Side Dishes & Sauces

Muhammara Dip (Red Capsicum and Walnut Dip)

 

Muhammara Dip RecipeOriginally a Syrian recipe, this Muhammara Dip (red capsicum and walnut) is often found as part of a meze platter.  My friend Marie introduced me to this heavenly concoction and I instantly begged her for the recipe. I’ve played around with the recipe a bit (I can’t bloody help myself) and the result is this creamy red capsicum dip, with a hint of tartness and sweetness from the pomegranate molasses. If you like hummus, get cracking and make this, it is, if I do say so myself, phenomenal, and it’s wayyyyyy nicer than any hummus I’ve tried.  It’s so good, I’ve made three batches of this in just over a week (!) and we are having it with everything:   It goes beautifully with my morning poached eggs on toast, mixed in with yogurt as a creamy salad dressing, as a side sauce with roast veges, it’s also amazeballs with BBQ chicken. Oh, and it’s shit-hot in sandwiches in the place of mayo or sugar-laden relishes and chutneys.   

I’ve made my Muhammara dip in my Nutribullet, and it works perfectly. You can, of course, use a food processor (I try to avoid using mine as much as possible because I’m lazy: I detest washing it up and putting it away in the cupboard!).  Having looked at some other versions of the recipe online, I’ve noted the more traditional methods of making this dip is actually in a mortar and pestle, so the result is a dip that’s got a coarse, pesto-like, consistency. Yum, I’ll give this more authentic method a bash at some stage.

Note, If you don’t have pomegranate molasses – don’t fret, just leave it out, it’s not a deal breaker. In fact, I only just included pomegranate molasses in my latest batch as I only just made a trip to Vetro to get some more.  Up until then I’d added a couple of dates for sweetness and a half teaspoon of balsamic vinegar in an attempt to get the sweet/tart hit (it worked well and I high-fived myself on my Kiwi cooking ingenuity).  Similarly if you don’t have any smoked paprika, or cumin (etc), just leave it out.  Feel free to add in a handful of fresh mint (I tried that – thumbs up). If you’ve followed my blog for a while you’ll know I’m a big fan of ‘making do’ in the kitchen, it’s such fun and some of my best recipes have come as a result of improvising. Get your creative on! (more…)

Tomato Bruschetta – Make your taste buds flip flop

tomato bruschetta recipe nzWhat’s on my menu for Christmas Day? I am still pondering this, however, so far it’s got Damn Yummy Christmas Ham,  my Cable Bay inspired Beetroot and Quinoa salad and tomato bruschetta.  Speaking of tomato bruschetta, holy moly: This is one of my favourite summer recipes and I haven’t shared this recipe with you. Best I fix that and get sharing. I promise, it’s so good, it’ll make your taste buds flip flop.   (more…)

DIY Nut Butter Recipe

We love nut butter in this house: Peanut, cashew, almond, it’s all bloody good, but I resent paying up to NZ$15 for it, even though it’s mind-blowing delicious.  So, I had a play around making my own with my food processor and, more recently my NEW sparkly Nutribullet – and BINGO!  Easy as and I saved some money so I can put that towards the new MAC foundation I’m lusting after (Waterweight, if anyone is interested)…. I know, I’m a shocker.

Nut butter, if you haven’t tried it, is delicious in so many ways: Try it on sliced apple; On rice cakes topped with tomato or beetroot (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it! My crossfit bunny friend Lauren introduced me to this, it’s currently my favourite snack!); Or, spread on toast (Vogels, of course, sometimes it pays not to over complicate things…).

What nuts can you use? Any!  Almond, cashew, macadamia, brazil, hazelnut – you can use seeds too, sunflower are my favourite to use (I’ve done an award winning combo of sunflower and cashew butter).

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Hollandaise Sauce – It’s easy

easy hollandaise sauce recipeEggs benedict. Asparagus with Hollandaise. The thought makes me go weak at the knees and my mouth water.  Everytime I make this sauce for visitors they are wowed that I’ve made it from scratch.  The thing is, I’ve bought pre-made Hollandaise sauce and I’ve been really underwhelmed – it just doesn’t compare to the homemade version.

Unfortunately, lots of people are intimidated by making Hollandaise because it’s known for being finicky and temperamental, or to be more precise, splitting.  I’m pleased to report this easy Hollandaise sauce recipe has never split on me, far from it: It turns out perfect everytime, the only problem is reigning in how much you eat! It’s also easy – it takes two minutes for the sauce to come together, which I like, I’m not known for having the best attention span in the North Island. I think the secret with this fool-proof recipe is that it contains less butter than most other Hollandaise recipes. Before you starting high-fiving me thinking this is a calorie friendly sauce, hold fire: It’s not.  But it’s delicious. Give it a go! (more…)

Foolproof DIY Mayonnaise

SAMSUNG CSCI stopped buying mayonnaise a couple of years ago once I discovered Annabel Langbein’s Speedy Mayo recipe – which is essentially: Biff all ingredients together and blitz it with a handheld stick blender in a timeframe that’s (nearly) quicker than you can say “Bob’s your uncle”.  I couldn’t even get to my local dairy and back in an emergency to buy mayo as fast as I can make this. Did I mention that it tastes utterly delicious? As I type this I have a huge craving for a plate of crayfish, a side of this mayonnaise and a wedge of lemon. Bring on summer.  My mouth is watering. But, I digress. My recipe below is similar to Annabel’s, but with my own spin on it (I much prefer my recipe, but don’t tell her that, thanks).

On another note, having got used to this homemade goodness store-bought mayonnaise tastes awful: Sweet, artificial – not my think (except Best Foods Mayo – that’s the schizzle).

All you need (ingredients aside, doh) is a handheld blender (called an immersion blender in some countries).

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Mexican Street Corn

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We went to Napier’s Mexi Mama restaurant recently and ordered their “street style” corn on the cob (‘Elote del Mercado’). Holy moly Batman: There’s one of the best mouthfuls of 2013 right there! All the food we ordered was fantastic, but this was the highlight of the meal. So, naturally, being the inquisitive and cheeky foodie that I am, I’ve been trying to replicate this at home and here’s what I’ve come up with. Oh, I’m so pleased it’s corn season!  (more…)

Amazing Asparagus and Bacon Bundles

imageI die quietly and go to heaven every time I eat these… I eagerly await asparagus season every year, I can’t get enough of it. This is one of my favourite ways to eat asparagus although, as my Hubby quite rightly points out, anything wrapped in bacon is a winner!  I’ve made these bundles of deliciousness as a side dish, as a pass around ‘nibble’ when there’s visitors around for dinner.  Time to fess up:  I’ve even had a big plate of it  on it’s own as a meal (told you I love it). They are fun to make – and there’s not much to it! Get in quick – asparagus season finishes far too quickly! (more…)

Coriander Pesto

coriander pesto recipeThis adults version of traditional basil pesto is always a winner: Every time I make this and serve it to friends, I get asked for the recipe. I figured that’s a good reason to share it with you!

I can’t get enough of this pesto and I love it because it’s so versatile: Delicious spooned over simple pan-fried fish, or a chicken breast… Put a dollop on roast veges… Stuff it inside a chicken breast… Use it as a dip… Mix it up with cream cheese for a more indulgent dip… Or, toss through hot pasta for a quick grown-ups dinner: You get the idea! Alternatively, if you aren’t a coriander fan – simply replace it with another cup of basil. Easy. (more…)