Monday, 9 June 2014

Prawn and Papaw Rice Paper Rolls with Dipping Sauce

The other day at the park, my three-year-old ran up to me with a couple of his little friends and asked if we could have sushi for lunch, "because that's what Jack is having." 

I said this was fine. And then the precocious mini foodies started discussing what type of sushi they wanted. One was after salmon and avocado, another said teriyaki chicken and Master N announced he wanted avocado and carrot and prawn. I was proud. At three, I don't think I knew what an avocado was, and I certainly wouldn't have stood for anything wrapped in seaweed. I know that kids liking sushi is unremarkable these days - Master N regularly has it at preschool. It's all about what is normal for them. With this in mind, and an unused papaw on my bench, I thought I would put it to good use on my prawn-loving youngster in a rice paper roll. 

He'd never had rice paper rolls before, but I sat him up at the bench with some carrot sticks and he watched as I soaked each wrapper in turn and then he helped me lay the ingredients inside. He even had a go at rolling one, which ended with the rice paper wrapped around his fingers and everything else on the floor. Feeding his pet dragon that lives under the bench, he calls it, whenever he drops food. It's a fat dragon. 

I made two versions of rolls: one with plain cooked prawns, avocado, carrot, slices of papaw drizzled with lime juice and coriander leaves for the kids, and the other with chilli and ginger prawns, shallots, carrot, papaw and coriander for me and Mr LP.

As mentioned in my papaya cheesecake post, papaws have a distinctive smell and getting kids to eat them willingly can be a challenge. I have found that the best way to introduce little people to anything they may be suspicious of is to either pair it something sweet or to hide it. In this case, I hid slices of yellow papaw behind shaved ribbons of orange carrot which were underneath orange prawns. I thought this was especially genius because one of the things Master N liked best about the rolls was how he could see through the rice paper to the contents. And the dipping in sauce bit. 

He ate nearly half a roll before he screwed up his face and inspected the contents closely. He identified the rogue ingredient so fast it made me laugh. "What's this Mummy?" I told him it was papaw and that it was kind of like mango, which he loves. "I don't like it." And that was that until I pulled it out. The coriander too. 

Mr LP though, scoffed three without blinking. So the verdict is that three year olds will be three year olds and that I would happily make these again for friends with drinks as canapés or a light and healthy entree with a tropical surprise. Haha, yes I just said that. Best of all, they're really, really easy and just as yum.

To learn more about the versatility of #aussiepapaw, visit

Prawn and Papaw Rice Paper Rolls
(Makes 12)

1 clove garlic, crushed
12 rice paper wrappers
24 medium sized green prawns, deveined and washed
1 carrot, peeled and shaved into ribbons 
Half a papaw, peeled and sliced
Half an avocado, sliced
Juice of half a lime
Half a bunch of coriander

*For grown up version, add:
6 shallots (scallions), halved length ways and then chopped in two to make 12 halves
Thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, grated
One Birdseye chilli, deseeded and finely sliced

Dipping sauce: 
Juice of half a lime
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon of brown sugar

Sauté garlic in a tablespoon of oil (I used coconut oil) on medium high heat until just fragrant. 
Add prawns and stir fry for three or four minutes until cooked (just firm and colour has changed to a coral pink). Place prawns on a plate and set aside until cooled.
Prepare carrots, papaw and avocado. Drizzle lime juice over papaw slices.
Soak each rice paper wrapper one at a time in a pan of warm water for 5 seconds and then lay flat on a chopping board and leave for 30 seconds to soften.
Place coriander leaves in centre of wrapper in a line, slightly overhanging the top. Leave about 2cm of space at the bottom for rolling.
Place a carrot ribbon on top, followed by slices of papaw, avocado and two prawns.
Roll up tightly from one side, stopping halfway to fold and tuck in the bottom.
Serve with dipping sauce.

For dipping sauce, mix all ingredients in a small bowl. 

* For grown up version, add ginger and chilli to the prawns when stir frying. Add shallots to the rolls when assembling.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Red Papaya, Lime and Coconut Cheesecake with Lime Syrup

To me, this cheesecake tastes of summer and Bali. Summer, because it's tropical and bright, and Bali because it was there, feasting on exotic fruit every morning, that I really grew to like the unusual flavours of papayas and papaws.

I like papayas best. They are sweet and floral and taste amazing with lime and anything salty. They do have a distinctive and acquired smell, so be prepared for some sweaty sneakers jokes from any kids around. Just tell them to be adventurous and if they never tried anything, they wouldn't have discovered chocolate. Don't tell them papayas are a thousand times better for them than chocolate, or it will be game over. And I mean really good for them - and us of course! The fruit is rich in Vitamin C and potassium, it contains beta-carotene for healthy skin and it's a great source of fibre.

When cut, papayas are a vibrant coral colour - yep, like a sunrise - and I thought they would look gorgeous sliced and arranged on top of a creamy baked cheesecake. They pair beautifully with South East Asian flavours, so I have used lime and coconut in the cheesecake, and the base is made from Gingernut bickies. Finished with a drizzle of tangy lime syrup, it's my ideal papaya dessert, and a great way to introduce your family or guests to something a little bit different. Fancy even!

To learn more about #aussiepapaya or #aussiepapaw visit

Red Papaya, Lime and Coconut Cheesecake with Lime Syrup
(Serves 16)

200g Gingernut biscuits
40g desiccated coconut
120g butter, melted

250g fresh ricotta cheese
500g cream cheese at room temperature
150 ml coconut cream
225g caster sugar
2 tablespoons cornflour
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of one lime
1 red papaya
Edible violets to decorate *

Lime Syrup:
100g caster sugar
Juice and zest of one lime
1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 180C.
Grease and line the base and sides of a 23cm springform tin with non-stick baking paper.
Blitz biscuits and coconut with a food processor until they resemble fine breadcrumbs. Pour into a bowl and mix in melted butter. Press mixture into the base of prepared tin and smooth with the back of a spoon. Bake for 10 mins.
Reduce oven to 160C.
For the filling, process all ingredients except the papaya and violets with a food processor until smooth. Use a spatula to scrape the mixture down the sides of the bowl and process again until it is perfectly smooth. Whisk out any stubborn lumps. Carefully pour the mixture into the tin on top of the base. Bake for 55-60 mins or until the edges are golden brown and there is a slight wobble in the centre. Cool in the tin and then place in the fridge until cold.
To assemble, remove cheesecake from tin and place on a serving plate or cake stand.
Now to make the lime syrup. Place caster sugar, lime juice, zest and water into a small saucepan and stir gently over medium high heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture begins to boil. Stop stirring and simmer for 3 mins. Remove from heat and leave to cool.
Slice papaya in half and remove the seeds and skin from one half. Slice the peeled fruit thinly and arrange the slices on top of the cheesecake, starting from the edges and working in.
Drizzle lime syrup in large circles on top of the papaya slices with a teaspoon and finish with scattered edible violets.
Cheesecake can be made a day ahead, but assemble the fruit and make syrup on the day of serving.
*Edible violets and other edible flowers are available from select Farmers Markets. I bought my violets, produced by Darling Mills Farm, from Orange Grove Markets in Rozelle, Sydney.