Tag Archives: avocado

Recipe: Asparagus with Avocado and Dill Sauce

Standard

One of the sad things you learn when you start to cook is that you can’t just put all your favourite ingredients on a plate and expect them to work. It would be nice, but it rarely happens. So I was really pleased to come across this idea for ‘avocadonnaise’, essentially avocado whizzed together with lemon juice and dill. Well, that’s two of my favourite foods of all time in one sauce. It’s also asparagus season, so I thought, Why not?

Why not indeed? The dill and avocado work well together. The sauce can be made while the asparagus cooks. The whole makes a great starter where the taste far exceeds the amount of effort that goes into producing it.

 photo IMG_0231_zpssfn8v2vr.jpg

Ingredients
200g asparagus spears, trimmed
1 ripe avocado
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped

Heat a griddle pan on a high heat.
When it is hot enough, coat the asparagus spears in a little oil and place on the griddle.
Turn the heat down a couple of notches.
While the asparagus is cooking, stone and peel the avocado and put the flesh in a bowl.
Add the lemon juice and dill and mash together with a fork until you have a smooth paste.
Season with salt and pepper.
Turn the asparagus spears over to get the griddle marks on all sides.
Test the asparagus for ‘doneness’ with the point of a sharp knife in the thickest part of the stem.
When tender remove from the griddle and serve with the avocado sauce.

Serves 2 as a starter

Advertisements

Recipe: Watercress and Avocado Pesto

Standard

If I was asked what my number one tip for a new vegetarian would be, I wouldn’t hesitate to advocate for the inclusion of large amounts of green leafy vegetables, especially for women. My favourite cooked green vegetable is kale (how fashionable!), my favourite raw green leafy source is watercress. I don’t know if it’s appeared on the Daily Mail’s ‘superfood’ list yet, but it has more vitamin C than oranges and more calcium than cow’s milk. It’s strong, peppery flavour means you can get interesting tasting salads without having to load up with dressings.

The British watercress season is just starting and if you can get an independent brand of watercress like John Hurd’s, I urge you to try it. It’s more expensive but I think the increase in flavour makes it worth it.

I’ve put it in an easy pesto here. It would work with hot pasta or on a pasta salad. It tastes so good you won’t worry about how good it is for you!

 photo Watercress20amp20avocado20pesto_zpsyf0i6jb1.jpg

Ingredients
80g watercress
1/2 large, ripe avocado
1/2 pack of basil leaves
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced

Add the ingredients to a food processor and process on pulse until they form a smooth paste.
Remove from the bowl and season carefully (it won’t take much).
Serve over hot pasta.
Serves 2

Recipe: Potato, avocado and dill salad

Standard

I love potato salads, but I don’t always want the creamy or mayonnaise dressing that frequently goes with them. This one uses creamy avocado instead. The lemon cuts through the richness with just the right amount of acidity and the dill adds it’s fragrant mellowness as a high note.

A handful of ingredients, very little prep and a great taste at the end of it. This is my kind of cooking.

Potato, avocado & dill salad photo DSCN1686_zpsa1dec079.jpg

Ingredients
250g new potatoes, cooked and chopped into bitesize pieces
1 avocado, finely chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped

Put all the ingredients into a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Mix together thoroughly until the avocado starts to break down and little and coat the potatoes.

Serves 2 as a side salad

Recipe: Summer Hand Rolls with Mango and Peanut Sauce

Standard

I love spring rolls, but they’re not the healthiest of options as they’re deep fried. Summer rolls, hold no such worries and, with a supply of rice paper wrappers (available at bigger supermarkets) are easy to make at home.

Allegedly.

Actually, making them at home makes you realise how mean the filling has to be if you want the rolls to close properly. And you have to have pretty good origami skills to make them. This has tended to put me off making them. Then I found a picture of summer rolls that were open at one end. They looked a lot easier to make (just as sushi hand rolls take a lot of the terror out of making sushi at home) and were just so fresh and vibrant that I had to give them a go.

The fillings for the rolls are what I had in the fridge at the time, so use the recipe as a guideline rather than a fixed standard. If you didn’t have mango for the dipping sauce, a ripe peach or nectarine would do just as well. If you don’t want to make rolls, the sauce would be great with a plate of crudités.

Summer Hand Rolls photo DSCN1671_zps77bd5306.jpg

Ingredients
For the dipping sauce:
1/2 mango, finely chopped
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbps vinegar (wine or cider)
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp coriander, finely chopped
1 birdseye chilli, chopped
1 tsp sesame oil

For the rolls
4 rice paper spring/summer roll wrappers
1/2 medium carrot, chopped into matchsticks
1/2 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
Handful of watercress
5cm piece of cucumber, deseeded and thinly sliced
1/2 avocado, sliced
6 mangetout, sliced
1 stem of mint leaves, roughly chopped

Put all the dipping sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.

