Category Archives: Dips

Luscious lunches…

It’s been a little while since I shared some of my lunches, so here’s a few to tempt your tastebuds…and maybe your eyes…

To start, here’s some roasted butternut squash wedges, drizzled with a sauce of chickpeas, kefir yoghurt, tahini & garlic; with a green sauce of avocado, parsley, coriander, kefir yoghurt, mixed roasted seeds (pumpkin, sunflower & linseeds), garlic, chilli, lemon juice & salt; and with a salsa of parsley, coriander, garlic, spring onions, chilli, roast cumin, olive oil & apple cider vinegar; with toasted pine nuts…

Or…baked aubergines loaded with my Mexican chilli sauce, topped with grated cheese, spring onions, chillies, soured cream and lovely, soft avocado…

A quick pan full of flavour made from a can of chopped tomatoes + several tablespoons of my own harissa plus a teaspoon or two of ras el hanout, an egg in the middle, a sprinkle of leftover Parmesan and a sprinkle of home roasted seeds…

Salad of roasted aubergines, chopped and mashed, skin and all, with finely chopped garlic, spring onions & chillies, olive oil & lemon juice, and roughly chopped parsley and coriander…

Plus I’ve been whizzing up various sauces and dips and pastes as usual…

I do like mixing up leftovers and concocting something completely new…this began life as homemade chermoula (fresh parsley, fresh coriander, garlic, sweet paprika, ground cumin, pul biber chilli flakes, olive oil & lemon juice), to which I added some defrosted peas and spinach; and then mixed with my leftover mutabal (aubergine, tahini, lemon juice, yoghurt, cumin & garlic), and it’s now a whole new level of GOOD!

Below is a preserved lemon and olive harissa…
Lunch anyone?

A new dip born of leftovers…

Just like the dip I recently posted, this one (the orange one sitting within the straight homous above) was the result of blending leftovers from a recent meal. And will now form a dip recipe in its own right in my kitchen. 

I made myself a meal of leftovers one evening…I started with chopped red onions, which I cooked in coconut oil, over a medium heat, until they became lovely soft and starting to brown; I then added chopped garlic and red peppers, and cooked for a bit longer; then added some of my rose harissa spice mix, and cooked for a minute, before adding washed and drained chickpeas, and cooked it all through together. 

I ate this with some freshly cooked farro and quinoa, but sadly I have no photos as I just got on and ate it!

I then put the leftovers into my blender with lemon juice and tahini and whizzed it into a smooth dip, and put it in the fridge overnight for the flavours to develop – the outcome is a lovely flavoursome homous. And I mean really REALLY tasty! 

There really is nothing better than leftovers, the flavours are always more developed!

I hope you’ve all had a good week, and have a lovely weekend ahead of you. I’m taking my dip over to Fiesta Friday, co hosted this week by the lovely Judi and Maggie, have fun!

Kitchen cupboard dip…one of my best dips ever!!!! 

I have recently been challenging myself not to buy any more ‘ingredients’…! I literally have enough stocks to supply the whole street for a week in spices, dried chillies, jars of chickpeas, dried legumes, tubs of tahini, grains, oils, passata…you get the idea….!

So, I’ve been focussing on only buying fresh produce, and even then being more focussed on what I buy, whilst challenging myself to cook dishes from the cupboard and freezer. Which is how this dip was created…

It started off as a lunch dish..

This is a concoction of dried onions, chickpeas, red pepper paste and a Moroccan spice mix, all from my cupboard. 
I have the dried onion pieces in the cupboard to use in spice mixes, I’ve never used them in a dish before, so this was an experiment.

I started off by heating some coconut oil in a pan, then adding copious amounts of the dried onions and cooking them for a few minutes; I then added a good amount of the spice mix (details below), and cooked the onions and spices together for a minute or so; I then added a small amount of water to hydrate and soften the onions. I then added some drained and washed chickpeas, and a couple of tablespoons of Turkish red pepper paste and stirred it all together, and cooked it until I was happy with the outcome..

I ate a portion with a sauce of plain yoghurt, olive oil and lemon juice..

