Avocado Hummus

Late last year, when the avocado mafia were bombarding me with emails about how to use avocados in all manner of things instead of eating them as nature intended (on Vogels toast, with lots of lemon juice, salt and pepper), I went on strike and hardly ate any. But a couple of weeks ago I found some that were perfectly ripe, with firm, buttery flesh and had a bit of a binge. Well, I ate two in two days. Is that a binge? This is what I did with the third one.

Easy Avocado Hummus Recipe And Image By Lucy Corry/The Kitchenmaid

Avocado Hummus

This is hardly a recipe – more what I would tell you to do if you rang me up and said, “what shall I do with this avocado?”. It was a complete spur of the moment experiment that turned out exceptionally well. Don’t you love it when that happens? The hummus has a faintly green tinge and the lemon juice seems to stop it from going brown if you don’t eat it all in one go.

1 clove garlic, smashed

good pinch of sea salt

zest and juice of 2 lemons

1 tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 ripe avocado, halved, stoned and peeled

2 spring onions, white part only, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, smashed

good pinch of sea salt

zest and juice of 2 lemons

a slosh of good olive oil

a spoonful or two of tahini (optional)

Put the garlic, salt and lemon zest and juice into a food processor. Whizz briefly. Add all other ingredients and blitz until a smooth puree forms. You may need to add a little more lemon juice or olive oil to taste, but you don’t need much olive oil thanks to the avocado. Scrape into a bowl and serve. Store in the fridge for up to three days.

On another note, my friends at Crumbs have declared 2012 to be the year of the vegetable (take that, London Olympics!). They’re harnessing the power of the interweb to collate a whole lot of vege-friendly recipes, so do nip over if you’re in need of inspiration or have something to share.

Random Recipe #10: Moro Soup

A note to Antipodean readers before we begin: I’m sorry if you were enticed here by the ‘Moro Soup’ heading. This is not a post about turning the iconic chocolate bar, apparently beloved by triathletes (if you believe the ad campaigns), into a soup. Stop reading now before you get disappointed.

For everyone else, the real title should be ‘Hassan’s celery and white bean soup with tomato and caraway’. It’s from Moro East, the lovely book by Sam and Sam Clark of Moro restaurant fame about their East End allotment, with recipes from fellow allotment holders interspersed with their own creations. It’s particularly poignant now as the allotment has been bulldozed in the name of the 2012 London Olympics. Perhaps athletes do exist on chocolate bars after all.

Hassan’s celery and white bean soup with tomato and caraway
The book was my choice for Random Recipes #10, brought to you by Belleau Kitchen AND Jac of Tinned Tomatoes, who hosts a monthly soup challenge called No Croutons Required. Not only does this deliciously rustic soup fit the NCR vegetarian criteria, but it just happened to use the huge bunch of celery and masses of spring onions in my fridge. I took a few shortcuts along the way – I used two tins of cannellini beans rather than soaking and cooking my own, plus I used a tin of tomatoes rather than “500g of flavoursome fresh tomatoes”, as the latter are pretty thin on the ground here at present.
However I faithfully followed the recipe for DIY celery salt, which is completely addictive. Even if you’re not in the mood for soup, you’ve got to try this.

250g dried cannellini beans, soaked in cold water overnight, then drained and cooked in fresh water for about an hour, or until tender (or two tins of beans, drained and rinsed)
10 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large head of celery, trimmed of roots but including leaves, sliced into 2cm chunks
8 spring onions, roots trimed but including green tops, sliced into 1cm chunks
4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1tsp caraway seeds
500g fresh tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded, roughly chopped (or 1 440g tin)
1tsp celery salt (recipe follows)

To serve:
extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon
a small bunch of rocket
black olives
Turkish bread
Celery salt

Heat six tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saucepan and add the celery. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often, then add the spring onions, garlic, caraway and a pinch of salt. Cook for another 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and beginning to caramelise. Add the tomatoes and celery salt and cook for a further five minutes.
Add the beans and either 250ml of their cooking liquid or water, plus the remaining four tablespoons of olive oil. Bring to a simmer, season to taste with salt and pepper, and cook for another five minutes. Check the seasoning and serve with a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of celery salt. Rocket, spring onions, black olives and Turkish bread are suggested accompaniments. Makes enough for four.

DIY Celery Salt
Take a handful of green celery leaves and put them on a baking tray. Dry them in a low-medium oven until completely dry but not scorched (takes about 10 minutes). Crumble to a powder with your fingers, then mix with equal parts of flaky (eg Marlborough or Maldon) salt.

Clean and soba

One of the things that most exercises my brain is the constant struggle to think of things to take to work for lunch. It’s more than a little embarrassing sometimes to sit at a desk piled with cookbooks and food-related press releases eating banana on toast (though I do point out the toast is homemade to anyone who asks). Yesterday though, while digging about in the pantry for some teabags, I had a lunch epiphany that merits sharing.

Miso Soba Salad
This is fast, easy, cheap, good for you and very portable. Think of the noodles as a base to which you can add lightly cooked broccoli or green beans, or grilled chicken, or strips of omelette – or all of those things. I’ve just discovered karengo fronds and am addicted to their salty, seaweedy goodness. If you can’t find them, try snipping up a sheet of nori (the green stuff that sushi gets rolled up in) instead.

180g (two skeins) soba noodles
3 spring onions, finely chopped
2Tbsp sesame seeds
2Tbsp karengo fronds or a strip of nori, cut into little shreds

1Tbsp miso
2Tbsp hot water
juice of half a lemon (about 2 1/2 Tbsp)
1Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2cm piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Cook the noodles in boiling water for four minutes. Drain immediately and rinse in cold water. Tip them into a bowl and toss through a teaspoon of oil to stop them sticking together. Toss through the spring onions.
Toast the sesame seeds and nori or karengo for a few minutes in a dry pan. Be careful, as the seeds will burn the minute you turn your back. Set aside.
For the dressing, put the miso and hot water in a small jar with a lid. Shake well until the miso dissolves. Add the remaining dressing ingredients and shake again until mixed. Pour this over the noodles and stir well. Sprinkle the toasted seeds and seaweed over the top. Serves two.

What do you take to work for lunch?