Nasi Goreng with Kang Kung, Chicken and Prawn Sate and Tomato Sambal

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Indonesian people eat rice three times a day. No wonder they are the geniuses behind this delicious dish. You can serve it as simply or as complicated as you like, for breakfast, lunch or dinner, anything goes; just like life in Indo…

I’ve visited Indonesia three times over the past twelve months and am hoping to get back there soon to skip a couple of the cooler months here in Aus. Now that I have explored quite a bit through most of the islands, this time I’m looking forward to staying in one place for a couple of months and really getting to know the place, the people and learn a lot more about the food.

A lot of Indonesian food is cooked using copious amounts of oil and palm sugar, and MSG is common. I’m keen to adapt some common Indonesian recipes into some healthier versions with less oil, less palm sugar and definitely no MSG. There are so many beautiful fresh and tropical ingredients there, it won’t be hard to do.

Here is a recipe for my version of Nasi Goreng with a few yummy things alongside. The Kang Kung (water spinach) dish is definitely one of my favourite Padang choices. To make this dish vegetarian, omit the prawns from the rice, use tempeh for the sate and omit the fried anchovies.

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Recipe (serves 4-6)

Tomato Sambal
Ingredients
1o0ml rice bran oil (or other veg oil)
200g eschallots, peeled and diced
100g garlic, peeled and crushed
100g ginger, grated
400g long red chilled, diced
300g birds eye chillies, diced
2 lemongrass stalks, white and pale green part, sliced
3 kaffir lime leaves, sliced
2 tbs dried coriander seeds, crushed
60g palm sugar, grated
2 tbs shrimp paste, roasted
2 x 400g tins crushed tomatoes
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste
Method
Heat oil in a heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Add the eschallots and garlic and cook until soft. Add the ginger, chillies, lemongrass, lime leaves, and coriander, cook for a further few minutes. Add the palm sugar and cook, stirring, until sugar starts to caramelize.
Add the tomatoes and cook until soft and reduced, about 10mins.
Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Puree the sauce using a large mortar and pestle or blender. Add the lime juice and salt to taste.
Keep in a jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Or freeze.

Nasi Goreng
Ingredients
80ml rice bran oil, plus extra
100g eschallots, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
200g cabbage, chopped
300g prawn meat, chopped
1/4 cup tomato sambal, plus extra to serve
5 tbs soy sauce
600g cooked rice, chilled (from 2 cups raw)
100g baby spinach
salt to taste
4-6 eggs
Fried shallots
Crispy fried anchovies
Krupuk crackers (I used ones made from taro)
2 Fresh tomatoes, quartered
1 small cucumber, sliced
Lemon basil
Method
Heat the oil in a large wok over medium high heat. Add the eschallots, garlic and carrots and cook until soft. Add the prawns and cabbage and cook, until cabbage is soft and prawns are cooked.
Add the sambal and soy sauce and cook for a further few minutes to reduce some of the liquid.
Add the rice and spinach and cook, stirring for a further 5 mins.
Add salt to taste.
Heat extra oil in a frying pan over high heat. Fry the eggs until white is cooked and yolk is still runny.
Serve the rice in a mound (you can use a cup to mould it), top with the fried egg, shallots, anchovies, some extra tomato sambal, krupuk crackers, the tomato, cucumber and lemon basil, and whatever else you choose to serve alongside (I also served Kang Kung and chicken and prawn sate, recipes follow)

Kang Kung (spicy water spinach)
Ingredients
2 tbs rice bran oil
4-6 eschallots, peeled and sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
4 long red chilles, halved, de-seeded, and thinly sliced lengthways
1 birdseye chilli, finley chopped
2 bunches water spinach, washed, trimmed and chopped into 10cm lengths
2 tbs oyster sauce
2 tbs kecap manis
2 tbs soy sauce
salt to taste
Method
In a large wok, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the eschallots, garlic and chillies and cook, stirring, until soft.
Add the water spinach and sauces and cook, stirring, until spinach is wilted and reduced, about 5mins.
Add salt to taste.
Serve.

