Friday, 31 August 2012

Guacamole and Corn Chips

In Swank & Dugan's book The Multiple Sclerosis Diet, there is a section in the recipe part called The Cocktail Hour, with recipes for dips and snacks to enjoy when you have your evening cocktail.  Got to love it!  There is a recipe for guacamole in the book, but this is the guacamole I've been making for the past few years, and I think it's pretty tasty.

1 ripe Hass avocado
half a fresh green chilli finely chopped
1 tablespoon Spanish (red) onion, very finely chopped
1 tablespoon coriander (cilantro) leaves, chopped
juice of 1 lime
pinch sea salt
black papper
Corn tortillas or other flat bread to make corn chips

Prepare your ingredients.

Put half the onion, half the chilli and a pinch of salt into a mortar and pestle and mash to a liquid paste.

Add the avocado - remove the skin, stone and roughly chop the flesh.
Add half the lime juice and roughly mash.  Make it as smooth or chunky as you like.

Add the remaining onion, chilli, and the coriander leaves and stir through.
Now taste the guacamole and add more lime juice until you are happy with the level of tangy-ness.  Adjust any other seasonings.

This recipe is based on the wonderful recipes by Thomasina Miers, in her book Mexican Food Made Simple.  Thomi won Masterchef UK, and has her own Mexican restaurants called Wahaca in London (see here).  I have been lucky enough to meet Thomi twice - once at the Borough Markets in London where she was filming a cooking demonstration for Market Kitchen, and once at her restaurant in Westfield London.  She was really lovely and was happy to have a chat.

Now for the corn chips.  Normally you would eat guacamole with totopos - deep fried corn tortilla chips, but I'm trying to eat healthy so I do mine in the oven.  I haven't found any corn or flour tortillas that don't have the 282 preservative in them.  Funny, there was public outrage over 282 in bread, and all the bakeries removed it, but it's still used in crumpets, muffins, torillas, and flat breads.  The best I have found so far is corn mountain bread wraps.

Brush (or spray) the wraps with a little oil.  I used avocado oil, you can also use EVOO. Then add some seasoning.  I used salt flakes and a squeeze of lime juice.  Cut the wrap into triangles and place on a baking tray.  Cook in a 180C / 350F oven for only 3-4 minutes, until they are lightly browned and crunchy.

These corn chips are very thin and crunchy.   The chips will probably break if you try to scoop up the guacamole so you may have to use a teaspoon or spreader.  If you can find fresh tortillas, they will be thicker. 

So enjoy this tasty guacamole and corn chips for your next 'Cocktail Hour'.

Notes & Variations:  Adjust the seasonings used to suit your taste.  Other seasonings that are popular in guacamole recipes are ground cumin and jalapeno chilli.
Guacamole with tomato & garlic - add a small clove (or part) of garlic with the red onion and chilli when you make the smooth paste and the beginning, then add half a tomato that has been deseeded and diced at the end.
Here are some seasoning suggestions for baking your own corn chips or pita breads - for use with any dip not just guacamole:
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, crushed garlic, and either chives or rosemary
  • lemon juice and black pepper
  • dukkah
  • paprika
  • cumin
  • salt and vinegar - balsamic vinegar is good

Seasonal:  A good outline of the types of avocados grown in Australia and their growing season can be found at Australian Avocados here.

Nutrition: Avocados are a good source of vitamin C, dietary fibre, vitamin K and folate (self nutrition data)

Interesting Facts:  Guacamole comes from the Aztec word for avocado 'guac' and sauce 'mole'.
Did  you know that avocados do not ripen on the tree?  It's actually when they are picked from the tree that triggers the ripening process.  To ripen an avocado store it in a brown paper bag at room temperature for 2-5 days.  Once ripe store it in the fridge for a couple of days.  If you only use half an avocado store the half with the stone still in it in the fridge.  The surface will brown, but you can scrape this away and use the avocado below.
The best way to tell if a Hass avocado is ripe is by the colour of it's skin.  As it ripens, it changes from green, to purple, to a dark black.
Green skin avocados such as Shepard and Reed do not change colour.  To see if they are ripe gently press the stem.  If it's soft, it's ripe.

Happy cocktail hour

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

A Spotty bed Skirt

On the weekend, I finally made a bed skirt for my daughter's bed.  Another project that has been on the 'to do' list for about 2 years.  We recently bought the bird bed linen from Adairs.

