My dad works away from home, spending most of his week near Birmingham. Every Thursday he drives back to be the out-numbered male in a house of three women and spends the weekend cooking up a storm.
He is a very good cook – throughout our family life he has taken the reins of providing the meals whether it’s a roast lunch, a morning fry up or a weekend dinner. He will flick through recipe books to his heart’s content selecting a dish that catches his eye and immediately starts planning it, never considering whether the rest of us will actually eat it or not. There have been many occasions when I’ve wandered into the kitchen and he’s concocted a shakshuka, or a curry or soup that ‘used up the veg in the fridge’.
Ever since his birthday present of a slow cooker a couple of years ago he has been as experimental and enthusiastic as a potion-maker over a cauldron, a little bit of whatever’s in the fridge, plus some herbs from the garden, wait a few hours and there’s a vegetable stew to go in the freezer. The slow cooker now has the status of a third child and would probably be his choice item to save if the house burned down.
This weekend was just the same; a soup was rustled up on Friday evening then a vegetable chilli for our lunch on Sunday. I intended to cook but when I saw how eager he was about roasting the sweet potato with various spices and choosing between the collection of tinned beans we had in the cupboard I let him take control, first dissuading him from putting it all in the slow cooker.
Instead, I oversaw the guacamole. Any kind of chilli is delicious so my family never abuse the opportunity to have interesting accompaniments such as sour cream or tortilla chips. This time, though, I was determined. My friend introduced me to this straightforward homemade guacamole only recently and I’m converted, although sadly late in life (all those years of chilli and no guacamole, wasted).
Based on the Jamie Oliver recipe, this is even more basic with merely four ingredients, five if you love heat so add some chopped red chilli. It’s smooth and cooling after a bite of not-especially-hot-vegetable-chilli, with a sharp tang of lime.
2 ripe avocados
1 juicy lime
A bunch of coriander
A splash of extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Cut the avocados in half and remove out the stone. Scoop out the flesh and chop roughly into small chunks. Add to a bowl.
- Slice the lime into quarters and squeeze two segments over the avocado.
- Roughly chop a handful of coriander and add to the bowl with a splash of oil. Season well and mix together.
- Taste the guacamole and add more lime or coriander if necessary. Serve with more chopped coriander on top and some freshly ground black pepper.