Half-fill a wide bowl or deep plate with hand-hot water.
Dip a rice paper wrapper in the water and hold for a few seconds until it starts to go a little flexible.
Remove the wrapper from the water and put on a clean surface.
Place a few of each of the vegetables in the centre.
Fold over three sides of the wrapper leaving one side open.
Repeat for each of the other wrappers.
Serve alongside the dipping sauce.

Serves 2 as a starter (but not at an elegant meal!)

Recipe: Avocado and Grapefruit Salad

Standard

This is a simple recipe, pretty to look at and full of bright flavours from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. I used a pink grapefruit, but an ordinary one would be fine. I also used a birdseye chilli, if you don’t have one I’d recommend a sprinkling of chilli flakes instead.

Avocado & grapefruit salad photo DSCN1153_zpsb47be358.jpg

Ingredients
1 avocado, sliced
1 pink grapefruit, segmented
1 birdseye chilli, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Arrange the avocado and grapefruit slices on a plate.
Sprinkle over the chilli, the olive oil and any juice from the grapefruit.
Season with salt and pepper and scatter over the parsley.

Serves 2 as part of a selection of salads

Recipe: Watercress, Avocado and Lemon Salad

Standard

I haven’t quite got to my second anniversary as a vegetarian. There are times when I still get the odd craving for meat. I’m quite specific about it too, it has to be Marks & Spencers tinned stewing steak. I have worked out that when I get this craving it’s because I’m missing iron in my diet. The best way to get iron in your diet is through green leafy vegetables. As far as I’m concerned you can’t eat too many of them. Another way of increasing your intake of iron is to eat something containing vitamin C at the same time.

Now watercress contains good quantities of iron and vitamin C, but I’ve decided to help it along in this salad with little segments of lemon.If you’ve never segmented a citrus fruit, this video will show you how. As watercress can stand up to some strong flavours, I’ve added sundried tomatoes, capers to the lemon and then some avocado for creamy contrast.

This is a great little salad. The lemon segments don’t overpower it, you just get little bursts of sourness against the iron pepperiness of the watercress and the creaminess of the avocado. If you didn’t want to use watercress then rocket or even flat leaf parsley would work well in this as well.

watercress, avocado, lemon salad photo DSCN0917_zpsf0fd126c.jpg

Ingredients
1 lemon, one half juiced, one half segmented
1/4 tsp mustard
3 tbsp olive oil
1 pack watercress (about 100g)
6 sundried tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp capers
1 avocado, stoned, peeled and chopped

Make up the dressing with the juice of half the lemon, the mustard and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and mix thoroughly.
Add the watercress, sundried tomatoes, capers, avocado and lemon segments to a large bowl. Toss them in the dressing.
Serve with crusty bread.

Serves 2 as a light lunch or a side salad

Recipe: Green, bean salad

Standard

It’s bean season. I got a bit carried away at the supermarket when I saw a pack of broad beans and then had to buy some others to keep them company. My grandpa used to grow broad beans on his allotment, I used to love unzipping the stiff, green case and finding the beans sitting in their damp, fluffy bed. I never liked eating them, though. That’s probably because my Mum never peeled them. I have learned that lesson.

So here’s a fresh bean salad with some avocado for creamy contrast. I could have used mint for a dressing and it would work well, but I decided on the warmth of tarragon instead, as it’s not hot enough for cooling to be essential.

green bean salad photo DSCN0890_zpsde8283a5.jpg

Ingredients
For the dressing:
1/2 shallot, finely chopped
1 tsp tarragon, finely chopped
1/4 tsp mustard powder
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tbsp olive oil

For the salad:
500g broad bean pods
6 runner beans, topped and tailed
20 green beans, topped and tailed
1 avocado, peeled and sliced

Mix the dressing ingredients together, season with salt and pepper and set aside while the beans are cooking.
Shell the broad beans and put them in a pan of boiling, salted water.
Slice the runner beans and green beans on the diagonal and add them to the pan.
Simmer for 5 minutes.
Strain the beans and run under cold water to stop them cooking.
Skin the broad beans, by nicking one end of the bean and squeezing the bean out through the slit.
Toss the all the beans together with the avocado in a bowl.
Spoon the dressing over and serve.

Serves 2 as a light lunch with some crusty bread to mop up the juices. Some crumbled feta would make this more substantial if you don’t want to keep it vegan.