How was your Christmas? All things jolly, I hope. After significant preparation in the days prior, ours was a laid back affair (isn’t it nice when it all pays off?). Whole-wheat crepes and a fresh fruit platter got the day off to a cracking start. A moderately fast paced walk along the beach was next…Gotta make plenty of room for Christmas lunch! Some simple prepping in the kitchen – carving the stuffed chicken legs and vegetarian roast-loaf, roasting some crunchy maple and cinnamon spiced chickpeas for nibblies and so on – was followed by the unwrapping of presents. It didn’t take long with so few of us, but to be honest I’m more interested in the food. A late lunch with the extended family was the main event. When overseas I’m always asked “what do Australians eat for Christmas dinner?”. There’s a number of other typical questions – “why isn’t your hair blonde?”, “do you have a pet kangaroo?”, “did you ride it to school?” but we’ll leave those for another day.
As with any multicultural nation ‘Christmas dinner’ varies significantly from household to household, if eaten at all. We’ve have had barbeques on the beach in the past, however this Christmas lunch is by far the tradition. A large leg of cold ham and cold roast chicken make up the meaty components. Then there’s ‘chookie mince’ (a cross between a stuffing ball and a meatball), extra brown rice and raisin stuffing and oodles of salad. You’ve got watermelon salad, tomato salad, blue cheese and pear salad, potato salad, mango and feta salad, cabbage and noodle salad…Enough variety to tickle a vegetarian’s taste buds quite nicely. The lunch is rich and indulgent yet also quite refreshing. Perfect nosh for a balmy, sunny day. And unless you eat your weight in food it’s difficult to feel really ‘blah’ and gummy afterwards. Always a bonus.
Whilst Christmas dinner wasn’t an overly rich affair, it’s still nice to get back into a normal rhythm of eating pretty swiftly. This Sweet Chilli Hummus, when paired with crudités, does a superb job at still feeling like a treat, yet also initiating the change back to normalcy. Oh, and I was given a new food processor for Christmas, so I’ve been itching to try it out. Is there a bit of self-interest going on? Perhaps.
You can omit the sweet chilli sauce if you wish and add a splash more lemon juice, however I love the spicy-sweetness it gives the hummus. Though I must warn you – it makes the dip incredibly addictive. On a technical note, if you don’t have a food processor then a blender should also work, just be sure to scrape down the sides regularly.
See the Christmas gluttony out with platter of thick, sweet, spicy hummus and crunchy veg. Your body – and taste buds – will thank you for it!
Sweet Chilli Hummus
Makes just over a cup.
400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
2 cloves garlic, crushed with ¼ tsp coarse sea salt
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp sesame oil
¼ tsp paprika
1 tbsp hot water
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
Good squeeze lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
In a small bowl whisk together the crushed garlic, olive oil, sesame oil, paprika, hot water and sweet chilli sauce.
Place the chickpeas in a food processor or blender and drizzle the sweet chilli mixture over the top. Pulse for 30 seconds then stop and scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.
Add a squirt of lemon juice then repeat at least three more times or until the hummus is thick yet quite smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. I add a few shakes of Tabasco at this point, however you could add another squeeze of lemon juice or some extra sweet chilli sauce if you wish. If you want a smoother, less thick hummus add another tablespoon of hot water at this point.
Give the hummus one last good blitz and then transfer to a serving bowl or plastic container for later use.
Will keep, refrigerated, for about three days.
Source: A Taste Without Waste original.