Chicken and Prawn Sate
Ingredients
Rice bran oil
600g chicken thigh, cut into 2cm cubes
12 large green prawns, peeled, tail left on
1/4 cup plus 2 tbs tomato sambal
1/4 cup plus 2 tbs kecap manis
5 tbs palm sugar
Small bamboo skewers
Method
Place the chicken in one bowl and the prawns in another. Add the 1/4 cup sambal, 1/4 cup kecap manis and 3 tbs of the palm sugar to the chicken. Add the 2 tbs sambal, 2 tbs kecap manis and remaining 2 tbs palm sugar to the prawns. Stir each well, cover, and leave to marinate in the fridge for 2 hours.
Thread about 5 pieces of chicken onto skewers, and one prawn each per skewer with the tail pointing away.
Heat the oil on a grill pan to very hot and smoking. Carefully add the chicken skewers and cook, turning, for about 5-8 mins or until cooked through and caramalized, adding the prawns in the last 3 mins of cooking.
Serve.

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Baba Ghanoush with Pickled Apple, Walnuts, and Paprika Oil

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This weekend I am co-running a pop-up restaurant in Amsterdam! It’s going to be so much fun, I’m so excited to introduce some new flavours and concepts to the people of Amsterdam. We will be serving an eleven course, plant-based feast, with a little seafood and Kangaroo meat thrown in. We want to celebrate the vegetables though, using locally sourced, seasonal produce and some Australian bush spices. I can’t wait to start cooking!

In the meantime, here is a recipe for the most delicious babganoush you will ever taste. A result of some eggplant growing old on my friends sideboard, he told me to use them for something before they went bad. My specialty! I love having the skill to be able to use anything and make it into something, nothing ever gets wasted!

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Recipe

Ingredients

3 medium eggplants

1/2 cup tahini

1 tsp salt

Juice of 1 lemon

3 cloves garlic, finely grated

pinch chilli flakes, plus extra to serve

1/2 tsp ground cumin

2 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1 green apple

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/2 cup roasted walnuts

Handful coriander leaves

Toasted pita bread to serve

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.

Use a fork to pierce the eggplant all over a few times. Using metal tongs, hold them over an open flame for around 10 minutes, turning constantly, until the skin is charred. Place them in a baking dish and continue to cook for a further 20-30mins, until they are very soft and collapsed. (if you don’t have an open flame to char them first, you can do it under a grill or just cook them completely in the oven. You just won’t get the smoky flavour). Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Cut the eggplants in half and scoop out the flesh into a large bowl. Add the tahini, salt, lemon juice, garlic, chilli flakes, cumin and some cracked pepper and using a fork, combine and mash the eggplant until a stringy paste forms. (you can also use a blender but I prefer to keep the texture of the eggplant, I find it goes a bit gluey when processed)

Peel and grate the apple. In a small bowl, combine the grated apple with the vinegar and a pinch of salt. Stir well and allow to sit for at least 10mins, stirring every so often.

Combine the olive oil and the paprika in a small bowl and stir well to combine.

To serve, place the eggplant mixture in a large shallow dish. Drain the apple from any excess liquid and place on top of the eggplant. Sprinkle with the walnuts, coriander leaves, and extra chilli flakes. Drizzle with the smoked paprika oil. Serve with some toasted bread and other mezze dishes if you wish.

 

Spiced Eggplant with Savoy, Lentil and Pomegranate Salad

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It’s becoming more obvious everyday. I think I finally need to make the move, the one I planned to a couple of years ago but got sidetracked by other travels, it’s time to come and live in London for a while. It’s a weird thing, to want to come and live in one of the biggest and coldest cities I’ve ever been to, but I feel there is so much opportunity for me here, as well as one of my dearest friends, and, when it gets too cold, I’ll just shoot off down to Spain or Morocco and warm the cockles. Anyway, I’ve got a few more months here in Europe, I’m sure I’ll have more of an idea by the time we head back to Australia.

So, we finally got to catch up last night, my dear friend and I. The conversation did not have more than a two second gap in it for about five hours straight. I was so excited to cook for her and wanted to make something wholesome and delicious, but, as it is when travelling, I’m also restricted by the ingredients I can use. Luckily there were some spices in the cupboard here and I was able to find the rest of the ingredients in the endless Middle Eastern grocers lining the main street here. So much pita bread!

If large enough, the eggplants are sufficient on there own as a meal, but we ate them alongside some warmed pita bread, hummus and a quinoa salad. Find the recipe for my favourite creamy hummus here.

I adapted this recipe from Green Kitchen Stories, one of my favourite food blogs to turn to when I want some inspiration for a truly healthy and wholesome meal. I also made some little chocolate and almond cakes for dessert, completely sugar, dairy and gluten free. They were so delicious! Unfortunately we were too busy eating and talking to think to get any photos by the time dessert came around!

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Recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 large eggplant

Olive oil

2 tbs garam masala

2 tbs curry powder

1 tsp cayenne pepper

salt and pepper

Salad

1 small savoy cabbage, finely sliced

400g can puy lentils, rinsed and drained well

Bunch parsley, finely chopped

1 pomegranate, arils (seeds) removed

1 tbs olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tbs maple syrup

salt and pepper

To serve, hummus, pita bread, quinoa salad (optional)

Method

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.

Cut the eggplants in half lengthways and use the tip of a knife to cut a criss cross pattern, about 1cm deep, into the flesh. Drizzle well with olive oil, using fingers to rub all over. Sprinkle with the spices, salt and pepper, and use fingers to rub spices into the cuts. Drizzle with more olive oil if they feel too dry. Place in the oven and cook, for about 45-50mins, or until flesh is dark on top and soft in the centre.

Meanwhile, for the salad, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Blanch the cabbage, for 1min, drain and rinse under cold water. Leave to drain as much water out as possible. In a small jar, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, salt and pepper and shake well. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, lentils, parsley and dressing and toss to combine.

To serve, place the eggplants on a large serving platter, scatter the salad over the tops and sprinkle with the pomegranate. Serve with sides such as hummus, pita bread and quinoa salad. Enjoy!

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Chilled Cucumber and Sesame Soup with Trio of Noodles

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I made this dish to share with our housemates before we left Australia. I can’t believe that was only a week ago. Feels like so much longer. My mind and body still don’t quite know where we are and if it wasn’t for the fantastic company I’ve been keeping, I’m not sure how I would be feeling! I realised today that I left my full time job over nine months ago and have not slept in the same place for more than a couple of weeks since then. Blows me away a little bit!!

This dish is so nourishing, moorish, cleansing and just downright good. We ate it as an entree on a hot night in Darwin. Having a chilled soup still seems like a good idea to me, being in a warm climate, but, if you’re somewhere where it’s starting to get a bit cool, it would be just as delicious served warm. You could add tofu or chicken to this if you liked, I think that would also be yum! You could also use whatever noodles you like, I just used what I had on hand, which was a delicious combination! I love the difference in textures.

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IMG_3677_2Recipe

Serves 6

Ingredients

4 Lebanese cucumbers, finely sliced

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup tahini

3 cups vegetable stock

4 tbs white miso paste

2 tsp raw sugar

1 long red chilli, finely sliced

4cm pice of ginger, grated

1 clove garlic, grated

100g vermicelli

250g hokkien noodles

250g thick soba noodles

A handful each of coriander leaves and mint leaves

Toasted sesame seeds and roasted peanuts, to garnish

Method

Combine the sliced cucumber in a large bowl with the 1/2 tsp salt. Stir to combine and allow to sit for 30mins.

After 30mins, using your hands, squeeze the liquid from the cucumbers, as much as you can. But don’t discard the liquid. Set the cucumber aside.

Combine the cucumber liquid with the tahini, stock, miso, sugar, chilli, ginger, and garlic and whisk to combine. Taste for seasoning and add a little salt if necessary. Place in the fridge for 1 hour.

Before serving, cook your noodles according to the packet directions. Run them under cold water once they are cooked, to cool, and stop the cooking process.

