20 years since the Sydney

The original Olympic Games track in Olympia, Greece

It’s 20 years since the year 2000.
Remember how doom sayers predicted the end of the world in 2000, or at the very least all computers would crash? However, it was also the year of the Sydney Olympics, an unforgettable experience for anyone lucky enough to be in Sydney and manage to get  tickets from the ballot. My kids and I loved it. We would go by bus, packed lunch in backpacks, hats on and spend wonderful hours at the Olympic site. Sydney as a whole became a friendly safe haven with people looking out for one another and kindness paramount. It was an incredible time.

Sadly 11 years later on 11 September, the world changed with international terrorism of a type never experienced before. Now we are facing a different challenge as globally we fight COVID. The Olympic Games were postponed this year and the world and even our country is unsettled. Let’s hope for better, more peaceful and unifying times ahead.

The first Olympic Games were held in 786BC and the last in ancient times 393 AD. They lasted 1179 years. The Modern Olympics started in 1896 in Athens. Will they last until the fourth millennium and match the ancient Greeks and Romans?

When we were filming Lyndey & Blair’s Taste of Greece we went to Ancient Olympia. It was my birthday, so late September 2011 and Blair decided to run the length of the ancient stadium track. Now, Blair had never been a runner. He was a superb swimmer, even asked as a 14 year old in 1995 if he wanted to train for the Sydney Olympics – to which he replied “so my Mum gets up at 3am every day to take me training, then I don’t make the final and I am a nobody? No thanks, I want to be a kid, I want to play tennis and basketball as well as swim”. However on this occasion Blair ran 200 metres in 25 seconds and the world record had just been set at 19 seconds. Oh how he could perform for the camera!

On Sunday night I will be again be hosting Facebook Live, this time it’s a Lebanese recipe, at 6:00 pm AEST or 9:00 am BST. More below, including ingredients. I firmly believe in the power of food and shared meals to unite stranger. Enjoying the food of another culture is the beginning to understanding it.

Why not sit down to a meal from a different culture this week?

L: I start the timer and Blair races R: across the finish line

Now read on or scroll down, remember there’s something for everyone in this newsletter wherever you are in the world.

Jump ahead to see:
YouTube video
Recipe of the Week
Facebook Live
Chopping Boards
A Bit About Butter
Next Week and Last
Travel with me in 2021 or 2022?

YouTube video

How to cook the perfect steak and reduction sauce

I am aware that some of you may not be on Facebook, or live in different time zones, so I thought it would be fun to share one of my early Facebook Lives, so I have put it on my YouTube channel. It was an early one and I am bumbling around at the beginning waiting for the screen to show that the camera had started. I have learned, thanks to my daughter, that even though the screen doesn’t show the camera on, it is and you just need to start. So forgive that but here is How to Cook the Perfect Steak & Reduction Sauce.    You’ll find the written recipe here. You can subscribe to my channel here, so you can see other videos including my meals in a minute.

Recipe of the Week

Salad of Beetroot, Feta and Walnuts
Photography Chris Chen

It’s all about beetroot this week. Vibrant coloured beetroot is right in season. Steam whole bulbs until tender then marinate in balsamic vinegar and fresh herbs. Cut raw beetroot into fine julienne strips and use in a salad like this one from Lyndey & Blair’s Taste of Greece –  Salad of Beetroot, Feta and Walnuts.
You’ll find my Blended Burger with Beetroot Pickles here and for something special  Beetroot-Cured Salmon recipe here

Facebook Live

TOP Grilled Chilli & Parmesan Corn BOTTOM Prawn Nachos – taken on my phone after I finished Facebook Live

I continue to enjoy Facebook Live every Sunday night at 6:00 pm. Last week I went Mexican cooking Grilled Chilli & Parmesan Corn and Prawn Nachoswith tips and tricks along the way.  You can watch how I did it on Facebook here, as well as talking a bit about wine which I matched with it..

Please join me at 6:00 pm (Sydney Time) or 9:00 am British Standard Time, this coming Sunday as I show you to make Lebanese Lamb Kebabs with Chickpea Puree. Simply like my Facebook page and at 6:00 pm to click here to join and watch Facebook Live video on Sunday night.

