There’s this thing all my friends and family used to do at gatherings when I was growing up. It’s a tradition that’s alive and well in certain middle-class boere families today too. Whenever you go to a braai, or a get-together where they said bring-your-own, someone in the crowd would stop at the local café for chip ’n dip.
It would usually be a packet of Simba Chipniks and a tub of smooth cottage cheese with chives. Some enterprising individual might also get a packet of dried Royco French Onion soup to stir into the cottage cheese for a ‘fancy’ dip. Those were the days.
Back when it was ‘the done thing’, it seemed pretty reasonable to me. But looking back, it was quite a careless response either to the welcome of your host or the hosting of your guest. A bag of chips and a punnet of smooth cottage cheese is hardly a blip on the radar of making an effort to enjoy good company. It’s kind of funny to me, and probably the reason my version of chip ’n dip takes so much time and effort. I love doing stuff like this smoked aubergine dip to share with friends or family in the course of a lekker kuier or visit.
Homegrown by Bertus Basson, R330 (Jacana Media), is available at your local exclusive books store.
CHIP ’n DIP by Bertus Basson
- 2–3 medium aubergines,
- sliced in half
- 200 g fromage blanc
- 2 lemons, zested and juiced
- 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 150 ml olive oil
Halve the aubergines and cut a grid pattern into the flesh, being careful not to pierce the skin if possible. Place them in a fireproof dish, press slivers of garlic into the cuts, then drizzle with the olive oil and salt.
Get your smoker ready and smoke the aubergine at 130°C for an hour or until the aubergines are cooked through and tender. Reserve the pan juices, and scoop the aubergine flesh out into a food processor bowl. Add the fromage blanc, lemon zest and juice and pan juices and whiz to form a nice coarse dip. Correct the seasoning and serve with your favourite vegetable chips.