Lou Benton has had many interesting adventures and culinary experiences since she left New Zealand to explore different parts of the world. She spent 6 years in the UK and 8 years in Thailand, working and travelling.
It was in Thailand that she developed her passion for Thai food with its plethora of wonderful street stalls, restaurants and tantalising food consumed with delight on a daily basis. She also heard many stories about tropical life in Darwin and in particular the markets where Asia meets the West through the variety of fresh food and produce available at markets such as at Rapid Creek. Seduced by the notion of a new place she came to Darwin and it has happily been her home for many years. She loving community life, the tropical climate and creates beautiful art and jewellery which she sells at various markets.
Lou’s passion for fresh produce has led her to use as many local fresh ingredients as possible and most recently take on a packaging free challenge. Lou cooked Thai inspired dishes at her house at a GULP gathering in the outside kitchen. Almost all produce on the preparation table came from her garden or Rapid Creek. She even made her own fresh coconut cream! Her recipes were most delicious and filled with thought.
Long eggplants easily can be grown all year in Darwin, as well as chillies, garlic chives, Thai Basil and coconuts.
2 handfuls Thai basil
5 red chillies cut lengthways
1 handful shallots
1 handful garlic chives or 3 garlic cloves chopped
I large bowl of roughly chopped eggplant
2 tbsp coconut cream
1 tbsp coconut sugar
Soy sauce/ salt
Salt or add soy sauce to the chopped eggplant generously to reduce bitterness as the rest of the ingredients are prepared. Heat a generous amount of coconut oil till fairly hot. Add chopped eggplant and fry until starting to char. Remove eggplant. Gently saute a handful of bruised shallots, 5 chillies cut lengthways, a bunch of chopped garlic chives or chopped garlic cloves,a handful of sweetleaf ( remove from stalks) and 2 handfuls of basil. Add salt to taste, 2 tbsp of coconut cream and lastly 1 tbsp of coconut sugar. Enjoy!