And so it goes …..

A blast from the past. This was my first year demonstrating at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. I still love it.


Wherever you are in the world hello. I am delighted to see the UK, USA and now Singapore slowly opening up though sad the Singapore government has said no visitors from Australia but let’s hope that changes. Not that it seems I can go anywhere anyway. At least more people are getting vaccinated and I look forward to my second AstraZeneca shot next week. A really big shout out to Victoria – how fabulous that you are now the most open state of Australia. You deserve it after all your lockdowns. We really are, more than ever, part of a global community and need to view it that way.

One thing about lockdown is it gives me more chance to keep clearing. The thing with memorabilia, though is it is very time-consuming. Some wonderful memories and also shedding some tears. I am thrilled to be able to contribute quite a lot to the Australian Culinary Archive for which which the lovely Julie Gibbs is Curatorial Adviser. So my complete set of Good Food Guides from 1984 (I have been reviewing every year since since 1987), my many, many booklets form wonderful Masterclasses in Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth and the outstanding work done by the Food Media Club with its Australia’s Table Tomorrow forums 1994, 1996 and 1998. Way ahead of its time. I also have archival material for the Vittoria Australian Food Media Awards which we held, and things from my time as President.

Also the wonderful work we did on the Food & Wine Advisory Committee for Tourism NSW in the 1990s – groundbreaking stuff in promoting regional culinary tourism. I am so lucky to have been part of such an era of evolution in the Australian culinary scene. One of my great loves is demonstrating at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. This clipping pictured is from my first time. I have done so every years since, except when my son Blair died, when Covid cancelled 2020 and then this year when there was no kitchen in our Covid safe show.

If you missed The Cook Up on SBS last week, you can catch my episode with the theme “cheese on top” here. Here is my recipe for Open Mushroom Lasagne.

If you’re in NSW, don’t forget my Moroccan Cooking Dem & Lunch at the Cooks Shed in Sackville on 14 August.

I’m back on  Facebook and Instagram and this is where you will see photos of some of the delicious things I have eaten. Enjoy.


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
Sir David Attenborough
Some Things to Amuse Us
Hunter Valley Wine & Writing Weekend
Gluten, Dairy-free Deliciousness
Morocco Tour 2022

Puglia Tour October 2022

YouTube Video

Basic Risotto Bianco – master this and you can turn it into any flavour you like

This is a flashback to one of my Sunday Night Live Facebook cooking demonstrations which proved popular last year. I shared this recipe for Risotto Bianco on social media last week when we were locked down again, so decided to upload it to my YouTube channel. You can watch it here. Subscribe to my YouTube channel here for all my other videos including meals in a minute. You can find the written recipe on my website here. There are quite a few other risotto recipes there too. Enjoy.

Recipes of the Week

Basque Chicken
Photography John Paul Urizar

Those of us at home have time to cook. Here are two seasonal recipes which are minimum effort but take some time to cook, so I thought them worth sharing and have only just put them up on my website. Basque Chicken uses my favourite cut of chicken, the Maryland piece. I find it very juicy and tender.

For something sweet, Warm Winter Fruit Salad doubles for dessert or breakfast.

Warm Winter Fruit Salad

Life In Colour

Sir David Attenborough Brings The Story Of Colour To Life Saturday, July 3, At 7.30pm On Channel 9 & 9now
Already on BBC in the UK and on Netflix Worldwide (except Australia)

OK so this is not about food, but who doesn’t love Sir David Attenborough, the world’s most famous wildlife TV presenter?  This is pretty special to me, because it came about because of my partner John’s incredible vision. Making natural history TV is a very exacting process, time consuming and therefore expensive. John had the vision to introduce TV producers from different countries to each other for whom our company Flame does the distribution worldwide. So he did with the talented companies behind this new production: Humble Bee Films in the UK and SeaLight Pictures in Australia. They, and I, like to think of John as the Godfather of the project. These incredibly committed, experienced and professional producers have created a masterpiece. They are to be commended for managing it all through Covid and bringing joy to our screens.

