Wednesday 12th December 2018

Avocado

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Avocado cut in halfAvocados

Avocados are delicious and, although rich in fats, the fats they contain are mono-unsaturated fats, which are good fats, the same fats to be found in olive oil. Half of an average avocado contains 161 calories, less than a small slice of Cheddar cheese.

The avocado originated in Mexico and Central America, where it's always been part of the staple diet and is the essential ingredient of the Mexican dip Guacamole. The word avocado comes from the fruit's Aztec name "ahuacatl", which is a shortened version of testicle tree, partly attributed to the shape of the fruit and partly to its reputation as an aphrodisiac. The Spanish explorers in the 16th century brought it back to Europe, where nevertheless it remained a rarity for 300 years. Now it's mainly imported from South Africa.

The simplest way to enjoy an avocado is with a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Avocados are growing in popularity: there are now apparently 2.6 million more avocado eaters in the UK than two years ago. Of those new recruits, 1.6 million are men. Is it perhaps because of the avocado's alleged aphrodisiacal properties?

A curiosity
While in South Africa avocados are mashed with lemon juice and used as a spread instead of butter, in Brazil they serve Crema de Abacate: avocado sieved with lime juice and sugar. But we want to try something less exotic than that, a couple of Mediterranean recipes with avocados, plus an avocado dressing. Here they are. Read on.

 

Where to find the ingredients for the recipes

IN USA

Kalyx

It is a USA-based huge online health food store, but it can ship internationally, which can be worth if you're looking for some food not easily found. Bulk foods are offered at discount rates.

 

IN UK

Tesco online

You can find anything with its search box. You have to register first, but it's free and it'll take only a few seconds.

 

Avocado and Red Onion BruschettaAvocado and Red Onion Bruschetta

Ingredients for 2:

This Mediterranean toasted bread makes a simple Summer snack; cut it into fingers to serve with drinks before dinner. Halve the avocado, remove the stone and skin. Coarsely chop the flesh and place in a bowl with the onion, tomatoes, capers, garlic and olive oil. Mix well and season to taste. Toast the bread on both sides. While still hot, divide the topping between the slices and serve immediately.

 

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Green Herb and Avocado RisottoGreen Herb and Avocado Risotto

Ingredients for 4:

To finish:

This risotto makes an ideal main course. Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan, add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, until softened but not browned. Add the rice and stir until each grain is coated in oil. Add a ladleful of hot stock and the wine, and simmer until the liquid has been absorbed into the rice, stirring constantly. Continue adding the stock a few ladlefuls at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each amount to be absorbed before adding the next. This should take about 20-30 minutes, by which time the rice will be creamy and tender but still have a slight bite ("al dente"). Halve the avocados and remove the stones. Cut the flesh into dice. Stir the herbs, butter or margarine, avocado and soy Parmesan and plenty of seasoning into the rice and serve immediately.

 

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Salad with avocado dressingAvocado Dressing

Ingredients:

Mix together in a blender and serve. It's delicious on a freshly prepared, tossed green salad. The sea green spirulina ensures that this is not only a tasty recipe, but also a superhealthy recipe.

 

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How to eat avocado

How to stone avocados

  1. Cut in half lengthways through the skin down to the stone and all the way around. Hold the avocado in both hands and twist the two halves in opposite directions. Then gently pull the two halves apart.
  2. Take the half with the stone in the centre. Ease out with a spoon, then lift up the stone nad discard it. Once the stone is removed, the flesh will begin to discolour quite quickly; to avoid this, brush the flesh with lemon, orange or lime juice if you don't plan to eat it immediately.

How to peel avocados

Strip the skin away beginning at the narrow end.

 

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