Coconut & lime bliss balls

With Saint Patrick’s Day right around the corner, I decided to do a “green recipe”. I have never bothered adding green to my pancakes or beer before, but this covid pandemic has left me with much time on my hands. So I sat down and thought about something green that would be a yummy inclusion to any St Paddy’s Day celebration. Since I have made a Christmas bliss ball, I decided to do bliss ball for St Paddy’s Day.

Did you know? Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated in more countries than any other national festival.

Saint Patrick’s Day or the Feast of Saint Patrick is a cultural and religious celebration held on 17 March, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick (c. 385 – c. 461), the foremost patron saint of Ireland. It is widely celebrated worldwide in such places as United KingdomCanadaUnited StatesBrazilArgentinaAustralia and New Zealand. Saint Patrick’s Day became an official Christian feast day in the early 17th century. [Wikipedia]. As a Christian feast day, what better way to celebrate than with food?! 

These delicious coconut lime bliss balls are perfect for any occasion! Leave off the chocolate coating for a healthier treat.

Ingredients

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup coconut flour

1 cup dessicated coconut

1/4 cup chia seeds

1/4 cup *macadamias, roughly chopped

Zest of 2 large limes (about 1 tablespoon)

Juice of 2 large limes (about 1/2 cup)

4 tablespoons runny honey (add more honey for a sweeter bliss ball)

3 tablespoons of virgin coconut oil (cold pressed)

3 tablespoons of hot water

Method

Put the oats into a food processor and process until fine. Add the oats to a bowl with the coconut flour,  desiccated coconut, chia seeds, macadamias and lime zest. Mix well with a spoon.

In a small bowl mix the hot water, honey and coconut oil, blend well. Add to the bowl and add the lime juice. Mix very well (a minute or two) and allow to sit for several minutes. Mix well again and then form into balls. Squeeze a spoonful of coconut mix in your hand firmly and shape into a ball. Once you have a firm ball shape, roll the ball between your palms to form a smooth ball.

To decorate

225g White chocolate
oil-based food colour.

Decorate the balls with white chocolate (coloured green for St Patrick’s Day) and use slices of snake lollies to form four- leaf clovers. Alternatively, coat the ball in chocolate and sprinkle half with desiccated coconut.

Check out these pages for instructions on how to melt chocolate and how to colour white chocolate.

Click here for more bliss ball recipes!

About the ingredients

Oats – High in fibre, helps reduce cholesterol and is high in antioxidants.

Chia Seeds – massive amounts of nutrients with very few calories! Excellent source of fibre and antioxidants. High in protein and omega-3 fatty acids and helps lower the risk of heart disease.

Coconut – high in fibre iron and minerals and gluten-free.

Lime – vitamin C, antioxidants, and other nutrients.

Macadamia Nuts – This food is very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Thiamin, and an excellent source of Manganese.

*Use brazil nuts if you can’t fine macadamia nuts

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St Patrick's Day bliss ball / Lime and Coconut #blissball #sweets #nobake #lime #coconut #green #chiaseed #fourleafclover #coconutflour #oats
St Patrick's Day bliss ball / Lime and Coconut #blissball #sweets #nobake #lime #coconut #green #chiaseed #fourleafclover #coconutflour #oats

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Corn fritters with avocado, bacon, egg and warm tomato relish

Breakfast in New Zealand, the land of my birth, is as varied as the eclectic variety of people representing ‘Kiwis’. Porridge, fruits and yoghurts are popular, as are eggs Benedict and French toast. However, it’s the addition of lambs fry and bacon, savoury mince, and corn fritters on the menu, that indeed reveals you are dining in a New Zealand cafe.

The last time I was in New Zealand, my dad and I breakfasted in Ahuriri, Napier. Dad ordered the corn fritters, served with bacon, avocado and sour cream, and seeing that he enjoyed it so much, I remarked that I could teach him how to make them at home. Therefore this recipe is dedicated to my dad…. time to cook breakfast old boy.

I decided upon serving my corn fritters with avocado, bacon, an egg for additional protein, and warm tomato relish. Make the relish first and have it slowly simmering on the stovetop while you make the fritters. Once cooked (keep fritters warm in the oven), but before you cook the eggs, take the tomato relish from the heat and allow to cool slightly, while you fry or poach your eggs. The following recipe will feed four people.

For the warm tomato relish

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 a small onion, finely chopped (approximately 3 tablespoons)
2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons brown sugar (loosely packed)
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Salt to taste

Heat oil in a small saucepan and lightly sauté the garlic and onion for a minute or two, do not brown.

