Beetroot Cured Salmon with Finger Lime, Horseradish Labna and Buckwheat Lavosh

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The last few months haven’t been easy for me. All of a sudden I had found myself in a completely new living environment, new job (that I didn’t really like), missing my mates and social life back in Newcastle, and feeling overall, a little bewildered at the huge changes. It was weird considering I find it so easy to travel to remote countries alone, meet new people and seek out new experiences. I think it was because I knew deep down that this is going to be my life for a good while now, not just a stepping stone to the next overseas adventure.
I’ve now come to realise that this IS a new adventure, it just doesn’t involve as many plane trips or passport stamps. I’m finally starting to gain the courage to admit what I really want. And I think this place may just help me to accomplish my goals.
With an open heart and mind I have now found myself in a new job, with beautiful, encouraging, and motivating people, who, after only one week, I feel so grateful to be a part of their business and excited for their future and mine.
I love the focus on local produce up here and the sense of sharing. Last Friday two people came in with gifts from their farms, including some beautiful finger limes. My mind immediately started racing with what I could do with them. Not surprisingly, after another 38 degree day, I firstly thought of an icy cold gin and tonic, topped with the little bursting finger lime vesicles and some juniper berries. After daydreaming about that for a while I then remembered this salmon dish that I made at Christmas, a recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver. The flavours worked perfectly together and I was also so happy with how the labna and lavosh turned out. It all looks very fancy and complicated but in fact is very easy, especially if you skip making your own lavosh and just buy some.
There were Hot Cross Buns in the supermarket the other day, so let’s just say I’m getting in here early with the perfect Easter recipe for you all.dsc_1454 dsc_1531 dsc_1537

Recipe

You will need to start this recipe 48hrs in advance

Serves 6 as an entree

Ingredients

Salmon

800g side salmon, pin boned, skin off

2 fresh beetroot, peeled and chopped

Juice of 2 limes

Juice of 2 lemons

3 juniper berries, bashed

5 tbs rock salt

2 tbs raw sugar

50ml gin

Labna

500g natural, thick greek yoghurt

1 tsp salt

1 clove garlic, finely grated

1 tsp finely grated fresh horseradish

Buckwheat Lavosh

1 tbs raw sugar

100g buckwheat

300g plain flour

30g butter, cubed

1 tsp salt plus extra

2 tsp fennel seeds

150g water

2 egg whites

To serve

3 finger limes, vesicles removed

4 baby cucumbers, thinly sliced

Bunch baby radishes, finely sliced

Baby herbs

Method

Start the labna 48hrs prior to serving.

To make the labna, in a large bowl, combine the yoghurt, salt, garlic and horseradish and stir well to combine. Place in a colander lined with a double layer of cheesecloth, over a large bowl. Bring the edges of the cheesecloth together and twist to wrap the yoghurt tightly. Place 2 or 3 tins of beans (or whatever) on top and place in the fridge to set.

Start curing the salmon 24hrs prior to serving.

To cure the salmon, place all the ingredients, except the salmon, in a food processor and process until smooth.

Place the salmon in a baking dish and pour over the beetroot cure. Spread it evenly to coat both sides of the salmon.

Place a piece of baking paper over the salmon and tuck in snuggly around the salmon. Cover tightly with a double layer of cling wrap and place in the fridge for 24hours. No longer.

For the buckwheat lavosh, pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius  and line 3 to 4 baking trays with baking paper.

Combine the flours, sugar, salt and fennel seeds in a bowl. Add the butter and use finger tips to rub into the flour.

Add the water and 1 of the egg whites and stir to bring together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.

Cut the dough into 12 pieces and use a pasta machine to roll until 2mm thick (or use a rolling pin).

Place on to prepared trays and brush with the remaining egg white and sprinkle with a little cracked salt.

Bake, in batches, for about 20mins, or until golden and crisp (keep and eye on it!)

Remove from oven and allow to cool.

When ready to serve, remove the salmon from the cure and gently wash off any excess with as little water as possible.

Remove the labna from the cheesecloth and put into a serving bowl.

Thinly slice the salmon across the grain and arrange on a serving platter along with the radish, cucumber, baby herbs and finger lime vesicles. Serve alongside the lavosh and labna.

Enjoy!

 

 

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Moroccan Seafood Stew with Pearl Cous Cous and Harissa Cream

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When Lisa contacted me and said she was in Aus and would love to do a collaboration shoot with me, I knew it would be a fun day. Having not seen Lisa for five years, we had a lot to catch up on, but, after only a couple of minutes it was like those five years had been just five days. When you have friends like that, time and space don’t seem to matter.

We initially planned to do an outdoor, bush tucker cook-up, to help showcase the Primus gear that Lisa needed to shoot. But, due to one of the biggest storms to hit the East coast in years, flooding, wind and rain found us doing a cute little set-up in my backyard. It was really great working with another passionate foodie and photographer, and not to mention Daniel’s amazing fire-starter skills to keep us warm and set the scene.

