“This is the first time I’ve known what time it was…” Bree was ignoring both Mrs. Bug’s raptures and the [astrolobe] in her hands. I saw her meet Roger’s eyes, and smile – and after a moment, his own lopsided smile in return. How long had it been for him?
Everyone was squinting up at the setting sun, waving clouds of gnats from their eyes and discussing when they had last known the time. How very odd, I thought, with some amusement. Why this preoccupation with measuring time? And yet, I had it, too.
I laid my hand on [Jamie’s], where it rested on the box [of the astrolobe]. His skin was warm with work and the heat of the day, and he smelt of clean sweat. The hairs on his forearm shone red and gold in the sun, and I understood very well just then, why it is that men measure time.
They wish to fix a moment, in the vain hope that so doing will keep it from departing.” ~ From The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon
We have a love for avocados, as I’m sure most of you do too. They are just delicious almost any way and any time. I particularly love making ice cream with avocados, as it creates a very rich and smooth cream, almost like eating the dairy version.
I thought of making my Avocado-Lime Ice Cream, since my father absolutely adores this recipe. But I was feeling lazy and didn’t want to grate all the limes and lemons for that, so I opted for something different this time and gave mint and chocolate a try in this super easy to make ice cream.
OMG! This is really delicious, rich and smooth! I had to use regular chocolate chips, as my parents didn’t have any Paleo options in stock. Next time I make this, I’ll drizzle homemade chocolate overtop, as I did with the Cardamom-Infused Strawberry Ice Cream.
Also, as my parents do not have an ice cream machine, we made it directly in the freezer. They also make the other ice cream recipes the same way. So don’t fret if you don’t have a maker… simply put the blended mix in sealable freezer container and freeze for at least 4 hours and voila!
Avocado Mint Chocolate Ice Cream (Dairy Free)
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: The Saffron Girl
2 medium, ripe Hass avocados
1/2 cup raw honey
1/2 cup coconut/almond milk
2 teaspoons mint extract
1/2 cup Paleo chocolate chips or chocolate chunks
In a food processor, blend all of the ingredients except the chocolate pieces, until smooth.
Add the chocolate pieces and pulse a few times to cut the chocolate up, if desired.
Pour into the ice cream machine and follow the manufacturer’s instructions or place in a sealable freezer container and freeze at least for 4 hours, stirring every hour or so.
During our travels this summer, we spent some time in The Netherlands; and one evening, we ate at a lovely restaurant in Lisse, near the beach. If you’ve ever eaten out in The Netherlands, you know that evening is prime time and usually quite expensive. On the up side, the food is generally fresh and delicious.
And as usually happens with me, since I want to try everything that sounds intriguing or new, my eyes are bigger than my stomach… I ended up ordering an avocado appetiser and a full entree. Fortunately, the fish entree was normal Dutch portions, or else I would’ve had to leave it there or exploded. 😉
The appetiser was an avocado stuffed with shrimp and other ingredients, which I cannot recall. What I do know is that it was rather creamy. In Spain, a halved avocado stuffed with shrimp and/or ensaladilla is tapa that is very typical in Granada, where bars give you a free tapa with a paid drink. I can’t recall the last time I had a stuffed avocado, so the appetiser in Lisse tasted sublimely divine!
In recreating this, I thought I would first steam the shrimp and use mayonnaise, to achieve the creaminess…but after messing up a batch of mayonnaise*, I changed my mind.
(*Mayonnaise is not that difficult to make. But my blender broke a couple of months ago, and instead of replacing it, we purchased a food processor that has a blender as well. However, this blender doesn’t work for making mayonnaise. I’ll have to resort to my mini-pimer -immersion blender- from now on. But today, I was too lazy to keep trying.)
Back to the avocado: Sometimes it’s actually good that things don’t work out. If they had, I wouldn’t have enjoyed this delicious combination.
How I came up with the idea? Simple. I love garlic shrimp, and that mixed with the natural creaminess of avocado is, for me, just a perfect match.
