Inspired by seafood – Darwin style!
I know it’s been a lot time between blogs – but not without good reason.
I have been on holidays to Darwin and what an awesome break it was.
It was definitely a journey of discovery – it was the first long holiday Matt and I have ever been on and it was the best for me in many, many years – probably ever! Matt and I, along with his parents, spent 10 days in beautiful Darwin to attend the wedding of Matt’s cousin Dean to Katie. The wedding was held at Lake Bennett and while it was very hot at 37 degrees, and there were plenty of bugs too, it was a beautiful wedding. This is Matt and I at Dean and Katie’s wedding – the sunset was amazing, as you can see.
Spending time showing Matt and his mum and dad the sights of Darwin was also awesome. Being a former Darwinite myself, it meant I got to see the place from a different perspective and I quickly realised how much I took it for granted when I lived there. I’m sure the ocean wasn’t that blue, or the sunsets that beautiful!
I also definitely took the seafood for granted! I guess you always do when you’re a teenager (I lived there between the ages of 8 and 17) – and while I cooked most of the family meals from a young age – I barely cooked much seafood. Well, that’s a lie, we ate barramundi (the fish every keen fisherman wants to go to the Northern Territory to catch) a lot – simply steamed in foil with slices of tomato and lemon on top – soooo good! In Darwin Matt’s uncle Barry and aunty Sue brought up some amazing barramundi, which they caught on the Daily River. It was simply coated with bread crumbs and some lemon pepper and with a squeeze of lemon on top, tasted amazing fried in some oil.
Then we had fish burgers the next day. I can’t say I have had fish in a burger before, but this type of fish is perfect for it because it’s so meaty. With some tartare sauce, more lemon (the friend of all food from the sea) a crusty bread roll and some crispy lettuce – it was yummy!
I also went down to the Darwin Fish Market and got some amazing local banana prawns and a mud crab. I’ve never tackled a crab before – it was an interesting experience (ok, at first, I was terrified!!), but I got my head around it and in the end, it was worth the effort. But, for me, the prawns were a highlight. I did one batch natural, with just a little lemon (of course) – but the others I did with garlic.
Darwin-inspired garlic prawns.
- 2 kilos of local banana prawns (please buy prawns local to your area – they’ll always be fresher and so much nicer)
- 4 large gloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 50gms of butter
- Half a glass of white wine
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Flat-leaf parsley to garnish
I peel and devein my prawns, but if you’d like to leave them whole, feel free.
Place butter in a large frying pan over a low to medium heat until it melts. Add garlic and two or three good pinches of sea salt and cook gently, ensuring it doesn’t colour too much or burn, otherwise it will go bitter.
Turn up the heat as you add the prawns and wine. Cover and simmer for just a few minutes until the prawns have turned pink. Do not overcook them as they will turn rubbery. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and serve with crusty bread or a little steamed rice and a garden salad.
This makes an amazing starter, or main. It tastes fresh and wonderful.
I also ate other amazing things in Darwin, including Paw Paw salad (I talked about how I was going to have this weeks and weeks before we even got to Darwin and it didn’t disappoint!) from the Parap Markets – as well a fresh fruit smoothies, chicken and prawn laksa and the most amazing Greek food at Yots Greek Taverna at Cullen Bay. If you go to Darwin, pop in and enjoy the amazing cuisine, beautiful outdoor seating on the marina and excellent but casual and friendly service.
But while the food was fantastic, so was catching up with my old Darwin buddies – including my amazing friend Celia. Celia and her partner Thomas joined us at Mindle Beach Markets where we sat on the beach eating the best baked potatoes on the planet, catching up and enjoying life.
We also caught up with AJ (check out his site) for desert at Trampoline … and no, it didn’t involve any jumping! I was confused too, until AJ explained the culinary awesomeness of this place, if you are looking for some desert in a steamy place like Darwin. They sell the BEST gelato I have had for a long time. So, if you see one around, check it out.
Funny how I always catch up with people over a meal – but I think that’s one of the greatest things about food. It’s not just taste, smell and texture but its ability to bring people together. That’s certainly what it did for me in Darwin.
So, that’s what I have been up to for the past 10 days. A big thanks to my awesomely awesome Darwin friends who I caught up with while I was there and of course to Matt’s parents for making me feel a part of their trip to the unknown and to his extended family who made me feel so very welcome. And, of course, to Matt – having you by my side made this the best holiday I’ve ever had!
So, why not drop me a line and tell me your best holiday eating experiences. I’d love to hear how food made your adventure even better!