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]

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Making the most of a buoyant harvest …. watermelon and mint

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Watermelon, mint and basil are all at their peak this month and Nina and Renny Desira who cultivate all sorts of varieties of unusual and common herbs in Zejtun shared many of their methods with me of mint and basil preservation for the winter when they are no longer so abundant. Nina picks fresh mint early in the morning and removes any damaged leaves and tough stems. She rinses the leaves well and pats them dry with a kitchen towel. She then chops them up and places two teaspoons in each compartment of an ice cube tray, tops it off with water and freezes it. When the ice cubes solidify, she stores them in an air tight freezer bag in the freezer and then adds cubes to soups, teas and dressings in the winter.

For the watermelon and feta starter you will need:

Half a watermelon cut up into even slices, deseeded and peeled
300g feta cheese
A handful of mint leaves, a spoonful chopped
Olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice
Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper

A round cutter

Mash up the feta cheese, add some pepper and a spoon of chopped fresh mint. Mix until consistent.

Place in a flat dish and spread to a thickness of 2cm

Use a cutter to cut a round of water melon. Without removing the watermelon disc from the cutter, use the cutter again to cut through a layer of feta cheese. push the watermelon dish out of the cutter gently so that you have two layers, the bottom feta layer topped with a disc of watermelon. Use a squeeze of lemon juice and olive oil as a dressing and garnish the plate with some fancy lettuce leaves.

And i learnt something new during my trip, that these delicate white flowers that we have in our garden are edible garlic chives or Chinese chives [Allium tuberosum, gau choy Chinese 韭菜; Japanese nira]. I will have to find a suitable recipe to try them out!

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