You can use this recipe as an appetiser for 2 persons or a meal for one. I had the whole avocado as lunch… talk about ingesting a lot of good, healthy fats! 😉
Stuffed Avocado with Garlic Shrimp
Author: The Saffron Girl
Serves 1 as a meal, or 2 as an appetiser
1 whole medium avocado
about 2 cups medium to large shrimp, raw or uncooked frozen (defrost prior to cooking)
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
coarse sea salt, to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
chili powder, optional
Half the avocado and take the pit out.
Scrap out most of the meat, leaving a very thin layer to hold up the shell better. Set aside.
Chop up the meat into squares and place in a bowl. With your hands, squish the squares a little bit, to crush some but so that most keep their shape. Set aside.
In a pan, place about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the minced garlic and the shrimp.
Add a dash of coarse sea salt, and over low heat, cook just until the shrimp turn pink. Do not overcook, or they’ll be dry and hard.
Pour the shrimp with garlic and olive oil into the bowl with the avocado pieces.
Add some chopped parsley or cilantro and mix well. (If you want to incorporate some chili powder for extra flavour, do so now before mixing.)
Spoon the mixture into the avocado shells, sprinkle with some freshly ground pepper, and garnish with additional parsley/cilantro if desired.
(I added a leftover, hardboiled quail egg as garnish, but it’s not essential to the recipe, of course.)
I am totally not a planner when it comes to food. In fact, I was explaining this to a friend the other day, how most days I determine what we are having for dinner by whatever I take out of the freezer in the morning. On occasion I do plan the evening before and sometimes I dream about a breakfast combination… but in general, I tend to surprise even myself, which for me makes eating and cooking so much more fun. 😉
And many times, our meals are based around what we have available or something that I must use up, as is the case with this recipe and the pineapple that would soon have gone bad and to waste. I hate wasting food for many reasons, but I won’t go into that now.
Here’s the combination for this dish: pork belly stripes made in the oven with a dry rub (get the recipe for the spice mix here), a pineapple-avocado-tomato salsa, an avocado mayo (recipe included below), and Paleo soft tortilla shells (get the recipe here)*. The tortilla shells can be made days in advance and frozen. I usually take them out of the freezer just a few minutes before heating them. They are easily warmed up in a hot pan with no oil or grease necessary, just a few seconds on each side.
*For the tortilla shells this time, I halved the recipe, omitting the flaxmeal and cumin, since I knew the pork was going to be spicy enough. Plus, I doubled the amount of coconut milk in the recipe to make them slightly thinner.
Pork Belly Tacos with Pineapple-Avocado Salsa & Avocado Mayo
Recipe Type: Main
Author: The Saffron Girl
For the pork belly stripes:
1 kg pork belly strips
2-4 tablespoons of Cinnamon-Chili Rub*
sea salt, to taste
1 tablespoon (or a bit more) of lard, cut into think slices
For the pineapple-avocado-tomato salsa:
1 fresh pineapple, cut into slices and then diced
1-2 ripe avocados (depending on size), diced
2 tomatoes, diced
juice of 1/2 lime
For the avocado mayo:
1 medium avocado
juice of one lime
coarse sea salt, to taste (I used about 1/2 teaspoon)
1/2 cup olive oil
For the set up:
fresh onions, for garnishing
Paleo Tortilla Shells*
For the pork belly stripes:
Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
Rinse and place the pork belly stripes in an oven proof dish.
Sprinkle with the cinnamon-chili rub on both sides.
Sprinkle with some coarse sea salt, to taste, and place the slices of lard on top.
Bake for about 30-40 minutes on each side or until done, depending on the amount of meat on them. (I turn mine over about every 20 minutes.)
Cut each strip into small pieces to use in your tacos.
For the pineapple-avocado salsa:
Mix the pineapple, avocado, and tomato and drizzle with the lime juice.
For the avocado mayo:
Pulse in a blender or immersion blender the avocado, lime juice and sea salt.
