I left my heart…in San Francisco…da di da di daaaa


Sometimes I just want to eat snack food. It’s a theme in our family, Karl-Heinz being the snack food king with his ‘folded over’ cheese sandwich…Rocket with his hot spicy nuts (tee-hee) my lovely dad used to choose a cheese sarnie for his supper, he and Maman adhering to the dinner at 5.30 in the afternoon rule, you can hardly blame him for being peckish by 9 o’clock?.

For me it’s savoury, my cousin Cheesecake can’t go without something sweet, The Minx would need some chocolate and No1 (my step daughter) could demolish a whole blue cheese of any type within the space of 30 minutes.

I have a weakness for bread of all descriptions, a genetic disposition and some would say disability that dogs my attempts to become ‘waif-like’. With bread go dippy things ….

A leaning toward the Middle East and North Africa means that my snacks are often of that persuasion and Indian street foody items are my latest challenge (watching YouTube of clips from people’s kitchens all around the world to understand exactly how to make tiny potato baskets full of spicy loveliness – hours of my life I’ll never get back) however I’m prepared to concede that there are delightful morsels from every culture I’ve come across so far.

I really have left my heart in SF many times, in some ways due to happy memories of growing up with visits from and to California Aunty MTM and Uncle Crab, it’s just a laid back city on the water with great seafood so… back to the tale.

Quite a few years back, visiting for the wedding of my cousin Petal we (Rocket, ‘Karl-Heinz pre-minx’- and I) had dinner in a great little Mexican place, it was our virgin time for the old fresh guacamole made at the table.

I’ve enjoyed a dab of guaca from time to time but when you make it fresh it really sings (…when I come home to you San Francisco …your golden sun will shine for me!!!! (I’m really singing this)) comparing not one iota to the shop bought variety.

The meal in California turned out to be delicious and strangely hilarious due to Rocket and some apparently very good quality tequila. Afterward, when exploring book shops somewhere near Phillimore Street, we bought a brilliant book by a food writer called Diana Kennedy called “The Essential Cuisines of Mexico”…. It’s a great read. I think Mexican food has been quite badly done to in the UK in the past but it can be fantastic, and there is no better guru (in my humble opinion) than Diana Kennedy.

Here is my version of a fresh guaca, which has a touch of theatre; let me paint you a picture…

Your friends are assembled around a garden table enjoying an ice cold Mexican beer in the sunshine, and you sweep forth with a tray decorated with the all the lovely bits and bobs and maybe some warm flour tortillas…..

Two ripe avocados

1 large or 2 medium tomatoes, de-seeded and chopped finely

2 table spoons of finely chopped coriander

Chillies ‘of your choosing’ de-seeded and finely chopped

The juice of a lime

½ a red onion, very finely chopped

Salt to taste (don’t be shy as you need it to bring out the flavour)

No method really, just resist the urge to mash the avocado’s instead turn them over cutting through with 2 dessert spoons so that you get creaminess and texture not just a mooshy mix, then add in the other ingredients, to your personal taste…..hot mild, limey, salty etc.

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