5km in Body but a Universe in Mind

A touch of Spring?


I read the following in a recent Australian Society of Travel Writers (ASTW) newsletter and I thought it most apt. As you might imagine it’s a pretty tough time for the travel industry in all its aspects.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times … it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us…A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens in 1859.

It relates to what the world is experiencing right now. So that led me to think about the ruling that in Sydney we can only move within a 5km radius of our homes. The more so as our lockdown has been extended to the end of September.  There is a handy map calculator here. It’s fascinating to really look at where you can go. A great opportunity to explore your local area and hopefully support businesses there. There was an interesting opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald this week Cheer up! Why you might just learn to love your 5km radius quoting research from the fields of psychology and behavioural economics which show the benefits of restricted choice. What do you think?
Certainly I like to palate travel in the foods I cook (now that I have a semi-working kitchen back) and also by reading – more of that below. I was pleased to receive these daffodils from a nearby friend and below is the photo of my first home delivered meal from Harvest Bites, complete with QR code for finishing instructions.

I’m also watching much more TV than usual – well, every night really. I absolutely loved the first episode of The Newsreader and commend it to you. I would never have recognised William McInnes in the stellar cast, if I had not read a review.

Still on TV, an update on David Attenborough’s Life in Colour, all broadcasters were thrilled with ratings and its reception from viewers. It has also won Best Animal / Nature Show for the 2021 Critics Choice Real TV Awards, and has two nominations in the prestigious Jackson Wild Media Awards. It will be submitted into several Emmy categories, and the AACTAs, the Griersons, the BAFTAs and several others. As I have written previously, it was the first official AU-UK  Co-Production of its kind; and the first time that a David Attenborough program was produced in Australia. (Traditionally, Sir David is produced in the UK, and Australia — like many countries — tends to imports the end product.) This deal was originated by my late partner John for our company Flame Media which does the distribution, as it was he who fostered the deal between Sydney-based SeaLight, and Bristol-based Humble Bee. Specialist camera technology for the series was developed with the assistance of the Queensland Brain Institute, and members of the SeaLight camera crew.
As for career development, numerous legendary Australian natural history specialists trained and lent experience to several up-and-coming female producers over the two years that Life in Colour was in production. Life in Colour has also helped generate more blue-chip science and natural history production work for Australia, and promises to do so for years to come. Such great news.

I really don’t know if we will be out of lockdown for my Moroccan Cooking Dem & Lunch now planned from 11am – 3.30 pm on Sunday 24 October. 

Please take care and stay in the loop on  Facebook and Instagram..


Main course from Harvest Bites: Bennelong Red Braised Pork Belly, Steamed Rice, Shallot Pancake and Cucumber Pickles

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
Recipes of the Week
delicious Magazine & Produce Awards
Last Week and Next
Things to Amuse?anywhere in the world
Morocco Tour 2022
Puglia Tour October 2022

YouTube Video

Cooking in cartoccio (paper) is such a great technique. You can easily adapt the recipe for fish or any seafood. It works really well and makes portioning, cleaning up and presentation so easy. Try my Prawns in Cartoccio. You can watch the recipe in one minute on YouTube here. The written recipe is here, along with my recipe for moreish smashed potatoes.

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel here for all my videos including other meals in a minute. Enjoy.

Recipes of the Week

Crisp Pork Belly with Blood Orange Pickle

Blood oranges are well and truly in the shops in Australia and, given the perennial popularity of pork belly, here is my recipe for Crisp Pork Belly with Blood Orange Pickle. Follow my instructions and your pork belly will certainly be crisp.

I love raspberries in the morning with my sheep’s milk yoghurt and they really enhance the taste and look of my Flourless Chocolate Cake. This is one I developed for Pace Farm Eggs. Simply serve it with creme fraiche or Greek style yoghurt.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

delicious Magazine & Produce Awards

My story on chef Christine Manfield and the Tweed region in the September issue of delicious

Regular readers know of my love for regional Australia, its people, farmers and producers. Therefore I was delighted to pitch a story to delicious magazine when I visited the Tweed Artisan Weekend to interview Chris Manfield on what she had discovered since moving there. I didn’t get a lot of space but am delighted to have been able to write the piece for the September issue of delicious. I have written additional information for online so when any of us can travel again you can taste your way around the region.
Congratulations too, to delicious and the finalists and winners of the annual delicious Produce Awards. Now in its 16th year, the Awards celebrate the country’s new, innovative, native and consistently outstanding Australian ingredients grown, caught, sourced or produced with dedication, passion, knowledge and regard for the environment.
The overall Producer of the Year Award, presented by Harvey Norman, was awarded to Gary, Jo and Sam Rodely from Tathra Oysters – Tathra Oysters 5 Year Old Bistro Grade (NSW). Tathra Oysters are long time champions of The Sydney Royal Aquaculture Competition where they first started showing their oysters. Gary credits feedback for helping him continually improve and refine his growing techniques. They were the winners of the inaugural President’s Medal in 2006. I am so thrilled to see their well deserved success.
Massive congratulations for the well-deserved recognition to Peter Gilmore for getting the Maggie Beer Award for Outstanding Contribution to Australian Food. 

Great news too that Tweed won the Outstanding Region, sharing with the Gold Coast hinterland. You can read more in the September edition of delicious.

