Posted by Tania Kindersley.
I am most Monday-ish. I managed to bash out 798 not altogether convincing words of book, and do some reading, but my brain feels as if it is in slow motion. I find myself frowning and squinting. I have a faint hamster sense that I am running very fast on my little wheel, but not actually getting anywhere.
In order to pull myself out of the Monday rut, I decided to make guacamole. I do have this quite odd magical thinking notion that food can affect states of mind. (My father believes this about alcohol: champagne to combat melancholy; brandy for shock, obviously; Guinness for strength.) So something with the zing of lemon and the whack of chilli must do the trick.
I rather hesitate to give you the recipe. You were not born yesterday. You all know how to mash an avocado. One of the things I like least about certain cookery writers is that they treat one like a slightly stupid nine-year-old. There is always the danger of sounding horridly patronising. Yes, dear, use a fork.
On the other hand, since there are so many versions, you might like mine. You may regard it as heresy, in which case I apologise. I discover that, quite without meaning to, I have been mildly controversial. After making the guacamole, I had a quick look on the Google to see if there was any such thing as the definitive version. Turns out there is not. Tomatoes and coriander are optional. Most people use onion, but there is a debate over white vs red. There is a small lobby for the spring onion. (Don't like the sound of that myself.) Garlic seems a matter of taste. But what no one at all mentions is the addition of finely diced red pepper, which is what I have just used. I don't want to be vulgar, but I found it inspired. I threw it in because there was one sitting there, on the side, and for some reason I had had enough tomatoes. I wanted something red. It turned out gloriously, mostly because of the texture: the clean, sharp crunch worked well with the soft mush of the avocado. I just hope that any Mexican readers will not now picket the blog in protest.
Anyway, this is what I did:
Took two fat Haas avocados and smushed them up with a fork. Added: a big pinch of Maldon salt. I don't want to sound like a ghastly food snob, but I think Maldon is vital here. Rock salt is too rocky; table salt is too bitter and bitty. For flavour and flake, Maldon is the only one. Also, you need slightly more salt than you might imagine. I'm not sure why. I think possibly because avocados are quite bland, and also because you are about to use lemon juice, which counteracts saltiness.
So, then I added the juice of a whole lemon. This is a matter of taste. I like a lot of citrus. You may not. Perhaps start out with half a lemon and then see how you go. Oh, and I know it should really be lime, which is definitely better, but this is the North East of Scotland, and I had no limes. Lemon is perfectly fine as a substitute.
I very finely diced a red pepper, and threw that in. I took one small clove of garlic, and chopped it up as delicately as I could, and added that. I had no coriander, so I put in a little chopped basil. A dash of olive oil, a pinch of dried chilli, and the thing was done. For best results, I would recommend fresh chilli, very, very thinly sliced, but I had none, so had to make do and mend. Again, the amount of chilli is up to you. I like things spicy, so I put in quite a lot.
And there you are. Something to wake you up on a slow Monday afternoon.
Pictures today appear to be mostly of daffodils. They have suddenly appeared in the last two or three days, and they shout The Coming of Spring like nothing else:
I wish I could say that the dogs just went and lay down amongst the daffs, like Ferdinand the Bull, but in fact I made them pose there, which is why they have rather resigned looks on their faces. If they could think, which of course they cannot because they are dogs, they would be thinking something like - let's just humour the old girl:
Sometimes, I just like taking pictures of kitchen implements:
I do think that old-fashioned type of lemon squeezer is one of the most perfect pieces of design ever made. It is almost radically simple, utterly useful and completely beautiful. It always works, it takes up very little space, it is pleasingly sturdy. It costs two pounds. Every time I use it, it gives me pleasure.
Here was the guacamole, after all that. It never looks terribly beautiful, being an unapologetic green mush, but oh, oh, the taste: