The sun is shining on our hill – at last – bringing with it all the hope of spring, and a flurry of blossoms in our orchard. The plum is out and the quince is budding, it won’t be too long before the apples and fig follow. Standing in the middle of the orchard the other day, my ears were filled with the blissed out buzzing of a zillion bees – a very happy sound. While we are all doing a bit of a happy dance around here, it is necessary to keep in mind that winter has probably not finished with us just yet, though, and the sight of some absolutely gorgeous parsnips at the market yesterday reminded me that there is still plenty of satisfaction to be had from the winter produce.
We’ve had a pretty busy weekend so far, and it’s only just begun, so I hope you’ll forgive me if I keep this brief. I’m putting together a platter of nibbles to share with some other parents as we chaperone/supervise the senior football party tonight – and only other parents of teenagers can really know what kind of night we are in for! To accompany a generous donation of cheeses from my friend Kris Lloyd, the Woodside Cheesewright, I have made a couple of dips to help keep us well nourished over the course of the evening. The sight of the aforementioned parsnips sent me hunting through my books to find a way to incorporate them into a dip and, mindful of the fact that I haven’t shared a new spinach recipe in a while, I’ve added a spinach dip to our repertoire. Both dips are very slight variations on a couple of Greg Malouf recipes, the spinach from “Saraban” and the parsnip from “Arabesque“.
Spinach, Turmeric & Sultana Dip
- 2 Tbsp sultanas roughly chopped
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 large shallots, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- sea salt
- 250 gm spinach
- ground black pepper
- 200 gm thick natural yoghurt
- lemon juice
- Blanch or lightly steam spinach, squeeze out as much moisture as possible and set aside to cool.
- Saute shallots in oil until soft and translucent, add sultanas & turmeric. Cook for 1-2 minutes further, set aside to cool.
- Roughly chop cooled spinach and mix spinach, salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste with the yoghurt.
- Add shallots, sultanas and turmeric – either by mixing through or drizzling on top.
- 500 gms parsnips
- 200 mls milk
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 30 gms fresh breadcrumbs
- 60 mls olive oil
- 1 tsp cumin
- salt and pepper
- Chop parsnip and cook in milk until very soft.
- Mince garlic with 1/2 tsp sea salt.
- Puree parsnip in milk, minced garlic, lemon juice, cumin and breadcrumbs in food processor.
- Add the oil in a very slow dribble through the top until all incorporated.
- Season to taste.