Tuesday 24 June 2008

My aunt's Avocado Mousse

Here's another recipe from my mom's cookbook, this time for an avocado mousse that is a quintessential dish of the Seventies. (Do you remember those frightful avocado-green bathroom suites?)

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.

Gilly Walters
This recipe was given to my mom by my aunt Gilly Walters of Wedgewood Nougat, who is the best home cook I have ever met.

Avocado Mousse

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.

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