Sunday, March 3, 2019

A Vietnamese Prawn Salad with Queensland Crystal Bay Prawns

Crystal Bay Prawns are farmed near Cardwell in Far North Queensland, and they are what I used in this salad as they looked so fresh and delicious when I was shopping at the supermarket. I know that wild caught prawns are preferable, however farmed prawns ensures a constant and reliable supply for retail outlets. I was in the mood for seafood, as I often am, and with the hot and muggy weather we've been experiencing the idea of not needing to cook was also very appealing. I also didn't feel like rushing around and driving over to the local seafood supplier we often buy from.

Thankfully autumn has now arrived, with frequent rain showers keeping the temperatures cool. 29 degrees today which is perfect. I hope it lasts. Mr. HRK and I ate all of this salad in one sitting. It could be served as an entree for four people, however if serving it as a main for 4 people I would double the quantity of prawns. To my way of thinking, 22 prawns (500g) with salad is not enough for four people to eat for a main course. What do you think?

Fresh Crystal Bay Prawns

2 tbs fish sauce
2 tbs white sugar
2 limes, finely grated rind and juiced (1/2 cup)
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 long red chilli, finely sliced (2 if you like it really spicy)
2 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
500g cooked king or tiger prawns, deveined and peeled (approx. 22 prawns depending on size)
1 Lebanese cucumber
60 baby rocket
250g grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 to 1 French shallot, peeled and thinly sliced (optional)
1/4 cup finely shredded coriander leaves
2 tbs chopped roasted peanuts or cashews


Combine the fish sauce and sugar in a shallow bowl and stir to dissolve sugar.Add the lime juice, grated lime rind, garlic, chilli and shredded kaffir lime leaves. At this point taste the dressing to see if it is to your taste. You can always add a little more sugar or lime juice if needed.

Add the prawns and toss well. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile halve the cucumber length ways and scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon. Slice on an angle.

Combine the rocket, cucumber, tomato, shallot, and coriander on a platter. Add the prawns and drizzle over the marinade. Top with peanuts.

Serve and enjoy.

It's been a really busy couple of weeks. Mr. HRK has moved our bees in their bird box twice now, a metre at a time, so that they don't become stressed and lost. One more move, and we should be able to move them into their new beehives, custom made by Mr. HRK. I'll be writing more about that later with photos.

This is a photo of the bees in their current hive, a bird box which they adopted, after we moved them again last weekend. You can see that the hive is tied to the palm tree now and quite close to the base of the tree. The bees seem very happy and when it rains, they completely cover the honey comb on the outside to protect it. Otherwise they are out foraging all day, and fly in at night.

I was excited this week to discover that my Tillandsia Air Plant is flowering for the first time in 3 years. It is related to the Bromeliaceae family of plants which also flower,  however this purple fragrant flower is beautiful and very hardy.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been mostly writing. It's been busy and I have been loving it. It hasn't left much time for creative cooking though unfortunately. I've been mainly cooking recipes from my HRK blog, tried and true. I promised myself (a New Year's resolution) that this year I would finish the book we are writing about my Great Great Grandfather, a Scottish landscape artist, named Thomas Dudgeon Esq., and his daughter Ellen Stella (Granny), that I started over 5 years ago.  Mr. HRK has been researching my ancestors for 30 years or so now, so I have been organising the mountains of paperwork and writing his story in blog form as a starting point. So my friends, if you have Scottish blood running through your veins, and an artistic bent, or just enjoy Scottish, British or Irish 19th century history you are welcome to take a look at the latest chapter.  Click here for the link.

Thanks for visiting and I hope the week treats you all kindly.

Now it's back to writing on my other blog.



  1. Pauline, I will check out that link as my mother was Scottish and my grandfather was in the Gordon Highlanders and his mother was a heroine who rescued a boat load of sailors during a storm. I would loved to have visited Scotland when I was younger as I must have lots of rellies over there as they had such large families years ago.

    1. Chel what an interesting story your ancestors have as well. I will take a look at your link. I wish you could visit Scotland,and it's not too late. You would love it, we've been a few times. Take care and thanks. Pauline

  2. Thank you for sharing your other blog about your great great grandfather, Pauline. His paintings are so beautiful. I bookmarked it to read leisurely.:)

  3. Thanks Nil. I'm at the stage though where it would be nice to have a little bit of technical help with the website. I am working on the presentation side of things, very slowly. Cheers, Pauline

  4. Hi Pauline
    How fascinating to hear that you’re writing a book about your Scottish relatives. I too have a family that comes from Scotland several generations ago tho I know very little about them. Good luck with it all. I love the look of this salad and I always think the more prawns the merrier tho sadly for me, hubby doesn’t eat shellfish 🦐. Cheers sherry x

  5. My hubby doesn't adore seafood like I do, and won't eat mud crab but least he will eat some seafood. I'm sure you manage to eat some somewhere though. Thanks Sherry.

  6. Pauline, your Vietnamese Prawn Salad looks so yummy. I cook a lot of Asian dishes but have never done much Vietnamese, it's time I started. Thanks for the inspiration.
    Wow, that Tillandsia Air Plant look incredibly beautiful. Is the blooming cycle unpredictable or do the bloom every three years?
    Can't wait to see Mr. HRK's beehives. I used to keep bees, there's a weird tranquility to it and then there's the honey. Great post.

  7. Thanks Ron. I love Vietnamese food. I think everything just finally came together for the Tillandsia, right location, and good weather and I don't think it likes the full sun so I have moved it's mate next to it hoping it will be inspired as well. However I think they can flower each year. The bees should be moved to the permanent hive in a couple of weeks so life gets really interesting then.Best wishes, Pauline


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