Friday, 8 August 2014


 Local bay prawns in a Native lime berry, Chilli & Ginger sauce, aboard a Paperbark boat, served with Barley couscous and Captain Cooks spinach. 

                    This dish showcases some of the great indigenous foods we have been blessed with in our great country. Most of these indigenous bush-foods can only be found here too, making them a rare and cherished experience for me. In this little appetiser I use some fresh local bay prawns and marinate them in a marinade made of home grown native lime berries with chilli and ginger. These are cooked on the barbecue and served on a bed of barley couscous, which has been cooked in the liquor from steamed pipi's. And accompanied by some homegrown native spinach. The canoe was crafted from a trimmed sheet of bark from the paperbark tree in the front yard and made in similar fashion to the bark boats our indigenous people use for transport and to fish from. The boat was folded, pinned at both ends then soaked in water, before being moulded to shape and cured on a hotplate grill and set aside to harden.                                                  
                    I made the marinade by simmering Native lime berries, lime juice, caster sugar, salt pepper, red chilli paste, ginger paste and crushed garlic until reduced and slightly thickened. I then used a little of the sauce to form a paste with some corn starch and returned the paste to the sauce, stirring until the marinade thickens. I then removed the marinade placing in the fridge to chill before coating the green local peeled and deveined prawns and allowing to marinate in the fridge for an hour with half of the marinade and the remaining was set aside to be used as a plating sauce. The prawns were then cooked quickly on a hotplate basting with the sauce, once cooked they were placed two in a boat to be served. In a saucepan I placed a handful of pipis, some fresh thyme and chopped onions and steamed the pipis in a dry white wine. Once the shells were open I strained the cooking liquor and used the stock to cook the couscous. To finish I blanched the captain cooks spinach in pot of salted boiling water for 2-3 minutes before removing and steeping into an ice bath to retard the cooking process, the blanching removes most of the unwanted oxalic acid which gives native spinach a hairy mouthfeel if eaten raw, similar to the unripe bananas.                                                                                                                          


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