Add the tomatoes, pepper, vinegar, sugar and mustard, and simmer gently, occasionally stirring, while you make the fritters. Add water as necessary.

Remove from heat for a few minutes before serving.

For the corn fritters

¾ cup plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 egg, beaten
440g can cream-style corn
440g corn kernels
3 spring onions, finely sliced

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper into a bowl.

Add the egg, mixing well to combine. Stir in the creamed corn, corn kernels and the spring onion.

Spray a large fry pan with oil spray and heat. Carefully spoon fritter mixture into the pan, creating two or three fritters about eight centimetres in diameter. Cook until golden brown, flip and cook the other side.

Remove from the pan, place on a plate with absorbent paper, put it into the oven, set on low, and keep warm. Repeat until you have eight fritters.

To serve

8 rashers of bacon, cooked to your liking
4 eggs, cooked to your liking
1 avocado, peeled and sliced

Place two corn fritters in the middle of each plate, top with sliced avocado, bacon and an egg. Finish with a couple of spoonfuls of tomato relish.

Bon appétit

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Popular New Zealand breakfast dish. Delicious and easy to make! #corn #creamedcorn #avocado #bacon #egg #tomato #relish #recipe #food #cooking #cookingonaboat #cookingatsea

Spicy Herb Olives

Spain is renown for its tapas. Tapas meaning ‘small Spanish savoury dish’, is typically served with drinks at a bar. When we visited Spain in 2019 we gorged on tapas and these spicy olives are just one of our favourites, and just one of the tapas recipes I will share with you.

I have hosted dinner parties where I have served tapas. These dinner parties were a hit. A taste of Spain was the theme and many dishes were served at the same time, allowing people to try lots of different tastes and textures. Tapas such as spicy olives, potato tortilla, meatballs, chorizo in wine, stuffed peppers, grilled eggplant, chickpeas and spinach create good variety and a balanced meal.

This recipe is simple, and easily dresses up ordinary olives making them a taste sensation!

Ingredients

1 – 2 tablespoons Olive oil

2 garlic cloves

2 teaspoon of chopped thyme

1 teaspoon of chopped rosemary

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 – 2 chilli, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1 cup of mixed olives

Method

Heat oil in a small pan, then add the remaining ingredients and heat gently. Serve warm.

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Turkey Balls with Camembert & Cranberry Red Wine Sauce

This recipe came about after Christmas this year while sailing down the east coast of Australia. My son, Jedd, started it by saying he would make a turkey and camembert crumbed meatball. Dwayne then piped up that he was going to make a crumbed meatball also. It soon became known as the “crumbed-ball-off”. All three of us were going to make a crumbed meatball and pick the best one. The winner was not going to have to cook for a week.

The “crumbed-ball-off” never happened as Jedd flew back to Adelaide sooner than expected. However, since I had lots of leftover Camembert cheese and cranberry sauce, I decided to do Jedd’s crumbed turkey balls. This is the recipe I came up with. We enjoyed it as a meal for dinner, but I also think it would be great finger food!

Crumbed turkey balls with Camembert and red wine cranberry sauce

For the Turkey Balls

1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
1 teaspoon of white pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons of fresh sage, finely chopped
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 spring onion finely sliced
1 1/2 cups fine bread crumbs
100g Camembert cheese
Oil for deep frying

Mix the turkey mince, white pepper, sage, garlic salt and 1/2 cup of bread crumbs. Cube the cheese – about 1cm. Depending on the size you want.

Take a spoon full of mince, place it on your palm and flatten it into a flat round shape. Place a piece of camembert in the centre and shape the mince around it. Roll into a smooth ball. Coat with bread crumbs.

Cover and refrigerate for one hour.  In the meantime make the cranberry sauce.

Crumbed turkey balls with Camembert and red wine cranberry sauce

For the Cranberry Red Wine Sauce

1  clove of garlic, very finely chopped
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup cranberry sauce (I used Ocean Spray whole cranberry sauce)
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 tsp fresh sage, very finely chopped

In a small saucepan lightly sauté the garlic, add the red wine and cook to reduce it by half. Add the chicken stock and reduce by half again. Add the cranberry sauce and cook for a while until it thickens slightly and has reduced a little more. I will thicken more as it cools.

