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The Green Goddess of Fruit

Did you know that the avocado is actually a fruit? Well, it is and is also known as the fruit of the avocado tree, which is called Persea Americana and often referred to as an “alligator pear” due to the texture of its skin!

It’s renowned for being a superfood, due to its nutritional values increasing popularity amongst nutritionists, dieticians and food enthusiasts. This is for good reason 

FACT 1

Avocados contain more soluble fibre potassium than other fruit and is also filled with various minerals, which include iron, potassium and copper. They are also a good source of the folate, a B vitamin.  

FACT 2 

As well as being a virtuous. nutritious food, consuming avocados can increase the nutrient value of other plant foods that you eat. So, all those plant-based recipes you’ve been re-creating at home will provide your body with even more antioxidants, which can often go to waste. Don’t fancy avocado with your dish? Then drizzle avocado oil over your vegetables and continue to reap the benefits. 

FACT 3

Avocados may help relieve symptoms of arthritis.  Studies have shown that avocado oil and soybean oil can significantly reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Research is still ongoing, but if there’s anything we can do to help alleviate this common problem in the Western world, then it’s worth doing. 

FACT 4

Avocados are an excellent source of vitamin E and monounsaturated fat – so, very good for the skin but should be consumed in moderation due to the high fat content. Don’t worry, it’s the good type of fat and said to be better for heart health than saturated fat. So choose an avocado over crisps! 

FACT 5

They are delicious and versatile.

I surely don’t need to expand on this but I will anyway… That creamy, rich texture well it blends with so many ingredients but one of my favourites is my Guacamole and Baked Avocado and Egg. They go well on toast, with eggs, salads oh and chilli chocolate mousse – yes, you read that correctly: a healthy, chocolate mousse… Just one thing you need to be aware of it ensuring it is ripe enough for consumption. Nobody likes an overripe avocado.  

The avocado should feel slightly soft and another good indicator is if the pip at the top comes off easily.  Another tip is to add lemon juice to you avocado; once spooned out of it’s skin, the nutrients in avocado can oxidise very quickly so this will prolong the benefits. Lastly, don’t put them in the fridge until they are ripe. 

Seasoning: When, Where and How

Do you like to sprinkle a little seasoning over your dishes? I do and I bet you do too. Seasonings are there to enhance and compliment the flavour in your food, which will make the eating experience even more pleasurable, making it an important element in my cooking.

If you’ve been following my journey for a while, you will know that I’m all about the food with the natural flavour of food being my main focus. like my food to taste how it is supposed to, so when it comes to seasoning I keep things at a minimum.

The two most fundamental and widely used spices are salt and pepper. Typically, what people think of when speaking of salt and pepper is white, granulated salt and pre-ground black pepper–but these are far from the only kinds of salt and pepper that exist.

Salt Rocks

Rock salt is a great salt variation, the larger crystals carry a punch. Sea salt is cherished by many as a more natural, culinary salt. There’s also Kosher, iodized, pickling and black salt, amongst many more.

My absolute favourite is Himalayan pink salt–yep, it comes directly from the Himalayas and is pink. If you’re considering going pink then you’re onto a good thing; it’s a far better alternative to processed salt and by using just the right amount in your foodis actually very good for your health. Yup – salt can be healthy. Pink Himalayan sea salt contains over 84 minerals and trace elements, including: calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and iron. So, it definitelydoesmore than enhance the favour of your food. You can also add it to hot baths to ease sore, tired muscles too!

Pepper Time

There is a vast assortment of peppers to explore ranging from your basic black pepper to chilli, jalapeño, habanero, cayenne to a white pepper, each with its own degree of spiciness and subtle flavour distinctions.

Spice Game

Let’s look a bit closer at other seasonings – we will explore blends shortly! Most individual seasonings are classed as herbs or spices.Herbs are usually the fresh or dried leaves of succulent plants that grow in particularly temperate climates. Spices tend to referto any seasoning derivedfrom the other parts of the plant besides the leaves, including the roots, stems, bark, seeds, fruit or buds.

Just to add a ‘sprinkle’ of confusion, chefs will use these two terms differently; spicescanbe used to describe all seasonings, including herbs.

Whereas herbs will have a somewhat milder flavour, spices are likely to be more pronounced. The most common cooking herbs willinclude: basil, oregano, marjoram, parsley, rosemary, thyme and dill. Common culinary spices include cinnamon, paprika (another pepper),turmeric, ginger, saffron and cumin. Ginger and garlic are both considered spices as well.

An interesting fact for you:

Did you know that some herbs and spices cancome from different parts of the same plant?

Dill seed and dill weed. Two other herbs, cilantro and coriander, both come from the same plant, but at two different stages in its growth cycle.

Many herbs and spices come from different varieties of the same plant, such as the mind-boggling array of types of basil, including Thai basil, Lemon basil, Cinnamon basil and Royal basil. What’s more, basil is just one kind of mint, of which there’s an even greater variety. Interestingly, although many herbs and spices, like licorice, fennel and star anise, have a very similar flavour but are actually not linked to one another at all!

Try It You Might Like It

Experiment! Different seasonings and blends applied to similar dishes may take you on entirely different culinary journeys.

When creating raw dishes, I have a strong focus on seasonings as this really enhances the flavour of dishes.

My main ones include:

– lemon juice

– tamari

– cinnamon

– vanilla

– nutritonal yeast

Are you a seasoned pro or are there specific ones that you stick to. Explore my free recipes on my blog or download my eBook for inspiration for dishes that will use a variety of seasonings.