dips, spreads & salad dressings

caesar dressing & a quick caesar wedge salad

5th July 2020

I love a creamy dressing and using a greek style yoghurt achieves that creaminess. If using a plant-based yoghurt, find one that is thick and especially rich.  The sauce lasts for a week in the fridge and can be used as a dip for crunchy cucumbers or vegetable fries, spread over bread, drizzled over salads or roasted vegetables.

It’s in the quietness, the calm, the release and only then I realise how much I was holding…

caesar dressing

Makes approximately 1 cup.

Preparation 5 minutes

Recipes adapted from here.

ingredients

½ cup/85g full-fat greek yoghurt or plant-based yoghurt

¼ cup/50g olive oil

3 Tbsp/38g lemon juice

1 Tbsp nutritional yeast (can use grated parmesan)

¼ tsp tamari

½ – 1 tsp dijon mustard

1 Tbsp/15g liquid sweetener – honey, agave, maple syrup (optional)

¼ tsp fine rock salt

preparation

1. In a food processor or immersion blender, combine the yoghurt, olive oil, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, tamari, dijon mustard, sweetener and salt. Blend; until everything is combined and dressing is smooth and creamy.

2. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, taste and adjust the seasonings. Store the dressing in a lidded jar in the refrigerator.

quick & easy caesar wedge salad

Serves 3

Preparation 5 minutes

ingredients

6 small heads romaine lettuce, washed, dried, and cut in half, then half again lengthwise

1 serving caesar dressing (above)

extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

1 cup croutons*

2 Tbsp pinenuts, toasted and roughly chopped

preparation

1.  Arrange the lettuce wedges on a medium plate, then sprinkle with pinenuts and croutons, drizzle the wedges with caesar dressing and olive oil.

2. Season with a few rounds of salt and pepper.

*stove-top croutons, heat 2 Tbsp oil or ghee in a skillet over medium heat until shimmering, add the bread cubes, sprinkle with salt, toss to coat, arrange in a single layer. Toss every minute or so, until golden on all sides – approx 5 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. 

variation

  • add ¼ cup parmesan flakes, shaved with a vegetable peeler
  • optional addition; avocado, grilled zucchini slivers

Amy Chaplin’s easy pine nut sauce

11th April 2020

Don’t be deceived by the unassuming appearance of this sauce, it is delicious! I have replaced our weekly pesto sauce with this one.  It is quick, easy and any leftovers make a delicious salad dressing. Serve with homemade pasta, skillet roasted tomatoes and steamed greens.

~ sunlight and water drops~

easy pine nut sauce

Recipe from ‘Whole Food Cooking Every Day’ by Amy Chaplin.

Makes 1 cup. 

Serves 3 – 4

ingredients

1 cup/120g raw pine nuts

6 Tbsp/65g olive oil

2 Tbsp/25g freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tsp fine rock salt

to serve

½-portion homemade pasta

skillet charred tomato (see below)

steamed or sauteed greens

grated parmesan or pine nut parmesan

preparation

1.  Warm a skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Toss in the pine nuts, reduce heat to low, and toast, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, or until fragrant and golden.

2.  Transfer to a mortar and pestle or mini food processor and add the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt.

3.  Use a pestle to crush the nuts and grind until a paste forms. Or, if you’re using a mini food processor, blend until smooth, scrape down the sides, and blend again.  Use immediately, or store the sauce in a glass jar in the fridge for up to a week. Optional to garnish with lemon zest.

note

  • Any leftovers can be used as a salad dressing the next day. When using as a salad dressing add a little honey.

to serve

skillet charred cherry tomatoes

Serves 2

Preparation 7 minutes

ingredients

2 Tbsp olive or peanut oil

350g small cherry tomatoes

1 red bell pepper/135g, roughly chopped (optional)

One 5-cm sprig rosemary – leaves removed

½ tsp red chilli pepper flakes

preparation

1.   Place a medium skillet or wok over high heat, add oil, whole cherry tomatoes, bell pepper, and rosemary leaves, toss to coat in the oil. It is important to use a larger skillet to allow space for the tomatoes to cook without losing their shape. Don’t overcrowd the pan.

