October 30th, 2013

Halloween Party Dips

I wonder sometimes if my body is made up of mostly houmous. I eat it by the bucketload and there is usually more than one variety in my fridge just so I have a choice between smooth or course. I count myself very lucky that I live in Haringey where Turkish food is prolific, although that certainly doesn’t help my addiction. I read recently in the Guardian that more than 40% of Britons have a pot of houmous in the fridge and it is now seen as a grocery staple. So that makes me feel much better that I am not alone in my affliction.

It was whilst I was stuffing my face with houmous last night that I considered whether there may be an alternative. Dinner parties at home, Christmas morning, late night board games are always accompanied by a pot of houmous and it’s not that I’m getting bored of it. Never!!! But perhaps those around me might. So, keeping in mind the bunches of parties coming up, I am challenging myself to have a houmous free existence for the next few months so I have had to come up with some different options. After all, dips are still a necessity, aren’t they?

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So, at the end of an afternoon filled with chopping, whizzing, spicing and tasting I actually think I have cracked it. These dips are not only much more attractive than the rather dour chickpea beige but they are also sublimely moreish which is exactly what you want when trying to polish off a bag of kettle chips. Although technically one of the recipes isn’t mine and belongs to the divine Silvena Rowe and don’t worry that one contains tahini, lemon juice and garlic so it’s practically houmous anyway.

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The butternut squash dip is made by roasting the lovely orange flesh with lots of spice which makes it deliciously rich. The chorizo is by no means essential, you can quite happily make a veggie version and you won’t be missing out at all. Or you could pair the butternut squash with some lamb chops to make a wonderful accompaniment as part of a main meal.

I will usually devour dips indefinitely with a packet of Clearspring’s sticky rice crackers assisting me in the task which I think you can get in most supermarkets now. They are a slightly healthier alternative to those kettle chips.

Butternut Squash with Chorizo Dip

60ml olive oil
1 x butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1 inch chunks
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
Grated zest of ¼ orange
1 tbsp Fino or other dry sherry
Plenty of salt and pepper
2 x chorizo sausages, diced small

  1. In a large baking dish mix together all the ingredients, bar the chorizo, and place in an oven preheated to 180°C. Roast for 45mins – 1 hour, giving it a good turn over halfway through until the squash is soft. Remove from the oven.
  2. Pulse the butternut squash in a food processor until smooth.
  3. Place the chorizo in a small saucepan on a medium heat until it starts to crisp up.
  4. Serve the butternut squash dip with the chorizo piled on top.

Silvena Rowe’s Avocado and Sumac Whip

2 ripe avocados
Juice of 1 small lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp tahini
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp sumac
3 garlic cloves, crushed
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

  1. Scrape the avocados from their skins and blend in a food processor with the lemon juice until smooth.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until thick and smooth.
  3. Serve with the sesame seeds scattered on top.
October 10th, 2013

Tex Mex Salad

I have a confession to make. I might be slightly addicted to this salad. I have had it three lunchtimes in a row. So I think it is only fair that I get you addicted too.

This has always been one of my favourite quick bites in town and I can often be seen lurking around Freebird Burrito, who have stalls throughout London. Their burritos are the best in the city I think and I have given it a jolly good go to try most of them. However, the salad is the buzz as the greenery makes you feel like you are doing your body a favour even though it’s disguised under a mass of creamy avocado and cheese. Their salad comes loaded with rice and beans as well which although scrummy I didn’t feel was necessary here as there’s so much going on already.

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The best salads are quick to throw together, involve fridge staples so you don’t have to make a special trip to the shop and have lots of different flavours to keep you interested. You can say what you like but this salad is never boring. I used leftover pork from the roast I made a couple of days ago and tossed together with new spices it was completely rejuvenated. However, this is so delicious that I would happily fry off a bit of chicken especially to make it as well. Whatever gets you that tex mex fix.

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chipotle

 

I love this chipotles in adobo which is from the Cool Chile Co., it really adds a bit of smoky Mexican authenticity to the dish. I use it all the time, it keeps for ages in the fridge and can be added to absolutely anything. It peps up tomato sauces, is an absolute staple when you are making chilli and features heavily in the bacon jam recipe which will be making an appearance on my blog very soon.

 

Tex Mex Salad
Serves 2

Leftover Pork / Chicken / Beef / Whatever
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced thinly
½ red pepper, sliced thinly
½ green pepper, sliced thinly
1 tsp chipotle in adobo
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 avocado
1 tbsp sour cream
Grated cheese
Coriander, chopped roughly
½ head romaine lettuce, chopped
Juice of ½ lime
Olive oil to dress

  1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan on medium heat. Add the onion and peppers and stir fry for about 5-10 mins until they start to soften.
  2. Add your leftover meat, the chipotle, garlic powder, cumin, paprika and seasoning and stir together until the meat is completely heated through. Remove from the heat and set aside whilst you assemble the salad.
  3. Peel and de-stone your avocado. Mash the flesh through with a fork and plenty of salt and pepper. Stir in the sour cream.
  4. Now you just need to assemble. Start with the bed of romaine lettuce, then the meat, then a large dollop of avocado and then the cheese. Finish off with a squeeze of lime and olive oil.