Roasted beetroot, cinnamon and pomegranate dip. Photo: Marcel Aucar
Roasted beetroot, cinnamon and pomegranate dip
The earthy roasted beetroot is a great match for the warmth of the cinnamon and allspice. Add a hint of chilli, the richness of yoghurt and the sweet-and-sour balance of pomegranate and you've got a very sophisticated dip.
900g medium beetroot, washed well, trimmed and cut in sixths
Extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp ground cinnamon, plus extra
1 tsp ground allspice
½ tsp chilli powder (or to taste)
300g thick plain yoghurt
100ml pomegranate molasses
2 handfuls pomegranate seeds
1 handful mint leaves
1. Preheat the oven to 180C fan-forced or 200C conventional.
2. Place the beetroot pieces into a roasting dish, drizzle with oil, season with salt and pepper, add the cinnamon and allspice and toss through to evenly coat. Add a splash of water to the dish, cover with baking paper and foil and roast for one hour.
3. After an hour, remove the paper and foil and bake for about another 15 minutes. The beetroot should be tender and starting to caramelise. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
4. Once cooled, puree the beetroot with the chilli powder until smooth. Add the yoghurt and pomegranate molasses and process until combined. Adjust the seasoning, then spread on to a serving plate, crumble over some feta, sprinkle a little cinnamon, scatter over the pomegranate seeds and mint and serve with flat bread.
Drink: Lager or mint tea.
Makes a large batch.
Silverbeet, spinach, yoghurt and pinenut dip
Besides being nutty, spicy and really delicious, this dip is packed with fresh greens, which makes it pretty healthy.
80ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra
5 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 leek, finely sliced
1 bunch silverbeet, trimmed of ¾ of the stalk and finely chopped
3 handfuls baby spinach
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
250g thick plain yoghurt
80g pinenuts, toasted briefly in a dry frypan
1. In a wide-based pot, add 80ml of oil and cook the garlic until fragrant. Add the leek and cook for five minutes. Add the silverbeet and cook for another 10 minutes over low heat with the lid on, stirring through every now and then.
2. Add the spinach, cumin and paprika and, if the pot is too dry, a splash of water. Cook for another five minutes, season and set aside to cool.
3. If the greens are quite wet, drain off a little liquid, then puree with the yoghurt and half the pinenuts until you have a smooth paste. Spread on to your serving plate, squeeze over some lemon, scatter over the remaining pinenuts, dress with a little oil and serve with flatbread.
Drink: Margaret River Semillon.
Makes a large batch.
Moroccan semolina flatbread
I was taught how to make this bread in a souk in Marrakesh by a young and very talented chef, Amina. This style of bread is so versatile it makes it to the table for pretty much every meal in Morocco. It's perfect for dips, but also great for sandwiches, and with falafel is good for a barbecue - think spicy koftas, yoghurt and plenty of tabbouleh.
25g fresh yeast
500g plain flour
400g fine semolina, plus extra for dusting
1 tbsp salt flakes
1. Dissolve the yeast in 650 ml of warm water.
2. Mix the flour, 400 grams of semolina and the salt together in a large shallow bowl.
3. Make a well in the flour mix and, using your fingers, gradually incorporate the water until you have a rough, sticky dough. Work the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, flour your hands lightly and keep kneading until you get the right consistency.
4. Once your dough is ready, divide it into 10 even pieces - you can simply pinch off balls with thumb and forefinger, although getting them even does take a little practice. Otherwise weigh the dough, divide by 10 and then weigh off even portions (about 160 grams each).
5. One by one, take the rough edges of each ball and fold them into the centre, creating a more consistent shape, then roll the balls on the bench with your palm until smooth.
6. Once you have shaped all the balls, starting with the first one you rolled (so they all have a chance to rest), pat out with your fingers into a round (about 15 centimetres) on a bench dusted with semolina. Lift on to a clean tea towel, and dust with more semolina. Repeat for all the dough. As they prove they will puff up and roughly double in thickness (from one centimetre to about two centimetres).
7. Once the dough has rested, carefully lift each piece (they will be quite light and aerated) into a heated dry frypan (or griddle) and cook for about four or five minutes on one side, flip and cook for another three to five minutes - having two pans on the go at once is a good idea. You want some colour on them, but just watch the heat of your pan as you don't want a burnt outside with a doughy centre. Once cooked, they will sound hollow when tapped. Stack on top of each other to cool before using.