By Jo Cooksey
Recently I received a parcel containing some of my favourite food, namely hummus. Not your everyday beige stuff but an array of colourful, tasty flavours.
Sustainable, Healthy Products
For those that aren’t familiar with hummus, it comes from the Arabic word for chickpea. However, its origins are lost in the mists of time and several Middle Eastern countries claim to have invented it. Generally, it is a dip made from crushed chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice and tahini, a paste of sesame seeds. It is often garnished with a good glug of olive oil and a sprinkling of parsley and/or paprika. The texture ranges from quite course to silky smooth. For me, I prefer something in the middle.
The package came from ChicP, a company dedicated to saving surplus, perfectly edible veggies from going to waste. Founded and run by chef, Hannah McCollum, who wanted to jazz up what can sometimes be a bland product. She combined her experience and creativity in the kitchen with a wide selection of colourful, healthy veggie products for you to enjoy at home.
The ethos behind the brand is to be part of the drive to get people thinking differently about what and how they eat. ChicP supports British farmers, taking wonky fruit and veg and turning them into delicious dips. These ingredients are kept raw to retain all their goodness and the hummus they are made into is high in protein but also gluten, dairy and sugar free. But be assured the finished articles are very tasty and totally moreish.
ChicP has featured on Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and are committed to teach nursery and primary school age children how to eat sustainable, healthy, delicious food while reducing waste.
A Rainbow of Flavours
The ChicP hummus flavours range from Raw Carrot, Ginger & Turmeric to Chilli Pumpkin. My favourite is the Beetroot & Horseradish hummus. Utter bliss. We also got to try the brand-new Sweet Potato & Rosemary. Delicious. For those of you that love that certain nutty chocolate spread, ChicP also do a no-added sugar, Banana & Chocolate choc’ummus. Excellent to smother on your toast, pancakes or in your Instagrammable buddha bowl. It is also worth noting that the hummus is produced in a BRC High Care facility, which is nut free.
The range now has the addition of three veggie bites. These delicious, healthy falafel type balls are packed with veg and aromatic flavours. Perfect for dunking into the ChicP hummus. As they are high in protein and fibre and without any nasty additives, your gut will love them too. Even better the Sweet Potato & Rosemary version is gluten free too. We tried the Beetroot & Apple variety; I did tell them I’m a bit of a beetroot fiend and they were gorgeous.
My first encounter with authentic hummus was in Israel in the early 80’s and it has become one of my ‘Food Is Life’ moments. I worked for a scuba diving holiday company and was driving from Eilat back to Tel Aviv, with my boss, to catch our flight home. It was evening time, the sun was rapidly setting and we were travelling through the Negev desert, near the Dead Sea. Amanda asked if I was hungry and I said, “Starving.” Suddenly, she pulled off the road and stopped outside a shack. Apparently, this family home also doubled as a roadside café. There were a couple of large floor cushions on the ground outside the hut and Amanda suggested I take a seat. They obviously didn’t get many visitors. She went inside and came back with a couple of cans of Fanta, closely followed by a lady bearing a large tray, which she set down on the ground in front of us. On it was a large bowl of hummus, glistening with olive oil, some hot flatbreads and a handful of little cheese pastries. It was the most glorious, simple meal, which we ate while looking at the most incredible night sky. Millions and millions of stars shining and twinkling just for us. It was one of those once in a lifetime experiences.
Where Can I Buy It?