What I love about the recipes I've been re-discovering in this battered old cookbook is their simplicity: there is not a leaf of coriander, a fleck of vanilla or a single drop of Balsamic in the entire book.
This dish may be old-fashioned (when last did you see a savoury mousse on a restaurant menu?) but it is delicious: a wobbly, creamy mousse of the palest green, pepped up with a subtle crunch of fresh chives. Excellent with melba toast.
4 Tbsp (60 ml) lemon juice
4 small ripe avocados
1½ tsp (7.5 ml) salt
freshly milled black pepper
2 Tbsp (30 ml) very finely chopped chives
1 cup (250 ml) hot water
2 Tbsp (30 ml) powdered gelatine
1 cup (250 ml) cream, whipped to a soft peak
1 cup (250 ml) thick mayonnaise (Hellmann's or home-made)
paprika or cayenne pepper
finely chopped fresh parsley
fine lemon slices
Put the lemon juice into a large bowl. Halve the avocados, remove the pips and scoop out the flesh. Tip into the bowl containing the lemon juice and mash well, using a potato masher or fork.
Now stir in the salt, pepper and chives. Put the hot water in a bowl, sprinkle the gelatine over the surface and set aside for a few minutes to sponge. Heat the gelatine in the microwave (or over a gentle flame) until the gelatine has just melted. Stir into the avocado mixture, along with the mayonnaise. Finally, fold in the whipped cream.
Rinse a jelly mould (or a glass bowl) with cold water, give it a shake, and tip in the mixture. Smooth the top with a spatula and put into the fridge for 3-4 hours, or until set. Unmould onto a chilled plate and dust with paprika or cayenne pepper. Garnish with lemon slices and chopped parsley (actually, a few tufts of curly parsley will add a nice retro feel. )
Serves 8 as a starter.