Today I decided that it would be one of those days where I didn't eat any meat. I really didn't feel like I needed any and like I said I am trying to have meat less than 1 time per day. Tomorrow will be a different story as we are having people over for dinner and dining on New Mexico cuisine which requires lots and lots of pork!
When we were in Northern Ireland at Christmas I was told by my mother-in-law about a fantastic cafe called Avoca. She said it was the perfect place for someone who loves to cook and loves trinkets for the kitchen. On the way out of Belfast I took the kids there for brunch and it was the most delicious brunch/lunch I believe I have ever tasted. We opted for the 'cafeteria' style cafe with communal tables and bench seating. There was a smorgasbord of items to choose from and I was finding it difficult to make a decision. Gemma had ordered a berry and cinnamon scone and homemade yogurt with honey, while Angus had a fruit salad. They both had the most amazingly rich and chocolaty hot cocoa to go along with their brunch. I ended up with the Tuscan roasted vegetable tart with goat cheese and a frothy cappuccino to get me started for the day. This food was so amazing I needed to figure out how to recreate!
Lucky for me it was Christmas and Avoca has a wide range of cookbooks. I decided the Avoca cookbooks would be a great addition to my collection and would make a nice, easily wrapped Christmas gift for me.
This evening I made my second attempt this year to make a recipe out the Avoca Soups and Avoca Salads. The first attempt was a Potato and Herb soup that turned out better than I anticipated although it wasn't a huge hit with the kids. Tonight I tried their Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper soup and the Carrot with Roasted Sesame salad.
The soup was perfect, but one recipe was not enough for our family. I will have to double or triple it next time. I added some crusty bread to it to make it more hearty since one recipe was so scant. It was a huge hit with the kids! Unfortunately they were not so hip on the carrot salad, but Jonny and I were over the moon about it! I followed the recipe and also added more seeds such as pumpkin, poppy, and sunflower seeds. I cannot believe how much those seeds added to the overall flavor of the salad. The recipe required the Avoca French dressing which I made 800 ml of to use on this salad and future salads. The best thing about our meal was that everything we completely vegetarian! I will be doing more experimenting from these cookbooks in the near future! Avoca is my new love!