Friday, 30 May 2014

Avocado and prawns, a sixties favourite

There is a lot of talk about buying food that is seasonal and local . We are encouraged to buy food that is 0 kilometri which means it hasn't travelled far to get to your table. The food you buy should be as far as possible in its original state. If it didn't walk or grow don't eat it, is a popular saying. When I was growing up all the food we had was like that. We were very much a meat and two veg family. Every Friday after work my Dad would come through the front door proudly bearing a cardboard box overflowing with lovely fresh fruit and vegetables. The contents varied according to the season. In winter carrots, cauliflower, potatoes, onions, Brussels sprouts. In summer lettuce, tomatoes, radishes, cucumber. Oranges, apples, pears and bananas were constantly present. The only concession to exotic produce was a pineapple which was the crowning glory of the inviting display along with a bunch of fresh flowers for my mum. Strawberries, raspberries, fresh peas and beans, satsumas were luxuries which would appear as a treat. Our peaches came from a tin, delicious served with evaporated milk. Aubergines, courgettes, peppers were foreign visitors we had yet to become familiar with.
The Friday evening magical box from the Greengrocer usually arrived just after the six-o-clock news and my mum and I would set to work putting everything away and arranging the flowers in a vase while my dad had a cup of tea.
One day two newcomers appeared on the top of the box, a kiwi and an avocado pear. We had never seen them before and were unsure what to do with them. My dad bit in to the kiwi and recoiled in horror, what a hairy surprise. I don't think he could ever be bothered to peel one preferring to just unzip a banana. My mum said that she had had an avocado pear in a restaurant . The centre had been filled with prawns in mayonnaise. Prawn cocktail was one of our favourite starters when we went out for Sunday lunch. Avocado with prawns quickly became a firm favourite in our house, even my dad made it. He was very proud of his cocktail sauce, salsa rosa. He made it by mixing mayonnaise, tomato ketchup, Worcester sauce, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and on days when he needed a lift he would put in a drop of brandy.
All sorts of exotic fruit and vegetables are now easily found in our local supermarkets. Many were unheard of just fifty years ago. Cranberry and pomegranate juice are now offered as cures for all sorts of health problems and it seems that we just have to read that something is good for us and we all go out and buy it, whether we like it or not.
Today I made avocado and prawns according to my dad's recipe. It involves a lot of discrete tasting to get the flavours right. You can really only tell how good an avocado is once it is open. Luckily the ones I had bought were perfect.

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