Jules Taylor Pinot Noir bottle and glass with platter of dip and olives

Smoky eggplant dip with homemade turmeric and seed crackers 

This recipe is perfect for entertaining as it can all be made in advance and served to your guests when they arrive. (The crackers also make a great homemade gift!) The flavours pair perfectly with Jules Taylor Marlborough Pinot Noir 2019 🍷

For the crackers (makes approx. 70)
2 cups white flour
2/3 cup wholemeal flour
3/4 cup seeds - I used a mix of black and white sesame, hemp, pumpkin and sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons dry oregano
2 teaspoons flakey sea salt
Ground pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup of water
Extra olive oil and sea salt to finish

Preheat oven to 180C. Start by mixing the flours, seeds, turmeric, oregano, sea salt and a good grind of black pepper in a bowl and mix well. Make a well in the centre and pour the oil and water in and mix to combine. Divide dough into 6 parts, and roll between two sheets of baking paper to prevent sticking. Roll as thin as possible making a rectangle approx. 32 cm wide by 22cm long, patching any tears or holes with some extra dough. Cut into 5 strips widthways and into 3 strips going lengthways - I found it easiest using a pizza cutter. Brush crackers with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 14-15 minutes, or until the crackers have just started to brown. I removed the outside crackers and the ones in the middle needed a further 1-2 minutes extra. Keep a close eye on them after the 14-minute mark, as they brown quickly after this point. Remove and cool on a wire rack, and repeat the process. Store crackers in an airtight container - they will keep for up to 2 weeks.  

Smoky eggplant dip (makes about 1 cup)
2 large eggplants
3-4 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons tahini
1 small clove garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
Salt & Pepper
Extra olive oil and a little cumin or smoked paprika to garnish

Start by smoking the eggplants either on an open flame (I used my gas hob), under a hot grill in the oven or on a BBQ. Pierce the eggplants in several places first, and be sure to rotate the eggplant as it blackens and blisters. Once they are completely charred, remove and add them to a bowl - then cover and allow to sit on the side for around 10 minutes. The steam will help the skins to come off easily. After 10 minutes, peel the eggplants, cut them in half and sprinkle them with salt. This is to draw out any extra moisture so it isn't soggy. After 10 minutes, squeeze out any moisture and add the eggplants to a blender. You can also do this step by mashing this eggplant with a fork for more of a textured finish - I personally like the dip smooth, but it's up to you. Next, add in 3 tablespoons lemon juice, the tahini, crushed garlic, cayenne (if using) and some salt and pepper. Blend and then taste - adjusting seasonings and lemon juice to suit. Store in an airtight container in the fridge if not using immediately - it will keep for 4 days. Otherwise, serve by spreading the dip in a bowl and topping it with extra olive oil and spices. Serve with homemade crackers or toasted pita on the side