I once read an article declaring that hummus, the once-humble peasant dish of crushed chickpeas and tahini, is the UK’s best-selling dip – in fact, the Brits get through 12,000 tonnes of it a year. Which really came as no surprise: at one of the first Ladyland editorial meetings we had at least three varieties plonked on the table and thereafter had to make an effort to introduce other exotic treats from the Waitrose deli aisle into the mix.

It may well be the UK’s most ubiquitous spread, I’ve always had a thing for good hummus – I discovered the stuff at age seven, when afternoons at my friend Nabila’s place involved a huge bowl of hummus with Lebanese bread for dipping. It was always freshly whipped up by her mum, with a great big drizzle of olive oil. It was amazing. Unfortunately, Nabila and I had a spectacular falling out over a copy of Smash Hits magazine in Year 5, and I had to kiss those days of hanging out over a bowl of homemade hummus goodbye.

I should’ve just made the stuff myself – it’s that simple. And if you make sure you’ve always got a tin of chickpeas and some tahini handy, you can whip it up in minutes if someone pops by. Plus, it’s so much more impressive to put out a bowl of freshly made hummus than peeling the foil off a pre-made pot. Nabila’s mum may not approve, but my secret ingredient is a little preserved lemon to give it punch (check out how I make it here). And, as I always say, use as much garlic as you dare.



  • 400g tin of chickpeas, rinsed and drained (reserve a handful, to decorate)
  • 100ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 wedge of preserved lemon, pulp removed, rinsed and chopped
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • A pinch of smoked paprika (optional), for sprinkling



1. Place all the ingredients except for the smoked paprika and whole chickpeas in a food processor and whiz into a paste: add more olive oil if it needs it, but I like my hummus with a bit of texture. Add salt and pepper to taste, and another squeeze of lemon juice if you think the tahini is still too heavy.
2. Transfer the hummus to a serving bowl and scatter the reserved whole chickpeas over the top. Add a good drizzle of olive oil, then a pinch of smoked paprika and serve. Hummus always goes down well with Lebanese bread or carrot sticks – or go all the way with a falafel wrap!

Note: If you like to go tamer with the garlic, blanch the cloves first to reduce their potency.

And if you want to freeze some, just pour over a good layer of olive oil before placing your batch in the freezer and defrost in the fridge overnight.


Photography & styling: Emma Scott-Child