Before I lived in the States I only ever really thought of tacos as the hard, crunchy shells you buy from the supermarket and fill with chilli and cheese. I was utterly oblivious to the world of deliciousness which ‘proper’ tacos provide, there are so […]
Obviously Mr Colonial Cravings and I take any and every opportunity to travel somewhere new so we didn’t really take the most direct route back from Maryland to Gloucestershire. Nope. We went via Ecuador. I’ve wanted to visit the Galapagos islands since I was very […]
I seem to get a lot of complements about my potato salad. I’m not sure that I do anything particularly special with it, I just make it the way that mum always tended to make it. I do follow a couple of rules. I never chill it if I can at all avoid it (so I don’t make it in advance) as I think it tends to make the dressing coagulate. I always add a little bit of whatever dairy product I have in the fridge for some richness and I always drizzle the warm potatoes with some olive oil for extra flavour.
It’s one of those nice versatile recipes (my mum’s usually are) that you can switch around the ingredients to make use of what’s in the fridge. This time I had an avocado and some cherry tomatoes that were just begging to be used so tossed them into the mix and it worked very nicely. You can play around with the herbs too, adding whatever comes to hand. I used basil this time but anything works really, just tailor it to what you plan to serve it with, coriander is nice with fish, mint with lamb kebabs or chives and parsley with grilled chicken.
600g new potatoes
125g cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp cream/creme fraiche/greek yoghurt
1 tbsp olive oil
squeeze of lemon juice
salt and pepper
big handful of fresh herbs
chili flakes (optional)
Pre-heat your oven to 200°c and slice the tomatoes in half. Toss them in a teaspoon of the olive oil and a little salt and pepper and then roast them for 10 minutes, turning halfway through. Once they are roasted leave them to cool.
Whilst the tomatoes are roasting you can cook the spuds. Cut any larger potatoes in half so that they are all roughly the same size and then add to a pan of water. I don’t salt my water as I prefer to season the potatoes later. Bring the pan to boil and then cook the potatoes until they feel tender when you poke them with a knife. Drain the potatoes and then return them to the pan. Drizzle over the remaining oil, season them with a little salt and pepper and then pop the lid back on the pan and let them cool and absorb the flavours.
Once everything has cooled to room temperature you can make up your dressing, you can do this by hand or in little food processor. Mash the avocado with the lemon juice until it is really smooth. Mix in the mayonnaise and whatever dairy product you’re using for richness. Stir through the herbs (and chili flakes if you’re using them) and them toss in the potatoes (and any oil that’s left in the pan) and the tomatoes. Adjust the seasoning if you need to and serve.
We all feel like we should eat a little bit lighter after Christmas but on cold, grey, dreary winter days it’s hard for me to get excited about a bowl of salad.
I need bright colours, bags of flavour and preferably a bit of spice to warm me up from the inside!
I know a lot of people who struggle to get on board with eating tofu. I think it’s because they view it just as a meat substiute. I just view it as a protein source. I know that the flavour can take a little getting used to and that it needs a little help in that department, but that’s also why it works so well in spicy dishes.
These little crispy patties, topped with colourful, chunky salsa certainly remind me that, one day, there will be warm sunny days again!
450g block of extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
3 spring onions
handful of coriander
1/2 tsp paprika
pinch each of ground cinnamon, cumin, salt and pepper
1 tsp chipotle paste
squeeze of lime juice
chili sauce to taste
3 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
3 tbsp sweetcorn
1 small ripe avocado
handful of cherry tomatos
handul of coriander
lime juice, salt and pepper to taste
little gem lettuce leaves to serve
Mash up the tofu with your hands in a large mixing bowl. Make sure that there are no large lumps in it. Slice the spring onions and chop the coriander. Add these to the mixing bowl and mix them through with a fork. Add everything else but the panko and mix these through too, making sure that they are well distributed through the tofu. Finally add the panko and mix the whole lot. Let this sit whilst you make the salsa.
Dice the tomatoes and roughly chop the coriander and chili . Mix these with the sweetcorn, lime juice, salt and pepper. Peel and pit the avocado and dice this so that it’s a similar size to the tomatoes. Toss this in with the other ingredients.
Shape the tofu mixture into little patties, a heaped tablespoon is about the right amount. Fry these over a medium heat in a lightly oiled frying pan until the outsides are golden and crisp.
Serve the patties on the lettuce leaves with a sprinkling of the salsa and perhaps an extra drop or two of hot sauce.
I do feel a bit of a fraud describing this as a mousse. It’s not really as airy as a mousse, the texture is almost like ganache, but that makes it feel all the more rich and indulgent. And no, it doesn’t taste like avocado. It’s rich, thick gooey chocolately goodness all the way, with just a hint of spice and warmth from the chili and cinnamon. I really wasn’t expecting to enjoy this as much as I did. I mean, I love avocado but I did sort of assume that compared to a traditional chocolate dessert, this would taste like a poor substitute. It’s really not though, this is a delicious pudding in its own right.
I don’t want to lead you astray though, I’m not really sure that this is much more healthy than real chocolate mousse, unless you (rather tenuously) want to count the avocado as one of your five a day. It probably does have a bit less cholesterol though.
The ‘mousse’ is very quick to make but it does need time in the fridge to chill and firm up a bit, however that does mean that you can make them in advance, which is often an advantage.
serves 2 but easily multiplied
1 very ripe avocado
40g dark chocolate
1 tbsp honey
1/8 tsp chili and ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla paste
2 tbsp cocoa powder (I use a dark one)
1 tbsp almond milk (you may not need this and if you aren’t vegan then any milk will do)
Melt the chocolate and stir the honey, vanilla, salt and spices into it. Add the cocoa and mix together to give you a sort of paste.
Cut the avocado, remove the stone and scoop the flesh into a food processor. Pulse the avocado a few times to mash it up and then add the chocolate paste and blitz the whole lot until it is really well blended, thick and smooth. If you need to loosen the ‘mousse’ at all then you can add the almond milk and blitz it again. Once you’ve done this you can either leave the mousse as it is and spoon it into serving dishes or you can transfer it to a mixing bowl and use an electric whisk to get a bit more air into and leave it with a slightly more mousse like texture, which is what I do. Then you can spoon or pipe it into the serving bowls and put it in the fridge to chill and set for a couple of hours.