G’Day! Peter Russell-Clarke Joins Queen Victoria Market


What do the following have in common?

What Mae West served as a nightcap.
What I served Prince Charles for his dinner.
What the chefs of the First Fleet served their midshipmen.

Now, without turning to google for the answer – it’s AVOCADOS!

Avocados are a skinful of alphabet letters and more – A, B3, B5, B6 C, E, folic acid, potassium, iron, copper, phosphorus and beta carotene. May West knew this and, although she ate an avocado before bed, her line “Come and see me sometime” was, in fact, “Come and eat an avocado with me sometime” (although it’s not recorded as such). She simply added a squeeze of lemon juice and a grind of pepper keeping everything au naturelle.

Golly gosh, even a small daily avocado supplies you with enough Vitamin 6 to keep you bright and happy and ward off many of the symptoms associated with pre-menstrual tension and about a third of the intake of vitamin E which helps keep your heart healthy and helps regulate cholesterol.

These supreme super-fruit are also used as an anti-ageing product for the skin and often used as a face mask. Anyway, when you happily consume your jolly green pear look-alike (Hass is dark pebbly purple) you’ll be delighted. Their acid and alkaline is so well balanced they are easily digested. In fact some, indeed, say they help digestion all round. Sure they are high in fat, but fear not, as it’s the absolutely good fat – monounsaturated – or up to 25% monounsaturated anyway.

PS. Avocados ripen off the tree, so keep your eye on them and, once they yield to slight pressure at the stem end you can eat them with a smile, knowing you’re flooding your body with goodness.

As for the Silver Jubilee Dinner I cooked for Prince Charles, one of the courses was cold avocado soup made even more appetising by the pink of a slice of fresh watermelon. The good Prince wanted to know how I made the soup so green. I gave him the fundamentals of the recipe but to you dear reader I give you more detail – full recipe to follow.

Now, about those young midshipmen. The English sailors of yesteryear were affectionately known as ‘limeys’. That’s because history tells us they consumed lots of limes. This is because Captain Cook told them in order to prevent scurvy they needed lots of Vitamin C – hence citrus. Quite so. But they also gobbled down avocado at tropical stops on the way to the Great South Land. The fruit became known as ‘midshipmen’s butter’. For an added kick they squeezed lime juice on it to please the good captain. The lime juice, as does lemon, also stops the flesh of the avocado discolouring, which happens quickly once the air gets to the flesh.

For a quick and simple snack add a little chopped parsley, a little sour cream, black pepper and a dash of Tabasco (not much), spread that on a piece of Ciabatta bread which you’ve toasted on one side. Top that with grated cheese and pop it under the grill for a moment only as we want the cheese to soften but the avocado mix must not get too hot. (Heated avocado changes flavour and becomes a little bitter, and anyway the whole lot gets messy so keep your eye on the cheese.)

Today grown commercially in dear old Oz are Sharwil (July, August), Hass (August, September). Hass are knobby and dark purple to black. Then there’s Fuerte (April to August). So, dear avocado eater there’s no reason to not keep your body in tip top shape all year round.


Avocado Soup

1 avocado
Chicken stock
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup cream
Moreton Bug tails
Watermelon or thin crescents of a red skinned apple (with skin on of course)

Peel the avocado and take out the stone. Put the flesh into a blender with some chicken stock and puree. Add more chicken stock to make it the consistency you like either a thick soup or a thin one. Pour it into a large saucepan and add freshly ground black pepper. Heat it slowly, but don’t let it boil. Just before you serve it, stir in the cream and then reheat it for a minute or two. Add Moreton Bay bug tails and strips of watermelon (or apple) as garnish in each individual dish.


See ya later!

Peter Russell-Clarke