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The end of chard, the beginning of granita, and a new discovery in hummus

The nightmare of the last few weeks of exams is finally over! I'm so relieved. One of the things that I've been most looking forward to is spending a bit more time in the kitchen.

With so many hours in my days being spent hunched over books recently, all food has been functional. Once I was freed from the shackles of study, I decided to make something that took hours - literally.

Making granita is no small task. While whipping up the ingredients doesn't take too long, once it's in the freezer, that's when the hard work begins. You have to get it out of the deep freeze every 20 minutes or so and break up the ice crystals that form. According to one recipe, you have to do this for about six hours, but I got bored and stopped after a couple. The texture wasn't perfect, but it was a lovely frosty dessert nonetheless, and I got four hours of free time back - score!

The granita I made was a mix of peach and basil. I bought a cheap bag of doughnut peaches from the local market and they were insanely good - so perfumed and full of flavour, just like peaches should be.

Here's the recipe I used, and here's the result:

Because Mr Flicking the Vs is a good sort, and knows I am a creature of simple tastes, he knew the best way to keep my motivation up during the hard slog of study was to bring cake.

On one particularly stressful day which I furrowed my brows over the cause of learning, he slipped out and returned with two different types of wonderful vegan cake and vegan beer to boots. Here's one from the wonderful Cookies and Scream:

In Cookies and Scream's defence, this was originally far larger, I just ate a massive chunk of it before I remembered to take a picture. It was a plum and almond beauty and gluten free too. It tasted pretty much like the best Bakewell tart I could imagine.

If I go quiet next week, I'm on holiday, so will hopefully return with lots of tales of vegan eating from a new land. With the weather so good over here, I decided to sacrifice the chard I've been growing on my windowsill because I didn't think it would survive during my absence.

Here's a few handfuls of my window crop:

OK, I'm not exactly self sufficient, but it's nice to grow your own veggies, even in a small first floor flat! (The basil in the granita came from my homegrown efforts too!)

In a pre-holiday fridge clearout, I fried off the chard with some spring greens and asparagus, added some nooched-up white sauce and breadcrumbs, and had me a gratin for dinner. No pic of that, but here it is in its formative stages:

 Awesome colours!

Another new discovery for me is this bad ass hummus. Get ready for the picture, and don't think I've lost my marbles when you check it out:

OK, it looks like any normal hummus, but it's subtly different. The rest of the ingredients are what you'd normally find in hummus - lemon juice, garlic, tahini etc- but instead of chickpeas, the main event is yellow beetroot. Using this lovely root makes the hummus far sweeter than the usual, so you might need to step up the lemon juice to counteract it, but other than that, the beetroot version works in all your usual hummus dishes. Go try it!

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  1. I love that you grew such fine-looking chard in the window! This year my veggies aren't doing as well as they did last year. I think it's too cold for some of them. I probably would have given up the granita chopping after two hours, too, but it looks like a success anyway. Beet hummus?

  2. enjoy your holidays - I am impressed with your window chard too - and glad you were brought cake to get you through your studies - hope the weather is nice and warm to help your enjoy your granita (mmm I think I can smell it)

  3. Window chard! Love it and it's delicate little stems. I am terrible at producing anything, even apartment basil. So, good on ya.
    Very pretty hummus. I love the idea. Think I've seen it with red beets, but this looks a little more appealing.

  4. The granita sounds lovely! Since going to Sicily last year I've always planned to make a coffee granita, but it sounds so complicated I've never got round to it! That is lovely of Mr. Flicking the Vs to bring you cake - perfect! :) Enjoy your holiday, sounds well-deserved!

  5. That granita is a thing of beauty! I always get impatient at the end and decide to enjoy my concoctions more as slushies than icy desserts. Ironically though, I just finished eating one of the juiciest donut peaches I've ever tasted about a minute ago. Now I need to go get more, ASAP!

  6. I didn't even know you could grow chard on a windowsill! Super impressive. I'm jealous of your ability on this. My cats would make the project a complete impossibility.

    I love the idea of making hummus from veggies! I've made a zucchini hummus before, but I wonder if beetroot would be smoother...

  7. So many things to be impressed by! Congrats on the studies behind you - that's a huge accomplishment. All the food, wow, so good, and colorful, you're right. You're chard looks great from being grown on a windowsill. And beet hummus? What will you come up with next?

  8. Oh man you are my window-garden inspiration! I love chard. and I love Cookies & Scream! and hummus! The holy trifecta :)

  9. Wishing you a nice and relaxing holiday! Wow, window chard! And beet hummus! I haven't heard of that before, I'm going to have to try it. I just saw yellow beets at the farmers market.

  10. Hope you have a great holiday. I've never seen yellow beets before, great idea to make hummus with them.

  11. Congratulations nailing these exams, it must be a relief! So many granita places in Turin, and I have yet to try one…wow, six hours to make the granita, that’s crazy! I stood about 3 1/2 hours to make ice cream without using an ice cream maker. Peach and basil sound like a lovely combination, mmm! Your homegrown chards look beautiful can you teach me how to grow them on a windowsill?


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