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Community Cook - Sevan Guzel

Growing and understanding local produce.

By Judy Monkhouse

On a balmy Dry season afternoon, friends and local produce enthusiasts gathered at a long outdoor table in suburban Darwin, laden with fresh red tomatoes, basil, dill, parsley, cucumbers, a bowlful of peppery rocket, a large watermelon, and yellow zucchini flowers.

We admired the excellent abundance of produce from Organic AG as well as home-grown vine leaves from Maria next door. This was Sevan Guzel’s shady tropical setting, the feast echoing her Turkish and Cypriot heritage and interest in local produce.

Sevan loves cooking and reminisced about her childhood, telling tales of cooking traditional dolmades with her mother, and eating haloumi and watermelon salad in summer. 

Darwin has been Sevan’s home for seven years, arriving as a traveller from Melbourne to pursue her interest in photography whilst studying writing and publishing.

An exciting development meant that she diverted her attention to her passion for food and cooking when, together with Claire Pirau, the idea for a beachside cafe emerged.

This concept flourished to become the immensely popular outdoor De La Plage, French for The Beach Café, where delicious food is served fresh accompanied by that iconic Darwin sunset. 

Watermelon and Haloumi Salad Watermelon

Olive oil
Sunflower seeds

Lay a bed of rocket on a platter, then place chunks or triangles of watermelon. Decorate with slices of haloumi, mint leaves and sunflower seeds. Sprinkle with pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Serve with charcoal bread.

Amount of ingredients depends on number of people. 

Watermelons are available from late July to October in the Darwin region from local farmers, or can be grown at home. Combine this salad with dry season greens, such as rocket and cucumbers. Enjoy!

If you know a community cook in Darwin who would like to share their recipe, GULP NT can organise a gathering with their small team. $100 plus ingredients can be offered to the participating cook for hosting and sharing. Get in touch today and share your stories and food love. | gulpcommunity@gmail. com

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