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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Indonesian Seafood Curry

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Indonesian Seafood Curry, so called because I made it in Indonesia with ingredients from the local market, definitely not because it is an authentic Indonesian curry. Still delicious as anything though!

I’ve been a bit slack on social media of late. Caught up in the shoeless island life. Sun, sea, fish bbq and countless margaritas…it’s been bliss.

Use this curry paste with any veggies, tempeh, tofu, eggs, seafood or meat. It would also work with rice instead of noodles. I’ll be posting a recipe for a jackfruit curry using the same curry paste soon.

Use less chillies if you aren’t up for a hot curry!

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Recipe

Ingredients

Curry Paste (makes about 3 cups)

1 red onion, peeled and chopped

10cm piece ginger, peeled and chopped

10 birdseye chillies

6 kaffir lime leaves

4 lemongrass stalks, white and pale green parts, peeled and chopped

Bunch fresh coriander, leaves, stalks and roots, washed and chopped

Whole bulb garlic, peeled and chopped

1/2 cup tamarind pulp

80g palm sugar

6 limes, juiced

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp turmeric powder

3 tsp coriander

2 tsp cumin

2 tsp salt

1/4 cup coconut oil

Curry

1 tbs sesame oil

1 1/2 cups curry paste

1 litre coconut cream

2 cups chicken or veg stock

3 tbs fish sauce

Bunch snake beans, chopped (about 2 cups)

3 asian eggplant, sliced into 3cm rounds

12 spears baby corn

2 bok choy, quartered

500g prawns

To serve

Cooked rice vermicelli

Fresh shallots, chopped

Fried shallots

Fresh coriander

Beansprouts

Chilli sambal

Method

In a large wok, heat the sesame oil over medium to high heat. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, for about 1min until fragrant. Add the coconut cream, stock, fish sauce, beans, eggplant and corn. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened and vegetables are just tender, about 10mins. Add water if necessary.

Add the bok choy and prawns and cook for a further 3mins or until prawns are just cooked.

Serve curry in bowls over the cooked noodles and top with the fresh and fried shallots, coriander, beansprouts and sambal on the side.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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!