White Asparagus, Spring Onion and Chèvre Tart with Herb and Walnut Salad

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After six weeks in the craziness of Indonesia, landing in Europe has been an amazing experience. Coming from a place where the general hum is the sound of loud scooters and touting stallholders, we have found ourselves in a town so peaceful, even the church bells sound too loud. Although that could have something to do with it being next door….

We landed in Frankfurt and were immediately whisked away to this beautiful little town of Walldorf, the home of our amazing friend and her very generous family. I had to show our new friends here a youtube clip of the old children’s show, Postman Pat, as a way to explain how this town seems to me so far. Rolling green fields, farms selling seasonal produce, small pubs, fresh baked goods from the local bakery, old guys smoking and chatting on a park bench, and friendly ladies in the supermarket who were only too happy to help us choose between all of the different types of sour cream and milk.

It’s asparagus season here at the moment and the locals love it so much there is even an asparagus festival in a couple of weeks, I wish we were still going to be there for that, I could have entered the asparagus peeling contest!

White asparagus is favoured here and is sold in different grades, first grade being the straightest, whitest, not too thick and not too thin. This was, of course, what we bought from the farm that we visited, as well as some new season strawberries and radishes. We also got to go out into the field and have a go at picking some asparagus, it’s not an easy task and I can definitely appreciate why it is one of the more expensive vegetables. Mostly Polish people work the fields, backbreaking work for a couple of months a year, made worth it for them by the good pay. The lady that we met, and who showed us how to dig out the lovely white spears, has been coming here every year for twenty years!

After hardly getting the chance to cook while we were in Indonesia, I was jumping out of my skin with excitement to get back into the kitchen. And so excited to be able to cook for our generous hosts. I love making tarts and this one looked beautiful with the asparagus and the spring onions. You could use green asparagus if you can’t find white, just blanch it quickly rather than boiling it.

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Recipe

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups plain flour

150g cold butter, chopped

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg yolk

1 tbs cold water

400g white asparagus, peeled, ends trimmed off

100g white asparagus, peeled, ends trimmed off and shaved into ribbons

1 tbs white sugar

2 tbs salt

8 spring onions, peeled, cut to about 15cm lengths, and cut in half vertically

olive oil, for drizzling

100g gruyere cheese, finely grated

5 eggs

1 cup milk

100g chèvre (goats cheese), sliced into 5mm thick pieces

Bunch flat leaf parsley, leaves picked

Bunch dill, leaves picked

1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

Juice of half a lemon

1 tbs olive oil

salt and pepper

Method

For the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a large bowl, add the butter and use fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until mixture resembles sand. Add the egg yolk and the water. Mix with a spoon until the dough comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until just smooth, about 1min. Wrap in cling wrap and rest in the fridge for an hour.

Turn the pastry onto a lightly floured surface. Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out to a 3mm-thick disc. Grease and line the base of a round, fluted tart tin, with removable base (or any tart tin that you have). Line with the pastry, trim most of the excess but leave about 1/2cm of overhang to allow for shrinkage. Prick the base with a fork. Place in freezer for 30 minutes to rest.

Preheat oven to 200°C. Line the pastry case with non-stick baking paper. Fill with pastry weights or rice. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove paper and pastry weights or rice. Cook for a further 7 minutes or until golden. Set aside.

Place the spring onions on a lined baking tray, cut side up, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and cook, for about 20mins, or until golden and soft. Set aside.

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, add the sugar and salt. Add the 400g asparagus and cook for about 10-15mins, until just tender (time will depend on the thickness of the asparagus). Remove and set aside.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, gruyere, and milk with some salt and pepper. Pour mixture into tart case. Arrange the spring onions, boiled asparagus, and sliced goats cheese around the tart in a sort of clock design. Place in the oven and cook, for about 30mins, or until golden and firm in the middle. Remove and set aside for at least 10mins before serving.

While tart is cooking, prepare the salad.

