Pork Larb served with Green Papaya Salad

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This is a special Tuesday recipe shout out to my friend Luke, who has asked for the recipe for the pork laap (larb) and green papaya salad I posted on my instagram yesterday.

If you haven’t noticed already, I will tell it to you straight right now. I LOVE chilli. If no one stops me, I will serve it with nearly everything. I even sat at the dinner table last week topping my sister’s beautiful roast lamb with this great smoky Asian chilli mix I had picked up from our local Asian supermarket. Lao food is an absolute god send to those spice lovers at there. Absolutely everything you eat over there is super, super spicy and flavoursome. The best of the spicy dishes is larb, which is a spicy mince salad.

We usually get our larb fix at the local Thai Wi Rat in Fortitude Valley. The jury’s still out but I think this place could serve some of the best Thai and Lao food in Brisbane. Just be careful when ordering the “Lao spicy” – it is incredibly hot. If you can’t be bothered to cook this recipe, why not grab takeaways from Thai Wi Rat.

Despite our LARB of Larb (see what I did there?), I hadn’t even thought to cook it until I stumbled across this recipe in the SBS feast magazine. I’ve adapted the below recipe slightly for your eating pleasure. It will usually take about 30 minutes to put it all together. Obviously, you can serve the larb without the papaya salad, but I think it all works together so wonderfully and the papaya salad is so easy, you really have no excuse not to cook the whole meal.

The recipe should serve 5 fairly hungry humans.

Pork Larb

Ingredients

2 x limes, juiced
8 x tbsp fish sauce, less if you’re not a big fan of fish sauce
1kg minced pork
3 x spring onions, sliced
1 x large red onion, diced
4 x bird’s-eye chillies, finely chopped
1 tsp chilli powder
1 x bunch of coriander, torn
1 x handful of mint leaves, torn

1. Cook pork in a hot work, breaking into small pieces, until cooked through. Leave to cool slightly.

2. Mix remaining ingredients (lime juice, fish sauce, spring onions, red onions, chilli, chilli powder, coriander and mint) into the pork.

Green Papaya Salad

Ingredients

1 x green paw paw, peeled and grated*
1 tsp salt
6 x bird’s-eye chillies
2 tbsp white sugar (or more if it is a bit too salty when you taste)
1 x garlic clove
1 x tbsp Thai shrimp paste
3 x beans cut into 2 cm pieces
10 x cherry tomatoes, halved
3 x limes, juiced
2 x tbs Thai fish sauce

1. Pound the salt, chillies, sugar and garlic in a mortar and pestle. Mix in shrimp paste, lime juice and fish sauce.

2. Put the paw paw, beans and cherry tomatoes in a bowl. Top with mix from mortar and pestle. Combine well.

3. Taste and adjust flavours to your taste buds. If you want it saltier, add some more fish sauce. If you need is sweeter add sugar and if it needs to be a bit more sour add more shrimp paste.

Notes

Serve the larb and green papaya salad with steamed white rice and top with sliced cucumber and a few slices of lime.
*you can get green paw paw at Asian supermarkets and it can be substituted for 2 x green mangos if you can’t find the paw paw

Salmon and broccolini orecchiette with crispy crumbs

Pasta is one of my favourite things to eat. There are so many varieties that I don’t think I could ever get sick of it (a theory which I successfully tested on a recent holiday to Italy). Whether it be a slow cooked ragu or a speedy garlic chili pasta, I seriously cannot get enough. If ever I’m home alone or need a really quick meal, I always turn to pasta. It’s my ultimate comfort food.

I perfected this salmon, broccolini and crispy crumb pasta while living in Tokyo. I lived by myself and had quite a small kitchen, so was always looking for easy peasy meals that I could throw together after work. It’s based roughly on a combination the Sicilians have been whipping up for a long time – spaghetti and breadcrumbs. Instead of using anchovies, which you might often see in the Southern Italian dishes, I made use of the local salmon. I also “glitzed” it up with broccolini and artichokes so I could increase my vegetable intake for the day but the dish would taste just as good without the greens.

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Salmon and broccolini orecchiette with crispy crumbs

Ingredients

1 small pkt of orecchiette (enough to serve four people)
2 good quality salmon fillets, cut into small pieces
3 garlic cloves, finely diced
2 chillis, finely diced (I actually put in four as I LOVE chilli but that made for a spicy dish)
1 jar of marinated artichokes, cut into small pieces
2 bunches of broccolini, cut into smaller pieces
2 lemons, rind and juice
A few large slices of stale bread

1. Tear up the bread, or blitz in a food processor, drizzle with olive oil and bake in the oven on 200 degrees until browned.