Cook the turkey balls

Heat the oil in a deep fryer or a saucepan, and heat oil to 190c. When the oil is at the correct temperature, add the balls in batches. Fry for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Remove the turkey balls from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Bon appétit

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Cooked on a boat! #turkey #mince #camembert # sage #redwine #cranberry #cranberrysauce #crumbed #meatball #sailing #boatfood #cookingatsea #cookingonaboat #deepfry #travelblogger #cookingblog #recipe #cook #fingerfood #entree #mainmeal #dinner Gourmet from the galley!

Crumbed Calamari

Camping by the beach was bringing back unforgettable memories from our time in 2004 travelling around Australia. Back then, we were towing a fishing boat and living in a tent. Now we were towing, and living, in a camper trailer and we had a kayak to fish from. We were camped at The Gap on the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia.

Our very first attempted of fishing from a kayak was a little daunting – for me at least. The water was cold, and I did not relish falling in. There was a little wind, and the water was choppy, and I worried about the balance of the kayak. Probably not the best time for our maiden voyage especially as we had a couple of fishing rods, a crab net and a squid jig on a reel.

We put the net in and then attempted some fishing. After a while, with no luck, we decided we’d better check the crab net. As there was a bit of current, and chop we had to paddle against to keep balance, we had drifted quite some distance from the net. The float, a plastic water bottle, was not very visible. In fact, I am super surprised we even found it. We did, and all we caught was a rock crab. After returning the little crab back to his watery home, we put the squid jig in and soon Dwayne had a hit. Unfortunately, the squid got away. He had three more squid escape before he bagged one. Now a happy little fisherman, he said we could paddle for shore.

Back on shore, Dwayne cleaned the squid and then got the campfire lit and heated the oil. In the meantime, I crumbed the squid rings and made a salad.

Crumbed Calamari

Our Camp Kitchen 

We were camped at The Gap, on the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia. Read about our stay at The Gap it here.

Crumbed Calamari

Ingredients

2/3 cup of flour
2 cups of bread crumbs
2 eggs, whisked
1 large calamari (squid)
Rice bran oil for deep frying
Salt and pepper

Method

Remove the head, tentacles and wings from the cleaned squid. (You can crumb the tentacles and wings as well). Cut the tube into rings. 

Prepare the crumbing ingredients in three shallow dishes. 1. flour 2. whisked egg 3. breadcrumbs.

Lightly coat a squid ring with the flour. Then dip the squid in egg and then coat well in crumbs. Set it on a plate and repeat with the rest of the squid.

While I crumbed the squid, Dwayne heated the oil over the fire. Once the oil was hot enough (check by testing a small piece of squid), Dwayne fried the squid in three batches.

Season with salt and pepper and serve with a tasty salad and a zesty dressing.

Campfire cooking deeprfrying squid
Campfire cooking
Campfire cooking

Crocodile Burgers

We purchased some crocodile meat from a butcher in Alice Springs with the idea of making a yummy croc burger. Taking into account the delicate flavour of the crocodile meat, I decided that I would baste it with a little honey, soy and ginger, and serve it in a bun with simple salad and avocado.

2020 June 7 East Mac 22

What does crocodile taste like?

People often ask, “what does crocodile taste like”? As I mentioned, the flavour is delicate. It is a little like a cross between chicken and fish. I personally think the texture of crocodile is more like fish than chicken, however a little firmer than fish.

Why eat crocodile meat?

It is high in protein, low in fat and cholesterol. In fact, is has more protein than chicken breast, and is chockablock full of ‘good’ fat Omega-3s.

Other croc facts!

  • Australia saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) was named a protected species in 1974, and commercial farming began in the late 1970s.
  • It is the largest living reptile. Males grow up to 6m (20ft).
  • There are 13 commercial croc farms in Australia.

Our camp kitchen

We cooked these scrumptious crocodile burgers while camped at Ross River Campground in the East MacDonnell Ranges.

Crocodile Burger

Tasty Crocodile Burgers 

Ingredients

500g crocodile tail meat
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
2 Tablespoon ginger, grated (or ½ tsp. powdered ginger)
2 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon soy sauce

To serve

4 Hamburger buns
Avocado
Lettuce
Tomato

Crocodile burgers

Method

Combine the first four ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.  Grill crocodile over hot coals, basting frequently with soy sauce mixture. 

Alternatively, crocodile can also be browned in a non-stick skillet, then add the soy sauce mixture and simmer 5 to 8 minutes. 

To serve, spread the hamburger buns with mashed avocado. Top with the crocodile meat, lettuce and sliced tomato. 

Bon appetite.

