October 5, 2013

Seasonal regional: Avocados

For eight months of the year I have the pleasure of seeing boxes of Barham Avocados delivered direct to my door. Katrina, Tim and the team grow a number of exciting varieties, and it's a real treat to imbibe in such a broad array of flavours as the availability of each changes throughout the fruiting season. At present I'm enjoying the ever-popular Hass, and after last spring's infatuation with a certain kale market salad, I thought I should broaden my horizons by trying a few less-conventional, avo-centric recipes.

To start, an avocado and lime bread (in my opinion a cake, not bread, but I'll save that grievance for somewhere like Crank), which was an interesting variation on the typical banana variety. Much like its predecessor the avocado serves to produce a generously moist crumb in a loaf that is both luscious and comfortingly dense. I'd added pecans for texture but there was also a nice grainy flavour from the whole wheat, and despite paring back on the sugar there was still more than enough to give an overall feeling of chewy caramel. The heavy use of lime zest produced a really intriguing flavour and a feeling of spice despite there being none added, and all in all it was surprisingly good.

For mains, this ideal lunch salad was exactly that, being a glorious combination of creamy avocado and crunchy seeds, and the freshness of crisp celery with the occasional salty olive burst. I tend to eat a lot of green and so for me this salad was already pushing all the right buttons, but the real stand out was the white miso dressing, which brought the whole thing to life with its unique, funky tang.

And to tie it all up with a little something sweet, this green cheesecake (again, note to Crank...) with it sumptuous vanilla-flecked avocado atop a lovely almond, coconut and date crust. Quick to prepare (and also raw vegan, should that be of any consequence to you) the textures were great, and it was a nice variation that was neither too sweet nor too rich.

Most enjoyable with reasonably thick crust the vividness of the colours was truly impressive, and while this time I used cocoa butter for a slight variation in flavour I expect it will be superb paired with some fresh summer fruits. Bring on the sunshine!

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