Black Bean and four Cheese Dip

The best kind of dinners are often those centred around appetizer style dishes. They remind me of meals in the States while watching football games in sports bars or when out “just for a few drinks” and then you decide to opt for something small and end up ordering everys single starters on the menu. This dip was always one of my favourites and would come piping hot out the oven, served with a mountain of tortilla chips for dipping. Sadly, this dish rarely is gluten free friendly in restaurants and so I quickly came up with a safe version to prepare and eat at home when I didn’t fancy a big dinner or when having friends over. Be sure to serve with an ice cold gluten free beer or a good bottle of wine and you’ve got yourself a perfect night in!

Ingredients

2 x 400g Cans Black Beans (drained and rinsed)

2 x Garlic Cloves, peeled

½ x Lemon/Lime, squeezed

½ x Teaspoon Cumin

½ x Teaspoon Chilli Flakes

1 x Teaspoon Sea Salt

½ x Teaspoon Black Pepper

1 x Teaspoon Hot Sauce (I use Salsa Valentina)

200g x Cream Cheese

100g x Mild Cheddar Cheese

50g x Parmesan Cheese

100g x Shredded Mozzarella

100ml x Crème Fraiche

200g x Gluten Free Salted Tortilla Chips

For the garnish:

1 x green jalapeno, chopped

100g x cherry tomatoes, chopped

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (160 degrees fan)
  2. In a large bowl, mix the black beans, cream cheese, crème fraiche, garlic cloves and lemon/lime juice with a hand blender until smooth (alternatively, this can be mixed in a food processor)
  3. Add the cumin, chilli flakes, sea salt, black pepper, hot sauce, cheddar and parmesan and blend again until smooth
  4. Transfer the mixture to an oven-proof dish. Top with the shredded mozzarella and bake the dip for 25 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown.
  5. Remove from oven and leave to rest for five minutes before garnishing with the chopped jalapeno and tomatoes.
  6. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!

Courgette Fritters

When I was little, my Mom would make American pancakes for us every Sunday. I loved them so much that I often begged her to whip them up more regularly and so in order to make them a little lighter (and greener!) she would add fresh grated courgette. My Mom will therefore be very pleased to know that I’ve developed an EVEN GREENER version of her pancakes, which have been a hit for breakfasts and brunches (topped with fried eggs) and even dinner parties I’ve hosted over the last few years where I’ve served them as an appetiser, topped with roasted red pepper and cream cheese or lightly smoked salmon and fresh lemon. All in all, these courgette fritters are highly versatile and I hope you enjoy making them at home!

Ingredients

3 x Medium Sized Courgettes
2 x Large Eggs
3 x Tablespoons Gluten Free Plain Flour
1 x Tablespoon Vegetable or Sunflower Oil
½ x Teaspoon Garlic Powder
½ x Teaspoon Chilli Flakes
1 x Teaspoon Chives (dried or fresh)
Salt
Pepper

Method

  1. Wash and grate the courgettes onto a clean tea towel or several paper towels, squeezing out as much moisture as possible.
  2. Beat two large eggs into a bowl with the gluten free flour , garlic power, chilli flakes and chives.
  3. Gradually stir in the courgettes to create a batter and mix well. Add salt and pepper and mix again.
  4. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat and form small pancake size fritters. Use a silicone spatula to keep the fritters round (the batter is likely to run when it hits the pan).
  5. Cook the fritters for 2-3 minutes on each side until crispy.
  6. Leave the fritters to cool for 5-10 minutes and serve with fried eggs for breakfast or brunch or a sprinkling of fresh Parmesan.