The Kiwi Cook

Illusions and delusions of a foodie from Down Under


Shrimp & Avocado Summer Rolls

October 23, 2014

rice paper_site

I’m always stoked to find a recipe that has me (happily) eating fresh, healthy vegetables! And summer rolls put the fun into healthy (heck, even the name makes you feel good!). I love the contrast between the tastes and textures – it’s a true sensory experience! And can I say.. rice paper wrappers are a revelation – the transformation from stiff and starchy to soft and gelatinous is just too delicious for words!

Thanks to New Zealand cook, Nadia Lim, for this recipe. I really liked the combination of fruit, veges, herbs and spices, not to mention the crunchy addition of nuts. Of course, you can sub in whatever you like, or whatever’s in season. For instance, I couldn’t find mango anywhere (hate it when that happens), so I used rock melon instead which was a nice alternative. And while the original recipe called for prawns, I actually preferred having smaller (and therefore more) shrimps. Oh, and by the way, it’s easy enough to reduce the recipe without getting the calculator out. I wanted to make some rolls just for myself, so figured if I quartered the recipe (roughly speaking) it’d be about right. I didn’t bother weighing anything at all and it was totally fine. 

So, if you’re like me and haven’t tried these before (or maybe I’m the only one!), give them a go. They’re fun to make, healthy for you (kids will love ‘em), and extremely moreish! Enjoy.

Shrimp & Avocado Summer Rolls

Makes 20 rolls – serves 4-6

Ingredients: (Click here for unit converter)

  • 2 Tbsp neutral tasting oil
  • 400-500g raw shrimps (or shelled prawns)
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, finely chopped (or lemongrass paste, to taste)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

To assemble

  • 20 large sheets rice paper wrappers
  • 1 large ripe mango, peeled and thinly sliced (or, if unavailable, melon is a nice alternative)
  • 2 firm, ripe avocados, sliced
  • ½ cucumber, halved lengthways, seeds removed and sliced into thin 4cm-long batons
  • 1 red capsicum, cored and cut into thin strips (I used marinated, roasted pepperdews)
  • ½ cup roasted peanuts, finely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped

Sweet chilli and lime dipping sauce

  • 4 Tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1-2 Tbsp soy sauce or fish sauce, to taste


  1. Pat prawns dry with paper towels and season with salt. Heat oil in a wok or large fry pan on high heat and cook prawns, lemongrass and garlic for 3-5 minutes or until prawns are just cooked through. Set aside to cool.
  2. When ready to assemble spring rolls, place a clean damp tea towel flat on the bench. Soak 1-2 sheets of rice paper in a shallow dish of warm water at a time for 20-30 seconds. Carefully transfer to clean damp flat tea towel.
  3. Place a slice of mango, avocado, cucumber and capsicum in the centre of the rice paper (you’ll soon get the feel for how much you need, but at the beginning try not to overfill). Top with several shrimps (or 1-2 prawns), sprinkle over a few peanuts and some coriander. To roll the wrappers, fold the bottom half of the rice wrapper over the filling, then fold in edges and roll wrapper up (don’t be too hung up about how to do this; so long as the food is contained, you’re good!). Transfer to a serving plate with the seam side down.
  4. Combine all dipping sauce ingredients. Serve summer rolls with a bowl of dipping sauce on the side. Grab a roll, dip it into the sauce and go for it!

Miso Soup

October 15, 2014

Miso Soup_lrg

Miso soup is simple and wholesome and one of the best meals to turn to when you’ve overimbibed and you need to bring your body back to equilibrium. I’d heard about the health benefits of miso years ago from my naturopath and while I don’t eat it nearly enough, I do feel compelled to eat it when I’m feeling a bit under the weather. It’s high in antioxidants, strengthens the immune system, aids digestion and contains all the essential amino acids. Its taste may be more subtle that we’re used to in our western diet,  but when combined with herbs and spices as well as fresh vegetables and seafood, it is a gently comforting and delicious soup.

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Chicken Tagine with Apricots & Caramelized Walnuts

October 9, 2014

Chicken Tagine_lg

Boy oh boy. This is one of those recipes that I know for sure I’m going to make again and again. In a word… di-vine. Succulent chicken, along with honeyed apricots and crunchy toffee walnuts with just a hint of orange blossom water – it’s mouth-watering just thinking about it.

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Hawaiian Pizza

October 6, 2014

Hawaiian Pizza_lg

Here’s a pizza of mixed descent – Italian by origin and Hawaiian by name (even though apparently Hawaiian pizza was devised in Canada – lol). But, regardless of who dreamed it up, we’re forever grateful here in Down Under land – it’s our most popular pizza.

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Kahlua Cheesecake

October 1, 2014


I couldn’t resist making another cheesecake – after all it’s been.. hmm, about 3 months.. far too long! This time, a Kahlua/coffee/chocolate combo called my name. And crikey, might I add that you don’t want to be making this one for the little ‘uns – it’s definitely an R18!

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Moravian Kolaches

September 27, 2014


The September Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Lucie from ChezLucie. She challenged us to make a true Czech treat – Kolaches!

Well, this was an interesting and incredibly delicious challenge! I hope my photos convey just how glorious these bread treats are – soft, flaky bread with a moist custard-like filling, a plum jam glaze and crunchy streusel topping. Salivating yet?

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