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Posts Tagged ‘homemade dips’

I adore taramosalata.

I’ve always made a version with potatoes instead of breadcrumbs, but my original recipe makes an enormous quantity – far more than should be eaten at the one time.  And that’s  the problem with taramosalata – it’s hard to stop eating it until it’s all gone.

Over the years I’ve fiddled with the recipe, reducing the added oil as much as I can without compromising the flavour too much.  I’ve also increased the lemon juice, as I find the acidity helps cut through the richness of the fish roe.

These days I make a small batch of taramosalata, just for me.  It’s the right amount to satisfy a craving!

  • 1 large white-fleshed potato
  • 50g tarama paste (roe)
  • 2 tablespoons (8 teaspoons) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • ½ small white onion, chopped
  • Boiling water

1. Peel the potato, cut it into chunks and microwave until tender (this should only take a few minutes).

2.  In the small bowl of the food processor, blitz together the onion, tarama paste, lemon juice, white vinegar and olive oil.  Pulse until relatively smooth.

3. Add the potato chunks, a few at a time, adding a little boiling water as you go, pulsing to combine. Add the rest of the potatoes and as much boiling water as needed to ensure the finished dip is smooth and quite runny – it will firm up a little in the fridge.  The amount of water needed will depend on the type of potato you use – some absorb more liquid than others.

Note: the original recipe used twice as much olive oil as water, which definitely made for a more luscious dip!  These quantities make approximately a cup and a half of taramosalata.

PS. For all the folks who have asked below, here’s what the tarama roe looks like. Over here, it’s usually available at Greek or Continental delis…

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I’m still having a blast with  my new food processor!

Here’s our lime and almond cake, which Pete has now declared to be the best non-chocolate cake I’ve ever made, baked in a Wilton Queen of Hearts bundt pan.  The icing was decorated with lime zest…

We were off to the markets and needed something quick and easy to feed the stall holders, so I tried baking a very basic chocolate pound cake in a roasting tray to see if we could turn it into a slab cake.  It worked a treat!  We took some to the markets and our sons demolished the rest while we were out…

This simple and unpretentious chocolate cake is made special by its icing. I love that the pound cake recipe is so easy that I can make them from memory – even when I mess about with the ingredients!  The instructions are here

  • 250g (8oz) unsalted butter
  • 185g (6oz) self-raising flour
  • 65g (2oz) sifted Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 250g (8oz) castor (superfine) sugar
  • 4 large (59g) free range eggs

The batter was baked in a 23cm x 33cm (9″ x 13″) parchment lined pan in a preheated 160C (320F) fan-forced oven for 30 minutes, then topped with icing while still warm and popped into the fridge to set.  Allow the cake to come back to room temperature before serving.  To make the icing, stir and melt the following ingredients together in a double boiler..

  • 100g (33/4oz) dark chocolate callets, or finely chopped chocolate
  • 100g (33/4oz) unsalted butter
  • 100g (33/4oz) icing sugar, sifted (it’s important to sift, or you’ll get lumpy icing)
  • 60ml (¼ cup) milk

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Making hot chocolate mix in the old food processor used to be hard work, but our new Magimix blitzed it up in record time.  I made two kilos (a double batch) using our favourite recipe

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A dollar’s worth of dried chick peas was turned into a large vat of Syrian hommus.  We ate a little of it for lunch, with pita bread and grilled eggplant…

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And finally, using the small bowl and blade of the Magimix, I turned the last of our cayenne chillies…

…and a few of the bishops’ crown chillies…

…plus a handful of spearmint…

…into a small jar of harissa. I’ve been smearing it on toast for breakfast!

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I find it hard to resist a bargain (the avocado doesn’t fall far from the tree), so when I saw these enormous cans of chickpeas on sale at Harkola a few months ago, I had to buy one.  From memory, we paid a tiny $3.50 for this 3.2kg can!

Of course, actually opening a can this size is quite a commitment, so it sat in our pantry for quite a while.  I finally opened it on the weekend, to find large, tender chick peas of great quality.  I froze four portions in ziplock bags for future soups and stews, left some in the fridge for more immediate use, and turned the rest into hommus.

The recipe I now use for hommus was inspired by an episode of Barry Vera’s Feast Bazaar.  It’s a very light and low fat dip, as opposed to most commercial versions on the market today.  That’s because the puree is loosened with hot water rather than oil, resulting in a silky, almost fluffy paste. I didn’t  measure the quantities for this, as we adjust the recipe each time for taste and texture.

Rinse and drain the chick peas, then load them into the bowl of a large food processor with a clove or two of coarsely chopped garlic. Turn the machine on, then add hot or boiling water slowly through the chute until the mixture blends to an almost smooth paste (photo below).

Now add a few tablespoons of tahini paste (we prefer the Lebanese version),  the juice of one or two lemons, a little extra virgin olive oil, and salt to taste, then blend again until well combined.  The original version didn’t add olive oil, but we quite like the flavour, so we add just a little bit to ours.  Do keep tasting as you go, adjusting seasoning and ingredients to your own personal preference.

This recipe works well with tinned chickpeas, but absolutely brilliantly with dried ones that have been soaked overnight and boiled for a couple of hours.  The latter will produce a very smooth and silky hommus, as the freshly cooked chickpeas are softer and blend more readily than their canned counterparts.

The original Barry Vera recipe recommended serving the hommus spread thickly onto a plate and topped with slices of pan-fried, sumac-coated lamb fillet.  We usually just eat it with sourdough baguettes!

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