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Just quickly, and before I tell you about this simple dip, and only because our meal was so delicious, and I love talking about food, here’s what I served on Christmas day – yes I know, I’m a bit late in the telling, but really, Christmas caught me off guard this year.

We ate crumbed and fried camembert cheese with pear and rocket salad and quince sauce (yum).

Followed by caramelised onion and goats cheese tart, with endive salad, made with the short crust pastry from Damien Pignolet’s book “French” (I just love his short crust pastry recipe, I use it for all my tarts including my favourite sweet lemon tart).

Followed by slow cooked free range pork shoulder (I buy my pork from my local butcher – Dulwich Hill gourmet meats, it’s the best pork in Sydney).  It was lovingly cooked in the oven for 6 hours then shredded into fine pieces and served with finely sliced green mango, mint and perilla leaves, crispy shallots, a slither of perfectly roasted pork crackling, a scattering of salt and pepper tofu, and then dressed with a vinegary chilli sauce.  It was fresh and light and sweet and full flavoured and totally none traditional.

Then for dessert crème brûlée with raspberry compote beneath and fresh raspberries on top. My only regret is I took no photos, (as I was flat out cooking), my Mum did attempt a few, (thanks Mum) but really, they don’t do the food justice, so I’ll leave it to your imagination… And stay tuned for the pork and green mango salad recipe…

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Back to the dip. I whizzed this up for my sister’s barbecue she held on New Years day. A good dip is essential for any barbecue, actually for any gathering of any kind really. I call it ‘not quite hummus’ because it’s made with cannellini beans (canned), instead of chickpeas, which is the traditional pulses used in hummus.  Butter beans also work brilliantly, though you might require an extra dash of water as they tend to make a thicker dip.

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I never buy supermarket dips. I think they’re horrible and expensive and filled with processed stuff. I like to make my own. And when it’s this simple, you should too. To serve, you’ll need some toasted pita bread or fresh sourdough bread, and raw cut vegetables are excellent with this ‘not quite hummus’ dip, though not essential.

I’ve found a new love for radishes. I recently purchased a mandolin ( a slicer with a thin setting) and now one of my favourite raw vegetables is thin slices of radish, which work beautifully with this dip. I love the colour and their round shape.

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You’ll need a food processor for this recipe and if you don’t have one I highly recommend investing in one. I’ve had mine for 10 years now and there’s been a lot of dips made in that ten years. I couldn’t manage my kitchen without one…

Not quite hummus

Ingredients

1 x 400g can of cannellini or butter beans

1 small clove garlic, chopped

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1tbsp tahini (sesame paste – available supermarkets)

1tsp salt

large pinch of black pepper

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 large lemon, juiced

50ml water

To finish

chopped fresh parsley

drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Drain and rinse the cannellini beans, place in a food processor with the rest of ingredients for the dip and process till smooth. Check the seasoning. Place in a large bowl, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve with toasted pita bread or fresh sourdough bread, crackers, sliced radishes, raw vegetables or tabbouleh.