Picnics by the pool #rarotonga #cookislands

The last few days have involved lots of beautiful relaxed eating…the kind of days I spend most of the working year dreaming about.

Grilled Mahi Mahi and salad

Christmas leftovers, barbecues and grilled fresh fish all call for good salads and accompaniments … here are some recipes of the types of side dishes we’ve been enjoying alongside our meals.

The fresh ingredients particularly local tomatoes and cucumbers here in the Cook Islands are delicious …so simple green salads and cucumber salads have also been a mainstay with heartier sides like the ones below providing some variety.

Roast potatoes

Roast potatoes

Hasselback sweet potatoes

Vegetarian Rice Pilau

Black bean salsa

Pineapple salsa

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Heirloom tomato salad with Burrata

Mixed Salad with cucumber raita

Mixed salad with cucumber raita

Hope this provides some inspiration for the new year!

Heirloom tomato and Burrata Salad

A beautiful salad for lazy summer days which is an excellent accompaniment to Christmas leftovers like ham, turkey, barbecued meats and roast pork.

The success of this salad lies in getting the best quality tomatoes and a good Burrata. I used a mix of one large heirloom tomato with gold and red grape and cherry tomatoes.

Burrata is a delicious cheese, a mixture of mozzarella, soft cheese curds and cream…when you burst it open the gooey inside and texture of the cheese case are excellent combination with the fresh tomatoes.


  • 1 good quality Burrata (now easily found in Australian supermarkets)
  • 1 or 2 large heirloom tomatoes cut into thick slices
  • 200g red grape tomatoes cut in halves
  • 200g gold cherry tomatoes cut in halves
  • 200g red cherry tomatoes cut in halves
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Handful of fresh basil leaves
  • Salt and black pepper


1. Slice and cut tomatoes

2. Strain and place Burrata in the middle of a platter

3. Arrange tomatoes around the Burrata, season with salt and cracked black pepper, scatter basil leaves, sprinkle generously with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

4. Crack open the Burrata and enjoy with crusty bread.