If there’s one thing I’m looking forward to a lot on the other side of the pregnancy, it’s pre-dinner snacks + drinks. Well, maybe there’s been sufficient snacking in the past nine months – they’ve sometimes been vital in order to avoid starving to death before dinner was served. But that pre-starter-dish; appetisers including a small (sparkling) glass. I’ve missed that. IT’S THE BEST.
Basically, it’s a way of boosting energy levels in that busy after-work hour. For adults. Small doses of nourishment before the big supper. Speaking of starving to death, you do for sure experience a particularly nice version of me if you let me munch on a few dips and stuff whilst cooking, haha…
It just allows for those good chats. Those conversations you experience when one person is preparing dinner and the other is hanging on the kitchen counter – there’s something special to it. It’s like going for a walk – having a third ‘thingy’ involved, whether it’s a walk or cooking, just makes for a particularly good conversation. That’s when you go over the day’s events, without having to stare into each other’s eyes – it lends this sense of ease to a conversation. Perhaps you also get a bit giddy or flushed from the sparkly on an empty stomach; it may end up philosophically fine. At least in our kitchen. Especially with some finger foods on the side. Lovely, uncomplicated, relaxed. Perhaps involving a chance to fall in love with each other all over again, laugh, move closer, whilst getting dinner ready.
Adding guests to this setup works very well too. That casual way of starting a dinner, when you can all chill around the kitchen counter. A sort of table talk foreplay; ‘what’s been happening since we last hung out?’
The most important component in that regard is some sort of dip. Let’s be honest. Dip, hummus, tzatziki. That’s what makes it palatable. Which is why I’ve used Santa Maria’s fresh herb pastes for just that. Pre-dinner snacks have to be quick and easy to prepare so it doesn’t turn into an extra task on top of dinner prepping. That’s where the herbs on tube come in handy (and the tubes themselves are made from 100 % biodegradable material) as they cut out time-consuming chopping and cutting. Two of the three dips require nothing but a blender and the ingredients.
To some, this is probably a pretty ’80s-like feature; to us, it’s a classic. A light Greek dip which works well with barbecued dishes instead of sauce, but also as a pre-dinner snack. You can make it with skyr for an extra healthy version, but otherwise just using Greek yoghurt.
1 whole cucumber
500 ml Greek yoghurt (or Icelandic skyr)
1 tbsp dill paste fromSanta Maria
0.5-1 tbsp garlic paste fromSanta Maria(to taste)
A dash of olive oil
Shred the cucumber coarsely and make sure to squeeze out any juice with your hands – to avoid a very wet tzatziki. Add all of the ingredients – with salt, pepper and olive oil to taste.
BEST dip. And mega healthy as well. It’s delicious on freshly baked bread, under cold cuts and definitely also as an appetiser. Using fresh herbs on tube, you avoid getting garlic or chili all over your hands.
Soaked and boiled chickpeas as advised (or just use the canned version, but wash carefully)
1 tbsp tahin
2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp garlic paste from Santa Maria
Juice from 0.5-1 lemon
Salt, pepper and olive oil to taste
Perhaps 0.5 tbsp chili paste from Santa Maria
Mix all of the ingredients and add salt, pepper and olive oil to taste. If it’s a bit dry, add some water. Hummus should be creamy and rich rather than dry. Garnish with some dried chili flakes as you please.
One of those things that just doesn’t exist in a delicious ready-made version. I for sure haven’t had any luck finding it yet. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to make yourself, though, especially when using those fresh herbs on tube. Then it’s super easy.
2-3 tubes of basil paste fromSanta Maria
1-1.5 tbsp garlic paste fromSanta Maria
2 tbsp pine nuts
50-75 g parmesan in big chunks
Salt, pepper and olive oil to taste
Mix all of the ingredients and add salt, pepper and olive oil to taste.
All of the three dips work well with grissini (keeping it ’80s-/’90s-like), veggie sticks, crisps or big chunks of delicious bread – as you prefer. And then a small glass of sparkling wine, ginger beer, fresh lime soda – whatever works for you. It’s the loveliest, most relaxed way of initiating a dinner. Oh, how I miss it! Having the energy to host a dinner – and doing it this way with snacks and hanging around the kitchen counter.
So, let the party begin – for you and a friend, perhaps a partner, or the very big show and group, as the photos suggest.