Divide the noodles between the serving bowls and pour over the cold soup. Top with the cucumber, herbs, sesame seeds and peanuts.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Snake Bean and Coconut Salad

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We’ve been in Ubud for a few days now, hanging out with some amazingly talented people, who are also so down to earth, generous and fun to be around. It makes it hard to move on! I could easily live here for a while, but I find myself saying that about so many places that I visit!

Our beautiful and generous friend, who is also an epic musician, has been so accommodating and I’ve been loving having the use of his kitchen, especially with the local markets on just down the road every morning…even if they do finish at 8am…

Every Warung (small restraurant), that we have eaten at over the past week has had more than one beautiful green salad on offer, a lot of them consisting of green beans, coconut and bean sprouts. So, I wanted to give it a try. My version tastes quite different to the ones I have had so far but I think that is because they use ALOT of oil in everything here. I used less oil, but add more if you like. And PLEASE! Don’t be afraid of the salt. Add it until it tastes good cause there aren’t any other salty elements in this dish.

I know it may seem like this recipe calls for a couple of things you may not be able to get from your local grocery store, but they are easily replaced. Use regular green beans instead of snake beans, but cook them for half the amount of time, and if you can’t get fresh coconut, just use the dried stuff. Add or remove anything you want from this dish, you can’t really go too wrong. Alongside the salad we had some omelette with golden shallots, some turmeric and ginger marinated tofu and the peanut sambal and tomato sambal for which you can find the recipes for in the last post.

Also, how funny are my photos looking! Ive had no nice plates or surfaces to work with and it cracks me up that these pics look like something from the 1987 Women’s Weekly Asian Edition. 😀

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Recipe

Serves 4 as a side dish

Ingredients

1tbs peanut oil

6 golden shallots, finely sliced

4 cloves garlic, grated

6cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated

2 tbs yellow curry paste

1 long red chilli, finely sliced

1 small birds eye chilli, finely sliced

500g snake beans, cut into 5cm lengths1 large bunch of water spinach

Flesh from half a mature coconut, finely sliced and toasted, about 1/2 cup

1/2 cup desiccated coconut, toasted

1 1/2 cups bean sprouts

1/2 cup roasted peanuts

juice of 2 limes

1 tbs sugar

salt and pepper

2 tomatoes, sliced

Method

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, ginger, chillies, and curry paste and cook, stirring for 1min. Add the snake beans and continue to cook, stirring, for about 5 mins, or until beans are just cooked. Add the water spinach and cook, stirring, for 1min, or until wilted. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.

Add the coconut, beansprouts, peanuts, lime juice, sugar, and salt and pepper. Stir to combine and check for seasoning. Add more salt if neccesary. Top with the fresh tomato slices.

Menikmati!

 

 

 

 

Peanut Sambal (Sambal Kacang), Tomato Sambal (Sambal Tomat), and Eggplant in Chilli Sauce (Terong Balado)

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Bali. I’m going to keep this short, because otherwise, I could be writing all day about this amazing country. It is a truly beautiful place. Not just the land itself but the people that make it so. They are peaceful, generous and kind beyond words. I hope I can take a little of their calm and humble beauty away within myself when we leave.

It feels fantastic to be travelling again, I learn so much about myself and appreciate my home and my family more with each place I visit. It is so easy to get caught up in the bubble at home, of working and socialising and buying things. I love to be so free and happy with the people  I am with and what I can carry on my back.

So far, the food here is so amazing that I can’t quite remember anything else I would rather eat. I’ve been enjoying a mostly vegan diet and I’m not missing dairy a single bit. I have eaten a small amount of seafood, but look forward to more of that once we go to the smaller islands. We have mostly been eating in the Warungs, small restaurants that serve local dishes for an amazingly low price. I’m so impressed with the amount of different vegetarian meals they offer, and I’m in love with the tempeh here. I’d like to learn how to make it. There are many cooking classes on offer but I think I prefer to experiment on my own with what I have tried and what I have asked people so far. I think everyone makes their own versions of these dishes anyway, without ever having a set recipe.

