Roasted Cauliflower Tahini Puree

Another vegetable that can be blended into a puree to make a delightful dip, spread, or base for a vegetable dish, is cauliflower. Here I have made a puree from spiced, roasted cauliflower, but it can just as easily be made from steamed cauliflower (pop into the oven for 15 or 20 mins afterwards to remove excess moisture).

Here I have topped it with an Eggplant, Onion and Saffron dish (delicious), but it can be used with any vegetable dish, or simply layered with radishes, feta, grated carrot, pomegranate kernels, etc, and eaten with flatbread.

Similar dishes include Red Capsicum and Feta Dip, Roasted Cauliflower, Garlic and White Bean Puree, Cannellini Bean Puree with Pickled Mushrooms and Pitta Croutons, and Roasted Cauliflower with Cumin.

Browse all of our Cauliflower dishes and all of our Dips, Spreads, and Purees.

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Roasted Red Capsicum and Feta Dip and Spread

I love recipes that are endlessly versatile – dips and spreads that can use a variety of vegetables, bread recipes into which you can knead different flours, herbs, and liquids, soups that take almost anything that you have on your kitchen bench. These sorts of dishes are the lifeblood of the kitchen, using up what you have, what has arrived, what you’ve been given, what has ripened.

A great base for a dip is formed from any combination of feta, yoghurt, cream cheese, ricotta, and/or tahini. Into that puree can go some lightly cooked vegetable and flavourings. Nuts can be added to thicken and flavour the mix. It is endlessly malleable.

Today it is roasted red capsicum, feta, yoghurt and walnuts.

Similar recipes include Eggplant Spread, Horseradish Dip, and Beetroot and Yoghurt Dip.

Or simply browse all of our Dips and Spreads.

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Sweet Potato Mash with Herb and Lime Salsa

Sometimes in Summer when the days are long and frightfully hot we love to eat mezze style – a pile of pitta bread and little dishes of things. Some feta, for example, halved tiny tomatoes with a cream dressing, some hummus, a plate of exquisite chickpeas. And some dips and purees. Today it is a sweet potato mash – this beautiful dish is made from roasted sweet potatoes and is topped with a salsa of lime zest, herbs and garlic. Truly it is divine.

The recipe comes from Ottolenghi’s Simple, and simple it is. Actually tonight I had some left over roasted sweet potato so it came together in not much more than 5 minutes. Yet the flavours of the tart salsa with the sweetness of the vegetable make this a memorable dish. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

The mash or spread works as a snack, mezze dish, starter and as a side. It is hardly any effort at all. The result is rich and punchy. After scooping out the flesh for this dish, save the skins and lightly roast them in the oven for a crisp-like snack. Brush them lightly with olive oil, roast for about 8 mins in a 200 – 220C oven and sprinkle with salt.

Similar dishes include Red Capsicum and Feta Dip, Moroccan Carrot Dip, Walnut and Pomegranate Dip, and Capsicum, Feta and Pistachio Dip.

Why not browse all of our Dips and our Sweet Potato recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Simple are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Zucchini, Makrut (Kaffir) Lime Leaf, Yoghurt Salad

Yoghurt salads are made the world over, except, perhaps, in English speaking and some European countries. It is a puzzle why we don’t make more use of them here in Australia with our temperatures up to 45C in Summer. Yoghurt is one of the most cooling ingredients. Here I use makrut lime leaves (the new name for kaffir limes) with zucchini and garlic to make a great hot day dip or salad. We often have them around afternoon tea time, with some crisp crackers (like our Galletti), with other salads and some flatbread for lunch, or as a precursor to dinner.

Similar dishes include Green Mango Pachadi, Roasted Eggplant with Saffron Yoghurt, and Onion Pachadi.

Browse all of our Yoghurt dishes and all of our Raita.

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Guacamole | Avocado Dip and Spread

This household was eating avocados long before they became de rigueur in the Australian cafe sub-cuisine. This is how we have been making guacamole since the 1990’s.

The most basic guacamole is simply avocado mashed with garlic, lemon, salt and pepper. The velvety texture of avocado, and the zing of the lime that cuts through the smoothness just as you’re getting comfortable with it. Then comes the bite of the garlic. The flavours  blend beautifully together and yet at the same time, all flavours are distinctly identifiable.

The good thing is that the basic recipe can be endlessly varied. We include a number of variations in our recipe below – tomato, coriander, chilli, sour cream, yoghurt – all manner of things can be added to the basic blend. You can vary guacamole so each time you make it, it is different.

Some say that leaving the avocado stone in the puree will prevent discolouration. My view is that if the guacamole’s around long enough to find out, you’re not doing it right.

Are you after other Avocado dishes? Try Cold Avocado Soup, Avocado and Strawberry Salad, and Avocado Smash with Radishes.

You can browse all of our Avocado recipes and Salsa dishes. Check out our easy Late Summer recipes too.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006.  Feel free to browse other recipes from our Retro Recipes series.

