Black Bean Hummus (tahini-free)

black bean hummus

One day I ran out chickpeas (garbanzo beans) when I wanted to make hummus, so used black beans instead. I’ve not gone back since!

I’m normally a stickler when it comes to names of foods, that is, their name normally defines what they are made from, for example, hummus is traditionally made from chickpeas, and any other similar spread is not hummus. So, hummus SHOULD be made with chickpeas, carpaccio should be thinly sliced raw meat or fish, not vegetables, pesto should be made with basil not coriander (cilantro) etc etc. You get my gist… So, to be politically correct, I could call this black bean spread/dip, Continue reading

Simple Strawberry Jam

So I… sorry, we finally did it. What? Made strawberry jam. It’s been something I’ve always wanted to make, and now we have! We’ve made strawberry jam three times, and since jam moves so fast in my house, it’s not as if it will go to waste.

Initially it was Hang, who got me into making jam. She advised me that it was easy and very simple. However, I think I must have written down the instructions wrong or something, because she said it would only take 15 minutes. Ours was bubbling away for about an hour. Had we put it on low, we’d been there a day later! We were so bored of stirring and waiting, Continue reading

Perfect Guacamole

I hate to say it, but I never tasted guacamole until I moved to the US. I used to eat avocados in the UK, but I never had guacamole. I can’t even remember when it was the first time I tried it. A few times after that, I used to purchase the guacamole kits from Trader Joes, which included a plum (roma) tomato, two avacodos, cloves of garlic, jalapeno pepper, shallot and a lime. I used to just pop everything into a food processor, season with salt and pepper and jobs-a-good-un.

That was until I made it very recently. My food processor had packed up, and my new one was on the way to me. I know you can make chunky guacamole, but I’d never tried it. I thought Continue reading

Raw Pumpkin Seed Butter


I’m pretty new to nut and seed butters available in the US. Until a couple of years ago, I’d only tried peanut butter – the others simply weren’t available in the UK.

I’ve now made my own peanut, cashew, almond and coconut butter. I wanted to sample sunbutter (from sunflower seeds) and cheated, by buying it from PCC at $6.99 for an organic jar. It just reminds me not to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach! When I do, I can easily add $40 onto my bill! Anyhow, when I got home, I ripped the jar open and Continue reading

Bean-Free Sun-Dried Tomato “Hummus”


A hummus with no beans I hear you cry. Am I mad? Probably – but I’m not mad for making this no-bean hummus. If you try it, I promise I won’t call you mad – just let me know how much you enjoyed it. 

It’s smooth, slightly sweet and garlicky, yet being light and fresh at the same time. I had to stop myself eating the whole batch with carrot sticks when I whipped up this batch! Hmm… I wonder what’s going to feature in J’s packed lunch tomorrow… Continue reading

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus


Something wonderful happens when you add roasted red peppers to a plain hummus recipe. It’s slightly sweeter and has a different dimension to it altogether – truly delectable. Although I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen a roasted red pepper hummus in the Mediterranean. 

It goes well in sandwiches as a Continue reading

Dark Chocolate & Roasted Hazelnut Spread


We used to love Nutella. So much so, that one Christmas, my brother-in-law bought us a humungous jar (3 kg, 6.6 lb) from Luxembourg. Let’s say that jar didn’t last very long!

When we relocated, we ceased to consume it. The Nutella available in the Americas contain modified palm oil, whereas the European variant contains vegetable oil. I would have liked to say that the European stuff is better, but sadly, it’s not. I was blissfully ignorant of the ingredients at the time. Continue reading

Coconut Butter


Coconuts and coconut oil have had their fair share of bad press in the last few decades. It’s still a common misconception that the saturated fat in coconut oil raises cholesterol.

There are no scientific studies which have been published, that indicate the consumption of coconut oil increases blood cholesterol or leads to heart disease. There have however, been numerous reports [1-6] that have shown that coconut oil cannot be held responsible for the development of coronary heart disease. Other studies have pin-pointed populations that regularly consume coconuts, such as Polynesia and Sri Lanka and show that “dietary coconut oil does not lead to high serum cholesterol nor to high coronary heart disease mortality or morbidity” [7-9]. Continue reading

Tuna Paste


Tuna paste really doesn’t have a romantic ring to it, does it? I guess I could call it tuna spread, but it’ll always be tuna paste to me.

I have fond memories of when this tuna spread and I were first introduced. J and I were enjoying a wonderful vacation in Southern Portugal, when we decided to pop into a Brazilian restaurant for dinner. Don’t ask me why we wanted to eat at a Brazilian restaurant when we’re in the Algarve, but I blame it to the fact we had been there 2+ weeks and had gotten a little bored of the local fare.  Continue reading

Olive Tapenade


Olives are like Marmite – you either love ‘em or you hate ‘em. In my earlier years, I was a little tentative in trying new foods. Growing up in a family that had sit-down traditional Chinese meals every dinner, olives were one of those “new” foods. It was only when I met J, did I start being more adventurous. 

I absolutely adore the well-ripened black olives, but don’t really care for the unripe green ones. I particularly like the ones that aren’t salted. It’s something about their delicious richness when you bite into their flesh, releasing all their oily goodness. Continue reading