2.  Sautee for 5 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until charred in parts – don’t cook for too long, otherwise, the tomatoes will turn mushy.

3.  Remove from heat, stir in salt and chilli flakes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serve with your favourite pasta!

zesty turmeric tahini dressing

2nd March 2020

I like to serve this sauce over sauteed broccolini or roasted vegetables. Any leftovers gets drizzled over leafy green salads or scooped up with home-made bread.

~Kasbah Bab Ourika, Atlas Mountains, Morroco~

zesty turmeric tahini dressing

Recipe from Amy Chaplin’s – Whole Food Cooking Every Day.

makes 1½ cups

preparation time – 15 minutes

ingredients

½ cup/115g tahini

½ cup/100g water

2 Tbsp/22g olive oil

2 Tbsp/25g freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ tsp fine rock salt, plus more to taste

one 4-inch(10cm)/30g piece fresh turmeric, peeled and finely grated (2½ Tbsp)

¼ cup/60g freshly squeezed orange juice

2 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped

1 tsp tamari (optional)

¼ tsp cayenne pepper, plus more to taste

preparation

1.  Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender and blend until smooth.

2.  Taste and adjust the salt and cayenne to taste.

The colour intensifies as it sits!

Use immediately, or store the sauce in the fridge for up to 2 – 3  days. Bring to room temperature before using and add water or orange juice to thin if needed.

Note

  • If using a high-speed blender, there is no need to grated the turmeric just roughly chop. Pit the dates and add whole to the blender.
  • If you have particular runny tahini, reduce the water by half and add more as needed to achieve the desired consistency.

anne’s magical sesame-tahini-ginger dressing

18th February 2018

Our Christmas and New Year were spent up in the beautiful, snowy mountains of Boulder visiting our oldest and dearest friends. As soon as we arrived, a daily ritual was naturally established, of cooking and sharing meals together, morning and evening communed around a big table and warm fire. On these nights, Anne would arrive with a basket of organic salad greens which she would chop up and serve drizzled with this magical tahini dressing.

This dressing is special and adds a delicious splash of flavours to anything you put it on. Whenever I make it, it transports me back to those special evenings shared with like-minded friends.

 anne’s magical sesame-tahini-ginger dressing

Makes about 2 cups

I like to tear up some bitter-tasting leaves from the garden, add a sliced pear and a handful of nuts and seeds and there’s a quick salad or steam some kale leaves, greens beans or broccoli. For a more substantial meal cook up a pot of brown rice, roast some seasonal vegetables and drizzle over this dressing. It is guaranteed to add a bit of magic to any dish.

ingredients

3 Tbsp sesame seeds 

¼ cup white miso

½ cup hulled tahini

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 Tbsp honey

½ a lemon zested

juice of ½ a lemon

1-inch grated ginger

2 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar

½ tsp flaked dulse (optional)

¼ cup water

¼ – ½ cup olive oil

preparation

1.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, lightly toast the sesame seeds until they start popping, keep toasting for another minute. Remove from heat and set aside for the seeds to cool.

2.  In a medium jar, place the miso and tahini, stir well until pasty and incorporated, stir in the sesame oil and honey.

3.  Remove the zest from half a lemon and squeeze the lemon juice into the jar, add the grated ginger, apple cider vinegar and if using, the dulse flakes. Stir well, adding the water until the dressing comes together.

4.  Add the cooled toasted sesame seeds and pour in the olive oil, whisk until smooth and creamy.

5.  Taste and adjust the seasonings until you have a pleasing balance of fat and acid. The ideal consistency is that of pouring cream; stir in some water, or little more oil, until it runs easily off a spoon.

walnut parsley pesto

22nd September 2017

parsley walnut pesto - 1

Within a day of moving into our new home, I planted a small herb garden just next to the back door, it contained coriander, parsley, sage, thyme, and all the essentials, plus 12 kale seedlings which I had been growing on the window sill in the old house. I am so glad I did as it’s been a vital addition to quick meals and those kale plants have been growing wild and wonderful. This is where the parsley came from. The main vegetable garden is quite a walk away from the house so it is helpful to have a small garden so close for emergencies.

