Creamy Kabocha Squash Dip with Kale, Nashi Pear, Chilli and Cashew Topping

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Dips are one of my favourite things to make, it’s so easy to make a different variation every time, depending on what you have available. I also like the challenge of making them super healthy but equally as delicious as a naughty, creamy, oily, cheesy dip you might buy from the supermarket. So many of the so called ‘healthy’ dips you can buy, like hummus and babaganoush can have very high levels of oil in them. When I make dips, sauces and pestos at home I try to use water and vinegar where possible and usually it turns out just as delicious. Sometimes just a drizzle of oil on top of the finished product is all you need.

The kabocha squash I used in this dip is a type of asian squash that is abundant in the markets here at the moment, but you could use any type of pumpkin you like, butternut would work well. You could also use green apple or a firm green pear in place of the nashi pear.

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Recipe

Ingredients

1kg kabocha squash, cut into wedges, skin left on, seeds removed

1/4 cup coconut nectar or maple syrup

1 tbs sesame oil

1 whole bulb garlic, cloves separated

salt

150ml coconut cream

1/4 cup tahini paste or cashew butter

Juice of half a lemon

1 tsp curry powder

2 large leaves of kale stem removed, finely shredded

1/2 nashi pear, julienned

1 long red chilli, finely sliced

handful of fresh herbs such as lemon basil, mint and coriander

1 tsp olive oil

juice of 1/2 a small lime

handful of roasted cashews

Brown rice crackers, to serve

Method

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Line an oven tray with baking paper. Place the squash in an even layer on the tray, along with the garlic and drizzle with half of the coconut syrup, sesame oil and sprinkle with salt.

Roast in the oven for about 45mins or until very tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Scoop the flesh from the squash into a food processor (reserve the skins for a roast vegetable salad or just to snack on, they are delicious). Squeeze the garlic from the skins and add to the pumpkin along with the rest of the coconut syrup, coconut cream, tahini, lemon juice and curry powder. Process until combined and smooth. Check for seasoning and add salt if necessary. Spoon out into a wide, shallow bowl.

In another bowl add the kale, nashi pear, chilli, herbs, olive oil, lime juice and a pinch of salt. Use your hands to combine and slightly massage the kale to soften it.

Spoon on top of the dip and sprinkle with the cashews.

Serve with brown rice crackers or scoops of choice!

Enjoy!

 

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Tempeh Burgers with Chilli Beetroot Relish, Tahini Sauce, Salad and Seeds on Pumpkin Bread

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Tempeh is possibly one of the best things on the face of this earth. It is so damn tasty and so damn good for you (except for maybe when you fry it up all crispy in oil….)

The flavour of tempeh on it’s own is delicious already, but, teamed with a few spices and some sweet and salty sauces, it is next level. All shoved in a dripping burger full of fresh salad, spicy beetroot relish and nutty tahini sauce, you definitely won’t be missing meat after this meal.

I love how readily available and cheap the tempeh is here in Bali. I’ll definitely be missing that back in Aus. I need to get into making myself. We bought the beautiful pumpkin bread and fresh produce from the organic markets here in Canggu on the weekend, always a treat!

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Recipe

Ingredients

4 pumpkin bread rolls (or whatever type you prefer)

1/4 cup coconut oil (or other cooking oil)

4 pieces tempeh, halved horizontally

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tsp ground turmeric

Lettuce leaves

Tomatoes, sliced

Red onion, thinly siced

Bean sprouts

Cucumber, sliced

Toasted sunflower seeds

Fresh coriander

Chilli Beetroot Relish

Ingredients

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp crushed black pepper

1 tsp dried chilli flakes

1 tbs olive oil

1 red onion, finely diced

6 cloves garlic, crushed

Thumb side piece of ginger, grated

5 birdseye chillies, finely chopped

3 fresh beetroot (small fist sized), peeled and grated

2 cups white vinegar

2 litres water

salt to taste

Tahini Sauce

Ingredients

3 cloves garlic, crushed

4 tbs tahini

1 tbs coconut syrup (or maple syrup/golden syrup/honey)

