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food styling workshop

  Smoked Eggplant Walnut Truffle Dip

“In fine, the truffle is the very diamond of gastronomy.”
Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Smoked Eggplant Walnut Truffle Dip … earthy, rustic, nutty, slightly tangy, creamy, smoky delicious. Some things come together with small beginnings, and for strange reasons. This dip was no different and found it’s origins in a wizened old forgotten pomegranate that I discovered while cleaning out the fridge. Also popped out a bowl that held an eggplant I had roasted 2 days ago, a small carton of Greek yogurt, and the plan was made.Eggplant Walnut Smoked Truffle Dip & pomegranates It was going to be a Smoked Eggplant Walnut Truffle Dip which would use up all the goodness that lay forgotten in the fridge. Also a chance to use some fabulous Black Truffle Sea Salt from Olive Tree Trading, a special product that really shines when used. It might be an expensive product, but a little goes a long way. On pasta, on toast, over dips, on artisan bread, in pasta sauce, over popcorn, on salads; really steps up the flavours!

Smoked Eggplant Walnut Truffle Dip With it of course some really really good quality extra virgin olive oil from the same company, a product that speaks for itself. As always, a dish is only as good as it’s ingredients and this Smoked Eggplant Walnut Truffle Dip was just that. You could always use sea salt but a black truffle sea salt is a noticeably charming addition, quite different.Olive Oil & Black Truffle Sea SaltThe rest of this Persian inspired dip has humble origins, almost staple pantry ingredients. How can you go wrong with eggplant {or baingan as locally called}, walnuts, garlic, yogurt and olive oil? Not possible right? Smoked Eggplant Walnut Truffle Dip

Smoked Eggplant Walnut Truffle Dip And the good thing is that if you blend it smooth, picky eaters can’t figure out what’s in this pâté like dip. It’s a win win; a delicious one at that too. Serve with wholegrain crackers, crudites etc. Great as a sandwich spread, with crusty wholegrain bread, etc.

Smoked Eggplant Walnut Truffle Dip
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A simple recipe with humble origins, this Smoked Eggplant Walnut Truffle Dip is a great addition to the party table. Serve with wholegrain crackers, crudites etc. Great as a sandwich spread, with rustic wholegrain bread, etc.
Servings Prep Time
3-4 minutes 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
3-4 minutes 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 15 minutes
Smoked Eggplant Walnut Truffle Dip
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Yum
Print Recipe
A simple recipe with humble origins, this Smoked Eggplant Walnut Truffle Dip is a great addition to the party table. Serve with wholegrain crackers, crudites etc. Great as a sandwich spread, with rustic wholegrain bread, etc.
Servings Prep Time
3-4 minutes 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
3-4 minutes 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: minutes
Instructions
  1. Wash and pat dry the eggplant. Make 4-6 slits around and tuck in unpeeled garlic cloves.
  2. Roast over a low open gas flame, or in oven until charred all over and soft.
  3. Place in a bowl covered, until cool enough to handle. gently peel the charred skin off, squeeze out the garlic from pods. {This can be done a couple of days in advance and refrigerated}.
  4. Place all ingredients in bowl of processor or blender and process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  5. Transfer to a bowl, drizzle generously with good quality extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle over some black truffle salt, garnish with pomegranate pearls. Serve with wholegrain crackers, crudites etc. Great as a sandwich spread, with rustic wholegrain bread, etc.
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Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip“As while other passions in your life may, at some point, begin to bank their fires, the shared happiness of good homemade food can last as long as we do.”
Jenni Ferrari-Adler

Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip is perhaps the yummiest dip I have made in a while. From an out and out eggplant hater, to one who got sold over a smokey roasted eggplant {or brinjal or ‘baingan’ as referred to here locally} one fine day, the journey was uneventful. There are some things I just will not touch with a barge-pole. Eggplant was one of those. For a long time. Until 3 years ago.

Persian Roasted Eggplant  Walnut DipThen one day I tasted a Baingan ka Bharta made by a lady who used to cook at my mothers. The flavours had me captivated, and her style of cooking this quintessential Indian vegetarian dish had me smitten. Garlicky, smokey, earthy, firey was what she presented on the table that memorable day. One bite down, and I chased her for the recipe. Simple as ever, it was a game changer for me. Then came a dip I tasted at Ruchira’s place more recently. Sold again!Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut DipThis Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip is inspired by both the recipes. The twice used garlic from the bharta, and the creaminess from the dip. Can there ever be too much garlic? For me, no. I love it with a vengeance, and here the roasted garlic pods with eggplant bit gives the dip subtle undertones. The caramelised sweet onions and garlic add more depth to the flavour. I love adding walnuts to dip so in they went, while the Greek yogurt adds the right creaminess that the dip demands. All in all it has a lot to offer. Go ahead and add some roasted paprika to it if you like, maybe some pomegranate pearls to give it a juicy pop of flavour and colour. Persian Roasted Eggplant & Walnut DipIn the blender and smooth, this barely takes time and is a great make ahead party option. It also doubles up as a useful ‘sauce‘ for wraps, or a sandwich spread if you like. I served the Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip with these equally earthy Rosemary Garlic Sesame Millet Crackers I made recently. The more garlicky, the better! And of course, since the dip was ready and sitting there, I decided to experiment with it for a few pictures.Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut DipJust different backgrounds, angles, light, what have you! Some work, some don’t, but the important thing is to keep experimenting. Darter & yours truly have announced our next Food Styling & Photography Workshop  in Delhi this September, our 5th one here, so it’s always fun to experiment and share ideas. Food Styling and Photography Workshop Sep 2016I tell the participants to try and shoot everyday, to constantly experiment with different backgrounds, angles, light and moods. I do just the same.

