutrients. And that is just the start of it. If you are interested, read up for yourself. For maximum benefits, use unheated.

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