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With the passing of Easter weekend, Lent is over for another year and all those abstaining from chocolate, alcohol, coffee, sweets, tweets, fizzy drinks and Facebook will have spent the past few days gorging themselves into an alcohol, sugar and caffeine-fuelled frenzy of social networking and Easter egg-eating.
Normally I would launch into a ponderous essay about the benefits of sacrifice, delayed gratification and self-control, but I promised in the last issue to go for a more practical theme for this week.
With that in mind, I’m going to surprise you all with a recipe for a dish that can be enjoyed as part of a vegan diet, which has become a popular trend during Lent in recent years.
I did not follow a vegan diet for Lent but my other half, who is a nutritionist and likes to carry out food experiments on herself, did. For such a carnivorous animal, 40 days and nights without meat or any animal-derived products was quite a challenge, but it was a great catalyst for finding and creating new dishes such as the following.
Vegan Dream, as we christened it, is now part of our regular diet and will continue to be so long after the Easter bunnies are finished hopping for the year.
One of the main attributes of this dish is that it is so quick and easy to prepare while apparently being very healthy. We first came across it while in Spain in February and then, for the duration of Lent, ate it nearly every day for breakfast.
Ingredients (serves two)
One avocado, three tomatoes, two slices of bread (preferably wholemeal sourdough) some olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.
1. Grate the tomatoes coarsely into a bowl and stir in a teaspoon of olive oil.
2. Cut the avocado in two, remove the stone, scoop the flesh, intact from the skin and chop each half into approx 5mm slices.
3. Toast the bread.
4. Drizzle olive oil on the toast.
5. Spoon the tomato mix onto the toast.
6. Place the sliced avocado on top of the tomato.
7. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper over the top.
An optional addition is rubbing half a clove of raw garlic on the toast before adding the olive oil.
So there you have it, the first of MacPhail’s recipes.
I abstained from alcohol for Lent this year and it must be a reflection of getting old and sensible that I hardly noticed – though I admit to having made three very small exceptions of one dram to mark a sad farewell, one dram to celebrate a happy welcome and half a glass of Guinness on St Patrick’s Day.
These modern-day minor attempts to prove to ourselves that we have an element of self-control do not compare to 40 days and 40 nights fasting alone in the desert being tempted by the devil, but they can make for some interesting new additions to the staple diet.