Pickled Cucumber & Edamame Bean Salad with Sesame Salmon


This succulent pan fried, lightly smoked salmon dish is accompanied by one of the most delicious and popular rice dishes and rounded off by a quick Asian version of crunchy pickled cucumbers. In this recipe jasmine rice is slowly cooked in thick, creamy coconut rice, transforming a staple grain into a talking point. 

  The rice has two ingredients and one very important tool – its very own tin. By using the tin as the measuring guide, first by emptying out its thick, creamy contents, then filling with water and finally using it as a guide for the rice we have created the perfect coconut rice and finally fresh and sweet soybeans are stirred through the dish. Alongside the star of the show is a lightly marinated, sticky fillet of salmon, topped with nutty sesame seeds and pea shoots, as well as ribbons of the pickled cucumber. This dish is fabulous for sharing with friends, on a warm spring day. But the rice is perfectly acceptable to be made all year round, over and over again.



1 tin coconut milk
1 tin water
1 tin jasmine rice
½ cucumber, thinly sliced in to ribbons
3 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. nigella seeds
120g edamame beans
2 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. clear honey
½ tbsp. soy sauce
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
1 thumb sized piece of ginger, finely grated
2 fillets salmon
1 tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted
a large handful pea shoots


1. Cook the rice. Make the sticky rice. Empty one can of coconut milk into a medium saucepan. Fill the empty tin with boiling water and add that into the pot. Finally add a tin full of basmati rice. Bring to the boil before simmering for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat, cover, and allow the rice to patiently sit until you are ready for it.

2. In a small bowl combine the cucumber, 2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar, salt and the nigella seeds. Allow to pickle for at least half an hour.

3. Cook the beans. Place the beans in a small pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and reduce the heat, simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and set aside.

4.     Combine the sesame oil, remaining vinegar, honey, soy, chilli and ginger together in a bowl and place your salmon fillets in with the mixture to infuse for 15 minutes.

5.     Turn the grill to a medium heat and place the salmon skinside down on a lined baking tray. Cook for 5 minutes, turn the salmon over and baste with more of the marinade, cook for a further 5 minutes.

6.     Spoon the rice and edamame on to two plates. Top with the salmon and dress with the pickled cucumber. Sprinkle over the sesame seeds and garnish with pea shoots. Serve.

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Perhaps this shot should be labeled, 'Confessions of a Food Stylist'? The starting gun has been fired and shoots began on my new book last week. Monday was mostly spent trying to locate fresh kaffir lime leaves, perfect sour cream pastry and negotiate my way around the dried pulse aisle. Tuesday began at 6:30am with my hands stripping the meat from boiled ham hocks and didn’t end until at least 16 hours later when I finaly landed back at home.
We had 18 recipes, 2 days, 1 editor, 1 photographer and 2 foodies. We worked tirelessly, fulled by coffee and a ticking clock.

This image, of olive oil in a jar, makes me smile. It’s one of the tricks you learn over the years that dishes sing with a brief encounter of oil, just before a shot.   



It's not too often I revisit recipes from my previous books, I find that I'm more often than not, developing new ones but this cake has become a firm favourite.

I developed it last year with a friend of mine who had arrived, fresh from the sunshine coast and full of bright, healthy new foodie concepts. It seems obvious now, switch butter for avocado… we must have tested the cake 3 times each before it was eventually perfected. Here is the polished version, which can by found in my book, Take One Veg.


Don’t knock this until you’ve tried it. It makes perfect sense that the buttery, rich flesh of the avocado is glorious in a cake and negates the need for any butter.

Makes 2 x 18cm cakes – Prep time: 20 minutes, Cook time: 40 minutes

flesh of 2 small ripe avocados, about 250g
300g ground almonds
300g caster sugar
juice and zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
3 medium free-range eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon poppy seeds, plus extra to decorate
125g cream cheese
300g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter
2 x 18cm cake tins

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4 and grease and line the cake tins with baking parchment.
2. Put the avocado flesh into a blender or food-processor and add the ground almonds and sugar. Whizz until you have a gorgeous green paste.
3. Transfer the avocado mixture to a bowl and add the lemon juice zest and eggs, one element at a time, stirring the mixture well. Mix in the baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and poppy seeds until the seeds are evenly distributed. Spoon the mixture evenly into the cake tins and bake for 40 minutes until the cake is just firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
4. Make the icing by beating the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl to soften and, working quickly, whisk through the icing sugar. Use a palette knife to slather the icing over the cake and then top with poppy seeds.


If you would prefer to cook the cake in 2 x 20cm cake tins, add an extra egg to the mixture.