It doesn’t take much to get excited by a few rays of sunshine in Scotland, or be inspired by people enjoying a midweek lunch al fresco at Contini’s. So, with a hint of spring in the air Kerry and Nicki decided it was time to try a few dips. They mixed it up and sampled some from the supermarket, while also trying Kerry’s famous pea and parmesan dip.
Accompanied by toasted ciabatta or a selection of the fabulous Nairn’s oatcakes, they were all pretty good. Our least favourite was the Lemon & Coriander Houmous, compared against the rich flavours the others boasted this felt slightly artificial. The firm favourite was definitely the M&S tapenade, it was brimming with Mediterranean flavours from the sundried tomatoes and olives. It almost felt as though you could easily transport yourself to sunny Sorrento in the blink of an eye. The only negative about the tapenade is the price, it is almost double the cost of other dips, but depending on the company and the occasion, we think it’s worth it!
The other two would be most welcome at the table again providing unusual dips for summer that certainly tick the more-ish box. And then we come onto Kerry’s wonderful pea and parmesan dip, which is delicious warm or chilled and can be easily applied to crudités, oatcakes or eaten straight. Simple to make, it uses store cupboard ingredients and delivers a fabulous vibrant colour to attract your guests. Over to Kerry…
Kerry’s Dip Recipes
I like nothing more than having friends round for supper, but I don’t want to spend all the evening in the kitchen, slaving over a hot stove. So this is how my signature supper starters, a pea and parmesan dip and a sun-dried tomato and butter bean hummus, have evolved.
I serve the dips with oatcakes or flat-breads and my homemade cheese biscuits, which are supposed to be eaten separately but I have known guests to spread the dips on these too. And the beauty is that the dips can be prepared before your guests arrive, meaning you won’t miss out on the gossip.
Oatcakes and cheese are a classic combination, but it’s time for the oatcake to come out from the shadows of cheese and be enjoyed on its own or in a range of different ways.
My favourite are Nairns. These Scottish oatcakes are made from only the best oats from the nearby Scottish Borders. They don’t rely on added sugar or stimulants, and contain only a simple ingredients list with no artificial nasties. With six different varieties to choose from, my favourites to accompany my dips are the ‘Cracked Black Pepper’ and their ‘Super Seeded Organic Oatcakes’ which contain flaxseeds, chia and sunflower seeds. Just delicious. Nairns also have a gluten free range too.
And if you have any dips left over they make a great lunchtime alternative to the boring sandwich.
- 1 large tin of butter beans
- 1 large garlic clove, sliced in half
- 1 small bunch of flat leaf parsley
- 175g sundried tomatoes in oil
- 150g low fat Greek Style yoghurt
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Put the butter beans, garlic and parsley in a food processor. Whiz until chopped.
- Add the sun-dried tomatoes and 4 tbs of their oil with the yoghurt and lemon juice. Whiz until smooth and then season to taste.
- This mix will keep for 3 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
- 2 heads of garlic (depends on the size or how garlicky you like your dishes or the size of the garlic heads)
- 400g frozen petits pois
- 40g butter
- Drizzle of olive oil
- 4 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
- Freshly ground pepper
- Preheat the oven to gas mark 6/200ºC.
- Cut off the top of the head of garlic, revealing the tips of each garlic clove.
- Place the garlic in a double square of tin foil, large enough to make a loose parcel of it.
- Drizzle the olive oil over the top of the garlic. Bring the 4 edges of the square together and twist. (Alternatively use a terracotta garlic roaster).
- Bake in the oven for 30-40 mins, until the garlic is soft, when you push the tip of a sharp knife in. Leave to cool slightly.
- At the end of the cooking garlic's cooking time, cook the peas in boiling salted water for about 4 minutes. Drain and tip into a bowl.
- Squeeze out the soft, cooked cloves of garlic into the same bowl. If the garlic is still too hot to handle, wrap some kitchen towel around it to prevent you burning your fingers.
- Add the butter, parmesan and pepper and blitz using a hand-held electric blender. Alternatively use a food processor. Don't over process it, unless you like a smooth consistency.
- Cool before serving.
- Serve with Nairns oat cakes, flatbreads or toasted pittas.
Whether you have the time to make your own, or simply want a helpful shortcut, we hope our dips research comes in handy this summer.