Cashew and herb dip
This is an easy dip to throw together, it tastes great and keeps for a few days, so brilliant for this busy time of year. My guests loved it, although none of them could tell what the ingredients were! Everyone recognised the little Christmas trees though. They are really quick to make and resulted in lots of aaahhhhs. I guarantee you will get some too.
150g raw cashew nuts
150ml boiling water
20g combined weight fresh coriander and parsley
1.5 tbs Chinese rice wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tbs lemon juice
Place the nuts in a bowl and cover with 150ml boiling water. Cover the bowl with a plate or cling film and leave for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, roughly chop the parsley and coriander.
Strain the nuts through a sieve, reserving the water.
Put half the water and everything else in a liquidiser and whizz until smooth, adding more of the reserved soaking water if necessary. You want to end up with a dip-like consistency.
Check seasoning - you may need more salt or lemon juice. Scoop the dip into a small bowl. Serve with carrot, celery, cucumber, peppers, sugar snap peas or anything else you like. This dip will keep 2 or 3 days at least.
For a festive touch make salad Christmas trees:
Small star cutter (Amazon or kitchen shops)
Scrape the carrot and cut thin slices, lengthwise. Cut out stars from the carrot slices.
Using a vegetable peeler, cut long strips of cucumber.
Cut the cherry tomatoes in half.
Concertina the cucumber strips up neatly and thread onto the cocktail sticks. Pull out the cucumber so that it is less densely pleated at one end. Push a carrot star on the stick at this end.
Finally, push the stick into a cherry tomato half.
These will keep covered in damp kitchen towel in the fridge for several hours.