Cannellini bean houmous

When I started my blog I had no idea what it was going to be about – what the ‘niche’ or ‘angle’ would be. I knew it was going to be a recipe blog, that was all. We only had one child then, my son was about 18 months probably and – no disrespect to parents of ‘just’ one child – but cooking for just the one baby (particularly this one who sat quite still and, conveniently for me, liked watching CBeebies) wasn’t that challenging. Sure, we had our tricky days, but on the whole my culinary life was pretty easy; I could cook a meal without much stress most of the time.

Now I have two kids; Arthur is 3 3/4 (still very task oriented: loves Lego, TV, crafting, X-Box and generally will sit still) and Beatrix is 18 months (not very task oriented: loves climbing on dangerous things, cuddling and kissing for hours, riding on backs on adults, and generally not sitting still). She is an absolute darling but her favourite time for attention demanding is always at mealtimes, which is a little… problematic.

More and more, producing decent dinners under challenging conditions has become what my life is about, hence that is reflected in the blog. My most popular blog recently, one that was reTweeted by MumsNet, was this easy Italian Chicken tray bake. It is one of the simplest and quickest recipes on my blog, and I think its popularity is telling. I am feeling stressed out at mealtimes, clearly other mums (and dads) are too! Of course, there are times when you can take a bit longer over what you are doing, and I do include such recipes – they go into the Weekend Feasting section – but what I am finding is that my Midweek Meals section is growing the fastest as this is the most difficult type of meal for a parent to rustle up. 

This houmous is a great example of a dead quick, five-minutes-to-rustle-up meal that is healthy and kids will wolf down. Both mine really love this houmous. Simply served on a jacket potato (as we had it), it makes for a great little lunchtime or teatime dish. (I microwave my jackets for 5 minutes then oven bake for 40 more). I recommend having a jar of tahini in the fridge a it’s a great ingredient for easy meals. Make houmous with it, or sauces that go great with chicken or pork – and it’s extremely healthy too. I use a small processor which I recommend for little amounts like this. If you are making it using a large food processor then maybe double quantities as the small amount will struggle in the large space if you know what I mean. If you don’t have a processor, then the next best thing is a pestle and mortar. If you don’t have one of those, then simply mash by hand, you’ll get a rougher texture, but it’ll still be good.

Makes: enough for 2/3 adults or equivalent:
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: NA
Total time: 5 minutes

Ingredients: 
1 can of cannellini beans
2 tablespoons of water
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of tahini
1 clove of garlic, grated on a microplane, or crushed in a pestle and mortar first
Large pinch of salt, more as required
Pinch of smoked paprika, to serve (optional)

Instructions: 

  1. Smash the garlic with a teaspoon of salt in a pestle and mortar. Alternatively, grate it with a microplane or crush with garlic crusher. You could chuck it in to the processor without crushing first but you do risk it not being properly processed, and I don’t like the thought of chomping on a big piece of raw unprocessed garlic!
  2. Drain the can of beans and rinse. Tip into processor with tahini, water and oil. Add the crushed garlic too. Whizz until smooth. 
  3. Serve with some oil and paprika (or cumin) sprinkled on top. 
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