Nuts rule. They make many food a little crunchier, little tastier. If only they weren’t quite so calorie dense. Of all the nuts, almonds are probably my favourites. I like the texture, the flavour, even the colour and they’re easy to get hold of. This dip is based on a cashew nut dip and makes a perfect accompaniment to crudities or strips of pita bread. It also works very well as a spread and is lovely on soda bread.
This recipe scales well and is so easy that when you’ve made it a few times, you don’t need a recipe but can make it to taste.
Serves: 4-6 as a dip at a party or dinner, about the same as a spread. Prep: 4 hours (soaking time). Making up: 5 minutes.
Stores: Up to 4 days in the fridge; up to 3 months in the freezer (divide into smaller tubs or bag when freezing).
- 1 cup (250 millilitres) almonds. Skins on – there’ good fibre there.
- 0.5-1 teaspoon lemon juice (a squeeze)
- Small handful of parsley (a sprig or two)
- Pinch of cinnamon
- 2-4 tablespoons cold water
- Stick blender with mixer attachment, or a mixer, or a nut mill/meat grinder
- Tablespoon measure or tablespoon
- Soak the nuts on a bowl overnight, or for a few hours. (Soaking is optional but makes the nuts a little softer.)
- Drain the nuts and put them in the mixer attachment with lemon juice, cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of water.
- Blitz until fine.
- To thin, add the rest of the water by the teaspoonful.
- Pulse until you have the desired consistency. (stiff or loose – it’s up to you.)
- Nutty stuff: You can make this with any and all nuts. Hazelnuts pair well with lemon zest and pepper, cashews go great with coriander, pine nuts benefit from a small handful of green olives.
- Go green: Swap out 0.5 cup of almonds for pistachios for a different flavour and interesting colour.
- Heat it up: Chuck in half a green chilli for a hotter version of this.
- Sweeten the deal: As well as cinnamon, add a couple of pods of cardamom, finely ground, to the mix. This version is great as a chutney with hot, sour curries.