In a bowl, place the 100g shaved asparagus and cover with boiling water. Allow to sit for a minute, strain, and refresh under cold water. Squeeze out excess water and return to the bowl along with the herbs. Add the lemon juice, olive oil and some salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Only add the walnuts just before serving.

To serve, add the walnuts to the salad and toss to combine. Top the tart with the salad if desired, or serve it alongside.

Enjoy!

 

 

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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!

 

 

 

 

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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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!

 

 

 

 

Palak Paneer (my version)

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See under the title of my blog it says, ‘food. experiences. experiments. recipes’… this was one of those experiments. So, please excuse this very unattractive curry. It may be the ugliest thing you’ve ever seen but man was it tasty!

The experiment part was the paneer, and although it wasn’t the first time I had made it, it was the first time I had used it in a curry. It is an incredibly easy cheese to make, but so far I had only used it in pies, and crumbled in salads. When I made this curry the paneer had only been setting in the fridge for a few hours, I think it would have had a better chance of staying in solid cubes if I had left it for twenty four hours, so that’s what I’ve suggested in this recipe. Alternatively you could use store bought paneer.

In the end, it was still really delicious, it just wasn’t the same as I’ve had it in Indian restaurants, but, that’s ok! I didn’t use the traditional spices and cream either, and I added chickpeas, so, maybe I shouldn’t really be calling it Palak Paneer, but, in the words of Kylie Kwong, it’s MY version of Palak Paneer. 😉

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Recipe

You will need to start this recipe the day before

Serves 4

Ingredients

Paneer

2L full cream milk
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp salt

Curry

300-350g spinach (I used a mixture of Brazilian and Baby Spinach)
2 long green chillies, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic (1 roughly chopped and 3 finely chopped)
1 Tbs fresh ginger, julienned, plus extra to serve
2 tbs coconut oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
1 brown onion, finely diced
2 bay leaves
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp curry powder
1 heaped tsp garam masala
400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
300g Paneer, cut into 2cm cubes
1/2 cup plain yoghurt, plus extra to serve
salt and pepper
Cherry tomato, cucumber and parsley salad, lemon wedges, and brown rice, to serve

Method
To make the paneer, place the milk in a large saucepan over medium heat. Heat, stirring, until foamy and steaming. Do not bring to the boil.
Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. You should see the curds separating from the whey almost immediately. Cover with a tea towel and set aside for 15 mins.
Strain the curds and whey through a sieve lined with muslin or a couple of fresh chux cloths. Bring the corners together and twist to push the whey out of the curds. You can also press down on it to really get the liquid out. Unwrap and stir in the salt. Bring together the corners and twist again and press out the last of the whey. Set the sieve in a bowl, place a small plate on top of the paneer, along with a couple of cans of food as weights. The sieve must be clear of the bottom of the bowl to allow any more liquid to drip out from the paneer. Place in the fridge overnight to set.
For the curry, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Prepare a large bowl with ice and water. Place the spinach in the boiling water, press down and cover with a lid. Remove from heat and let sit for 2mins. Strain the spinach and place in the ice water for 5mins.
Place the spinach in a blender, along with the 1 clove of roughly chopped garlic, the green chillies and the ginger. Blend until smooth (add a little water if necessary). Set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat the oil over a medium high heat. Add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds and cook, stirring until they begin to splutter, about 3mins.
Add the bay leaves and the onion. Cook until golden, about 5 mins. Add the remaining 3 garlic cloves and the tomatoes. Cook, stirring, until tomatoes break down, about 3mins.
Add the turmeric, curry powder, garam masala and chickpeas. Cook, stirring, for about 3mins, or until fragrant.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the spinach mixture. Heat, stirring, until nearly simmering. Add the yoghurt and stir through. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Add the paneer and very carefully stir through the sauce, being careful not to break it up too much. Turn off the heat and let sit for 10 mins before serving.
Serve with the brown rice, the salad, lemon wedges, extra ginger, extra yoghurt and a nice cold beer.