And it was very tasty!
And of course, there was leftovers…lovely, lovely leftovers 😀😀😀

And it was these leftovers that I blended with some tahini, lemon juice and splash of water to create one of the best dips I’ve ever made – and as most of you know, I’ve made, and make, a LOT of dips! 

Having blended the dip together, it was immediately tatsy, but even better the next day once it had had time for the flavours to develop..

What a great outcome!

The spice mix was one I put together after seeing a post from someone I follow on Instagram called ‘thecinnaman’ and includes ginger, coriander, chilli powder, red pepper flakes, cumin, cinnamon, black pepper, turmeric, mace, nutmeg, cardamom, fennel seeds, anise seeds, fenugreek seeds, cloves, cayenne pepper and bay leaves. The anise seeds, fennel seeds and bay leaves are lightly roasted the  it’s all ground together. It’s a lovely mix that I’ve already used in various ways. 

Happy Wednesday!

Beetroot…three ways…

Having purchased a bunch of fresh beetroot to make my pickled turnips (previous post) I then had several left to use…the followed dishes therefore include raw, boiled (as in the salad above) and roasted beetroot…

When using beetroot, in all forms, I would advise: ALWAYS WEAR GLOVES!!!

The raw beetroot went into flatbreads; I washed the skin then grated a beetroot and put it into a food processor along with a selection of spices, some rapeseed oil, chapati flour and a splash of water, and processed it until it created a ‘dough’…

I brought it together by feel, it didn’t need much water at all. I then left it in the fridge to rest until I wanted to use it…

To make the breads, with floured hands, I took a handful of the dough, and flattened it into a flatbread, not too thin and not too thick, ready to cook. I heated my ‘tawa’ pan over a medium heat, then cooked the breads on both sides for several minutes, until cooked through. The breads remain quite moist, and are a perfect way to get kids eating beetroot, as well as us lucky adults! 

They are lovely eaten fresh, and reheat well the next day in the toaster. 

To boil the beetroot, I removed the top and bottom stalky bits, then chopped the beetroots into wedges and boiled until soft, but not mushy. Once cooked I drained them and allowed the wedges to cool slightly, then peeled off the skin, it comes off really easily with your hands. Some of these went into salads and dips, and some I then roasted for an extra punch. 

I find beetroot quite sweet, so I tend to pair it with lemon juice or preserved lemons, or goats cheese, ingredients that will help to even out the sweetness. 

This dip was a mix of boiled beetroot, tahini, lemon juice and chopped preserved lemons, mashed so that it remained chunky. 

This salad used the boiled and roasted beetroot mixed with chopped parsley and dill, chopped preserved lemons, whole roasted hazelnuts and a dressing of Verjus and argan oil. 

And similar to the previous one, this salad includes still warm boiled beetroot, chopped parsley & dill, my chermoula spice mix, labneh, crushed hazelnuts and olive oil. With the beetroot being warm it made it all lovely and a bit gluggy 😉 

I hope you like my beetroot creations – I shall be taking them along to this week’s Fiesta Friday (better late than never!) and hope that everyone likes my ideas, especially the co hosts, Loretta and Natalie. Enjoy your weekend! 

Lunch and labneh…but not together…

This is a recent pan full of loveliness that was my lunch one day last week…one of those creations you could just eat again…and again…and again…so here’s what I did…

I put some coconut oil in a pan over a medium heat and added a chopped red onion and cooked it for a few minutes, whilst I cut up two medium tomatoes; I added the tomatoes and cooked for a further few minutes; added some drained chickpeas; added a couple of tablespoons of my stock of rose harissa from the freezer; added chopped avocado that needed using up; then made a hole in the middle of it all and added eggs sprinkled with my rose harissa spice mix

This was my quick fix when I came home hungry and ready for food and it was perfect! I ate it straight from the pan with gusto!! 

Having also recently made some labneh again, I thought I’d share that too…

Labneh is basically ‘yoghurt cheese’, used often in middle eastern and Levantine cuisines. It is often offered for breakfast or as part of a mezze with olive oil drizzled over the top, mine also has chilli flakes sprinkled over it. 

It is so easy to make, it’s basically just drained yoghurt. It’s nicest if you use full fat natural yoghurt to make it with, but I have also used low fat yoghurt in the past, it just makes it a lot sharper. 

