Monthly Archives: June 2011

Kokonda – by Fijian Domestic Goddess Angela Ramacake Birch

Kokonda is a Fijian staple that I have always loved. The fact that most of you know I do not like anything fishy, would make you wonder why Kokonda. Well it’s like a salad of sorts.

Funnily long time ago I attempted to make Kokonda. I found the recipe in an Australia Womens Weekly and to think they copied the recipe from the Fijians renamed it and Australiafied a few ingredients and called it their own.  I used to eat Kokonda quite a bit when I was at University when I had quite a few friends who used to make it, unfortunately Angela was not quite the Domestic Goddess back then as she is now.

In fact I also have a Kokonda recipe in my Recipe book, Healthy Eating Recipes for the Asian Palate.

Now I was in  Fiji in April and I really did not want to eat anything heavy that night so Angela decided to make Kokonda.  Originally Kokonda has coconut cream in it but you can opt from using coconut.

Here is Angela’s recipe – Simple, tasty and comforting…

Any Solid White Fish – Mahi Mahi or Tuna, or even Mackeral (skin removed)   500gm

Bush Lemons or Lemons to taste                                                                              5 or 6

Chilly (Birds Eye) –                                                                                                  2

Salt to taste

Alternatively I am sure you can throw in salad vegetables like tomatoes and capsicums cut in to small pieces or diced just before serving or in Angela’s case, she uses coconut water.  Alternatively you can do what Angela does, she adds in fresh coconut water into it.

  1. Lovingly Cut the fish into little bite size cubes.

2.  Squeeze luscious bush lemons and make sure seeds are removed.  You can use as many as you like, its up to your own taste.  You also add in the coconut water at this stage, about a cup or so.

3.  Add a little salt and stir through. Leave aside for about 30 minutes or so.  You may fridge it for a few hours.

4.  Slice some birdseye chillies, now I really do not know where this chillie habit came from because as far back as I’ve known Angela, she could never eat anything spicy… nowwwww… she eats spicier stuff then me.

Leave the kokonda for a few minutes and you may drain out some of the juice before serving. Now after a nice, healthy dish like Kokonda, nothing beats this…..

A good old TIM TAM!!! And don’t ask me how she likes to have her Tim Tam these days, ask Danny Lim, he left a little legacy in Fiji!

By the way, Angela has a fair few recipes I need to scab off her, her muesli bars and biscotti..

Miss you Angela and Meretalai…See you next year.

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Poet’s Café – 167 Main St, Montville QLD 4560, Australia (07) 5478 5479

It was Good Friday, and all plans to abstain from eating meat flew right out the window once my cousin Kevin stopped at the servo and I came out with two meat pies.  We ate it and then remembered it was Good Friday, so after that, I just ate anything and everything that day.

Now we had been driving a long long way, through traffic, a first for me in the land of Oz, and well on this day I chartered new territory.  I went up to Moololaba, to pick up Suzy and baby Christian, and then we drove to Landsborough, which I had been to about 10 years ago. We drove a long way the hills and the scenic views were simply breathtaking.  Untouched, unspoilt, and vast.  I wonder if it will be like that in ten years time.

Anyhow we drove through a quaint little town called Montville, which had quaint little shops on each side, and since the place we wanted to go to did not serve food we went across the road for something Asian and it was closed because of Good Friday and so we went down the little street and Suzy suggested Poet’s Café.

And so there we were sitting outside the rather quaint Poet’s Café that was overlooking a thoroughly picturesque view of the farms, and spots of rives and lakes. We unfortunately sat in the front of the restaurant overlooking the road.  It was nice though to see a totally unhurried life in front of us.  We were seated and presented the menu.

It was a nice bright and easy to peruse menu with a lot of different foods styles.  The funny thing about this is that if something like this in Malaysia existed far out in a town up somewhere, we would never get foods like this unless it was hotel or some resort.  That is something I find quite baffling about Malaysia’s food trail. Whilst we have our own kinds of foods, but in this menu they had local favorites like fish and chips, through to burgers and steaks, and also Asian stuff like currys, simple Thai foods, and yet you saw people around ordering everything.  The menu had good pasta dishes and from busybodying myself looking around I saw large prawns or Scampi on the plates with the Pasta, and the price was not really expensive.

So Suzy ordered a burger with the works, Kevin ordered a Beer Battered Fish and Chips and I ordered a raisin scone with strawberry jam and cream.  I just felt like indulging the whole environment so it had to be scones.

For drinks we ordered an Ice Lemon Tea and Suzy ordered a divinely nice and rich and everything good Chocolate Milkshake.  I’ve not had a good chocolate milkshake for ages and taking a sip of her milkshake made me realize if I did, I’d be jiggling down the Mountains!

It’s strange that in most places in Australia, they have learnt to make rather simple everyday foods into something that is tasty, and posh looking. Kevin’s fish and chips came and while it looked ok, me  who hates fish tasted it and it was really good. I believe it was Cod, and I am not a fan of Cod fish but the beer batter really complemented the fish and was crispy for a long time and the fish was cooked to perfection, not fried right through and looking like a piece of fish cake. This fish would break in your hand and melt in your mouth. And the Tartare Sauce was nice and not overpowering at all.  It was not a huge portion but it was sufficient, enough to tease the palate and actually make you full because of its richness.

Just look at that.......sheer delight!

The Burger with the Works was really something else. I’ve not had a good good burger for a while now, I should say quite a few years.  So the sight of Suzy’s burger was something else. Devilishly laden with a good size burger, with a good amount of cheese and bacon, and to healthify things, you had rocket and arigula salad and a nice slice of beetroot, and tomatoes sandwiched in a Panini and served with chips.  There were bits of onions as well.

Of course I took a bite and it was a mouthful of joy.  It was a good flavorsome juicy burger, not salty and artificial tasting but good beef.  The flavors came from the accompaniments which was abundance of course.  All in all it was just perfect.

My scones came and it was perfect.  The raisins were not burnt, it was freshly made, not hard, not cakey, but with a perfect scone texture.  Now I have a damn good recipe for scones so I expected that.  One complaint, I reckon they should have served a cup of tea as part of the scone package.  Other then that everything was great, great ambiance, great company and great food. Simple and yet comforting.  That’s how food should be…Always!

I would love to see the whole place light up at night. I’m sure it would be something thoroughly surreal.  Make a beeline to Poet’s Cafe, it’s out of the way but worth the trip.

And finally, BABY OF THE YEAR!!!!!!

Introducing, another Aussie Rellie… Christian Jayden Sivam… well behaved, non cry baby, toughie, and I think he’s going to grow up liking food just like his mum and dad and second cousin and all the other food loving relatives around the world.

My Best Macaron Class Ever – Featuring my Apprentices Maureen and Yvonne

I had a very good Macaron class last week, the best of all the 12 classes I had for some reason. Now I am not saying the 11 others were bad but this class stood out by far with the quality of the Macarons they produced themselves. I’m very proud of them both.

The two ladies at work.

Now Maureen came to class with no confidence of doing anything pastry, and Yvonne of course oozes confidence in what ever she does in all my classes, and together they produced extremely good Macarons.

Here are some of the photos of last weeks class.

Yvonne Piping Away

The macarons came out so nice I intend to make another batch today just to replicate last Sunday.

So let’s see if I can match it.

Maureen piping Chocolate Cheese filling