I have always maintained that mandarins and avocados should come with an insurance policy as there is absolutely no way of telling if they’re going to be perfectly ripe and full of flavour or inedible. Happiness, then, is a bag of perfectly ripe avocados – soft, but not mushy, no brown spots or weird ham flavour, all shiny and green and delicious.
I love a seat at the bar in an open-kitchen restaurant. Casa San Juan has one of these and I had the pleasure of sitting there this evening. Not only were wine and food delicious (an oaked Chardonnay followed by a Pinot Noir by Salentin in the Valle de Uco in Mendoza, accompanying the gnocchi with tomatoes, beetroot, broccoli, bocconcini, mushrooms, garlic, pesto and cheese) but I watched it being cooked. My chef, Juan, was skilful and cooked with precision and care. He was also smiley and answered all my culinary questions. I sat there mesmerised by the theatre of the kitchen for hours (and to be honest, I enjoyed it more than a film or play!).
One of my favourite fruits is Ruby Grapefruit. Grapefruit is an accidental hybrid that originated in Barbados when the sweet orange cross-pollenated with the pomelo. Apparently the ‘grape’ part of the name refers to the way the fruits hangs in clusters. Like many, I always thought it was a terribly bitter fruit until I learned that if you remove all the membrane you also remove the bitterness. Thus, there is serious commitment involved – it takes a good ten minutes to segment and remove the membrane of a grapefruit (significantly longer than it takes to eat it), but it is a surprisingly satisfying task and worth the effort to have a plate full of jewel-like segments bursting with flavour, zing and citrus juiciness.