The best gathering is one where the host or hostess is never too tired and stressed out to enjoy the company of the guests and have a good time. I like the idea of sitting in the garden, food on the table that everyone can help himself with and drinks on a side table where everyone can have his refill. This chunky cheese dip that can double as a spread fits the bill perfectly.
The cheese alone will make it irresistible to the young; more discriminating adults will appreciate the smoky undertones from the roasted capsicum (a.k.a. bell peppers), the subtle hint of garlic and the light crunch of scallions.
For stress-free entertaining, prepare the cheese dip ahead of time, keep in the fridge and allow to warm to room temperature about fifteen minutes then stir before serving. If still too thick for dipping, add a tablespoonful of cream and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds on HIGH. Slice a couple of baguettes, place in a covered container with a bread toaster or a tabletop grill nearby. Sit down with your friends and enjoy.
- 250 grams full-fat cream cheese at room temperature
- 50 grams sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup cream
- 1 large bell pepper (capsicum) or 2 small medium; roasted, peeled and chopped (see instructions)
- 1/4 teaspoon grated garlic
- 2 tablespoons finely sliced scallions
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
In a mixing bowl, stir together the cream cheese and cheddar cheese.
Scald 1/4 c. of cream. Pour into the bowl with the cheese. Stir until smooth. The mixture will thicken as it cools but if you want a thinner dip, you can scald a little more cream and stir it in.
Add the rest of the ingredients. Stir.