Aside
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To some, hummus is something that your mother buys in Marks and Spencer’s and serves to guests with crisps or pita bread. Maybe she calls this mix of chips and dips; ‘nibbles’. To others, hummus is a dastardly mix of chickpeas and garlic that creates a vile cocktail which attacks the tastebuds with it’s grainy texture and pale complexion. Me? I love it and can’t get enough of it. Hummus is king! To the people who live in Israel, hummus is not just food. It is a political topic, a matter of nationality, a source of argument and a prelude to the land ownership argument that has spanned decades.

The question in Israel is not which came first, the chicken or the egg?? but who made hummus first the Jew or the Arab?? It may seem ridiculous but there really are arguments about who was the first to mix chickpeas and sesame paste and when did they do it. The hummus wars are so intense that even best friends have turned against each other having found themselves on different sides of the hummus fence.

hummus

Generally, most people agree that it was Egyptian Arabs who first made hummus but Jewish scholars interpret a certain biblical passage as evidence that Jews ate hummus in biblical times. Yes, things just got biblical….its that serious!!

Even after the question of ownership is put aside there is still the question of who’s hummus is better… Palestinian or Jewish??

A hummusia is a restaurant or café that specializes in hummus that opens from breakfast until mid afternoon. Each hummusia is in competition with the next over who’s hummus is superior. The arguments over who’s hummus is better can carry on for hours and go into every specific detail such as who likes it smooth, fluffy or chunky. Should it be warm, cold or room temperature? How spicy should it be?? The battle rages on!

Abu Shukri was for years considered to run the best hummusia around One day another hummusia opened up right across the road from Abu Shukri. Outside this new shop was a sign that read: “We moved here. This is the real Abu Shukri”. The new shop was owned by Abu’s son in law who had worked in the original restaurant and was using the famous recipe. The family had been split by hummus. The next day the old restaurant hung a sign on its door: “We have not moved. This is the real Abu Shukri.” A large banner appeared across the road reading: “The real, real one and only Abu Shukri”. This continued for years until the advent of food corporations selling pre-packed hummus in supermarkets forced an end to the Abu Shukri conflict.

Hummus, believe it or not, is quite easy to make. It does however take some time. What follows is a simple recipe for basic hummus:

Ingredients:

250g dried chickpeas

1 tsp carbonate of soda

270g Tahini paste

juice of one lemon

6 garlic cloves

125ml ice cold water

salt

Start the night before by washing chickpeas and place in a large bowl. Cover with twice as much water and leave to soak overnight.Image

Drain chickpeas and place in a medium saucepan on a high heat with bicarbonate of soda. Cook for 5 mins, stirring constantly. Add 1.5 litres of fresh water and cook until chickpeas are tender and can be broken easily between your thumb and forefinger. (40-50 mins)Image

Drain chickpeas and place in food processor bowl.Image

Process until a paste. I used a hand blender but if you have a food processor than that is better!

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With machine running add Tahini, lemon juice, garlic and 1 1/2 tsp salt.
Slowly drizzle in iced water while mixing for 5 mins.

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Transfer into a bowl, cover and put in fridge for at least 50 mins. When set, sprinkle with paprika and a good glug of olive oil. Serve with toasted pita bread.

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and enjoy!!!

Shalom 😃

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My family.

I started playing the guitar when I was 16. I had been a strict rap fan up until then. In fact, I even had a pair of white Wu-Tang Clan trousers that I used to wear….in public!! Sadly I cant find a picture of these pants but needless to say, I was one of the reasons why rap became “uncool”. So one day the inner rock n roller in me couldnt take any more. He burst out of my FUBU jersey and said: “Listen, you are either gonna have to start stocking up on fake tan if you want this to work or move on to something more suitable”. (I must add that Eminem had only just come on the scene at this stage so the closest thing to a credible white rapper was Vaniila Ice. Enough said)

So, inspired by my father, I decided to pick up a guitar. On my 16th birthday I made a deal, I would pay for half of the guitar if my parents would pay for the other half. So that was it. I had got myself a guitar. A DeArmomnde Starfire, an absolutely lovely guitar. That I couldnt play. Oh.

Not one to be interested in being taught anything (I hated school…ironic), I decided that the best thing to do would be to teach myself. I played every single day for that whole year. Not one day did I not pick up the guitar and play. And hey presto…it paid off. Self taught, I could now play the guitar!

I started playing in bands when I was 17. The first was Beautiful Blonde Pineapple. We used to practise in the mens changing rooms of the local sailing club. No joke. Many a hairy bum did I see while I was learning my trade. But it was free so hey! I have kept at it and still play, now in a band called Pharaoh Trade. We have a t-shirt on Fair City that gets worn every now and again for some reason that I am not quite sure of! But there’s no such thing as bad publicity!

Anyway…the point of this blog post was to introduce you (who?) to my family. Not my actual family of course. That would be boring. But to my guitar family. Over the years I have amassed a bit of a collection. 10 at the moment, including one thats homemade. Why so many? Because, you can never have enough children!! Unless if you are using them for benefit fraud of course. Sadly I got rid of the DeArmonde about 2 years ago. I regret it but we had some great times together. And you never know…I might just be reunited with Betsy again sometime!

So….here they are. In picture form. My family. I love them. and I love you.guitars 001 guitars 002guitars 003 guitars 004 guitars 005 guitars 006 guitars 007 guitars 008 guitars 009 guitars 010

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