Who would have thought that I would be willingly eating chickpeas?

I am not a good eater.

No, that’s not right. I am good at eating. I am a seventh-level, buckled on the final hole, black belt at eating.

What I’m not good at is eating things that are good for me. I’m better than I used to be, but I’m heavier than I’ve ever been and that’s no good for my health or my self image.

So, I’m reluctantly trying to improve my eating habits. Don’t worry, this blog won’t descend into a diary of my chocolate cravings, but I do want to share good recipes.

This Christmas I was given several cookery books and today I decided to make a few recipes. First up, from Nigella Lawson’s Simply Nigella,  her sweet potato and chickpea dip.

I like to snack in front of the tv, so I thought I’d try and add another dip to my ‘salsa from a jar with added lime juice’ staple. The downside to this is that it takes a while to make, but Nigella does say that you can roast the potatoes and garlic in advance and refrigerate them for when you need them.

To serve 10-12 as a dip, or one greedy person in front of a Criminal Minds marathon you will need:

750 g sweet potatoes

1 bulb of garlic, whole and unpeeled

2 limes

2 tsps of sea salt flakes

1/2 teaspoon of paprika

225g cooked and drained chickpeas or one 400g can, drained

4cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

2 tbsp pomegranate seeds

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C and prick the skins of the sweet potatoes. Roast the potatoes for about an hour until the insides are soft – larger potatoes may need longer.

At the same time as the potatoes, you can roast the garlic. Cut the stalk end off the garlic so that the tops of the cloves are exposed. Wrap the bulb in foil loosely, sealing the top to make a little parcel.

Cook’s note – Don’t mix up the stalk and the root of the garlic, like I did the first time. That’s really dumb. The garlic cloves fall apart and you feel like an idiot. 

Let the garlic and the sweet potato  cool.

Cook’s note – Unless you have asbestos fingers, do let them cool properly. 

When you’re ready to make the dip, peel the skin of the sweet potatoes away and scoop the flesh into a bowl. Squeeze the cloves of garlic into the bowl too.

Cook’s note – You can grab the root of the garlic bulb and squeeze most of the softened roast garlic out in one go. It was like squeezing a giant spot, simultaneously disgusting and immensely gratifying. I strongly recommend everybody to try this at least once. 

Add the zest of both limes and the juice of one, along with the paprika, salt, chickpeas and ginger. You can use a stick blender or a food processor to make your dip.

Cook’s note – I used frozen ginger and blasted it in the microwave for a minute to defrost it. Ever tried to peel and grate ginger? No thank you, sunshine. I bought my frozen ginger in Asda and thoroughly recommend having it in the freezer, alongside frozen chilli, garlic and other herbs/spices. 

Nigella then sprinkles pomegranate seeds over her dip, although I didn’t because I didn’t fancy trying to eviscerate a pomegranate. When I pass a supermarket next I’ll get a pack of ready-evicted seeds and see if it makes a difference.

The lime and ginger are really important in this dip, as neither chickpeas or sweet potatoes have a particularly strong taste. I dislike hummus because of the texture of the chickpeas used to make it, so I wasn’t sure I’d like this. However, I could only find a little can of chickpeas at the supermarket so I didn’t have as many as specified in the recipe. As such, the texture was fine to me.

This would be even healthier if I used vegetable crudites to eat it with. However, I am yet to hit that peak of virtuous behaviour and I used a slightly stale pack of tortilla chips instead.

I liked this dip so much I’m considering using it as a side for meals, served warm instead of cool.

sweet potato.png

This is the picture that accompanies the recipe in her book. Mine wasn’t far off this – the texture looks to be a little different, but perhaps that’s because of my aversion to the full amount of chickpeas.

This made enough for two large servings for one, suitable for dipping into as you watch TV. It can be stored in a covered container for up to two days from making.