The Far Far North
In Far North Queensland Poh is lucky to have her friend, Elton, as a guide. Elton’s people on his father’s side are the Tableland Yidinji and on the banks of the beautiful Barron river on the Atherton Tableland they make Poh feel like part of the family as they catch and cook a favourite, Eel. Poh is delighted to discover that many of Elton’s family love Asian flavours in their cooking and she is inspired to make a beautifully textured Asian style salad that features smoked Eel, jelly fish and a tangy Chinese style dressing. On Four Mile Beach “Coconut Rodney” has made a business out of “denuting” the wild growing coconut palms for top chefs who can’t get enough of the fresh product. Rodney and climber, Lennie, demonstrate the skill involved in harvesting coconuts before giving Poh a quick but not entirely successful palm climbing lesson. Rodney shows Poh coconut meat at different stages of maturity and then highly regarded Palm Cove chef, Nick Holloway, uses Rodney’s coconut products to make a delicately sumptuous and beautifully textured dessert : Coconut meringue snow islands floating in a spiced pineapple soup on a bed of coconut palm heart salad with lime ice-cream and macadamia brittle! As Chef Nick says “a little ray of sunshine in a bowl”. One of the amazing ingredients in Nick’s dish is vanilla which Poh discovers is grown locally. She tracks down two growers, Mary and Russell Spanton, and gains a whole new appreciation for vanilla when she sees what a true labour of love growing it is. Poh honours the vanilla with the delicious simplicity of a crème caramel.