Determine how you can create a contraption to drain the yoghurt over (you’ll see what I did in the photos) and then scoop your yoghurt into a square of muslin and hang it over your jug/bowl..

My muslin is tied tightly to the wooden handle of a spatula that fits across the top of the jug; then put it in the fridge, preferably overnight…

This was what I took back out of the fridge the following morning. 

Then scrape the lovely labneh from the muslin into a bowl and eat immediately or store in the fridge and use like any other soft cheese…

As you can see it really does firm up without becoming solid..

With the liquid that you drain from the yoghurt, you could throw it, or use it to cook vegetables in or add to recipes. I added mine to some spiced spinach dough for making flatbreads.

I like my labneh plain and unadulterated, but you can add salt before draining the yoghurt if you prefer, or play around with other flavour additions, sweet or savoury based on your taste. 

This was some of that labneh on top of some of my experimental spiced spinach dough and topped with roasted tomatoes..

Mmmmmm….might have to go and make some more!! 

My latest Mexican chilli sauce…

I was recently sent a lovely parcel from my great friend at Spice Kitchen UK

A great selection of Mexican chillies, chilli powders, and in that gorgeous little box, Persian saffron…how lucky am I??? The first thing I wanted to do was play with the dried chillies and make a great a new sauce for mine and my boys delectation..

I’ve read enough recipes and made enough similar sauces in the past not to need a recipe, but I did make a note of what I did in order to be able to share all began with roasting lots of lovely vegetables, and soaking chillies..


4 large long red peppers, cut in half length ways and stalks & seeds removed 

5 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into quarters

3 medium red onions, peeled and cut into quarters

4 cloves garlic, in their skins

2 ancho chillies

2 guajillo chillies

2 chipotle meco chillies 

4 chipotle morita chillies 

1-2 tbsp tomato puree

1-2 tbsp runny honey 

2 tsp roasted ground cumin

2 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp cocoa powder (or more if you choose) 

Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to taste 

Salt to taste

Please note: my versions of teaspoonfuls or tablespoonfuls are usually of the heaped variety, I tend to be quite generous with portions and measurements! I would suggest that you need to play around with the measurements, and therefore the ensuing flavours for yourself, start with my basic suggestions and add more if necessary for your tastes. 


Preheat the oven to 150C 

Spread the vegetables in single layers across a couple of oven trays and drizzle with oil of your choice

Slow roast the vegetables for an hour or until the peppers are all wrinkly and starting to chat, don’t let them burn, then remove the pans from the oven and let the vegetables cool, and remove the skins form the garlic cloves 

In the same oven, spread the dried chillies in a single layer in an oven tray and lightly toast, just until they start to release an aroma, it doesn’t take very long at all. Keep a close eye on them as they can burn easily

Allow the chillies to cool until you can handle them, then, wearing gloves, remove stalks, seeds and veins

Break up the skins and put them into a bowl with bowling water and leave for 1-2 hours until soft

The photo above shows the bits you remove from the chillies, and below, what you’re left with..

Scrape all of the roasted vegetables & juices & oil from the pan/s into a blender and, add the softened chillies and a little bit of the soaking water, and blend everything into a thick sauce; I did mine in two parts as my blender pots wasn’t big enough for it all at once 

Add the blended sauce to a pan over a medium heat, with some additional oil of your choice 

Add the roasted cumin and dried oregano and cook it through, mixing all the elements together 

Add tomato puree and honey and stir through 

Add cocoa powder and cook it through for a minute or two, then add either lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to taste, I used about 3 tbsp of lemon juice, I feel it lifts the flavour without adding a sharpness 

Add salt if you feel it needs it 

Cook the sauce down to a consistency you like, alternatively, you may even need to add some water to thin it, again, it’s all down to choice

Store in a clean jar. I have found that chilli sauces store well for a few weeks in the fridge. However, to be safe, you could add a thin layer of olive oil over the top of the sauce to preserve it, although the honey and/or salt should also assist in preserving the sauce. 