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Tamarind and Lime Pickled Leader Prawns with Green Papaya and Rambutan Salad

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Talk about being pushed out of my comfort zone, this week I spoke on live to air radio about cooking, my blog, local produce, and how I work with it in each place I visit. It all happened within a couple of hours. A phone call from the station, asking me whether I’d like to do it and a few questions about myself and what I’ve been doing, then, to answering a phone call at 3.20pm and waiting for the music to finish and the presenter to introduce me. He was relaxed and friendly, and once my nerves calmed down, it was really fun and an awesome experience. What a funny day that was.
Anyway, the whole reason for the segment was to advertise a competition run by the ABC to find regional recipes from around Australia to include in a Cookbook celebrating Australian cuisine and local produce.
So here is my entry! The tropical produce up here in darwin is so beautiful, I can’t get enough! I’ve used the local Leader prawns from the trawlers down at Francis Bay, green papaya from my friends garden, and the rambutans, onion, ginger, chillies, mint and limes from the Rapid Creek Market. With the rest of the ingredients form the local Asian Grocer, I didn’t even need to visit a large supermarket. Which makes me very happy!
I’ve been wanting to try these local Leader prawns since I first saw them, they are so massive, three of them was more than enough for me. However, they are really delicious, with a beautiful texture, made even more special by pickling them in this delicious marinade. You could use any prawns in this recipe through, and it would also work with fish or squid, just omit the blanching part of the process.
This is my third green papaya salad recipe for the blog, obviously, it’s just too delicious. Along with the sweet rambutans, the crunchy coconut, the tangy prawns and the big beautiful edible rice bowl. This is such an exciting meal, that’s impressive whilst still being really simple and easy. I hope you give it a try!

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Recipe

Serves 2

Ingredients

500g raw Leader prawns, or other large prawns such as King or Tiger
1 long red chilli, finely chopped
Juice of 3 limes
3cm piece ginger, chopped into tiny matchsticks
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp palm sugar
1 tsp tamarind puree
1 tsp fish sauce
salt and pepper
1 small papaya, julienned or grated
6 rambutans, peeled, quartered and de-seeded
1 small spanish onion, very finely sliced
1/2 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup toasted coconut chips
2 rice cakes with sesame seeds

Method

Peel and de-vien the prawns, leaving the tails on for presentation if desired.
Combine the chilli, lime juice, ginger, sesame oil, sugar, tamarind, fish sauce and salt and pepper in a shallow, non-reactive dish.
Bring a pot of water to the boil. Drop in the prawns and cook for 30secs, no longer. Strain and place in the dish with the marinade. Stir to combine and arrange so that all the prawns are submerged in the marinade. Cover and place in the fridge for 6 hours.
When ready to serve, toss together the papaya, rambutans, onion, and mint.
Cook the rice cakes, one at a time, in the microwave, on high for 1min.
To serve, divide the salad between the rice cakes. Top with the prawns, some of the marinade (this acts as the dressing), and sprinkle with the coconut chips.
Enjoy!

 

Ceviche with Avocado and Mango Salsa and Tortilla Chips (and my entry into a competition to win a foodie adventure to Sri Lanka)

