Last weekend my best friend C and I went to Dundee to visit our dear friend G. This was very exciting, not only because Dundee was a whole new city to me and because we saw a seal on our way there as the bus drove past the firth of Tay, but also because our friend G is a vegan. C and I being of somewhat limited mental capacities, we tend to get a bit freaked out by die-hard veganism.
For instance, did you know that true vegans don’t eat granulated sugar because bone char might be used in the refinery to filter the sugar? Consequently, in offering a vegan something as seemingly innocuous as, say, a piece of gum (which, of course, might contain sugar), you run a serious risk of committing a faux pas. See how we get freaked out by this?
Another interesting problem that emerged over the weekend: can vegans use natural sponges? No, because sponges are technically animals. Yes, because they’re non-sentient creatures. Such dilemmas. (Do leave a comment if you have anything to contribute to this discussion!)
Either way, we had lots of fun and G seemed happy to have us over. Wait ’till she finds the cheese we hid in her wardrobe. (G, I know you’re reading this. We didn’t actually hide cheese in your wardrobe. Or did we? No, really, we didn’t. But you’re gonna go check anyway, aren’t you? No need. Or is there? No really, there isn’t.) No, seriously. Even if we like to wind her up about it, I really do admire that G knows what she stands for and sticks to it, no matter how difficult it must be.
And thankfully, regardless of what most people think, vegan food is just as tasty and healthy as any other food, provided that you’re a reasonable cook with some common sense. G is, so that wasn’t a problem. She started off well by serving us hummus for lunch. Her recipe is pretty damn good so I’ve not made any changes to it.
For a decent quantity of hummus (I honestly have no idea how much this is in weight, but it should be about a teacup full) you shall need:
- 1 can of chickpeas
- 3 medium cloves of garlic
- 1 cm of fresh chili
- juice of one quarter of a lemon, or half a shot glass
- 1/2 to 1 shot glass of water
- 4 tsbp olive oil
- 1 tsp of cumin
- salt and pepper, to taste
Peel the garlic, slice the cloves in half and remove the planty thing. Cut 1 centimeter off a chili, slice in half and remove the seeds. Sprinkle both chili and garlic with some olive oil and stick under the grill (but in the middle of the oven, not too high up or it’ll burn!) for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, drain the chickpeas and stick them in a jug (or, if you’re using a food processor, in a food processor). Add the cumin, the lemon juice, the oil, the water, a good pinch of salt and a dash of pepper. So actually, add the whole of the list of ingredients, apart from the chili and the garlic which are still in the oven.
Take the garlic and the chili out of the oven once they’re starting to get fragrant, and stick them in the jug/food processor with the rest of the ingredients. Now start mixing it all up with your hand blender/funky food processor whirly blades. Taste for salt and pepper and check if the consistency is right (if too thick, add water or oil – or you could add some more lemon juice, if it’s not all that lemony yet).
Eat with tasty bread, sticks of carrot, fresh celery, or do what I do and stick it on some slices of walnut loaf, then top with fresh spinach and sesame seeds!