Like most Irish people my age, I went to a Catholic school, and as such got loads of exposure to all the bible stories. One in particular always stood out in my mind: the story of the last supper. The reason being, that I could never understand how wine and bread could constitute a meal. As an eight year old, this was probably the detail that bothered me the most, which suggests I may have slightly missed the point.
Fast forward 17 or so years to a Friday night in one of the brilliant Italian restaurants on Millennium Walk in Dublin and I had an epiphany (most probably helped along by at least half a bottle of Chianti and this fantastic mural).Of course wine and bread could make up a dinner! How had I been so stupid all these years? All you need is to add a little balsamic vinegar, some extra virgin olive oil, maybe a few marinated olives and hey presto – you have the best dinner in the world!
And the word for this new dining sensation? Dippage. Yumo, delicious, dippage.
Ask any of my friends – they will concur that I am a dippage fanatic. I think it’s totally acceptable to serve some olives, maybe some char-grilled veggies, an array of dips, balsamic oil and vinegar with crusty bread and call it dinner.
One of my favourite dippage dips is hummus, it’s all kinds of yum and apparently it’s good for you too. Brilliant.
Roasted red-pepper hummus
The Fella’s sister taught me how to make this. I struggled getting the quantities right until she kindly gave me a tutorial. She is, without doubt, a total legend!
1 large red pepper (capsicum), to roast
2 tbsp olive oil
400 g tin of chickpeas
2 tbsp tahini
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp salt
First off you need to roast the red pepper. I coated the pepper (whole) with a little drizzle of olive oil and popped it under a hot grill for 20 minutes. You need to keep turning the pepper as the skin becomes puckered and coloured. Don’t worry about any burnt bits, these will add some flavour and in any case are just on the skin which will be removed. Once the pepper is done, make some small incisions in the skin with a sharp knife, the skin should just peal easily and quickly away. Discard the top and seeds as you would normally and roughly chop up the flesh.
All you do next is chuck everything into a food processor, I promise you it’s that easy. The pepper, the remaining oil, the tahini, garlic and lemon juice, salt and paprika all go in and get whizzed up together. If the mixture is a little too solid, you may need to add some water (or a little extra olive oil if you prefer) to loosen it, but you should be left with a delicious and very dippable paste.
Store in a jar with a little olive oil drizzled over the top to stop it drying out. And enjoy within a week with veggies, bread, chicken or whatever takes your fancy.