Sometimes, the co-op has some really good deals. Last week, they were selling lots of red peppers greatly reduced, so I made this. It is great as a dip along with hummus, and served with flat bread. It is a traditional dish, and there are loads of recipes online, twisting up the flavour in different ways. I’ve added a few suggestions of alternatives in brackets. The basic ingredients are red peppers, garlic and walnuts.
- 5 red peppers
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 8 cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1/2 tsp chilli flakes (you can increase this quite a bit, according to taste, use a mild pepper such as pul biber, or Aleppo chilli flakes))
- (I have also made this by adding a couple of fresh hot chilli peppers to the roasting stage)
- (You can add toasted breadcrumbs too)
- (1 tsp cumin)
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- (you can use a pinch of powdered sumac instead of the vinegar or lemon juice)
- (you could use pomegranate molasses and/or lemon juice instead of vinegar)
- 60g walnuts (you can toast the walnuts first)
- Pre-heat the oven to 220C
- Quarter the peppers, remove the stalks and seeds, and mix with the oil. Spread them out on a baking sheet, skin side up and put them in the oven for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, spread the walnuts out on another baking sheet, and pop them in the oven for around 10 minutes. Set them aside to cool.
- Once the peppers have been in for 15 minutes, add the garlic cloves and pop them back into the oven for another 15 minutes. The peppers should look charred, and the garlic should be soft.
- Put the peppers in a food processer with all of your other ingredients and blitz to form a rough paste. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
You can make this as smooth as you like, I like it slightly rough. Some people remove the skin from the roasted peppers, and make a smoother paste.
I made this dip from Ottolenghi’s book, Jerusalem. We had it as part of a meal that included a hot bean and leek dish, some salmon, and bread. This was the best bit. The spices I got mail order from Seasoned Pioneers.
- 2 medium beetroot, about the size of a tennis ball
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 small hot red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- 250g Greek-style yoghurt
- 1.5 tbsp date syrup
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 level tsp salt
- 1 tbsp za’atar spice mix
- 2 spring onions
- 15g toasted hazelnuts, roughly crushed.
- 60g soft goat’s cheese or sheep’s cheese, crumbled.
- Wash the beetroot, and cook without peeling. I boil them in water for an hour, but you can also bake them for an hour in the oven.
- Once they are cooked and cooled, peel them and chop them roughly.
- Put the garlic, beetroot, chilli and yoghurt in a blender, and puree. I used a soup wand to do this.
- Mix in the date syrup, salt, olive oil and Za’atar.
- Transfer the mixture to a serving dish, and garnish with chopped spring onions, goats cheese and toasted hazelnuts. A drizzle of olive oil is good as well.
This is best served at room temperature, with bread.
Sorry about the wee hiatus – keep having many things to do. This is an astonishing mix of flavours and textures, and I was raving about it at work. Clair – this is the recipe I was talking about. It is from ‘Simple’ by Yotam Ottolenghi. Even better, it uses lots of ingredients from my garden.
- 60ml olive oil
- 50g flaked almonds
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
- 500g chard leaves – roughly shred the green leaves, and finely chop the stems
- 150g spinach, roughly shredded
- 1 tsp grated lime zest
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 35g chopped mint
- 35g chopped dill, or 3 tsp dried dill leaves.
- 8 spring onions, chopped into 1 cm pieces
- In a frying pan, put in half the oil, heat to medium, and then add the almonds and the paprika. Fry for 2-3 minutes, until the almonds are golden brown. Remove them from the heat, and strain the oil from the almonds, which should be set aside in a bowl.
- In a large pan, heat the remaining oil over medium to high heat. When it is hot, add the crushed garlic and the caraway, and cook for a a couple of minutes until they start to sizzle and brown.
- Add the tomatoes and chard, and 3/4 tsp salt, and stir. The pan will look very full. Cover the pan, and cook for around 20 minutes, stirring every so often. If you are using dried herbs, add them at this step.
- Remove from the heat, and stir in the spinach, lime juice and zest, herbs and spring onions.
- Serve with the almonds sprinkled on to.
I successfully reheated this the next day, although it did wilt the spinach a bit too much. I ate it with pitta bread and labneh.