Quick Pea and Cashew Dip

QuickPeaandGarlicDip

Quick Pea and Garlic Dip, photography CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show

Peas are associated with comfort food, as a side with cottage pie and lashings of thick mashed potato and  Sunday roasts.  However this dip is light and perfect for the summer.  I combine it with dry roasted cashews for flavour and creaminess and it is a welcome change from chickpea dips, hummus and guacamole.

Should we only eat organic and fresh vegetables? It is very difficult to find good fresh peas all year round and frozen peas prove to be of a high nutritional value and they have usually been harvested when they are ripe at their peak. They are washed, processed and bagged within minutes of being picked and can be beneficial in many ways.    Buy a good brand from a reputable commercial outlet to be sure that they have been transported in transit vans at the right temperature to retain their freshness and flavour, especially in the summer.

‘It is sunny here with a bright blue cloudless sky and everything looks spectacular in June, perfect weather before the intense heat.’

For the pea and cashew dip, you will need:

450g frozen peas
1 large clove garlic
30g grated gbejna cheese or parmesan or use vegan cheese
a pinch of dried marjoram
4 leaves fresh marjoram
4 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons cashew nuts [I use the more economical cashew pieces that come pre-packed]
1/8 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
salt and freshly ground pepper

To finish off: a few leaves of fresh marjoram and olive oil

Boil ample water in a pot and as soon as it starts to boil add the frozen peas and garlic clove and remove from heat. Cover the pan with a lid and leave for 2 minutes and not more to retain the vibrant colour and consistency. Drain the water and place the peas in a food processor or liquidizer. Dry roast the cashew pieces by placing them in a large pan over high heat. Shake the pan and do not allow them to brown but the oils of the nuts start to release and the roasted taste combined with the peas is delicious. Add the rest of the ingredients and puree. You may wish to have a very smooth dip or leave it with some consistency and texture by pulsing the processor and stopping once the cashews have broken down completely. Taste and season. Tip into a bowl and top with some olive oil and fresh marjoram leaves. Serve warm or place in the refrigerator for an hour.

*This recipe is *gluten free * diabetic-friendly  *vegetarian*  
*For a lactose free or vegan dip, omit the cheese or simply use a vegan cheese*

 

Serve with warm pita bread or nut and seed bread. It is great for dipping crudities and also to serve with any finger food. I also like this dip as an accompaniment to grilled meats or fish.

Lea’s Good Food Everyday airs on Smash TV every day and you can also follow the facebook page  

Trade Enquiries:

Frozen Peas and frozen vegetables by Green Isle at Rimus Trading Agency 

Fresh Fruit and Vegetables from Big Fresh Mosta, Oscar’s Fruit and Vegetables Paola and Barbuto [Organic]

Stracciatella Dip

straciatella dip goodfoodeveryday

Stracciatella Dip served with Wellaby’s crisps and crackers, photo taken by Andrea Sacco Baldacchino during a live tv show

‘Stracciatella di Burrata is made from the filling of a burrata cheese, a mix of torn mozzarella and cream and it makes the most wonderful dips.’

You will need:

300g Stracciatella di Burrata
150g tomatoes
2 spring onions
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon fresh chives
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon dried mint
4 sundried tomatoes
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon apple organic vinegar
a pinch of stevia
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Chop finely the tomatoes and spring onions. Prepare all the ingredients and mix them together just before serving.

Amazing flavors and a colourful centrepiece.

Tip: Try making this dip with feta

I use Stracciatella di Burrata by Murghella, vegetables and  fresh herbs by Big Fresh, dried herbs and spices Schwartz, crisps and crackers by Wellaby’s, stevia by Tate & Lyle, sun dried tomatoes by Experia Deli.

Raw Brownie Batter (vegan, lactose and gluten free)

raw brownie batter goodfoodeveryday

To serve with ice cream or just as a dip, raw brownie batter.  This photo was taken during a live tv show by Roger Azzopardi

‘Summer brings an air of celebration on the island.  The bright blue skies and sea all around, the sunshine.  And the short distances make it possible to end nearly every day surrounded by family and friends sharing good food, celebrating.  This is a perfect quick addition to ice creams or simply use as a dip’

You will need:

1 cup tofu (use ricotta for non vegan and lactose inclusive diets)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon agave (you can use honey for non vegan and lactose inclusive diets)
1/2 sweet potato
1 tablespoon finely chopped almonds
vanilla
150g sugar free dark chocolate

Place the sweet potato in the microwave and cook it (timing depends on size and microwave). Allow to cool and peel.

Place the tofu (or ricotta as above), cocoa powder, agave, sweet potato, almonds and vanilla in a large bowl and use a hand held blender to bind and form a consistent mixture. Melt the chocolate in the microwave and add it to the mixture. Mix until the mixture is smooth and consistent. The mixture should be soft enough to have a spreadable consistency. Pipe into bowls and garnish with cherries and M&Ms.

Serve with ice cream or simply as a dip.

Tip: If you have a very sweet tooth, add a tablespoon of Stevia

To dip I use gluten free biscuits by Nutrifree. I also use tofu by Clearspring, almonds, cocoa powder and agave at Good Earth (or ricotta by Zappala), chocolate by Valor, maraschino cherries by 3 leaves, stevia by Tate & Lyle, vanilla by Schwartz and sweet potato by Big Fresh, M&Ms by Xirja, kitchenware by Tescoma, table accessories by Loft.

Minty Favetta dip and Regatta Day

Favetta Dip

Minty Favetta Dip

A public holiday with much celebration, a regatta, Victory Day and and the feast of ‘Marija Bambina

It is hot and humid, very humid and at around 7 pm local time we start to feel a gentle and welcome breeze. I love the heat but the high level of humidity makes the day uncomfortable unless you are enjoying a day at the beach.

My favetta [yellow split beans] dip today is very simple, much lighter than hummus as it contains no tahini but I blend it with plain yoghurt and a generous amount of fresh mint and serve it with yellow and red cherry tomatoes instead of bread. I use skewers, allow one per person, so that tomatoes can be dipped with ease. And with a glass of ice cold white wine this was just perfect.

You will need:
1 tablespoon olive oil , plus some for drizzling
1 small garlic clove, just for flavor, I did not want an overpowering garlic taste
150g favetta beans
60ml plain yoghurt
A handful of fresh mint leaves
a pinch of dried mint
Salt and freshly ground pepper and crushed red peppercorns to season

Soak the favetta in cold water for a couple of hours or overnight in the fridge. Drain the water and rinse.

Cook in plenty water in a pot and if you wish to speed up the cooking process add some bicarbonate of soda, not too much as it will leave an aftertaste, just a generous pinch.

The favetta beans will soften up very quickly and when they reach a mushy stage take them off the heat. I found that I had to add water during the cooking process and it is important not to allow the pan to dry up. The beans absorb a lot of the water and you will not need to strain them again. Allow to cool.

Use a fork to mash them up. I like a bit of texture in the dip and prefer not to use an electic blender for the beans but I do use it to blend the garlic cloves together with the fresh and dry mint, olive oil and yoghurt. Mix with the favetta puree using a metal spoon. Refridgerate for an hour and drizzle with olive oil, garnish with more mint and red pepper corns.

I served with yellow and red cherry tomatoes cut in half and skewers

Regatta Day 2015 #Malta

Regatta Day 2015 #Malta