Classic Hummus

I've been wanting to do a post on hummus for a long time now, but whenever I would make it I never ended up taking any pictures. Well, recently I decided that enough was enough, it was time for hummus pics. So here you are, my favorite, go-to hummus recipe from my favorite cookbook author and chef, Yotam Ottolenghi. To be honest, this is the only hummus recipe I've ever made, but I love it so much that I've never felt the need to search for another. It turns out super creamy, lemony hummus, full of garlic and tahini.

Homemade hummus is so incredibly good, and really quite easy. You will never want to go back to the watery, flavorless store-bought hummus again once you've tried making it yourself (even though, if in a pinch, the store-bought version makes an appearance, don't worry, I understand, sometimes convenience trumps all!). But seriously, this stuff is so good. If you've never tried making hummus before you really should give it a shot. Pull out that food processor and grab a bag of dried chickpeas and get going!

This recipe comes from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi which I've talked about before, so I won't wax poetic about this wonderful book again. The original recipe makes a massive batch of hummus, way more than I ever need for myself, so I usually halve it. You'll see the halved recipe below, so go ahead and double it if you need a big batch, just be sure you're food processor is big enough. As written below, the recipe makes approximately 2 1/4 - 2 1/2 cups of hummus in the end, so still a nice amount of hummus. 

Making hummus is really a simple process. You do have to think ahead in order to have time to soak and cook the chickpeas, but once that is done, the food processor takes care of all the hard work. And while I know you can make hummus with canned chickpeas, I highly recommend dried. They taste so much better, are not really any more work, and are cheaper, win-win! 


Classic Hummus
Adapted from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (125 grams) dried chickpeas
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 1/4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (135 grams) tahini
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (do not use bottled lemon juice)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons ice-cold water
  • salt

The night before making the hummus, put the chickpeas in a medium-to-large saucepan and cover them with cold water at least twice their volume. Leave to soak overnight.

The next day, drain the chickpeas and return to the saucepan. Place the saucepan over high heat and add the baking soda. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cook, scimming off any foam and any skins that float to the surface. The chickpeas will need to cook between 20 and 40 minutes, depending on how fresh they are, sometimes even longer. Once done, they should be very tender, breaking up easily when pressed between your thumb and finger, almost but not quite mushy. 

Drain the chickpeas. You should have roughly 1 3/4 cup (300 grams) now. Place the chickpeas in a food processor and process until you get a stiff paste. Then, with the machine still running, add the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Finally, slowly drizzle in the iced water and allow it to mix for about 5 minutes, until you get a very smooth and creamy paste. 

Transfer hummus (which will be quite warm at this point) to a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. If not using right away, refrigerate until needed. Make sure to take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving. 

Roasted Chicken with Clementines and Fennel

For Easter last week, my sister Lara and I decided to break from tradition and try something new. Instead of serving ham or lamb with potatoes and a basic vegetable, we chose to go with an Israeli inspired feast. I mentioned previously that this past Christmas my sister-in-law gave me the cookbook Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. Now that I've made a handful of recipes from this book I can say with confidence that it is a great cookbook, I love it. Everything I've made has been absolutely fantastic. 

We decided on the recipe for Roasted Chicken with Clementines and Arak for our main dish. The photo in the cookbook was mouth watering, and the ingredients didn't look too exotic so I thought it wouldn't be too scary for the less adventurous eaters in my family.  The end result was outstanding, the flavors of fennel and clementine shined through in perfect balance in this beautiful and colorful dish. 

This recipe really couldn't be simpler. Mix together a few simple ingredients and let marinate in the fridge overnight. The next day the work is minimal. Just throw it all in a big roasting pan and stick it in the oven. That's it. So easy and so good. 

Once it comes out of the oven pour all the cooking liquid into a pan and reduce to make a nice flavorful sauce. Pour it over the cooked chicken and serve! You won't be disappointed. 

And here's the entire feast. I thought it was an absolutely fantastic meal. Along with the chicken the rest of the menu included: 

Fresh homemade pita
Homemade hummus
Spinach salad with prunes and almonds
Yogurt pasta salad with basil, pine nuts and feta
Simple rice pilaf
Clementine and almond syrup cake

Roasted Chicken with Clementines and Fennel
Slightly adapted from Jerusalem by Yottam Ottolenchi and Sami Tamimi

  • 6 1/2 tablespoons dry white wine (or Arak, Ouzo or Pernod if you have it, I didn't)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons grainy mustard
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar or honey
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, cut into chunks
  • 1 or 2 medium onions cut into chunks
  • 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (I used thighs and legs)
  • 4 clementines (14 oz), unpeeled, sliced thin
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • 1-2 teaspoons fennel seeds, lightly crushed 
  • Chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the wine, olive oil, orange juice, lemon juice mustard, sugar, salt and pepper. Add the fennel, onion, chicken, clementines, thyme and fennel seeds. Stir well with your hands, then leave to marinate in the fridge for a few hours or overnight (you can also skip the marinating step if you are pressed for time).

