|You didn't know that "Camelot" was just around the corner and along the road a bit from where I live!|
|Aerial view of Tamborine Mountain Rainforest|
Smashed avocados have been smashing it, whether in cafés, or in our own home kitchens. We’ve all been having a smashing time; a harmless smashing time. However, the avocados might think differently. The current craze of smashing of smashing avos is nothing new, though. The way the “café society set” make out, you’d swear, however, it was a new thing...the latest and greatest...the fashionable way to enjoy avocado.
If you don’t smash avos and whack them onto a thick slice of bread, sourdough or otherwise, you ain’t in the loop, my friends! You’ve not gotten with the programme!
Avocados really started to become the rage here in Queensland back in the late Seventies-early Eighties. Everyone who owned a property up in the Sunshine Coast hinterland in those years was planting trees by the dozens. Similar occurred here, in the Gold Coast hinterland, from all appearances.
Up here on this plateau, which is classed as part of the “Gold Coast Hinterland”, there is hardly a property that doesn’t have avocado trees growing on it. This property, upon which my humble cabin sits quietly, has at least 12 fruit-bearing avocado trees with their roots firmly rooted in the deep, rich, red, volcanic soil...all are proficiently prolific in their generosity.
The Yuppies of yesterday, or rather, yesteryear (the term was coined in 1977 - it means "young urban professional" or "young, upwardly-mobile professional”), beat the Yuppies of today by a country mile. They smashed it! And the Yuppies smashed avos, too.
I’ve no idea what the term for Yuppie is in 2018.
The Yups, along with the rest of us yobbos who didn’t slip into “in-the groove” category got into the swing of smashing avos long before The Smashing Pumpkins were smashing the music charts.
Having a ready supply of avocados on hand lately I’ve been smashing avos with gusto – (“Gusto” isn’t my roomie, by the way) - making bowls of guacamole, and eating them...the avos, not the bowls.
I love soup...any time of the year, but now with the weather turning a little cooler I’m switching from bowls of guacamole, or avocado-filled bowls of salads to bowls or mugs of soup.
I’ve been making pots filled with soup of various descriptions – not all at once, in the same pot, of course.
Meal-size portions also fill my freezer for future enjoyable ingestion.
When pondering the pile of avocados before me, I had brainwave...an epiphany.
Soup! I love it by the bowlful or in a large mug...spring, summer, autumn and winter - and, I love avocados.
Mix the two together....what do you get?
Abracadabra! Bliss in bowl - magic in a mug, that’s what!
Pumpkin soup was all the rage back in the Eighties, too. If you were serving soup as an entree at your regular Saturday night dinner parties you were behind the times; not “in vogue” if it wasn’t pumpkin soup.
When my ex and I managed a restaurant at Noosaville back in the early Eighties, our delicious, thick seafood chowder was an integral part of the restaurant’s menu – as were lightly-baked seafood-filled avocados.
Lately...over the past few months...I’ve had a constant craving, not for k.d. lang, although I do love her singing...but for chicken and corn chowder.
I’ve succumbed to my craving, many times, and have made a few pots of the delicious soup. I intend to make more later on this week. I’ve also been making pots of asparagus soup...using fresh asparagus. “Yum” describes it very well.
In the Seventies French Onion Soup was on everyone’s lips. It was the soup, not just of the day, but of the Seventies.
A basic rich stock made from a huge pile of beef bones and a potpourri of vegetables and herbs would’ve been simmering away on the stove for hours before the making of the recipe. There’s nothing quite like – nothing quite beats - a home-made stock, whether it be beef, chicken, fish or vegetable.
In the mid-70s, as well as my full-time Monday to Friday day job, for a couple of years, I worked a few nights a week at “Scaramouche”, a French-style inner-city Brisbane restaurant. Previously, I’ve written about my time at “Scaramouche”.
French Onion Soup was the most popular soup on the menu, a menu that introduced many French recipes to Brisbane...all of which were eagerly gobbled up by the diners, a lot of which, later, I’m sure, tried them out at home where the delicious recipes became part of the regular fare.
With avos in plentiful supply here right now, instead of smashing and spreading on sourdough, avo go at avo soup. Serve in a mug or a bowl...your choice.
You’ll smash it out of the park!
Avocado-Kumara Soup: Heat 4c chicken or vegetable broth, 450g diced kumara, 1 small onion, diced, 2tsp honey, 1/4tsp cumin, 1/4tsp salt and 1/8tsp chipotle powder, (or to taste). Cook until kumara is cooked; cool 10mins. Slice 1 avocado into the cooled mix; puree until smooth; reheat before serving; pour soup into bowls; add more avo slices on top.
Avocado-Tomato Soup: Heat 1tbs olive oil in pot over med-heat; add 1 chopped onion; cook 5mins; add 2 minced garlic cloves; cook 1min. Stir in 1 can diced tomatoes, 1tbs tom paste, 1-1/2c tomato juice, 2tsp sugar, 1/2tsp pepper and 1/2tsp dried thyme; add broth; increase heat to med-high; bring to boil; reduce heat; simmer 5mins; cool 5-10mins. Cut 1-1/2 avocados into cubes; add to cooled mixture. Puree until smooth; reheat before serving. Serve soup in mugs or bowls, with diced avocado placed on top.
Avocado-Chicken Soup: In a large saucepan, heat 2tbs x-virgin olive oil over med-high heat. Stir in 1finely chopped onion and 6 thinly sliced garlic cloves; lower the heat to medium; cook until onion begins to brown, about 7mins. Increase heat to high, push vegetables to the side of the pan, add 6 boneless chicken thighs, cut into ½-inch pieces chicken; cook, stirring, until golden, about 5 mins. Stir in 2 canned chipotle chillies and 2tbs adobo sauce; then stir in 6c chicken broth. Lower heat; simmer for 15 mins, skimming any foam. Stir in 1/2c chopped coriander and juice of 2 limes; season with salt and pepper. Place 2 avocado slices in each of 6 soup bowls and pour in the soup. Top with the tortilla chips.
French Onion Soup: Heat 4tbs butter and 2tbs olive oil in a large pot; add 6c sliced brown onions; cook over high heat for 15 mins; stir occasionally. Add 4 minced garlic cloves and 1tsp sugar. Reduce heat to medium; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden brown (don’t burn), 40mins; add 1/3c Cognac, warm it; then flame with a match/lighter. When flames subside, add 1tbs Dijon mustard and 1/2tsp thyme. Add 2tbs plain flour; cook; stir often, 3mins. Gradually stir in 3lt quality beef stock and 1-1/2c dry white wine; season to taste. Simmer uncovered over med-heat, 1hr. Preheat oven 175C. Using 8 thick slices of French bread - spread 1 side of each with garlic butter and olive oil; place prepared side up on baking sheet; toast only that side until golden, 12-15mins. Combine in bowl, 240g each, shredded Gruyere, smoked mozzarella and Parmesan. Ladle hot soup into ramekins; float toasted bread in centre of each bowl; top lavishly with cheeses; place under heated grill until cheese is melted and bubbling; serve immediately.