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Crocodile Burger

Crocodile burgers

Rustic Camp Oven Soup

This Rustic Soup has to be one of my favourites. It is so tasty and a perfect warmer for a cold, blustery night. However, cold and windy was not the case when I cooked the soup this time. In fact, we were camped at Litchfield National Park in the tropical heat of far north Australia.

Having spent much of the past few years in South East Asia, where getting such produce as smoked ham hock and chorizo is not an easy task, I was yearning for this soup and could wait no longer. Yes, if I had waited until we were further south, I would have found plenty of wintery weather that this soup would have suited perfectly. For example, once we arrived in Alice Springs, the nights were a frosty 2 degrees Celsius! However, the weather did not detract from its yumminess, and I devoured it along with some long-coveted crusty bread.

Australia ham hock bacon chorizo

Our Camp Kitchen

We cooked this delicious soup while camped at Florence Falls Camp Ground at Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory.

Waterfall Northern Territory. Australia

Rustic Camp Oven Soup

Ingredients

1 Can of mixed beans
1 Stick celery, roughly chopped
1 Carrot, roughly chopped
1 Medium onion, finely chopped
3 Cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 ½ Tablespoons of olive oil
300g Bacon, chopped
1 Smoked Ham hock
4 Chorizo, sliced (approx 500g)
700g Potatoes, cut into large pieces
Crusty bread to serve

Camp Oven Method

Heat oil in a 9 quart camp oven. Add celery, carrots and garlic, cook stirring for a couple of minutes, until veggies soften.

rustic soup

Add the ham hock and 2-3 litres of water. Hang the camp oven over the fire using a tripod and bring to the boil. Then, to simmer, reduce the heat of the fire – move the fire, i.e. burning wood away from the bottom of the camp oven. Simmer for 1 – 1 1/2 hour. Remove hock from the pan and set aside to cool.

campfire cooking in a camp oven

Add beans, bacon, chorizo and onions and cook for another 30 minutes.

Add potatoes to the pan and cook for 10 minutes until they are almost tender.

Remove meat from the hock and chop into bite-size pieces. Add meat to the camp oven and heat for 5 minutes.

Serve with chunks of fresh crusty bread.

rustic soup with ham hock cooking in the camp oven

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campfire cooking in a camp oven ham hock bacon chorizo

Beer Damper

Damper is a traditional Australian bread which is cooked on a campfire. Created initially by Australian stockmen and swagmen who roamed remote areas for prolonged times. These stockmen survived with only basic rations of flour, sugar, tea and whatever meat they could catch.

Why is it called damper?

I was recently told that damper is called damper because it is damper than bread. However, when I googled to see if this was indeed a fact, I found two alternative theories. According to historian James Bonwick, the name derives from the way the fire is “dampened” by covering it with ashes. And the Australian Dictionary Centre claims the name is derived from a Lancashire expression meaning “something that damps the appetite.” Whatever the truth may be, damper is delicious bushtucker that is a must when camping.

A traditional damper is made with plain flour and water and typically cooked in the ashes or coals of a campfire.

Nowadays, damper is more likely cooked in a camp oven and made with all sorts of ingredients including, sugar, milk, butter and beer to name but a few. I love the yeasty taste of beer damper and often make this simple, two-ingredient, damper in our cast iron camp oven over the campfire.

Our Camp Kitchen

We cooked this yummy beer damper while camped at Mount Bundy Station near Adelaide River in the Northern Territory.

2020 May 23 Mount Bundy Station 1.1

Ingredients

1 375ml can (or bottle) of beer
3 cups of self-raising flour (works with plain flour also)
Pinch of salt (optional)

Method

Place flour (and salt) in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour warm beer into the centre and mix using a butter knife. Add more flour or beer if needed.

Get your hands in the bowl and make sure the flour and beer are well combined but do not knead. Damper is not kneaded, just mixed and shaped.

Once the dough is shaped, line the base of the camp oven with baking paper and spray with oil, or alternatively sprinkle flour on the bottom to stop the damper sticking.

Beer Damper recipe

To cook the damper with hot coals.

If you want to cook on coals from a campfire, you need to burn large pieces of wood to create hot coals. It can take an hour or so for your campfire to make enough coals to cook on. Be sure to factor the process of producing the embers into your prep and cooking time. Alternatively, if you are limited with time or good wood, use heat-beads as they heat up quickly and hold their heat well.

The easiest way to cook in a camp oven over hot coals is to lift the coals out of the fire with a long-handled shovel. Select a safe place next to the fire and put a small amount of *coals on the ground. Place the camp oven onto the coals. Get some more coals from the fire to place on top of the oven. Getting the right amount of coals is not always easy. Be aware of cooking the damper too hot and burning it. It will take some experimentation to get the temperature right. Therefore, check the damper after 10 minutes to make sure you are not cooking it too hot or not hot enough.

