Last year, not long before the arrival of our second baby, I received an email offering me the opportunity to write a fortnightly recipe column for the Food & Wine section of Fairfax's regional newspapers. Since having left Fisher & Paykel Appliances, where I was part of a team who started the in-house food blog Our Kitchen, I missed recipe writing, styling and photography and had contemplated starting a blog of my own. So when this opportunity presented itself, as cliched as it sounds, it really was a dream come true for me. I feel incredibly lucky that I can write recipes, style and shoot again and all from our home, fitting it in around our two beautiful boys.
These recipes were published on Christmas Eve last year. The crackers are great as, unlike many store-bought varieties, they contain no nasty stuff and flavoured with sesames seeds and thyme taste delicious. The carrot dip is a family favourite and is packed with flavour, vitamins and minerals and contains very little fat.
So the next time you're planning a get-together make sure these are on the menu, they'll be sure to impress.
Makes 2 cups dip
500g carrots, peeled, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted, ground
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon chilli powder
Put the carrots into a saucepan of water and cook for 10-12 minutes or until soft. Drain the carrots and put them into a small bowl, add the remaining ingredients and using an emersion blender process until smooth. Season with salt to taste. Serve with a splash of good quality olive oil and a sprinkle of chilli flakes.
Makes 75 crackers
200g white flour
50g wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
3 tablespoons black sesame seeds
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
Preheat the oven to 180C. Put all ingredients into a bowl and mix well to combine. Turn out onto a bench top and briefly knead until smooth. Divide the dough into 6 pieces and cover with a tea towel to stop them from drying out. Take a piece of dough and, on a floured surface, roll out until paper thin. Cut desired shapes from the dough (I used a 65mm circular cutter) and arrange on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Brush liberally with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 8 minutes or until golden. Store in an airtight container.