About Clare’s Kitchen

We have moved…


The new fully fledged website is available at Tropical Cuisine with all the old posts available here plus new material.  See you there!


Welcome to the blog page for my business, Clare’s Kitchen, and the Australian tropical cookbook Tropical Cuisine: Cooking in Clare’s Kitchen that I am currently completing (due out mid 2010).

My cookbook, due for release April 2010

My cookbook, due for release mid 2010

Below is a bit of background information about me and the cookbook.  In my posts you will find a log of my experience of exploring the produce and traditions of tropical Australian cooking, as well as recipes I’ve been given and recipes I’m developing….so please, enjoy!

The tropics include some of the most exciting and influential cuisines on the planet.  Many of these cuisines have been bought to tropical Australia with the early settlers and indentured labourers of the North.  The mark of these influences is found in the produce grown, ways of cooking and preserving foods, classic local recipes, the incorporation of ‘exotic’ ingredients into British and European cooking methods in tropical Australia, and the presence of Asian cooking techniques, recipes and ingredients.  This cocktail of climate, food history and local produce gives tropical Australians amazing opportunities for exciting home cooking and kitchen gardening.

When I first moved north of the Tropic of Capricorn seven years ago, I discovered a local food culture completely different to that of the Southern states.  In addition to the British and Mediterranean foundations with which I was familiar, there was also a diverse range of Asian influences.  These influences have not sprung up from well-travelled chefs, but from the early history of Asian migrants to tropical Australia.  The interaction of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and early Asian, European and British migrants has shaped the heritage, and so the everyday food of many people for whom this part of the world is home. Particularly in Queensland, there are also longstanding and vibrant communities from the island nations to our north and east, from Papua New Guinea across through the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa and the Cook Islands.

It was the old pearling town of Broome in the Kimberley, WA, that first drew me to live in the North of Australia.  I fell in love with the rich heritage, food traditions and glorious terrain of this part of the world.  I sought to find current cookbooks that could guide me in my process of culinary discovery, but could not find anything, instead relying on word of mouth recipes from local work mates to get me started in my tropical cooking.  When I later moved to Cairns, I found the same dilemma.  What grows best here in my herb and veggie garden, and how do I use it once I’ve got it growing?  If I buy a particular fruit or vegetable at the markets, what will I do with it?  I could not find a comprehensive contemporary tropical cookbook to guide me.  So I came to write the book that I was looking for.

In addition to this rich history of tropical Australia, over the last 30 years or so a great range of tropical fruit trees have been planted in both commercial orchards and backyards.  Throughout the same period of time, far more Australians have travelled to other tropical zones of the world, and a new wave of Asian migrants have settled in tropical Australia.  All of these factors combine to give us an exciting range of produce and knowledge to use and shape how we garden, buy, cook and eat in this part of the world.

© Clare Richards 2009

2 responses

3 11 2009

Hi Clare,

What a wonderful resource you share here. I’m adding you to my blogroll. It’s nice to meet a fellow blogger from Cairns. I will return.

Best wishes

4 11 2009
Clare Richards

Hi Colleen
Good to see a local here, welcome. Thanks for putting me on your blogroll, the more FNQ people know about my blog the better! Posts have been a bit slow in the last few weeks but will have some new material up soon as our wet season produce season is starting to burst upon us.

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