29 September 2009

Crepes with Mareguez sausages, red pepper and goat cheese

Crepes are surprisingly easy to make if you have a 10" non stick crepe pan. Allow for a couple of less than satisfactory crepes in the beginning. After making 1 or 2 you should get the hang of it.

For crepes - from America's Test Kitchen family cookbook

Makes 4 crepes

1/2 cup whole milk - I used low fat milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg
3 tbsps water
1 1/2 tbsps unsalted butter, melted
1/4 tsp salt
  1. Blend all the ingredients. Cover and refridgerate for 2 hours.
  2. Stir the mixture if it has seperated.
  3. Smooth some butter on a 10" pan over medium heat.
  4. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the batter on the pan and tilt it quickly to cover the base and spread it.
  5. Flip the crepe when light brown on one side - about 30 seconds. Cook for another 30 seconds on the other side.

For the filling - V improvised this on the fly

Serves 3

3 marguez lamb sausages - V substituted one with Andouille sausage, chopped into bite size pieces. Sausages were spiced with fennel, cumin and red chilli.
1 onion, sliced
1 red pepper sliced into strips
1/2 green pepper sliced into strips
1/4 cup chopped dried figs
2 tsp dried pomegranate seeds (anar-dana)
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

  1. Heat 3 tbsp of olive oil and fry the the sausages until brown. Drain some oil to leave about 1 tbsp. Add garlic, onions, green, red pepper, salt and cook until onions are dark brown.
  2. Add figs, pomegranate seeds and 1 tbsp of water. Cook for another 5 mins, until most of the water has been absorbed.
  3. Garnish with crumbled goat cheese and toasted pine nuts.

28 September 2009

Rhubarb Buttermilk Bread

Rhubarb? Honestly, I didn't know this vegetable existed until a few years ago. But seeing these intensely red-colored stalks in my supermarket yesterday made me want to try making SOMETHING with them.
I found the perfect recipe at Eating Out Loud

For the Bread:
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk (I didn't have any, so made a make-do version by mixing two tablespoons of yogurt with 1/2 cup of water)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon pwdr
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 1/4 cup flour
2/3 cup diced rhubarb (I cut these about 1/2" in size)
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted

2 Tablespoons sugar
1 tsp butter
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Mix all the ingredients for the bread together. Grease a loaf pan well and pour the batter into it. In a separate bowl, combine the topping ingredients to for a rough mixture. Sprinkle this onto the bread batter. (I left out the topping in the interests of making this bread a little healthier and it still tasted great). Bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes.

This bread is one of the best I have tasted. The rhubarb is wonderfully tart, and is a perfect combination with the sweetness of the bread!

Puttanesca sauce with gnocchi

This is a personal favorite because of the story behind the name and that it combines three of my all time highly desirable ingredients: Anchovies, olives and capers. Puttanesca sauce was cooked in bordellos to attract clientele. The idea being - the more pungent the sauce the stronger the smell as it wafts down the stairs, out the red door into the streets. At the end of the night, customers were fed this salty and tasty sauce to encourage thirst for more drink more. It's all about the entire experience.
Serves 4

4-5 fillets of anchovies, diced

1/2 onion
1 red pepper, diced - I also added 1/4 leftover green pepper
3 cloves of garlic, diced
1 1/2 cans of diced tomatoes
1-2 tbsp water
1/2 cups halved kalamata olives
1 1/2 tbsp capers
Salt and pepper to taste
1 packet frozen gnocchi

  1. Heat 1-2 tbsps olive oil in pan and cook anchovies over medium high heat until it completely dissipates. Use a screen if necessary, the sputtering can make a mess. Now add garlic, onions and diced peppers. Saute until onions are lightly browned. You might want to add a bit of water here to avoid excessive browning. Add tomatoes and salt (if necessary - don't forget anchovies add quite a bit of salt to begin with. So taste before you add more salt). Simmer for 10 mins until tomatoes are cooked. Add olives and capers 5 mins after adding the tomatoes.
  2. While tomatoes are simmering, dunk the frozen gnocchi in salted boiling water for 4-5mins. This will start the cooking process. Take it out of the water and add it to the simmering sauce to complete the cooking process. This will ensure that the gnocchi absorbs the sauce and is evenly coated with it.
  3. Garnish with grated parmesan cheese.

