A walk down the aisles of any supermarket will find us spoilt for choice. In fact it is a tyranny of choice. Years ago a trip to buy dips and chips was easy. For example, when I was little we had three flavours of chips (or crisps) in the local milk bar – chicken, salt and vinegar and plain. Everyone had their favourite. Mine was (gulp) chicken. Now we head off to the supermarket in search of lime and black pepper or morrocan seasoning chips and – ooh, aah – we spy a new line of roasted garlic chips. Must try those. We are now a nation of fickle consumers. Where is the loyalty?
Unfortunately loyalty is becoming a thing of the past in processed foods, just like last year’s taste sensation. We are forever being tempted by the new and creative. It is all well and good if we just want to be seeking the elusive best ever But what if you arrive at your favourite and find it is just a fleeting fad.
We never had dips when I was a little tacker but when I moved to Melbourne as a young university student, wide-eyed in wonder at all the fabulous cafes, dips became all the rage. There were a few you would expect to encounter everywhere – hummus, tsatsiki and baba ganoush.
Interestingly, these dips still feature heavily in cafes but the supermarket shelves of dips have become overwhelming in their variety. Beetroot, pumpkin, rocket, pesto, carrot, lentil, sweet potato, spicy, nutty, cheesy. Like chips, fashions come and go in dips.
Ricki recently posted about curried pumpkin hummus and I was reminded of the pumpkin hummus I used to buy regularly. It was one of my favourites but it seems others did not share my enthusiasm. Or maybe it just had to go to make way for the new flavours. Anyway it disappeared from the supermarket shelves without explanation.
I miss my pumpkin hummus and so I was inspired by Ricki to make some. As I buy my pumpkin raw, I decided to roast it for more flavour. I had plenty of garlic about so I also roasted a bulb of that while the oven was on. I didn’t add any oil because the pumpkin, with the little oil used for roasting, gave enough moisture.
The resulting pumpkin hummus was delicious and creamy. It was full of deep warm flavours without the bite usually found in dips with raw garlic. It lasted well for about a week without becoming watery as dips often do. I enjoyed it for lunches with fresh vegetables and corn thins. In fact, it was better than the stuff I was buying from the shops. Not as convenient but a recipe is forever, unlike a new flavoured processed food!
Roasted Pumpkin and Garlic Hummus
650g pumpkin, peeled and diced
1 bulb of garlic
drizzle of olive oil
450g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
½ cup tahini
juice of one small lemon
pinch cayenne pepper
Place the pumpkin in a roasting tray and toss with the oil and seasoning. Chop the top of the garlic bulb off and place on a large square of foil. Drizzle a little olive oil over garlic and bring the foil up to make a little bag that is sealed at the top, enclosing the garlic. Place garlic in the same tray as the pumpkin. Roast in 200 C oven for 30 minutes. Remove garlic and cool a little. Roast the pumpkin an additional 15 minutes. When garlic is cool enough to handle, unwrap from foil and squeeze cloves out of the peel and discard peel.
Place pumpkin, garlic and remaining ingredients in a food processor and blend til smooth. Check seasoning and adjust as necessary.
Update: Sept 2011 made these with carrot instead of pumpkin - roasted carrot about about 200-220 C for about 1 hour until it was starting to blacken on the outside but soft inside - fantastic!
On the stereo:
A Secret History: the Best of the Divine Comedy – The Divine Comedy