June 24, 2008

asparagus dip

This has to be one of my most favourite things, ever!.....it's very green, and garlicky; refreshing and clean tasting, it's not at all heavy or cloying like some dairy based dips can be, and it goes well with just about anything from baked potato, to crudites, to oat cakes, and yes, even hard boiled eggs! Don't believe me?....then why not give it a try!

It may sound like a weird combination of ingredients, but it's rich, nutty, almost smoky taste is very addictive. I've been making this dip for years without much change to the original recipe from a book called 'Food Combining for Vegetarians' by Jackie Le Tissier.
Food Combining is a system of eating rather than a 'diet', and was formulated by Dr Hay in the early 1900's; basically, you eat fresh, unprocessed foods, and you don't eat protein foods and carbohydrates at the same meal. As you can probably tell from the other recipes on the Blog, I don't Food Combine in everything I eat!, but I do try to mostly follow the guidelines, and I certainly feel a lot better for it when I do!

Asparagus Dip
1 350g can of asparagus (reserve liquid)
100g ground almonds
2 cloves of garlic
a pinch of smoked paprika
about 1 tablespoon of reserved asparagus liquid from can

Place all of the ingredients, except for the reserved liquid, into a lquidiser and whizz until smooth. You may need to add more, or less, apsaragus liquid to the mix to get your desired consistency. Don't be tempted to make it too runny though, because this can make it separate when it's served.

Cover, and refrigerate until needed (it will last two to three days in the fridge) although this tastes much better if it's eaten at room temperature. Try it piled onto a baked potato with a fresh crunchy green salad, or as a a dip served with crudites.

June 22, 2008

isn't life great!

It seems like I haven't posted anything in ages - and I'm getting withdrawl symptoms!!

The thing is, life has got really hectic lately; with my daughters home fom Uni now for the summer there's been lots of catching up to do, and family time, before they're off again! Then, at the same time B and I have been engrossed in buying a run-down Victorian house to do up, with all of the running around that that entails.....(I'm hoping to post more about that later)..... and......our lovely ginger fluffball of a cat, Willow, produced four beautiful kittys last Saturday night.

So, life is wonderful, and trying to fit it all in to just 24 hours a day (let alone go to work!) is great fun!

I apologise that I haven't had time to visit all your lovely blogs either for a while - but I'll soon be back in the swing, I'm sure; not too much time for 'creative' baking at the moment, although B did get a lemon meringue cake for his birthday last week, but it got demolished before I could photograph it! Still I'll be back very soon...
Take care, Alfie

June 02, 2008

pea, feta and spinach salad

This salad is so fresh, and vibrant; it is just simple, uncomplicated, good food. Just recently I've had a real hankering for peas....yes, I know, peas! Perhaps it's the longer days, and a promise of Summer (what, you hadn't noticed because of all the rain?), or maybe it's just that they taste so good, all bright green and sweet, and bursting smugly with their own goodness.
This gorgeous, verdant, salad is adapted from a recipe by Bill Granger (Pea, Feta and Mint Salad), but I'm not overly keen on mint, so I left that out, and also adapted the dressing so that I could add garlic (of course!)

The combination of the flavours works beautifully together, and even just looking at it makes you feel instantly healthier! It's colours are jewel like, and although we ate it as a simple lunch, just with a hunk of crusty bread, it would make a wonderfully vivid and appetising side to grace any meal.

Pea, Feta and Spinach Salad
(adapted from a recipe by Bill Granger)

200g fresh peas
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
30g pistachios
50g baby spinach leaves
75g feta cheese
Blanch the peas in boiling water for about two minutes, and then refresh immediately in cold water to stop them losing their lovely bright green colour.
Cook the onion in the two tablespoons of oil until soft and golden (about five minutes). Whisk together the remaining oil and cider vinegar for the dressing, and season with garlic, salt and pepper.
When the onions are cooked, mix them with the peas and pistachios in a bowl, and toss together with the dressing.
Lightly mix in the spinach to coat the leaves with the dressing and then sprinkle with the crumbled feta to serve.