Sunday, 24 June 2012

The Dip Files, No.1


People collect all sorts of souvenirs when travelling. Some people collect picturesque postcards or paintings. Some collect magnets or even kitsch snow domes! When I set off on my travelling escapades, I decided to collect small bowls – dip bowls. I searched out and bought a bowl from (almost) every country I visited. I would seek out local markets and craft stores in search of the ultimate dip bowl as a way to remember my time in that country. Sometimes I would find absolute gems - like the handmade treasures I found at a small community market outside Lisbon. Then there were times when the over zealous locals would try and convince me that an ashtray was what I needed… Not quite what I was after but I enjoyed the chit chat!   

My quest for the ultimate dip bowls was fueled by my love of making dips – and of course eating them! If the right ingredients are used, they can be a delicious and healthy snack or a simple dish to enjoy with friends. Dips are the ultimate sharing food. I might be a little bias but I find that something special happens when you serve up dip. It is the same feeling when you pop open a bottle of bubbles – the conversation flows, people laugh and tell tales and just enjoy each others company.  

I have a number of recipes that I have tried out on my friends and family and one day (in the not so distant future) I am planning on launching my very own dip range - Watch this space! For now, whilst I find the time to get things off the ground, I am going to share with you some of my dip recipes. I hope you can get as much enjoyment out of making and eating them as I do. The first one for the files is my Roasted Sweet Potato and Cashews nuts. Enjoy with friends!

Roasted Sweet Potato with Cashews

Makes about 2 small bowls

-          1kg Sweet Potato  
-          Good quality olive oil
-          1 clove garlic
-          A handful of herbs (I use fresh herbs from my garden and the last time I made this recipe I used oregano as my basil was looking a little tired)  
-          Handful of cashew nuts
-          Tsp honey (also possible to use golden syrup)  

  1. Preheat over to 180 degrees
  2. Cut Sweet Potato into small pieces and place on a lined baking tray. Coat with olive oil.
  3. Cut the ends off one garlic clove and place in baking tray with Sweet Potato
  4. Place cashew nuts in the corner of baking dish and drizzle with honey
  5. Roast for approx 20-30mins or until the Sweet Potato pieces are cooked through and golden brown (you may want to add cashew nuts after the Sweet Potato is slightly cooked to avoid the cashew nuts burning)
  6. Once roasted, take out of the oven and let ingredients cool
  7. Get the garlic from the tray and squeeze out the cooked garlic pulp, discard the garlic skin.
  8. Put roasted Sweet Potato, roasted cashews, garlic and herbs into a food processor.
  9. Pulse until blended together
  10. Add olive oil gradually whilst the blender is on low speed (quantity of olive oil will be dependent on how smooth you want the dip. I tend to use a small amount which ensures the dip is chunky and less puréed)
  11. Serve with tasty crackers and some bubbles

Note: For a different flavour take, experiment with adding fresh chili, cumin or tahini to the blending process.

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