The last thing that’s on our to-do list in hot weather is to slave over a hot stove, but that doesn’t mean we can’t impress guests at our next socially distanced garden gathering. Here are five simple but satisfying dips which will make an indulgent snack or starter alongside crisps or colourful sticks of celery, carrot and pepper.
This cooling Indian dip is the perfect way to refresh on a summer’s day. With a base of yoghurt, mint, coriander and satisfyingly crunchy cucumber, it will pamper both your palette and your poppadom. If you want a truly regal bowl of raita, try adding pomegranate; it adds a burst of flavour to each bite, and the ruby pips give the effect of tiny sparkling gems. You can also bring up the heat by grating in a little ginger and garam masala.
Upgrade this classic Mexican staple with a touch of mango to add a bit of sweetness to a savoury plate. The dip goes perfectly with nachos, and if you’ve got any left, you can try it wrapped up in a fajita or tucked into a taco. All you need are avocadoes, tomatoes, red onion, lime and coriander – and for the more adventurous amongst us, perhaps a few chillis. Avocadoes can go brown, so try to make your guac as close to serving as possible, or add a bit of sour cream.
Fruit can be added to all manner of dips, and one of the best is pico de gallo. Give your traditional Spanish salsa a tropical touch by throwing in some pineapple – fresh is best but tinned will do the trick too. Simply chop up some red onions, tomatoes, bell peppers and coriander (with a few jalepenos if you want it to kick back), add a twist of lime and season to taste. It’s worth bearing in mind that this also works beautifully with mango and mint, or with a helping of juicy ripe peaches and nectarines.
This popular French spread is packed with earthy intensity, and marries perfectly with purist Italian flavours. As well as being an ideal companion for crispy homemade breadsticks, it’s a great way to spruce up your bruschetta and create some Mediterranean magic. For a black olive tapenade, mix your olives with garlic, anchovies, capers, olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar; or if you favour green olives, swap out the vinegar for a squeeze of lemon. Alternatively, get the best of both worlds by serving them up side by side.
Lemon and coriander houmous
The market for houmous is booming: from sweet potato and sun-dried tomato to red pepper and harissa, every combination has been tried and tested. However, you can’t beat zingy citrus in the summer, and adding lemon and coriander to the blender with your chickpeas, olive oil, tahini and garlic will give this Middle Eastern dish a subtle lift. Make sure to prep large quantities, as this is guaranteed to be a new favourite.