Tag Archives: dips

Beetroot and Feta Dip

6 Jan

Dip it! Yeah, Dip it Good! 🙂

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I’ve never liked Beetroot, for various reasons, one being that I have probably only ever been exposed to tinned beets, but more probably because my Mum doesn’t like it. Isn’t that so the way as we grow up? 🙂

But there were fresh beetroots at my Farmers Markets and I thought, “Come on, Sam. You are old enough to give it a go.” And so I did. I admitted cluelessness to the man at the stall, and he said that I could also use the leaves for salads, which I did – and they were ok; peppery like rocket.

But my plan was to make dip, and it went really well, so here we go.

What’s the deal?

Wrap fresh, real (not tinned), uncooked beets in aluminum foil, putting a little water inside each package. Pop them on a tray, also covered in foil, as they leak a bit and (as I discovered) create a sticky mess. Into the oven they go at 180 – 200 degrees for at least an hour and a half. Turns out, beets are surprisingly slow to cook (who knew?), so you need to think ahead a bit for this one.

I used 4 beets and this made twice as much as I really needed. I think I would halve this recipe next time.

Allow the beets to cool down a bit and then blend them in your blender. Add 200 grams of Feta Cheese, and blend it all together. It becomes this beautiful purple/pink colour. So lush. Season to taste, salt, pepper etc.  You’re done! Dip in with fresh bread and raw veggies! 🙂

A Few Notes:

  • There are versions of this recipe that bake the beets with oil and salt and pepper and herbs – I haven’t tried it, although it sounds delicious. The way I am explaining here (above) worked perfectly well, and lead to a very tasty dip.
  • These are the two Farmers Markets I shop at in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie, NSW. They are both excellent and worth a visit.
  • My husband says I am a Feta snob. 🙂 I am ok with that, you can really, REALLY taste the difference. I’m not into advertising, but I have tried a lot of Feta and these days I only use Dodoni Feta. It is the only one (easily available in supermarkets in my world) that is amazing. It looks like this, keep an eye out for it and if you have it, spend the few extra dollars sometime to try it:

dodoni

A Seasonal Note: Beetroot is pretty much in season all year round in Australia! 🙂 Yay Beetroot!

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Basil Pesto Awesomeness

23 Oct


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 I love basil.

I love it, like *flicks fringe* SO MUCH.   🙂 haha.

One of my favourite ways to eat it is as fresh pesto. It is great on hot fresh pasta, but also delicious served on its own as a dip. This is my recipe, cutely refereed to by my sister in law, Emma, as “Hey Pesto”. 🙂

Often if I have a large bunch of basil in the fridge that I haven’t got around to using, this is what I will do with it, so that it doesn’t go to waste.

What’s in it?

  • Basil (Heaps more than you think you will need. Handfuls and handfuls. Fill up the blender/processor, blend it up and then add more again.)
  • Olive oil (A good couple of generous glugs. More oil than you want to admit to your friends is in it when you serve it to them.)
  • Pine nuts (large handful) – I use cashews a lot of the time. They are cheaper, and taste just as good in this.
  • Parmasen cheese
  • Garlic, chopped  (one clove, although sometimes we use two, but we really like garlic.)
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

Admittedly, rather than being able to give you specifics on the process, this is one I make from tasting it as I go. Bottom line though – Add all the ingredients into the processor, or blender (either work fine), and blend the bergebers out of them. Taste and add more of various ingredients until you like what you taste. I know when I have it right because I go from making my thinking face, to it making me smile and nod my head. You just know. It will be more basil, more parmesan and more oil than you are expecting. Go easy on the oil at first and add it in as needed. If “something” is missing, but you are just not sure, give the salt and pepper a go.

This night I cheated and used store bought packet spaghetti (shock horror, I know!) But it was still delicious. 🙂 Leave a little (very little) bit of the  starchy “pasta water” in with the pasta when you stir in the pesto. This will make it creamy.

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A Seasonal Note: In Australia basil is in season in Spring and Summer. Just a little something for us all to keep in mind. 😉

Yogurt and Cucumber Dip

16 Oct

This is one of my fav dips. Awesome on its own, dipping with biscuits, bread or fresh cut veggies. Also great with lamb, kofta, cous cous etc. It is from The Australian Woman’s Weekly Cookbooks: Great Vegetarian Foods.

A tip on straining whey from yogurt:
You know that watery stuff that you get on top of natural yogurt? It needs to be strained before you can use it for dips etc.
I have strained yogurt the “proper” way before, but to be honest usually I don’t bother. I have a lot of food paraphernalia around my house, but seriously, cheese cloth… on hand… all the time? Yeah, that’s not happening.
Here is an alternative method, which works just fine.

Place a smaller strainer (just the kind you would drain pasta in, or wash small veggies or herbs) over a bowl. Make sure it can balance there on its own. Line the strainer with about 4 layers of good quality paper kitchen towel. Dump the yoghurt onto the paper. Place the whole “thing” into the fridge. The paper and bowl will draw out/catch excess whey from the yogurt, making a thicker, more delicious end product. 20121103-233713.jpgLeave it in the fridge for a few hours at least, but over night is ideal. You can loosely cover the whole thing in glad wrap, I suppose, if that’s your sort of thing.

Make this dip at least one day before you want to eat it. It gives all the ingredients time to make friends and invade one another’s personal taste space. 🙂

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Mum’s Hommous

16 Oct

It doesn’t seem to matter how many times I make this one, it is never as good as my Mum’s.

FACT: My Mum makes gosh darn good hommous.

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What’s in it?

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tin of chickpeas, save half the juice from the tin
  • 3/4 cup of tahini
  • 1/2 cup of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • “a glug” (dollop, sloosh etc) of olive oil.
  • chilli to taste

Put all the ingredients in a blender, or food processor and blend the bergebers out of it. Then blend it some more. Then blend it a little more, for good luck. You want it to be as smooth and silky as possible.

I like to sprinkle a little cayenne pepper over it, once it is presented. But this is just a personal preference. Parsley is good too. Fresh flat bread (Lebanese bread probably if you’re buying it) is a necessity here.

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