This week I had to reach for my first slap of sunscreen after a few too many hours in the afternoon sun with girlfriends. The familiar coconut smell made my heart race with anticipation, and if I closed my eyes it felt like a typical sunny summer afternoon. A few of us even partook in pineapple and coconut icy poles as we lolled around on the grass, soaking up the last of the winter rays.
It seems to be winter’s last hurrah, and being lucky enough to live on Sydney’s sunny beaches – the upcoming seasons of spring and summer generally roll into one long maxi dress of happiness. The long warm nights and the slow lazy way we eat – outside, communally and relaxed – are two of my favourite things about summer. Food is fresh and always shared; cold slices of watermelon on platters, big colourful salads and jugs of fresh juice.
And of course, dip. It’s not a summer bbq or get-together in Australia without dip, right? Tzatziki, semi-dried tomato, French-onion (does anyone actually know what’s in this one?) and hummus for traditionalists are always guaranteed starters at any summer part-ay. They’re possibly the easiest thing to bring as a guest with minimal effort and maximum love. Some marketing guru even came up with idea to have two different flavours in one pot, genius! I don’t remember a summer party that hasn’t in some way started with carrots, celery, biscuits and dip strewn across tables and on picnic rugs.
Today I’ve put together three of my favourite make-from-scratch dips in preparation for this years summer parties. If you’ve read a few of my posts, you’ll know I’m a keen label reader and store-bought dips are often some of the worst offenders for weird and wacky ingredients. If I’m stretched for time Yalla’s hummus is my pick of the store-bought bunch (no canola oil, thickeners, stabilisers or preservatives), but most often I’ll rev up the food processor and blitz up my own dips from scratch – something that’s so easy you’ll be wondering why you haven’t been doing it all along. I promise!
There’s nothing better than a really good, thick bowl of hummus. Not just for parties – I keep a tub in the fridge for lunch time emergencies, and a pre-dinner snack to tide me over. Chickpeas are the full of fibre, protein and keep you seriously full for a long time. I love to make a base hummus recipe and then throw random things it to spice it up a bit – this can include beetroots, roast pumpkin, curry powder or coriander.
- 1 x 400g can organic chickpeas
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tbs tahini
- 1 tsp cummin
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tbs olive oil
- Sea Salt
How to go about it
It’s called easy for a reason! Combine all ingredients into the food processor and blitz away. Adjust amounts according to how thick you like your dip!
Chunky cashew & rocket dip
Completely vegan and full of flavour – this pesto inspired dip is one of my favourites to make. It’s health benefits are pretty incredible too – with the combination of rocket, cashews and nutritional yeast giving you a big hit of vitamins and antioxidants.
What is nutritional yeast?
Don’t be scared – nutritional yeast usually comes in flakes are is awesome option for vegans and vegetarians looking to up their B12 vitamin intake. Vitamin B12 is important for keep your cells and nerves healthy, as well as the production of DNA. The flakes have a cheesy, nutty, salty flavour and can be added to dressings, sauces and spreads.
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 2 1/2 cups rocket
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 garlic clove
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- Sea salt & pepper
How to go about it
- Pulse cashews, nutritional yeast and garlic in the food processor until combined but cashews still chunky. Empty into a bowl.
- Next combine the rocket, olive oil and lemon juice and blitz until combined. Mix through the cashew mixture and season well with salt and pepper.
Mango & avocado guacamole
Could mango and avocado go any better together? I think not. A favourite from the delightful Sarah at Sprouted Kitchen, this is a fun alternative to your average guac and looks positively lovely in a big bowl at a summer party. My tip? Always, always make extra.
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1 mango
- 1 spring onion
- Chopped coriander
- Juice of 1 lime
- Sea salt
How to go about it
- Cube mango and mix together with lime juice.
- Cube avocado and chop the spring onion and coriander. Add to mango and mix well. Season with a big crack of sea salt and pepper.
- Optional add some flaked chilli for an extra flavour punch.