I got up early yesterday and went to the local markets to buy the ingredients I needed for these dishes that I had tried the day before at a friends’ house. The market had everything I needed, I didn’t need to buy a single thing from the grocery store except for some oil. This fact made me feel I was on the right track. So, here are my versions of some delicious Balinese dishes! May there be many more to come!

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Recipe

Tomato Chili Sambal (Sambal Tomat)

Ingredients

3 tbs peanut oil
5 long red chillies, roughly chopped
6 red cayenne chillies, or birdseye chillies, roughly chopped
10 golden shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
4cm piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp fish sauce (optional)
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs raw sugar

Method

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the chillies, shallots, tomatoes, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring, for about 5 mins, add some water if it gets too dry. Transfer mixture to a mortar and pestle and add the fish sauce, pepper, salt and sugar and grind until a chunky consistency. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
You can use it straight away or keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. The flavour will change after a while. I like to let it sit for a few hours before using. Serve at room temperature.

Peanut Samabl 

Ingredients

2 tbs peanut oil
150g roasted peanuts
2 long red chillies, roughly chopped
3 red cayenne chillies, or birdseye chillies, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
8 golden shallots, peeled, roughly chopped
4cm piece ginger, roughly chopped
1/4 cup toasted, desiccated coconut
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp raw sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
200ml water

Method

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the peanuts, chillies, garlic, shallots, and ginger and cook, stirring, for about 3 mins. Transfer mixture to a mortar and pestle and add the coconut, lime juice, sugar, salt and pepper and grind to a thick paste, adding the water as you go.
You can use it straight away or keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. The flavour will change after a while. I like to let it sit for a few hours before using. Serve at room temperature.

Eggplant in Chilli Sauce (Terong Balado)

Serves 4 as a side dish

Ingredients

4-5 long eggplants
8 tbs peanut oil
2 tbs tamarind pulp, dissolved in 2 cups warm water
2 long red chillies, roughly chopped
3 red cayenne/birdseye chillies, roughly chopped
10 golden shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
4cm piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tsp salt
1 tbs raw sugar

Method

Prepare a large bowl with cold, salted water. Cut the eggplants into 5cm pieces, putting them in the water as you go. Leave them in the water while you prepare the paste.
For the paste, heat 1tbs of the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the chillies, shallots, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring for about 2mins. Transfer to a mortar and pestle with the salt and sugar, and grind to a smooth paste.
Add the remaining 7 tbs of the oil to a clean pan, over medium high heat. Add the drained eggplant and cook, stirring, for about 5mins, or until starting to soften, but not falling apart. Remove the eggplant from the pan with a slotted spoon and discard the remaining oil.
Return the eggplant to the pan, along with the chilli paste and the tamarind water. Bring to the boil and reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring, for 3mins, or until thickened slightly and eggplant is fully cooked.
Serve.

Pickled Fish Four Ways

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There’s no recipe here, just some ideas for the endless flavour combinations for pickled fish. So many cultures and countries around the world have their own versions, and it’s so easy to make up your own using your favourite flavour combinations and the accompaniments are also exciting. It’s all about the balance between the acidity of whatever you use to pickle the fish, along with some fresh elements, some sweetness, heat, spice, salt, and a yummy side. I think my favourite is lime, chilli, coriander and coconut with a crunchy plantain chip; but I really just loved all of these combinations that we made last week.

I’ve listed the different combinations here, the best way to get the flavour right is to combine all of the ingredients apart from the fish, taste it, adjust to suit, and then add your fish. If the liquid isn’t completely covering the fish once you add it, you can either add a little more lime juice/lemon juice/vinegar etc, or, just keep stirring the mixture every 20 minutes or so, coating the fish in the acid so that it cooks. If your fish is really fresh, you can eat it straight away, but I prefer to wait a few hours so that it is completely cooked.

