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]

Hummus bi Tahini using chickpea flour

hummus made with chick pea flour

Hummus made with chickpea flour #goodfoodeveryday as seen on TV

‘from Turkey to Israel, this Middle Eastern dip originates from Egypt and has become the most popular dip in the world today.  

So many versions around but I always follow the Lebanese recipe from my childhood.  The difference in my recipe today is that instead of using chickpeas I use gram flour [chickpea flour or besan] which gives a creamier texture and is so economical and easy to make’

You will need:

  • 1 cup gram flour
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • a pinch of paprika and another pinch for garnish
  • 50ml yoghurt
  • salt and pepper

Add the water to the sifted chickpea flour and use a hand whisk to mix.  Place in a saucepan over very low heat and keep whisking so that you have a smooth texture with no lumps.  Keep adding water if necessary.  There is no magic formula for this recipe and I found that absorption of liquids depends on the freshness of the flour and the humidity in the environment.  Keep stirring and bring it to a boil.  It will thicken but you do not want a very stiff texture.  Add more water and stir.

Remove from heat and completely cool down.  It will set to a jelly-like texture.

Once completely cool, and you can store this in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week, place the mixture in a food processor or use a hand held blender.  Add all the remaining ingredient.  Blend until you get a very smooth puree and if necessary add more water.  There is no need to add more oil or more tahini.  The texture should be thick and creamy.

Transfer to a container and refrigerate for an hour.  Add a few drops of olive oil just before serving with pitta bread, water biscuits and vegetable crudites.

‘It is also delicious with grilled meats.’

Lea’s Good Food Everyday airs on Smash TV everyday and you can follow on facebook

Trade EnquiriesGood Earth

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

Quick Dips

My dips on tv this week:

Artichoke dips goodfoodeveryday.jpg

Warm Artichoke and Spinach Dip using 3 leaves ingredients with home made herb croutons.  Photo CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show, tableware Loft in Naxxar

For the warm artichoke dip you will need:

1 cup grated cheese [ I used a mix of parmegiano reggiano and mature edam]
1 cup frozen spinach
1 cup canned artichoke hearts
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup cream cheese or mascarpone
salt and pepper as desired

Preheat the oven to 180C.
Place all the ingredients in a bowl. Use a fork to mix then lightly break down the ingredients and mix again until the mixture appears consistent. Place in an ovenproof dish and heat up in the oven for 20 minutes. Serve hot or cold with croutons, baked sweet potato crisps and fresh vegetables.

tuna-dip-good-food-everyday

Tuna and sweetcorn dip with smoked paprika using 3 leaves ingredients served with baked sweet potato crisps.  Photo taken during a live tv show by CJ Baldacchino.  Tableware Loft in Naxxar, table covering Deyma Shop Gzira

For the tuna dip you will need:

1/3 cup tuna fish
1/3 cup sweetcorn
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon dried herbs of your choice
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
salt and pepper to season as desired

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and use a fork to lightly break down the ingredients.  Place the mixture in a serving bowl and garnish with a sprinkling of smoked paprika and some more tuna chunks and sweet corn.  Serve with a variety of fresh vegetables, croutons and sweet baked potato chips.

And here are some shortcuts for dips made in minutes .

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Got people coming round for drinks? Here are 8 quick home made dips to serve with galetti, fresh bread or vegetable crudités, or even as a topping for burgers or meats of your choice. Whizz the ingredients listed for each of these quick dips in a blender and they are ready in a matter of minutes; refrigerate for an hour before serving.