3 tbs lemon juice

water

salt and pepper

Method

To make the beetroot relish, first, toast the cumin, coriander, pepper and dried chilli in a dry frying pan for about 1min, stirring constantly, until fragrant. Remove from pan and set aside.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion, stirring, for about 3mins, or until soft. Add the garlic, ginger and chillies, and cook, stirring, for a further 1min. Add the toasted spices, beetroot, vinegar, some salt and 2 cups of the water. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally and adding a cup of water at a time as it reduces. Continue this for about nd hour and a half until beetroot is very soft and liquid is mostly absorbed. Spoon hot relish into sterilised jars and seal. Keep in the fridge after opening. Makes about 3 cups.

Meanwhile, to marinate the tempeh, in a shallow dish sprinkle the tempeh with the soy sauce and turmeric. Rub to coat evenly and allow to marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

To make the tahini sauce, combine the tahini, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add a tablespoon of water at a time until desired consistency is reached.

To make the burgers, heat the coconut oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over medium to high heat. Cook the tempeh, about 2 mins each side, until browned and crispy.

Toast the buns if you wish. Assemble the burgers with as little or as much ingredients as you want!

Enjoy with a side of potato wedges and cold beer!

 

 

Tempeh and Mushroom Fritters with Pickled Cucumber and Chilli Sambal

DSC_0704DSC_0675DSC_0693DSC_0666DSC_0659I’ve finally escaped the Australian East Coast winter and am lucky enough to again be in the warm and welcoming arms of Bali. It’s been a week now since we arrived and we are finally starting to feel like we are away from it all. Our jobs, families, responsibilities good and bad. I always struggle in the first week to let it all go and allow myself yo relax. I straight away start to come up with ideas and projects and then struggle between the guilt of not getting onto them straight away and allowing myself to have a break.

So, I’ve started slow with a couple of little recipes and shoots this week. All enjoyed by the poolside at the end of the day, so really, not too stressful…..

The local market here in Canggu is great for seasonal and cheap produce, it’s a hectic motorbike ride along a busy road to get there so we always try and get as much as we can carry back. I haven’t had the guts to carry a pumpkin on the bike yet but will sometime soon!

These little fritters were a delicious afternoon treat with some cold drinks and jumps in the pool. You can serve them like this or alongside some rice and salad for a more substantial meal. I used button mushrooms here but shitake would be even better. Corn kernels would also work well. If you can’t find Cassava flour, chickpea flour would be a fine substitute.DSC_0710DSC_0715DSC_0718DSC_0653Recipe

Mushroom and Tempeh Fritters

Ingredients

800g tempeh, chopped into 1cm cubes

10 shallots, finely sliced

500g mushrooms

2 1/2 cups cassava flour

1 lemon, zest and juice

1-2 cups water

2 tsp ground coriander

1 large thumb ginger, grated

4 tbs soy sauce

salt and pepper

Handful fresh coriander, chopped

Canola oil for shallow frying

Method

Combine all of the ingredients, except the water, in large bowl. Add one cup of the water and stir to combine, add the rest of the water as needed, until mixture sticks together but isn’t too wet.

Heat the oil in a wok, about 5cm deep. Test it is hot enough by seeing if a cube of bread turns golden in about 20secs.

Fry heaped tablespoons of mixture, in batches, turning frequently, until dark golden brown. Don’t be put off by how dark they go, they need to cook in the middle. Test one if you need.

Drain on paper towel, sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve with samba and pickled cucumber.

Pickled Cucumber

Ingredients

1 small or half a large telegraph cucumber, halved lengthways, seeds scraped out and finely chopped

Handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 cup white vinegar

2 tbs white sugar

salt and pepper

Method

Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix well until sugar dissolves. Refrigerate for at least 20mins, or until needed.

