Tuesday, May 29, 2018

DON’T BE A MUG....AVO GO! IT’S SMASHING GREAT!


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.

33 comments:

  1. I am very fond of avo - but not in soup. For some reason I much prefer it cold.
    Love soup though. And will be making a small bathtub of minestrone over the next week or so. A bathtup full to enjoy now and to parcel up for later meals.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hello there, EC. Avocado and heat is a very tricky combination...a very tricky partnership.

      You have to be very careful when putting the two together. Too much heat gives avocados a metallic taste.

      When we made and served the seafood-filled baked avocados in the restaurant....the length of the cooking time was imperative...a short time...not a lengthy time. They were a popular item on the menu...but not if over-cooked...over-heated.

      There is no point, in my opinion, in making a small pot of soup...it always to be a big pot! :) And, as you say....it's always good to have portions in the freezer.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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    2. I have never been endeared to Avocado's the price angers me more than any other particular reason, but I firmly think they have an acquired taste, definitely a silver tail delicacy.
      Apologies for not calling of late, P C Problems.
      Have posted Words on my blog.

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    3. Hi Vest....the price of avos up here on the hill, naturally, is very good. Many properties sell them at their roadside stalls.

      There is nothing "silver-tail" about me....not even close. :)

      No apologies needed. But it is always nice to hear from you. Take good care, and thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  2. Food fads come and go and, thankfully, some like jello salads have gone. I learned to love avocados late in life but now they are included in many of my dishes. I have had a few different avocado toasts and all were yummy.

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    1. Hi Arleen...food fads certainly are as prevalent as those in the world of fashion.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  3. Hi Lee, i’ve tried avocado as part of a vegetarian diet. I tastes quite nice as does everything else. I really enjoyed it. Soup for me is really thick. It has to be. Mostly because of the condition i find myself in.

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    1. Hi Terry....I love thick soups....and when making them my leaning is always to the thick side, not the thin and watery.

      Thanks for coming by...take good care. :)

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  4. I really like avocados. The politician who suggested smashed avocado on toast for $20 was preventing young people from buying a home was a tosser. You can have avocado on toast in nice cafes for much less, or if you are saving for home, even cheaper to make your own in your rental property. Smashed avocado? Surely mashed avocado. Was it Campbells who made French Onion Consomme in a can? It was sublime. I tried to make it once and it was not at all satisfactory. When you were about to eat a large meal, the light and thin onion consomme was perfect.

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    1. Hi Andrew...I've only ever made my own French Onion soup...I've never bought the canned variety.

      "Smashed" is the most common description that was used over the past couple of years, Andrew....I didn't invent it...those in the food industry did so.

      In my little rental property I enjoy, as I wrote, bowls of guacamole with corn chips, or spreading avos on toasted bread, lay sliced tomato on top...then sprinkle with salt, pepper and curry powder. I also enjoy them in salads.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  5. I like your expression of "smashing avos".the avocado is also called "the butter fruit".
    'Avos' are a tasty food item with a lot of health benefits as they aret loaded with vital nutrients.

    I don't cook avocado, but use it in its natural form - spread it on bread, toast, with slices of veggie (raddish, cucumber, tomato) or some olives, to make a sandwich.
    I don't eat 'avos' too often, as it is rich in calories and I have to watch my weight.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hi DUTA....Other than when we ran the restaurant back in the early 80s, I don't cook avocados, either. I included these recipes for interest and to give readers another option in the use of avos.

      As I wrote above in my response to Elephant's Child, you have to be very careful when combining avocados and heat.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  6. Not fond of avocados, don't mind pumpkin soup. Food does come in fashions..

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    1. Yes, Margaret, like most other things food does hit the fashion trail.

      I wasn't fond of avos at first...but they grew on me...not literally, of course! :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  7. Thanks for the maps showing Tamborine Mountain, I like to know roughly where my friends live.
    I still don't like avocados. I gave them a fair try, and they're just not for me. I might eat a piece or two if they're in a salad I'm served, but I'll never just buy them to use at home.

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    1. Hi River....It does help to have an idea of the lay of the land...the area in which people you know live, I agree.

      Avocados are not to everyone's liking....I can understand that. I enjoy them...but, for my taste, they do need a good sprinkling of salt...and as I said my response above to Andrew...I enjoy them spread on toast topped with tomato slices, salt, freshly ground pepper and curry powder sprinkled over the top.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  8. Great post Lee, thanks.

