#30 + #31: Fiji and New Zealand – Kokada and Pavlova

Here in Washington, D.C., summers can be brutal. The humidity usually hovers around 80% or higher and temps often sit in the 90s for weeks at a time. One thing that I have found challenging in coming up with countries to cook from during these summer months is that so many of the recipes that appeal most to be seem too heavy. But for this meal, I took two countries from the other side of the world (Fiji and New Zealand) and found two dishes to make for one of my first small “dinner parties” for three friends who have been part of my critical COVID-19 tribe.

I love ceviche and have made it before, but I’m always a bit hesitant on making sure that I “cook” the fish properly since immersing the fish in acid is the method here. I’ve found a lot of different instructions on just how much time is needed, ranging from 15 minutes to 4 hours. Which can be very confusing, especially when you’re worried about serving something too “raw” (though we are all sushi eaters so perhaps I was worried for nothing). I chose to use a recipe that called for a shorter “cook” time and included red snapper. Pro tip: It’s a lot easier to get a fish that has already been deboned and skinless. But I failed to do this so it took a bit more work that I would have liked but the end result, which includes a light coconut milk, was fantastic. This is the recipe I used: https://www.saveur.com/fijian-ceviche-kokoda-recipe/

For dessert, I decided to make a Pavlova. I’ve made small meringues before (using the aquafaba from cans of chickpeas…seriously it’s a great hack) but for this I used egg whites. I think the hardest part of getting this right (and why it was flatter than I had hoped) was that I didn’t quite get the egg whites to the types of peaks that I needed. Could be the humidity, but at some point I didn’t want to overmix it, so I put it in the oven. The end result, while not as beautiful as others I’ve seen, tasted great. I’ll definitely try to make one of these again, perhaps when the humidity has gone down. Recipe found here: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/pavlova/

Overall Level of Effort: 3

Skill Level: Intermediate

Would Make It Again? Yes and yes.

Additional Notes: While these were not complex recipes, there are some methods that can put you a bit out of your comfort zone. But I think that’s good and for someone who has been stuck in a bit of a rut of a lot of chicken and rice recipes, the timing of this effort was perfect.

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