Food props, Food styling, Food Photography

Food props, Food styling, Food Photography, Flatlay, World Photography DayEveryday. With whatever I have on hand. If I haven’t baked or cooked something ‘image worthy’, then I just grab raw produce, knick-knacks or props from an earlier shoot, things lying on my desk, stuff I like, then shoot them in frame. It’s a huge learning process, and therapeutic too. The important thing is to experiment, to keep your mind open. I can never say that enough!

And that’s how I got to this delicious Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip too, with an open mind!

Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip ... earthy, smokey, moorish, delicious!
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Yum
Print Recipe
This Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip has a lot to offer. The twice used garlic, the walnuts, then the creaminess from Greek yogurt make it endearing. The caramelised sweet onions and garlic add more depth to the flavour. Play around with ingredients to suit your palette. That's the beauty of dips.
Servings Prep Time
2-4 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2-4 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip ... earthy, smokey, moorish, delicious!
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Yum
Print Recipe
This Persian Roasted Eggplant Walnut Dip has a lot to offer. The twice used garlic, the walnuts, then the creaminess from Greek yogurt make it endearing. The caramelised sweet onions and garlic add more depth to the flavour. Play around with ingredients to suit your palette. That's the beauty of dips.
Servings Prep Time
2-4 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2-4 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Roasted eggplant walnut dip
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Cut 1/2" slits into sides of eggplant and push in 4 cloves of unpeeled garlic. Roast over low flame {or under broiler} until charred {like for baingan ka bharta.} Leave covered in a bowl to cool.
  2. Remove garlic and press out roasted pods. Discard skin. peel off charred skin of eggplant. Chop roughly. {Can be done a day or so in advance}
  3. While the eggplant is cooling, heat ghee in heavy bottom pan and caramelise onions and garlic.
  4. Place in cooled eggplant with with caramelised onions & garlic and remaining ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Stir in chopped chives. Taste and adjust seasoning. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and keep for a couple of hours/overnight for flavours to mature. Top with chopped walnuts and chives.
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“Food photography philosophy is based on an organic approach: real food, beautiful ingredients & natural light”
Penny De Los Santos

Food Styling & Photography Workshop, NCR, IndiaAre you obsessed with good food pictures? Do you spend hours all day whiling your free time away hopping between Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr and numerous others photo sharing sites and blogs drooling over food pictures? If yes, then you are like me. My days are filled dreaming about and shooting food, my dreams filled with virtual shoots. They say it’s called an obsession! They also say it’s infectious!!

Coffee Shortbread Cookies IMG_5602 600 3 The more you play with the camera and light, the more addicted you get to it. This is the language of food, how a food picture talks to the viewer.  Come join us for a food styling workshop where I share what I enjoy, how I shoot, how I play with light and angles. Also the use of props, or shooting with minimal props, keeping the star {food} in focus, backgrounds, tips I’ve learnt along the way. We also have a mentor, the very sweet Prasad @ Desi Traveler to touch on the basic principles of photography, the holy triangle! indexI virtually shoot on auto, with baby steps into the AV mode, so let the technicals not scare you. We’ll explore this very creative passion, shoot with you in your comfort zone to give you a heads up, help you frame, help you discover your personal style … that’s why the seats are limited.

Blogadda Workshop @ Olive, 22Sep 2012, Olive Bar & Kitchen, Mehrauli, Delhi

Come join us at a Food Styling and Photography Workshop at the stunning Olive Qutub {seen above}.

This haveli restaurant, nestled under the Qutub Minar, remains one of my favourite spots to shoot in the NCR. Beautiful ambiance, great natural light, banyan trees, rustic setting, everything that inspires! Keeping us satiated will be Chef Sujan, hailed as one of the brightest stars in London’s culinary gamut after consecutive nominations for National Chef of the Year and London Chef of the Year. His food will make you happy, give you plenty of food for thought, and will help create delicious memories.

Pasta Marinare @ Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New DelhiWe’re happy to have I Say Organic and Urban Dazzle sending us some stuff to shoot for the workshop. Come join us for a day of fun, loads of banter, endless shooting, plenty of food, great ambiance and like minded folk! With only a few seats to go, you can find more information and sign up at Darter.in . Do drop me a mail at deebarajpal{@}gmail{dot}com if you need anything or have any questions etc. I’ll be happy to help.

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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