Yesterday we were swimming in the warm water of Noosa Beach and today we woke to a huge frost and icy cold house. It's back to reality for the Hansen family after our first holiday in a long time at my new favourite place. To me, Noosa has it all - a calm beach with soft white sand and clear water, loads of great places to eat and a thumping weekly farmers market. On our first morning we went straight to the latter and loved that it was so different to the markets we do every month; full of tropical fruit, ripe peaches, strawberries and other fresh produce we only see here in high or late summer.
To be honest, we went north full of restaurant recommendations and plans to book babysitters and eat out at least a few times but it didn't quite work out that way. We'd been told to eat at Wasabi, the River Cottage and Ricky's on the river and that we couldn't possibly miss a night at the beautiful Berado's restaurant. I did spent some time gazing at the incredible menus posted by the door of each of these, but in the end our budget, lack of a car and eagerness to stay by the water with a jug of Pimms and the kids worked against or rather for a more low key week. Plus we'd spent up at the market, bringing home lovely cheeses, fresh produce and seafood and so had plenty of good food on hand. A favourite lunch was the below salad of pearl couscous with buffalo milk haloumi and loads of mint, all from the markets.
That's not to say we didn't drop a fair few 'Noosa notes' up on Hastings St, the main drag. Locals say the second you step out on this beautiful strip of shops and cafes you seem to bleed $50 dollar notes and I tend to agree. But a few drinks at Noosa institutions Aromas and Bistro C with the kids either dancing to the live music by the cafe or playing on the beach were absolutely worth it. And then there's the window shopping; headlined for me by quirky-cool homewares shops like Lamington and Askew plus fresh produce stalls and one of Australia's most famous gelateria's, Massimos, which Tim, Alice, Tom and I can all vouch for.
Pearl couscous, buffalo haloumi and cherry tomato saladThis is more of an assembly job than a recipe but it's simple, clean and fresh flavours are just perfect for an easy summer or spring lunch.
2 tbsp olive oil
Juice and zest of one lemon
1 tsp harissa
400g buffalo haloumi (or regular)
250g pearl couscous (cooked according to packet instructions)
250g ripe, sweet cherry tomatoes
1 bunch mint
1/2 red onion, finely diced
2 handfulls fresh, peppery rocket
Combine first three ingredients and whisk well. Heat a little of the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the haloumi until golden brown on all sides. Then combine remaining ingredients on a large platter, toss with the dressing and drape the haloumi on top.