The stew was one of the tastiest things I have ever eaten, everyone was really impressed by it yet it was so easy to make. You could use whatever seafood you like, or even change it to meat and vegetables. The flavours were amazing, especially the sauce soaked up with some nice thick sourdough. It also matched really well with the pearl cous cous salad, I love the texture of those little beads.

I also roasted some whole cauliflower in the fire. I haven’t included a recipe here as it is very straightforward. Just rub the whole cauliflower with some olive oil, salt and your favourite spices (I used cumin and sumac). Wrap in foil and cook in the fire or a hot oven for about 20mins, or until tender. It’s delicious dipped in the harissa cream…

Good company, cute set-up, delicious food, a few drinks and a little bit of work. It was a fun day!

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Recipe (adapted from Valli Little)

Serves 8

Moroccan Seafood Stew

Ingredients

Olive oil

2 brown onions, sliced

4 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tbs fresh ginger, grated

2 tbs ras el hanout (spice blend, available in good spice stores)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp harissa paste

2 x 400g can crushed tomatoes

1L chicken or veg stock

1 kg seafood marinara mix

1 kg mussels

2 salmon steaks, cubed

2 x 400g cans chickpeas, drained

2 tsp honey

Fresh coriander and toasted almonds to serve

Method

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium to high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, for 2 mins or until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a further 1min. Add as el hanout, cinnamon, harissa, tomato, chickpeas, honey and stock. Reduce heat to medium low, cook for 10 mins, or until slightly reduced. Add marinara mix, salmon and mussels. Cook for about 10mins, without stirring too much to avoid breaking up the fish. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Top with fresh coriander and flaked almonds.

Serve with cous cous and harissa cream.

Pearl Cous Cous (a rough idea, amounts were not measured on the day)

Ingredients

Pearl cous cous (cooked to packet instructions in chicken or vegetable stock)

Olive oil

Lemon juice

White wine vinegar

Honey

Dried parsley

Fresh coriander

Sultanas

Kalamata olives, sliced

Salt and pepper

Flaked almonds, toasted

Method

Combine all ingredients except for the almonds. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Place in serving bowl and top with almonds just before serving.

Harissa Cream

Ingredients

2 red capsicums, roasted, skin removed

200ml sour cream

2 tbs harissa paste

1 tsp lemon juice

salt

Method

Using a stick blender or in a small processor, blend the capsicum, Harissa paste and lemon juice together until smooth. In a bowl, combine the capsicum mixture with the sour cream. Add a little salt to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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Creamy Champagne Prawns with Leek and Thyme

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IMG_4163 IMG_4238 IMG_4250I made this dish while we were staying in a cute little apartment in the middle of Paris. I started the day wanting to make Champagne Mussels, a popular French dish, but couldn’t find mussels anywhere. In the end I was glad I ended up with these beautiful tiger prawns instead. The flavours in this dish are really delicious, and made even more perfect when soaked up with some fresh buttered baguette. People in France really do buy baguettes every single day! I found a new appreciation for fresh white bread and butter while we were there, a treat I decided to leave in Paris as my shorts are starting to feel a little tight…

Warning, this meal can get a bit messy. Either have some good napkins on hand, or, peel the prawns, leaving the tail on, before you cook them.

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Recipe

Serves 4 as an entree

Ingredients

500g raw tiger prawns

2 tbs olive oil

1 leek, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 tbs fresh thyme leaves

2 bay leaves

500ml champagne

1/2 tsp curry powder

1 tbs dijon mustard

200ml cream

salt and pepper

Handful fresh parsley, finely chopped

Fresh baguette and butter, to serve

Method

In a large, deep frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the leek and cook, stirring, for 5-10mins, until soft. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for a further 2mins. Add the zest, juice, thyme, bay leaves, champagne, curry powder and mustard. Bring to the simmer and cook for about 10mins, or until thickened and reduced.

Add the prawns and cook, adding a little water if necessary, for about 3mins or until just cooked. Add the cream, salt, pepper and parsley and cook for a further 1min.

Serve with the baguette and butter.

Enjoy!

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

Crunchy Nut Fish with Wasabi Mayo and Veggie Chips

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This is a funky recipe, shown to me by an awesome guy we have been staying with, it’s not often I’ll take a shortcut like this when preparing food, but I thought this little trick was too good not to share. I’ve heard of using crushed salt and vinegar chips as a crumb for fish, but never had I seen this before! Crunchy Nut Cornflakes are the star here, they lend a subtle sweetness and perfect crunch to the outside of the deliciously soft fish. I didn’t actually know what I was eating at the time, until I later asked him what he had used in the crumbs, I was shocked! I asked if he wouldn’t mind me using his idea and sharing it on my blog. And at the time I had all intentions of making my own crunchy nut crumb, but then I thought, hey, why change something that already rocks! So, for the first time in my life I bought a box of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, of which Benny has been enjoying the leftovers of for breakfast the last couple of days!!

