Tag Archives: snack

Dips and Tapenades for Drinks, a Picnic or just for Snackin’

The 54th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, these dips sit at the heart of one of my ‘fridge-raid’ suppers where the table overflows with cheese, paté, cold cuts, pies….and dips!

Having friends around for drinks or a picnicky lunch? Dips are always welcome. Here we have a selection of tapenades and dips to tempt the taste buds. Hummus is my favourite , I eat loads of the stuff and the authentic recipe here is bang on! This hummus is rich and creamy but also fresh-tasting because of the lemon juice and the combined flavours of the garlic, dark tahini and chick peas really come through beautifully – the recipe is also really cheap, quick and easy to do. If you like hummus, give this a go.

And then there’s the others – also gorgeous (but hummus has a special place in my heart and stomach, hence the big intro).

The juicy, sweet but piquant sun-dried tomato and basil tapenade and the more earthy, intense olive version both shout with flavours of the Mediterranean. Then, there’s this recipe for guacamole, which combines the luscious creaminess of avocado with a fresh coriander edge and a real kick of chilli. All four dips can be made in advance and in less than half an hour, using a mini food processor for each one and a quick wipe out in between – simple!   In essence, dip into a quick, easy and vast array of flavours – yummy!

What you need…

for the Middle Eastern Hummus

400g can chickpeas in salted water, drained

100ml ice-cold water

4 tablespoons dark tahini

2 cloves garlic, chopped

125g plain yogurt

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Sea salt

Splash olive oil

for the Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Tapenade

200g sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained

A large handful of fresh basil leaves

1 garlic clove, peeled

2 tablespoons olive oil (from the jar of sun dried tomatoes if possible)

50g pine nuts

for the Olive Tapenade

100g pitted black olives, drained

100g pitted green olives, drained

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 anchovies in oil, drained

½ garlic clove, peeled

Black pepper, to taste

for the Guacamole with Coriander

1medium tomato, quartered

1 just-ripe avocado, peeled and roughly chopped

½ fresh green chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped

½ garlic clove, peeled and chopped

A large handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Zest of half a lime, finely grated

A good squeeze lime juice

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

What to do…

Hummus: into your food processor, chuck all of the hummus ingredients except the salt and olive oil. Whizz until smooth. Taste. Season with salt. Whizz. Taste again and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Pour into shallow serving bowls and pop in the fridge (where it will thicken) until you are ready to serve.

To serve, use a spoon to make a slight hollow in the centre of the hummus and pour in a little olive oil.

Sun-dried tomato tapenade: rinse out your food processor and blade. Dry with kitchen paper.  Stick all the ingredients into your food processor. Whizz until smooth. Decant into a serving bowl. Cover with cling film and pop into the fridge until needed.

Olive tapenade: rinse out your food processor and blade. Dry with kitchen paper.  Chuck all the ingredients for the olive tapenade into your processor and whizz until smooth. Decant into a serving bowl. Cover with cling film and pop into the fridge until needed.

Guac: rinse out your food processor and blade.  Dry with kitchen paper. Tip all the ingredients for the guacamole into your processor, marvel at how lovely it is to have such a great gadget and then whizz the ingredients until the consistency is as you would like – rustically chunky, elegantly smooth or something in between! Decant into a serving bowl. Cover with cling film and pop into the fridge until needed.

Serve your wonderful dips with and an assortment of breads, crackers and crudités; some cold, crisp dry white wine and most importantly, a good collection of family and friends. Enjoy!

Inspired by…

Suzanne Husseini, When Suzanne Cooks (thanks Denise) for the hummus and Mary Berry for the others

How easy…

An absolute whizz!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salt Beef (from scratch) Sandwiches

OK, so a recipe for sandwiches!!! However, these do have the wow factor and takes a week to make as I made the salt beef from scratch. You don’t have to do that but I wanted to. John’s mum used to make the most amazing salt beef and I wanted to try and emulate it – it wasn’t quite of the same calibre but it was pretty damned good and tasty enough for me to decide to do it from scratch again. The cut of beef is also dead cheap and will feed a crowd. This sandwich is spectacular – the tangy pickles, the smooth Swiss cheese together with the succulent beef – truly a thing of wonder with a definite nod towards New York delis! Every sense in me immediately demanded a second sandwich…or a third! My kinda sandwich!!!

Serves 6 – 8

What you need…

for the brine

140g soft light brown sugar

175g coarse sea salt

2 teaspoon black peppercorns

½ tablespoon juniper berries

4 cloves

2 bay leaves

4 sprigs of thyme

1.25 litres water

for the beef

1.2kg piece of beef brisket

1 large carrot, chunked

1 onion, peeled and chunked

1 celery stick, chunked

1 leek, chunked

1 bouquet garni

6 garlic cloves

for the sandwiches (quantities depend on how many you’re making)

Sliced bread, buttered

Emmental slices

Pickled cumbers, sliced

for the sweet mustard

½ teaspoon English mustard powder

½ teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard

1 tablespoon runny honey

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

A pinch of salt

What to do…

Put all the ingredients for the brine into a very large saucepan and gradually bring to the boil, stirring to help the sugar and salt dissolve. Once it comes to the boil, let it bubble away for two minutes. Take off the heat and leave to cool completely.

Pierce the meat all over with a skewer. Put it in a large, sterilised plastic box or bucket (something non-reactive) and cover the meat with the brine; it must be totally immersed. Pop a lid on and leave in cold room or fridge for seven days.

