Welcome to 2015!
We hope that you have had a relaxing break over the festive period and are looking forward to a happy and healthy new year.
This is the time when we usually take stock and reassess our priorities and maybe set new ones for the coming year – and looking after your health and that of your family is usually top of the list.
Happily, nature tends to make that easy for us here in the southern hemisphere as January is also a time of abundance in the garden, as anyone with a veggie patch can tell you. This makes it easy and fun to start the year off on the right foot with fresh, nutritious food.
So if you’re wondering what to do with that mound of spinach or how you’re going to get through that bumper eggplant crop – have we got a tasty solution for you!
These Vibrant Veggie Dips are just the thing for this time of year – great for entertaining or a nice start to a summer meal, and an excellent way to get some veggies into your diet.
Bon appétit and Happy New Year!
Carrot, Cumin and Orange Dip:
Place chopped carrot in a saucepan, cover with water and simmer for 10 mins, or until tender. Once tender, drain any remaining liquid and allow to cool slightly before adding to the food processor, along with the remaining ingredients. Whiz until well combined and season to taste.
Roasted Beetroot Dip:
Roast the beetroots (we have found this method to be fool proof but feel free to roast however you like). Once roasted, peel and then roughly chop before placing in a food processor along with the rest of the ingredients. Whiz until well combined and then season to taste.
Super Green Spinach Dip:
Place baby spinach, basil and cashews in a food processor and whiz until well combined. Pour oil, lemon juice and 2 tbsps water into a jug and then, with the food processor going, slowly pour in the liquid mixture and process until thoroughly mixed through, before stirring through the parmesan.
The key to a delicious baba ganoush is the smokey flavour of the eggplant achieved by blistering the skin over a flame. While you may be tempted to skip this part, we recommend giving it a go, as there really is no substitute for that delicious smokiness.
Before you start the smoking process, you may want to lay some kitchen foil underneath your gas burners as some of those flavourful smokey juices can ooze out.
Begin by trimming the green leaves off the top of each eggplant, but keep the stem intact because you can use it as a handle when the eggplants get hot. Set two gas burners to medium heat, one for each eggplant, and place the burner directly onto the flame, allowing them to rest on the ring of the burner. Smoke for around 10-15 mins, or until the skin is blistered, turning to ensure both sides are charred.
When the skin is suitably blistered, remove the eggplants from the heat and set aside until cool enough to handle safely. Cut each one in half, scoop out the flesh and peel into strips. Place the strips in a colander to drain for at least an hour to allow excess moisture to drip out.
Once drained, place the strips of eggplant in a bowl and mash it roughly with a fork. In a separate bowl, mix the lemon juice, tahini and garlic together before adding to the mashed eggplant and mixing until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper before garnishing with fresh sprigs of mint and a sprinkle of ground sumac.
Serve dips with roughly broken rice cakes or flat bread, olives, fresh veggie sticks or roasted cauliflower for a delightful antipasto platter.
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