Saturday, 7 March 2020

The Falkland Island's Gentoo Penguins and a fresh Mango, Coriander and Corn salad

Dear Friends,

You can use what you have on hand for this salad but the fresh ingredients of mango, cherry  tomatoes, cucumber, pumpkin, shallots and coriander really pack such a punch of flavour into the rest of the ingredients. No need for a dressing at all. The beauty of a salad is that it can be anything you like, served for main course, a side dish or just a nourishing bowl to munch on. This is the easiest salad ever, it's the many ingredients which bring the flavour to the dish and we loved it.

It's great to be home again after being away for 7 weeks in the Falkland Islands, Chile and Peru and I am embracing the freedom of eating salads. A lot can happen on such a trip and it did, some good and some not so good. I hope to share some of my stories with you over the next few months and once the jet lag settles, and my mojo returns I have lots of recipes to try and experiences to share.

This post is dedicated to the amazing and quite gregarious Gentoo Penguins we visited on the Falkland Islands.

We just couldn't get enough of the Penguins on East Falklands Island, so I thought I would share a Penguin story with you. We drove along the beach in our son's Falkland's inherited Land Rover, to Bertha's Beach, located on Fitzroy Farm, a very large working sheep farm, (and there's a whole book written about the fleet of Falkland Island's Land Rovers if you are interested). People are often recognised by the Land Rover they drive in Stanley, so as we had use of it for the month that we lived in the Falklands, we received lots of friendly and knowing waves from locals, ha, ha.  We saw this gorgeous colony of Gentoo Penguins on the beach and in the moorland. Suzi and Gilberto who manage Fitzroy Farm for Falklands Landholdings gave us permission, via Matthew,  to access the beach (for a bottle of red wine) and along with a few tourist buses we were treated to the beauty, magic, and wonderfully inquisitive personalities of these intriguing animals. Here we are driving in Matthew's Land Rover along the beach towards the parking lot near Bertha's Beach and the penguins.

Bertha's Beach is located only 6 miles from the Mt. Pleasant Military Base and Airport at Stanley, which is where we flew into on LATAM Airlines, on arriving at the Falkland Islands. Such an interesting part of the world to be driving through a high security military zone, before entering a pristine and protected penguin sanctuary. Besides managing one of the largest sheep farms on the islands, Suzi and Gilberto are also quite self sufficient and very eco friendly on their own farming patch, rearing pigs, chickens, orphaned lambs, and growing what fruit and vegetables they can, weather permitting. The extreme weather at times in the Falkland Islands can be very challenging. Suzi invited us into her lovely home for a cup of tea and then showed us around their farm. Such beautiful country hospitality and an amazing day. Thanks so much Suzi and Gilberto.

We were so excited when we arrived at the beach and saw all of the Penguins. Many hungry Penguin chicks were waiting on the beach for their Mother's to return from the ocean to feed them. Interestingly the adult penguins feed in the ocean close to the shore, they don't venture into the deeper ocean like some breeds do.

Mum feeding her hungry chick.

Beautiful countryside back from the beach near where we had lunch. Matthew's Land Rover features in the background.

We were told not to approach the Penguins and keep a distance of at least 3 metres from them however some were quite inquisitive and approached us. There was also lots of seaweed and kelp on the white sandy beach which is abundant throughout the Falkland Island oceans.

I never thought that I, a food lover, would lose my appetite to the extent I did in Peru. The effects of High altitude in Cusco and Puno, I wouldn't call it altitude sickness in my case, plus a bout of food poisoning which is pretty common despite extreme hygiene and precautions, left me living on boiled eggs and toast, and Coca tea infusions for three days during our last week there, only a week before this last one. We spent our final two South American nights in Santiago in Chile in the beautiful Hotel Cumbres, organised by our tour company Chimu. This was such a panacea before we embarked on our flight back to Sydney, connecting to Brisbane and Mackay. Mr. HRK had a chest infection for some of the trip, and on presenting himself to our local GP on arriving home was of course tested for Corona Virus and many other things. He is now fine. Anyway we are here to tell the tale and I think we should have taken this trip to Peru and Chile 20 years ago. However many of the travellers half our age were suffering from altitude sickness in various forms as well, and oxygen tanks are readily available for use in most hotels and restaurants. The first 10 minutes of usage is free of charge. It helps with the breathlessness. I had organised for medication to take for altitiude sickness from my GP before we left Australia so we only suffered from breathlessness and loss of appetite, not the severe headaches and nausea.

