Welcome to my first blog post of 2020. We’re on holidays at Hyams Beach on the south coast of NSW. It’s a magical place on the edge of Jervis Bay, completely surrounded by national park. This is my favourite two weeks of the year, just before school starts back, when everyone does whatever they feel like, whether it’s an early morning walk and a dip in the sea, second breakfast at the café, or an afternoon kip. My personal favourite is curling up in a chair on the front verandah to read a book with a cup of tea – or if it’s after 5, a glass of wine! From this perfect position, I can see the wind blowing the towering eucalyptus trees and feel the warm breeze on my bare skin. I have a glimpse of the bay below. If I’m lucky, a few king parrots will keep me company, chattering away at the birdfeeder.
It was a difficult decision to come this year, given the devastating fires that have ravaged this beautiful country of ours, destroyed the homes of the people who live there, together with animal habitat, and taken both human and animal life. We saw kilometres of burnt bushland, fallen trees and melted road signs on our drive south to Milton. The sky was filled with smoke haze on some days, and the tide left trails of ash along the beach. It was remarkably quiet, with many tourists having cancelled their summer holidays. Yet, every person I spoke to – at the petrol station, supermarket, local deli or pottery store, thanked me for coming.
For those of you who already know me, you know that I love to spend time in the kitchen. I think salads are my favourite to prepare because they’re quick to assemble. You can make them out of almost anything, and with a little forethought, you can turn something ordinary into something special. When I’m holidays, I like to keep meals pretty simple, so that I can spend just a little bit longer with the kids on the beach, or with my nose in a book.
This watermelon salad with tomatoes, pistachios and feta is great because the combination of red, green, pink and white looks so pretty on a large platter, it can easily be expanded to feed a crowd, plus, my kids will eat the ingredients! I hope that this salad will become one of your favourites, too.
If you’d like to read more, please subscribe to my monthly newsletter for stories, recipes and tips for simple, nutritious meals.
Watermelon and Tomato Salad with Pistachios, Feta and Mint
- 1 kg watermelon cut into small triangles
- 250 g Greek feta, or a jar of marinated feta cut into small cubes
- an assortment of tomatoes, such as a large truss tomatoes (2-3), cut into 8 segments, plus a punnet of red and/or yellow cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 handful pistachios shelled and toasted
- 1 large lime, or 2 small, zest and juice
- 1 glug extra virgin olive oil
- 1 handful mint leaves coarsely chopped
- sea salt
- Toast the pistachios in a dry frypan over medium heat until they brown a little. You’ll be able to smell when they’re ready! Set aside to cool while you prepare the salad.
- Assemble watermelon, tomato and feta on a large platter.
- Sprinkle lime zest over the top.
- Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Squirt the lime juice over the top, then drizzle the oil over.
- Sprinkle the mint and pistachios over the top.
- Serve immediately on its own, or as a side dish with grilled chicken or fish.