March 20, 2014

When you’re living in Watagan Park, you’re living right nearby some incredible picnic locations. Whether you want to be easygoing and head down to Cooranbong Park for a BBQ while the kids play on the playground and oval, or you want to have a real nature experience up at The Pines, having decent picnic food is a must.

Picnic food can be done a bunch of different ways. There’s the classic ‘snags on the BBQ’ with fried onion on bread rolls with tomato and BBQ sauce. There’s the European style of just bringing a lot of high quality ingredients and eating with your fingers; good cheeses (feta and something yellow), good olives, sundried tomatoes, avocado, fresh-from-the-oven bread, eggplant dip – anything you can think of. There is the old faithful potato salad and the classic sandwiches.

We wanted to bring to you a Greek style tomato salad we love that is the perfect blend of incredibly tasty and incredibly healthy.

What you’ll need:

  • 6x tomatoes (get the top dollar stuff – your tomatoes are the key piece)
  • 200g Danish feta cheese
  • ½ of a red onion
  • 40mL extra virgin olive oil
  • 20mL balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • Salt
  • A jar
  • A salad bowl

[Optional and totally worthwhile]

  • 1x avocado (in cubes – add at the end)
  • 1x capsicum (grilled if you want to be a total gourmet)
  • 1x cucumber (diced)
  • Kalamata olives
  • 180g freshly grilled haloumi
  • Basil (fresh or dried)
  • ½ lemon

How to do the dressing:

  1. Pour your vinegar into a jar (clean out a jam jar). Squeeze your lemon juice in at this phase as well if you’re using lemon. Note that by adding lemon juice, you’ll need to either reduce the amount of vinegar you’re using, or increase the amount of oil you use.
  2. Add salt (tip: look at your salad ingredients as you add salt – some people find it easier to get the amount right).
  3. Add the Dijon.
  4. Close the jar and swirl it around a bit – the salt dissolves easier before the oil is added.
  5. Open the jar back up and add your olive oil. A good ratio of balsamic mix to oil is 1:2 – it might look like a lot of oil, but it’s delicious. A lot of people go for 1:3, so if you over-pour the oil, it’s fine.
  6. Close the jar up tight and shake it hard for a minute. At this stage, give it a quick taste and balance anything that might be wrong with it. Too bitter/sour – a pinch of sugar goes a long way. You may want to add a bit of salt if it’s too boring, balsamic if it’s too salty, or oil if it’s too strong. The good news is that any dressing you don’t use, you can put in the fridge and eat later on toast (with cheddar and tomato) or future salads.

How to do the salad:

  1. Dice everything.
  2. Put it in the salad bowl. It is best to leave soft things like avocado and Danish feta until last; you don’t want them being pulverized.

The dressing goes on when you’re about to eat it, otherwise everything gets soggy.

If you want an alternative to eating with plastic forks and bowls, another great way to do this is to put the salad into a soft tortilla wrap. It might get a bit messy, but if you’re up at The Pines or Gap Creek, there is the option of either taps or nearby waterfalls for you to rinse off at.

So there you have it – something delicious and healthy to bring with you while you explore the many picnic areas within Nature’s Playground.

Click here to discover more about living outside the box at Watagan Park

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