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Since starting this blog a couple of years ago, I’m quite surpised at how far I’ve come, and how much I have learnt, all through the process of trial and error. I always strive for something better, new ideas, and inspiration. I don’t have a studio, or special lights, or a set of props, each place I cook in I use what is available to me, look for the best natural light and battle it out with the flies. Being on the road has been very beneficial, as I am constantly meeting new people, discovering new produce and being introduced to new opportunities. I’ve come to realise that there is no point in planning or worrying too much about what the future holds, or whether I am making the right decisions. Everything folds out the way it is meant to. And luckily enough for me, lately, it’s been folding out pretty nicely.
Opportunities have been popping up left, right and centre, from being part of the upcoming annual Darwin Banana Festival this weekend, where I have been hired as a ‘banana stylist’, to writing recipes and styling shots for a new Australian foodie mag, and, to the point of this blog post; my entry into a competition to win a trip to discover and document, the food, culture and experience of Sri Lanka.
I’m so grateful to all of my supporting friends, who are constantly letting me know of little competitions and advertisements they see on social media, that they think I might be interested in. I would have missed half of them, including this competition, if it wasn’t for them. It’s such a lovely feeling, getting older, and realising how lucky I am to have these beautiful, supportive, creative and genuine people in my life.
Regardless of whether I win a position in the Sri Lanka trip, it’s been a fantastic experience completing the entry. As with each blog post I do, I try to push myself for a new angle, and this one really got me out of my comfort zone. If you told me ten years ago that I would have the confidence to ask a bunch of near strangers (except you Mel), to sit on the beach and share a meal while I take photos of them, I would have said, no way! But, despite the very unfortunately times spurt of rain, everything went perfectly and we had a great time, not to mention the delicious food! It gives me confidence, and makes me excited, to know that, unlike my first trip overseas five years ago (where I was too shy), I will be able to photograph more and speak to the locals more about their traditions, culture, recipes, ingredients, etc.
I’ve included my short essays here that were part of the application. It was so hard to stay within the word limits!
Also, if you have a spare couple of minutes and would like to nominate my blog in the upcoming Saveur Magazine Best Food Blog Awards, it would be hugely appreciated, if you think it deserves a nomination that is! http://www.saveur.com/article/contests/blog-awards-2015-nominate

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Competition entry essays:

The Story Behind the recipe.

After a month in central Columbia, I was full to the brim with carbohydrate laden meals of rice, beans, potatoes, bread and meat. Thank goodness for the obligatory bowl of Aji on every table at even the smallest of roadside eateries, I drenched all my meals in this delicious homemade chilli salsa. I was itching to get to the coast.
So, with one last bowl of steaming, chicken feet soup at the bus station, we were on our way to Quito and then to a tiny coastal town called Canoa. We knew nothing about the place apart from the fact that it was a small surf town, famous for it’s slow paced, relaxed vibe.
After a rough overnight bus trip from Quito, we were finally approaching the coast. Morning rituals were getting underway, people riding to work, roadside stalls selling delicious treats and smiling school kids jumping on and off our bus.
We were exhausted, and starving, by the time we arrived in the main street of Canoa (a dirt road running the length of the beach). The beach was lined with little food shacks, shaded by Coco-Cola and Pilsner tarps. Each had a blackboard touting Ceviche, which we knew very little about. As far as I knew, maybe, it was some form of raw fish dish. But, as we had experienced so far on our trip, anything could be eaten at breakfast time, and we were too hungry to care. So, we picked one shack at random and sat down at the plastic table on the sand. Without having to order anything, we were brought two bowls of ceviche and some fried plantain. With a squeeze of fresh lime, and a tad of hesitation, we dug in. WOW! What a fresh and flavoursome bowl of food we had in front of us. The fish so soft and the lime so tangy, paired with a kick from some chilli sauce and the crunchy plantain chips. What a dish!
After that, we ate it at least twice a day for the week that we were there, but, as hard as we tried, we just couldn’t find that one shack where we had eaten our first. It was like it had disappeared, and no other could match it.

About me and why I should be chosen for the gig.

