The Northern Rivers especially the Ballina/Byron Hinterland is home to some amazing self-contained accommodation options (like here at Pines on the Plateau), giving travellers to this region the ultimate flexibility when it comes to dining. After days spent exploring the coast, hinterlands and villages it’s only natural to feel like spending a night in with an easy meal. But that needn’t mean sacrificing quality cuisine or making a huge mess. We’ve prepared this list of 3 fresh and easy recipes using some of the best of our fresh Northern Rivers produce that you can gather easily in your day’s travels. Try some of our favourite places to find the ingredients used in these recipes – The Byron Farmers Market (held Thursdays in Byron and Saturdays in Bangalow) , The Lismore Produce Markets (held on Thursdays) and the Alstonville Farmers Market (held on Saturdays).

Bangalow Cheese Co.'s Nashua Washed Rind

Award Winning local cheese

1. Say Cheese Platter – A standard fare on any foodies holiday is a gourmet cheese platter but we’ve given this one a distinctive Northern Rivers twist and it really couldn’t get any easier than this. We’ve picked some of our favourite award winning local cheeses but feel free to substitute because these cheese makers have some other equally mouth-watering varieties.

Plate up with generous servings of the following cheeses:

Nimbin Valley Dairy’s Blue Goats Cheese –
Bangalow Cheese Co.’s Nashua Washed Rind
Baraka Foods Labneh Cheese with Za’atar (an earthy spice blend)


Serve with some Summerland Olives Table Olives, Nimbin Valley pecans, Naturally So Divine Eggplant and Zucchini Chutney and fresh figs.


Easy Summer Gazpacho

2. Easy Summer Gazpacho – This 1 blender wonder is a perfect travel recipe that’s refreshing and bursting with flavour.  Vegetarian and gluten friendly, with no cooking involved it’s all done in 15 minutes with very little clean up. Perfect for a summer’s evening relaxing and if you’re staying at Pines on the Plateau enjoying the view.

You’ll need fresh these ingredients:

6 -8   ripe Coopers Shoots Tomatoes, chopped and please don’t lose the juice!
1/2 large red onion, chopped finely
1/2 large red onion, chopped in 1cm chunks
2  small cucumbers or 1  large cucumber, chopped
salt (preferably sea salt)
fresh ground black pepper
Summerland Olives Extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Chopped fresh basil or coriander
2  cloves garlic

Put 1/3 cup of olive oil and lemon juice into the blender add the vegetables and seasoning and blend until you’ve reached a soup but try to leave some texture add fresh herbs and give a last quick blend to combine.

Serve very cold and garnished with fresh basil.

BBQ Prawn Skewers with Mango Salad

BBQ Prawn Skewers with Mango Salad

3.  Northern Rivers BBQ Prawn Skewers with Mango Salad Seafood is a way of life on the Northern Rivers from Yamba to Evans Head, Ballina to Brunswick you can find glorious fresh caught seafood especially prawns. A trip to any of these seaside towns can have you bringing home the catch of the day for this dish. BBQ cooking also gets you out of the kitchen and really feels like holidays.

For the Mango Salad you’ll need these ingredients:

2 tblspn brown sugar
2 tblspn lime juice
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
1 shallot thinly, sliced
½ bunch of corriander
¼ bunch of mint
2 ripe firm mangoes, peeled pitted and cubed

For Prawn Skewers
16 King Prawns, peeled and deveined with tails on
2 tblspns Summeland Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tspns ground cumin
1 clove garlic
½ tspn salt
bamboo or stainless steel BBQ skewers

Preheat BBQ grill

Whisk the lime juice and brown sugar together in the bottom of a salad bowl then add chilli. shallots and herbs before tossing in the cubed mango.

Thread 4 prawns onto each skewers and after combining olive oil garlic and cumin paste onto prawns. Grills prawns until golden.

Serve skewers on a bed of mango salad.

Holiday cooking can be a fun, relaxed and enjoyable way to connect with the region you’re visiting. We’ve only touched on some of the bounty of fresh and often organic produce and producers found here in the Northern Rivers. Come and stay with us and let your taste buds explore them for yourself.

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