Do it your­self food

Great dips for sum­mer

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Contents - WORDS KRISTINA JENSEN

Some peo­ple talk about this be­ing the Dig­i­tal Age or the New Me­dia Age. If you're a par­ent try­ing to nav­i­gate through ipads, smart­phones, gam­ing teenagers and Face­book-ob­sessed tweens, it's more like the Dark Age of Tech­nol­ogy.

I call it the Age of Dips. Every time I go into a su­per­mar­ket, which is not very of­ten as we live nearly three hours from the clos­est one, it seems that the range has ex­panded yet again.

What is it about dips that has us hooked? Is it that no-one will look at you dis­parag­ingly when you're eat­ing dip? Many of the dips now on the mar­ket con­tain veg­eta­bles and/or legumes and that's got to be good, right?

Do you love dips as a great in­be­tween-meals snack? Maybe it's the joy of eat­ing with your fin­gers? What­ever the rea­son, we are now a na­tion of dip­pers.

I used to do my re­search for writ­ing in the li­brary. Now I do it on­line and every time I learn SO much. For ex­am­ple, I dis­cov­ered that if some­one tells you to 'buy the dips', they are not ask­ing you to stock up on hum­mus and babaganoush. In­stead, you should fo­cus on pur­chas­ing stocks fol­low­ing a de­cline in prices.

If you're into de­vel­op­ing your tri­ceps, a few dips on the bars won't go amiss.

'Dip­ping' is a term for chew­ing to­bacco. One reviewer of that kind of 'dip' said it was like a ro­dent had ex­ploded in his mouth. I'll stick with cu­cum­ber and mint tzatziki.

The dips I have in­cluded here are stal­wart fam­ily favourites, all gluten and dairy-free, and even ve­gan.

Along with the rise in dip flavours, tex­tures and in­no­va­tive lay­er­ing, there are more dairy and gluten-free peo­ple about the days. While th­ese two ob­ser­va­tions may not nec­es­sar­ily be linked, hav­ing dairy-free and gluten-free op­tions up your sleeve is a win­ner when it comes to pot luck din­ners and com­mu­nity events.

When I was a kid – I've just turned 50 so for me it's the 1960s – dips were al­ways ac­com­pa­nied by car­rot, cel­ery and cu­cum­ber sticks. I can't re­call the first time I ate potato chips, but lo and be­hold, one finds an in­crease in the va­ri­ety of chips run­ning par­al­lel to the ex­po­nen­tial growth of dips. Where there are dips, there are chips.

I've also been wit­ness to the birth of a dip and pos­si­bly a dip man­u­fac­tur­ing em­pire when my hus­band and I lived in Auck­land, back in the early 1990s. Our flat­mate Dun­can worked at the Ceres Or­gan­ics store and one day a woman called Lisa came in with a tomato-based dip that she thought the store might like to stock. Liv­ing with Dun­can was quite ad­van­ta­geous be­cause he got to bring home per­ish­able items, and we were treated to quite a bit of Lisa's dip. I'm not sure if this Lisa is the same one whose name is now on hum­mus and dip con­tain­ers in every New Zealand su­per­mar­ket, but I like to think it was and that I was per­haps party to a whole new dip busi­ness with­out know­ing it.

Thanks to which­ever Lisa it was for in­spir­ing the mediter­ranean magic dip recipe (see page 59) all those years ago. It's not ex­actly the same, but it's pretty close.

Dips are the per­fect condi­ments to ex­per­i­ment with over sum­mer, es­pe­cially a pic­nic or a fin­ger food-only af­fair. Dips are sur­pris­ingly fill­ing and nu­tri­tious when made with whole­some nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents, and they can trans­form any veg­etable stick, plain cracker or chip into a de­li­ciously sat­is­fy­ing culi­nary treat, no cut­lery re­quired.

It might seem eas­ier to sim­ply go and buy them at the su­per­mar­ket. But for me – not with­stand­ing the huge dis­tance I'd have to travel to pro­cure store-bought dips – it's much more fun to cre­ate my own dips at home with what I have at hand, to get some­thing truly de­li­cious.

I think I was wit­ness to a dip man­u­fac­tur­ing em­pire run by a woman named Lisa

Roasted parsnip & car­rot dip This recipe makes 350-400g of dip, ve­gan, dairy and gluten-free. In­gre­di­ents

1 medium-sized parsnip 2 large car­rots 2 tbsp olive oil 2 cloves gar­lic, roughly chopped 1 tsp cumin seeds Hand­ful of co­rian­der or rocket 3 tbsp lemon juice ¼ tsp black pep­per ½ tsp salt Chilli pow­der, op­tional Ex­tra olive oil

Method

Chop the parsnip and car­rots into small chunks and place in an oven-proof dish. Pour over the olive oil, add the gar­lic and cumin seeds, toss to­gether to coat in oil and roast for 20-30 min­utes at 180°C un­til ten­der. Place into a small food pro­ces­sor (or use a stick mixer) and add a small hand­ful of fresh co­rian­der and/ or rocket, freshly squeezed lemon juice, black pep­per and salt, and you can add a pinch of chilli pow­der if you like a bit of spice, then blitz. Driz­zle in a bit more olive oil while pro­cess­ing un­til you have the con­sis­tency you want.

Mediter­ranean magic dip This takes a bit of work but is to­tally worth it, and you get 350-400g of dip. In­gre­di­ents

1 cup sun-dried toma­toes in oil 100g sliced mush­rooms 1 tsp gar­lic, chopped 1 char-grilled red or yel­low cap­sicum 1 tsp minced gar­lic 6 fresh basil leaves 2 tbsp fresh oregano ¼ cup roasted cashew pieces ¼ cup of oil from toma­toes salt and freshly ground pep­per to taste

Method

Drain off the oil from your sun-dried toma­toes and put it aside to use later. Fry up the mush­rooms with the chopped gar­lic in oil un­til soft. Roast the cashew pieces. To char-grill a cap­sicum, cut it into quar­ters and re­move the seeds and mem­branes. Place on an oven tray, skin side up. Roast in a pre­heated oven un­til the skin blis­ters and turns black. Re­move from the oven and place in a plas­tic con­tainer to sweat. When cool, peel away the skin. Put all the in­gre­di­ents into a food pro­ces­sor and blitz or mix us­ing a stick mixer un­til you have the de­sired con­sis­tency.

Kale & cashew bean dip Makes, 350-400g, ve­gan, and dairy and gluten-free. In­gre­di­ents

½ cup roasted cashew pieces 1 can white beans 4 leaves fresh kale, stripped off the stalks 1 small hand­ful of basil, mint or co­rian­der 2 gar­lic cloves 100ml ex­tra vir­gin, cold-pressed olive

or grape­seed oil 1 tbsp ap­ple cider vine­gar salt and freshly ground und pep­per to taste

method

Mix all in­gre­di­ents to­gether in a food pro­ces­sor (or use a stick mixer) ) and blitz un­til smooth.

Green party ty dip Makes 350-400g In­gre­di­ents

4 large gherkins 1 cup packed mint, pars­ley and dill 3 hard-boiled eggs 2 gar­lic cloves 1-2 tbsp white wine vine­gar 75ml ex­tra vir­gin cold pressed olive salt and freshly ground pep­per to taste

Method

Put all the in­gre­di­ents into a small food pro­ces­sor (or use a stick mixer) and blitz un­til smooth.

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