Before I had children I swore that I would never be one of ‘those’ parents that looked at school as a babysitting service. But now, hand on heart, I thank the gods above for our amazing education system. Happy back to school everyone!

I could contribute some lunch box fillers, but where’s the fun in that? I thought that I’d kill two birds with one stone … FGLTTKWET (Fabulous Gorgeous Lovely Things That Kids Will Eat Too).

Now that school is back, even more I love a meal that can serve two purposes. Chicken breast that can sit as happily on a plate of steamed vegetables and rice as it will served with Turkish bread and tabouli; or savoury mince that works just as well on toast as served as a nacho dip.

I’m usually the one that my sister will call if she needs something made, but this gem is the special something we have grown to love and look forward to, from her kitchen. When she last made it, I got to thinking that maybe it would work as a stir through pasta sauce too.

BINGO!

Spinach and Ricotta Double Dip

Ingredients

500g spinach (I used frozen … you need to squeeze out any excess water)
1 small onion – chopped finely
2 cloves of garlic – minced
300g ricotta (drain)
300g sour cream
chives/parsley/basil…whatever you know your family/friends like
2 x vegetable stock cubes + 60ml water
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 round cob bread loaf
Salt and pepper to taste

The process

Dissolve the stock in water, add the chopped onion and garlic. Cook over a high heat until the water has evaporated and the onion is soft.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Finely chop the spinach and place into a large bowl. Add ricotta and sour cream to the spinach and mix well till combined. Add the onion/garlic and grated cheddar.

Season with freshly ground black pepper and salt (as desired).

Cut open a loaf of bread from the top and produce a lid. Hollow out loaf and fill with cheesy goodness!

Bake for about 30 minutes … yummy. Perfect with a beer or wine with friends at the end of the week. Bellissimo!

But I promised you more than just a dip. What about the kids?

I made the mix as above and then heated it all before pouring it over and stirring it through some fettuccine instead of filling a loaf.

Magic! Slurp-worthy pasta and guest-worthy dip.

Dip, double dipped!

As a side note … I spread some on a piece of sourdough toast. Brilliant.

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Nikki Montgomery

Nikki Montgomery is a muffin baker, sandwich maker, chutney activist and painter of bespoke footwear. Nikki’s been called a lot of things over the years and worn a number of different hats. Between being 'just Mum' and trying to be an active community member, Nikki also has a keen interest in politics and social justice. What better way to get people to slow down and hear what others have to say than to gather together and share food? Now she can add ‘writer’ to her resume.