I spotted finger limes in the grocer the other day and I knew I had to make something with them. I tried them recently for the first time and they are the most amazing little citrus delights. They’re a native Australian fruit with a hard shell and once you open it up it reveals these gorgeous little shiny balls, often referred to as lime caviar. Once you bite into the balls they burst into a tangy, limey explosion. You probably won’t find them at your local supermarket but they are getting more and more popular. I found them at my local Norton St Grocer but I’m sure if you asked your local grocer they might have them or would be able to source them for you.
I decided to pair them with a Thai inspired salad with lots of fresh zingy flavours. The flavour base for the dressing comes from grinding down the ginger, garlic and chilli into a paste, which gives the dressing a really good flavour hit. Don’t worry though, I’ve added some coconut milk as well, which tones it down it bit and makes sure the raw ginger and garlic aren’t too much. The addition of the lime juice, vermicelli and fresh herbs really brings the salad to life and while your eating, and bursting through one of the finger limes it really is a taste sensation. And how can you forget the sweet, succulent prawns! This is a perfect summer lunch or light dinner and you can whip it up in under 30 minutes. Enjoy!
Prawn, Coconut, Finger Lime and Vermicelli Salad
- 1.5 kg cooked prawns, peeled and de-veined
- 1 small clove garlic
- 1cm piece ginger, roughly chopped
- ½ long green chilli
- 1 small red Birdseye chilli
- 2tbs lime juice
- 2tbs fish sauce
- 1tbs soy sauce
- ½ tsp sesame oil
- 2 ½ tbs grated palm sugar (or brown sugar)
- 2 cucumbers, halved lengthways and chopped
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips, you can use a vegetable spiraliser
- Seeds of two finger limes
- 200g vermicelli rice noodles
- 1 cup mint leaves
- 1 cup coriander leaves
- Place the garlic, ginger, and both chillies in a mortar and pestle and grind the ingredients down into a paste. Add the lime juice, fish sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar and mix until the sugar dissolves. Add the cucumber to the sauce mix and let it marinate for about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water and then cover the bowl for 5 minutes. Drain the noodles into a colander and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together the cucumber sauce mix and coconut milk with the noodles, carrots, finger limes and herbs. Divide the noodle salad into bowls, top with the prawns and garnish with some more mint coriander and chilli and serve.
It’s almost sacrilegious not to make lamingtons for Australia Day, they’re somewhat of a national treasure. The culinary icon consists of sponge cake dipped in chocolate icing and liberally sprinkled with desiccated coconut. As with a lot of famous desserts, it seems the lamington came into being due to an accident in the kitchen. A maid-servant to Lord Lamington, the eighth Governor of Queensland, allegedly accidentally dropped the Governors favourite sponge cake into some melted chocolate. The Governor, who didn’t like waste (wise man) suggested the cake be dusted in coconut to avoid messy fingers, and thus the lamington was born.
I decided to put a slight twist on the traditional lamington by sandwiching it with some salted caramel before dipping it in the sticky chocolate mixture. There are already variations that sandwich it with either cream or jam but the salted caramel really brings it to life and is a delicious surprise when you bite in. Lamingtons are actually super easy, don’t be too scared off by the thought of making sponge – I’ve used a Women’s Weekly recipe as the base for these. They are perfect to take to your Australia Day barbeque and your friends will love you. Enjoy and Happy Australia Day!
Salted Caramel Lamingtons
2/3cup (150g) caster (superfine) sugar
1/3 cup (50g) cornflour (cornstarch)
½ cup (75g) plain (all-purpose) flour
1/3 cup (50g) self-raising flour
2 cups (160g) desiccated coconut, approximately
3 cups (500g) icing (confectioners’) sugar
½ cup (50g) cocoa powder
15g (½ ounce) butter, melted
2/3 cup (160ml) milk
250g dulche de leche
½ teaspoon ground sea salt
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease deep 20cm (9-inch) square cake pan.
- Beat eggs in medium bowl with electric mixer about 10 minutes or until thick and creamy. Gradually beat in sugar, beating until sugar dissolves after each addition. Fold in triple-sifted flours. Spread mixture into pan.
- Bake cake about 30 minutes. Turn cake, top-side up, onto wire rack to cool.
- Meanwhile, make the chocolate icing. Sift icing sugar and cocoa into large heatproof bowl; stir in butter and milk. Stir icing over large saucepan of simmering water until of a coating consistency.
- For the salted caramel filling, combine the dulche de leche and sea salt in a medium sized bowl and mix until well combined.
- Cut cake into 16 squares, then cut each square in half. Place 1 ½ teaspoons of the salted caramel spread on one of the half squares, then top with the other half like a sandwich. Repeat this process for each of the squares. Dip squares in icing, drain off excess by letting sit on a cooling rack for about a minute; toss squares in coconut. Place lamingtons on wire rack to set.