SUMMER SIPPING

I LOVE hummus in all its incarnations and uses. How delighted I was to come across this hummus soup by the always excellent British chef Paul Gayler. Serve it in small portions — it is rich and filling.

Hummus, saffron and yoghurt soup (Serves 4) 

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil / 1 onion, chopped / 2 garlic cloves, crushed / 1 tsp ground cumin / pinch saffron / 310g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight / 750ml vegetable stock or water / 1 or 2 tbsp tahini / 100ml natural yoghurt / juice of 1 large lemon / 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves / freshly ground pepper / few pinches paprika

HOW: Heat oil in pan, add onion, garlic and cumin and slow fry for 5 minutes, covered. Add saffron, cook 2 minutes more. Add drained chickpeas, cover with stock or water and bring to simmer. Once chickpeas are tender (about 45 minutes), leave to cool, then blend everything with tahini and lemon juice. Salt to taste. Add more lemon if need be. It should be thick but pourable (add water if necessary). Chill thoroughly, then spoon into bowls. Top with yoghurt and chopped coriander and stir in slightly. Top with pepper and paprika. 

I was expecting the foundation to have been at least slightly swayed by the Paleo thinking; at the very least to be a little less pushy on the high carb side of things.

HIGH VERSUS LOW FAT

The Heart and Stroke Foundation’s second annual recipe book, Cooking from the Heart 2, has just come out (at GPs and pharmacies).

It’s a fascinating read in the light (or shadow, depending on your viewpoint) of the low-carb, trend high-fat trend that has gripped both dieters and the health-minded.

I was expecting the foundation to have been at least slightly swayed by the Paleo thinking; at the very least to be a little less pushy on the high carb side of things. But nothing has changed. In fact, it’s a strangely dated sort of read.

Whether or not you’re into the Paleo thing, it is curious to see tomato sauce listed as a ‘‘must-have” store-cupboard ingredient in a ‘‘health” cook book. Similarly, the ‘‘must-have” pantry oil is listed as sunflower, canola or olive oil, as though these substances were interchangeable. Cold-pressed (mechanically extracted) oil is a universe away from the chemical shenanigans that produce standard supermarket seed oils, which are almost universally considered to be toxic. To list them as interchangeable seems somewhat remiss.

It’s also disturbing that the old thinking of saturated fats, in particular, being the devil still dominates, especially when this means ‘‘soft tub margarine” is suggested as a wiser choice than butter. Didn’t this stop in the last century? The recipes look inoffensive enough, I guess, but if you end up with this book in your hand, I’d say approach with extreme caution.     

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