My little announcement: this is my 100th post! I'm getting somewhere at last. This week was also another mini milestone as I reached 100 followers on my FaceBook page! It may sound small but it means a lot to me. Thank you for your support!
Right, now i've got that out of the way....i'm off on holiday...
I haven’t had a holiday in ages…! But today I’m off on a mini break with friends to a little cottage in the countryside for a long weekend.
I’ve been planning all sorts of snacks to take along to keep me going and share with the others- if they fancy! It’s the first time I’ve been away with others whilst I’ve been predominantly vegan, so it will be interesting to see how mealtimes merge as we’re planning on cooking together in the eveneings. It should work out fine and I’ve got various soups and snacks as starters or as a backup if all else fails!
These are the snacks i'm taking for the trip…
choc orange smoosh bars (these simply follow me wherever I go!), some
granola (plus I have created a few new varieties that I’ll be posting soon),
lentil chickpea soup plus another squash and kidney bean flavour creation,
sticky toffee pudding - I know if there is any dessert that will tempt my mates it will be this! Lastly a load of raw veggie sticks plus this dip….
My dip experiments have begun. First up…. Lentils!
I love the texture of cooked lentils, not creamy but still smooth with a light texture. I also love the concept of using root vegetables here. Other recipes of this type seemed to favour sweet potato, however as I didn’t have one to hand I was curious to try it with parsnip and I think it works really well. I would imagine squash would also work. I’m keen to give this recipe another try and so I will probably change things up a bit and go for an orange fleshed veg to create an even brighter dip.
The main thing for me is being able to create a dip I can freeze in small portions for everyday snacking. That way, even recipes that take a little longer to make (as this recipe does when compared with regular hummous) aren’t a problem as they will keep you going for weeks.
In researching ‘freezing dips’ I came across some sensible advice that stated that dips can have a tendency to loose their creaminess once frozen if the water content is quite high to start with. It suggested that this could be easily remedied by whisking it up again before serving. So, I thought a sensible solution would be to reduce the water content in the original recipe and then add this back in (or use a non-dairy milk for a little creamier consistency?) when ready to serve.
I spooned dollops of the thick mixture onto a baking sheet, let them cool then froze them. Once fully frozen, you can easily slide the portions off the tray and into an airtight freezer bag. I would suggest using the dip portions within one month.
I dressed my dip for these photos with a little extra raw hemp oil and a sprinkling of seeds. Teamed up with a plate of fresh veggies and you have the perfect virtuous finger food!
I also tried the freezing technique today (the day after the dip was made) by defrosting one of the ‘dollops’. I heated it in the microwave as I fancied a hot dip with my veggies and then I added approx. 2 tbs of soy milk and a tiny drop of hemp oil (any oil would be fine). It worked really well, so I can now report the freezing technique to be a success. I will definitely be trying it with my other dip recipes to come!
Recipe: Lentil and root vegetable dip
Makes 3 cups
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ cup onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ red chilli, finely minced or 1tsp dried chilli flakes
- 1 cup organic red lentils
- 1 cup parsnip cubed (or other 'sweet' root vegetable)
- 2 tbsp bulgur wheat or quinoa (not essential)
- 1 tbsp sweet paprika
- 3 cups water (see notes above)
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp each fresh coriander and mint, chopped (or 1tsp dried mixed herbs- I used this as I didn't have fresh)
In a saucepan saute the onion, garlic and chilli in a tablespoon of olive oil for 5 minutes until soft. Add the lentils, parsnip, bulgur/quinoa, sweet paprika and water. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
When the lentils are soft, whisk with a wooden spoon or puree in the food processor. Add the salt, lemon juice and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Stir in the fresh herbs last.
This recipe can also be made in the Thermomix which is how I made mine.
So I will be back in a few days. I’m not even going to take my laptop…scary but I think it will good for me to make myself have a rest! I’m planning on taking a couple of photography books I’ve been meaning to get stuck into for ages. I have already scheduled the post for my final Valentine’s treat idea which will be up on Saturday…I hope you like it!