This pesto is one I make weekly for pasta lunches for school and quick sandwiches for my young adults.  It goes nicely with a minestrone soup; a favourite with my daughter and part of easy dishes which she can prepare herself – recipe soon.

cosmo- vegetable garden - 1 (5)cosmo - 1cosmo- vegetable garden - 1 (4)

~ Cosmos (Coreopsideae )

~ Cosmos is a Greek word meaning harmony or balanced universe.

walnut pesto 2 - 1

walnut parsley pesto

Preparation 20 minutes

Makes 1½ cups

When a bit low on the essentials I change the recipe a bit, adding a mix of pine nuts and walnuts or basil and parsley – or whatever I have in the garden at the time.

Inspired by Gillian.

ingredients 

¾ cup/80g whole walnuts

2 big bunches/90g parsley – rinsed, bigger stems removed

½ cup olive oil

¼ tsp fine rock salt

⅛ tsp freshly ground pepper

¼ cup/20g grated parmesan

extra olive oil for sealing the pesto

to serve 

homemade pasta

a tray of roasted cherry tomatoes, red pepper, pumpkin with rosemary and sage

golden crusted brussels sprouts

preparation 

1.   Preheat the oven 180C/350F.

2.  Place the whole walnuts on a tray and roast for 10 minutes.  Set aside to allow to cool.

3.  Wash the parsley, dry and remove the larger stems, place the leaves and smaller stems in a food processor with the ‘S’ blade attached, along with the walnuts, olive oil, salt and pepper.

4.  Blend until all are broken down – using a spatula to wipe down the sides.

5.  Add parmesan and blend until well incorporated – adding more oil if needed.

walnut parsley pesto - 1 (2)walnut parsley pesto - 2

5.  Store in a jar, with a layer of olive oil on top to exclude the air, refrigerate until needed, for up to two weeks.  Level the surface each time you use it, and recover the pesto with olive oil.  Delicious served with home-made pasta.

homemade pasta with pesto - 1

Goodness shared by Stacey

roasted red pepper walnut spread

1st July 2016

roasted red pepper

One of the (much well received) additions to our table recently is this roasted red pepper walnut spread.  This is one recipe I have made quite a few times as an entree, spread or more filling side dish to an otherwise light salad based meal. Whatever the occasion, time of day or audience I can almost always be assured of…’mmm…whats in this?!’. My answer has always been…’Oh, I’ll post it on my blog’. So here it is.

If there is one vegetable when roasted that brings its goodness, it’s a roasted bell pepper.  After being roasted in the oven, the skin becomes charred, wrinkly and the inside sheds its blistered skin – emerging more succulent and sweeter than the raw version. The transformation is magical and delicious.

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-a garden edging its way into Summer

red pepper

roasted red pepper walnut spread

Makes about 2 cups

I  have been looking for another tasty dip other than the usual hummus or guacamole we serve so often here, and one that satisfies the matured taste buds of young adults.  The roasted pepper adds a distinct sweetness and the toasted walnuts and breadcrumbs balance out that sweetness.  It is great served as a dip, as a spread on sandwiches or over a base for a pizza.

Recipe from 101 cookbooks – Heidi Swanson.

ingredients 

3 medium/450g red pepper

¾ cup/70g walnuts

¼ cup/25g whole-grain bread crumbs

½ tsp crushed red chilli flakes

½ tsp whole cumin seeds

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve

2 Tbsp honey/pomegranate molasses

4 Tbsp tomato paste

½ tsp fine-grain rock salt

preparation 

1.  Preheat the oven to 410F/210C.

2.  Place the whole peppers on a rimmed tray lined with a baking sheet.  Roast, until the skin has become charred, and wrinkled, 50 to 60 minutes.  While the peppers roast, place a few slices of sourdough bread in the oven and toast until crunchy, approximately 20 minutes, also place the walnuts into the oven to toast for 5 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.