The addition of the cocoa powder is quite typical in Mexican dishes, and it was the first time I’ve added it to anything I’ve made; it adds a real richness to the sauce, you don’t really taste it as chocolatey, but you can smell the cocoa when you open the jar, which all adds to its loveliness. 

I’ve had this in my fridge for a couple of weeks now, and the flavour keeps developing and just getting better. 

I’ve eaten this sauce in various ways, and am pleased to say that it’s had a thumbs up from my boys and friends of ours 🙂 

This was my lunch one day this week..spiced spinach flatbread base, topped with my chilli sauce & cheese, enjoyed with a lovely fresh salsa of chopped parsley, coriander, dill, garlic, Verjus, olive oil & lots of spices…yum!!!!!! 

I am sharing my sauce with the lovely visitors to this week’s Fiesta Friday, co hosted by the lovely Laura and Su, I hope everyone likes it – have a great weekend x 

From salad to dip via Verjus…

At the end of my last post I included a shot of this salad, it was packed with so much good stuff: chopped parsley & coriander, garlic, roasted sweet potato, roasted cauliflower, roasted carrots, roasted red onion, chickpeas, chopped preserved lemon, spices, olive oil, and something new: Verjus. Or, in English, Verjuice. 

Verjus is as the direct translation says, ‘green juice’ as it is made from unripe, and therefore sour, green grapes. It is often used in dressings and I read about it being used as a less tart alternative to lemon juice or vinegar and wanted to try it – some days I consume so much lemon juice that my mouth burns!! And having used it in this salad, I found it very tasty 🙂

This is a link from the website of the make that I bought, and will tell you more, it’s very interesting!

I had more of the salad the day after I made it, when it had become even tastier and then I decided to play with the leftovers..

They all went into the small bowl of my handheld blender along with some more Verjus and some plain yoghurt and whizzed up..

I didn’t blend it too much as I wanted to keep it textured..

Difficult to get a pretty picture of it, but it worked nicely 🙂 

I enjoyed some today with a very tasty lunch of freshly made herb and quinoa salad, and mutabal..

There appears to be lots of dedicated recipes for using Verjus so I’m sure I’ll be playing more 🙂 

If you already use Verjus please do let me know what you do with it x

Chermoula, chickpeas, salad, eggs…it’s all here…

It’s a weekly thing for me to make chermoula, a lovely herby middle eastern sauce. I often put it together, with no definitive plan, and then utilise it in various ways throughout the week; it can be used as a sauce, a dip, a paste, a dressing, the possibilities are endless. 

Chermoula has featured many times on this blog, but for ease let me share again what I do.. I use the small bowl attached to my hand blender and chop together a big bunch of flat leaf parsley, a slightly smaller bunch of fresh coriander, 2-3 cloves of garlic, 2 tsp roasted ground cumin, 2 tsp paprika, 1 tsp Aleppo chilli flakes, salt to taste, and lots of olive oil and lemon juice until it becomes the consistency you would like. 

You can pimp your chermoula in many ways, I’ve recently added chopped preserved lemons to mine, some people add a pinch of cayenne pepper; I also use it as a basis for salad, I multiply everything to make a bigger version and don’t chop the herbs up as small, then add all sorts of other things to it, like various roasted vegetables, chickpeas, grains…as you can see in the following couple of examples..

Last week I made up a batch of chermoula and mixed it through a bowl full of chickpeas; like everything I make, I knew this would be worth leaving in the fridge for a day for the flavours to infiltrate the chickpeas, which they did very nicely, then I worked my way through the chickpeas across a few meals, including this lunch with chopped lettuce..

With the final portion of chickpeas, I went for a version of shakshuka/baked eggs..

In this pan is a can of chopped tomatoes, a couple of tablespoons of my homemade rose harissa, the rest of the chermoula marinated chickpeas, little cubes of cheese and the eggs…flavour upon flavour to create a wonderful concoction for lunch one day last week..

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…I love my own food!!!!! There’s a reason I eat all my meals at home 🙂 
And here’s the salad I’ve thrown together today, full of similar flavours, and packed out with leftover roasted vegetables, now all thrown together sharing flavours.. 

If you want to know where I’ll be all week…I’ll be at home, eating, and making, lots of food!!! (In between going to the gym to enable me to do so!) 

