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A guide to Dips and Spreads

Cold weather in Australia has caused many of us to be in ‘hibernation’ mode. For me it has meant snuggling by the heater watching old movies all while being wrapped up in a cosy blanket, but the better weather is just around the corner and it’s time to start thinking about socialising again.

Dinner parties, barbecues, wine tasting evenings are all on the agenda for me and I love hosting these events but it’s easy to get in a rut over what to serve. Same old, same old, I need inspiration and ideas so it’s time to go flicking through my cookbooks and finding something new and maybe discover some new twists on old recipes.

The Dips and Spreads Guide by Xavier Waterkeyn is a great little book full of simple and delicious recipes that anyone can whip up to satisfy the most discerning of guests.

The book explores the fundamentals of creating delightful dip bases and provides creative, delectable variations to lift your entertaining game.

There are many who might think of a dip as being something you can grab from your local supermarket, peel off the lid and serve it next to a pack of open biscuits. Yes, of course you can do that, but with not much more effort and a MUCH better taste, you can make your own and learn, from this book, the art of presentation. Yes, a simple to make dip or spread can look like something from a five star restaurant if it is presented in the correct way.

One of the things I really like about this book is that it teaches you how to make a base, which in itself is a great dip, but then to use that base and give it a kick with different herbs, spices and other ingredients. Basically, you can make one base dip, divide it up and flavour each part differently – voila – variety of dips from one basic recipe.

There is information the correct way to store your dips, their longevity, how adding lemon juice to hummus can affect how long you can keep it, using salt in your dip when serving salty crackers and plenty of other tips and hints that many people, myself included, don’t know.

The Dips and Spreads Guide will give you all the skills you need to make dips and spreads that will have your guests going back for more over and over. Also, you need not fear if your guests include those with dietary requirements such as dairy-free, diabetic, low-sodium, gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan, you will find recipes for all in this book.

Whether your culinary skills are that of a beginner or a chef, there is something for everyone to learn from this book – it’s small and it’s impressive!

The Dips and Spreads Guide – New Holland Publishers RRP $24.99 available from all good book retailers or online

by Carol Sheridan