Recipe: Summer dips for sharing outside
Summer dips for sharing outside - from Sharpham cook Janet
Meet up with friends (now that we can) with a colourful flavourful picnic, or even just take your own delicious food and find a place outside for your everyday lunch. Food always tastes so much better outside in nature, where we will often take more time to eat and savour as we linger in the summery bright days.
Dips of all colours are fabulous for dazzling friends or family with their exuberant colour and their rich flavours.
They can be enjoyed in so many ways, with some fresh crudités, or with some interesting crackers, great stuffed in pitta bread with salad leaves, or rolled up in a nori roll with some vegetables and rice.
These are my favourites that I make over and over again and are all so very simple to make.
Carrot and cashew
Begin by soaking a handful of cashew nuts.
Peel and slice the carrots (using organic ones makes a whole lot of difference to the richness of the flavour) and put in a bowl with a little olive oil and cumin seeds.
Stir well so the carrots are all coated, then roast the carrots in a medium to hot oven till tender. Give them a shake every now and again then, when ready, put into a blender with a little lemon juice.
Drain the nuts and add to the carrots with a little seasoning. Add a little extra olive oil if needed or water to make a smooth rich cream.
This can be delicious with soaked sunflower seeds which are then toasted in the oven for 10 minutes adding a splash of tamari at the end.
Serve with a sprinkle of paprika or some toasted cumin seeds.
Beetroot and walnut
This is gorgeous to look at, with such depth of colour and very tasty and satisfying - especially when you have your own grown beetroot or good organic ones.
Boil them whole with skins on for about an hour (depending on size) till they are tender when you put a knife in.
Cool under a tap then the skins just slide off. Cut them into small pieces then with a masher add lemon juice, pressed garlic and a little olive oil till it is a soft chunky blend. If you prefer it smooth then whizz it in a blender.
Toast the walnuts in the oven at 180 for 8 minutes in the oven: watch the clock so you don’t burn them as they go bitter if burnt. Then chop them till quite small and add to the beetroot.
The earthy flavour of the nuts is a perfect companion to the beetroot and is a beautiful dip to look at as well as eat.
It is lovely as a simple clean taste, but adding spices makes it a more deep and flavourful in other ways. I like to add paprika, coriander and a little garam masala. Add a handful of chopped parsley or other summer herb.
Pea and summer herb dip
This is also a simple dip to make and so vibrant with the summer herbs, the bright green dazzling us with its goodness.
This is fabulous with fresh peas or young broad beans, but for a quick and simple option frozen peas are also very tasty.
Cook the peas in salted water till tender, then immediately drain and put in a bowl of cold water to retain their bright colour otherwise they go grey and don’t look as appetising!
Drain again, and then put in a blender with a little garlic, lemon juice, an avocado and lots of chopped fresh herbs. Dill, parsley, rocket, coriander, mint, chervil are all great.
Season and try not to eat it all immediately!
Pictures by Jon Howell and Guy Clarke