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Recipe: Xanthe Clay’s Broad Bean Pod Hummus With Tahini and Feta

Food writer, cookbook author, Telegraph columnist, the list of Xanthe Clay’s achievements over her 20+ year career is almost endless (or too long for us to type out here).

Today she’s sharing her hummus recipe as part of our week-long recipe release to celebrate Severn Sisters Feast – a night where 150 guests will be treated to food cooked by 11 of the most celebrated women in the food industry in aid of Action Against Hunger – and the endlessly talented women behind it.

If you’re anything like us, hummus is a staple in your kitchen. This recipe, however, isn’t like anything we’ve made before. Xanthe says: “I like how this recipe uses the whole broad bean. The pods have a leafy flavour, similar to the beans themselves.”

We caught up with her for a quick chat about all things food and Severn Sisters Feast in the lead up to the event.

What does food mean to you?
“Food is the prism through which I see the world – which is a bit tragic really, but there it is.”

What was your earliest or most impactful memory of food?
“My mother giving me a Petit Suisse cheese, a saucer with a little heap of white sugar, and a teaspoon. I was sitting at the top of the steps to the garden. She told me to dip teaspoonfuls of cheese into the sugar, then eat it. I wasn’t sure if I liked it or not. But I’ve never forgotten it. I think I was two or three.”

Why is it important to you to provide a platform for female talent?
“It’s important to provide a platform for all talent. Gathering together one gender allows creativity to blossom with particular freedom: there’s a subtle layer of understanding, an unspoken bond. Plus I like hanging out with other women.”

What advice would you give to your younger self & what advice would you give to other women looking to get into the industry?
“By and large, you regret what you don’t do, not what you do.”

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Maria Bell

Maria Bell is a photographer and editor from the Isle of Wight. Talk to her about food and/or photography and she'll always be listening.



-1kg broad beans in the pod
-2tbsp tahini
-2tbsp olive oil plus extra to finish the dish
-half a lemon
-2-3 tbsp crumbled feta
-mint or oregano leaves


Pod the beans, snipping the tough stalks from the pods as you go. Put the pods in a pan with a teacupful of water, and a fat pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, cover tightly and cook for about ten minutes, until tender. Lift the pods into a liquidizer with tongs, and add about 4tbsp of the cooking water. Puree in the liquidizer, adding more liquid if you have to – try not to as obviously it’s easier to add liquid at the end than take it away. Rub the puree through a sieve to get rid of the copious hairy fibers. Allow to cool.


Put the tahini in a bowl and gradually beat in the bean pod puree. The mixture will stiffen, then loosen. Beat in the olive oil, plus a good squeeze of lemon, then thin it with a little water if it needs it, to make a good dip consistency. Taste and add seasoning plus more lemon juice if it needs it.


Put the beans in a bowl and pour over boiling water. Leave to stand for ten minutes or until cool enough to handle. Pop each bean out of its grey skin, so that you have a pile of the bright green kernels. The skins are, alas, too bitter to use. Consign them to the compost bin.


Spread the bean pod hummus on a plate. Scatter over the peeled beans – depending on the size of your haul, you may not want to use all of them. Save any extras to mix with fresh peas or add to a salad. Crumble over the feta, and trickle with a little more olive oil. Finish with a few ripped herb leaves. Eat with oval slices of carrot and flat bread.


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