After a long and busy year of not much blogging , this Christmas with time on my hands during our Cook Islands holiday, I’m getting back on my blogging “bike”. This setting is perfect for a free spirited foodie!
The Cook Islands are made up of 15 islands in the time zone as Hawaii, 21 hours “behind” Australia and across the international dateline, but only 3.5 hours flight from Auckland. (Direct flights from Sydney will recommence in June 2023) ….it’s still Christmas Eve here!
Arriving in Rarotonga really lives up to the description of South Pacific Paradise, and the warm tropical air makes you instantly relax. We are staying with friends Neil and Maxine who have relocated here and are running the beautiful property Arcadia Retreat – 3 private homes available for rent – which is just across the road from the beach and with stunning views of the hills around which the small population is scattered.
Neil whipped up his delicious Ika Mata salad for our welcome lunch which was so good we had to request it the next day as well! Ika Mata is the traditional raw fish salad of the Cook Islands which can be served as an entree or main course.
Here’s the recipe which is perfect for any summer’s day across the globe….you just need the freshest tuna/fish you can find …which of course is in abundance here.
- 400g fresh tuna cut into small cubes (the smaller the cubes, the faster your fish will cure)
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1 cup orange juice
- 3-4 tablespoons fresh passionfruit juice (seeds removed) *if you don’t have passionfruit then just add the same quantity of additional lime juice
- 2 birds eye chillies thinly sliced (you can deseed or make this optional)
- 3 teaspoons table salt
- 1 cup of coconut milk (ours was fresh but tinned is fine)
- Salad items like: finely diced tomatoes, spring onions, peeled and deseeded cucumber, capsicum, and onion
1. Cube tuna and place in a glass or ceramic bowl
2. Mix thinly sliced chilli, salt, orange, lime and passionfruit juice and then pour over the fish and gently mix to cover the fish in the marinade.
3. Place in the fridge to marinate for 20 minutes – half an hour depending on how “cooked through” you’d like your fish.
4. Pour off the liquid from the fish so just the fish and chilli remain in the bowl.
5. Add the salad ingredients, mix through gently and pour over coconut milk and serve.
Eat and enjoy with a crisp white wine, lettuce leaves and some toasted Turkish bread or baguette!