You could add other raw vegetables as you like, for example, fennel or endive for a slightly bitter emphasis, while mangetout peas and baby sweetcorn make contrastingly sweet additions.
Deseed the peppers and cut the flesh into strips. Cut the carrots and celery into similarly sized strips.
Make the sauce: put the garlic in a pan and just cover with milk. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. (If you don’t cook the garlic before incorporating into the sauce it will be very pungent and indigestible. This preliminary poaching gentles it without taking away all its vigour.)
Add the anchovies to the milk and garlic. Traditionally butter is now added, but crème fraîche is nicer. Whisk together until smooth with a uniform distribution of the garlic and anchovies. Season with pepper, stir in and transfer to the bagna cauda over the night-light or candle.
Sit the bagna cauda on a large serving dish and arrange the vegetables round it for people to help themselves. Open a bottle of Barolo to let it breathe before you start making the dish.
© 1998 Alastair Little and Richard Whittington estate. All rights reserved.