Quick Pea and Garlic Dip, photography CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show
‘Peas are associated with comfort food, as a side with cottage pie and lashings of thick mashed potato and Sunday roasts. However this dip is light and perfect for Christmas entertaining and unexpected gatherings. I combine dry roasted cashews for flavour and creaminess and remove any dairy dairy to make it vegan and nearly suitable for any special dietary choices. It is a welcome change from chickpea dips, hummus and guacamole and very economical if you have crowds to feed.
I am always asked whether we should only eat organic and fresh vegetables? It is very difficult to find good fresh peas all year round and frozen peas have high nutritional value and they are usually harvested when they are ripe at their peak. They are washed, processed and bagged within minutes of being picked and can be beneficial in many ways. Buy a good brand from a reputable commercial outlet to make sure that they have also been transported in transit vans at the right temperature and have retained their freshness and flavour.’
For the pea and cashew dip, you will need:
450g frozen peas
1 large clove garlic
30g grated hard vegan cheese [if you are not vegan, local gbejna is perfect]
a pinch of dried marjoram
4 leaves fresh marjoram
4 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons cashew nuts [I use the more economical cashew pieces that come pre-packed]
1/8 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
salt and freshly ground pepper
To finish off: a few leaves of fresh marjoram and olive oil
Boil ample water in a pot and as soon as it starts to boil add the frozen peas and garlic clove and remove from heat. Cover the pan with a lid and leave for 2 minutes and not more to retain the vibrant colour and consistency. Drain the water and place the peas in a food processor or liquidizer. Dry roast the cashew pieces by placing them in a large pan over high heat. Shake the pan and do not allow them to brown but the oils of the nuts start to release and the roasted taste combined with the peas is delicious. Add the rest of the ingredients and puree.
You may wish to have a very smooth dip or leave it with some consistency and texture by pulsing the processor and stopping once the cashews have broken down completely. Taste and season. Tip into a bowl and top with some olive oil and fresh marjoram leaves. Serve warm or place in the refrigerator for an hour.
*This recipe is *gluten free * diabetic-friendly *vegan*
*For a nut free recipe substitute the cashews with an equal amount of oats [they create the same density and volume as nuts]*
Serve with warm pita bread or nut and seed bread. It is great for dipping crudities and also to serve with any finger food. It is also a good accompaniment to grilled meats or fish.
‘It is sunny here with a bright blue cloudless sky and everything looks spectacular, dream weather in the month of December.’
Frozen Peas and frozen vegetables by Green Isle at Rimus Trading Agency
Filipo Berio Olive Oil by Rimus Group
Cashew nuts by Good Earth
Saxa Salt by Premier Foods at George Borg Ltd
Fresh Fruit and Vegetables from Big Fresh Mosta, Oscar’s Fruit and Vegetables Paola and Barbuto [Organic]