I love to cook and I love to travel, so my ideal trip includes the chance to learn a new recipe from another part of the world.
However, I’m useless at following them closely which is why I can’t bake because they are way to precise for me! So this post is all about getting our work/life balance happening with healthy eating (all things in moderation, right?) and enjoying the process of throwing tastes together (you’ll note I’m a bit vague on measurements because it varies each time!) to eat with friends and family.
Here are some of my favourite recipes I’ve picked up on my travels that are easy and delicious to make:
- Chilli coconut Prawns from Fiji
- Pulled Pork sliders from Memphis
- Poisson Cru from Tahiti (or ceviche or kokonda, depending on where you are!)
- Crab meat flat bread from California
- Guacamole from Mexico
- Macadamia nut cream sauce from Australia
Chilli coconut prawns from Fiji
I was staying at the Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort and was lucky enough to meet the head chef and get behind the scenes in one of the cooking classes they offer. We made this easy peasy chilli, coconut and lime prawns and I’ve made it several times at home since.
Tiger prawns x 8 (tails on or off)
Kaffir lime leaves
150ml coconut milk
15gm chilli jam (1 tbsp maybe? Add this to taste. Sweet chilli sauce can also work, but it will make the dish very sweet. I now combine a little chilli with sweet chilli to suit my taste)
10gm chopped onions (1 whole is about right)
5gm garlic paste (it looked like about a tbs to me)
salt & pepper to taste
In a pan saute onion, garlic and add the prawns. Add chilli followed by the coconut milk, tear the lime leaves and throw in. Simmer till prawns cook and the sauce thickens. Adjust seasoning to taste (more coconut milk if chilli is too strong. We also added lime juice to take some heat of the chilli)
Serve with rice (I love the crunch of brown rice). I also wilt spinach leaves over them in the pan to add some veggies!
Pulled pork sliders from Memphis
I was in Memphis last year and made my way to Central BBQ to learn how to make southern style pulled pork. I have made this at home a few times now and sometimes serve it with winter veges, but this time I think sliders is fun.
Buy a pork shoulder and liberally coat the meat (not the skin) with a hot (or medium), dry spice rub. Let it sit for 6-8 hours in the fridge (overnight) so those spices really work their magic.
The next day put the pork into a roasting dish and slow cook it for about 8 hours on 120C, covered with foil. This will create the fab juices that you will pour over it once you pull it apart.
Remove the foil with about 2 hours to go to crisp up the “bark”, then discard the skin and pull the meat apart using 2 forks.
Serve with small slider buns and a side of spicy baked beans or coleslaw!
Poisson Cru from Tahiti
Known as cerviche in South America, this recipe is so easy and so delicious you can whip it up anywhere, any time.
• Use fresh white fish (preferably straight off the hook!) filleted and diced into cubes.
• Put into a large mixing bowl and add coconut milk (when you’re in the Pacific you’ll just use a coconut from the tree, but at home fresh from the can is fine!)
• Add lemon juice, diced tomatoes, finely sliced red onion, diced cucumber and you can add grated carrot (they do in Tahiti) if you wish.
• Throw over a liberal sprinkle of sea salt to “cook the fish”, mix together and voila!
Serve with crusty bread.
Crab flat bread from California
This little wonder arrived on my table at a restaurant in California. Of course you could use pizza bases or pita bread, but I do like flat bread.
Bake it with finely sliced red onions and shaved parmesan cheese on top for a crispy base.
Mix about 400 grams of crab meat (or crayfish or shrimps) with 1 cup of mayonnaise, a little lemon juice, a tsp of zest and some chopped herbs (like dill and chives)
Spread this over your flat bread and eat cold, or pop it back in the oven to bubble up.
Guacamole from Mexico
One of the highlights of my visit to Mexico last year was the food. From empanadas to tacos and everything in between, I loved it all. I asked the chef at the Fairmont Mayakoba on the Riviera Maya for his guacamole recipe:
- • 3 avocados
- • 1 lime
- • ½ tsp sea salt
- • ½ tsp ground cumin
- • 1 serrano chili, seeds removed and minced (a medium/hot chilli)
- • ½ red onion, diced
- • 1 ripe tomato, seeded and diced
- • 1 Tbs chopped coriander
- • 1 clove garlic, minced
In a bowl toss avocado and lime juice to coat. Drain and reserve remaining juice. With a fork, mash in salt and cumin. Fold in chilli, onion, tomato, coriander and garlic. Stir in 1 Tbs of the reserved lime juice. Serve with corn chips!
Macadamia Nut French Cream Sauce from Australia
This recipe I learned at Olivia Newton John’s health retreat and spa in Byron Bay, Australia. It says cream, but don’t be fooled! It’s actually good for you – and you could substitute macadamia nuts with other nuts. They just have mac nuts coming out their wazoo up there.
• Dice half a brown onion and sauté in 300ml of vegetable stock
• In another pan put 100g of macadamia nut paste (to make it put fresh mac nuts into a blender with a little water or, as I did, just use any nut butter. I used a jar of almond, cashew and Brazil nut spread.)
• Stir in the stock, little by little, until sauce thickens.
• Add a pinch of white pepper, a glug of white wine and simmer for one minute to evaporate the alcohol.
• Continue to add paste and stock until desired consistency.
Serve over seafood and fresh pasta.