Archive for pesto

A: Hip dips

Posted in Vegetables with tags , , , , , , on November 2, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

Attended a Moroccan-themed dinner last night, where I was asked to make pre-meal munchies and dessert (2 of my favourite courses in terms of preparation time and effort!). I know it’s trite and a little retro, but a platter of colourful dips still sets the scene at a party as far as I’m concerned. It’s a definitive fingerfood, fuss-free, mess-free and possibly healthy! Also, it looks rather pretty. 🙂

From left: Roasted capsicum dip, olive tapanade, basil dip

R and GFM came over last Sunday for a roast-off, and we were able to chargrill all 30 of the red capsicums we had purchased at the wholesale market. Working like a well-oiled machine, our mini production line was able to roast and peel all of the capsicums before sunset, enjoying a cocktail or 3 in between!

Black is back! Putting the char in char grill.

Black is back! Putting the char in char grill.

Messy work, but very worthwhile as our fingertips numb from the heat of the steaming hot capsicums!

Messy work, but very worthwhile as our fingertips numb from the heat of the steaming hot capsicums!

Food for the gods!

Who would have thought burning the crap out of a vegetable could produce such a lush result!

We ended up with 4l worth of roasted capsicums. Not bad for a day’s work, and this set the scene for my first Moroccan-style dip.

Roasted capsicum dip

Ingredients:

3 roasted and peeled red capsicums

250g cream cheese, at room temperature

This fiery paste is potent! Use sparingly and taste as you go. Seriously.

This fiery paste is potent! Use sparingly and taste as you go. Seriously.

1/2 tsp harissa

2 heaped tsp Ras El Hanout (blends vary from brand to brand, so smell it out and add a little at a time)

Method:

Combine all your ingredients and blitz in a food processor or blender. Season generously, adjusting spices as you please!

I make this next dip quite a bit, for no reason apart from the fact that it’s really, really easy and tastes great!

3-Olive Tapanade

Ingredients:

150g pitted kalamata olives

150g pitted black spanish

200g pitted green olives

3 heaped tbsp chopped parsley

1 tbsp rinsed capers

Enough extra virgin olive oil to lubricate

Method:

Combine ingredients and blitz! Season with lots of pepper and extra parsley to balance out the saltiness with some fresh herby goodness.

Leftover tapanade is really nice stirred into steamed rice to make olive-rice. I had this once at a Chinese restaurant of all places, and now will always make more tapanade than I need for this purpose.

Basil dip

This one is courtesy of the pesto that I made previously. All I did here was add 2 heaped tablespoons of roasted pinenuts and more extra virgin olive oil to 4 heaped tablespoons of pesto, and voila!

The night was a roaring success- homemade dips, beautifully cooked lamb tagine, chickpeas, paella, cocktails and great company. Just perfect!

A: Hey pesto!

Posted in Vegetables with tags , on November 2, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

Am quietly diminishing the rest of my wholesale market glut and decided to use the ridiculously massive bag of basil to make the obvious- pesto!

I consulted the all-knowing Silver Spoon for a recipe and was surprised to find that the pesto featured there contained only basil, Parmesan, garlic and olive oil. No pinenuts! Seeing how this is indeed the sagely and wise Italian cooking bible, I opted to follow suit and create a nut-free pesto this time around.

Basically, I used 4 garlic cloves for a blender-full of basil (my blender has a 1.5l capacity), 2 healthy pinches of salt, lots of pepper and enough extra virgin olive oil to lubricate the mix. Then I added in the cheese 1 heaped tablespoon at a time, tasting as I went. So I can’t really say for sure how much of what went into the mix, it’s really a taste as you go sort of ritual, as are most sauce/dip-making pursuits.

The pesto was really, really vibrant. A beautifully luminous green and smelt like summer in a jar. I packed it into an old mustard pot and poured a generous layer of olive oil over the top. This should keep for about a week in the fridge, though I doubt it will last that long!

Waste nothing!

Blenders have certainly come a long way from the rickety over-heating Kenwood mum had when I was growing up. This one looks like it stepped straight out of a sci-fi movie and I simply love it!