Spring fills me with a renewed sense of joy and excitement, and not only because it means the silly season is approaching. After a winter of slow cooking and roasted root vegetables, I long for fresh flavours and some sunshine.
Fresh herbs are crucial in cooking, and even the smallest little balcony or windowsill can allow you to feel a sense of satisfaction from growing your own food – despite plenty of windy weather and neglect, I always seem to have a flourishing pot of mint and basil on the go.
Both of these herbs are great as garnishes and in pasta, but mint especially screams spring to me. Another thing I love about the impending warmer weather is a break from hibernation and a bit more socialising. Often a catch-up wine will turn into snacks for dinner, which is one of my favourite things. While there are some great store-bought dips out there, you will often have all these simple ingredients on hand, and a few minutes is all it takes to whip up something simple, impressive, delicious and healthy.
Rescue frozen peas from a life of overboiling and boredom by making them the star in this spring-inspired dip. Wow your friends, then bask in the impending sunshine.
Pea and Mint Dip
- 2 cups frozen peas, defrosted slightly
- 3 spring onions (white part only), chopped
- 1 clove garlic
- Bunch of fresh mint (about ¼ cup, loose)
- 150g Greek-style natural yogurt
- 20g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ½ tsp chilli powder, to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Place peas, spring onion, garlic and mint into a food processor and pulse until chunkily mixed together (you don’t want a purée).
- Place in a bowl and add the yogurt, cheese and lemon juice. Add the chilli powder and salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt, pepper, lemon or chilli, according to your taste.
- Serve with vegetable crudités – carrot, celery and radicchio are all good.
You can also serve the dip with toasted garlic pita breads, or make your own easy garlic bruschetta by slicing a baguette into 1cm slices, then rubbing these with garlic, drizzling them with olive oil and toasting them in a sandwich press.
Serves 4–6 as a snack