I don't know whether this has anything to do with my own creeping state of motherhood, but lately I've been fantasising about some of the kitsch, 80s dinner party fare that meant in my childhood that shit was getting fancy. I'm talking about little tuna and cheese pastry parcels (we called them tuna savouries), chocolate-peppermint cheesecake, and anything that could be prepared in a microwave.
So when I was invited to a pot luck dinner tonight, where considerations like wanting to cater to vegetarians in case there were any, and wanting to bring something that was easy to prepare and easy to share, I knew instantly that I would make spinach dip in a cobb loaf.
As a child, I thought that this was the poshest thing that could possibly be done with food. The bread is the bowl, you guys! In seeking out recipes, I've also realised that ingredients-wise, this is true to form retro Australian cuisine. I didn't want to vary the original intent of the dish too greatly, but I did make a couple of tweaks, particularly in the form of nutmeg, which frankly should be paired with spinach whenever and wherever possible. It also takes about 10 minutes to make. I am keenly anticipate a mixture of delight and mirth when I rock up with this tonight.
Here it is in all its glory.
- 1 cobb loaf
- 1 packet frozen spinach
- handful of spring onions
- 1 tub of sour cream (approx 250ml)
- 1 tub of cream cheese (approx 250ml)
- 2 heaped tablespoons of mayo
- 1 packet spring vegetable soup (or some other innocuous flavour)
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- cracked pepper
Okay, so you can make this dip in four simple steps:
1. Chop the spring onions
2.Thaw the spinach and squeeze all the water out of it
3. Put everything in a big bowl
Once you've got your dip prepared, prepare your bread bowl. First slice the top of the loaf, about one third down. Then hollow out the centre.
Fill the emptied belly of the cobb with the dip. Then replace the lid. 'Whala', as A Wild Young Under Whimsy would say. You have dip in a bread bowl! To an unsuspecting person, it just looks like bread. Ingenious, huh.
Warm the whole lot in a slow oven (approx 150 degrees C) for about 30 minutes. Finally, break the extra bits of bread for the centre and place them around the loaf to serve.
Mmmmm. Tastes just like 1983.