Almost inevitably, the much-hyped cookbook from local favourites Smith & Daughters was part of Cindy's birthday present this year. It was no surprise - I'd had to tell Cindy to hold off buying it herself so that we didn't double up. To add to the birthday excitement, I threw in an offer to cook up Cindy's choice of dishes for the night.
It wound up being quite a feast - hot cheddar and pickled jalapeno dip to start, artichoke and chickpea salad for main, horchata to drink and melon salad with pickled pineapple and jalapeno for dessert. The horchata wasn't a complete success (I think our food processor doesn't quite have the power to get the rice liquidised properly), but everything else was a hit. Cindy loved the pickled pineapple when we tried the fruit salad for brunch last February, and we've already made it again - the blend of sweet, spicy and sour flavours is incredible. The artichoke salad was similarly great, another dish we loved in the restaurant that lived up to our memories.
The star of the night though was the hot cheddar and jalapeno dip, which again we'd been impressed by at the restaurant. It's surprisingly easy to throw together - one pot and about 10 minutes and you've got a gooey, cheesy, slightly spicy dip that's perfect for dunking chips in or pouring over just about anything else. We'll just reproduce the cheddar dip here - I'm sure we'll add a few more recipes in dribs and drabs over the coming months, but you'd do well to duck out and grab this book for yourself.
Hot cheddar & pickled jalapeno dip
(from Shannon Martinez & Mo Wyse's Smith & Daughters Cookbook)
1 large clove of garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/3 cup plain flour
2 cups soy milk
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
300g shredded vegan cheese (we used the Biocheese cheddar shred)
100g pickled jalapenos, diced
1/3 cup jalapeno pickle juice
1 teaspoon salt
Melt the margarine in a saucepan over medium heat. Add in the garlic and cumin and stir everything together, cooking for a minute or so.
Add in the flour stirring constantly. Cook for 2 minutes or so, making sure it stays reasonably smooth and doesn't brown.
Slowly add the soy milk, whisking constantly to keep things smooth. Add in the mustard, nutritional yeast, cheese, jalapenos, pickle juice and salt and stir everything together. Once the cheese melts you should have a thick, gooey dip - add more water if it's too thick or cook for a bit longer if it's too runny.