Kelly has a Bachelor of Ecotourism and a passion for the natural world. Before her life as a full-time traveller and freelance writer, she was a personal trainer and has also worked as a snorkelling guide on the Great Barrier Reef. Kelly has written, and published, educational children's activity books and is now dabbling at writing a cookbook. She has raised three sons, operated her own business and spent two years travelling around Australia - towing a fishing boat and living in a tent. Kelly and her hubby now live on their 45ft sailing yacht. They plan to sail slowly around the world, visiting as many places as possible.
Since tasting the most delicious hummus in a restaurant, I have been trying to recreate it. It had a delightful garlicky taste, and it wasn’t until I roasted the garlic (and used 2 bulbs) that I got the flavour I was after.
2 bulbs of garlic 2 tablespoons of olive oil 1 can of chickpeas 2 – 3 tablespoons of tahini 1 tablespoon of lime juice (or lemon juice) 1/8 teaspoon of ground chilli or cayenne pepper 1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin Salt
Olive oil A sprinkle of smoked paprika Roasted pine nuts
To roast the garlic
Cut the tops off the garlic bulbs, drizzle with a little olive oil, cover loosely in alfoil (tin foil) and roast for 35-45 minutes on medium heat. The garlic is ready when the cloves are soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Gently squeeze the cloves from the bulb (I weighed my prepared cloves to know how much garlic I put in (47g).
To prepare the chickpeas
Place the chickpeas into a colander and rinse them under cold water. To peel or not to peel? I peeled, which was easy as I gently squeezed each chickpea from its skin. But you don’t have to. Peeled chickpeas do give a slightly smoother finish, though. But the smoothness will ultimately come down to the food processor you are using.
Blend it all up!
Add the chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, tahini, lime juice, chilli, cumin, and salt into a food processor and mix well until creamy and smooth.
Scoop it into a serving dish and drizzle with a little olive oil, and sprinkle with smoked paprika and roasted pine nuts.
Can I freeze it?
I have frozen mine in small containers and defrosted them overnight in the fridge. I find it is still delicious and creamy. Just stir it and then garnish as above to serve.
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While in Australia, I made this recipe while waiting to get back to our boat in Thailand. We were missing Thai food, and one of our favourite dishes is tamarind fish. There are several places in Phuket where we enjoy this fish, so I decided to recreate it to eat at home. It turned out just like the fish at one of our favourite restaurants (which has unfortunately since closed down). It is unfortunate how the COVID-19 virushas hit places that rely on tourism!
1 whole fish (we used barramundi) 6 coriander roots 6 garlic cloves 2 small hot chillies 1 teaspoon of salt 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh ginger 1/2 cuptamarind paste 4 tablespoons of brown sugar 2 tablespoons of fish sauce Bran oil for deep frying 1/2 cup of plain flour 1/2 cup of rice flour or cornflour
1 long red chilli, sliced Coriander, chopped Fried garlic slices (fried and removed before I add the fish to the oil)
Prepare the fish
Scale the fish and then cut a fillet from both sides of the whole fish, leaving plenty of meat still on the frame. Rinse both the fish and frame under running water. Chop the fillets into bite-size chunks.
For the sauce
Pound the coriander, garlic, chilli and salt in a mortar and pestle to a paste. Add 1/2 tablespoon of oil to a wok or pan over medium heat and stir-fry for the paste for a minute to release the fragrance.
Add the ginger and stir-fry for another minute. Add tamarind, sugar and fish sauce and a few tablespoons of water. Mix well and let boil. If the sauce gets too thick, add more water to get the consistency you desire.
Set the sauce aside (you can reheat the sauce when you are ready to serve).
Cook the fish
Heat the bran oil for deep frying.
Mix the plain flour and rice flour with salt and pepper and coat the fish carcass. When the oil is hot, use tongs to submerge the fish in the oil and cook until crisp and golden. Remove and drain on paper towels. Place on a serving dish.
Coat the cubed fish pieces with the flour mixture and cook in the hot oil in batches until crispy and golden. Drain on paper towels.
Place the crispy fish cubes on the concave fish frame and drizzle the dressing over the fish and fish cubes. Sprinkle with finely sliced chilli, chopped coriander and some fried garlic. You can serve excess fish on another serving plate.