After years of studying art, architecture and teaching, feeling lost and unfulfilled, I finally saved enough money to travel overseas. I started with the Americas, backpacking and having my mind blown by the amazing traditions, landscapes, and people. It was on this trip, whilst working in a bar on the beach in a small fishing village in Peru (famous for it’s amazing tuna), that I came to the realisation that all I wanted to do for the rest of my life was cook. To never stop discovering ingredients, recipes and methods from all over the world, to cook meals that bring people together and make time stand still for a little while, whilst we all enjoy the fruits of the land and the labour of the people who love to cook with them.
Upon returning to Aus I was lucky enough to gain a position in a small cafe, that, over the two years that I helped to run the kitchen, has now turned into one of the most well known cafes in the Hunter.
With only a short stint in Europe in those two years, I decided that it was time to really hit the road. I sold most of what I owned, and have been travelling through Australia in a 4WD ever since, with an overseas ticket booked for April.
My foodblog has been an amazing creative outlet for me also. Something that has been forcing me to learn and discover new things about food and cooking, almost daily. Every meal I create, and every photo shoot I do, creates a new challenge for me. I never do the same thing twice. Discovery is my passion!

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Recipe

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

Ceviche
1kg white, firm fleshed fish, I used Robinson Bream
Juice from about 5 limes
1 cup coconut cream
1 tsp caster sugar
1 long red chilli, finley diced
Handful of coriander leaves, finely chopped
Salt and Pepper
Salsa
2 ripe but still firm avocados
1 large mango
1 long red chilli
1 spanish onion, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbs olive oil
Handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper
Tortilla chips (or plantain chips if you can get them), lime wedges, sliced chilli, chilli sauce, and salad leaves, to serve

Method
Make sure there are no bones in the fish. Slice fish into pieces about 3cm long and 5mm thick and place in a large, non-reactive bowl. In another bowl place the lime juice, coconut cream, caster sugar, chilli, and coriander. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Add to the bowl with the fish and stir well to combine. Cover and leave in the fridge for at least 4 hours, but no longer than 10 hours.
When nearly ready to serve dice the avocados and mango into 5mm pieces. Combine in a bowl with the other salsa ingredients and stir to combine, being careful not to mash the avocado too much.
Serve ceviche with the salsa, tortilla chips, lime wedges, chilli, chilli sauce and salad leaves.
Enjoy!

Chinese Five Spice Kangaroo and Kimchi Buns

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This is some serious ‘asian fusion’ food, if ever I had to use that phrase. Sticky, slow-cooked, chinese five spiced kangaroo meat, sandwiched into a delicious, puffy white bun along with a kick of kimchi coleslaw, fresh, crunchy cucumber, and some creamy mayo. Textural and flavoursome, they would be a great party starter, bun in one hand, drink in the other, and a whole load of conversation about kangaroo meat, how good it is, and how more people should be choosing it over other red meats in Australia.

Kangaroo meat is lean, full of iron, full of flavour, sustainable and cheap. What’s not to love! I don’t eat red meat very often, mostly for sustainability purposes, so kangaroo is a great option for me. This was the first time I’d tried slow cooking it, and I was unsure as to wether it would work, considering how lean it is. But it was perfect!

These lotus leaf buns are really special as well. Called so because of their shape, they are traditionally stuffed with pork belly. You should be able to find them in your local asian grocer, or, if you’re really adventurous, and have some time up your sleeve, you could try making them from scratch (I went for the quick option). If you can’t find them, I would recommend using small dinner rolls or other small soft white rolls. Cause you really have to try this!

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Recipe

Makes 20 buns

Ingredients

3 tbs peanut oil
1kg diced kangaroo
1 bunch spring onion, sliced
Large knob fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 long red chilli, finely chopped
6 garlic chives*, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bunch coriander, leaves, stems and roots, finely chopped
1 1/2 tbs chinese 5 spice powder
1 tsp szechuan peppercorns, ground
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbs dark soy sauce
3 tbs light soy sauce
2 tbs rice wine vinegar
1/2-3/4 cup beef stock
2 x 10 pack lotus leaf buns*
1/2 small wombok cabbage, finley sliced
1 small carrot, grated
6 small radishes, finely sliced
1 cup kimchi*, finley chopped
1 telegraph cucumber, cut into 5mm thick slices
Whole egg mayo, to serve