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A twist on the Northern Territory’s Nummus

Lime Juice

White vinegar

Sugar

Garlic Chives

Ginger

Coriander

Chilli

Spring onion

Salt and Pepper

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My favourite

Lime juice

Coconut Cream

Chilli

Coriander

Sugar

Salt and Pepper

Salsa- Pineapple/Mango/Avocado, capsicum, red onion, chilli, lime juice, salt and pepper

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Emma’s Favourite

Papaya

Cucumber

Mint

Chilli

Coriander

Red Onion

Salt and Pepper

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Traditional Ecuadorian/Peruvian

Lime Juice

Red Onion

Chilli

Coriander

Tomato

Salt and Pepper

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Scallops with Lap Cheong and Black Rice

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‘The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page’ – St Augustine. I’m not really one for quotes but I thought this one was pretty nice, I found it in a Lonely Planet photo Journal I was reading the other day, getting very excited…

It’s only three sleeps now until our trip overseas starts. I’m starting to feel a tiny bit anxious with excitement and anticipation for what’s to come. It’s been a year and a half since my last trip overseas. Oh, except NZ, but that doesn’t really count…

We haven’t made too many concrete plans, leaving our options as open as we possibly can, incase of meeting cool people, and hearing about cool places, etc. I hate the fact that you even have to book flights out of each country that you fly into, just to prove that you are leaving, I mean, I understand it, but it still really annoys me. Customs always freaks me out, even though I know I’m doing absolutely nothing wrong, they certainly have a way of making you feel nervous. After a couple of friends of friends were recently refused entry into Aus due to lack of funds, it makes me even more nervous. But, I’m sure we will be fine, and all of those things just add to the pleasure once you make it to the breathtaking places; where you find yourself, atop a volcano, in front of an ancient temple or amidst a tropical rainforest and you ask yourself, in awe, what am I even doing here? We are so lucky to have the freedom to travel.

I’ve been wanting to make this dish since way back in November when I started working in the fish market. I had never come across scallops in their shells before, and although they were ridiculously expensive, I had to try them, if not just for the taste but for their beautiful shells as well. So, I thought I’d better give them a go before we left Darwin, who knows when we will be back!

Like I said in my last post, the discovery of Lap Cheong (chinese sausage) since we’ve been up here has been a very very good one. We don’t eat much meat but the asian grocers here are amazing and the local, tropical produce, mostly lends itself to asian cuisine, so I’ve learnt to use it for lots of dishes. The flavour is out of this world and you don’t need much, so a packet goes a long way.

This is a great entree dish, or you could even serve it without the rice, as a canapé. Alternatively, bulk out the rice with some more veggies, like a fried rice, and serve the scallops on top. Delish!

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Recipe

Serves 4 as an entree

Ingredients

2 tbs peanut oil

100g Lap Cheong (chinese sausage), finely sliced

12 scallops on the half shell, without the roe, removed from the shell, shells set aside for serving

3 cloves garlic, finely sliced

20g butter

2 tbs oyster sauce

200g black rice, cooked to packet directions

2 spring onions

1 long red chilli, finely sliced

2cm fresh ginger, peeled and julienned

4 garlic chives, finley sliced

1/4 cup coriander leaves

lemon wedges, to serve

Cracked black pepper

Method

Prepare a medium bowl with water and ice. Cut the spring onions into 4 cm lengths and then finely slice them lengthways. Place them in the ice water and leave for 30mins, this will help them to curl. Drain. (note, this is purely for aesthetics and doesn’t affect the flavour).

Spread the cooked rice onto a serving platter, or onto 4 serving plates. Arrange the half shells on top of the rice, ready for the scallops. Keep warm. (again, this is just for presentation, you don’t need the shells).

Heat 1 tbs of the peanut oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the lap chuong and fry, stirring, for 2mins, add the garlic and continue to cook for a further 1min. Remove from the pan and evenly distribute between the shells.

Add the remaining 1 tbs of peanut oil and the butter, once butter is melted, add the scallops and cook for 1 to 2mins, turn and cook for a further 30secs. Drizzle with the oyster sauce. Place on top of the lap chuong.

Top the scallops with the spring onions, chilli, ginger, garlic chives, coriander, and some cracked black pepper. Serve with lemon wedges.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Banana Flower, Jicama and Coconut Salad with Fish Baked in Banana Leaves

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On the weekend we were invited to a big bush party on a property about an hour out of Darwin. Friends of the people we have been staying with (who have also become our friends), were having a big combined birthday party. As Benny had already made plans for a big fishing trip out to some islands, I headed out on a solo mission.

