Beautiful beetroot dip, Stuffed Vine Leaves Saved my Life, Nadia Sawalha

Spellcheck does not like the word ‘beetroot’. Every time I write it, be it in Word, on Twitter or in this blog, those annoying little red dots appear beneath it, signaling that I’ve made a terrible error. I start to doubt myself, check the dictionary, and find I was right…again!

I have made this dip a number of times, it is great served with meat, fish, in chunky ham sandwiches, in wraps, burgers…the list is endless! So I had no problem in making it again for this challenge. What always amazes me is the colour. You mix the tahini (sesame seed paste), lemon juice, water, salt and garlic in one bowl, and mash the beetroot in another (I like to leave some chunks in there rather than purée it). Once you combine the contents of both bowls, the colour that’s created is amazing, just don’t get it on your clothes whatever you do!

In the past, I’ve always made my own tahini by blending sesame seeds into a paste with a little oil. This time, I bought some tahini in a jar. To be perfectly honest, I prefer it when I make my own. The tahini I used this time was much too overpowering. I’m not suggesting that you should all start making your own tahini, but I would advise you to add less than the recipe suggests until you get the strength of flavour you desire.

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A message from Basecamp

If you’re like me, you accumulate cookery books. Your library multiplies on a year by year basis with the help of Christmas and birthday presents, impulse buys, borrowing (otherwise known as stealing as I rarely get round to returning any), inheritance or all of the aforementioned. My mam and I, regardless of how much we enjoy cooking and eating, often lament the fact that we will never get round to creating every single recipe in our collections.

I’m sure we aren’t alone. You will embark on a baking frenzy one weekend then won’t pick up a whisk for another six months; you have a pile of cookery books on your bedside table and you enjoy nothing more than pouring through the unspattered pages, drooling over the glossy images and walking through the method (in your head) of creating each recipe in turn; you have dreams of owning a bakery, a cafe or a small boutique restaurant and you believe these books will come in handy one day; you plan elaborate parties/soirees/gatherings/dinner parties which never materialise; you even write shopping list after shopping list in order to breathe life into these limp paper recipes but you either end up abandoning your plans or despairing as your local supermarket doesn’t stock the exact ingredients (rosewater, split pigeon pea lentils, tahini, vanilla bean dusting…) you require.

This is where it ends, or in fact begins. I’m writing this having just married and arrived home from honeymoon, and with all the planning (and occasional stressing) over, I realise I surely must have some free time on my hands. I also recently watched the film Julie & Julia and I must acknowledge this true story as I would hate anyone to think that I was stealing a previously explored idea. I have merely been inspired by it.

The Plan
As of Saturday, 5th May 2012 I will begin to work my way through the collection of 34 cookery books I possess so that one day, I will be able to tell my mam that I have indeed created each and every recipe I own.

The books are as follows:

  1. The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days
  2. Stuffed Vine Leaves Saved My Life, Nadia Sawalha
  3. Glorious Fruit Desserts
  4. 200 Curries, Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook
  5. Soups, Grace Mulligan & Dilwen Phillips
  6. Puddings, Cakes & Ice Creams, River Cafe Pocket Books
  7. Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book
  8. Tarts, Liz Herbert
  9. Prydau i Blesio Pawb, Dudley Newbery
  10. Jamie At Home, Jamie Oliver
  11. Breads & Bakes, Carrie O’Regan & Jill Brand
  12. The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
  13. Home Cooking, Jill Brand & Carrie O’Regan
  14. New Recipes for your Slo-Cooker, Annette Yates
  15. Jams, Pickles & Chutneys, Midge Thomas
  16. The Big Book of One Pot
  17. Antonio Carluccio’s Italian Feast
  18. Gordon Ramsay’s Sunday Lunch
  19. Nigella Express, Nigella Lawson
  20. The Accidental Vegetarian, Simon Rimmer
  21. Super Soups, Michael van Straten
  22. Nigella Bites, Nigella Lawson
  23. Antony Worrall Thompson’s GI Diet
  24. Pasta: Best-Ever Cook’s Collection, ed. Linda Fraser
  25. I Love Curry, Anjum Anand
  26. The Return of the Naked Chef, Jamie Oliver
  27. How to be a Domestic Goddess, Nigella Lawson
  28. River Cafe Cook Book Easy
  29. Steak Lover’s Cookbook, William Rice
  30. The Wagamama Cookbook, Hugo Arnold
  31. Feast, Nigella Lawson
  32. Curry Easy, Madhur Jaffrey
  33. Gluten-Free Cookig, Phil Vickery
  34. Nigella Christmas, Nigella Lawson

On that note I will leave you but will return with the method and rules which I will follow in order to climb this delicious mountain of books. I may be writing to myself here for a few months (if not a few years) but if you do happen upon this blog, please feel free to post your own comments about the recipes I attempt – you may have your own insight as to Nigella’s whisking method, Antonio’s raviolli or Gordon’s basting…