You can make this recipe with fish fillets instead of a whole fish if you prefer. Just serve the crispy golden chunks of fish on a serving dish, drizzled with tamarind sauce and garnished with chilli, coriander and fried garlic.
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I made this fish terrine as part of an eight-course degustation for hubby’s birthday dinner. It was a good choice as such an extensive degustation needed something light and fresh, and this terrine hit the mark.
I first made these delicious little devilled eggs as finger food at one of our parties at least 12 years ago. We always have quail eggs on hand because we loved having them in our laska soups, and coming up with other ways to use the eggs was not difficult.
We were couch surfing during COVID restrictions, stuck in Australia waiting to get back to the boat. When my son Alex went to New Zealand to visit family, we had the house to ourselves for ten days… bliss.
While rummaging around in a cupboard, I found a container of protein powder with only half a cup left. I decided this was an excellent opportunity to make protein balls. Trying to include foods high in protein, I came up with the following recipe.
1 avocado, mashed 2 tablespoons runny honey (add more if you want them to be sweet) 4 tablespoons water 1/4 cup chia seeds 1/2 cup chocolate flavoured protein powder 1/2 cup *LSA 1/2 cup coconut flour 1/4 cup cocoa 1/4 cup cashews, roughly chopped shredded coconut (optional)
Mix together the avocado, honey and two tablespoons of water. Add the chia seeds, mix well and allow to sit for a couple of minutes. Add protein powder, LSA, coconut flour, cocoa and cashews.
Mix well. The dough is quite firm. Roll into balls and coat the balls with coconut if desired. Refrigerate.
About the ingredients
Avocado – nutrient-rich and high in protein compared to other fruits, also full of good fat. Coconut flour – high in protein and fibre and low in carbs. *LSA – Linseed, Sunflower Seed and Almond – high in protein and iron, also has good fats (omega 3 and 6). Cashew – rich in protein, low in sugar and high fibre, also has good heart-healthy fats. Cocoa – low in fat and sugar and rich in phytonutrients.
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This spicy apricot chicken is my twist on the classic apricot chicken recipe my mum used to cook us all the time. It was my favourite of mum’s go-to weekly dishes. Dwayne also loves the original apricot chicken and often craves it. However, now that I have dressed it up somewhat and given it a touch of Oriental piquancy, I’m not sure we will ever cook the classic apricot chicken again.
This chicken has the sweet and savoury flavours of the original, but the addition of garlic, ginger, five-spice and chilli gives it a taste of Asian yumminess.
If like us, you enjoy cooking on a campfire, you’ll love this dish. So easy to make. However, it is just as easy to cook in your oven or slow cooker. Follow each step but instead of placing the ingredients into a camp oven, put them into your casserole dish or slow cooker. Cooking with coals and oven instructions are below.
Our camp kitchen
We cooked this delicious, hearty dish while camped at “The Gap” on Yorke Peninsula.
6 Maryland chicken pieces, skin removed (joint each piece into leg and thigh if you prefer) 2 tablespoons of plain flour 1 onion, finely chopped 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic 1 tablespoon of ginger paste 2 teaspoons of Chinese five-spice 2 teaspoons of chilli flakes 820g tin of apricot halves in natural juice or apricot nectar 40g French onion soup mix
Place the flour in a ziplock bag and add the chicken. Close the bag and shake well to lightly coat the chicken.
Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook chicken, in batches, for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden, and place into the camp oven.
Add a little more oil to the pan and sauté the onion until soft, then add the ginger and garlic and cook for another minute.
Add the five-spice and chilli and cook for a couple more minutes.
Add the can of apricots & juice or the nectar and the soup mix, bring to the boil. Mix all the sticking spices from the bottom of the pan. Pour over the chicken (in the camp oven or slow cooker).
We cooked it in the camp oven for 1 – 1 1/2 hours until the chicken was cooked and falling off the bone.
To cook in the oven
Preheat oven to 180c. Follow the above instructions, placing the ingredient into a casserole dish with a lid. Cook for 1 – 1/2 hours in the preheated oven.
