Perfect dips for any occasion

Smooth hummus, garnished with parsley and olives

The nice thing about dips is their versatility. They go well
with all kinds of breads and crackers, and are great for serving to groups. Whether
it’s a casual get-together, or a more formal party, dips are an elegant and
easy snack to provide to your guests.

Hummus has gained a lot of popularity in the past decade,
and with good reason. It is full of flavour, and the protein-rich chickpeas
make it an excellent vegetarian option. The smooth Tahini,  made from sesame seeds, adds a richness to
the flavour and texture, and olive oil and lemon juice loosen the mix to a
perfectly dippable state. Colour and spice can be added easily, with the
addition of hot peppers. I recommend chopped red chilis, or chopped jalapenos.
The amount of garlic added can be adjusted to taste, as well. This middle-eastern
snack is a staple in many countries, and is generally served with pita bread.
However, it goes very well with many different kinds of breads, so feel free to
side it with an assortment of crackers and crusty breads along with pitas. I
prefer quartering pitas, and toasting them off to make crunchy pita chips.

Tapenade, made with an assortment of olives

Tapenade is another simple, elegant bread topper. This Italian
dip is made traditionally with olives, capers and anchovies. A bit of fresh
lemon juice adds brightness to the flavour. Although it can be made with only
one type of olive, I prefer using several varieties to add colour and texture. The
addition of sundried tomatoes or roasted red peppers adds a great twist to this
traditional recipe, so feel free to get creative. Tapenade is not just for
serving with bread. This recipe goes very well as a topper for chicken or white
fish, such as halibut.

An obvious benefit of making either of these dips is the
ability to increase or reduce the recipe as needed. They store well in the
fridge, and can be made in large batches and kept for up to a week. A nice tray
with some dip, cheese and bread is a great snack any time, and is easy enough
to make for yourself on a quiet weeknight.

 

Hummus

You will need:

2 cloves garlic

2 cans chickpeas, drained

4 tbsp tahini

Juice of half a lemon

½ cup olive oil

For garnish:

½ cup chopped parsley

1 tbsp olive oil

1-4 olives, as desired

Method:

  1. In a food processor, combine chickpeas, lemon
    juice, garlic and half of the olive oil. Pulse until smooth.
  2. Add the tahini, and remaining olive oil in a
    slow, steady stream. Blend until completely smooth and creamy.
  3. Spoon mixture into a serving bowl, and garnish
    with a drizzle of olive oil, parsley and olives.

 

Tapenade

You will need:

½ lb mixed olives, pits removed

1-2 anchovy fillets

1 clove garlic, chopped

2 large, fresh basil leaves, sliced.

2 tbsp capers

Juice of half a lemon

1 tbsp olive oil

Parsley for garnish

Method:

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor.
  2. Pulse lightly for about a minute, until a coarse
    paste is formed.
  3. Spoon into a serving bowl, and garnish with
    chopped parsley.
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