Monday, 1 August 2011

Perfect Shmerfect

“I’m a perfectionist”. 

That should be your opening line if you want me to run a mile. And then, you’ll never have to see me again.

To be perfectly honest, perfection makes me yawn. I try to do it as surreptitiously as possible, so as not to appear too common. But between you and me, perfect is tedious. Even the word seems stuck-up, wearing a stiff suit and black tie. I like my adjectives a little more loose-limbed.

Maybe it’s because I’ve never done anything that comes close to being perfect. Never could, never tried. My shoes never matched my bags. My cakes are often born with bad posture. And my table manners need tweaking. (An elbow on the table is so convenient!)

I love cities that are a little rough around the edges. And faces that don’t follow symmetry. I like my daughter in socks that don’t match. I hate books arranged by height. And I won’t have identical lamps on either side of the bed.

Things are beautiful when they’re just a little bit out of place. When they’re not quite right. Without that, Pisa would be just another little city.

Now, for broad beans.

Broad beans?

Yes, it was all boiling down to broad beans. Sorry.

As its season progresses, broad beans become a little too big, and a little bit bitter. So, the ones I bought from the farm shop this week were not as tender as they could have been. Not quite perfect.  

But again, they were. Perfect for my Broad Bean & Pistachio Hummus. The slight bitterness of the beans gave the hummus a little sharpness, and the pistachios balanced it with its blunt, sweet hint.

It was my kind of perfect.

Broad Bean & Pistachio Hummus, with roasted coriander seeds


2 cups shelled broad beans
1/2 cup pistachios
1/2 tsp coriander seeds, roasted and crushed
2 cloves garlic
2 tbs olive oil
A squeeze of fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
Sea salt

Boil the broad beans in water for 4-5 minutes till tender. Let it cool, then slip the beans out of the skins.
Mix the beans with the rest of the ingredients, and put in in a blender. Blitz to a coarse puree.
Add a little more olive oil if it seems too dry.
Taste, then tweak seasoning, ading more salt, pepper and lemon juice if needed.

Serve 3-4


  1. Yes yes yes, I agree.
    Perfectionism is often thrown into conversation as though it were a virtue, and I guess in some cases, it might be. I'd probably like my brain surgeon to be a perfectionist, or the bloke fixing my car brakes.
    But all too often perfect is just a disguise for bland, unimaginative, same as the rest of the flock, cookie cutter...
    Where's the celebration of quirky, and wonderful in spite of the imperfections?

  2. You are so right! It's in the little flaws that beauty so often lies. And nowhere is this more true than in cooking and people. If every dish and ingredient were perfect, then how on earth woul cooking evolve?

    Love the recipe, beans make such interesting hummus, and adding pistachio is a great idea. One I plan to try out as soon as I get home.

  3. That hummus looks divine! As do your photographs (which are actually always perfect!)... I can't bear people who announce that they are perfectionists either. As much as I would quite like to be a perfectionist, I think I am confusing it with organised. I much prefer quirkiness over boring perfectionism too! Emma :)

  4. You have me at the very start of the post. I feel so out of place blogging in this perfect food blogging world, where everybody's recipes come out perfect, beautiful and oh - so perfect. THeir pictures are breathtaking and writing so inspiring. I can only dream of being such. But I like it that you are nonchalant about the whole process of being perfect. I am struggling somewhere in between, not quite getting on either side. Anyways, this is an unending rant.
    The broad bean hummous is so refreshing. But I noticed a conscious omission of tahina sauce which is integral when it comes to hummous. Having said that, I have remind myself , this is your kind of perfect hummous- devoid of the tahina sauce :-)

    It is gorgeous as it is.

  5. Your blog's perfect for you and for those who read it, Anita. I'm glad you connected with the post. And feel free to let loose your unending rants - they're welcome here.
    As for the tahini, though it is an integral part of the traditional chickpea hummus, they aren't in the case of a bean hummus. I actually sat with a jar of tahini while making this recipe, but the pistachios said 'no' :)

  6. Good call on the tahina sauce! I shall try this since it is something I haven't come across before.

    Thank you for listening to my rant :-)

  7. I totally agree with you Pia! I was always a misfit in so many things in life because I do things my way... and I don't care if it's 'perfect' or not! I think that’s one reason why I am not a fan of baking and complicated cooking techniques… I like throwing things on an impulse to create something unique :)
    Love this hummus recipe :) I am sure I can make this with green peas! YUM...

  8. oh i'm sure it'll be great with green peas, chinmayie!
    and yes, that's the way i cook too...russle things up with what i have at home. i don't enjoy cooking from recipes, or cooking foods that need lots of measuring spoons :)

  9. The pistachio hummus is new to me. Great photographs, dear!!
    First time here and I loved my stay here! Really nice recipe. Absolutely mouth-watering!! Have you got anything left for me?

  10. i'm glad you found your way here, and enjoyed your stay, purabi. unfortunately, this hummus vanishes quite quickly :)

  11. Hi There, This is looking absolutely delightful. Loved the new combo of ingredients and the recipe is so nicely made and presented. Saving this recipe of urs and wud love to give ur version a try on the coming weekend. Have a great day….Sonia !!!

  12. Well, that hummus sounds delicious. And fitting together IS better than being perfect, I suppose.

  13. Hi Sonia, thanks so much for dropping by. I hope you enjoy the hummus as much as we did :)

  14. Oh, my. I am smiling and my face is starting to hurt. When I read your first line, I imagined that was ME running away, too. And I have a Nike tee that says, "Adios!"

    I never get to eat fava beans because I keep eating the leaves. I shall try with the fall crop =).

  15. And now you've got ME grinning, annapet :) i need that tee too!
    and fava bean leaves! why haven't i had that before?!

  16. pia...i dont like beans, but looks like with this recipe it will go down my throat ! ;-) never made hummus...have to try soon :) love the images. happy cooking !

  17. thanks shruti, i hope it changes your mind about beans...just a little bit :)

  18. Ohhh WORD, we couldn't say it better Pia!

  19. @ perfection makes me yawn: ah, what a lovely coincidence with the name! must hop over to you blog right away :)


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