24 September 2009

Madras Fish Curry

Source: 50 Great Curries of India by Camellia Panjabi

4-5 tilapia fillets (I cut each fillet into 2 large pieces)
1 cup fresh coconut
1 1/2" piece ginger
6 cloves of garlic
2-3 tomatoes, diced
2 onions, chopped
3 tsp poppy seeds, crushed
1/2 tsp tamarind pulp
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
10 curry leaves
1 tsp coriander pwdr
1/2 tsp turmeric pwdr
2 tsp chilli pwdr
3/4 tsp fenugreek seeds and 3/4 tsp cumin seeds, pounded together

Marinate the fish with turmeric and a little salt for 30 mins.
In a blender, put the grated coconut, ginger, garlic, tomatoes and poppy seeds. Do not add water (the tomatoes should have plenty of juice) and grind to form a smooth paste. I whirred mine 2-3x to make sure it was smooth.
Soak the tamarind ball with some hot water in a separate cup. Strain and set aside the juice.
In a shallow broad-based pan, heat the oil and when hot add mustard seeds. They wil start spluttering soon. At this time add the cut onions and fry until lightly colored. Add the curry leaves and this will let out a lovely aroma. When the onions have started browning, turn the heat down low and add turmeric, coriander and chilli pwdrs and stir. Let these cook for 1-2 mins while stirring, so as not to burn it.
Next, add the coconut mixture and saute for 3-4 mins. Add the tamarind water, salt to taste, and a further 2 cups of water (more if you desire a watery curry). Bring to a boil, and then slowly add the tilapia fillets. Turn the heat to low at this time. Sprinkle with a mixture of the fenugreek and cumin seeds. Cover and cook till fish is done; mine took about 15 minutes.

The dish tasted delicious accompanied by white rice. Also, if this curry is made 3-4 hours before eating, the flavors of the spices seep into the fish better. It tasted even better the next day!

19 September 2009

Roasted tomato, cippolini and green pepper

I am a believer - simple and sooo tasty! Smitten kitchen once again ~~~

Makes 2 servings
10 mini roma tomatoes or smaller tomato varieties. Stay away from cherry tomatoes for this recipes - look for more tart than sweet flavors
10 cippolini onions, blanced for 10 sec and peel the outer skin
Green pepper, cut into 2" strips
1/4 cup olive oil
2-3 tsp coarse salt
5 whole black pepper
3 crushed garlic cloves

  1. Mix whole tomatoes, cippolini, green pepper, olive oil, salt, black pepper and garlic in a roasting pan. Roast in the oven at 375 deg for 45 mins, stirring it now and then. During this time the outer skin of tomatoes, onions and green pepper will wrinkle and veggies will stew in the tomato juice thats released in the pan.
  2. I served the roasted veggies and soup in a bowl of quinoa.

18 September 2009

Black plum compote

We bought some tiny black plums at the Farmer's market. These visually perfect little cherry plums didn't taste like anything we expected. Tart with no sign of sugar. Thats when the idea of making dessert struck - if there is no sugar let's add some shall we!

Make 1 1/2 cups of compote

2 cups of plums, pitted and halved
1/2 cup sugar
juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup of port

Soak the plums in lime juice and sugar overnight. Heat the plum mix in a saucepan, add port and cook over a lazy boil until the sauce thickens. Taste the sauce to check for the right balance of sweet and tart. Let cool and store in an airtight jar for a week.
It can be served with ice cream, pancakes, cookies, biscuits - possibilities are endless.
Variations: Adding cinnamon or rosewater while cooking add an interesting spin to the compote.

15 September 2009

Sweet potato and Kale soup

Another recipe that makes me want to eat more kale and sweet potatoes. This soup is a good fall soup with its subtle Thai Indian flavors and a party of textures. After having a bowl of this goodness, V remarked "this could be a great starter on Iron Chef" - I beamed proud :) - Thank you Kath eats Real Food.

Serves 4

2 sweet potatoes peeled, cubed into 1 inch pieces
1 yukon potato peeled and cubed
3 cups Kale stemmed and cut into bite sized pieces
1 can coconut milk
1 cup milk (I used 2% lactose free milk)
salt to taste
Ground black pepper
2 dried red chillies crushed
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1 leek - both white and green parts sliced
3 big cloves of garlic
2 big tbsps of black raisins
salted peanuts and dessicated coconut for garnish

Steam potaoes for about 8-10mins until potatoes are done but not falling apart. In a pot, heat olive oil and saute garlic until slightly brown. Add leek, chilli flakes and saute till leeks are translucent. Add steamed potatoes, coconut milk, milk, salt, pepper and garam masala. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 10 mins. Keep the pot warm over low heat, process the solids and pour it back into the pot. Add kale, raisins and 1/4 cup water if necessary to manage the consistency of the soup. Cook until kale is done, another 7-10 mins.

Garnish with dessicated coconut and peanuts.

