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Cover: Gluten free cooking

Recipes with lime juice

03Jun 12

Guacamole

GuacamoleThe first time I tried guacamole, I remember being intrigued by its green colour and greasy appearance.  After eyeing the bowl surreptitiously for at least half an hour, I finally got up the courage to give it a try.  I remember a smile instantly forming on my face as the first mouthful exploded in a rainbow of flavours and sensations on my unsuspecting tongue.  Spicy and smooth, tart and sweet, I had no idea such an incredible mixture of supposedly contrary tastes was even possible!

Ever since that mystical first time, I’ve been on an unending quest for the perfect guacamole recipe. This  version is definitely an excellent guacamole recipe, and I’ve even had more than a few compliments from my Mexican friends, so I must be on the right track.

One trick I’ve discovered along the way is how to keep the guacamole from turning brown as it tends to do not very long after making it.  The secret is to put the avocado pits into the finished mixture.  There seems to be some debate as to the effectiveness of this method. Some say it’s just an old wives’ tale, but I can attest to the fact that I’ve tried it repeatedly and it always seems to work just fine.  Clingfilm placed firmly against the guacamole works quite well too.

You need:

  • 2 large, ripe avocados
  • Juice from 1 lime (lemon may be substituted)
  • 2 spring onions, very finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, very finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped very fine
  • 1 plum tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, very finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. Mix together all the ingredients, except the avocado, pressing down on them as you mix to release the juices.
  2. Let the mixture marinade in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Add the avocados to the mix, mashing them well with a fork.
  4. Make sure all the ingredients are well mixed.
  5. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes so that the flavours blend together.
  6. Garnish with a bit of chopped coriander and tomato.
  7. Serve with corn chips for dipping.

Ready In: 1 hour

Serves: 4

Difficulty: 2 out of 5

Note: Ever tried baked avocados? Just looking at the picture gets my mouth watering!

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13May 12

Vegetarian Black Bean Soup

Vegetable Black Bean SoupBack in my university days, there used to be a café near my school that served the most delicious Vegetarian Black Bean Soup every Friday, and at a price that even us struggling students could afford.  Ever since then I’ve tried to keep up the tradition at my home, where Fridays are still known as Black Bean Soup day.

The original version used smoked tofu, but I’ve substituted it for firm tofu, fried with paprika and cumin. Of course, if you’re a meat-eater, you could go ahead and substitute the tofu for ham; just make sure you remove it before puréeing. Another hearty broth is this bacon, carrot, butterbean and coriander soup.

You need:

  • 500g dried black beans, soaked overnight in 5 litres of water
  • 250g firm tofu, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1.25 litres water
  • A pinch of baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Spanish onion, chopped fine
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 500 ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 tbsp lime juice (lemon may be used)
  • Fresh coriander, chopped

Steps:

  1. Put the beans in a 5 litre pot with 1.25 litres of water, the bay leaves, half the salt and the baking soda.
  2. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to a slow simmer.
  3. Cover and let it cook for 90 minutes, or until the beans are tender.
  4. Remove from heat. Take out the bay leaves and set aside.
  5. Heat olive oil in a large (at least 9 litres) stock pot on a medium-high heat until it’s hot, but not smoking.
  6. Add the onions, celery, carrot, tofu and more salt.
  7. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned and softened, stirring occasionally.
  8. Reduce heat to medium and add the cumin, paprika and garlic, and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring continuously.
  9. Add the beans and their cooking liquid back into the mix along with the vegetable stock, molasses and red pepper.
  10. Bring to the boil; then reduce to a simmer and continue cooking for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  11. Remove from heat and put half of the soup in a blender and purée until smooth.
  12. Mix the purée back into the rest of the soup.
  13. Add the lime juice and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  14. Serve with the chopped fresh coriander as garnish.

Ready In: 2 hours

Serves: 6

Difficulty: 4 out of 5

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26Mar 12

Avocado and Mango Salsa with Corn Chips

Avocado and Mango SalsaEver since I was a kid, I’ve absolutely loved everything Mexican, and when I developed a wheat allergy I was glad to know that at least I’d still be able to eat a lot of my favourite dishes since they tend to use cornflour a lot more than wheat flour.  Or in any case, there are plenty of corn flour alternatives available, as long as you make sure to check the label in case it’s mixed with regular flour.

Anyway, after so many years of eating standard nachos and salsa, I became a little bored with the typical sweet tomato flavour and started to crave something different.  This avocado and mango salsa was the perfect solution and has since become one of my all-time favourite dipping sauces.  The sweetness of the mango is offset perfectly by the spicy peppers and tangy lime juice, and the avocado serves as the glue to bind it all together into one explosive taste sensation! 

If you prefer a spicy salsa as I do, feel free to pump up the quantity of jalapeño chilli peppers and/or the cayenne pepper.  If you go too far with the spiciness, mix in a bit of Greek yoghurt or sour cream to tone it back down.

You need:

  • ½  medium red onion, diced
  • A splash of rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh coriander
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 large mango, peeled and seeded and cut into small cubes (1cm)
  • 1 ripe avocado, cut into small ½ inch cubes
  • 1 red jalapeño chilli pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 large bag of plain Mexican-style corn chips

Steps:

  1. Bring a small pot of water to the boil
  2. Add the onions and stir for 20 seconds.
  3. Remove from heat and drain off the water.
  4. Toss the onions with a splash of rice vinegar.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the cayenne and the coriander, and toss the mixture well.
  6. Set aside for about a half an hour for the flavours to set.
  7. When you’re ready to serve, toss in the coriander and cayenne.
  8. Serve as a dip for the corn chips.

Ready In:  10 minutes

Serves:  2-3

Difficulty:  Out of 5, it’s a 1!

 

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