Chunky cucumber, feta and fennel dip

Preparation time: 10 minutes

1 cucumber – peeled and diced into mini cubes
1 block of feta cheese – finely crumbled
1 fennel bulb – very finely chopped
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 bunch of fresh coriander
3 tablespoons olive oil
The juice and zest of one lemon

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January 2015

New Year, New You and all that – that’s all very well and good but as we all know, in practice it doesn’t always work that way. All too soon we’re slipping back into old eating habits.

So this New Year I thought I’d try a different approach. With a little help from my good friends at popchips, the innovative popped snack company, I’ve developed a healthy treat that delivers that naughty flavour you want, but with fewer calories. You see, my thinking is that rather than cutting out the stuff that’s not so good for you, simply eat healthier versions of it. We all love to veg out and munch on chips and dips in front of a good film, particularly on a miserable January evening. These lovely salt and black pepper popchips, which are less than half the fat of regular fried chips and less than 100 calories per serving can be served alongside my chunky dip, packed with the deep roasted flavours of toasted fennel seeds. How can you say no? You can’t, you can jolly well say yes with a clear conscience!

The idea here is to chop the vegetables as small as possible. I find this pretty easy but a sharp knife helps, although feel free to use a mixer with a fine dice attachment or a mandolin.

Gently heat a small frying pan, then add the fennel seeds and toast for a minute or two to release their aroma, being careful not to burn them.

Place the chopped cucumber and fennel into a large bowl, add the toasted fennel seeds and crumble in the feta (you could grate the feta in if you like a finer, more even, texture). Then add the lemon zest and juice and torn coriander, and drizzle over the olive oil. I like a lot of oil but you can hold back if you feel you need to.

Stir it all well together and divide into bowls to serve.

Eat and of course, enjoy!

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