Guacamole

Guacamole | Mexican-Style Avocado Salsa

basic recipe
2 ripe medium avocados or 1 very large one
juice 1 lemon or 1 – 2 limes
2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
sea salt and black pepper to taste

optional additions prior to mashing or blending – if mashing, dice or grate the onion, fresh chilli and tomato finely, or if blending, chop coarsely
mayonnaise, creme fraiche, sour cream or yoghurt
1 small tomato
chilli powder to taste, or 1-2 fresh green chillies
a little white onion
leaves from 4 – 5 springs fresh coriander, chopped

optional additions after blending
0.5 – 1 green or red pepper, diced
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 small cucumber, finely diced
pitted olives, chopped
1 tomato, diced

method
Gather together the basic recipe ingredients and any additions to be added prior to mashing or blending. Mash or blend in a food processor or blender until creamy.

Add any further additions after blending (if any) and stir. It is best not to double up on ingredients – for example, if you add onion prior to blending, don’t add chopped onion after blending.

Taste, and adjust seasonings (chilli, lemon, salt, pepper). Serve with tortillas and corn chips.

Guacamole | Mexican-Style Avocado Salsa

recipe notes and alternatives.
Mashing the avocado with a fork or back of a spoon can produce a chunky guacamole (I love it!), or use a blender or food processor for a smooth one.

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White Bean, Basil, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Turmeric Spread

You know we like our spreads and dips, especially classic Italian ones. Here is a simple recipe for pureed beans seasoned with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and fresh basil that can be made mostly out of cupboard ingredients. It is divine in flavour and texture, with a multitude of uses. It is difficult to get fresh ingredients during this CV-19 lockdown, I know. If you don’t have basil, use parsley, coriander or chives. I have even used rocket and baby spinach (use a little less). Or simply leave the basil out.

The optional tomatoes and fennel seeds is an idea from one of the Moosewood cookbooks of long ago – we adopted it and use that combination in all sorts of things now.

Similar dishes include Guacamole, White Bean Puree with Harissa and Rosemary, White Bean, Sage and Roasted Garlic Spread, and White Bean Soup.

Or browse all of our White Bean recipes and all of our Spreads.

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Avocado with Sour Cream and a Tomato-Chilli Salsa

In avocado season they pile our fruit bowl high – we are such lovers of them. Honestly we can eat them straight out of their shell. In Summer we make cold avocado soups, all year round we mash and spread them, and they pile into our seasonal salads.

Our snack today is a guacamole type mix with a spicy tomato salsa on the side, and some thick sour cream. We have some great bread from the local baker, and we crisped it in an oven that was still hot from roasting brussels sprouts! It is better than fresh bread for this mix, but you can also toast or grill the bread, or use crackers or corn chips. Whatever floats your boat.

Similar recipes include Guacamole, Avocado and Broad Bean Mash, Avocado Salsa with Deep Fried Tortilla Crisps, and Grilled Green Tomatoes Tostadas with Black Beans, Avocado and Coriander Leaves.

Browse all of our Avocado dishes and all of our Snacks and Spreads.  Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Smoky Eggplant with Coriander

I found a new way of making a smoky eggplant. Well, really, I rediscovered a common method that I had relinquished for convenience. Charring eggplants in the covered gas BBQ gives eggplants that are so very easy to peel, and so that is the way that I have been roasting them for years. Recently I ran out of gas for the BBQ just as I needed to roast eggplants, so I roasted them on the gas stove.

The difference is enormous. First, it is more difficult to peel than those roasted on the BBQ, sigh. But the smoky flavour is so enhanced that the trouble is worth it when only 1 or 2 eggplants need to be char-roasted.

This recipe is for a mash of eggplant, onion and coriander leaves. You can call it a salad, but it works just as well as a dip with corn chips, a spread, and in wraps. You will love it. It is even good on toast!

Similar recipes include Smoky Aubergine with Tahini and Pomegranate, Smoky Eggplant and Asparagus,  and Smoky Eggplant and Tomatoes.

Browse all of our Eggplant dishes and all of our Eggplant Salads. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Collection: A Huge Collection of Recipes for Dips and Spreads

Who said dips are dead? Certainly not in our house. They are generally easy to make, are great snacks, and fill hunger gaps. They are gorgeous for guests. We layer them with other ingredients in main meals. Or simply eat them out of the bowl while standing at the fridge. Sssshhhhh!

Browse all of our Dips and Spreads, and all of our Collections. Or explore our Early Autumn recipes.

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Puree di Fava | Tuscan Broad Bean Puree

We have just a few broad beans left from our pick this week, and to shake things up a bit, I make a Tuscan Broad Bean Puree, full of butter and cream or milk. Quite decadent, but then there was only enough for both of us to snack on at afternoon tea time. Delicious! And quite different to the other purees of Broad Beans that we have made.

This is an excellent way of serving broad beans when the beans are no longer young and tender. The beans are double peeled and simmered till tender, then pureed with butter and milk or cream.

Similar recipes include Walnut and Pomegranate Dip, Broad Bean Dip with Wilted Greens, 31 Dishes to Make with Broad Beans, and Broad Bean Puree with Chilli Oil.

Browse all of our Broad Bean dishes and all of our Purees. Our Tuscan dishes are here. Or browse our Late Spring recipes.

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