3.  When the pepper is ready, remove from the oven and gather up the corners of the baking sheet from the tray and wrap the peppers (use a kitchen towel to help if it is too hot).  This will steam them enabling the skins to easily peel off.  Cool until you can handle them, about 15 minutes, then remove the skin, seeds, and stems.   Keep the liquid from the peppers to add to the processor.  Set aside.

4.  Dry roast the cumin seeds in a small pan, when lightly toasted turn off the heat and grind to a powder with a mortar and pestle.  Set aside.

5.  Using a food processor attached with an S blade, process the bread crumbs, when coarsely ground, measure out a ¼ cup and return to the processor, add the chilli flakes and walnuts and process until the walnuts are roughly ground.

roasted red pepper ingredients

6.  Add the cumin seeds, olive oil, honey, tomato paste, salt and skinned peppers with their roasting liquid, process until everything is well incorporated and you have a smooth consistency.

7.  Garnish with basil leaves, extra walnuts, and drizzle with olive oil.  Serve with fresh crackers, toasted bread, or with freshly made chapati.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

artichokes with a tahini – sesame dipping sauce

17th April 2016

artichoke

A particular favourite with my daughter.

mandala edge

artichoke5

mandala edge

This is another recipe which was created for the Holmes Place magazine as an ongoing concept of seasonal ‘superfoods’ throughout the year.

Globe artichokes, with their sharp, sometimes prickly edged ‘petals’ are actually the plant’s flower buds and will open up into showy mauve thistle heads.  When picked young as in this recipe, their heads are small and tight, they can be eaten in their entirety.  The real treasure – lies hidden.  This is found by removing all the petals and ‘furry ‘choke within, revealing the grey-green tender heart.

When buying artichokes, choose those which the petals are still rather closed, not open.  They will be more fresh and tender.  Buying in season and buying fresh you will benefit more times over from their amazing health benefits.  Not only being full of fibre, they also have the highest level of antioxidants out of all vegetables, a good source of Vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, folate, and iron.  They are also very good for the liver and were used for centuries as a traditional liver tonic.

artichoke

artichokes with a tahini – sesame dipping sauce

Serves 4

ingredients

8 medium artichokes (Depending on how big your artichokes are, I offer two artichoke globes per person.)

to cook 

1.  In a large pot on medium heat, add enough water to cover the artichokes, add a bay leaf and a slice of lemon. (This adds a nice flavour to the artichokes.) Leave to heat while you prepare the artichokes.

2.  If using large globes, cut the thorn tips off all the leaves using a pair of scissors – not necessary when using smaller globes.  Pull off any smaller leaves towards the base and on the stem. Trim off the bottom, leaving about an inch of the artichoke stem.  The stem is more bitter than the rest of the artichoke, edible if you remove the tough outer layer using a vegetable peeler. Cut off 1-centimetre off the tip of each artichoke, then rinse the artichokes in cold water.  Open up the petals a little so that the water does get inside more easily.

3.  Add the artichokes to the boiling water.  Cover, and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes, (depending on the size of the artichokes) or until the outer leaves can easily be pulled off and a knife tip goes easily into the base of the artichoke.

artichoke in pot

to serve 

Artichokes can be eaten cold or hot. Serve them with your favourite sauces, melted ghee, mayonnaise, a simple mix of olive oil, salt and lemon or a sesame dipping sauce – like the one below. I usually choose a few to satisfy each member of my family.

tahini – sesame dipping sauce

2 Tbsp sesame seeds – I used an even amount of white & black

¼ cup tahini

1 Tbsp rice vinegar or umeboshi plum vinegar

1 Tbsp tamari

1 Tbsp honey

cup water

1.  In a high-speed blender, add the sesame seeds and grind until they are roughly ground.

2.  Add the tahini, vinegar, tamari, oil and water, and blend until well mixed.

Depending on the preferred thickness of the tahini, you may need to add more water. I like the consistency quite thick. I tend to double the recipe and use leftovers as a salad dressing or served with brown rice and sautéed vegetables.

artichoke

to eat 

1.  Pull off the outer petals, one at a time, starting at the base and dip in the sauce, then bite off the soft part found at the base of each leaf. Discard and compost the tough leaves in a pile as you go.