Chilli Sambal

Ingredients

2 brown onions, peeled and chopped

1 whole bulb garlic, cloves peeled and chopped

2 large thumbs ginger, peeled and chopped

10 birdseye chillies

4 stalks lemongrass, white and pale green parts chopped

4 tomatoes, chopped

3 tbs palm sugar

1/4 cup vinegar

juice of 5 small limes

1 tbs fish sauce (optional)

salt and pepper

Method

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Check for seasoning and adjust to suit.

Keep in a jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

 

 

 

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.

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!

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

Oysters with Pickled Cucumber (and a note on how to make a ‘Japanese Slipper’)

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I understand the appeal of oysters, there is something wild and exciting about eating a creature like this, freshly shucked and still alive, smelling of the ocean as you tip it up to your lips…..

and then…
salty snot.

I’m sorry. I really am. I feel terrible that I can’t fully appreciate them yet. I’m getting there though. A friend recently introduced me to what she called the “Japanese Slipper”, consisting of soy, wasabi, pickled ginger and lime. I loved the flavour at first but it’s that creaminess towards the end that i’m still getting used too. Apparently this is the most sought after part!
So, after having the Japanese Slipper, and not totally hating it, I also tried a bit of a pickled cucumber dressing as well. The dressing is delicious and according to my guests, the oysters were as well.
After all, I love the ocean and appreciate everything that comes from it. I’m sure I will love oysters one day. I will never stop trying that’s for sure!
I haven’t included a recipe here for the Japanese Slipper oysters, but they are really easy, just mix some soy sauce and wasabi together, pour about a teaspoon on each oyster, top with some pickled ginger and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Note; they also pair nicely with an icy cold glass of Frangelico and Lime.

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Recipe

Makes 12

Ingredients

12 freshly shucked oysters
130g cucumber, de-seeded, very finely chopped
1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
1/4 spanish onion, very finely chopped
Juice of 2 limes
1 tbs coconut vinegar
1 tbs caster sugar
Pinch dried chilli flakes
salt and pepper

Method

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients, except for the oysters. Stir well and leave to pickle in the fridge for at least an hour.
When ready to serve, place about a tbs of pickled cucumber dressing on each oyster. Serve with extra lime wedges, if desired.

Seafood Laksa (kind of)

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This is another favourite from the weekend markets here in Darwin, each stall has their own recipe; all equally delicious. I wouldn’t ever claim this to be anywhere near an authentic replica, I used a lot of what I had on hand, and also tried to use a little less oil compared to the traditional recipes. I love this dish for that reason though, so long as you have a few of the key elements, you will no doubt be able to produce a delicious meal.

Another awesome part about this dish is that half of the elements don’t even get added until the very end, so, by putting all of these ingredients out on the table, you not only make for a colourful and exciting table full of food, you also allow people to top their soups in whichever way they choose. This is a great way of catering for a mix of, meat eaters, seafood lovers/haters, and vegetarians. To the list of toppers I have included in this recipe, you could also add; shredded chicken, boiled egg, cucumber, carrot, cabbage…anything you think might be nice.

One more awesome thing…. it’s incredibly delicious as a cold dish the next day; if you manage to keep any leftovers that is!

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Laksa Paste

Ingredients

1 1/2 tbs dried shrimp, soaked in 1/2 cup boiling water for 10 mins

1 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp turmeric

2 long red chillies

2 birdseye chillies

3cm piece fresh ginger, peeled, diced

1 red onion, peeled, diced

2 stalks lemongrass, white and pale green part, diced

2 cloves garlic, peeled, diced

10 roasted cashews

2 tsp roasted shrimp paste

1 tsp peanut oil

Method

In a frying pan, over medium high heat, dry fry the spices for about 1-2mins, stirring constantly, until fragrant. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and grind into powder.

Place the spices and the soaked shrimp, along with the soaking water, and all the remaining ingredients into a small food processor or a bowl deep enough to process with a stick blender. Process until a smooth paste forms.

Transfer to a jar and keep refrigerated. It will last about 1 -2 weeks.