Take the beef out of the brine and rinse it, then put it in a pan with the vegetables, bouquet garni and garlic, adding enough cold water to cover. Bring the water to simmering point, then leave to poach REALLY gently for two and a half to three hours. Cook until the meat is completely tender (check with a skewer).

Cut into wafer thin slices.

For each sandwich, butter 2 slices of bread and sandwich together with a slice of Emmental. Heat a griddle pan until hot, then griddle on both sides until the cheese has melted. Meanwhile, chuck all the sweet mustard ingredients into a screw-top jar, pop the lid on and shake like mad. Set aside.

Open up the sandwich and assemble your sandwich – piles of salt beef topped with pickled cucumbers and sweet mustard and then the remaining slice of bread with melted cheese. Squeeze together and tuck in – bloody gorgeous and all of your senses will simply demand another one!

Tip…

This sandwich is great with either hot or cold salt beef.

Inspired by….

A combination of two recipes; one from Diana Henry and the other from Waitrose magazine.

How easy…

Not hard at all – just remember that you’re going to fancy a salt beef sandwich one week before you want to eat it!!!!

 

 

Hot New York Deli Style Pastrami Sandwiches

I’m not really a sandwich kinda girl, but I do hanker for the fabulous ‘Pastrami on Rye’ sandwiches that I indulged in every time I went to New York. That being several years ago now, I sat up very straight when James Martin explained that he was going to show us how to make Hot Paper Bag Sandwiches of Pastrami, Fontina (cheese) and Pickled Cucumber during his Home Comforts series. As ever, I’ve fiddled with the recipe, but the first words out of John’s mouth, were, “Oooh, this is New York on a plate!” And these sandwiches are pretty damned close to what I remember – that wonderful combination of hot pastrami mingling with the slightly sharp yet smooth bite of the mustard, the melted cheese and then the tart cucumber that was masquerading splendidly as gherkin. Wonderful, edgy and given the packaging, slightly rough around the edges – very New York to my mind!

Serves 2

What you need…

Parchment paper

String

75ml cider vinegar or rice wine

25g caster sugar

1 teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon mustard seeds

½ cucumber, thinly sliced

1 small bunch dill, leaves only, roughly chopped

6 thin slices sourdough bread (I know, not rye, but it works really well)

20g-ish butter

1 dessertspoon Dijon mustard

150g pastrami, thinly sliced

200g Jarlsberg/Manchego, sliced

What to do…

Preheat oven to 200°c / 400°f / gas 6.

To make the marinade that’s going to transpose your very British cucumbers into all-out New York-attitude gherkins, bring the cider vinegar to a simmer in a pan with the sugar, salt and mustard seeds, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Pop your cucumber slices into a bowl and pour over the hot vinegar marinade. Stir in the dill and set aside to infuse.

Meanwhile, toast the sourdough slices and spread with butter. For each of the two sandwiches that you are making, take one slice and spread with mustard, then top with pastrami, then cheese, then the cucumber. Top with another slice of toast and then repeat the layers: mustard, pastrami, cheese, cucumber and then finish off with another slice of toast, but this time, butter side down.

That’s one sandwich done; do the same for the other.

Wrap each sandwich in a large sheet of parchment paper and secure with string. Pop both of your sandwich parcels into the oven and bake for 15 minutes until they are piping hot – enjoy the fabulous aroma emanating from your oven!

Then, it’s present-opening time: snip the string with scissors and unwrap your Hot New York Deli Style Pastrami Sandwiches. OMG – just OMG – simply fab.

Inspired by…

James Martin, Home Comforts

How easy…

More than you would normally do just for a sandwich but then again….they’re so much more than just a sandwich! Very worth it!

Tomato and Ricotta Tart

Colourful, light and really tasty, you can throw this tart together in minutes for a really lovely light lunch, starter or tasty snack when you’ve had enough indulging in really rich food. Very lovely. Enjoy!

Serves 4

 What you need…

 15g butter

2 red onions, halved and sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

500g puff pastry

100g ricotta

250g cherry tomatoes, halved

Olive oil for drizzling

A few fresh thyme sprigs, leaves picked

What to do…

Preheat oven to 200°c / 400° / gas 7.

Melt the butter in a pan, add the onions, season and cook gently for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the puff pastry to about 5mm thick. Transfer to a baking tray that has been slightly warmed in the oven but isn’t too hot to handle! Spread over the onion and garlic mix, leaving a 1cm border uncovered. Dollop on the ricotta, scatter over the tomatoes, season well and then drizzle over olive oil, sprinkle with thyme and then pop in the oven for 20 minutes or until the pastry is puffed and golden and the tomatoes are soft and juicy.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly for 5 minutes. Serve your tomato and ricotta tart as a ‘rough cut and share’ snack or starter.

Tip…

Instead of peeling and crushing garlic cloves, use Cooks’ Ingredients frozen, chopped garlic from Waitrose – a quick shake directly into the pan is so much easier!

Goats cheese and olives are a nice alternative to the ricotta.

Inspired by…

Delicious magazine (from a long time ago)

How easy…

Dead easy providing you assemble on the baking tray – the original instructions suggested assembling on your work surface and then transferring to an oven hot baking tray – this required me, my cousin and her husband-to-be to achieved. It’s much easier my way and tastes great!