Monday marked 10 years since Ben and I first met on the tiny pacific island that is Fiji. We were jut teenagers from opposite ends of the world who met while on vacation and… well full story here.
On the morning of our anniversary I woke up and ate a quick strawberry breakfast – it was going to be a long day, before heading off to work.
It’s event week at work (4 events in 4 days, plus a three-day netball tournament) so I was a busy bee until 2 when I raced to a few shops and then went home to finish prepping the Fijian dinner for Ben. I completely skipped lunch after having meetings that ran from 11am to 1:30.
So.. about this dinner.
Two weeks ago I sent Ben an email invitation to a special Fijian dinner at our home, and a walk down memory lane for the past 10 years. I had the whole night planned out in my head and I was so excited to recreate some memories from when we first met in Fiji.
The table was set, the photo slide show was cued up, and I was ready to go with Pina Coladas the moment Ben walked in the door from work at 7:15.
Pina Coladas are not Fijian – but they are tropical and heck, they are pretty darn tasty so they fit in with my island vibe.
Ben got home with 10 roses and soon after finding a suitable vase, I brought out the appetizers.
Kokoda is a diced white fish (usually snapper) meal that is traditional in Fiji. The snapper is cooked in lemon and lime juice for a few hours in the fridge, then drained. Onions, pepper, green onion, and coconut are mixed through and then left back in the fridge to combine. What you get at the end is this spicey coconutty fish stew – perfect to kick off the dinner.
The mains came next. I couldn’t find a great recipe for Fijian dinner so I went with the best option I could think of.. Pork Belly! I actually found the recipe on the Fiji Water website so it counts, right?
The highlight of the pork belly was the bacon jam (it might be the best thing I have cooked – ever!!). And you read that right it was a pig on pig kind of night. I whipped up pickled apples to go with the belly and jam; all three components just made the ultimate trifecta of a bite. I think I’ll be making this again on non-Fijian nights because it was that delicious!
We drank Coronas with the pork belly – which are definitely not Fijian at all, but they are significant. When I was in Fiji I was old enough to drink (even though I wasn’t old enough in America) the first beer I ever tried was in Fiji was a Corona, given to me by some of Ben’s teammates. It was disgusting, and I never drank one again for years! If you want to deter a 16 year old from drinking, give them a Corona! (I actually love them now.)After a full weekend, and then work and cooking all day Monday I was exhausted by dessert. Ben told me to take a 10 minute nap before dessert….. 10 minutes turned into three hours and I woke up abruptly thinking about dessert, as ya do.
I ran out to the kitchen started slicing up the Fijian Honey Cake while cooking a caramelized pineapple topping.
This cake is another authentic Fijian recipe, it’s made with half honey and half sugar, plus sour cream to keep it moist. It’s typically served with sliced almonds on top, but I added in caramelized pineapple because I wanted another sweet and fruity element for the dish.
We exchanged gifts after dinner, Ben receiving a day at the spa with me with a couples retreat and a Fijian treatment thrown in, while I received gorgeous sapphire earrings. I’m not sure the next time we’ll have such a special occasion to celebrate, but I am so please with how our 10 year Fijian anniversary turned out – it was just as perfect as I imagined!
How do you celebrate anniversaries?