Sunday, January 27, 2013

Mixed Capsicum and Chickpea Salad (An Ode to my Mother’s Group)

About five and three quarter years ago, when my eldest daughter was barely three weeks old I was told by the local child health nurse I should join a mothers group.

Don't believe everything you think when you are pregnant.... you are often very misguided or deluded

Ughh, I thought. A group of women constantly complaining, or worse still, bragging about their children. No thanks, I said.  I have plenty of friends.
The nurse, clearly much wiser than me, said ‘but do they have children the same age as yours? They will be a great comfort to you in the years ahead’

So I fronted up to the first meeting, and came upon a mixed bag of women, with different lives, different birth experiences and different histories. Yet we all came together with one thing in common, our babies.

The original salad (photo courtesy Jason Thomas)

Six years later, as those babies are entering Year One, and as we have welcome almost fifteen more children into our group, said goodbye to five families and welcomed one more, our group is still intact despite the different experiences, the different parenting styles and the different plans for the future.

Tonight we farewelled another family, destined for the red dirt of the far north and as I trawled through ‘Essence’ for a salad to bring to the group BBQ I decided on a mixed capsicum and chickpea salad.

This is how mine turned out, perhaps I overdid the dressing. Don't care, it was really tasty
Like my initial reaction to the idea of a mothers group, I wasn’t sold on the idea. My dislike of capsicum is a matter of public record and chickpeas reek of ‘healthy eating’. Yet, just like the group of women (and husbands and children) the salad fell together easily and the flavours just worked.

Sometimes it’s nice to be proved wrong.

The salad brings together capsicum (red, green, yellow), tinned chickpeas and fresh coriander and mint. I threw in a bag of pine nuts for good measure. The dressing is what makes it work – a mix of hummus, lemon juice, brown sugar and tahini.

My thoughts
Sometimes you need to just give something a go. Sometimes your initial reaction is wrong, and what you think might be awful, might actually end up changing your life.

Of course, I’m talking about my mum’s group. The salad, though pretty damn tasty, probably won’t change my life.

The dressing might though… I’m going to pinch it for other salads, and I bet it tastes great on steamed asparagus and green beans.

If you want to find out more about this recipe or have any questions, contact me on frommumtome(at)

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