Phew! What. A. Week. I seriously have not had time to breathe since my last post and I really hate leaving a week between recipes. So much cooking and eating has happened in that time but unfortunately due to me being a complete dufus and allowing the adapter for my laptop charger to get packed with our possessions, which will arrive in Ireland in ummm, approximately 8 weeks, arrrrgggh, I couldn’t physically blog! See? Complete dufus. This is already a rambling post so I’ll start as I mean to go on. Brace yourselves for an avalanche of completely useless information about, well, me.
So, where do I begin? We had the movers in last Wednesday – we are moving from Chicago to Ireland (temporarily until we sort our lives out) – and they were a total and utter nightmare, the less said about them the better apart from the fact they packed all our food, which I specifically told them not to. Give me strength!
I had my first vegan dinner party, which went down a storm. Very happy about that:) Bearing in mind I was using scraps from the cupboard and fridge – oh and I did get the movers to unpack the food – I think I didn’t do too badly. For starters we had mixed bean soup (yum) followed by Aloo Gobi and fresh naan (officially my best naan to date, winner!) and finishing with strawberries dipped in chocolate (vegan, of course) and my now completely vegan truffles (otherwise known as fudge babies), of which half I covered in chocolate and the other half I covered in chocolate and then coated in shredded coconut (my personal favourite). We ate in a ramshackle fashion, as we had basically no furniture or proper crockery – my husband ate his out of a rice cooker bowl, haha! You know what though, it was one of the most relaxed and enjoyable dinner parties we’ve ever had. Just goes to show you that good food and good company are all that really matters.
Moving swiftly on to my aeroplane eats. In a word: diabolical. Thank goodness they had a small tub of tabbouleh to go with the meal (I ate mine and hubbies) else I would’ve starved. BA are currently on strike so I couldn’t order a vegan meal and I wasn’t organised enough to provide my own snacks. Lesson learnt. As soon as I arrived at Heathrow I made a beeline for Marks and Spencer, which was like a shining beacon that I couldn’t get to fast enough. Couscous never tasted so good!
So, fine, we arrive at our temporary London abode, have a nap and head out for dinner in Covent Garden. We end up in this lovely little Italian and both have Spaghetti Arrabiata (could’ve been spicier but was very fresh) with a side of Mediterranean veg roasted in balsamic vinegar – gorge! Couple of glasses of red with a friend in Fulham, a half hour walk home and we are ready for bed? Not quite, we spend a couple of hours tossing and turning, staring at the ceiling, talking and giggling before admitting defeat. At 4am we get up and I know the only cure for the zombie like state we’re in is hummus. The problem is I only have a can of butter beans in the cupboard that I accidently bought for a risotto that actually required broad beans – I was having an off day. Butter beans have never been my favourite pulse, which is why the can was still sitting there months later. Funnily enough though I have been curious about this fava dip of late and now was the perfect opportunity to try it!
Look, I know I can be rather over the top when it comes to my enthusiasm for food, recipes and new discoveries but don’t let that be an excuse for you to take these words lightly: Fava, totally, completely and entirely ROCKS!! In fact I posted a thread in my new fav forum and the title was – Move over Hummus……..Hello Fava! And it’s true. The creaminess, the rounded flavour, the fact that the texture was truly melt in your mouth without any effort (I did not have a blender, it was a fork and me baby!). Oh, and then the flatbreads! Tearing pieces off those fabulously chewy little breads and scooping the dip up was exactly the kind of soothing we needed at, by the time I made everything, 5am. My oh my, were we ready for some zzz’s after that. I realise that in such places as Egypt (which we’ve been to but curiously never came across fava) this is a breakfast dish but in all honesty all I wanted afterwards was my pillow. I slept like a baby and arose fresh as a daisy several hours later.
The cure for your own jetlag is as follows:
1 can butter beans
1 tablespoon tahini
salt and pepper
chilli powder/cayenne pepper/paprika
Drain and rinse the butter beans.
In a bowl crush the beans with the back of a fork until completely smooth.
Add a tablespoon of tahini, water and olive oil and mix with the fork. Even at this stage try to smooth the mixture with the back of a fork.
Season, stir and if necessary add a little more water or olive oil. You want a smooth texture but not runny. You’ll know when it’ll be easy to scoop up in a flatbread – just trust your own judgement and taste.
Before serving drizzle over olive oil and sprinkle some chilli, cayenne or paprika. Do not set it in the fridge, it needs to be at room temperature.
1 cup organic unbleached flour
1 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tsp yeast
salt and pepper
Empty the flour into a large bowl along with the yeast and seasoning. Mix thoroughly.
Make a well in the centre of the flour. Add the oil to the water and pour into the well. Using your hands gradually work the flour into the water until a soft dough is formed. If it’s too sticky add more flour, if it’s too dry add a little more water. Again, trust yourself and don’t panic. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently for 10mins. Oil a bowl, turn the dough in it, cover with a tea towel and leave to sit for 10mins.
Heat a frying pan/skillet until it starts to smoke. Tear off a piece of dough and form into a round(ish!) shape. You don’t need a rolling pin, just use your hands. Place in pan and cook for mere minutes before turning over. The other side should only take seconds really. You want a few brown marks dotted around the bread, that is all. Keep warm under a clean tea towel. You should get 5/6 flatbreads from these measurements depending on how large you want the breads.
Relax, enjoy and sleep (perchance to dream of Fava).