A quick visit to Spotlight on Saturday and we had all that we needed to make the bed skirt.  So while I did this

and she did a lot of this 

We ended up with a new bed skirt.  I bought a plain white single bed pleated valance that had splits at the end so it would go around the bed legs.  As the bed is an antique and is a lot taller than a standard ensemble bed, I added the pink spotty fabric to the bottom to lengthen the bed skirt, and covered the join with pink ric rac.

The antique brass bed is from Ireland and was already over 100 years old when my mum and dad bought it for me.  I had it re-sprayed and polished the brass before my daughter started using it.

Everytime I look into her room, I see it and think, Oh that's pretty.  Does anybody else do that when they make something?

So another project done, and one very happy little girl (and mum).

Monday, 27 August 2012

The Barossa - Gourmet Weekend

As you may know, we went to the Barossa Valley Gourmet weekend recently and I wanted to share some photos of our trip.

We started with a glass of Barossa wine at Bibu in Tanunda.

 Then armed with a map of the Barossa, we headed for the wineries.

Rockford would have to be one of my favourites.

Look at this beautiful cottage where they do the wine tasting.

and boy to they have some good wines.

Then it was off to Peter Lehmann.  There is a small creek and beautiful green lawn out the front where they host A Day on The Green.

We did a tour of the historic Seppletsfield Vineyard.  These are barrels of 100 year old port.

Of course we had to see Penfolds, the home of Grange.

and Elderton is just across the road, so why not?

We even did one of the big ones.

We had a degustation delight at Hentley Farm.  Something like 7 dishes with matching wines.

The Barossa is also home to Angus Park, famous for it's dried fruits.

and my husband had some delicious Maggie Beer ice-cream.

The Barossa was truly an amazing experience, and I strongly encourage you to go see and experience it for yourself.  Remember ....

so if you find yourself in the Barossa and want to taste a premium red wine but don't quite have $100 to shell out (who does?), then try the Seize the Day Shiraz or Cabernet  for around $30.  In my humble opinion, it's one of the best Barossa red's I've had.  (If you live in Brisbane, you might be able to get it at the Breakfast Creek Hotel).

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Seppeltsfield Vineyard Cottage - Barossa Valley

We have just returned from the most relaxing and romantic weekend away in the Barossa Valley.  Normally I make all the arrangements and bookings, but this time Mr Stylish did, and boy did he get it right!!!!

We stayed at the delightful historic Seppeltsfield Vineyard Cottage owned by Peter and Sharyn.  The cottage is set amongst the vineyards of their 25 acre property in the heart of the Barossa.

The cottage dates back to the 1850's and was completely derelict before Peter & Sharyn restored it.  There are photo albums in the cottage showing the work they did.

This is the living area with an open fire all set up and ready to go.

I sat on this cosy sofa and read all the gourmet magazines that Sharyn has provided in the cottage. 

A king size antique style bed with beautiful Sheridan bed linen (no tacky floral bedspreads here - my pet hate)

This antique claw foot bath was found half buried in the garden and used as a fishpond.  It now takes pride of place in the bathroom.

Complete with fluffy white towels and bath oils.

The indoor kitchen is a simple armoire that hides a bar fridge and is stocked with local provisions.

The outdoor kitchen was custom made and has everything you could possibly need.

If you are eating al fresco style, this is your view of the vineyards.

Sharyn & Peter provide a complimentary bottle of their Seize the Day rose, which went down way too easily - delicious.

You will have a serious case of wine envy when you see Peter's cellar in the basement of the cottage.  It's wine heaven.

This is a view of the back of the cottage.  In summer, you would definitely want to drag those sun lounges out onto the lawn.

Although we went in August (winter) the garden was still beautiful with plenty of bulbs flowering.

There are 3 alpacas, some geese and chooks on the property along with some rabbits.  Sharyn uses the alpaca wool to knit some beautiful creations, including a lovely cushion cover she showed me.

There is a veggie patch near the back of the cottage with a 'help yourself' sign.

I helped myself to one of these each morning.  Sharyn knew I was dairy free and had especially bought almond milk for me.  My husband got to drink real non-homogenised milk from the local dairy in a glass bottle with the cream on top.

There's an old chaise on the front veranda to soak up the sun.

and when you have dirty dishes, you place them in this meat safe and the 'fairy' (aka Sharyn) cleans them for you.

I could write pages and pages on this beautiful cottage, but I don't want to tell you everything and leave you no surprises.  If you are looking for a romantic weekend away in the Barossa then this is the perfect place to stay.

You can visit the Seppeltsfield Cottage web site here.  If you go there, say hi to Sharyn & Peter for us.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...