Friday, November 28, 2008

Young coconut ceviche with fennel, avocado, nori flakes and baked pumpkin

I have always wanted to try a vegetarian version of ceviche, and tonight while sipping on a fresh young coconut I realised the white slippery flesh looked a bit like raw fish! LOL :) As it turns out, young coconut is great in ceviche, with nori flakes giving that necessary hint of the sea. The combination is complemented by chilli, lime, and coriander; crunchy fennel and red capsicum add to the texture and colour, and the baked pumpkin adds sweetness and warmth. If you want to make this into a full Peruvian-inspired meal, serve with corn on the cob and some pan-fried tempeh marinated in garlic and soy sauce.

Serves 2

1 young coconut, flesh only, cut into thin strips (drink the coconut water while cooking!)
Juice of 1 lime
Zest of 1/2 lime
1 chilli, thinly sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/2-1 sheet of nori, torn/cut into small flakes or strips
1 handful of coriander, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
Sea salt

1/2 red capsicum, thinly sliced
1/2 baby fennel, thinly sliced
1/2 avocado, diced
2 thin (less than 1cm) pumpkin rounds

Place the young coconut strips, lime juice and zest, chilli, shallot, nori flakes, coriander, olive oil, and some sea salt in a bowl and leave to marinate for one hour. Meanwhile brush the pumpkin with olive oil and bake in a 200C oven until soft (about 15 minutes). When ready to serve, carefully toss the red capsicum, fennel, and avocado through the coconut mixture. Arrange ceviche on top of baked pumpkin rounds and dust with sea salt. Buen provecho!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Grilled mango and pecan salad with fetta, avocado and sweet chilli-raspberry dressing

I have the best ideas when I am stuck with a few odd ingredients in the kitchen. In this case it was mango, fetta and avocado. I knew I had to use all three in the same dish… but what to do?! Then I remembered the Cuttaway Creek raspberry wine vinegar I had purchased on a girls’ weekend away in the Southern Highlands some months ago. What a perfect accompaniment to mango! I wanted to bring out the flavour of the mango so I grilled it and threw in a few pecan nuts for protein. The smell of mango and pecans frying together is divine; I suggest you put your schnoz right in there while it is cooking! Sweet chilli sauce adds a hint of chilli to the dressing and the sweetness of the mango and raspberry vinegar are perfectly complemented by bitter radicchio and rocket leaves and the saltiness of fetta. Add some creamy avocado and fragrant basil… and you have my new favourite salad!

Serves 2

1 mango, cut into large slices
1 handful of pecans
1 Tbsp olive oil

2 handfuls young radicchio leaves, or centre leaves of large radicchio
2 handfuls of young minuette lettuce leaves, or other green lettuce such as endive
2 handfuls of rocket leaves
1 avocado, halved then sliced
1 handful of basil leaves, sliced thinly
100g fetta cheese, crumbled

1/8 cup raspberry wine vinegar*
1/8 cup sweet chilli sauce

Arrange radicchio, minuette lettuce and rocket leaves on serving plates. Top with avocado, basil and crumbled fetta. Heat olive oil in a grill pan and fry mango slices until golden on all sides. Add pecans and grill for a few extra minutes. Arrange grilled mango slices and pecans on top of salad. Mix together raspberry wine vinegar and sweet chilli sauce and drizzle over salad. Enjoy!

* Cuttaway Creek raspberry wine vinegar is from the Southern Highlands, NSW Australia. It is so sweet and tasty you could almost drink it on its own!

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This blog is dedicated to vegetarian/vegan cooking with a tropical flavour! Enjoy! :)