Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pumpkin Cheese Dip



There is really  no hard and fast rule with dips. A Dip is basically a thick sauce in which pieces of food are dunked in before eating. It's a condiment for many types of foods and adds flavour to crackers, chips, bread, vegetables etc.  It's a perfect starter, an in between meal or TV snack, great for gatherings and parties....and can even be made into a light meal on it's own when meat and other wholesome ingredients are added to it.  You can't go wrong...just add ingredients to suit your tastebuds. In place of pumpkin, you can add avocado or similar which of course turns out to be a guacamole dip used for nachos. I posted a recipe for this in one if my earlier posts here. Cream Cheese was used as the main base for this pumpkin dip. My first try and I made it to suit the mood of my tastebuds :-) ......turned out quite 'finger lickin good' especially when having it with the chilli flavoured tortilla chips. 


Pumpkin Cheese Dip

Ingredients 


400 gm cream cheese (2 sticks or 2x200gm packs)

1/2 - 1 cup puréed or mashed pumpkin (I used 1 cup mashed pumpkin. If you are using puréed or canned pumpkin, use less else your dip becomes too watery in texture)

1 chopped onion (optional) - I did not use onion in this dip though because I added a cup of cooked minced meat from my leftover spicy bolognaise sauce made the day before for dinner with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.

My Special ingredient : minced beef prepared earlier or minced meat from  leftover spaghetti bolognaise sauce. You can just cook some minced meat with onions prior to making the dip. Make sure it is cold otherwise it would melt the dip and spoil the thick texture. I included the sauce recipe below in case you want to try a spaghetti sauce with a curry flavour to it. 


1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/2-1 tsp Mixed spices or cayenne pepper. Even curry powder or cumin powder works. 
Fresh Chives and/or coriander leaves (known as daun sup in malay) or some green herbs ...even chopped mint leaves works. 
I used dried terragon and parsley ....both from herb bottle packings. 

Method

Mix the cheese and pumpkin flesh with a fork or wooden spoon till mixed well. 
Add in all other ingredients and mix well ....save some herb and spice to garnish. 
If you are adding in the minced meat, be sure to only add the meat and not any excess gravy/sauce...so the texture of the dip is kept nice and thick.  The texture improved after refrigerating for at least an hour before serving. 


Serve with Tortilla Chips or any other Gourmet chips.





Enjoy!

sweet sharings from the kitchen of Nur Diyanah
xoxoxo 




Spicy Bolognaise Sauce

I use this particular recipe when I have that desire for a touch of curry or spice with my mashed potatoes. I made this as a topping for my mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion chopped
3 cloves garlic - I used 1 tablespoon garlic powder since I ran out of the fresh one. 
1 small pkt curry powder (25gm)  mixed to a paste in a little water. Add more if you like it really hot and spicy. I used only 25gm just for a tinge of curry flavour.
400 gm minced beef
1 bottle ready traditional bolognaise sauce or make it fresh with tomatoes and herbs using any basic recipe. 
1/2 cup milk ...I used low fat.
Salt to taste

Fry the onions in olive oil and add the curry powder paste and cook till it changes to a darker color and the oil rises (this means that the spices are cooked nicely and the full aroma comes out...also means no upset tummies for those who cannot take much spice :D ) 
Add in the minced meat and cook till tender, adding a little water in between if it dries up before time. I get my minced meat really fresh and lean from the Moroccan butcher here and it only takes a few minutes of cooking. It would take much longer if you are using prepacked frozen meat as it tends to not be 100% lean unless stated so on the packaging. 
Add the spaghetti sauce and cook for 10 -15 minutes. Add in milk and stir well.
Salt to taste. 


xoxoxo 
Nur Diyanah



Sunday, January 26, 2014

Pumpkin Soup - hot, sweet and spicy


Nothing like a hot spiced pumpkin soup with a kick on a cold, rainy day...a perfect winter warmer too. You can make it as mild or as hot and spicy as you desire. Goes very well with freshly baked crusty bread/soup bun. It was yummy and the ultimate happiness was seeing others enjoying it too. 

Ingredients
  • 1 kg Pumpkin flesh
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 litre Vegetable Or Chicken Stock
  • 300 gm mashed potatoes or cubed holland potatoes
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/3 cup Maple Syrup
  • Dash Of Nutmeg, dash of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes or chilli powder (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper To Taste
  • Extra Cream, For Serving
Preparation Instructions

Heat oil in saucepan and cook onion over medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until soft. Add garlic and chilli and cook for 1 minute longer.

Add pumpkin, potatoes, maple syrup and stock to pan, bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until pumpkin is tender. Remove pan from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

Mash out the big chunks, then transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor (or use an immersion blender) and puree until velvety smooth. Add cream and spices, then blend again.

Season to taste with black pepper.
Reheat if you need to, or just go ahead and serve.

Bon appetit!

The soup was for dinner yesterday and I still have a container full of puréed flesh and a half fresh pumpkin left. So today I will make a pumpkin cheese dip to go with the tortillas and gourmet chips I bought for today's get together with the BTB group of friends. Then during the week I will attempt to make pumpkin cheese cake or pumpkin somethin! 😎😋😃

Xoxoxo 😘💋
Nur Diyanah


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