One of the things I really appreciate about my job is I can take a full lunch hour - none of this dining al desko nonsense. Of course, this means I usually end up buying something stupid. My favourite place to buy stupid things is Leather Lane.
There's the French Rasta who sells fab leather bags, the two pashminas for a fiver stall, the bookseller where I got Tender for a tenner, the snack stall where I found some Bible Bread, and the Age Concern which always throws up gems - last time I was there I found a tanuki. A tanuki!
There's also some great street food on Leather Lane, like the little Thai stand, the baked potato dealer and the Curry Hut.
The most renowned of them all is of course Daddy Donkey, the burrito people. I've been aware of them since 2005 when I first started working in the area and they were still a baby Donkey - just a tiny stand run by a guy called Joel. Somehow though I never got round to partaking of their fare.
So it was kinda weird to see how the queues got longer and longer and longer until one day suddenly there was a Daddy Donkey Winnebago with about six people hectically serving the clamouring crowds. Even madder, they started to sell their own branded T-shirts (personally I'd quite like a jute bag. Joel, make it so). They even have their own Facebook group.
Finally, finally I gave in and went with a couple of like-minded souls to try my very first Daddy Donkey burrito. There was chicken, carnitas, chile, steak and shredded tomatillo beef (there was also a veggie option but that seemed to be missing the point). I always go for the pig, so I asked for carnitas, extra hot with the works. "Want guacamole? It's extra" asked the Daddy Donkey dude, and I thought what the hey and went for it.
The recipe can be found on the official Daddy Donkey blog here and so I had a go at making it myself and was pleased to find that it tasted the same as the stuff I had served up to me in that mega burrito, which I guess proves that it's made fresh everyday.
The burrito was immense - a huge flour tortilla packed with tonnes of pork, lettuce, rice, black beans, spicy salsa, cheese, sour cream and guacamole. Turns out I'd been missing out for all these years - it was the dog's proverbial and that guacamole was the icing on the cake. My only quibble, which I expect no-one else shares, is that the buggers are too big - I would gladly, gladly buy a half portion a la Pret's slim sandwiches (Joel, make it so).
Anyway, the cult of Daddy Donkey has now reached a wider audience, as Joel and his team were featured on Market Kitchen on Monday making Daddy Donkey's Ultimate Guacamole.
Though the Ultimate Guacamole is great, I was challenged by Daddy Donkey to come up with my own spin on their recipe and couldn't resist.
Personally I like a bit more kick, so this time I tossed in some smoked paprika and red chilli instead of the pickled jalapeno. I also wanted some sweetness to balance out the astringency of the lime juice, so in went some beetroot.
- 4 medium soft Hass avocadoes
- 1 medium minced red onion
- 2 medium raw beetroot
- 1 medium red chilli (remove the seeds if you're a wuss)
- Juice from 1/2 soft medium lime
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Top and tail the beetroot and then slice into wedges. Place in a baking tray, grind salt and pepper to taste and drizzle the olive oil over the wedges and toss.
Roast the beetroot at 200C for 15 minutes and then leave to cool.
Finally, dice the wedges into small chunks.
Cut the avocadoes in half and deseed, and then -
If you have a pestle and mortar: scoop the flesh out with a metal spoon into a mortar and mash roughly with the pestle. Scrape the avocado mush into a mixing bowl.
If you have a stick blender: scoop the flesh out with a metal spoon into a mixing bowl and blitz until you have a rough pulp.
Stir the beetroot chunks into the avocado mush along with all the other ingredients.
Cover and chill in the fridge for an hour before serving.
Unlike Daddy Donkey's Ultimate offering, my beetroot version is ugly as sin, because rather stupidly it didn't occur to me that the beetroot would bleed red throughout the lovely green of the avocado.
No matter, it still tastes bloody brilliant. And goes rather well with nachos.