    We just love Avocados and they feature quite a lot in our menu plans.
    To us they taste great and are so nutritious too.

    Happy June Wishes ... where did May go??!!

    All the best Jan

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    Replies
    1. Hey Jan....I was thinking similar last night, actually....not only about where did May go...but where have the previous months of this year disappeared to? The months are flying by. Someone put on the brakes, please!!

      Yes...avocados are so very good for us. I'm eyeing off having a couple for lunch today. I've started my day off right...I've just squeezed a couple of lemons, a grapefruit and an orange...the lemons are off my tree; the grapefruit supplied to me from my neighbours up the road a bit, the oranges from a friendly orchard somewhere via the supermarket!

      Thanks for coming by.:)

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  9. I wish I had that problem with having too many avo. You are a lucky duck on that one. Peace

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    1. G'day Lady Di. We are lucky having a good supply of avos here. Most of the mountain plateau has good, red soil...which is great for growing a lot of produce. There are many roadside stalls dotted around the place.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  10. Avocados used to be pretty rare in English supermarkets but now even the discount supermarkets sell them. Linked with this there has been a worrying rise in the frequency of people cutting their hands very seriously while trying to remove avocado stones. In hospitals the injury is even known as "avocado hand". If you search for that term via Google you'll see plenty of links to articles about "avocado hand".

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    1. Hi Yorkie....People should have learned long before now how to safely remove the seed from an avocado...but, often, haste, impatience gets in the way.

      It is simple enough to remove the seed...if choosing to use a knife...just gently stick the point of the knife into the seed...and remove it that way. Or...an even safer method is to place a dessertspoon between the seed and the fruit's flesh...as close as possible to the seed...and remove it.

      Also many people don't have a clue how to tell if an avo is ripe...rather than squeeze them all over as many people annoyingly do...pick up the avo - index finger and thumb on either end, and feel the fruit gently. If it feels soft at the end....it's ripe or close there to. No hard pressure is needed.

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    2. Thanks for coming by, by the way. :)

      Delete
  11. oh those hanging avocados look so wonderful; I love them in just about anything; sometimes I have one for breakfast; and the other day I had split pea soup for breakfast, now I must look up Kumara since I have no idea what that is, all the soup's look delicious. We once had avocado trees when we lived in southern CA they are beautiful trees. you live in a paradise.

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    1. Hi Linda...Kumara are sweet potatoes...the orange ones; and they are very nutritional.

      Yes...it is close to paradise living up here on the hill. I like living in the smaller, village-like areas, rather than in among the hustle and bustle of cities. :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  12. I love soups. I'm a vegetarian and I blush to admit that French Onion is one of my cheats. I ate it long before I realized it was from beef stock. Though I'm sure if I was making it at home I could sub cheese or veggie stock.
    YOU have a great one Lee.

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    1. Hi Sandra....a quality vegetable stock would substitute satisfactorily (add mushrooms to the vegetables when making the veggie stock; and you could even add some brown or puy lentils to enrich the flavour. Strain the stock, of course, before making the soup).

      But a hearty home-made beef stock is really the best as the base of French Onion. I won't tell anyone! ;)

      I hope you have a grate week, too, Sandra...thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  13. Avocados are lovely but they don't half cost a lot of money here. Even the ones which are bought completely unripe and sold as "ripen at home" are expensive. What is more they will often go bad before ripening at home. So I won't be making any of those particular recipes even though they look delicious, as usual. Tamborine Mountain rainforest looks wonderful from the photos.

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    1. Hi Jenny...Avocados don't ripen on the tree. The way to hasten the ripening when you get them back home is to place them with bananas. The bananas hasten the ripening process.

      As avocados are a tropical fruit, I imagine most, if not all avocados in the UK are imported. There would be very few commercial growers, I imagine.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  14. I rarely buy avocados here in Scotland because it's difficult to get them when they are fit to eat. Having lived in Kiwiland where avos are as plentiful in season as they are where you live I'll never really be happy with ones that have travelled half way around the world to en up on my plate. I use kumera a lot in soups but I've never added an avo and at £1.50 each in my local supermarket I don't think I'll be doing so any time soon given the amount of soup I eat.

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    1. I can understand that, Graham. Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  15. I wish I had that problem with having too many avo. You are a lucky duck on that one.

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