* Garlic chives, lotus leaf buns, and kimchi, can all be found at asian grocers

Method

Heat 1 tbs of the peanut oil in a large saucepan, over medium high heat. In two batches, brown the kangaroo quickly, stirring constantly, about 1min. Remove and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium, add the rest of the oil and cook the spring onion, ginger, chilli, garlic, and coriander, stirring, for about 2mins. Return the meat to the pan along with the chinese 5 spice, szechuan pepper, sugar, soy, vinegar and 1/2 cup beef stock. Stir to combine. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and cover.
Cook, stirring every 20mins or so for about 3 hrs.
Remove the lid and cook for another 30mins-1hr, stirring often and checking for a thick consistency. You will know it’s ready when you can break apart a piece of meat with the back of a wooden spoon against the side of the pan. During cooking, you can add more beef stock if the liquid seems too low, but remember you want the end result to be dry enough to go into the buns without dripping out too much. It should not be like a curry.
When ready, set aside to cool for 20mins.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the cabbage, carrot, radishes and kimchi, along with a tbs of the kimchi liquid. Stir to combine.
Just before serving, steam the buns, according to packet directions (I did them in the microwave). Keep them covered with cling wrap while assembling, to avoid them from drying out.
To assemble, open the bun, spread the top half with some mayonnaise, and on the bottom half put about 1/4 cup of kangaroo, some coleslaw, and a couple of slices of cumber. Serve with a napkins.
Enjoy!

Maple Roasted Pumpkin, Kale, Blue Vein and Wild Rice Salad with Pomegranate Molasses

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How awesome are vegetables! They are so versatile, exciting, colourful, textural, interesting, and above all, nourishing. I love treating my vegetables as the main point of a meal, all you need is a bit of love and a few extra touches, and the next thing you know you’ll be turning your humble piece of pumpkin thats been hiding at the bottom of your veggie draw, into a beautiful, shining, and delicious star!

I came across this Naranka Gold Pumpkin at the markets here, I’ve never seen it before, but, as I love to roast pumpkin with its skin on, I thought the look of this pumpkin’s golden skin was very enticing. Roasted to perfection with a hint of sweetness and citrus, it was absolutely delicious. Not to mention the nutty wild rice, the bursts of sweetness from the pomegranate, the earthiness of the kale and the strong scent of the blue vein. It is perfectly satisfying as a main meal but would also be great as part of a feast, along with roasted meats, spreads, other salads and breads. You could also replace the rice with quinoa and the blue vein with goats cheese or feta.

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Recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups blended black, red and brown rice

1/2 a small naranka gold pumpkin, about 800g-1kg, cut into thick 5cm wedges, seeds scraped out

1 tbs golden syrup

1 tbs lemon infused olive oil

1/2 cup mixed seeds, such as pepitas, sunflower and pine nuts, toasted

4 large kale leaves, about 120g, stems cut out and leaves finely shredded

Small red onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

Handful of fresh parsley and mint, roughly chopped

120g blue vein cheese. crumbled

Fruit from 1 fresh pomegranate

2 tbs pomegranate molasses

Splash of red wine vinegar and olive oil

Salt and pepper

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Line an oven tray with baking paper.

In a large bowl, toss the pumpkin with the lemon infused olive oil, maple syrup and some salt and pepper.

Lay the pieces of pumpkin in a single layer on the lined baking tray. Place in the oven and cook for about 45 mins, turning halfway, until golden and tender, crisp edges are good. Remove and allow to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Boil the rice until tender. Drain, and transfer to a large bowl to cool.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic until soft, about 5mins. Add the fennel seeds, cumin seeds, and kale, and continue to sauté for another 5mins. Add to the bowl with the rice, along with half of the toasted seeds, half of the pomegranate, the fresh herbs, a splash of red wine vinegar and olive oil, and some salt and pepper. Mix well.

Empty the rice mixture out onto a large serving plate. Top with the pumpkin, the rest of the seeds, the rest of the pomegranate, the blue vein, and a drizzle of pomegranate molasses.

Enjoy!