Seafood Laksa

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 tbs peanut oil

12 large green prawns, peeled (reserved), de-viened, tails left on

1/2 cup laksa paste

6 cups fish/chicken/or vegetable stock

400ml coconut cream

250g firm tofu, cubed

250g green beans, trimmed and halved

1 tsp coconut sugar

1 tbs fish sauce

Juice of 1 lime

salt and pepper

500g firm white fish fillet, cut into 4cm cubes

200g vermicelli noodles

200g wide rice noodles

Bean sprouts, spring onion, chilli, coriander, mint, thai basil, fried shallots, roasted peanuts, lime wedges, to serve

Method

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium high heat. Fry the reserved prawn shells for about 3 mins, until they turn red. Remove with a slotted spoon, leaving as much oil in the saucepan as possible.

Add the laksa paste to the saucepan and cook, stirring, for 2-3 mins.

Add the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium, add the coconut cream and bring to the simmer. Add the tofu, beans, sugar, fish sauce, lime juice and some salt and pepper and allow to simmer for 10-15mins.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan of boiling water, cook the rice noodles and vermicelli, cooking the thicker ones first for about 2 mins, then adding the vermicelli for about 1 min. Strain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.

Add the fish and prawns to the laksa. Turn off the heat and allow to gently cook through for about 5-8mins.

Divide the noodles between the serving bowls. Top with the laksa, ensuring even distribution of ingredients.

Top with remaining ingredients as desired.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bruschetta with Heirloom Tomato, Basil and Balsamic or Marinated Zucchini, Goats Cheese and Mint.

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We just spent nearly a week in Cairns, I didn’t really want to leave! Life there is so focused on being outdoors, there is a fantastic energy in the city centre, as well as a beautiful relaxed vibe just a few minutes down the road in the smaller, beach side suburbs. We spent days lying in the sun, reading, fishing and putting some final touches on the 4WD.
We have four storage drawers under the bed; one entirely dedicated to spices, as well as a set of shelves on one side, holding all my oils and sauces. A bit ridiculous I know but I’m so inspired by all the beautiful ingredients I’ve been getting that I just have to keep cooking! And considering I had to say goodbye to eighty percent of my cooking equipment and ingredients when we decided to live out of our car, I’m pretty happy with what I’ve still been managing to come up with.
We stopped in beautiful Port Douglas yesterday to meet up with some friends for a picnic. I had been to the farmers’ markets in Cairns the day before and had bought some beautiful produce, including these unbelievably sweet heirloom tomatoes, huge zucchinis and big bunches of fresh herbs.
These bruschettas are so simple, and could easily be jazzed up with some extras like bocconcini or anchovies on the tomato ones and some pine nuts on the zucchini ones. I love the freshness of the quickly marinated vegetables though, i find them so much more delicious than the oily marinated ones you find in delis and from the jar. The key here is good, fresh ingredients, nice bread, well toasted and definitely don’t forget to rub it with the cut garlic clove while it’s still hot; the taste is superb and not to mention the smell!

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Recipe

Serves 6 as a starter

Ingredients
1 long baguette
4 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half

Tomato Bruschetta
A few handfuls of heirloom tomatoes, sliced into bite size pieces
1/2 spanish onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1/2 cup basil leaves, torn, small leaves reserved for presentation
Drizzle of balsamic vinegar
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Zucchini and Goat’s Cheese Bruschetta
1 large zucchini, thinly sliced
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 cup goats cheese
1 long red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced
1/2 cup mint leaves, torn
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Method
Combine the zucchini, vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper in a bowl or jar and toss well to combine. Leave for at least 30 mins to marinate.
Combine the tomatoes, onion, olives, basil, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper and toss to combine. Leave for about 10 mins.
For he baguette, slice into pieces as big as you would like. Toast under a grill, on a bbq, in a toaster, etc. Once golden brown, rub well with the cut side of the garlic clove, you will be able to smell the aroma of the garlic as long as the bread is still hot.
For the tomato bruschettas, top half of the toasts with the tomato mixture and sprinkle with the reserved basil leaves.
For the zucchini bruschettas, spread the toasts with the goats cheese. Top with the zucchini, layered with the mint leaves. Sprinkle with the chilli and drizzle with lemon when ready to serve.