On  our return to Mackay, our good friend Mr. S collected us from the airport and waiting for us in an esky on the patio was a cooked piece of Corned Silverside, a delicius Mango and Coriander salad that I am featuring today, and a healthy quinoa salad made by Mrs. S. Wow my appetite returned on the spot, and our dinner that night will be remembered by me as one of the best I have ever eaten. Eating freshly prepared salads and fruits can be a risky undertaking in Peru and Chile when travelling, because of the risk of contamination and water impurities which I probably found out the hard way. So it was just amazing to be able to demolish this delicious food without any qualms. This is my version of the salad which Mr. and Mrs. S made for us.


1 roughly chopped Kite Mango, or any firm mango
1 cup chopped cooked pumpkin
2 tablespoons chopped coriander of more if you really are a coriander fan (to taste really)
1 drained can of corn kernels
4 shredded lettuce leaves
2 cups roughly chopped cucumber
1 chopped red capsicum
2 cups finely chopped carrot
1 cup cranberries
1 drained can chickpeas
1 punnet chopped cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped shallots or more if you like the zing
1/2 cup baby capers


Mix all the ingredients together and refrigerate. Add the pumpkin, mango and tomatoes just before serving if you prefer so it is all perfectly fresh, however this keeps in the refrigerator very well for a few days.

Thankfully we organised our Peruvian and Chilean tours through a Sunshine Coast travel company named Chimu, who then outsource all of the tours through various South American tour companies. In Peru, Chimu organised for the Tourist doctor to come and visit me and prescribe medication, which is challenging enough when I don't speak Spanish and they don't speak English, however we all did our best and I have survived to tell the tale.

One of the challenges of an extended but still temporary stay in the Falkand Islands is that there is no free WiFi anywhere. Even in the Tourist Information Centre, WiFi access is only available through SURE, the Telco, for a 5 pound minimum. I soon discovered that  creating a Facebook post from there can quickly use up a 10 pound credit. So consequently given our travels, I am very behind with reading my favourite bloggers posts and I may never catch up, so thank you everyone for bearing with me. I am still in the land of the living.

So my friends do you remember after returning from an overseas trip how much you enjoyed your first meal back on Australian soil. We live in such an amazing country here in Australia, despite the challenges we face at times. Peru is after all a third world country, but incredibly rugged and beautiful,  and despite some food and high altitude issues for tourists, the people as a whole are very warm and accommodating. It was an amazing holiday.

Best wishes,



  1. Cool that you were able to get so close to penguins and the nature. The salad looks wonderful and perfect for any day!

    1. Thanks Angie. Yes it is a perfectly adaptable and delicious salad.

  2. Oh wow! How nice to see penguins up close. The only time I've seen them is at the zoo.
    It looks like you had an amazing time. Now I now why you didn't post for a while. :)

    1. Thanks Nil yes I've been busy travelling but it's great to be home.

  3. what an incredible trip it must have been pauline. i always miss fresh fruit and veg, olive oil and my own bed when i'm away. oh and garlic:) how wonderful to see those penguins up close. lucky you didn't have the virus! i see that tom hanks and mrs hanks have the virus! i wonder if they brought it in with them or caught it here... have a great march. hope you are both well now. cheers sherry

    1. Thanks Sherry. We have been home two weeks on Tuesday and am starting to feel well rested and recovered. Gee it takes a while at our age. It was a great trip though.


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