A is for Avocado

Updated: Aug 2, 2018

If like me, you love avocados, let’s talk about these delicious fruits! Yes, that is right, they are a fruit. One which is loaded with nutrient-rich loveliness.


Not only are they laden with essential fats (including monounsaturated fat - MUFA) they are high in fibre and have many essential micronutrients and bioactive phytochemicals (3).


They are incredibly versatile and delicious! But, avocado is not just an avocado, there is indeed more than 400 varieties (2)! Unbelievable!


Perhaps one of the most interesting facts I have come across is the origin of the Avocado. It has been widely documented that the Aztec’s named this green delight ahuacatl, which means testicle because it hangs weightily from its tree as a pair and is said to have aphrodisiac properties (4).


I cannot back up one of those claims, but I have seen them growing from trees. Although I can’t say that the association with male genitalia jumped out at me, the origin makes for a wonderful dinner party conversation piece when guests are tucking into your guacamole.

Avocadoes are expensive. Yes, they are, and they are so on trend. Apparently there are restaurants that serve avocado burgers, with the avocado as the bun?! Now, I don’t know about you, but that reminds me of Shakespeare’s well-known adage “too much of a good thing”. I can’t imagine sinking my teeth into an avocado burger, and I really don’t think it would be all that good for me either. All is good when in balance I guess. That is certainly what I am aiming for.


It was quite unbelievable to learn that Britons are expected to spend up to £180 million on avocados this year (1). That is phenomenal. A food that must travel from far and wide, being in such great demand. Having completed the New Nordic Diet - from Gastronomy to Health course with the University of Copenhagen, I learnt that the research gears us towards sourcing foods that are seasonal and regional. In other words, base your diet on food that grows local to your immediate environment and which is in season. This reduces carbon emissions caused by production and transportation, also there is the impact on farmers to consider.


On a more positive note, making these choices gives us the opportunity to celebrate the foods that grow locally and make our culinary mark in the world. In short, the benefits of adopting a local food culture that promotes tasty, healthy and sustainable foods is likely to be healthy, fun and rewarding. I took to my garden and pondered on this for a moment. While the idea of knocking up a cooking apple potato rosti didn’t tantalise my taste buds. The only thing I try and practice when I make food is that I make it when I am in a good mood and with love. I am sure people can taste it. I also eat mindfully. So, when I do go and have my avocado on toast, I make sure I just savour and enjoy it, every mouthful. It has taken a great effort to get to me and satisfy my tummy, I am grateful for that.


As part of my ‘Can’t Cook, Can Try’ practice. I came up with a delicious pesto recipe which really can be made from local produce (apart from the nuts). Here I share two of my favourite recipes, one which can replace avocado on toast, and one which is avocado on toast. Take your pick!


Please let me know how it goes, and if you have any other suggestions or comments, please do share!

Till next time…happy eating!


This Kale pesto is the nuts!

What you need…

- 35g nuts

- 60g chopped kale, (remove stalks)

- ¼ tsp sea salt

- 1½ tbsp nutritional yeast flakes (I use engevita savoury flakes)

- 100ml cold pressed rapeseed oil

What to do…

- Toast the nuts in a dry frying pan until golden. Put them aside to cool off.

- Chop the kale.

- Add the cool nuts to the food processor and blitz them until they are finely ground.

- Add the kale, salt and yeast flakes and pulse to blend everything.

- Unhurriedly pour in the rapeseed oil, whilst pulsing all the ingredients together.

- Spread the pesto thinly, or thickly on a piece of toasted sourdough, a bagel, use it as a pitta dip or use it as a pasta sauce. So many options, so many meals!

- The best bit – eat it!

Enjoy!


Avocado on toast

What you need…

- ½ medium avocado per portion

- Sourdough bread (chunky wedge)

- Sea salt (sprinkle)

- Black Peppercorns (sprinkle)

- Chilli flakes (sprinkle)

- Drizzling of cold pressed rapeseed oil

What to do…

- Slice and lay your avocado to rest on a lightly toasted wedge of sourdough

- Add a teeny sprinkling of sea salt, black peppercorns (and crushed chilli flakes if you like the cha cha boom)

- Finish with a drizzling of cold pressed rapeseed oil

- Mission complete. Breakfast, brunch or dinner is served – however you like it! 


Sources


(1) Flanagan, J. (2018). Africa bets the farm on hipster avocado. Retrieved from https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/africa-bets-the-farm-on-hipster-avocado-v5bjkpp6k

(2) NPR Choice page. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5563805?storyId=5563805&t=1532360260881

(3) Park, E., Huang, Y., Xiao, D., Edirisinghe, I., & Burton-Freeman, B. M. (2017). The impact of avocado fruit on postprandial markers of cardio-metabolic risk: An acute dose response study. The FASEB Journal, 31(1_supplement), 431-1.

(4) Henderson, V. (2018). The True Cost Of Our Avocado Obsession. Retrieved from https://www.vogue.co.uk/article/the-real-cost-of-avocados-facts

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