Let’s Smile & Laugh Together

Something to make us laugh: throw back to January 2005 at G’Day LA – and yes, that IS Keith Urban, just before he met Nicole Kidman for the first time

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My thoughts go out to everyone in the UK, now facing renewed lockdown. I know how tough it is and I hope you can all make the best of it. Therefore I thought I would give you something to laugh about. Would you believe this photo was taken the night Keith Urban met Nicole Kidman? I met him first! – minutes before he joined other celebrities at tables at the front at the G’Day LA gala dinner, cooked by Australian chef Neil Perry, in 2005. This was the second annual G’Day LA (now G’Day USA) and the dinner was all about honouring Australians for their achievements. I am wearing a dress I had made for the Logies. I also did a quick red carpet appearance (after the real celebrities had gone) with Channel 9’s Richard Wilkins which we showed on Fresh, with the Australian Women’s Weekly which I co-hosted after my return. Fun times. I was also thrilled to see the Australian Girls Choir there, which my daughter had been leader of until she left school some years earlier. 

On Sunday night I will be again be hosting Facebook Live at 6:30 pm Australian Eastern Daylight Saving time, 5:30 pm QLD time and 7:30 am BST, when I will take our taste buds to beautiful Thailand

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
Facebook Live
Ask Me????

Christmas Baking
No Packet November
Next Week and Last
Flash News Update on Travel

YouTube Video

Carrot, Peanut Butter & Raisin Ribbon Sandwiches

Something else to make you laugh it is so simple. I really should have posted this last week before the Melbourne Cup. This surprising combination was one of our most popular ribbon sandwiches at the many cocktail parties I catered for in the 80s and early 90s. I think it was my sister who came up with the combination and she used to make them by the hundreds for us.

I shot this video in my office for a charity fund raiser some years ago. You can watch me make it on YouTube here 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.

Recipes of the Week

Minted Pea & Lettuce Soup – enjoy hot or cold with corn muffins

Given the variable weather in Australia and the growing cold in the Northern Hemisphere here is a soup recipe you can enjoy hot and cold. Made with fresh (or frozen) peas it is as quick as it is delicious and freezes well. Here is the recipe
I am just loving strawberries at the moment so, again, here is a recipe perfect for both hemispheres: Strawberry sponge puddings with strawberry sauce from my Summer Baking Secrets TV series.

Strawberry Sponge Puddings with Strawberry Sauce

Facebook Live

Salmon with Warm Romesco Salad and the winning wine of the McLaren Vale Wine Show

Last week I was able to obtain the highest pointed wine from the McLaren Vale Wine Show. All I knew in advance was that it was a grenache (and even that was embargoed) but the results were announced last Friday. I had decided to go with Spanish flavours to suit the Alpha Crucis 2019 Old Vine Grenache and it certainly worked. You will find my recipe here and you can watch the Facebook Live here.

Remember the time of 6:30 pm Australian Eastern Daylight Saving Time, so 5:30 pm in Queensland and an early 7:30 am in the UK. I hope you can all join me.

This coming Sunday we’re going to beautiful Thailand with our taste buds Simply like my Facebook page and at 6:30pm to click here to join and be part of Facebook live on Sunday night. Some of my regular viewers asked for Pad Thai, one of the most popular of thai dishes. I want to show you how easy it is to recreate at home – the fast and fabulous way.

If you are planning to cook along with me on Sunday, here’s what you will need for Pad Thai for 2 people
100g dried rice noodles
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 eschallot or 1 small red onion
100g pork fillet or pork neck steak
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 – 2 small red chillies
125g small green prawns, shelled and deveined
1/2  teaspoon shrimp paste or dried shrimp or substitute (optional)
50g silken firm tofu, cut in 3cm squares
100g snow peas, trimmed, sliced diagonally
3/4 cup (60g) bean sprouts
1 1/2 tablespoons (30ml) fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon (20mls) Thai fish sauce or soy sauce
1/4 cup (35g) dry roasted, unsalted peanuts, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped garlic chives or 3 green onions (green shallots)
1/4 cup (25) fried shallots
1 tablespoon coriander leaves, chopped
Lime cheeks to garnish (optional)

See you then?

Ask Me???????

Pumpkin and Coconut Soup

Questions and Answers
A few people have mused about what to do with their pumpkins after they have made Jack O’Lanterns for Halloween. I published some recipes on the good news site Happy-Ali or you could try my Pumpkin and Coconut Soup or Fried Pumpkin Balls or put in a risotto.
However, for some more creative ideas which, again, may make you laugh:

  • use it as a planter – scrape pumpkin out (cook with the flesh in one of the recipes), drill holes for drainage and add potting soil and plants; 
  • use for bird seed – cut holes in each side with a skewer or sharp knife thread through some string to hang from trees and fill with seed to attract the birds;
  • make a face mask with 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree, 1/2 teaspoon honey and 1/2 teaspoon milk. Apply to clean skin and leave to set for 20 minutes before washing off.

