The first time I think I ever ate chickpeas or anything made from them was when I was visiting a friend in London and she took me to a Jewish café cum snack bar. I didn’t know at the time what I had but I knew it was delicious! It was a sort of vegeburger, a meatless rissole, and it must have been made from chickpeas. It was dribbled over with a thin creamy sauce, very garlicky, very yummy and that must have been a dilute sort of tahini. Living in Weston-super-Mare at that time was like living in the back of beyond, and as I had no clear idea what exactly I’d eaten and enjoyed so much, I didn’t come across anything similar for many years until I was living in Manchester.

I love chickpeas – I love them hot, cold, on their own with a dressing, in with other things – meat or veggie, made into things… I just like them… But as usual, disaster is only ever a burnt saucepan away from me, and especially since I’ve been writing full-time, I’m forever forgetting what I have simmering on the stove… Just yesterday I had to scrub a blackened pan, having prised off the burnt chickpea skeletons. I saved some of them, put them in a dish, forgot them and had to throw them away as some had returned to their dried state and some had become slimy, and some were sprouting interesting moulds…

Maybe I should give up and just by tinned chickpeas…  I must have eaten chickpea soup when I was in Greece, and how delicious it must have been… If I make some (taking care not to burn the chickpeas) will it taste the same eaten under a watery Somerset sun, not far from the clean but muddy sea? maybe… I’ll try… and here is the recipe I am going to try – looks so simple… might it need a dash of chilli? Just about everything does:


  • 1 lb chickpeas (unsoaked)
  • 3-4 small onions chopped as chunkily or as finely as you want
  • ¾ cup really good olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • bay leaf and oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. soak the chickpeas in warm water
  2. the next day, drain, rinse, and cook in boiling water, skimming off any scum
  4. add the onions and leave to simmer for a couple of hours, adding more water if necessary
  6. add the herbs and lemon juice and cook for a little longer
  7. stir in the olive oil
  8. season and serve (if you like it a little thicker you can use cornflour, or a flour and water paste once everything is cooked)







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