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


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. 


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.


sweet sharings from the kitchen of Nur Diyanah

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. 

Nur Diyanah


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