28 August 2010

Island Time Part One

Kia Orana...Muri Beach, Rarotonga, Cook Islands...It really was as idyllic as it looks, a view you could never tire of looking at, hence the numerous photos taken.  I'd say by the end of the week at least 100 plus! Off the plane late afternoon and no problem whatsoever settling in to island time.  
Also arrived just in time for happy hour so what better way to kick the holiday off with a couple of Mai Tais at the Barefoot Bar beach side.  
Our first choice of restaurant for dinner was fully booked (booked in for the following night) so took a recommendation and went to Flame Tree, handily a few minutes walk from the resort and with umbrellas on hand we were sheltered from the fairly torrential downpour.  A pretty spot down a long driveway and we settled in for the first of many delicious meals.  We started off with a smoked marlin mouse with sauvignon jelly and sourdough bread.  The mousse was light with a delicate smoked flavour that didn't over power the beautiful fresh marlin.  The jelly provided a nice little acidity to the creaminess of the mousse. For main course I opted for some grilled mahi mahi on a kumura rosti and drizzled with a Bearnaise sauce that was sublime.  Post dinner we were treated to the most spectacular lightening storm.  Made even more memorable, as actually so far out at sea we couldn't hear the thunder but could only marvel at nature's magnificent light show. 
Noni - v smelly!

Awoke our first morning to sunshine and balmy tropical temperatures. We caught the anti clockwise bus in to the main centre of Avarua where Punanga Nui Cultural Market is held every Saturday morning. Lots of local produce on offer. Including a new one to me noni.  Not a very appealing smell to say the least and can't really describe it.  The Noni (Morinda Citrifolia plant to use its "proper name") flourishes in the rich volcanic soil in the pristine tropical paradise of the Cook Islands.  The fruit is organically grown and processed in a traditional manner to extract a pure quality juice with no additives. It is a dark brown juice that tastes a little better than the actual fruit juice - an accurate description would be an acquired taste!  Noni is full of nutrients, vitamins, active enzymes and minerals and can help build your immune system and has even been shown to help with arthritis.
Amongst all the food  - beautiful kebabs, fruit smoothies, homemade lemonade is the classic Rarotongan dish ika mata - basically marinated raw fish.  Easy to do at home and a refreshing dish on a hot summer's day with an icy cold beer.

                                 Recipe here courtesy of Pacific Resort in Raro.
400g yellow fin tuna
1 large lemon
1 tomato
1/2 cucumber
1 medium capsicum
1/2 white onion (or normal kiwi onion will do to!)
1/2 tin good quality coconut cream (or 1 fresh grated coconut juice if you happen to be in the islands)
Salt & pepper to taste

In to a bowl squeeze the juice of the lemon. Dice the tuna into 1cm cubes, add to the lemon juice, mix and place to the side.
Into a separate bowl, dice the vegetables into 1/2 cm cubes.  (The time this takes is enough to marinate the tuna)
Add vegetables to the tuna as well as the coconut cream and season to taste.

Great as an appetiser or serve with a simple salad & fresh crusty bread for a light lunch.

And there's more. In addition to all the food some  great arts, crafts, clothing and souvenirs to be found. Great food and some retail therapy to boot! All under the beautiful Rarotongan sunshine makes for a perfect Saturday morning.

The wonderful colours of the South Pacific.
Traditional eis


  1. Great recipe, I'm going to try this in my little Scottish kitchen !

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