We shared this meal with some friends down at the beach, trying to make the most of our last week in Darwin. Now that we are about to leave I’m ashamed of myself that we haven’t had way more sunset beach picnics. Time flies by so fast, it’s scary. One good thing about having a life like we do at the moment is that we really do live each day to the next without ever really knowing what might happen next, but the days still seem to melt away….

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Recipe

Ingredients
800g trevally (or other firm white fish), de-boned and cut into 10cm pieces
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbs whole egg mayonnaise
2 tbs plain yoghurt
1 tsp hot english mustard
salt and pepper
300g crunchy nut cornflakes, finely crushed in a mortar and pestle or food processor
Coconut oil, for shallow frying
2 medium red rascal potatoes, skin left on, cut into thick chips
1 large, white skin, purple flesh, sweet potato, skin left on, cut into thick chips
2 beetroot, peeled, cut into thick chips
Olive oil
Lemon wedges and a simple green salad to serve, if desired
Wasabi Mayo
4 tbs whole egg mayonnaise
4 tbs plain yoghurt
Juice of half a lemon
2-3 tsp wasabi paste

Method
For the fish, in a large, non-reactive bowl, combine the garlic, mayonnaise, yoghurt, mustard and salt and pepper. Add the fish and stir to coat. Cover and leave in the fridge for half an hour to marinate.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celcius. Prepare two baking trays with baking paper. In one large bowl, toss the potato and sweet potato with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread onto one tray. In the same bowl, toss the beetroot with some more olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread onto the other tray. (Keeping them separate will prevent the beetroot from staining the other vegetables).
Place in the oven and bake for 40-50mins or until golden and crunchy on the edges.
Meanwhile, for the wasabi mayo, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and use a whisk to thoroughly combine. Leave in the fridge until ready to serve.
To cook the fish, heat some coconut oil in a large, non-stick frying pan, over medium high heat. Place the crushed cornflakes in a bowl. Coat each piece of fish in the cornflakes, pressing into the fish firmly to coat.
Fry the fish pieces, about 2mins per side, until golden and crunchy. Drain on paper towel.
Serve the fish with a sprinkle of salt, the veggie chips, lemon wedges and wasabi mayo.
Enjoy!

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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!

 

 

 

 

Chilli Mud Crab

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Have you ever had one of those days where you want to throw yourself on the floor and have a massive tantrum like a lollipop denied three year old in the grocery store? Well, this is my third day running of one of those kinds of days….and i’m hoping, for the sake of my boyfriend’s ability to stand anymore of my foul mood, that bad things happen in threes. Mind you. These are all very much first world problems, but hey, this is my blog and I’ll cry if I want to.

Aside from visa applications, bank issues, flight issues, and the stress of selling our car with one week to go, all of my problems have mainly been technology based. So much so that I would love to grab one of those crab claws and violently punch it through the screen of my computer, camera, mobile phone and any other device that may get in my way. If there was such a person as ‘Mac’, he would be feeling the wrath of my crab claws (this, of course would be after we had demolished the delicious flesh from them).
OK, rant over.
Let’s talk about something great. This dish. It was my first time trying Mudcrab, a must up here in Darwin. And made all the better by the fact that they were caught by my boyfriend and his mate. I’d heard a lot about Chilli crab, and the many ways in which people up here insist is the best way to prepare it. So, with a few recommendations from friends and some twists of my own, that night we were getting down and dirty with these tasty creatures.
You could use any shellfish in this sauce, just make sure you’ve got lots of crusty white bread to mop up all the juices. Oh, and something to wipe your hands on.

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Recipe

Ingredients
2 mudcrabs (how to prepare your mud crab)
2 tbs peanut oil
8 garlic chives, finely chopped
2 long red chillies and 2 birdseye chillies, finely chopped
3cm piece ginger, finely chopped
2 lemongrass stalks, bashed and tied into a knot (to be removed after cooking)
4 spring onion, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
2 tsp coconut vinegar
1 tbs fish sauce
1/2 cup tomato sauce/ketchup
1/2-1 cup water
1 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs cornfour, mixed with 2 tbs water
Salt and pepper
2 handfuls of fresh coriander leaves and 1 handful of thai basil leaves
Crusty white bread or steamed rice to serve
Method
In a large wok, heat the oil over high heat. Add the garlic chives, chillies, ginger, lemongrass and spring onion and cook, stirring for about 2 mins. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, for another minute.
Add the vinegar, fish sauce, tomato sauce, 1/2 cup of water, brown sugar, and cornflour mixture, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring for about 5 mins. If sauce seems too thick, add more water. Taste and add salt and pepper, if necessary.
Add your prepared mud crab and stir to coat in the sauce. Cover and cook, stirring often for about 10-15 minutes, or until flesh is cooked. Stir through most of the coriander and thai basil, reserving some to sprinkle over at the end.
Serve with bread or rice and some cracking tools if you have them.