Last week we celebrated Esther’s 14th birthday. Which means that somehow, inexplicably and in a blink of an eye, our sweet baby with head full of hair, turned into an independent half-way grown-up human.
The picture on the right was taken on her actual birthday during her horse riding lesson. Since horse riding is what she enjoys the most, it was fitting for her to spend her birthday riding an Icelandic pony.
I have no elaborate cake recipe to share though, because when I asked her what she wanted, Esther said that more than any cake she likes the toffee brownies, so that what she got. But I wanted to tell you about her birthday present: apart from about 10 new books of young adult fiction (she sent me a very long wish list) I gave her a “Grown to Cook 2013” cookbook. It’s a tradition I started last year when I collected all the recipes and stories I published on this site in 2012, turned them into a photo book and gave a copy to both my children. Esther is already using hers when she wants to bake or cook and Sebastiaan occasionally looks up his favorites and asks me to make them again.
I think of the books as family heirloom, a piece of family history and (food) traditions bundled in a neat volume that my children can carry with them wherever life will take them. Hopefully the books will be much used in years to come. They are also the reason I often think of my children when deciding which recipes to write about. This chickpea yogurt dip for example is one Sebastiaans favorites, but it’s a recipe created spontaneously, by adding this and that in intuitive quantities until the mix tasted right. I never wrote it down and sort of had to reinvent it over and over. But since I know how helpful it is to be given a list of ingredients in specific quantities when you want to recreate someone’s dish, the last time I actually measured and recorded what I was doing – for Seabstiaan, but hopefully for you to try also.
This dip is sort of a lighter, tangier version of humus enriched with middle eastern flavors: ground cumin, dried mint and sumac (a recent favorite that I buy in the Turkish supermarket in our neighborhood). The dip is obviously great for parties, but frankly, we often have it for dinner. The recipe makes quite a big batch, but the leftovers can be kept refrigerated for a couple of days and are also nice smeared on toast.
Chickpea yogurt dip
450 g (3 cups) cooked chickpeas
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
4 tbsp tahini paste (I prefer dark)
180 ml (¾ cup) whole milk yogurt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp dried mint
2 tsp sumac + a bit more to serve
broccoli or cauliflower florets
Put the chickpeas in the food processor bowl. Process until they’re mashed up, then add the rest of the ingredients. Process again, until smooth. Taste and see if you want to add more yogurt. Season with salt. Transfer into a bowl and finish with a bit of sumac. Serve with an assortment of fresh vegetables and tortilla chips.