2.  When all the leaves have been enjoyed, you will come to the choke, with a spoon scrape out and discard the fuzzy part covering the artichoke heart, the remaining is the heart.  The treasure! Savour, dip and enjoy the journey.

to eat 1

Reference: ‘Tender’-Nigel Slater

Goodness shared from Stacey

green garden salad hummus

23rd January 2014

P1070439

I spent the last couple of days transplanting tiny, green, little seedlings of fennel which have self-seeded from the summer blooms; naturally dried, some saved, and some haphazardly sprinkled or wind-carried in all sorts of unusual places throughout the garden. This IS what I LOVE about a garden left to self-seed.  There is always something to be found where you least expect it, or not expect at all.

I love that it makes me get my hands and knees dirty so that I notice all the infinite little beauties all around me.  The wild rocket is popping their heads up everywhere.  I have blankets of small parsley seedlings and more green blankets of coriander seedlings, which make the most delicious addition to green salads.

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This hummus goes very nicely with this beetroot salad and served with these sweetcorn and chard pancakes. A perfect light dinner or lunch.

a wintergreen garden salad hummus

Inspired by a vegetable garden.

It is important for the celery and fennel to be very fresh and finely chopped.

ingredients 

1¼ cups dried chickpeas

tsp bicarbonate soda

½ tsp cumin seeds

½ cup tahini

juice of ½ lemon (approximately 2 Tbsp)

salt to taste

½ cup ice cold water

1 cup celery, finely chopped 

1 cup fennel, finely chopped

big handful finely chopped fresh coriander

2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh dill

rind of one lemon

sprinkling spicy paprika powder

pre-soak

1.  Soak the chickpeas overnight with double their volume in water – the next day, drain and rinse.

preparation

2.  Place the chickpeas and bicarbonate of soda in a saucepan and generously cover with water, bring to a boil, skimming off any foam that comes to the surface – simmer uncovered until the chickpeas are soft, about 1 – 2 hours depending on the type and freshness of your chickpeas.  You will need to add more water as they simmer.  Once done the chickpeas should be quite soft but not mushy – drain and set aside.

3.  Dry roast the cumin seeds in a small pan, when lightly toasted turn off the heat and grind to a powder with a mortar and pestle – set aside.

4.  Transfer the chickpeas to a food processor, run the machine, stopping and scraping down the sides occasionally, until the beans are crumbly.

5.  Pour in the tahini, add the cumin, lemon juice, salt, and blend again until well combined.  With the machine still running, start drizzling in the ice water, so that the hummus starts to become fluffy and aerated.  Depending on the beans you may not use all the water, or you may need more.  Taste and adjust to your own personal taste by adding more tahini, lemon or salt – set aside while preparing the vegetables.

6.  Finely and thinly chop the fennel and few fronds, celery and few leaves, fresh coriander and dill, place in a large shallow bowl and stir in the blended chickpeas.

7.  Combine well, adjust the seasoning, adding more salt or lemon to taste. Glug a good helping of olive oil around the hummus, sprinkle on the lemon rind and hot paprika.  Serve as above or with these crackers, vegetable sticks or in sandwiches.

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Goodness shared from Stacey

avocado with a tomato mustard seed salsa

8th October 2013

It seems as though we’ve wobbled back into Summer again after a week of misty, drizzly rain and endless fog which dissolved all my Summer vegetables into a slimy, gooey mess in just under a week…..

But now, these last few days, and at this moment, it is warm, golden, sunny and still perfect beach and garden weather…..

What does one do and say with all this gracious light?  You smile and say thank-you…..

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, 

“Thank you”,  

that would suffice.

