Paprika, pomegranate and lemon juice hummus

"But what do you do for protein?"

I've never made hummus before. It might sound ridiculous considering I eat chickpeas nearly every day now, but I always thought it was slightly more complicated than it was, a little bit trickier, a bit more expensive. In actual fact all you need is a reliable hand blender (no explosions please), some chickpeas, a bit of tahini, and anything else you want to flavour it with.

Naturally, I went a bit overboard for my first attempt, so added pomegranate seeds, paprika, pomegranate molasses, coriander and lemon to mine, but it might be better to focus on just one of those flavours. This batch of hummus lasted precisely 2 hours in my flat, so I guess the proof was in the total lack of leftovers!

Makes enough for 4
2 tins chickpeas, drained
2 garlic cloves, chopped small (if using a hand blender, or just crushed if using a larger blender as this will be able to handle the harder work)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 pinch of salt
1 large tbsp tahini paste
2 tbsp water
Juice 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp paprika
Seeds of half a pomegranate
Handful of chopped coriander

Pour the majority of the chickpeas into a mixing bowl, holding back a small handful or so for serving. Add the garlic, cumin, salt, tahini, water, lemon juice, olive oil and paprika, and mix with a spoon just to get the liquid stirred in, before mixing with a hand blender.

Add more lemon juice, salt, olive oil, to taste, and then stir in a few pomegranate seeds to flavour the hummus. It should be a firm mixture, but looser than a paste.

To serve, top off with the rest of the pomegranate seeds, whole chickpeas, pomegranate molasses, coriander and a little more lemon juice.

And now for a bit of an apology for my absence:

What do I do for protein? I find it one of the strangest questions anyone can ask once you've told them you're vegan. There's a lot  more questions I'd expect- and yet 80% of the time, it comes back to this strange, peculiar obsession with protein.

Obviously, I know why people are concerned about protein- in general. I get that. I don't understand when they can hold a conversation with me and I am alive etc, why they would ask it, apart from the fact that it must be a total knee-jerk reaction, and maybe they just don't care about anything beneath asking a question back to a reply they didn't expect. Who knows. In any case, my inability to give that question a proper answer recently led to a mini hiatus from food blogging. I found myself with nothing to say apart from "Well, I eat chickpeas, everyday." Which is the truth, but it felt pretty limp in reply, especially after being told by someone I met 40 minutes beforehand that I was "unhealthy" and "selfish" for being vegan.

I didn't know how to reply, because I made a decision around a year ago not to be someone that reels off statistics when people start cross examining a vegan diet. I think if people haven't looked for those figures themselves, they become very easy to block out. I managed to do it for 22 years. In my month away from Guac and Roll I wanted to do more research, question whether writing a food blog was really the best way to start a conversation on veganism. I read a lot more studies, watched more documentaries (we need to talk about sugar, btw) but in the end, I came around full circle: I love sharing the recipes I've discovered, talking about them with friends in the park, researching where those recipes come from and adapting them to suit a vegan or vegan and gluten free diet.

There are plenty of vegan diets that are unhealthy, just as there are many, many, omnivorous diets that are also pretty unhealthy. Guac and Roll isn't ever going to be a call to arms, but hopefully something a lot more subtle.