Beetroot Cured Salmon with Finger Lime, Horseradish Labna and Buckwheat Lavosh

The last few months haven’t been easy for me. All of a sudden I had found myself in a completely new living environment, new job (that I didn’t really like), missing my mates and social life back in Newcastle, and feeling overall, a little bewildered at the huge changes. It was weird considering I find it so easy to travel to remote countries alone, meet new people and seek out new experiences. I think it was because I knew deep down that this is going to be my life for a good while now, not just a stepping stone to the next overseas adventure.
I’ve now come to realise that this IS a new adventure, it just doesn’t involve as many plane trips or passport stamps. I’m finally starting to gain the courage to admit what I really want. And I think this place may just help me to accomplish my goals.
With an open heart and mind I have now found myself in a new job, with beautiful, encouraging, and motivating people, who, after only one week, I feel so grateful to be a part of their business and excited for their future and mine.
I love the focus on local produce up here and the sense of sharing. Last Friday two people came in with gifts from their farms, including some beautiful finger limes. My mind immediately started racing with what I could do with them. Not surprisingly, after another 38 degree day, I firstly thought of an icy cold gin and tonic, topped with the little bursting finger lime vesicles and some juniper berries. After daydreaming about that for a while I then remembered this salmon dish that I made at Christmas, a recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver. The flavours worked perfectly together and I was also so happy with how the labna and lavosh turned out. It all looks very fancy and complicated but in fact is very easy, especially if you skip making your own lavosh and just buy some.
There were Hot Cross Buns in the supermarket the other day, so let’s just say I’m getting in here early with the perfect Easter recipe for you all.dsc_1454 dsc_1531 dsc_1537


You will need to start this recipe 48hrs in advance

Serves 6 as an entree



800g side salmon, pin boned, skin off

2 fresh beetroot, peeled and chopped

Juice of 2 limes

Juice of 2 lemons

3 juniper berries, bashed

5 tbs rock salt

2 tbs raw sugar

50ml gin


500g natural, thick greek yoghurt

1 tsp salt

1 clove garlic, finely grated

1 tsp finely grated fresh horseradish

Buckwheat Lavosh

1 tbs raw sugar

100g buckwheat

300g plain flour

30g butter, cubed

1 tsp salt plus extra

2 tsp fennel seeds

150g water

2 egg whites

To serve

3 finger limes, vesicles removed

4 baby cucumbers, thinly sliced

Bunch baby radishes, finely sliced

Baby herbs


Start the labna 48hrs prior to serving.

To make the labna, in a large bowl, combine the yoghurt, salt, garlic and horseradish and stir well to combine. Place in a colander lined with a double layer of cheesecloth, over a large bowl. Bring the edges of the cheesecloth together and twist to wrap the yoghurt tightly. Place 2 or 3 tins of beans (or whatever) on top and place in the fridge to set.

Start curing the salmon 24hrs prior to serving.

To cure the salmon, place all the ingredients, except the salmon, in a food processor and process until smooth.

Place the salmon in a baking dish and pour over the beetroot cure. Spread it evenly to coat both sides of the salmon.

Place a piece of baking paper over the salmon and tuck in snuggly around the salmon. Cover tightly with a double layer of cling wrap and place in the fridge for 24hours. No longer.

For the buckwheat lavosh, pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius  and line 3 to 4 baking trays with baking paper.

Combine the flours, sugar, salt and fennel seeds in a bowl. Add the butter and use finger tips to rub into the flour.

Add the water and 1 of the egg whites and stir to bring together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.

Cut the dough into 12 pieces and use a pasta machine to roll until 2mm thick (or use a rolling pin).

Place on to prepared trays and brush with the remaining egg white and sprinkle with a little cracked salt.

Bake, in batches, for about 20mins, or until golden and crisp (keep and eye on it!)

Remove from oven and allow to cool.

When ready to serve, remove the salmon from the cure and gently wash off any excess with as little water as possible.

Remove the labna from the cheesecloth and put into a serving bowl.

Thinly slice the salmon across the grain and arrange on a serving platter along with the radish, cucumber, baby herbs and finger lime vesicles. Serve alongside the lavosh and labna.




Breakfast for a (complicated) Crowd. Potato and Caper Rösti with Smoked Salmon, Scrambled Eggs, Caramalized Onion, Fennel Salad, Avocado and Crème Fraîche.

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I’ve had this recipe waiting in the wings for a couple of months now. It’s perfect for a lazy weekend breakfast where you sit around for so long afterwards that you don’t end up getting the dishes done until lunchtime.

I made it for some of my family while visiting them in Brisbane, it happened to be Fathers’ Day, and while my own dad was 800km down the coast, I was with his brother, my Uncle, who thought it was quite funny that I was cooking breakfast for him on Fathers’ Day instead of my own Dad. Photo messages ensued…

I didn’t get time to post it before I hit the dusty road across the top end, and while I did get reception a couple of times and could’ve posted it, it felt wrong to upload such clean looking photos when in reality everything we ate was covered in a thin layer of dust.