When ready to roast, preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Transfer the chicken and its marinade to a baking sheet large enough to accommodate everything in a single layer. Place the chicken skin side up. Roast the chicken for 35 to 45 minutes, until colored and cooked through. 

Life the chicken, fennel and clementines from the pan and arrange on a serving plate; cover and keep warm. Pour the cooking liquid into a small saucepan, place over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, then simmer until the sauce is reduced by one third, so you are left with about 1/3 cup. Pour the hot sauce over the chicken, garnish with parsley and serve. 

Meatballs with Edamame and Lemon

Going to the library is one of my all time favorite things to do. I love to read, and am in the middle of some novel or memoir at all times. When arriving at the library, I have a pretty set routine; I start by heading over to the new books section to check out what new fiction has come in since my last visit, then I shift over to the non-fiction, usually looking for a memoir that might catch my eye, and last but not least I check out the new cookbooks to see if I can be inspired by something new.

A few weeks ago I picked up a new cookbook called Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, it was just too pretty to ignore. I'll admit, I'm usually more drawn to the baking cookbooks, but for whatever reason this one intrigued me and I started flipping through it. It's a beautiful cookbook filled with mouthwatering recipes from the authors' hometown of Jerusalem. I decided I had to take it home with me in order to try something I had never had before.

It took me a while to decide which fabulous looking recipe to try, but I finally settled on this meatball recipe. It sounded hearty and fresh and perfect for a spring dinner. To make a long story short, it turned out fantastically, absolutely delicious and filled with new and intriguing flavor combinations. It was the perfect choice, and made me want to make everything else in the book too.

I only got a couple of so-so pictures of the final dish, but I think you can at least get some idea of how it turned out. It may just look like a pot of meatballs, but the textures and flavors were so new to me and made my tastebuds sing. The only real changes I made were substituting edamame for the fava beans. I searched the grocery store long and hard for fava beans and couldn't find a one, fresh or frozen. I settled for a bag of frozen edamame which I unshelled before using. It seemed to be a very good substitute, even thought I have no real idea of what fava beans are like.

I also had to make my own baharat spice blend since my grocery store doesn't carry that, and the recipe in the book was too intense for my spice cupboard, using whole cinnamon sticks and cumin and coriander seeds, stuff I don't have. Googling 'baharat spice blend' gave me many options which I tweaked to work for me. The resulting mixture is below. It seemed to work well, even though I'm sure using the recipe in the book would have been even more flavorful.

Other than that I followed the recipe to a T and ended up with a restaurant quality meal if I do say so myself. The recipe does have a long list of ingredients, and it did take me quite a while to put together but I think it was totally worth it. So if you are feeling like tackling something a little different, and are willing to spend some time on it, I suggest trying out this simply delicious recipe ASAP.

Meatballs with Edamame and Lemon

Slightly adapted from


by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi


  • 4 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 1/3 cups (350 grams) edamame beans (or fava beans, if you can get them, fresh or frozen)
  • 4 whole thyme sprigs
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 8 green onions, cut at an angel into 3/4 inch segments
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons each chopped flat leaf parsley, mint, dill, and cilantro, to finish


  • 10 ounces ground beef
  • 5 ounces ground lamb
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • scant 1 cup/120 grams bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons each chopped flat leaf parsley, mint, dill, and cilantro
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 teaspoons baharat spice mix (bought, or see recipe below)
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons capers, chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten


Place all of the meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Add 3/4 teaspoons salt and plenty of pepper and mix well with your hands. Form the mixture into meatballs approximately the size of a ping pong ball. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat in a large pan for which you have a lid (I used my Dutch oven). Sear half of the meatballs until brown all over, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan, add an additional 1 1/2 teaspoons of oil and brown the remaining meatballs. Remove from pan and wipe clean.

(If using fresh fava beans, throw them into a pot of salted, boiling water and blanch for 2 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold water. Remove the skins from half of the fava beans and discard)

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil over medium heat in the same pan as before. Add the thyme, garlic and green onion and sauté for 3 minutes. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1/3 cup of stock, 1/4 teaspoon salt, plenty of black pepper and the edamame beans (or the


 fava beans, if using). The beans should be almost covered with liquid. COver the pan and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.

Return meatballs to pan. Add the remaining stock, cover the pan and simmer gently for 25 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. If still quite runny, remove lid and reduce a little. The meatballs will absorb a lot of juice, so make sure there is still plenty of sauce. (At this point you can remove the meatballs from the heat and hold until ready to serve. When ready to serve, add a little water, if necessary, to get enough sauce, and continue as below.)

Just before serving, add the remaining herbs, the remaining 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (and the peeled fava beans, if using) and stir gently. Serve immediately.

Baharat Spice Blend


  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon coriander
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom 
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon paprika


Blend all spices together in a small bowl, then use in your favorites dishes.