*you only need a small number of coals under the camp oven or none at all. Too many and you will burn the bottom of the damper.

Many factors determine the heat of the coals, such as ambient temperature and wind. If you have wind, the coals will cook hotter. Make allowances for wind by reducing the amount of coals used.

The time it takes to cook the damper is of course, directly related to how hot you cook it. It should take approximately 30-40 minutes. You can tell when the damper is cooked by tapping on the top. If it sounds hollow, it is ready. Alternatively, stick a knife in it, and if it comes out clean, it should be ready.

Serve with butter, maple syrup, jam and cream or any other topping you desire.

campfire cooking in a camp oven

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Beer Damper recipe

Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks

I don’t know about you, but we definitely have a favourite meal that we like to cook when we are camping, and it is this recipe. I have prepared this meal while camping in the Flinder’s Ranges, in the sand dunes at Canunda Nation Park, on the beach in Thailand and now at Litchfield in the Northern Territory. The rich red wine gravy and the fall-apart tenderness of the shank meat are to die for. If you make this recipe, let me know in comments what you thought!

Lamb shanks slow cooked in red wine with baked potato

Our Camp Kitchen

We cooked these delicious lamb shanks in the Florence Falls Camp Ground at Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory.

 

Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks in Red Wine Gravy

Ingredients

4 – 6 lamb shanks (depending on the size of shanks)
2 tablespoons plain flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
250g bacon, diced
2 large onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 cups red wine
1 can of diced tomatoes
2 cups of lamb or beef stock
2 sprigs rosemary
Coarsely cracked black pepper

Method

Lightly dust the shanks with the flour. Heat oil in a large frying pan and cook shanks for 4 minutes, turning, until browned. Remove shanks and then fry bacon for a few minutes. Add onion, garlic and celery, and sauté until soft, do not over brown.

 

Transfer shanks, bacon, onion and garlic to the camp oven. Add the red wine, tomatoes, beef stock, rosemary and black pepper.

Cook slowly with hot coals underneath the camp oven as well as on top of the lid for two and a half to three hours, until meat is tender.

 

To home cook in the oven

If cooking in your home oven, preheat the oven to 160c. Transfer shanks, onion and garlic to a casserole dish. Add celery, red wine, tomatoes, beef stock, black pepper and rosemary. Cook covered in the slow oven for 2 1/2 hours or until meat is tender. Keep covered to ensure the shanks do not dry out.

To serve

Serve with baked potatoes and your favourite vegetables. Or mashed potato or parsnip. Also good with polenta!

 

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Lamb Shanks

Lamb Shanks in the camp oven

 

 

Camp Oven Eggs in Purgatory

I’m not sure where the term ‘Eggs in Purgatory’ originated. Does it refer to the bubbling red tomato sauce? I’m not sure. However, this recipe is perfect for cooking in the camp oven over a campfire. Perfect for an Aussie bush brunch, this dish is high in protein and super tasty. 

Tomato beans eggs pepper

Camp Oven Eggs in Purgatory

Our Camp Kitchen

We cooked our Eggs in Purgatory while camping at Mount Bundy Station at Adelaide River in the Northern Territory.

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon oil
1 Red onion, finely chopped
3 Cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 Can of tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon of dried Italian herbs
1/2 – 1 Teaspoon dried, crushed chilli
1/2 Teaspoon beef/veg stock powder
1 Can of mixed beans
4 Eggs
Grated cheese
Cracked black pepper

Method

Heat the camp oven in the campfire* and heat oil. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until onion is translucent.

Add the tomatoes, herbs, chilli and stock powder, and cook for a few minutes until tomatoes start to thicken.

Add the beans and cook for a few more minutes.

Crack eggs into the tomato bean mix, and sprinkle with grated cheese and black pepper.

Put the lid on the camp oven. Top the camp oven with hot coals and cook at moderate temperature until eggs are cooked to your liking.

tomato eggs and beans

*Sauteing over the fire in a camp oven can be uncomfortably hot. There are several ways I cook with an open pot, depending on what sort of fireplace we have (e.g. iron fire pit or open fire). One way is to hang your camp oven over the fire with a tripod or, in our case, a star-dropper. Another way is to take a shovel load of coals from the firepit and, in a safe place near the fire, place them on the ground, put your camp oven on top and cook over the coals.

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Camp oven cooking on the campfire

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