It’s amazing to me that I haven’t mentioned her before, but I have a bit of an obsession with a certain very beautiful British chef: Nigella Lawson.
There are many reasons why I love her. I discovered her TV show “Nigella Express” about a year ago, and was completely taken with it. Her recipes are simple, she’s very entertaining, informal and personal, and most of all, her cooking show wasn’t filmed like most – it’s filmed almost like a soap opera or film or something. You have to see it to understand. Anyway, her show is much more than just a camera on a tripod across from a stove.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQejeG2yUJQ]
She’s become my very favourite celebrity cook. The funny part is that she has no formal culinary training at all. She started out as a journalist and editor (like me!), and then went into broadcast journalism, and eventually became a food critic. Thus evolved her cookbooks and cooking show. She’s a huge hit in England, where she lives, mostly because she’s stunning, curvaceous, and practical.
Nigella clearly loves food. It’s obvious from the way she describes it… she uses works like “luscious” and “passionate” to describe foods and colours. Sounds weird, (and she often makes me giggle) but she’s just being her unique self. She’s completely unorthodox (also like me!) and hardly ever measures. She’s also always eating her creations, and never mentions “low fat” or “diet” or anything like that. She’s also made public statements about being perfectly comfortable in her curvy body – probably another reason why she’s so popular. (But really… I think she’s absolutely perfect just the way she is.)
I have two of her cookbooks, “Nigella Express” and “Nigella Bites.” I like the first one better (a Christmas gift from my cousin) as the pictures and recipes are more intelligently laid out and are – hence the word “express” – quicker to make. Some of my favourite recipes come from her books… they’re so different and creative.
Anyway, enough about how wonderful she is…. on to the recipe.
I think this is the first thing I made when I got my hands on “Nigella Express”: Pea & Avocado Hummus. It is absolutely divine. I am addicted to avocados (understandable considering I work in a Mexican restaurant) and I add them t everything. It seems Nigella feels the same way! This hummus – or dip – is so easy and simple it’s not even funny.
It’s my super-simple snack to take to parties, potlucks, or whatever. It’s a fantastic appetizer and a healthy dip. It doesn’t contain chickpeas (weird, I know) and everyone goes nuts over it. Here’s the recipe:
Pea & Avocado Hummus
1 ripe avocado
1 can peas, drained (not sweet)
2 tbsps lime juice
Salt and pepper, to taste (go easy with this)
1 clove garlic, minced
Throw everything into a food processor and blend until smooth. That’s it.
No, seriously… THAT’S IT.
Ok, so there are a few tricks. Don’t use a tiny avocado (the bigger the better, I’d say), and make sure it’s perfectly ripe. Here are some little hints for avocados:
- They are ripe when soft (and normally they’re black by this point too).
- But not too soft… if they’re too soft, the insides turn brown, meaning it’s gone bad.
- Cut it in half, going around the pit, and pull the two halves apart. Take out the pit and spoon/scrape out the green flesh from its skin.
- To stop them from going bad (because they really only have a window of 24 hours when they’re ripe), put them in the fridge.
I took this dip to a housewarming party over the long weekend, and it was a hit (besides the fact that no one believed I made it… they insisted it must be store-bought. How kind!) and our amazing friends all know about my blog… so the hostess with the mostess re-vamped the dip’s presentation and got all the girls to gather around and dig in. The results? Priceless.
Good food, good times, great friends. Thanks, Nigella!