I’m bringing my selection of dishes along to this week’s Fiesta Friday – apologies for being late!  A big thank you to this week’s co hosts, the lovely, Jhuls, and Colleen

Have a great week x

Dishes of fabulousness…salad, dips, breads, and so much more…

It’s another one of those posts of plenty I’m afraid, lots of dishes from my kitchen that I hope you might like…the picture above includes some of the dishes I made for our Sunday evening meal, and this is what they include…

The salad..slices of beautiful ripe tomatoes, sliced raw red onions and chopped parsley, sprinkled with salt and sumac, and drizzled with copious amounts of olive oil. 

I ate  it like a version of fattoush, with pieces of tortilla fried in rapeseed oil, so that the bread soaked up the dressing..

The green stuff is a dip of peas, garlic, yoghurt, ground roasted cumin and coriander seeds, and a sprinkling of Aleppo chilli flakes…

I had leftover potatoes that I’d boiled the previous day for something else, which I mixed with freshly made chermoula and left for a few hours for the flavours to develop and infiltrate the potatoes..

Alongside these I served a bowl of the tortilla chips I’d made, and spelt sourdough naan breads with nigella seeds (based on similar methods shared in my previous post…

I served all of these with some freshly made homous, and sriracha homous, plus chicken kebabs which I’d marinated in yoghurt, lemon juice, garlic and Aleppo chilli flakes for my boys; when I made the marinade, I saved some and spread it over a halved and scored aubergine…

I left it overnight…

Then baked it the next day until it was lovely and soft inside..

Yum yum yum!!! 

As you can imagine, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed eating the leftovers of all of these dishes too, these kinds of concoctions only get better with time 🙂 

I hope you like them x

Some dishes are too good not to share…(virtually anyway!!) 

This was one of those dishes that developed over a few days, started out as one thing, and became another, as I pimped leftovers…and culminated in such heaven on a plate that I just had to share it! 
It began as one of my typical salads…

The salad at the top, left of the dish, is made up of lots and lots of chopped flat leaf parsley; a mixture of cooked grains, in this case including spelt and kamut, both cooked my way; chopped garlic; liberal amounts of ground roasted cumin and paprika, and a sprinkling of Aleppo chilli flakes; a good amount of lemon juice and a good amount of olive oil. This is a very typical salad for me, sometimes it includes chopped coriander as well, sometimes some added dill, all different grains, sometimes added seeds or nuts. 

I usually put all this together and then leave it to brew overnight, as the flavours develop and it is even better when eaten the next day, and the day after that to be honest. This occasion was no different. And so it became a part of the meal above one lunchtime. 

The next day, some of the leftovers made their way onto this lovely aubergine boat, now very much a firm fixture in my kitchen since its first introduction…and as you’ll notice, the salad had gained some cooked chickpeas and avocado by this time..

I cooked the aubergine whole in the microwave for 6 minutes ( it was a large aubergine) then put it under a hot grill, close to the heat, turing it occasionally to slightly burn the skin and give it a nice finish. I then cut it open and slathered the hot softened flesh with freshly made homous, and topped with more of the salad. Yum!!!! 

The leftovers then sat in the fridge for another day, during which time I made up my most favourite of dishes, my marinated cauliflower and chickpeas. I’ve learn from experience to roast the dish for longer than I did originally, and having served and eaten the cauliflower, and/or potatoes, whichever version you make, and been left with some chickpeas and garlic, put it back I the oven to cook even more. The outcome is stunning, and a challenge not to eat it all immediately!!! 

These were the leftovers that I forced myself to save!! And so yesterday, they joined the rest of my salad, and created a dish of so much flavour and joy, I can barely find the words!! 


The mixture of the ingredients and flavours, and how they’d all developed was fabulous! 

So, I just had to share it…obviously, only sharing it virtually is fine, I wouldn’t have shared it in person….only joking, of course 😉 

And yes, there was leftovers, which of course, got whizzed up with tahini and became a dip! You wouldn’t expect anything else 😀😀 

I’m going to share this post with everyone at this week’s Fiesta Friday, and this month’s Cook Once Eat Twice link up….like I said, I’m only too happy to share it, virtually…!  😉