Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ingredient Challenge Week 5: Avocado and E.A.T World: the Caribbean

I've decided to join in River's E.A.T World challenge! Basically, pick a country and cook a national dish or something usually eaten there, then blog about it. Check out River's blog, she's already visited 5 countries!

After making Jamaican Shepherd's Pie last week I wanted to learn more about Caribbean cooking and flavours. We watched a series called Caribbean Cooking Made Easy, the food and scenery looked amazing, a lot of it reminds me of time spent visiting family in New Caledonia.

Levi Roots, the host, carries with him his "Sunshine Kit". This kit contains all the ingredients you'll need to create Caribbean-flavoured meals, such as lime, Scotch bonnet chillis, thyme, garlic, coriander, ginger, bay leaves, allspice, whole nutmeg. Other items to keep in your kitchen are coconut milk, beans and sweet potatoes. You'll find a list of his recipes in the BBC recipe section, he even made a few vegetarian dishes and a vegan one and all of his recipes are easily veganisable.

The first recipe we went with were the pineapple kebabs, minus the lamb. I used portobello mushrooms instead and while they were marinating I prepared the second recipe, lime & coriander mayonnaise. Instead of eggs I blended some raw cashews with lime juice, coriander, garlic and water. The third recipe was the white sweet potato chips and I was lucky enough to find white sweet potato at my local veggie shop. While the chips were cooking we grilled the kebabs on the bbq.

The mushrooms were tender and full of flavour from the marinade. I loved the pineapple, especially the caramelised parts and normally I really do not like red onion, but once it was cooked I found it wasn't so bad.

The white sweet potato chips were great and went really well with the mayo, which was delicious! The lime, garlic and coriander was such a great combination.

Week 5: Avocado

I eat avocados all the time, I absolutely love them. When we were kids we had an avocado tree and we always had plenty of them to eat. A few years ago my parents had the tree cut down. Worst idea, ever!

Nowadays a bad avocado can ruin my day. I love knowing that I have one for lunch, my favourites are Hass avocados.

My favourite way to eat an avocado is as they are. They're smooth, creamy and delicious. But I also like to mash 'em up with salt and/or lemon and then eat that as is or with carrot sticks or rice crackers. It makes the perfect snack or light lunch.

I wanted to try using avocado in a few different ways and continue cooking with Caribbean flavours so I chose another of Levi's recipes, avocado and mango salad, minus the crab. The dressing is quick to make and there's no cooking involved as the avocado and mango are just chopped and thrown into a bowl. I loved this salad, it's fresh and tangy and went perfectly with some grilled portobellos.

Next I went with something really different. A.K made some yummy looking gluten free coconut lime cupcakes with avocado lime icing! I've used avocados in Raw chocolate mousse/pudding but never as icing for cupcakes.

I made the cupcakes as well as the icing and it was my first time baking with sorghum and millet flour. The cupcakes smelt and taste delicious, very coconutty and really soft.

The icing is AMAZING! First you get the taste of the lime, then the avocado and then the agave. It's sweet without being sickly-sweet like regular icing can be. I topped the cupcakes with a sprinkle of coconut too.

And while cupcakes aren't traditionally Caribbean food, these had all the flavours to fit in with my E.A.T World theme!


compostkitty said...

yay for avo!
this food looks so yummy i think i need to make kebabs soon

gettingraw said...

firstly: YUM! and secondly: thanks for the link love. I've returned the favour x

Kiersten said...

I am so intrigured by that icing. That sounds so awesome!

Your carribean meal sounds yummy. I love carribean flavors.

swellvegan said...

Oh wow, you've got me so excited for summer to get here (it will someday, I'm hoping) so I can use the grill again and sit outside in the sunshine! Everything looks really yummy, and I'm intrigued by your mayo concoction (hooray for cashews!). I'm happy you liked the cupcakes...I'll definitely be making those more often myself come the warmer months too :-)

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Mmm, kebabs! ..avocado frosting?! whoa!
I LOVE your blog header!

Michal said...

Those cupcakes look scrumptious to me, even though they dont fit in who cares :)

Kelly said...

This is gorgeous! I'm sad I haven't been back to your blog in so long because this post is absolutely beautiful and mouthwatering. The mushrooms were a great sub for the lamb. Yum!

And an avocado tree when growing up -- how lucky are you!?!

River - The Crafty Kook said...

Butt-kicking first E.A.T World post, Mandee! Welcome aboard! What a delicious Caribbean feast, everything looks so fresh and tasty. I have never had white sweet potato, but I would love to try it. And the kebabs look beyond perfect!

I can't believe your parents cut down an avocado tree!! That is sacrilegious! :D

The flavors of the cupcakes fit perfectly with the Caribbean theme, and they look delicious! :)

Theresa said...

Great troppo feast! I've been thinking of putting avo icing on our wedding cake, but avos have been so dear here that we haven't had a chance to taste it. Glad to hear such a glowing review!

dreaminitvegan said...

What a fun idea to make recipes from around the world. I've had a bad ordeal with a scotch bonnet once. I accidentally rubbed my eye an hour after I touched one and it burned!!!

Haas avocados are the best! And like you said a bad avocado is the worst. I can't believe your parents cut down their avo. tree!

Vaala said...

Your kebabs and sweet potato chips are making me starving for lunch! They look awesome! And avocados? They are like paradise!

Susan said...

Avocado icing... sounds amazing. :)

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I went vegan in 2006 and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I love baking cupcakes and reading books and often wish I could combine both activities without disastrous results. If I’m not in the kitchen you’ll find me photographing food, cuddling my three kittehs or re-watching my favourite tv shows over and over again with my boyfriend. Due to food sensitivities I don't eat gluten or soy and yes, vegan, gluten free and soy free food is still delicious! Twitter: CupcakeKitteh
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