It seems our readers will do all sorts of things with a camembert, frozen peas or peanut butter in pursuit of the perfect dip.
There was a time in the early 1990s, when a dip quartet - usually composed of wildly clashing flavours, such as tandoori, thousand island, and cheese and chive - was the height of sophistication in my world. I remember looking forward to the day when I had my own money, and could dine on them every evening.
Strangely enough, I haven't yet taken advantage of this freedom, but that doesn't mean I'm any less keen on dips. There were some nice renditions of the classics this week - a proper guacamole from a California native whose British husband at first mistook it for mushy peas, a punchy-looking tapenade, and lots of vibrantly coloured spins on hummus.
With Yemeni zhug, Puglian broad bean, and even a "sauce Alabama" involving salad cream, Cook readers are an exotic lot, but in the end, it was Natalie Wong's pea hummus that I found myself dipping into again and again. The almond butter lends a sweet, nutty richness that's difficult to pin down and impossible to resist. All recipes make 1 medium bowl.
The winning recipe: pea hummus with lemon thyme
The refreshing aroma of lemon thyme goes really well with the nuttiness of the almond butter and cuts the sweetness of the peas perfectly. The feta lends a balancing saltiness to this dip. Natalie Wong, London
400g frozen peas
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp almond butter
6 sprigs lemon thyme, leaves only
Juice of ½ a lemon
1-2 tbsp olive oil
Small pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
50g feta, crumbled (optional)
1 Cook the peas in boiling water until tender, stirring occasionally to ensure they all cook through.
2 Put the cooked peas, garlic, almond butter, most of the thyme leaves, lemon juice, olive oil and chilli flakes, if using, into a blender. Whizz until smooth and well combined.
3 Taste, season and add more lemon juice or olive oil if necessary. Spoon into a bowl.
5 Top the hummus with crumbled feta if using, and sprinkle with the remaining thyme.
6 Serve cold with pitta bread, toast or colourful vegetables as desired.
If you have ever been to the Canary Islands you may have had mojo. From the Spanish verb mojar "to dip" this comes either rojo (red) or verde (green) and is served with papas arrugadas (wrinkled potatoes). The recipe I use came from my good friend Antonio's mother, Fefa from Gran Canaria. Diane Kitchen, Ilkley
1 tsp rock salt
1 tsp ground cumin
Cloves from an entire head of garlic, peeled
100ml cider vinegar
5 large tomatoes, skinned and seeded
1 tsp paprika
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
50g ground almonds
Olive oil, to taste
1 Put the salt, cumin and garlic into a blender and blend to a puree.
2 Add the rest of the ingredients except the oil, and blend until smooth.
3 Add olive oil little by little, until you get the consistency of dip you prefer.
Peanut dip with soy sauce
This intensely flavoured dip is based on the Thai dish ma hor. It's perfect for pieces of pineapple or mango, or for spicy chicken kebabs, but also works well for any sweetish vegetable crudites such as carrots or peppers. Caroline, Berlin, thyme-supperclub.com
1 tbsp vegetable oil
10 shallots, peeled and finely sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
A thumb-size piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
2 tsp soft dark brown sugar
A few drops of nam pla (fish sauce - optional, can be omitted for vegetarians)
2 tbsp soy sauce
Juice of ½ a lime
A few sprigs of coriander, chopped
1 red chilli, seeded and finely sliced
1 Heat a little oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and fry until browned but not crisp.
2 Reduce the heat a little, add the garlic, ginger, peanut butter, sugar, nam pla and soy sauce and continue cooking for a few minutes, until the sugar has melted and the mixture is relatively smooth. If it seems too thick (it will depend on the peanut butter), stir in a little water, or, when cool, lime juice.
3 Leave to cool, then squeeze over the lime to taste. Sprinkle over the coriander and chilli.
Black-eyed bean and harissa dip
This dip is inspired by a dish that my Portuguese grandmother used to make. The sweetness and smoothness of the beans is lightened by the sharpness of the lemon and the heat of the harissa. Miguel de Almeida, London
400g can of black-eyed beans, drained
1 garlic clove
½ small red onion
30g flat-leaf parsley
½ tsp harissa paste, or to taste
Juice of ½ a lemon
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Place the solid ingredients in the food processor, followed by the lemon juice and olive oil. Whizz until it resembles a coarse yet homogeneous paste.
2 Season to taste, scoop into a bowl and serve with toasted sourdough bread.
This cheesy dip is a traditional Bavarian recipe served with pretzels and radishes in beer gardens, and at the Oktoberfest of course. It is made out of squashed camembert - hence the name obatzda, which means something like "squashed" or "crushed" in colloquial Bavarian. Marie-Joëlle Schmidt, Edinburgh, auldfoodallianz.blogspot.com
250g ripe camembert, at room temperature
50g unsalted butter, softened
80g quark or fromage frais
2-3 tbsp wheat beer or lager
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped chives, plus extra to decorate
½ tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp sweet paprika or to taste
1 Squash the camembert with a fork, then beat it into the butter and quark until well combined.
2 Mix in the beer until you have a creamy, smooth paste.
3 Add the onions, chives and caraway seeds and season with paprika, salt and pepper to taste.
4 Chill for one hour and decorate with a few sprigs of chives.
Sweet spring dip
This is a spring dip we make every year with either forced rhubarb, or if we are lucky, our own from the garden. We use our own fresh ewe's cheese but any type of cream cheese is suitable. Scoop on top of a digestive or ginger nut biscuit for an excellent instant cheesecake, or do as we do and just dip brandy snaps in it! Tim Homewood, Litton, Somerset
1 small stick of rhubarb
150g fresh ewe's cheese or other cream cheese
½ ball of stem ginger, plus syrup
3 tbsp of icing sugar
1 Chop the rhubarb into short lengths, sprinkle with a little caster sugar, cover and gently roast at 150C/300F/gas mark 2 for 10-15 minutes until tender. Leave to cool.
2 Put the cheese in a bowl, finely dice the stem ginger and add to the bowl along with some syrup from the jar and the icing sugar, using enough to sweeten to your taste. Mix well.
3 Gently fold in the cooled rhubarb, being careful not to over-mix.
Clockwise from bottom right: pea hummus, black-eyed bean and harissa dip, peanut dip with soya sauce and mojo rojo. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian