FOOD AND COOKING

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A Memorable Glamping Experience in Adelaide

Travelling, glamping, cooking, and exploring the Adelaide foodie scene…

Former MasterChef Australia contestant, Minoli De Silva, was absolutely in her element during a stay at BIG4 West Beach in SA’s capital.

Here, the expert chef details her exciting experiences, including the creation of a mouth-watering dish that she whipped up on the Weber

A few of my favourite things: It's all smiles from Minoli.

Tell us about your stay at BIG4 West Beach?

I loved that the park was so close to the beach, but it still had all the amenities for a solo traveller, like me, all the way to couples and families.

I got up as the sun rose, had a coffee on the balcony, planned out my day, and took a gorgeous stroll along West Beach.

The park is big enough that you can get quiet time when needed as well as having communal areas to hang out.

I got a bit excited and tried to jump on the huge inflatable bounce pad after watching all the kids do it but did not manage to get any airtime at all. I decided I might just stick to cooking on the Weber, after a nice swim. 

Minoli quickly gave up on a gymnastics career change.

What did you do while you were in Adelaide?

Adelaide is such a spectacular city. My sister lived there for 10 years during her uni days, so I was lucky enough to visit. But I hadn't been back in five years, and Adelaide has truly flourished since then.

The number of amazing eateries, wine destinations, and beautiful sights at your doorstep is amazing – not to mention those a comfortable drive away. I almost felt like I needed a few weeks there to try out everything new.

BIG West Beach was gorgeous. The facilities were amazing, and I honestly could have spent my time just at the park. 

You could easily just stay at the park.

After an afternoon swim in the pool watching the stunning fiery sunset, I visited NIDO, a restaurant by Laura Sharrad. Laura made it to the MasterChef finals twice, so I had to try her food: It was brilliant.

The food scene in Adelaide is buzzing. Despite COVID-19 setbacks, people are still giving it a go and it’s going strong. Time seemed to slow down; I was living in the moment. I didn't want to be anywhere else.

I haven't felt that relaxed in a while, especially going straight from MasterChef (for a second time!) to opening a restaurant. It was a good reminder that I should do this more often. 

A visit to Nido was firmly on Minoli's agenda. Credit: Josh Geelen.

How would you describe the foodie scene in Adelaide?

Spectacular. Aside from NIDO, I visited one of my favourite wineries in the Barossa and dined out the next night at Africola.

There is a dozen more eateries I didn't get a chance to visit. And what about the ones I don't know about yet?!

I feel like I'll need a few trips back to Adelaide to make a dent at eating my way through the food scene.

This doesn't include visiting farmers’ markets, exploring the Adelaide Hills, and working my way along the stunning coastline. 

Africola demonstrates just how far the Adelaide foodie scene has come. Credit: Duy Dash.

What did you cook during your stay, and why?

I felt it was only fitting to cook up a BBQ, but with a bit of my own flair.

So, the following morning, I decided to catch up with my friend, (Weber grill master) Laura Romeo, and do a cook up on the Weber. She loves a BBQ too, so we made a gorgeous tomato curry using fresh, local white fish and roasted naan bread coated with classic south Asian spices.

There's something magical about hearing the sound of the ocean while you cook and eat fish, especially while you're on holiday.

I heated up the Weber saucepan with olive oil, then fried off onions, garlic, cumin, turmeric, fresh tomatoes, and good quality canned tomatoes. I let it come to a simmer, seasoning with salt and pepper along the way.

Then, I added in coconut milk and slowly raised the heat. I marinated the fish in olive oil, turmeric, cumin seeds, salt, and then added large pieces into the simmering sauce to slowly poach all the way through.

I love garnishing a dish, but for me it needs to have a purpose. I added freshly cut chilli, fresh coriander, and fresh lemon juice.

The fish was perfect, but it needed something to scoop all the delicious sauce up with. So, I lathered roti with olive oil and some of the marinade I didn't use on the fish, and the Weber just worked its magic.

It was the perfect accompaniment to the flavour-packed fish curry we made.

Result!

How long did it take?

It took less than 30min to chop and cook it all up.

The great thing about fish is that it doesn't take long to cook, and the Weber does a brilliant job of heat retention.

What do you like about cooking on the Weber?

I love that the Weber adds a beautiful touch of savouriness to anything I cook up.

It's so easy to transport, meaning you can take it anywhere you go.

The heat circulation helps things to cook more evenly, so now I just put food on the Weber and let it do its thing. 

You can cook just about anywhere with a Weber.

Any tips for cooking while on holiday?

Use local produce where possible. It's the food that's in season and hasn't travelled large distances to get to you.

It's also a great way to taste the food of the destinations you're in and support local businesses. I find it's the tastiest, too, as things in season are always the yummiest. 

Adelaide Central Market is a great pick for local produce. Credit: Lewis Potter.

How was the glamping experience?

I loved it. I was basically next to the ocean but in the luxury of my safari tent, which had such a comfy bed.

It felt like I was in a more remote location, even though I was so close to the centre of Adelaide.

I even saw a couple of ducks walking past, just strolling through the park. It was quiet and peaceful. 

Nothing but peace and quiet and a few waddling ducks. 

Where would you like to go on your next adventure?

I would love to explore Queensland. I love the climate, and there are so many beautiful destinations there: Stunning walks and scenery and a completely different food scene.

Ultimately, my choices in life are purely driven by food, so I guess that makes Tasmania a close second. I love being outdoors, being in nature, and learning more about Australia.

Every place has something to share, and if you pay attention, an unassuming weekend away becomes unforgettable. 

QLD oozes dazzling dining experiences. Pictured: Alan Dawes Private Chef, Sunshine Coast. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

For more food-inspired travel, check out the Get Away and Weber series.

Time for your own Adelaide glamping adventure? Book a stay at BIG4 West Beach now.

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