Today, we are flicking back to Greece. The end of our travels. I am sharing thoughts that our time there inspired, things that have been on our mind. Actually, thoughts that we have touched on in our book. In short, it’s about being human.
No one is perfect, because we are all human. And as we've said before, we are all more similar than we are different. To put it simply, as we travelled we were welcomed with so much love. We were absolutely amazed and humbled by the generosity of people. We were welcomed into people's homes, offered things to have or try from complete strangers, were taken places, if we had no money we were given things with trust that we could leave and pay later, or, most simply, when we would go out for a walk in the evening almost every person we pass would say “evening”.
And then, on return we have had friends who's businesses have been broken into, have seen people just being horrible to each other on social media and have seen so many people without family to support them and invite them into their homes for dinner. And we just wanted to remind everyone, that we are all human, we are all here to support each other, we are all more similar than we are different. And to embrace family, to embrace friends, to share, to celebrate, to love.
And so, this dish, is to share. We want you to put it on the table, and share it. With friends, someone you love, family or a stranger. It's a dip and salad bowl, to be served as an entree or snack, to be shared with bread, good olive oil and a glass of wine.
It’s also super simple, low cost, and the toppings can be adapted to use whatever ingredients you have around the house or whatever is in season at the time. Right now in southern Australia, the avocado season has just started, which adds a freshness to winter dishes! Spring onions are also great right now and red onions and split peas can be stored year round.
This dish is totally inspired by Greece, where there are many versions of "fava dip" (a strange name to us given we've only ever heard 'fava' used to describe broad beans before!). And this is ours. It's super refreshing and best served cold or at room temperature. So great if you feel like something fresh tasting in winter or for those in Europe currently, this is amazing for your hot summer days.
The secret is the long slow cook. If you don't want to serve it as an appetiser, you can adapt it so that it is just a dip you store in the fridge and use throughout the week for easy meals/snacks, or add a bit more salad and make it a meal for two.
This is dedicated to all of the people who gave to us so generously throughout our travels. And we would also love to hear your stories of sharing this dish in the comments below!
On split peas
Split peas, like all pulses, are nutritional gold mines and loaded with plant protein. Even better, split peas have already had their skins removed, which is where much of the nutrient-binding phytic acid lives in peas and other pulses. They are also much lower in the hard-to-digest carbohydrates than larger beans. So technically they don't need any soaking. That said, a quick 4-hour soak in water with a little salt will certainly make them more digestible, any longer and they are likely to start fermenting. More info about all the different pulses, their benefits and how to prepare them traditionally in the book.
Makes approx. 1.5 litres (Serves 6+ as an appetiser) // Time 1 hour 50 minutes (plus cooling time)
1 (about 80g) red onion, diced
Good olive oil
A big pinch black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic, crushed
450g (about 2 cups) yellow split peas
1 teaspoon good salt
1½ tablespoons pine nuts
¼ red onion, finely sliced
2 shallots, finely sliced
1 avocado, diced
Juice of one small lemon
1-2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 teaspoon dried za'atar *(See note)
In a large pot, over a low-medium heat, sauté onions with a big splash of olive oil, pepper, oregano, thyme, and bay for about 5-6 minutes, or until they begin to soften.
Add garlic, split peas, and another splash of olive oil. Fry for about 2 minutes or until the mixture just starts to stick. Add 2 litres of water and the salt.
Stir, cover and bring to the boil. Reduce to low heat and simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes (the split peas should now be super soft). Uncover and continue to simmer for a further 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once ready, the mixture should be like a runny puree (note: as the mixture cools, it will thicken).
Remove the pot from the heat, remove bay leaves and hand whisk the mixture until the split peas come together.
Put aside to cool for about half an hour, or place in the fridge if you want to serve it cold/speed up the cooling process.
In a frypan, over a medium heat, fry pine nuts, for about 1 minute or until browned. Agitate often so they don't burn.
Place the dip into a large bowl. Cover with pine nuts and remaining salad ingredients. Serve with some good sourdough bread and a glass of red wine.
Alternatively, omit salad topping and store the dip in the fridge and enjoy throughout the week.
*Note – If you don't have za'atar, replace with oregano.