But, I’m in darwin now, sitting in an air-conditioned room and feeling pretty good about it.

The night before I made this breakfast I had a very interrupted sleep, waking every couple of hours to another idea of what to cook for my Uncle (a retired chef), my Aunty (a coeliac), and my cousin (a vegetarian). I wanted to be able to please everyone whilst still being able to share the same meal. This big, fresh, tasty breakfast was the result and it went down a treat. And it was relatively quick and easy with an impressive result. Invite some friends over this weekend, brew some coffee, and spoil them with this delicious spring inspired big breakfast, guaranteed you won’t leave the table till it’s time for lunch.



Serves 4

Olive oil (keep the bottle on hand to use for a few things)

1 kg washed potatoes, grated

110g jar baby capers, drained

1 bunch dill, leaves picked, chopped

3 red onions, thinly sliced (a mandolin is ideal)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 small fennel, white parts thinly sliced and fronds picked

Bunch parsley, leaves picked

2 lemons

10 free range eggs

200ml cream

20g butter

200g smoked salmon

1 large avocado

small tub creme fraiche

salt and pepper


For the caramelised onion, heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for about 10mins or until they are quite soft. Add the sugar, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper and stir to dissolve the sugar. Continue to cook for another 20-30mins, stirring often, until thick and jam like. Remove from pan and set aside to cool.

For the potato rosti, pre-heat oven to 100 degrees Celcius. Working with a handful at a time, squeeze as much moisture out of the grated potato as possible. In a clean bowl combine the dry potato with the capers, half of the chopped dill and some salt and pepper. In a large frying pan, heat some olive oil over medium heat. Use about 1/4 cup of potato mixture per rosti. Press down each rosti with the back of a spatula into a roundish shape about 7mm thick. Don’t overcrowd the pan or flipping will be difficult. Cook for about 5 mins per side or until golden and starting to go crunchy around the edges. Transfer to a lined oven tray, without stacking too much (to prevent them going soggy), and keep warm in the oven.

For the fennel salad, in a large bowl, gently toss together the fennel slices and fronds, parsley, remaining dill, juice of 1 lemon and some salt and pepper.

At this point, before cooking the eggs, get everything else out and ready on the table. Slice the avocado and sprinkle with salt and pepper, slice the remaining lemon, put the caramelised onion and creme fraiche in bowls and arrange the smoked salmon on a plate.

For the scrambled eggs, whisk the eggs in a large bowl along with the cream and some pepper. Melt the butter in a large frying pan along with a dash of olive oil over medium heat. Pour in the egg mixture and cook, stirring slowly with a wooden spoon until just starting to set. Remove from heat. The eggs will continue to cook for a little while as you get  the rest of the food and everyone to the table.





Sesame Roasted Salmon and Soba Noodle Salad with Miso Glazed Pumpkin.

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After a beautiful afternoon of canoeing on the river, watching the sunset, I was pretty happy to discover that I had all the ingredients at home to make this delicious, healthful salad. I love the slippery texture of soba noodles with the crunch of fresh vegetables and sesame seeds. The salmon adds just the right amount of protein while the dressings are sweet and tangy.

To make it vegetarian you could replace the salmon with some tofu; omit the fish sauce from the dressing and marinate and fry some firm tofu.

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Serves 4

2 large salmon fillets, skin on

1 packet soba noodles, cooked to packet directions

1 large carrot, julienned

1/4 white cabbage shredded

1 packet endamame beans, blanched

1/4 cup finely chopped mint

2 tablespoons of black sesame seeds

Sesame Dressing

4 tablespoons white sesame seeds, toasted

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1 tablespoon peanut butter

1 teaspoon lime juice


Pickled ginger and wasabi paste to serve

Miso glazed pumpkin

1 small butternut pumpkin, cut into 1 cm thick triangles

3 tablespoons white miso paste

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

salt and pepper


To make sesame dressing combine ingredients in a mortar and pestle and grind to form a paste.

Place salmon in a bowl with a few tablespoons of sesame paste and marinate for about 30 mins.

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celcius.

Combine, noodles, vegetables and mint in a large bowl with a couple of tablespoons of sesame dressing and gently toss to combine.

Roast salmon, skin side down for about 20mins or until just cooked. Pull salmon apart into chunks and toss through with the salad. Check for seasoning and add more dressing if necessary. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds.

To make miso glazed pumpkin, combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine. Heat a grill pan over medium heat. sprinkle with sesame oil. In batches, place pumpkin in a single layer and brush with miso mixture. Turn and brush other side, cook until just tender. Repeat with remaining pumpkin.

Serve salad with pumpkin on the side as well as pickled ginger and wasabi paste.