What questions do you have? Just email in response to this newsletter.

A simple way to decorate the top of a fruit cake without bothering with icing

In response to a request from the lovely Australian Women’s Club London  where members are sadly going into lockdown, I am beginning to post recipes in advance of Christmas. Obviously those which are best made in advance. I am delighted to share My Mum’s Christmas Cake, to kick things off. click the link for the history and the recipe. It has a very special place in my family.

While we’re talking Christmas cakes, here are some

Fruit Cake Tips

  • Rich fruit cakes can be made 6 months ahead.
  • Boiled fruit cakes can be made 3 months ahead.
  • Icing can be completed a month ahead. Do not refrigerate but store in a covered container in a cool, dry place.
  • Store un-iced cakes in the refrigerator if the weather is humid.
  • Mixed dried fruit can be used instead of the fruit listed in the ingredients, if preferred. If there is any fruit you don’t wish to use, substitute it by weight with another fruit or nut.
  • Brandy, rum, sherry, whisky, Grand Marnier or orange juice flavoured with essence can be used interchangeably in cake and pudding recipes

No Packet November

Enjoy fresh food which doesn’t come in a packet

After noticing a young child with 7 packets in their lunchbox, mother of three Kate Coleman
decided to create No Packet November in 2016. The campaign encourages families to reduce their consumption of packaged food for one month to decrease the rubbish going to landfill and improve the health of our children.
Hopefully that may become a habit,

Kate, a Nutrition & Health Coach and Personal Trainer wanted to inspire families to eat real food again. “Being a mother of three, it can be difficult to know what to feed your children. Everyone is busy today, and there are so many mixed messages out there. I want to inspire people, especially children, to cook simple recipes and appreciate that real food is grown, and not from a factory” says Kate.
A woman after my own heart.

Unfortunately, many parents are busy and stressed out and processed, packaged lunchbox snacks have become the norm with many children having 2-5 packets each day. They 
are marketed by the billion dollar companies as being ‘healthy’ when they are often loaded with sugar, salt, preservatives and additives. Some popular muesli & cereal bars contain around 30 ingredients, many of which are un-recognisable and could not be found in your own pantry, e.g. 171, 100, 120, 160c, 903, 904, 304, 307b, 472e are all found in a popular cereal bar.
I have always thought it ridiculous that something in a box with numbers on could be labelled “healthy” which is why I avoid using the word.

There’s also the matter of land fill with plastic waste going to landfill from lunchbox snacks. No Packet November is free to join, offering alternative lunch box ideas, recipes and sustainability tips to guide you through the month.

There is a VIP membership available that offers daily recipes, exercise videos and a recipe E-Book.
Kate will be donating 20% of the funds raised to Take 3 for the Sea to support their mission
to reduce global plastic pollution and waste.

Visit www.nopacketnovember.com

Next Week and Last

Grilled Radicchio Bruschetta, Marinated Chevre and Fresh Peas

As usual I have been busy on social media. I shared some recipes including my Grilled Radicchio Bruschetta, Marinated Chevre and Fresh Peas.  I posted a couple of flashback photos, including the one with Keith Urban above which drew a huge reaction and some funny responses. another reason to smile.

I also shared some photos of another incredible lunch I had at Saint Peter which is just the most sensational restaurant from the quality of the staff and seafood to the brilliant execution of the dishes.

Lots on next week and I’ll remember a Fast Food Fact (which I neglected to do this week).  Importantly it’s Remembrance Day on 11 November, so join me on Facebook and Instagram!

L: 14 Day Dry Aged Albacore on burnt tomato, anchovy, rosemary and R: Sand Whiting Tikka, Naan bread & condiments

Flash News Update on Travel

You too can buy some colourful tagines in Morocco

As we all know overseas  travel is well and truly on hold for the forseeable future. However, with Covid vaccines on the horizon, I am optimistically planning my tours to Morocco and Puglia for late next year. If we deem it not safe to travel, we will postpone to 2022, but I think accompanied tours with well-reputed and experienced companies will be the safest way to go.

Morocco culinary tour new dates – begin in Rabat on Friday 29 October until 9 November 2021 – some information here.

Culinary Adventures in Puglia and Basilicata: 10-16 October 2021
Full details and prices here,

A fun, hands-on cooking class is always part of my tours

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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