2. Cook the orecchiette as per packet instructions and drain.

3. Sauté the garlic, lemon rind and chilli on a low heat for about 5 minutes, making sure the garlic does not burn.

4. Add the salmon, artichokes, broccolini and the juice of two lemons. Once the salmon is cooked through, shred the salmon with a fork so it will stir nicely through the pasta.

5. Mix the pasta and breadcrumbs through the salmon mix and serve with black pepper, salt and lemons

Notes

As you have probably realised, I’m pretty haphazard with my measuring and hardly ever follow recipes. This one is really no exception and there are a stack of great variations to the dish. It works really well with spiral pasta or spaghetti if you don’t have orecchiette in the cupboard and, if you’re feeling like a healthy alternative, it also tastes great with quinoa instead of pasta.

xxx

A holiday in Cambodia

I love Cambodia. It was one of the biggest surprises of my trip around South East Asia. Word had spread about the to-die-for food in Vietnam and I had heard plenty a story about the wild and wonderful Laos. Before my sister and I purchased a guidebook on Cambodia (as we were boarding the 1 hour flight from Laos), all I knew of this beautiful country was Angkor Watt and the tragic genocide. There is so much more to Cambodia.

Firstly, the people are some of the kindest you will find travelling. They also speak some of the best English – probably a result of having an education stripped from them for so long. The street hawkers ambitiously have dreams of studying abroad or becoming doctors and astonauts and they always greet you with good humour and a smile.

Travelling is also very cheap in Cambodia, even compared to Laos and Vietnam. It even got to the point where my sister and I caught a five hour cab from the very bottom of Cambodia to Phnom Penh at a mere cost of $30 because the bus timetable just didn’t suit our plans. Accommodation is also incredibly cheap here. You can get high quality, brand new resort accommodation for about $60 a night and a nice basic bed for about $6.

The food in Cambodia, especially the south, is pretty tasty. The fish amok curry (coconut fish curry poached in a banana leaf), fresh BBQ’ed fish, whole pigs cooked over burning embers and buckets and buckets of fresh crab cooked to your likely were all daily treats in Cambodia. However, these mouth watering meals still don’t compare in the food front to the neighbouring Vietnam and there are a lot of dodgy attempts at Western restaurants in Siem Riep and Sihanoukville that you need to avoid at all costs.

Highlights
Monkey Island
The Killing Fields
Freshly cooked crab with Kampot pepper served on the water in Kep
Random off road adventures

Lowlights
Hilarious bus trips
Sihanoukville
45 degree heat

Siem Riep & Angkor Watt

This is a must do in Cambodia. You can rent a car or tuk tuk to pick you up and take you around Angkor, if you’re feeling ambitious, you can cycle. You can get up to a five day pass for the temples but, to be perfectly honest, my sister and I were completely templed out after one day of sightseeing in the 45 degree heat.

Angkor Wat Cambodia Holiday Travel Asia

Angkor Wat Cambodia Holiday Travel Asia

Angkor Wat Cambodia Holiday Travel Asia

Angkor Wat Cambodia Holiday Travel Asia Sunrise

If you’re not a fan of crowds, I would suggest spending some time at some of the lessor known temples in the Angkor site. We spent a day driving around exploring smaller temples, battling with cows on the road and getting lost in little villages like proper adventurers.

Angkor Wat Cambodia Holiday Travel Asia Cows

Angkor Wat Cambodia Holiday Travel Asia

Angkor Wat Cambodia Holiday Travel Asia

Angkor Wat Cambodia Holiday Travel Asia

Angkor Wat Cambodia Holiday Travel Asia

Sihanoukville, Bamboo Island and Monkey Island

Sihanoukville is the Phuket of Cambodia. If it wasn’t the only way to get across to the stunning islands that sit in the Gulf of Thailand in the south of Cambodia, I would strongly recommend avoiding it altogether.

I don’t know about you, but until I visited Cambodia I really had no idea that it’s beaches were just as beautiful and jaw droppingly stunning as any beach in Thailand – and far less crowded. And by “less crowded” I mean the grass hut resort you’re staying in is the only thing on the island other than the film crew filming French Survivor on the other side.