Slow Cooker Mutton Curry

I started out the day lining up all the ingredients to make S and V's Lamb Stew featured on this blog. Then, had a change of heart and a yearning for a spicy Indian mutton curry. Kittu's recipe came to mind and I adapted it to suit the slow cooker.

1 lb lamb cubed
1 large onion, chopped fine
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
3" piece ginger, minced
Whole garam masala (2 tejpatta, 1 slit green chilli, 3-4 cardamom pods, 3-4 cloves)
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp kasoori methi *
1/4 bunch cilantro leaves
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp turmeric pdr
1/2 tsp chilli pdr
3/4 tsp coriander pdr
3/4 tsp cumin pdr
3/4 tsp garam masala

Clean and cut meat into small cubes. Rub a little turmeric pwdr to the meat and set aside.

In a shallow pan, heat 3-4 tsbs olive oil and add the whole garam masala. Next, add the chopped onions and fry till light pink/ slightly brown. Add ginger, garlic and sugar and fry for 2-3 minutes. When golden, add turmeric, chilli, coriander, cumin and garam masala pwdrs and fry for 2 minutes. Next add the tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes. Finally, add chopped cilantro leaves and cook for additional 3-4 minutes.

Take the slow cooker pan and layer the bottom with the cubed meat. Sprinkle salt on top, and then add the onion mixture to the meat. Add kasoori methi to the meat and stir well. Add 3-4 cups of water for desired consistency (you may need to check water through the cooking process). The kasoori methi* is what gives this dish its unique taste, so definitely make the effort to buy it.

I cooked the meat on the high setting of the slow cooker for 2 hours and then on low for 2 hours. The curry turned out DELICIOUS, and we paired it with rice and yoghurt.

* Kasoori Methi: Kasoori methi are dried fenugreek leaves. They have a slightly bitter bite, and are typically sprinkled over meat, vegetable curries, and lentils before serving. It is also used to flavour dough for roti and nan.

13 September 2009

Healthy (!) Pistachio Olive Oil Brownies

Healthy brownies sure is an oxymoron, but these turned out delicious, light and very satisfying!

Recipe Source: Passionate About Baking

Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 1/3 cup
Flour - 1/2 cup
Rolled Oats - 1/4 cup
Salt - 1/4 teaspoon
Eggs - 2 large
Sugar - 2/3 cup
Vanilla extract - 1 teaspoon
Pistachio nuts - 2/3 cup; chopped
Dark / bitter chocolate - 100gms (broken into pieces & melt in microwave).

The original recipe asks you to melt the chocolate and whish it together with the olive oil (set aside and cool). I did not have any dark chocolate available, so used cocoa powder instead. I used about 2 heaped tbsps and mixed it directly into the oil. Set aside.
Next, mix the flour, oats and salt together.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until pale, thickened and billowy, about five minutes. Mix in the vanilla, the chocolate mixture, the flour mixture, and finally, the pistachio nuts. Stir to combine evenly.
Pour the mixture into a 8" baking pan which has been lightly greased and floured.
Bake for 20-24 minutes at 350F. I would recommend checking the brownies at about 20 minutes, since mine were done even faster than the originial recipe mentioned.

Cut into squares, and enjoy hot or cold!

Chocolate banana bread with walnuts

This is a fairly easy recipe and as you can see, more than half the loaf was gone between 5 people at the end of the evening. And it is an easy way to use up overripe bananas.

Source: Adapted from Kevin's recipe from one of those vintage cookbooks in binders that look like family heirlooms :) and borrowed wisdom from America's Test Kitchen Family cookbook.

Makes 1 loaf

2 very ripe bananas
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cups choclate bits, shavings or small cubes - whatever is easiest to do
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsps unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs

Adjust oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 deg.

Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and 1/4 cup of the sugar together. In a seperate bowl mash bananas with yogurt and vanilla. Beat the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and butter together in a large bowl using a electric mixer on medium speed until mixed. Beat in eggs one at a time until combined.

Reduce the speed to low, slowly mix in 1/3 of the flour mixture followed by 1/3 of the banana mixture. Repeat until all is combined. Don't overmix - the batter will be chunky. Pour the batter into a well greased 9-inch loaf pan. Sprinkle the top with choclate shavings and use a scrapper to smoothen the top. Sprinkle walnuts on the top.

Bake for about 55-60 mins until the golden brown and inserted toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs.

Dinner with the neighbors

Long overdue we met each other over good food and perfect wine. V prepared Pork vindaloo (He'll post that recipe soon) and I made cauliflower with turnips and banana bread to be had warm as dessert with ice cream.