Last Week and Next

Potato and Sausage Pizza

I’ve been posting on social media this week, so if that’s not your thing, or you missed it, here is what I’ve been doing.

Rag Pasta with Chorizo “Carbonara Style” is my homage to just what you can do once you master the authentic recipe for Spaghetti alla Carbonara as it is so adaptable. Also, a great cheat’s way of making rag pasta without having to make your own from scratch. Lockdown makes me think of pizzas so here is  Potato and Sausage Pizza

As promised for International Pinot Noir Day I shared my recipe for Goats Cheese Tart with Pinot Eschallots and Walnuts

It has been National Science Week  and I found a really helpful link in the Australian Farmers newsletter to help parents with children learning from home – though I think useful for anyone. It makes the point that there’s never been a better opportunity for parents to talk to their children about where food and fibre comes from – and the incredible science behind it! So the team at Australian Farmers compiled their favourite learning resources, covering a range of topics, industries and education levels so children aged 4-18 can explore the scientific world of agriculture: Learn in lockdown this National Science Week!

You can stay up-to-date with me on  Facebook and Instagram 

Rag Pasta with Chorizo “Carbonara style”

Things to Amuse?

Fun food and drink quiz available free, online every Monday night – or whatever time it is where YOU are in the world

To all my UK readers  I am so pleased you are enjoying some freedom and I watch your outings longingly and think about walking in Regent’s Park. Also wanting to try some new or old restaurants opening up:

The Ledbury in Notting Hill will be reopening but in a more bistro-style Brett Graham is an incredibly talented and committed Australian-born chef and I have always enjoyed his food and dining experience.

In my neck of the woods in London’s Marylebone Chef-restaurateur Stevie Parle, of Pastaio and Dock Kitchen renown, has confirmed that his lockdown pop-up Joy at Portobello Dock (whose extension was denied by the landlord earlier in 2021) will open as a cafe, retail space, and supper club venue in Marylebone Village.

Bloomberg has announced it’s list for UK’s best 100 restaurantsThe annual rankings were calculated from the votes of more than 200 experts including chefs and critics who submit their best restaurant experiences over the past 12 months across the U.K., taking into consideration the quality of the food, service, atmosphere and price.

I have really enjoyed all the well-executed musical parodies for the Marsh Family on Youtube during lockdown. Now they are out of lockdown, it seems they over celebrated as this latest musical offering shows.

Wherever you are:
Again regular readers will know that I had a team which would go monthly to fabulous food and beverage trivia at the Terminus Hotel in Pyrmont. Now individuals can join every week, playing online wherever you are in the world
TASTY TRIVIA, the deliciously interactive food & drink quiz is on every Monday from 7.30pm AEST via Zoom (throughout restrictions).  It’s fun and free.  Questions are all about food & drink but dip into other subject matters – history, science, geography & general knowledge. You may know more than you think you do…….. and I may well “see” you there.
Click on this link to register and receive your FREE Zoom link 

Virtual Travel to Japan: Jane Lawson is an expert on all things Japanese. Read her piece  8 things I learnt eating my way through Japan.

10 tips to help you cope with lockdown from the University of Technology.

Morocco Tour 23 Sept – 4 Oct 2022

Moroccan Tagine, one of the classic dishes of Morocco

Moroccan Culinary Tour begins in Rabat on Friday 23 September til Tuesday 4 October
This trip will see us travel from Rabat the capital, to spiritual Meknes and Fes, and to Marrakech the red city. On the way you will explore the archaeological site of Volubilis, visit a Berber village in the Atlas Mountains, and relax by the coast in tranquil Essaouira. You’ll discover the delicacies of Moroccan and French food, dine in local eateries through to upmarket restaurants, and experience the making and flavours of Moroccan dishes during cooking classes. Luxury accommodation is in charming, authentic riads. sometimes in exclusivity. Only 10 – 12 guests. This tour is nearly fully booked, so we are considering another tour later in October. Watch this space.
By Prior Arrangement is highly experienced and well-known in Morocco and I have confidence in working with them to bring this very special tour into being. Talk to them about the trip, or feel free to email me with any queries. I am excited!
Read Where to Eat Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner in Rabat.

Puglia Tour October 2022

Hands-on experience making mozzarella in Puglia

Puglia in the boot of the heel of Italy is still relatively unspoiled. A secret Italians tend to keep to themselves, it is a wonderful place to visit and so much less crowded than Tuscany. After Morocco I’m going on to host Culinary Adventures in Puglia and Basilicata 8 – 14 October 2022. Join me and share an unforgettable week of culinary and cultural exploration. Think hands-on bread, cheese making and cooking class; visits to wineries, olive farm, tours of UNESCO sites Alberobello & Matera & other cultural centres with local guides. All sensational meals and wines included. You only need money for the very inexpensive shopping you will find there.

Group size: an intimate 8-16 places only
Lodging in authentic, family-run noble estates and palaces
Operated by: Local Puglia specialist Southern Visions Travel: the leading experiential travel company in Southern Italy
Full brochure

Read more about my adventures in Puglia
Explore Puglia in House & Garden Magazine
Seven dishes you must try in Puglia, Italy in the Sydney Morning Herald
Puglia, the undiscovered heart in Selector Magazine

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