I lived in California for the most part of the nineties, and now living in Provence, if asked whether there’s anything I miss about living in L.A., I’d have to say avocados. Avocados are one of my favourite foods and it’s not that you can’t get them in Provence, they are in fact quite easily available, but they always seem to be either rock hard or over-ripe and they just don’t have the creamy, luscious taste that Californian avocados have. Whenever I am back in L.A., the first thing I do is buy a big net of avocados in various stages of ripeness to feed my one-a-day, California cravings.
So you can imagine how excited I was to come across a recipe book that is dedicated to avocados called Absolutely Avocados and even more so as it was written by Gaby Dalkin with photos by Matt Armendarz, both of whom I met at the Food Blog Camp 2011 in Mexico nearly three years ago.
The design of the book is very retro-cheery with stripy coloured pages interspersed between the recipes complementing the beautiful photos by Armandraz, giving you a sense of the hot Californian sun ripening the fruit.
Besides the recipes (and there are a lot, you’ll be amazed at how versatile the avocado is) there are plenty of useful facts along with tips on how to best cut, store and buy them.
The recipes have definite Mexican-South Western US leanings, but cover everything from breakfast dishes to guacamole, dips and sauces, smoothies, burgers, sandwiches, salads, pizza, pasta, brownies, cookies and yes, ice cream.
I thought I’d try something completely different to anything I’d made before and chose the Bacon-Wrapped Cheesy Avocados. They are made with goat’s cheese (which I also love) and I thought they’d make an interesting alternative to serve with Christmas drinks. However they were fiddly to make and didn’t quite turn out right, maybe I should have used un-smoked bacon (I used smoked) and maybe I should have used a more generic goats cheese (I used a soft gooey one) or maybe the avocado wasn’t ripe enough, whatever it was, they tasted rather soapy and unpalatable. Maybe I’m not ready for baked avocados yet.
I also tried the avocado-coconut ice cream, which was much more successful and even though it’s winter, I thought this could be a lovely addition to a festive meal, maybe a lighter alternative to Christmas pud? Or if you fancy David Lebovitz’s version (he adds a teaspoon of rum) served with the Christmas pud!
Here’s the recipe
- Hass avocados
- 1 400ml or 14 oz can coconut milk
- 120 ml (1/2 cup) double cream
- 100 gms (1/2 cup) sugar
- 1 tsp lemon extract
- Toasted coconut for garnish
- Avocado-Coconut Ice Cream
Cut the avocado in half, discard the pip and scoop out the flesh putting it into a food processor or blender, Add the coconut milk, cream, sugar and lemon extract and blend for 2 minutes until completely smooth.
Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturers instructions and then transfer to a plastic container (like a used ice cream container) and put it into the freezer for at least 2 hours.
If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can put the mixture straight into the plastic container and into the freezer. Take it out after 30 minutes and vigorously whisk the frozen crystals that will have formed around the edges of the container in with the rest of the mixture, Repeat this every 30 minutes until the ice cream is frozen evenly, approximately 2 – 3 hours.
Serve with toasted coconut on top. (Toast the coconut by putting it into a dry frying pan over a medium heat. As the coconut starts to colour, remove from the heat and leave to cool).
Credit from Absolutely Avocados, (c) 2013 by Gaby Dalkin. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
All rights reserved.
A great gift for anyone who loves avocados and not too late to order for that last minute stocking filler!
Please leave a comment telling me your favourite recipe for avocados.