H is for Houmous, Haggis and Haricot Beans


Houmous is a chickpea based dip originating from Egypt and Arabia many centuries ago. It is traditionally eaten with flat bread such as pita, but is also eaten as an accompiment for chicken and fish. It is  available in supermarkets and comes different varieties such as red pepper or caramelised onion houmous.

Making houmous is really easy, if you have a food processor. All you need to do is blend together chickpeas, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and salt. Before I got a food processor I tried making it in a blender, big mistake. Scraping it out, and from under the blades was a nightmare, not worth the hassle. I  buy it ready made  from the supermarket. While it is really easy to make, I cannot get my own to taste anything but bland.

Humous is great for kids when served with pieces of bread, and carrot or cucumber sticks. Toddlers love dunking food, especially as dunking food is not always what we want them to do.


Haggis is a traditional Scottish dish, it is eaten throughout the year but is also eaten on Burn’s Day. Robert Burns was an acclaimed Scottish poet who lived from 1759-1796 and his birth is celebrated every year on January 25th. Haggis is traditional eaten with ‘neeps and tatties’, mashed swede and mashed potatoes.

The Scots are very good at winding up tourists about what haggis really is. If you have been told that it is a wild animal that roams free in the Highand’s of Scotland and is notoriously difficult to catch, you have been well and truly had. Haggis is made from the offal of sheep and sometimes cow. It’s origins come from the times when hunters ate the parts of their kill that would go off first. While different haggis producers have their own recipes, the main ingredients are generally the offal of lamb and/or beef, onion, oats and spices. Traditionally haggis was stuffed into and cooked in the sheep’s stomach, however nowadays they use a plastic casing. I love haggis though am a wee bit fussy about which make I buy. Macsween’s is my choice of haggis.

Apart from the traditional way, there are many other ways to cook with haggis. Stuffing a chicken breast, adding it to risotto or a pasta dish, or make it into a sausage roll.

Haricot Beans

Haricot beans are the beans you find in Baked Beans. They are oval in shape, small and plump with a creamy white colour. They do not have much taste but when added to soups or stews they soak up all the flavours. Haricot beans are native to the Americas, and are eaten widely in Spain, France, Portugal and South America. They are also known as navy beans, white pea and pearl haricot. They got the name navy bean as they were a staple part of the US Navy’s diet in the 19th century.We can buy haricot beans either ready to eat in tins, or dried. I use them in my Bean and Pasta Soup recipe.


Fun Facts

  • the first known reference to humous is in a published cookbook publish in 1200s in Cairo
  • humous scuffles are known to happen in Israel when decided who has made the best humous
  • the World’s largest humous dish was made in Lebanon weighing a massive 22,000 lbs
  • the plural of haggis is haggises or haggis, not haggi or hagges as you may expect
  • Halls of Scotland made the largest haggis, it weighed 2,226lb 10oz that is about as much as a small car
  • haggis hurling is an actual bonefide sport and June 2011 saw the longest throw, a massive 217 feet thrown by Lauder Coltart
Baked Beans
  • Here in Great Britain we love our baked beans and subsequently we are the World’s greatest consumer of baked beans. A study in 2009-20010 showed that we eat more baked beans then the rest of the world put together, a staggering 444,908,011 tins every year. Australia came in second with 60,000,00 tins (www.fact.cat 2014).