All three dips can be made up to 3 days ahead, kept covered and chilled. The beetroot dip can be served with sour cream and blinis, or as an accompaniment to roast duck, pork or goose. The carrot dip can be used as an accompaniment to roast vegetables for a great veggie main course.
Serves 4 – 6
- 4 medium raw beetroot
- 5 stoned dates, chopped
- 2 tbsps. brandy
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 tbsps. lemon juice
- 50g. / 2ozs. chopped walnuts
- 2 tbsps. sour cream
- 2 tbsps. chopped fresh chives
Heat the oven to 200C / gas mark 6. Wrap the beetroot in foil and bake until tender, about 1 hour. When the beetroot is in the oven, put the dates in a small bowl and bring the brandy to a simmer. Pour the brandy over the dates and leave to soften for half an hour. When the beetroot are cool enough to handle, peel and roughly chop them. Put into a food processor with the garlic, lemon, cream and the dates and their brandy and pulse to a coarse puree.
Stir in the walnuts and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving dish and chill but take out of the fridge half an hour before serving. Sprinkle with the chopped chives just before serving. You can use vacuum-packed beetroot (not in vinegar), you will need 500g. / 1lb.
- 2 tbsps. fennel seeds
- 200g. / 7ozs. feta cheese, crumbled
- 250mls. / 8fl. ozs. sour cream
- 3 tbsps. olive oil
Toast the fennel in a dry frying pan over a low heat, stirring often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Put the feta and sour cream in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth and creamy with an electric mixer. Stir in the fennel seeds and olive oil until evenly combined, ten cover and chill but take out of the fridge half an hour before serving.
- 1 tsp. cumin seeds
- 1 tsp. coriander seeds
- 700g. / 1lb. 7ozs. carrots, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 60-125ml. / 2-4fl.ozs. olive oil
- salt, pepper
Toast the spices in a dry frying pan over low heat, stirring often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Grind to a fine powder in a pestle and mortar. Cook the carrots in boiling water until soft, about 10 minutes. Drain well and while still warm, put into a food processor with the spices and garlic and whizz to a smooth puree. With the motor running, trickle in enough oil to make a smooth, shiny, creamy puree. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let cool, then cover and chill but take out of the fridge half an hour before serving.