I relish that end of the day wind down and particularly at this time of year try to persuade my family to assemble outside if it’s warm, to catch up and enjoy a drink. Often this is only possible at weekends and even then one or other child is often out but still, it is something I look forward to whether we are in the garden or installed in front of a cosy fire.
With a drink I always, rather greedily, look forward to the accompanying snacks. Although I won’t turn down a crisp, there are other things I turn to which seem more delicious and rather less greasy. The most important ingredient though is a touch of salt which somehow defines ‘snacks with drinks’. It can be as simple as a bowl of olives, briny and savoury or a hunk of parmesan cut into gritty shards – unbelievably moreish and of course ridiculously simple. The spicy seeds which you will find here (November 2018) make a regular outing and these savoury, crunchy chickpeas have also become a regular over the years. You can customise them with whichever spices you favour, I tend to fall back on this classic combination and then add as much or little chilli as I think will go down well. Sometimes I will make a batch of these or the spicy seeds and put into little bags or jars as presents, none turned down yet. The chickpeas are fabulous on a salad, we tucked into one this week with masses of grilled courgettes, roast cherry tomatoes and squeaky green beans as this is what needed using up from the garden – it was a stellar combination, though I say it myself.
Chick peas are an absolute star to keep in the store cupboard, an essential in my book. You can add them to a stew like the chorizo one (September 2013) cook them with potatoes (May 2014) or chicken (March 2015) and of course make an earthy, garlicky hummus. Or simply open a can and make these.
Crispy spiced chickpeas
Use whichever spices you feel like and you can use ground ones if that is what’s available. I like to use seeds because the flavour seems more vibrant and of course you get the added bits of crunchy seed alongside the chickpeas which are delicious.
1 tin of chickpeas, drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon coriander seeds
1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds
Dried chilli flakes (optional)
Preheat the oven to 200 and line a baking tray with parchment. Tip the drained chickpeas onto a tea towel, fold it over to enclose them and gently roll the chickpeas around. This will both dry them and remove the skins which you can discard. Once the chickpeas are dry put them into the lined tin and add the olive oil. Turn until coated then cook for 15 minutes. Meanwhile heat the spices in a dry frying pan until fragrant and popping then grind in a mortar. After the 15 minutes are up remove the chickpeas from the oven, add the spices and a good pinch of salt, mix well then return to the oven for a further 5-7 minutes until just beginning to bronze. Leave to cool then tuck in or scatter over a salad.