Bored of hummus? Three dips for Christmas parties

Date:05-12-2013 08:58:17 read:1

Bored of hummus? Three dips for Christmas parties

Ditch shop-bought tubs and make your own dips this Christmas - it couldn't be easier

Feeling dippy: from top, clockwise, Katriona's beetroot and walnut dip, butter bean dip and smoky squash dip Photo: Andrew Crowley

‘Tis the season of the drinks party and, alongside the full glasses, there will be brimming bowls of crisps and their much-loved partner, dips. Last year we managed to dunk our way through 12,000 tonnes of hummus alone, which is quite an achievement for a nation that only stocked garlic in specialist shops until the middle of the last century.

The array of colours and flavours that line the shelves simply for us to dunk fried potato into is pretty staggering, as anyone who has stood for more than a minute in the dips aisle of a large supermarket, eyes crossing at the endless subdivided tubs, will know. As we cram in parties throughout December, most of us will get the opportunity to try an unusual number of them.

None of those from a shop though are as good as what you can make at home, given an hour and a food processor. They’re not only bright and vibrant but pack a flavourful punch which will definitely generate a question or two about where you bought them.

These recipes are pretty flexible. If you have time to roast the beetroot from scratch it’s really worth the extra effort, and you can play around with different nuts and seeds. Pistachios in place of the walnuts, for instance, sunflower seeds instead of pumpkin, or a handful of toasted almonds thrown into the butternut mixture.

Beetroot and walnut dip

400g pre–cooked beetroot (not in vinegar)

Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 tsp cumin

100g walnuts

Handful chopped dill

100ml natural yoghurt

50ml olive oil

Pre heat the oven to 190C / gas mark 5 and toast the walnuts on a baking tray for 8-10 minutes until just golden. Blitz in a food processor until finely chopped and tip out into a bowl.

Drain any liquid from the beetroot, roughly chop and put into the food processor with the cumin, dill, lemon juice and yoghurt. Blitz for a minute until just smooth before pouring in the olive oil with the processor running. Add the walnuts and some seasoning, blitz again to combine everything and serve.

Smoky squash, red pepper and garlic dip

1 small butternut squash

2 large red peppers (either fresh or ready roasted from a jar)

4 cloves garlic

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp chilli powder

Ssplash of red or white wine vinegar

100ml olive oil (or 50ml olive and 50ml rapeseed oil)

Preheat the oven to 190 / gas mark 5.

Peel the butternut squash and chop into large chunks, discarding the seeds. Roast on a baking tray with the whole garlic cloves (still in their skins) and a little olive oil for 25 minutes, until soft enough to mash with the back of a fork.

If you’re using fresh peppers, roast these whole alongside the squash and as soon as they come out of the oven, seal in a freezer bag. Leave them to cool in the bag before peeling, discarding the seeds.

Squeeze the roast garlic out of its skin and put in a food processor with the squash, peppers, smoked paprika and chilli powder. Process until amalgamated but not completely smooth (it’s good with a bit of texture), and slowly pour in the olive oil with the motor running. Add the vinegar and some salt and pepper, and give it a final mix before serving.

Butterbean and pumpkin seed recipe

1 x 400g tin butterbeans

25g pumpkin seeds

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp paprika

1 tbsp tahini

Juice of half a lemon

100ml olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200 C/ gas mark 5.

Toast the pumpkin seeds on a baking tray for 8-10 minutes until just golden.

Drain the butterbeans, keeping the liquid. Place them in the bowl of a food processor with the cumin, paprika, tahini, lemon juice and olive oil and blitz until a rough hummus texture. If the dip is too thick, add a little of the reserved chickpea liquid and whizz again.

Taste and add salt and pepper as needed, along with the toasted pumpkin seeds, keeping a few back to sprinkle on top. Turn on the motor for a final 10 seconds to break up and incorporate the seeds, and serve.

Tips on chips

To make pitta bread chips like those pictured, open a few pitta breads out like a butterfly and cut into triangles. Put them on a large baking tray with plenty of olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss together really well so that all of the triangles have a dousing of oil and seasoning, then bake at 180 C / gas mark 4 for 15 minutes, checking every few minutes and shaking the tin so that they bake evenly.

    Ever For Health Copy Rights 2013