Add the olive oil slowly and blend until all is smooth.
For setting up each taco:
Place some pork belly pieces on each shell (amount is up to you).
Cover with some of the salsa, the avocado mayo, and fresh onions.
A few years ago, when I lived in New York City, I used to go often to the Rosa Mexicano for real, authentic and delicious Mexican fare. I have a lot of Mexican friends and even they loved to frequent this restaurant, so that tells you something… One of the evenings, we ordered guacamole and they made it in front of us and served it exactly as I had had it in Mexico, inside a molcajete. True guacamole is not the creamy paste you find in some restaurants or even in the supermarket. Instead it’s chunky and beautiful to look at.
The recipe below is from the Rosa Mexicano, but I use two avocados instead of the one it calls for. Make sure the avocados are ripe, as the dish will not be as tasty if they are green and not ready to be eaten.
2 ripe avocados
1 medium onion, very finely chopped (original calls for 3 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon chopped jalapeno chiles
1 1/2 teaspoon chopped cilantro
1 medium tomato, finely chopped (discarding juice and seeds; original calls for 2 tablespoons)
In a bowl, molcajete, or mortar, using the back of a spoon, thoroughly mash the following ingredients into a juicy paste (using salt as a grinder):
1 tablespoon chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon chopped jalapeno chiles
1/2 teaspoon chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Holding one of the avocados in the cup of the hand, split the avocado in half lengthwise and remove the seed. Slice the avocado lengthwise in approximately 1/8 inch strips, then across forming a grid. Scoop the avocado out of the skin with a spoon. Repeat with the other avocado.
Add the avocados to the paste and thoroughly mix together, then add the rest of the ingredients and fold. Add jalapeno chiles and more sea salt to taste.
Serve with tortilla chips and some slices of lime.
I know I’m a little weird making ice cream when it’s quite chilly outside. In fact, the cricket field next to our house this morning was all white, covered in frost. But I had a couple of avocados and some bananas about to go bad, and since ice cream is so easy to make, I figured why not.
In a previous ice cream recipe, I used avocados and they make the creamiest non-dairy ice cream I’ve had so far. I really like the texture they create and how little the flavour is really noticeable, especially when mixed with other fruit.
BANANA CHOCOLATE AVOCADO ICE CREAM
2 ripe avocados
2 ripe bananas
2 cups of coconut milk
3/4 cup raw honey
1 teaspoon rose-water (optional)
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
Place all ingredients in the blender and pulse until you have a smooth mixture. Put into your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions, or pour into a sealable freezer-proof container and freeze for at least 4 hours, stirring every hour or so to avoid the ice crystals from forming.
Today’s recipe is a by-product of my ceviche. I had so many gorgeous limes that I didn’t want the zest to go to waste and grated them before using their juice for the ceviche. I had planned on making some guacamole (I promise to post this recipe soon, as it’s an authentic recipe from the New York restaurant, La Rosa Mexicana, and it’s delicious!), but instead thought that ice cream would last longer. We are headed for a few trips in the coming weeks and I don’t want any food to go to waste.
I have to admit, I couldn’t stop dipping my spoon into the mixture; and after it was done, I indulged in a bowl of ice cream!
(And I’ll post the ceviche recipe tomorrow, after we enjoy it tonight!)
AVOCADO LIME ICE CREAM (DAIRY FREE)
2 medium ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
200g coconut meat (I use Blue Dragon Creamed Coconut)
2 cups filtered water
juice of one lime (you may want to add more, if you prefer)
zest of 5 limes and 1 lemon
3/4 cup raw honey (use more or less depending on how much sweetness you want)
Blend all ingredients in a blender. Transfer to your ice cream machine and follow manufacturer’s instructions. (If you do not have an ice cream machine, you can also transfer the puree into a sealable freezer container and freeze for at least 4 hours, stirring every hour or so to ensure the ice cream does not crystalise.)
Serve with ground pistachios pieces on top, if so desired.