Phil Vickery's hummus masterclass

Two helpings of Phil Vickery today. First up, how to perfect the must-have picnic accompaniment, hummus. 

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

350g dried chickpeas

4 tsp baking soda

4-6 tbsp tahini

6 garlic cloves, finely pasted

dash olive oil

Salt and pepper

juice of 1 large lemon

Optional serving suggestions

Chopped parsley or coriander 

Chopped spring onions

Chopped green chillies

Thick yoghurt

Method

1. The day before you want to make the hummus, wash the chickpeas, then place in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Add 2 tsp baking soda, mix well and leave in the fridge overnight.

2. The next day, rinse the chickpeas well and place into a pan. Add the remaining 2 tsp baking soda, mix well and cover with water by 2-3cm

3. Bring to the boil on the hob and skim the surface well. Reduce the heat then simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the chickpeas are cooked - they should be soft but not falling apart

4. When cooked, drain well and keep the cooking liquor

5. Place the tahini, ¾ of the cooked chickpeas, the garlic and a splash of olive into a food processor and blitz on full speed for 2 minutes - you may need to add a little of the reserved cooking liquor to loosen the mix slightly

6. Spoon into a bowl, add salt, pepper and lemon juice and mix well - taste and adjust if needed. This is all about personal taste, I like lots of garlic and tahini

7. Serve warm with a swirl of extra (room temperature) tahini, and a few of the whole chickpeas

8. I also like to sprinkle over lots of chopped fresh parsley or coriander, or even chopped spring onions and a few slices of green chilli. Sometimes a little thick yogurt is also a nice addition.

Beetroot & Coriander Version

Add 200g chopped cooked beets, gently stir through to give a ripple ‘effect’ then top with chopped fresh coriander.

Roasted Pepper Version

Gently cook 1 red, green and yellow pepper with a small onion, then stir through the basic recipe. Top with fresh chopped parsley.