This is a very handy book to have on your kitchen bookshelf.
This is a book that gives you a basic recipe and then shows you how to enhance the experience. For dips, spreads and pates, savoury or sweet, there is something for everyone deftly sorted into chapters that show the main base ingredient.
Written in a chatty style, the notes not only provide useful titbits of information but bring the author’s personality and sense of humour to the book.
“So, you’ll be able to stand near naked flames again without risk of catastrophe.”
(When speaking of eating legumes regularly)
There are recipes, and hints for gluten free, vegetarian and vegan diets. The print is quite small and faint and the font of the actual names of dips and spreads sometimes is difficult to decipher. The instructions are simple to follow, and the ingredients are usually easily obtained at your local supermarket or specialty store.
It would seem a difficult task to illustrate a book about dips but the photography used is clean and gives a freshness to the presentation. Being two hundred plus pages, an index would have been very useful because finding a recipe again can be quite a chore. The other thing that seems to have been poorly considered is having recipes that flip over pages. When cooking, the need to turn the page of a smallish book can be very annoying, so read the whole recipe and make notes if necessary – oftentimes, the variations listed on the next page are very tempting.
I was particularly impressed with the range of warm dips and spreads as well as the hints on infusing oils, baking nuts/seeds and the different dippers that can be used other than the classic bread, cracker or veg stick.
I tried three recipes:
Basic egg mayonnaise made from a whole egg and oil (page 31)
Egg and curry dip (page 38)
I made this twice: once with the recommended mayo base and once with sour cream. Each time I only used 4 boiled eggs as eight seemed excessive to me when making a dip. The flavour is rich and the dip goes well with cucumber, celery, corn chips or any other crudites you have on hand. It is also an excellent spread to add with avocado in a sandwich.
Whisked together with a stick blender, I added a spoonful of Dijon mustard and some powdered garlic for taste, and hey presto! Great mayo in under 5 minutes and a dressing for both my potato salad and coleslaw.
French onion dip (page 49)
A classic, but explained in two ways. Taking the time to make your own mayonnaise and caramelising the onions is really worth the time. You will never buy French Onion dip again, believe me!
This is a very handy book to have on your kitchen bookshelf and one that you will visit when looking for a different idea for entertaining. I am sure that some new favourites will emerge as you work your way through the many exotic and comforting recipes hidden within the pages.
Reviewed by Leanne Caune
Distributed by: New Holland Publishers
Released: August 2019