Word of caution: vindaloo does taste better the next day and stuffing yourself with it before heading out to an outdoor art fair in 78 deg weather is not advisable.

Cauliflower with turnip
Serves 6

1 large cauliflower broken into bite sized florets - soak in water and drain to clean
1 medium sized turnip cubed into bite sized cubes - soak peeled and cubed turnips in salt water for 15 mins to remove bitterness
1 medium onion chopped
1 inch pieces of ginger minced
5-6 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 - 1 tsp ground chilli pepper
Juice of 1/2 a lime
salt to taste

Steam the cauliflower florets and cubed turnips on low heat for about 20 mins. They should be slightly steamed and not completely cooked.

Heat oil and cook onions until they are dark purple to slightly brown. Add garlic, ginger, ground cumin and coriander. Cook until the spices are well incorporated and you can smell the garlic. I learnt a new trick with mincing ginger. I freeze peeled ginger root and used the grater to grate the ginger directly into the pot I am cooking. This minces the ginger quite effectively and the root stays fresh in the freezer for a while.

Back to the recipe - Add tomatoes, turmeric, chilli, lime juice and salt and cook for 7-10 mins. Add cauliflower and turnips with a couple of tablespoons of water. Cover, lower the heat and cook until veggies are done.

12 September 2009

Cabbage with Mustard Seeds and Moong Dal

I love simple Indian recipes which don't take up all evening to prepare!

Source: Camellia Panjabi's excellent 50 Great Curries of India

For the Cabbage:
1 medium sized cabbage finely shredded
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1 green chilli, chopped (this made it quite spicy)
1/2" piece of ginger, chopped
ten curry leaves
1/3 tsp of sugar

Soak the shredded cabbage in water with a little salt for 15 minutes. I think this helps to retain the crunch of the vegetable.
Next, heat oil in a pan and ad the mustard seeds. When the start spluttering, add the chilli, curry leaves and chopped ginger and saute for 1 min. Add the cabbage, salt and sugar. Saute, mixing all the ingredients well. Cook uncovered, otherwise the cabbage tends to get watery and limp. It took about 1o minutes before my cabbage was done.

For the Moon Dal:

1 cup moong dal
1 large tomato, chopped
1 green chilli
1" piece of ginger chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp turmeric pwdr
3-4 cloves
a handful of cilantro leaves chopped (I had run out but the dal still tasted great)
curry leaves

Wash the dal well and soak for 1/2 hour (this really reduces the cooking time).
In a large pot, add 5 cups of water, moong dal, tomatoes, chilli, ginger, garlic, cloves, turmeric pwdr, and salt. Allow the dal to boil till it is done (20-25 minutes). When done, remove from heat. For a tadka, heat oil in a ladle and fry the curry leaves for 1-2 minutes. Add this to the dal, and mix well. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve.

08 September 2009

Buttermilk biscuits

Source: America's Test Kitchen Family cookbook

Serves 12

2 cups all purpose flour - ATK asks for 1 cup of cake flour which I didn't have on hand. Cake flour develops less protein than regular flour. This helps make the biscuits light.
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
8 tbsps unsalted butter, cut into 1/4" cubes and chilled - the point being that cold butter when combined with flour and baked in the oven produces steam that makes the biscuits especially soft
1/4 cup cold buttermilk

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 450 deg. Pulse the flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda and salt together in a food processor. Add cubed, chilled butter and pulse to combine. Don't overwork the dough - pulse the butter maybe 12 times. Not all the butter will combine evenly but you shouldn't be able to visually tell the butter cubes apart.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the buttermilk to form a soft, sticky ball. Make evenly sized 12 balls. Place them on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake until biscuit tops are light brown, 10-12 mins.

If you dare, serve with a dollop of butter and Jalapeno jelly - Guy recommends it!

05 September 2009

Masaledar sem (Spicy beans)

Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's Indian cooking

Serves 4
2 cups of string beans, ends removed
1 cup of frozen veggie mix, in this case it was a mix of carrots, red pepper and broccoli
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp roasted and ground cumin
1/4 tsp turmeric
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 inch piece of ginger, minced
1 can of diced tomatoes
crushed red pepper
1 lime
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil and add ginger, garlic and crushed red pepper. Add tomatoes and turmeric and cook until most of the water is cooked off. Add beans, veggie mix and a little water with salt to taste. Lower the heat, cover and cook until veggies are done, about 5-7 mins. Add lemon juice, roasted ground cumin and a generous amount of ground black pepper and cook uncovered over high heat until most of the liquid has been cooked off. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve.