We thoroughly enjoyed both Bamboo and Monkey Island. Bamboo Island is run by one of the local backpackers in Sihanoukville so it exudes a party vibe where as Monkey Island (where we whiled away a whole week) is the definition of relaxation. If you’re looking for something a bit more lush, Cambodia also has some beautiful resort islands on offer.

Bamboo Island

Bamboo Island Holiday Cambodia Monkey Island Beach Summer Asia Travel Holiday

Bamboo Island Holiday Cambodia Monkey Island Beach Summer Asia Travel Holiday

Monkey Island

Cambodia Monkey Island Sihanoukville Beach Holiday Travel Wanderlust Summer

Bamboo Island Holiday Cambodia Monkey Island Beach Summer Asia Travel Holiday

Bamboo Island Holiday Cambodia Monkey Island Beach Summer Asia Travel Holiday

Kep and Kampot

Kampot is the home of pepper in Cambodia. It actually used to be one of Cambodia’s biggest exports before the Khmer Rouge. Kampot has now become a pretty sleepy little village. You jump on a bike, ride along the river, visit some pepper farms, read a book and then do it all again the next day. Not a bad way to spend time on a long holiday but if you’re short on time you should probably skip Kampot.

Kep is even sleepier but has the advantage of being on the sea and snuggled up next to a national park. It is absolutely stunning. Our days literally involved:
- waking up
- having a gourmet freshly cooked buffet breakfast at our 5 star resort (which cost a grand total of $60 a night)
- lazing around our infinity pool
- making the walk down the little dirt road to the sea
- sitting in a little shanty restaurant on the water while the waitstaff jumped in to grab the crabs we had ordered for lunch
- lazing around our infinity pool
- watching the sunset at the only cocktail bar in town
- lazing around our infinity pool
- sitting in another shanty restaurant and eating crab for dinner.. don’t worry, we would pick a different sauce this time so things didn’t get too mundane

Tough life huh?

Kep Kampot Cambodia Travel Holiday Asia

Kep Kampot Cambodia Travel Holiday Asia

Kep Kampot Cambodia Travel Holiday Asia Crab Seafood

Kep Kampot Cambodia Travel Holiday Asia Storm Sunset

Heading to Cambodia?

Hit me up on the email. I would be happy to give you plenty of travel tips and tricks about this gorgeous country and give you a list of all the places we stayed.

Prawn and Avocado Salad with Asian dressing

Healthy Prawn Avocado Salad with Asian Dressing

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This recipe was made with love by my bestest friend and fellow food-obsessee, Zoe. You can follow her food adventures at @openwider on instagram. She whipped up this beautiful, fresh salad for our dinner last night. I was so shocked how easy and delicious it is. I wouldn’t normally think to put an asian dressing on avocado but it worked really well.

Prawn and Avocado Salad with Asian Dressing

Ingredients

200 grams large peeled cooked prawns
140 grams spinach leaves
2 avocados

For the dressing…
1 chilli
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 lime, finely grated zest and juice
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil

What to do

1. Mix all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Make sure you taste it to see if you like the balance of flavours.

2. Slice the avo. Put the avo, prawns and spinach leaves in a big bowl.

3. Just before you’re about to serve, toss the dressing through the salad.

How easy is that?

Boots Darling, Sydney

The place was buzzing when we arrived at 10am on Saturday. After spending a few hours there, I could definitely see why.

Boots Darling is just the kind of place you want to hang out on a weekend. The coffee is great.. really great. The menu is new and exciting. The staff are both efficient and super friendly, making you feel right at home. The interior, which owners, Justin and Dano, decked out themselves really adds to the atmosphere of the place. Think recycled timber tables, plenty of hanging plants and a small serving of kitsch in the way of James Dean posters and vintage sugar bowls.

What more could you want in a café?

We visited Boots Darling twice when we were in Sydney and every meal we had there was deeeeeeeeeeelicious. The pulled pork hash (yes, pulled pork for breakfast!), the Moroccan baked eggs and the zucchini and corn fritters with smoky bacon were all super tasty. I also really liked the smashed avocado on toast, even though it’s not the most exciting option on the menu, I love a place that can make a classic smashed avocado toast – they’re harder to find than you think.

The gluttonous verdict – if you’re in Sydney, make sure you check this little number out. If you’re not in Sydney.. fly down (jks) or be forever tempted by photos of coffees and muffins on Boots Darling’s Instagram (@_bootsdarling_).

333 South Dowling Street, Darlinghurst

Hours Mon to Sat 6.30am–4pm Sun 8am–4pm

facebook.com/Bootsdarling

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