Quick guacamole dip [vegan]

1 avocado, mashed
1 tbsp lemon juice
Small clove garlic
¼ tsp chilli flakes
Salt
1 tbsp plain coconut milk

Quick Cheesy Dip

50 g Pecorino
100 g cream cheese
1 tsp chutney
¼ onion finely chopped

Quick Creamy Herb Dip

1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil or mint
100 g cream cheese
2 tbsp plain yoghurt

Quick Curry Dip

100 g mayonnaise
½ tablespoon curry powder
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp yoghurt
1 tbsp chopped sultanas

Quick Smoked Ricotta Dip

150 g ricotta, mashed
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp olive oil

Quick Cucumber Yoghurt Dip

½ cucumber, grated
Zest of ½ lemon
200 g plain yoghurt
Fresh ground pepper

Quick Chickpea Dip  [vegan]

1 can chickpeas, drained and mashed [remember to keep the liquid/aquafaba – it also freezes well]
8 tbsp almond milk
2 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon juice

Quick Olive Dip [vegan]

200 g tofu, mashed
75 g olives of your choice, finely chopped
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tbsp fresh parsley
1 tbsp olive oil
Freshly ground pepper

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

Trade Enquiries:

Integrale Olive oil by Costa D’Oro and Artichokes, tuna fish, olives by 3 leaves, all at J Calleja Ltd

Tofu, spices and dried herbs by Good Earth

Fresh vegetables by Big Fresh in Mosta, Oscar’s Fruit and Vegetables in Paola and Barbuto [organic]

 

Chickpeanut dip with freshly pressed olive oil

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After years of living in the Middle East, i feel that the authentic hummus bi tahini is the only dip that qualifies to be called hummus in my book. A few mashed chickpeas are not hummus and i have even seen dips that look more like guacamole referred to as hummus, simply because chickpeas happen to be an ingredient. An injustice to the queen of dips.

You may be curious about the platter and use of local ingredients. You can see my chickpeanut dip, then going clockwise, fresly cut raw french beans and cucumber in a glass, bambinella fresh arugula from our garden, the Mayor’s capers from his village, vine tomatoes and fresh sodt goats cheese, olives and similar to water crackers are the local galletti and these are flavored with sea salt amd cracked pepper.

But i do love to mix chickpeas in a variety of dips. The have the right consistency to bind other ingredients together without imparting a strong flavor. And i particularly love this one which I am preparing for a light lunch today with iced teas and a bit of sunshine. For some reason this year at the end of July, the weather is still extremely pleasant, not uncomfortably hot.

And for the Chickpeanut dip you will need :

1/2 cup unsalted peanuts (soaked in water for 2 hours)
1/2 cup cooked or canned chickpeas
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon paprika
1 small garlic clove
1/4 cup water
extra virigin olive oil and I am lucky to have one pressed this week from olives in oir garden
Sea salt

[If you are using dried chickpeas, the first thing you have to do is soak them. Place chickpeas in a large bowl and cover completely with cold water. Allow to soak overnight, about 12 hours. A teaspoon of baking soda can be added to help soften them up and it does not change their nutritional value. Drain and transfer to a large cooking pot, cover with water twice the amount of chickpeas and bring to a boil. Cover and allow to simmer for approximately one hour. Do a taste test at this point to make sure they are tender enough for your liking. Once chickpeas are cooled they are ready to be used]

Otherwise use canned chickpeas!

Drain the chickpeas and peanuts. Place all ingredients with the exception of olive oil in a food processor and blend. i have left mine with bits in it today, not completely smooth, more texture. Season according to taste. Add some virgin olive oil until the consistency is right for you. Everyone has their own preferences and there is no right or wromg, just as you prefer. I do love the peanut flavor with the fresh vegetables.

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A smooth and spicy guacamole dip …

Still in a mood where I want to see vibrant colors in my food to compliment the holidays, I made a guacamole dip yesterday. As long as the avocados are ripe and you squeeze lime juice straight away to prevent it from loosing its color, you cannot ever go wrong with this dip. I usually like mine with chunks in it, more texture, but my avocados were very soft and I used a hand held blender to get a smooth consistency.

You will need :

2 ripe Avocados , peeled and quartered
2 small fresh limes, squeezed
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon chili flakes, adjust according to your taste, we like our spicy
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 small garlic clove
A pinch of ground coriander
Sea Salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pinch of sugar, optional

Place all ingredients into a bowl. I used a hand held blender to make a smooth paste. Adjust seasoning. Place in bowls to serve and I sprinkled more chili flakes and it looks beautiful and vibrant !
Refrigerate in a covered container. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

I like serving my guacamole with tacos and lots of fresh carrot batons and celery sticks …

Another sunny winter’s day