For more instruction on cooking with hot coals
If you want to cook on coals from a campfire, you need to burn a good amount of wood to create hot coals. It can take an hour or so for your campfire to make enough coals to cook with. Be sure to factor the process of producing the embers into your prep and cooking time. Alternatively, if time or good wood is in short supply, 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 casserole too hot and burning it. It will take some experimentation to get the temperature right. Therefore, check the chicken after 10 minutes to ensure you are not cooking it too hot or not hot enough.
Alternatively, hang the pot over the heat with a tripod (or, in our case, a star-drop acting as one) and then top with coals.
*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 oven.
Many factors determine the heat of the coals, such as ambient temperature and wind. If it is windy, the coals will cook hotter. Make allowances for wind by reducing the number of coals used.
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I have made these tasty chicken pies for years now. In fact, I think they were the first pies I made in the pie maker we purchased sometime early last decade. Now that we live on a boat I no longer have the pie maker. I simply do not have the room for that sort of thing. If we get a pie craving while sailing I make the pies with pie tins and cook them in the oven.
However, due to COVID we have been land bound for the best part of 2020 and 2021 and couch surfing with friends and family. Thankfully these couches usually come with a double bed and ensuite. LOL
This week while at my mum’s I noticed a pie maker in the cupboard and suddenly I have a craving for chicken pies with peppercorns and tarragon. So I set about making these super tasty treats.
1.2kg chicken thighs, chopped 150g flat Swiss brown mushrooms, chopped 1 brown onion, finely diced 2 garlic cloves, finely diced 1 1/2 tablespoon of plain flour 1 cup of chicken stock 3/4 cup of sour cream 2 1/2 tablespoons of green peppercorns 1 tablespoons dried tarragon 6 sheets (25 x 25cm) frozen puff pastry, just thawed
Heat a large frypan and add a little oil. Add the diced onion and fry for a few minutes until soft, and then add the garlic and cook a further two minutes.
Add the chicken and diced mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the chicken and cook for a couple more minutes.
Add the chicken stock, sour cream, peppercorns and tarragon, bring to the boil, reduce temperature and simmer until it thickens and is a good consistency for the pie filling.
Follow pie maker instructions.
Use the pie maker pastry cutter to cut 16 large and 16 small circles from the pastry sheets. Press 4 large dough circles into the pie holes. Spoon mince mixture over dough base until level. Top with the four small dough circles. Turn on the pie maker. Close and cook for 10 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.
Repeat with the remaining pastry and chicken mix.
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I don’t usually make many sweet treats because I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. However, there are times I do crave something sweet. I love these date balls as I get to stave off the cravings with a big nutritional hit.
These energy balls fuel your body with superfoods, filling an empty tum and providing energy to burn.
1 cup of dry dates (about 30) soaked in water for 3 – 5 hours 2 tablespoons of honey 1/4 cup chia seeds 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon 1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped 1/2 cup shredded coconut 1 1/2 cups almond flour
Drain the water from the dates, reserving 1/4 cup of water.
Put the dates, reserved water and the honey into a small food processor/blender. Process until smooth, or leave it a little lumpy with tasty date chunks.
Pour the date mix into a bowl and add the chia seeds. Mix the chia seeds well. Let it sit for two minutes.
Add the almond flour, cinnamon, pecans and shredded coconut to the bowl, and mix well.
Roll the dough into bite-size balls and coat with your choice of finely crushed pecans, shredded coconut or cinnamon, or leave them plain.
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What to do with the leftover quail eggs? Or do you need a quick, easy finger food for a party? This is simple and surprisingly tasty. Only three ingredients! In Australia, we can purchase tinned quail eggs from the Asian grocer as well as from some common supermarkets.
This recipe is something I used many times while entertaining friends and family on our boat or at backyard BBQs and dinner parties, and it has always been a hit. When I last made this recipe in Thailand I had to buy quail eggs and boil them myself. I have discovered that pealing quail eggs in absolutely devastating!
Mix a tablespoon of salt with about a teaspoon of five-spice. Taste and adjust until you have a good balance of salt and spice.
Then simply plate up the eggs, dip a few in the spice and serve along with the salt mix in a small bowl.
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