Hummus garden toast

My daughter was in Year R for the first lockdown, which meant lots of time to fill without very much actual school work to complete. In a way this was good news, as her 2 year old brother wasn’t particularly supportive of any sensible seated activities.

The tricky part was finding enough to occupy them, without resorting to too much TV or just leaving them to run feral through the house (personally not against that plan, but their Dad wasn’t too keen as the upstairs landing was now his office and conference room!).

We made the most of the weekly theme set by my daughter’s teacher and centred all of our lunches around it. One of the first topics was ‘the garden’, which inspired this hummus on toast.

Hummus is something we regularly make at home together. The kids love taking it in turns to use the stick blender (with very close supervision!) and it’s another recipe that they can try as they go along, adding more lemon juice or seasoning until the flavour’s just right.

Speedy hummus

I love making hummus from home-cooked dried chickpeas, but you need to plan that in advance. This version can be whipped up in under 10 minutes.

  • 1 x 400 g can chickpeas, drained (but reserve the liquid)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 heaped tbsp tahini paste
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 4-5 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin (optional)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (optional)
  1. Put the chickpeas, garlic and tahini in a measuring jug with half of the lemon juice, 4 tbsp of the oil and a big pinch of salt.
  2. Whiz with a stick blender until smooth, adding enough of the reserved chickpea liquor to get the right consistency.
  3. Taste it, then balance the flavour with more lemon juice and salt.
  4. Try it with a pinch of cumin, if you have some. I also like adding a splash of sesame oil to bring out the flavour of the tahini, though this is completely non-traditional.
  5. Scrape the mixture into a serving dish and drizzle with a little more oil.

Ideas for garden toppings

  • Herbs – chives make great ‘grass’ and flower stalks. I used little sprigs of basil for leaves, though flat leaf parsley or coriander would look and taste great too.
  • Vegetables – if you want to make flower shapes, you’ll need to cut harder vegetables (like carrots) yourself, but cucumber slices could be cut by children with scissors. We used a food colour pen to turn halved cherry tomatoes into ladybirds, but you could do the same with yellow tomatoes or pieces of pepper to make bees.
  • Pickles – my kids love capers, so we added some for flower buds. We must have been out of olives that day, or they would definitely have made an appearance! My advice is to let them raid the fridge and get creative.
  • Pulses – We had some cooked leftover lentils in the fridge, so I used them as pebbles, but you could hold back a few chickpeas from the can when you make the hummus to get a similar effect.
  • Edible flowers – cheating really and not quite the ideal time of year, but would look brilliant!

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