As a part of my little sisters Girls Night In celebrations, in raising funds for the National Breast Cancer Foundation, I provided about half the food for her, and part of that was a bunch of dips! One of them was a romesco sauce, and the recipe for that can be found here. I make this all the time as the ingredients are cheap and readily available, and its so easy...
The other 2 dips I made were babaganouj and beetroot, both super easy, managable and delicious! Most of the ingredients you throw in the oven and roast, then blend it with a few other ingredients. Youll never buy bought dips again! Well, you probably will, but these are so delicious youll make more than you need so you can keep more for yourself!
2 cloves garlic (unpeeled)
1 tbsp sesame seeds
half tsp sumac
1) Prick the eggplant all over with a knife, place it whole, on a baking tray with the garlic (unpeeled) and then in a hot oven for 15-20mins, or until the eggplant has softened. You can put the garlic under the eggplant if you can to protect it from burning more, otherwise rub the garlic with some oil and tuck it under the eggplant as much as you can. Take them out and let em cool.
2) Put the sesame seeds in a fairly hot pan to toast. Once they start popping take them straight off the hob, as the residual heat in the pan will continue to cook the seeds, and if you leave it on the heat youll burn them, and if you take them too far, chuck them out and start again. Once they're nicely toasted, pop them in the blender/mixmaster/another container until everything else is ready.
3) Once the eggplant and garlic are cool, peel them both and pop them both in the blender. The eggplant should have deflated and look a bit shrivelled and sorry for itself, and the skin should be easy to peel off. If, while cooking in the oven, youve burnished the flesh of the eggplant - dont worry about it, that adds to the smokey flavour. However if you feel like you might have overdone the sesame seeds then leave a few of the browner bits of the eggplant out. Dont chuck them out though, you can add them later if you feel like the dip can take it - if youre like me youll just chuck the lot in!
4) Add salt and pepper as well as the sumac, to the blender which should have the eggplant, garlic, and sesame seeds. Add the yoghurt to the mix - some like the dip more eggplanty, some like it creamier and smoother - this is where you add as much as you like. Add 1 tbsp and blend, then taste. Its up to you if you add more or leave it. You can also use tahini, a sesame seed paste, however I dont use it because I dont like it much and prefer the lightness that yoghurt gives, but try it for yourself!
half tsp cumin
salt and pepper
1) Wrap each beetroot in foil with a shlug of oil, and place in a hot oven for about an hour.
2) Take the beetroots out and let them cool a bit. Youll find you can peel the skins off fairly easily (the fresher they are, the more easily the skin comes off).
WARNING! Beetroot can stain your hands and clothes big time - some wear gloves when peeling them as the skin and colour gets under your nails and stains them for the night (unless you spend some time scrubbing).
3) Chop the beetroots up and throw them in the blender with the S&P and cumin. Add the yoghurt as you like it, some like this to be a chunky dark purple dip, others like it to be a creamier bright pink! Add it tablespoon by tablespoon until it tastes how you like it. Its delicious served with toasted pinenuts or walnuts and crumbled fetta with flatbreads.
Both these dips can be used as a dip or on polenta, mini toasts etc as canapes, which is what I did for my sisters party. Not a great pic below, but you get the idea! Id had a couple of glasses of bubbly by this stage and so the presentation was a little bit lacking!