Aloha 2018 – Poke Pizza

In my first blog post of the year, I’d like to talk to you about travel.
Why? Because I love it. It has shaped who I am and I believe it has contributed much to me being the person I am today. Travelling is definitely my thing.

When I was 18, I lived in New Zealand for a year. At age 21, I moved to Australia, where I stayed for 6 months. In between, I travelled all over the place including a 5-month around the world trip.
People often ask me where I get my recipe inspirations from – this is it. Travelling to other countries sparks my creativity and also introduces me to new flavours and combinations.

There are many memorable moments in a life, but a handful are particularly precious: meeting that special person, a first kiss, the birth of a child, a personal triumph. These are all very individual and personal experiences, but they share a few traits: they are rare and unique and this makes them extraordinary and intense.
I’ve experienced many of my personal special moments when I was travelling. Being somewhere else gives me a feeling of freedom, independence and adventure but adapting to a new environment, attempting to speak another language and being truly open to new things can also be challenging.
To me, travelling means leaving your comfort zone, feeling good in your own skin but also solving myriad problems, and in a way you would have perhaps done very differently in the past.
It means accepting situations the way they are, being comfortable feeling lonely on occasion and learning to appreciate home. Travelling means meeting inspiring people but also meeting yourself.
And all of that is just scratching the surface.

Therefore my advice to you is: travel. Once, twice – many times! It’s worth all the effort. But don’t just book a trip to someplace warm and lie on the beach for a week, go somewhere interesting so you can discover things you’ve never seen before!
Our life is too short and valuable and our planet too small and also too big not to have a closer look.

In 2017, I lost some people close to me and I remembered how precious and brief a lifetime can be and how important it is to enjoy it and really live.
I want to see the world and collect as many memories as possible. My goal is to go somewhere I’ve never been before at least twice a year. “The journey is the destination”.

Of course this is not everyone’s cup of tea. But since the time of the earliest explorers, humans have dreamt of finding out how other people live, eat and love. Learn from them wherever you go. Get your bellies out into the sun, swim in the salty sea, climb the highest mountains and drink in the wild, fresh air! Sail out of your port. Dream, discover, explore!

I will start my year with a trip to the Southern hemisphere. At the end of January, I will hop across the pond to Australia for a month to check out some exciting food concepts in Sydney, Melbourne and Byron Bay as well as meet up with old friends, make new ones and catch some rays.
I’m so looking forward to creating wonderful new memories and sharing them with you.

Today I’d like to present to you a modified version of a recipe hailing from one of my favourite destinations: Poke Pizza from Hawaii. Poke is a raw fish salad popular in Hawaii and is basically the island nation’s national dish. It combines Japanese influences and some culinary aspects of the western US, a little bit similar to Nikkei, where Japanese cuisine melts with Peruvian cooking. This produces a dish called a Ceviche – a very trendy food item at the moment and those who know me well are aware that it’s one of my favourites.

My new cookbook Pizza ohne Reue (Pizza without regrets) – available from Brandstätter Verlag since 20/12/17 – features a chapter called “All around the World”, where I introduce modified versions of recipes I’ve stumbled upon during my travels. In this case, I have created a new form of the ubiquitous pizza.

The cookbook really piqued my creative side – I very much wanted to feature as many new and unusual pizza bases as possible while at the same time substituting traditional toppings with original, colourful and nutritious ones or simply adding to them.

If you are willing to leave the same old ideas behind, new and inspired ones turn up automatically, like a watermelon pizza, pizza made from zucchini, rice noodles, mushrooms etc. There is no limit to the imagination – trying out anything and everything is the motto.

Travelling around the world has inspired me to think laterally and create new recipes while retaining the traditional flavours as a type of souvenir. Like the Hawaiian pizza. In Hawaii, I ate a Poke Bowl of some kind – including rice and raw fish salad – almost daily, so I wanted to include these flavours and textures in my new cookbook. Which in turn made me think of using rice as a pizza base. I kept the round shape, because that’s what we all associate with pizza, but topped it with raw fish salad.
Any new recipe can be created using this approach: by reinventing and reinterpreting traditional, tried and tested ingredients.

Have a great time travelling, discovering and just trying stuff out!

If you’re interested in my book and more exceptional, healthy types of pizza, you can order it here.

ALOHA.

Aloha means farewell to thee.

Aloha means good morning.

It means until we meet again

beneath the tropic sky.

And always to be true..

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Hawaiian Poke and Rice Pizza
2 Portions

Ingredients:

2 cups Japanese sushi rice
½ a mango
2 spring onions
2 radishes
100g soy beans
1 avocado
2 TBSP black sesame seeds
½ bunch coriander
150g salmon fillet (very fresh!)
150g tuna fillet (very fresh!)
10 TBSP tamari and soy sauces
2 TBSP rice flour, if needed
2 TBSP peanut oil

Preparation:

  1. For the rice, put a pan on the hob and boil some lightly salted water. Rinse the rice until the water runs clear, add it to the pan, briefly bring to the boil, cover and simmer until all the water has been absorbed (about 12 minutes). Then remove from the heat and let sit.
  2. Halve and cube the mango. Wash and finely slice the spring onions and radishes. Parboil the soy beans for 3 minutes. Halve, de-stone and peel the avocado and cut into small cubes. In a dry pan, briefly roast the sesame seeds. Wash, shake dry, pick and finely chop the coriander.
  3. Cut the fish into cubes around 1,5cm in size and marinate with tamari/soy sauce and the spring onions. Add coriander, soy beans, avocado and mango and combine well.
  4. Form little balls from the rice. If the rice isn't sticky enough, add flour. Heat oil in a pan, add the rice balls and press them down until they form patties. Fry for 6 minutes each side until golden and crispy.
  5. Remove from the pan, top with the radishes and spoon over the marinated fish mix. Garnish with black sesame seeds and serve.