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During the stressful time of moving house, Gemma Simmonite, co-creator of Gastrono-me in Bury St Edmunds, has turned customer at her own restaurant and taken succour in her go to meal – avocado tacos




A quickish preamble to my recipe this week, because as I write this article my laptop (and me) are precariously balanced between towering packing boxes and swathes of bubble wrap!

It’s a funny old thing moving. . . we’ve all heard the fact that it’s right up there with most of the stressful momentous moments in life – births, marriage, bereavements, and divorce. I whole-heartedly agree. You see, with moving, it’s not just the sheer Herculean energy it requires, but it’s the emotional drain as you discover long-buried family artefacts and mementoes. I’ve found myself brought to an entire standstill by a scrappy piece of paper, that says in junior hieroglyphs ‘I love my mummy, you are a beautiful rainbow’, written and drawn nearly 20 years ago by my now very grown up 22-year-old living away. It sucks you down an emotional vortex and spits you out the other side, surrounded by endless nursery school potato prints and worn out, but treasured onesies.

The Netflix sensation Marie Kondo teaches us that when you look at an item it should spark joy, if it doesn’t you should discard. . . but what if on some level everything brings you joy? It has been tangibly painful decluttering my lifelong memories, and only achievable quite frankly due to the support of my younger daughter, who has forcibly ‘Kondo’d’ me on every scrappy bit of art or memento. To each one she has demanded: “What is the drawing of?” “Which one of us drew it?” and “Does it mean anything to you?” If I’ve answered negatively on any, she’s assigned it to the rubbish pile – efficient yes, but, ugh, so draining.

Beer Battered Avocado Tacos(42272920)
Beer Battered Avocado Tacos(42272920)

Then after your heart has been squeezed into an inch of its life by being put through an emotional wringer, there’s everything else that goes with packing – the disarray, the upheaval, the diet that solely consists of toast because you very brightly packed every pan early on, but also because, quite frankly, you’re too fagged to cook something decent anyway.

Which brings me neatly onto why I’ve chosen avocado tacos this week. Gastrono-me has literally been my personal kitchen this last week. We have found ourselves on the customer end more than once and these tacos have got me through. They’ve become my ‘go to’ order because they’re delicious, but also because they’re so filling I’ve been able to take an extra one home for extra sustenance! I’m a huge fan of leftovers, a meal that keeps giving is my favourite sort. Which is why the dishes I create at Gastrono-me are usually so huge! I love and aim for generosity in all forms of our hospitality, and a full plate of food is just so satisfying (nouvelle cuisine is a no-no for me) and if it means a cute doggy bag to be enjoyed later, then all the better. I also think it’s that naughty junky feel that a leftover gives you – yes, you’re aware it’s gone a bit soggy, or it should be re-heated, or in all decency put on a plate, but for me that’s the joy. As much as it’s completely upside down to be eating pizza for breakfast, or even a bit of cold curry in a sandwich (you MUST try that), it’s the minimal effort and the tastebud memory of the night before that makes it so enjoyable.

As I continue on this never-ending packing odyssey, I foresee in my crystal ball a lot more leftovers, a lot more emotional wobbles, and probably a lot more de-cluttering this week. But satisfyingly, I hang onto the fact that by the time this is published and you’re reading this, I will have waved off my worldly goods in a lorry, will have moved in to our lovely new home, unpacked and some normality will have resumed. . . hopefully! I will be looking out at a different vista and will have mentally moved on from the old one. I am reminded and comforted by the author Rachel Wolchin who intuitively once said: “If we were meant to stay in one place, we’d have roots instead of feet,” so I guess you can say I’m now willing to be uprooted and more than ready for my new pot!

BEER BATTERED AVOCADO TACOS

(Serves 4)

This recipe is a great and most delicious way to use up slightly unripe avocados. This recipe won’t work with ‘bullet hard’ avocados though, those avos will have to cuddle up with some bananas for a little while to speed up the process!

Simply by deep frying avocados in a simple seasoned beer batter, you will create the tastiest dish ever. These mouth-watering tacos are light and crispy on the outside, yet flavourful and buttery on the inside. Serve them in soft flour tortillas filled with fresh corn and black bean salsa, crispy cos lettuce, pink pickled onions, and an addictive smoky chipotle crema.

Addictive and delicious, you have been warned!

Prep 20 mins

Cook 10 mins

You will need a deep fat fryer preheated to 175C/350F

Ingredients:

For the Chipotle Crema:

250g vegan plain yoghurt

½ teaspoon of chipotle paste

4 pieces of roasted red pepper preserved in oil

3 shakes of Tabasco smoky chipotle pepper sauce

½ teaspoon of smoked paprika

½ teaspoon of minced garlic

½ teaspoon of salt

A pinch of chilli flakes

For the Corn and Black Bean Salsa:

6 tomatoes, deseeded and the flesh diced

2 small red onions, diced

1 lime, squeezed

198g tin of sweetcorn

400g black beans

1 tablespoon of olive oil

½ teaspoon of minced garlic

Handful of chopped coriander

A sprinkle of chilli flakes

Salt to taste

For the avocado tacos:

2 avocados, sliced into chunks

125g plain flour

1½ teaspoons of baking powder

½ teaspoon of salt

½ teaspoon of smoked paprika

165ml of lager

1 tablespoon of sriracha sauce

For serving:

8 mini flour tortillas

Pink pickled onions

Cos lettuce, sliced

Sriracha sauce

Spring onions & chives chopped to finish

Method:

To make the Chipotle Crema, put all the ingredients into a small food processor or blender, blitz until smooth, then pour into a jug and chill until needed.

For the salsa, combine all the ingredients and season to taste.

For the beer batter, measure the flour, baking powder, salt, smoked paprika into a bowl and whisk just to ensure they are combined. With the whisk incorporate the beer gradually, until you have a smooth batter.

Prepare the tortillas by warming in a dry frying pan or wrap in foil and warm together at 175C/350F for 10mins. When warmed, fill with lettuce, a spoonful of chipotle crema, and top with a large spoonful of corn and bean salsa.

Dip the avocado chunks in the prepared batter and carefully lower into the hot oil. Move them around after 30 seconds to ensure they are cooking evenly and not sticking together. I tend to fry this amount in two batches as to not lower the temperature of the oil and to ensure supreme crispness. Fry for a further minute.

Arrange the battered avocado pieces in each tortilla, then top with pink pickled onions, drizzle with sriracha and sprinkle over spring onions and chives to finish.

LEFTOVER NOTES

When making this recipe you will have way more salsa and crema than you need, but this is a GOOD thing! Use both the crema and salsa in a breakfast burrito, or simply add them to any favourite salad or prepared rice to really zing them up.

Read Gemma’s blog at gemwithrelish.com

Gemma is executive chef and co-creator of Gastrono-me, Abbeygate Street, Bury St Edmunds

See gastrono-me.co.uk

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