Tuesday, August 9

Three Easy Middle-Eastern Dips

I was at a drinks party some time back and the host pulled out one of those pre-packed multi-dip selection packs that every well known supermarket has on offer these days; and it was served with a packet of gourmet crisps.   Everyone pounced on it like a pack of slavering wolves and whilst it was nice enough and soaked up the beer, they just looked deeply depressing with their insipid colour all shades of plaster of paris.    They were also heavily laden with cheap oils and fats - I felt a bit queasy after eating (although it could have been the Stella).    Check out the colours of the dips above as all are fresh, healthy and two of the three are virtually fat free.    I won't lie, they take more effort to make than pulling the film off a packet but you need to think scalability.   It is as easy to make a gallon of these dips as it is to make 200ml.   Serve dips with crudites and toasted pita bread.

Beetroot, Cumin and Feta
Boil a bunch of trimmed but unpeeled beetroot until very tender and allow to cool.   Peel by rubbing off the skins, blitz in a food processor and season with salt and pepper.   Put the puree in a sieve over a bowl and allow to stand in the fridge overnight to drain excess liquid from the beetroot (you can mix the juice with tomato juice and tabasco for a great virgin mary).   Next day push the puree through the sieve to remove lumps and mix with a large pinch of ground cumin, a spoonful of greek yoghurt and a splash of red wine vinegar.   Correct the seasoning to your taste and plate topped with crumbled feta. 

Carrot, Rosewater, Honey and Coriander
Boil 4 large carrots - skin on - in water until very tender.   Take off the tops of the carrots but leaving the skin on, blitz in a food processor with a few drops of rosewater, a spoonful of honey, salt and pepper.   Pass through a sieve to remove lumps, correct seasoning and serve topped with chopped fresh coriander.

Superior Hummus
Drain a tin of quality chickpeas keeping the juice.    Set aside a small spoonful of chickpeas and blitz the rest in a food processor with the following:

2 fat cloves of peeled garlic (no need to chop, just lob them in)
a large pinch of ground cumin & smoked paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp tahini paste
50ml olive oil
salt and pepper.    

With the blades still running add a little of the reserved chickpea water to get the right consistency (come on - you know what it looks like.....use your common sense!!).   Stop the machine and taste, correct the seasoning to your palate with more salt, pepper and lemon.    Plate, sprinkle with more smoked paprika, the reserved chickpeas and drizzle with olive oil.

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