Kalamata Olive and Roast Almond Tapenade

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Every year I say, I’m not doing anything for Christmas, I can’t afford it, I don’t have time, blah blah blah. But then, every year, next minute, I’m elbows deep in royal icing, fighting off the flies on a 35 degree summer’s day, making gingerbread houses that no-one is going to eat. And I secretly love it.

However, I’m guessing most people aren’t like me, so here is a recipe for an impressive but very easy appetiser for these entertaining times. Will post another one tomorrow for an even easier one!dsc_1371 dsc_1396dsc_1415 dsc_1434

Recipe
Makes about 2 cups
Ingredients
500g kalamata olives
4 anchovies plus 1 tbs of their oil
2 cloves garlic
2 tbs capers
4 tbs olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp cracked pepper
1 cup roasted almonds plus a quarter of a cup of sliced to serve
To Serve
4 garlic bulbs, cut and roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper at 180 degrees for about 30mins
Cherry tomatoes on the vine, roasted at 180 degrees for about 15mins
Danish Feta
Fresh baguette (or a gluten free alterna
Fresh basil leaves
Method
To make the tapenade, first roughly chop the almonds in a food processor by using the pulse button so as not to over-chop. Empty them into a bowl.
Place the olives, anchovies, garlic, capers, olive oil, lemon juice and pepper in the processor and process until combined and relatively smooth. Empty into the bowl with the almonds and stir to combine.
To serve, place in a bowl and top with the extra sliced almonds. Place bowl on a platter with the garlic, tomatoes, feta, baguette and basil leaves.
Enjoy!

Roasted Pumpkin, Pistachio and Ricotta Dip

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Dips, cheeses, marinated vegetables, chutneys, preserves, olives, salted meats, crackers, nuts, breads, fruits and tapenades….all of these things sound like heaven to me. Just put as many of these beautiful little treats as you can on a plate, pour some vino and you’re in for a good time. No need for dinner either, if you do it right!

This dip came about as a result of some roasted pumpkin, garlic and ricotta, leftover from making empanadas (to which I will post the recipe for in the next couple of days). We are really into eating well on a budget at the moment, which has resulted in some really creative and delicious meals. It’s so satisfying sitting down to a meal knowing that it cost us about $1 to make. I love getting home from work and looking through the garden, picking a few things that I want for dinner and seeing how others are coming along. The rains have finally settled in which means we should have a bumper crop of sweet potatoes coming on soon. I am so grateful to the beautiful people that have allowed us to look after their lovely house and friendly animals, it’s such a great experience.

IMG_0920 IMG_0932Recipe

Ingredients

1 cup roasted butternut pumpkin

2 cloves garlic, roasted in their skins, squeezed out

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/4 tsp chilli flakes

1 tsp lemon juice

salt and pepper

handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped

1/2 cup firm ricotta, crumbled

1/3 cup pistachios, shelled, roasted and finely chopped

Method

In a small processor, or with a hand held stick blender, process the pumpkin, garlic, cumin seeds, chilli flakes, lemon juice and the salt and pepper. Add a little olive oil if it’s too dry.

Stir through the parsley, ricotta, and pistachios. Check for seasoning and add more if necessary.

Serve with crackers, vegetable sticks or whatever you like!

 

 

Spiced Beetroot and Walnut Dip

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So, to be honest, every time I make this dip, I change the ingredients. To write an exact recipe for it is quite difficult, as it’s so easy to twist and tangle the flavours into whatever mood your in, or whatever you have in the cupboard. The recipe I’ve written here is a general guide, adjust it to suit your taste.

Although I’ve topped the dip with yoghurt here, the use of nuts gives the dip a lovely creaminess without using any dairy, therefore making it vegan. Walnuts, cashews, brazil nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, even pistachios, will work in this dip, just make sure you use a good amount of spice to give it the edge that store bought dips don’t have.

 

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Recipe

Ingredients

1 cup chopped, cooked beetroot (you can use fresh or canned, I like to use canned for the sweetness)

1 cup lightly roasted walnuts

1 1/2 tsp toasted cumin seeds

1 1/2 tsp sumac

pinch chilli flakes

2 cloves garlic

Juice of half a lemon or a tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper

Plain yoghurt, extra walnuts, cumin seeds and black salt flakes to serve

 

Method

Blend all the ingredients together in a food processor or with a hand held mixer. Check for seasoning and adjust to suit.

To serve, top with yoghurt (optional), extra walnuts, cumin seeds and black salt flakes. Serve with corn chips, or toasted pita bread or vegetable sticks.