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Mexican layered dip

10 Aug

Mexican layered dip

Needing to bring something to our annual street party last weekend, I decided to make Mexican layered dip. While I’ve always adored this dip,  I did wonder how it would be received in London.

There is something slightly 1970s “hostess-with-the-mostest” about it. And despite having Mexican in its name, it seems unlikely to have originated south of the Rio Grande.

That said, when it is made with good quality ingredients, it is very tasty thing indeed – and it went down a storm. Continue reading

Salata de vinete (aubergine salad)

28 Jun

Salata de vinete

Salata de vinete is a traditional Romanian dip or spread that is served with pitta or crackers. I did some research online – even watching a video of Nadia Comenici preparing salata de vinete – before asking my Romanian friend Dan for tips. Continue reading

Guacamole

3 Jun

Chips and guacamole

Guacamole is one of those things it should be impossible to get wrong. Mash and season a ripe avocado, serve with tortilla chips – the shortest recipe ever.

And yet, there is so much lousy guacamole out there, it seems worth writing a few words on the subject. Continue reading

Beet borani (borani chogondar)

20 Apr

yogurt with beets

Borani are Persian dips or side dishes of thick yogurt combined with vegetables and herbs. I’ve come across aubergine, spinach, and courgette before, but beet borani was a new one.

Beets are so often paired with sharp flavours like vinegar or lemon, which masks their flavour, but that’s not happening here. Just the mild tang of the yogurt, and woodsy dried mint to play against the earthiness of the beets.

Beet borani is most startlingly gorgeous fuschia colour – the girls adored it on sight. Having made it with both raw and cooked beetroot, I’m surprised at how little difference cooking makes to the taste or texture of the finished dish. Continue reading

Smoked salmon dip

2 Feb

Smoked salmon dip

Hot-smoked salmon is one of the Canadian foods I miss most now that I live in the UK. It’s slowly becoming easier to find, but cold-smoked salmon still dominates the shelves.

So I was very pleased indeed to receive a stash of hot-smoked salmon through the post recently.

Aside from its deliciousness, the versatility of hot-smoked salmon is what makes it such a pleasure to cook with. Kedgeree, pasta sauce, salads, fish pie, chowder, quiche – it’s an asset to them all.

At last week’s Burns Night supper, I shared my hot-smoked salmon bounty with our guests in this smoked salmon dip.

Continue reading

Cacik

21 Oct

Cacik

I’m not going to wax authoritative on the difference between cacik and tzatziki. One is Turkish, the other Greek – reason enough to stay out of it right there.

The similarities are more apparent: both are made with yogurt, cucumber and garlic, both are typically served as a dip or with grilled meat. Given that cacik is pronounced “ja-jik”, they even sound pretty similar.

Continue reading

Baba ghanoush

9 Apr

Baba ghanoush

Cooking the aubergines until they are soft and charred is what gives baba ghanoush its lovely smokey flavour. I achieve this by either roasting the aubergines under the grill or cooking them on the barbeque. Continue reading