Monday, 17 September 2012

Tropical recipes: watermelon and coconut

tropical fruit

Water melon pickles
Water melon pickles, I used this recipe
 Despite the valid exhortations from the great and the good to shop local with fruit and vegetables, I must admit to a recent obsession with the tropics. Take watermelon for instance, they are almost camp as a fruit, the outsize pre-historic green bowling ball with its juicy pink interior, studded with black seeds. No artist can resist painting it. But they are a pain in the bicep to shop need a man to carry them or have them delivered. 
You can make vibrant salads and canapes with watermelon: use slices topped with feta cheese and mint or ceviche-style sea bass or seared tuna with a squeeze of lime. I've also made a southern favourite, beloved of Elvis and Dolly: watermelon rind pickles. 
Watermelon are fabulously colourful to use in drinks: my favourite cocktail, a Margarita, only gets better when you include watermelon juice. (Easily made with a Vitamix blender. What's that? A super fast and powerful blender. It can make ordinary sugar into fresh icing sugar. I was well impressed by that. ) 
Coconuts were used extensively on my Bestival menu. I made a 'sambal' (a combination of sauce/chutney) to accompany the South Seas Soup, coconut milk in the soup, and coconut cream in the delicious cocktails served in....coconut drinking shells! Again I used the Vitamix to make the sambal quickly but you could try an ordinary blender, a pestle and mortar or chop by hand.

South Seas soup with coconut sambal
South Seas soup with coconut sambal

South Seas Soup: 

This is a rich tasty soup that is good for summer and winter.

Serves 2 to 3 

Using vegetable oil or palm oil as base
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 onion, (red) diced
1 red chilli seeded, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 inches of fresh ginger, minced
2 sticks lemon grass, sliced into thin rounds,
1 can (400ml) coconut milk, check 
1 teaspoon toasted coriander seed, freshly ground
1 teaspoon turmeric
a pinch of saffron
Juice of 1 lime
Big handful of spinach,
Fresh coriander
Salt to taste

Soften onions,
Fry sweet potato
Add garlic, red chilli and ginger
Add rest of ingredients, adding spinach at the end
Garnish with lime and coriander

Coconut, lime, chilli sambal:

Coconut, lime, chilli sambal:

Enough for 4 as a garnish for the soup. 

1 fresh coconut, cracked open, brown skin peeled, milk reserved
2 fresh chillis, seeded, minced
2 limes, juiced
Fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped

Using the Vitamix  this is easy,
I open coconuts by using a wine screw in one of the eyes,  and drain the milk. 
Then I smash it against hard concrete. 
Peel off the brown skin. Whack the milk and flesh in the Vitamix.
Put in the chillis and the lime juice. 
Add salt and some fresh coriander.
Watermelon Margarita recipe:

Watermelon Margarita recipe: 

Make sure all the ingredients are cold or use crushed ice.
Ice (optional)
A thick slice of watermelon, rind off, seeded, cut into chunks.
A shot of tequila
A shot of triple sec or Chase Marmalade vodka
Juice of half a lime

Wet the rim of the glass with a lime and salt it by turning the glass over into a saucer of salt. You can use different coloured salts if you like.
Blend and strain the watermelon into a glass. Add the tequila and Triple Sec. Add the lime. 
Garnish with a wedge of watermelon.

Coconut cocktails
Coconut cocktails


  1. Hoping you survived Bestival. In the past have frozen the watermelon itself for blitzing in margaritas - also means less call for ice and a bit of a stronger tequila kick- which can be both a good, and a bad thing, depending on what sort of day it's been.

  2. What a great idea! I've also read about soaking watermelon wedges I tequila

  3. One ahot summers day these would be amazing!! thanks for sharing


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