It ran from Friday to Monday morning for some (myself not included I’m ashamed to admit, even though I was probably one of the youngest there). There was a lot of dancing, long and interesting conversations, awesome sets, wacky costumes (the theme was swamp suave), everyone took amazing dishes to share and the drinks were flowing. Surrounded by bushland, we could have been anywhere.

I was feeling more than worse for ware when I arrived back in Darwin on Sunday, but before going home I dragged myself to the markets to stock up for the week and to also buy some kind of spicy feast to fill my belly. As always, the green papaya salad won out. After eating and swimming all day I started to feel slightly human again and headed back to the house. What a surprise I had waiting for me!

The boys had finally had an amazingly successful fishing trip! Four mud crabs, three huge queen fish and five trevally! Totally amazing! Along with the market goods and the fruit and veg from the garden, we have been eating like Kings and Queens this week!

For this salad, because the banana flower is served raw, it is important that the banana flower is freshly picked. They can become much too bitter to eat when they have been off the plant for more than a day or two.

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Ingredients

1 large fresh banana flower, weighing 800g to 1kg

Juice of 1 lemon or lime

1 tsp salt

1 jicama, weighing 600-800g

4 spring onions, thinly sliced

1/2 cup fresh coconut flesh, grated

2 handfuls fresh coriander leaves

1 handful each fresh thai basil and mint leaves

1/2 cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

Dressing

2 tbs tamarind puree

Juice of 1-2 limes

2 tbs palm sugar, grated

2 tbs fish sauce

1 long red chilli, finely chopped

1 birdseye chilli, finely chopped

1 tbs fresh ginger, finely chopped

1/4 cup coconut cream

Red Spot Emperor Baked in Banana Leaves

1 kg whole Red Spot Emperor, gutted and scaled (you could also use red emperor, rock cod, snapper or trevally)

Banana leaves (or baking paper), for baking

2 cloves garlic

1 birdseye chilli

1 tbs fresh ginger

Juice of 1 lime

1 tsp salt

1 tsp palm sugar

1 tsp fish sauce

1/2 tsp sesame oil

Sliced spring onion, sliced chilli, coriander leaves, thai basil leaves and fresh lime wedges, to serve

Steamed rice or asian style rice cakes, to serve

Method

Line a large baking dish with banana leaves, leaving overhang to wrap the fish. Score the fish along both sides, just enough to let some flavour get in, but not down to the bone.

For the fish marinade,iIn a mortar and pestle, combine the garlic, chilli, ginger, lime juice, salt, sugar, fish sauce and sesame oil. Pour this over the fish, rubbing it into the cuts and a little into the cavity. Wrap the fish, finishing seam side down, and leave in the fridge to marinate for 30mins.

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celcius.

To prepare the banana flower, remove the dark outer leaves and discard or keep for decoration. Have a large bowl of water with the lime/lemon juice and salt ready. Start removing all of the leaves of the banana flower, discarding the small flowering stems that gather at the base (these are very bitter), and stack the leaves as you go to make them easy to slice up. Thinly slice the leaves widthways, 0.5cm, placing them in the bowl of water as you go. Leave them in the water while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Peel and thinly julienne the jicama (a mandolin is ideal). Strain the banana flower, try and remove as much water as you can. In a large bowl combine the jicama, banana flower, spring onions, coconut, coriander, thai basil, mint, and peanuts (reserving some herbs and peanuts for garnish). For the dressing, combine all of the ingredients and set aside until ready to serve.

Place the fish in the oven and cook for about 40mins. Remove from oven, cut open the banana leaves and place the fish on a serving platter, pour over any cooking juices. Scatter with the spring onion, herbs and chilli and place fresh lime wedges alongside.

Toss the salad dressing through the salad and sprinkle with reserved herbs and peanuts.

Serve with steamed rice or asian rice cakes.

Enjoy!