Chunky guacamole

Chunky guacamole

I was tempted to call this store-cupboard guacamole or cheat’s guacamole because it is the one I make most often and it bears only a passing resemblance to the real McCoy.  It also takes about five seconds to make.  Yeah I sometimes get the proper ingredients, and faff about de-seeding and peeling big tomatoes.  If I’ve planned to make it as part of a larger meal then I might well, but I often find myself with a very ripe avocado and I need to use it up fast.  Perhaps I should have just called this chunky avocado and tomato spread!  I can usually shoehorn guacamole, or whatever it really is, into what we’re having for dinner.  This recipe is for you if you’re the sort of cook I used to be, before having C. I remember once having a meltdown because I didn’t have feta cheese and I needed it for the salad I was making.  Not a shouty, cursing, having a cry meltdown.  Just a panicked, I don’t know what to do instead, everything is ruined meltdown.  Chuckle.  I can’t imagine losing it over a salad any more, but then life has changed somewhat since I would consider that a big deal.  Now you’d get any cheese I’ve got in your salad and I’d brazen out any suggestion it wasn’t supposed to be like that, and believe you should be grateful to be seeing any sort of cheese at all!  It may not be authentic but you can make a delicious guacamole type dip with just a handful of ingredients and only five minutes.  Embrace what you’ve got to hand and make it anyway, however improper it might be!  You may recall I’m not keen on raw onion, so this has none but feel free to add some if you love it.  I also believe guacamole should be creamy and not spicy.  Salsa spicy, guacamole creamy.  Again, if you want some pep, chop a chilli nice and fine and whack it in there.  Now I love garlic, and I would usually go with the premise that you can never have too much.  Of course raw garlic can be a bit potent and in my many years of cooking, and when I was less wise, I ruined otherwise perfectly serviceable guacamoles by being heavy-handed.  A small clove people, is all you need.  Trust me.

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Chocolate tiffin squares

Chocolate tiffin squares

First up I’d like to draw your attention to a fundraising effort by Brooke over at brickiepedia, who is running a 10K to raise funds for the World Food Programme.  As she quite rightly points out it is appalling that there are people in the world who still go hungry when some of us have so much.  Please check out her post here, and if you agree and are able to support her then please do so.  I’m sure she’d really appreciate it.

As for my post, well today I’m giving you another really easy recipe for a number of reasons.  The first is that my long-suffering guinea pigs, ahem… sorry I mean friends, have had a few weeks of crazy things.  New recipes mid-tweak that weren’t inedible by any stretch, but something about them wasn’t quite right yet.  Slightly puzzled expressions and a few hesitant, “remind me, what is that supposed to be exactly?” comments, but I’m still hardly ever bringing home leftovers which is encouraging.  I know I’m heading in the right direction at least!  Anyway, I thought I should make something I knew they would just like because it’s definitely the finished article.  Secondly, at least half my audience of testers are children and although they come with the benefit of directness, “I don’t like this mummy”, as they dump a licked or partially chewed morsel into their poor mother’s hand (usually their only spare one as they’re also holding a second child), it is nice to know something will meet with almost guaranteed approval instead of constantly running the gauntlet of toddler total honesty.  Thirdly, I’ve been away again this week visiting my dad for his birthday.  Another lovely break with C and another set of grandparents.  Happy times indeed but it does mean I neglect the old blog a bit.  So I wanted to ease back in with something that has almost universal appeal.  Lastly, I like to think that someone might pop by this blog who doesn’t have to eat gluten-free but wants to make something for someone who does, adult or child, and so are looking for something that would suit most situations.  Perhaps they are also not entirely confident in their cooking ability but they want to make rather than buy on this occasion.  This recipe is for you.  I guess if you know your audience doesn’t like chocolate, dried fruit, biscuit or coconut, you might want to give it a miss.  Otherwise, get the bowls out because you’re making cake!

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Easter nests (chocolate cornflake treats)

Easter nests (chocolate cornflake treats)

Here is the obligatory Easter recipe.  I’ve gone old school with chocolate cornflake nests with eggs.  I’m particularly pleased with myself because not only are these gluten-free, they are also vegan, which means all my friends can enjoy them (oh yeah baby)!  Also, even a two year-old can help with this – obviously not the melting the ingredients bit, but stirring, paper case filling and ‘egg’ placement are all completely within the grasp of a toddler.  As is the mixture, which means quite a lot might not make it into the paper cups, but no worries.  As this is ‘no cook’ and egg-free there is nothing in here to worry about.  And those ‘eggs’, well I couldn’t be more excited about those.  Obviously milk chocolate is off-limits, so Cadbury’s mini eggs (the usual choice I would say) aren’t going to cut it.  I looked into jelly beans.  Jelly Belly do a natural range (which are apparently “buffed with beeswax” which might put off some vegans, but they do not have any animal-based ingredients) but the cost!   Wow.  That’s all I can say.  Wow.  So I did a little test with Jelly Tots – friend to the gluten-free AND the vegan (no gelatine as they use starch, but they appear on the Nestlé list of safe products for those avoiding gluten so I suspect it is corn derived).  If you squish the Jelly Tot, between thumb and forefinger just a little bit, it bulges out and looks like an iddy, biddy, little egg.  I give you nests AND eggs people.  Happy Easter!

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