Sunday, 13 January 2013

Dippety do dah!

dip (dp)
v. dippeddip·pingdips
1. To plunge briefly into a liquid, as in order to wet, coat, or saturate.

I'm very dippy. Many of you knew that anyway. But I do love a dip. I'm orally fixated (I suspect most food writers are, I wasn't breast-fed you see). The transportation of bread/pitta/vegetables scooped at rapid and repetitive intervals via a silken savoury thick purée into my mouth, is right up my street. 
Getting a fair amount of dip onto the receptacle without dropping it or worse, losing the dipping tool in the dip, is a skill in itself. Of course double dipping is a no-no amongst strangers but if I'm with mates, or drunk, I don't care. Dips are perfect with booze.
You need a blender for these. (I'm using a Vitamix which is like a really powerful blender for extra smoothness).

I make the best Babaghanoush in the world, here is the recipe:

3 large shiny aubergines, charred and skinned
1 large tablespoon of tahini,
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of ground cumin,
2 tablespoons of good olive oil
2 tablespoons of Maldon sea salt
Some pomegranate seeds or parsley to garnish.

I'm doing this on the Aga where I can char my aubergines on the hot plate, turning them as the skin gets black. On a normal gas hob, you can do the same thing, either directly on the flame or on a cast iron flat pan. Or, light a disposable bbq. If you don't have an aga, a gas hob, or a garden/outside space, then perch the disposable bbq on your window sill. Try not to drop it onto someone's head below.
I'm insisting upon this charring process because that's what this dish is all about really, the smoky burnt taste from the aubergines. Always include a little bit (a couple of inches) of the charred skin into the final dip.
When the aubergines look shrunken inside and the skin is all blackened, strip the skin off, discard the stems, and put the flesh into a blender.
Add all the other stuff, keep tasting and adjust it to your taste. That's fine, you can. I'm not a food deity. You can do what you like. You like less salt? Fine. You like more? Go ahead. 

Red pepper dip:

This is a bit like muhammara but even simpler. It takes minutes. I've only put one chilli in which gives you residual heat without blowing your head off.

4 red bell peppers or long red peppers, roasted, skinned
1 red chilli, roasted, skinned
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander
1-2 tablespoons of good olive oil
1 tablespoon of Maldon sea salt
Some nibbed pistachios to garnish (optional)

Roast the peppers and the chilli in an oiled oven tray. This takes about 20 minutes for the bell peppers and 10 for the chilli.
Then, ouchy ouchy, strip the skin off. I find it best to do it while it's hot and steamy, much quicker and easier. Discard the seeds and the stem.
Put the flesh into the blender along with the rest of the ingredients. Let it cool down.

Yellow pepper dip with walnut

2 yellow bell peppers, roasted, skinned
A handful of walnuts
Juice of 1 lemon or lime
2 cloves of garlic, minced
A tiny pinch of saffron
1-2 tablespoons of food sunflower or pumpkin seed oil
1 tablespoon of Maldon sea salt
Garnish with walnuts or parsley

Follow the roasting peppers instructions above. Blend the flesh with the rest of the ingredients.

Yoghurt dip

So many cultures have a refreshing yoghurty dip: raitha for the Indians, Tzatziki for the Greeks. Call it what you like, I love this stuff and can eat it for breakfast, in bed, lunch or dinner.

1 cucumber, peeled and seeded if it's not good quality, chopped into thin slices.
1 tablespoon of Maldon sea salt or other good sea salt
300ml of greek style yoghurt
2 tablespoons of dried mint or, Indian trick this, mint sauce in a jar!
Or fresh herbs such as mint (traditional), but feel free to add coriander, dill, parsley, tarragon (very Georgian)
Juice of 1 lemon
More salt to taste

One you've prepped your cucumber slices, salt them. This is a tip I got in France for making the cucumber crunchy. Leave for half an hour or longer.
Then tip away the excess liquid.
Then add the yoghurt and the rest of the ingredients. Garnish with fresh mint.

1 comment:

  1. Recipes look good -- and the video clip at the end was cute. We are big against double dipping too ;)

    ~reader in Ohio


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