~Meister Eckhart~

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avocado with a tomato MUSTARD SEED salsa

Makes about 2 cups

Inspired by supernatural every day

The success of this recipe is buying ripe avocados when in season and to be perfectly creamy in texture, when they are creamy in texture, they meld with the simplicity and subtleness of the rest of the ingredients.  

The second time I made this, I had an abundance of cucumbers in the garden which you see in the photos, but my favourite and preferred way of making this are with just the tomatoes as in the recipe below.

ingredients 

4 medium ripe avocados

juice & zest of 1 lemon (lemon zest set aside)

sprinkling rock salt

for the tomato salsa 

1 cup cherry tomatoes

1 cup finely chopped fresh coriander

salt and pepper to taste

juice of ½ lemon, or to taste

lemon zest from 1 lemon

for the voggarane

1 Tbsp peanut oil/ghee

1 tsp black mustard seeds

a small fresh green chilli, finely chopped (optional) 

preparation 

1.  Cut each avocado in half, remove the pit, and scoop out the flesh into a bowl, add the lemon juice and salt, then mash the avocados a bit with a fork, or for big quantities, a potato masher works well. Don’t overdo it – you want the mixture to be quite chunky.  Set aside.

2.  Prepare the tomato salsa, chop the tomatoes into small pieces and finely chop the coriander. Place in a bowl and add salt and pepper to taste, and squeeze generously with lemon – mix well.

3.  Place the avocado mixture into a bowl or plate.  Using a spoon, create a hole in the centre for the tomato salsa to sit in. Scoop the tomato salsa into the centre of the plate.

5.  Prepare the voggarane, heat the oil/ghee in a small pan; when hot, add the mustard seeds and finely chopped chilli; when the mustard seeds start to sputter and pop, turn off the heat and pour over the avocado and tomato salsa.

6.  Sprinkle with the lemon zest.  Find a sunny spot to sit and enjoy with these crackers or with slices of your favourite bread.

Variation, after the mustard seeds pop, stir in finely chopped fennel, fry until translucent and slightly charred.

Goodness shared from Stacey

basil feta & pistachio pesto

27th May 2012

I love basil. And when I enjoy something, I tend to overdo its availability.  Rather than plant one plant every so often, I plant 4 or 5 at once.  So hence, I have 4 very large basil plants that are growing vigorously.  An earlier plant I let go to seed.  We picked off the brown seeds and spread them in a bowl that now sits on the kitchen table.  Every day, a little shake, and the seeds give off a wonderful aroma, almost lavender-like in its scent.  I must admit though the bowl has been getting some strange looks as it looks very much like some sort of mind-altering substance that requires some burning.  I do assure everyone that it is pure basil. Heady enough on its own power.

With basil leaves in abundance, I have created a variety of pestos over the last few weeks.  This one is by far my favourite.  Basil, rocket, feta, parmesan, pistachios, olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and pepper and salt to taste.  Simple, but very tasty.  Uses are endless. Tossed through pasta, a salad or roasted vegetables; dip for crackers; spread on Turkish bread with roasted capsicum strips and toasted;  a side for patties of choice……..and on and on.

basil feta & pistachio pesto

ingredients 

fresh basil leaves (from 2 large bunches)

2 handfuls rocket (arugula leaves)

250g feta

¼ cup fresh, grated parmesan

approx. ¼ cup extra-virgin cold-pressed olive oil

2 Tbsp pistachio nuts

a good squeeze of lemon juice

fresh cracked black pepper

sea salt

a sprinkling of dried chilli seeds/flakes (optional)

preparation 

1.  Add ½ the basil, rocket, parmesan, olive oil and pistachios to a mini-processor (or a large one if suits) – process till all ingredients combined.

2.  Add remaining basil leaves and extra oil if needed to blend smoothly – process again.

3.  Add feta, lemon juice, pepper and salt – process again.

4.  Taste and adjust ingredients to taste. Store in a sealed glass jar in the fridge.

Goodness shared from Donna

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