Vanilla Hazelnut Cake

Had some interesting escapades while making this cake (namely, had to send H running out for yoghurt and then realized I had run out of vanilla essence), but it turned out quite yummy! A little drier than I like, but I think that might be because I ran out of yoghurt.

Recipe originally from Nigella Lawson's website

3 eggs
1/2 cup of sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup yogurt (you can use vanilla flavored yogurt)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (i used a vanilla bean)
1/2 cup of hazelnuts, chopped (I ground these roughly using a mortar and pestle)

Serving Size : 8-10

Preheat oven to 350OF. In a bowl beat together the eggs and sugar for 5 minutes until it is light and creamy.
Add progressively flour and baking powder. Then add the butter and mix.
Add yoghurt and vanilla extract. Mix.
And finally add hazelnuts. Mix well.
Grease a cake pan. Spread the batter into the greased pan.
Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

04 September 2009

A sweet and spicy snack

I had 1 sweet potato left that I wasn't sure what to do with, until Smitten Kitchen came to the rescue with her spicy sweet potato wedges recipe.

1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried, crushed red pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
2 lbs sweet potatoes cut into wedges
3 tbsps oil

Roughly grind coriander, fennel seeds, oregano and crushed red pepper. In a baking dish, coat the potato wedges evenly with oil. Coat the wedges with the spice mix and sprinle salt. Bake at 475 deg. for 20 mins. Turn wedges over and cook for another 20 mins until tender and golden.

Red Pepper soup

Sweet, hot red peppers are in season! I love going to the market when you can see cascading piles of peppers in all shades of red.
Makes 4 servings

1 large white or yellow onion chopped
3 red peppers seeded and chopped into 1" pieces
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup of dry white wine
2 cups of chicken broth
2 tbsps of fresh thyme
2 tsp of crushed red chilli pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil and saute onions with a pinch of salt until they are translucent. Add garlic, crushed red chilli peppers and cook for another minute. Add wine, increase heat and reduce to about 1 tbsp of liquid. Add red peppers, thyme and chicken broth. When it begins to simmer, reduce the heat, cover and let cook until pepper is cooked through. Process the mix in batches and adjust seasonings.

This soup can be served hot or cold, garnished with sour cream.

Celebrating as Fall bullies its way through

Well ofcourse, where there is cake there is a celebration. I went to the farmer's market on way from work and picked up some raspberries and beautiful peppers. The peppers survived the transit but the raspberries caved in and mushed up. Normally, I prefer to have fruit as is. In this case I had to figure out what to do...so I made cake.
Makes a 8" cake
1 cup of any soft berry - strawberries, raspberries, black berries, etc.
1 cup of flour
1 tsp of baking powder
3/4 cup sugar + 1 tbsp to sprinkle on the top
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup peanut oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and lemon zest. Add eggs, vanilla extract and mix until its roughly incorporated. Now add oil and mix until its absorbed. Pour the batter into a buttered cake pan. The batter will be quite thick so smooth it into the pan evenly. Gently press the berries on the surface and sprinkle sugar. Bake at 350 deg for 50 - 60 mins, until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

If the berries are just right, the cake will be sweet and tart. It works well with vanilla ice cream.

03 September 2009

Vodka pasta sauce

Not sure what the source is but V and I make this sauce usually on week nights. It's the most bang for the buck kind of a dish. And no picture because it looks like tomatoey pasta sauce :)

Serves 4
1 large onion chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
crushed red pepper
2 1/2 cups of diced tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste
1 cup vodka - get a good brand of vodka because the flavor really pulls through into the sauce even though most of the alcohol is cooked off.
1/2 cup cream
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil and add garlic, crushed red pepper and onions. Cook until onions are translucent. Now add the tomato paste and cook for a minute. Now add diced tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are cooked, about 10 mins. Now vodka, cover and cook for another 15 mins. Lastly stir in cream, salt and pepper. Cook for another 3-5 mins. This is a good time to add pasta that is cooked shy of al dente to the sauce so that it finishes cooking in the sauce itself.

Garnish with grated parmesan cheese.

01 September 2009


This recipe is so easy to make, and doesn't require any special ingredients, except for the tahini paste.

1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
4 garlic cloves, minced and then mashed
2-3 tbsp tahini paste (this is available in most Middle Eastern stores and should be refrigerated after opening. Mine has lasted a year)
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup water
salt to taste

In a food processor, combine the mashed garlic, garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup water until it forms a smooth paste. Add salt, starting at a half a teaspoon, to taste.

Spoon into serving dish and sprinkle with chopped parsley/ olives/ cayenne pepper. Drizzle with some olive oil and serve with crackers, pita slices or vegetables.