My best friend lives in Darwin, and she’s having a baby (!!!), so I went up for a quick visit last weekend, to hang out, help out a bit, but mostly just have a good chance to catch up for the last time before there is an adorably cute little barrier to conversation in the house!
The beach at Fannie Bay, just outside the Museum of the Northern Territory
My friend has gestational diabetes, and her husband has a number of allergies and food sensitivities, and when you add to these culinary challenges the fact that Darwin is appallingly hot and humid, figuring out dinner is a bit of a challenge.
On the road south of Darwin.
Like many people in Darwin, they don’t have family living locally, so we also talked a fair bit about planning for food that requires minimum preparation time when there is a small baby in the house. (Not that I have ever had a small baby in the house, but I am all about minimal food preparation in hot weather. Or grant season.)
Wattle, coming into bloom. In hot weather. Did I mention that Darwin was hot?
We came up with this modular salad, which has the capacity to tick lots of mutually-exclusive boxes. It’s more an idea than a recipe, and it’s pretty simple, but it’s a useful one and worth sharing, I think.
(It’s unofficial name is Franken-Niçoise salad, because originally, there was going to be tuna. But since we skipped the tuna, and the green beans were looking a bit dodgy, it’s just Modular Salad now.)
We liked it, and hope you will too.
Your shopping list (for about 5-6 serves, which can be held over for later if need be)
Two punnets of cherry tomatoes
Two Lebanese cucumbers
Two red capsicums
One tin of cannellini beans, drained
Six smallish potatoes, preferably waxy ones
A handful of olives (optional)
A few spring onions (optional)
A tin or two of tuna or salmon; or leftover poached or roasted chicken; or tuna steaks if you are willing to cook such; or marinated and grilled tofu; or pre-prepared felafel, or even toasted hazelnuts or cubes of cheese. You want about 100g per person of protein that is ready to eat, essentially.
Extra virgin Olive oil
Red wine vinegar (or cider vinegar if that’s what your friend can eat)
Tzatziki, or mayonnaise, or plain greek yoghurt with a teaspoon of dijon mustard