If you are planning to cook with me on Sunday, here’s what you will need for  a main course for 4
2 eye of lamb loin (or lamb backstraps)
2 x 400g cans chickpeas, rinsed & drained
3 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
8 pieces pocket pitta, flat pitta or lavash bread, to serve
Lebanese flatbread or pitta, to serve
Greek yoghurt, to serve
1 small onion, grated
1 ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses or lemon juice
¼ cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 Lebanese cucumber, sliced
½ cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped mint

See you then?

Chopping Boards

Freshening a wooden chopping board

What sort of chopping board do you have?
I’m all for wood. I don’t like plastic because it is harsh on your knife and scars. You may be able to put it in the dishwasher but those little scars can harbour some bugs. However, I just don’t like the way they feel or look. Glass boards are even worse on your knives. I do have a bamboo board which I like too.

Keep your wooden or bamboo chopping board clean by scrubbing it once a month with a paste made from equal amount of baking soda, salt, and water. Rinse thoroughly with hot water.

If your chopping board smells after you chop onions, crush garlic or cut raw meat and chicken, you can get rid of the odour and help sanitise the chopping board by sprinkling salt on the board and rubbing it all over with the cut side of half a lemon. You can also  oil your board with food-grade mineral oil to protect it from staining or warping.

A Bit About Butter

There’s nothing like real butter melting on hot bread or sweetcorn. I am not a fan of “soft” or “spreadable” butter as it’s not pure butter. However, when you take it out of the fridge pure butter is hard to spread. So what to do? Keep it out of the fridge! Butter is somewhat protected by its salt content and the fact that it’s 80% fat. So keep a small amount out in an airtight container or a butter dish with a lid and it can last for several days. Of course, keep only what you will use out and in the warm summer months, only take out what you’ll use in one day.

Butter will keep as follows:

  • Refrigerator: 3 months Freezer: 6 months
  • For the freshest flavour, store only as much butter at room temperature in a covered butter dish that you’ll use within two to three days.
  • Maintain the freshness of butter with proper wrapping. Carefully unwrap the foil-laminated paper and cut off as much butter as you need, then re-wrap the remaining butter with the paper. Don’t cut through the wrap or tear it off, as this will leave butter exposed.
  • If you plan to freeze butter for longer storage, cut it into 1/2 cup portions and wrap each portion in plastic wrap then in foil or place in an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze. This makes it easier to remove a small amount of butter at a time and avoid refreezing.

Next Week and Last

Mussels with Garlic Crumbs

Garlic featured one way or another a few times this week. Here’s my recipe for Mussels with Garlic Crumbs.

Do you love garlic? I do, and especially when it is local and purple. I am astounded how easy it is to transform fresh garlic into roasted garlic. To roast a head of garlic Remove any extra layers of papery skin. Slice the top off the entire head to expose the cloves. Oil the garlic and put cut-side down into a baking dish with 1 cm water. Bake in a moderate oven at 180? for 45 minutes until quite soft when tested with a fine skewer. The oiled head can also be wrapped and roasted in oiled aluminium foil. Try putting roasted garlic through your mash for a taste sensation.

L: French purple garlic R: Roasted garlic

I also shared my recipe for Aperol and Red Grapefruit Cocktail, though it was Negroni Week. I also shared some memorable experiences from when I was filming Taste of Australia.
Next week we’re travelling the world with Lebanese food and recipes, including a couple  for my Facebook Live.There’ll also be some new recipes on my website and some reminiscing……
so don’t miss out, join me on Facebook and Instagram this week!

Travel with me in 2021 or 2022?

Hand-making bread is a centuries old tradtition, Puglia


I am full of hope for next year – but also realise we may not be travelling internationally that soon. So we have  delayed my planned Moroccan trip from May to October 2021, straight after the planned one to Puglia. Makes it worth being that side of the world and it will be fun to do back-to-back. Many more details to come, but here’s a heads up, although it is too soon to be thinking about travelling overseas again. Here are the dates: Here are the dates:
Culinary Adventures in Puglia and Basilicata: 10-16 October 2021

Full details and prices here,
Morocco culinary tour probably mid-October 2021 – some information here.

 Colourful tajines in Morocco

Stay safe, healthy and happy. Keep up to date  on all my social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter Pinterest and my YouTube channel.

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