Nearly 10 years ago while taking holiday in London I was hopelessly bored. I sank into a big chair in the living room and turned on the television. Any American who has ever attempted to entertain themselves by watching television in the UK sympathizes with how bored I must have been. UK television is a complete mess and more likely to exacerbate boredom rather than cure it.
That day it was to be different for that was the day that I discovered Nigella. I really don’t recall if I was watching Nigella Bites or Nigella Eats or Nigella Licks Her Fingers and Still Handles the Food but I do know that I was feeling things watching her that I had not felt for a woman before.
Being quite the anglophile I was powerless against her accented voice, her flirtatious manner and her unapologetic lust. Was her lust for the food or was she aiming it directly at me? I fantasized it was the later.
Like most vacation flings, ours was not meant to last once we parted ways when I would go back to my home and my usual haunts. We would lose track of each other and soon another ‘non-chef’, Ina, would come along and steal my heart away– albeit with a more platonic countenance. (Which worked out quite well for us as we now have an understanding that allows us to see other people — as long as we are open and honest about it.)
Nigella, nonetheless, will always have a special place in my heart as my first.
Recently while driving home from work I slowly became aware of my heart fluttering as I slowly discerned the sound of her voice on the radio — which rather abruptly took me back to that one London Spring when Nigella and I had our… our thing. The program was one where she was a featured guest on NPR’s Morning Edition on one of the many compilation podcasts I had subscribed to long ago. She was hyping a book and coquettishly telling stories and trying to sell her recipes — all with her typically charming choice of words.
(Some of them I know don’t even make sense back in her native England either.)
I hadn’t made a Nigella recipe in years but since Ina, David, Dorie and the rest are now feeling quite secure with my affections I thought I would call her up and see if there was any spark left between us with this Peanut Butter Hummus which she had described on the podcast. As someone who frequently makes hummus and bean dips of various sorts the peanut butter angle on this version sounded quite compelling. And easy. Nigella was always easy. Peanut butter is not such a leap from tahini when you think about it.
So, if you are looking for something to prepare for The Super Bo….er… The Big Game then look no further. This stuff is addicting. Your guests will be dipping everything they can into it. Pitas, crackers, celery… even fingers if you let them.
Peanut Butter Hummus
Nigella was always a fun date.
as adapted from Nigella Lawson
This is what you will need:
- 2 x cans garbanzo beans
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 3–5 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 tablespoons smooth natural peanut butter
- 5 tablespoons lemon juice, or more as needed
- 2 teaspoons sea salt flakes or 1 teaspoon pouring salt, or to taste
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 4–6 tablespoons Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons peanuts, finely chopped, to serve (optional)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, to serve (optional)
- bread sticks, mini pittas, crackers, tortilla chips, to serve (optional)
This is how you make it:
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Put the garlic clove, chickpeas, 3 tablespoons oil, peanut butter, lemon juice, salt and cumin into a food processor and blitz to a knobbly purée.
- Add 4 tablespoons of the Greek yogurt and process again; if the hummus is still very thick add another 1–2 tablespoons yogurt and the same of oil. (This will often depend on the chickpeas, as different sorts make the hummus thicker or not.)
- Taste for seasoning, adding more lemon juice and salt if you feel it needs it.
- On serving, mix the chopped peanuts with the paprika and sprinkle on top if you wish, and put an array of bits and pieces to eat with or dip in, as you see fit.