In this documentary, Sir David explores the way colour is intimately connected to almost every story nature has to tell. Colour makes our world a beautiful place to live in, but there is so much more to it than beauty. It is the amazing way animals communicate and collaborate – it’s even their language of life and death.

Australian filming locations for the series include Adelaide River, Darwin (NT); multiple locations around Sydney and Coffs Harbour (NSW); Lizard Island, Heron Island, Stradbroke Island, Kuranda, Cairns, Port Douglas, Crater Lakes and Atherton Tablelands (QLD).

L to R: Producer Stephen Dunleavy (Humble Bee), my John and Sir David

Some Things to Amuse Us

Students at Le Cordon Bleu Paris – you can join them virtually

For those of us locked down, or if we are kept inside by bad weather, or are simply looking for something to do:

Le Cordon Bleu in Paris hold regular webinars with cooking demonstrations. On Saturday 2 July at 11.45am in Brussels, Copenhagen, Madrid and Paris ot 7.45pm Australian Eastern Standard time you can register for Open House: Four-Hand Online Culinary Demonstration Followed by a Q & A session.
Chef Patrick Caals and Chef Laurent Bichon will perform together a four-hand culinary demonstration in Cuisine and Pastry.
Cuisine recipe: Chicken supreme with lemon verbena and preserved lemon, apricot purée and marjoram courgette marmalade
Pastry recipe : Modern peach Melba

Register here

Devour Tours offer a range of online cooking experiences, either group, for team building or private if you want to book with some friends. You can even do virtual walks!
Sydney Opera House has a digital programme, bringing their stages to your sofa. 

Time Out shares 19 Most Influential Restaurants in the world, according to chefs.

Here’s my Best Warming Winter Soups and recipes blog which I shared on social media this week.

Hunter Valley Writing & Wine Weekend

The line up for the inaugural Hunter Valley Writing and Wine Weekend at Wandin Estate 11-12 September 2021

I am looking forward to joining a bunch of mates and making some new ones at the inaugural Hunter Valley Writing & Wine Weekend at beautiful Wandin Estate September 11-12. Brain child of dear friends media presenter and advocate Tracey Spicer and Wandin Valley GM Manda Duffy it is something to look forward to.

The weekend is planned as an antidote to all we have endured in the last 18 months. This will be a thought-provoking, life-affirming event with conversations, workshops, meditation, bush walks, superb regional produce and wonderful wine. You can buy one or two day tickets, plus a seat at the Chef’s Table Degustation Dinner featuring a performance by the one and only Wendy Harmer. I’m speaking on the Saturday about building a life around food, wine and travel and, of course, will be attending much more including the dinner. Book now to avoid disappointment. Thoughtfully, tickets can be cancelled with 7 days’ notice.
Ticket options are flexible : one or two day tickets or just the dinner.
Full programme and tickets here.
Book accomodation here
In case you can’t make it to the Hunter Valley, we’ll be live streaming parts of the event via the Wednesday Night Book Club facebook page.

Gluten, Dairy-free Deliciousness

Food&HeartCo’s indulgent yet good-for-you Sour Cherry & Chocolate Brownie

Rowie Dillon is surely the Queen of gluten-free and dairy-free baking. Her new company Food&HeartCo has brought out a whole new range. I like her sweet treats because they taste so good, but don’t weigh me down. Says Rowie “Not only are we good for your tummy; we also use landfill friendly and compostable packaging. I’ve carefully selected bags made from bamboo and also paper and the cardboard is printed with soy ink; make it easy for our world to digest and compost ” 

When we are able to fly again, we will be able to sample them on Qantas, but in some good news for us many of them are available at Harris Farm Markets: Chocolate Bikkie – Chunky, Anzac Bikkie – Iconic, Rocky Road – Nostaglic and Sour Cherry & Chocolate Brownie – Unbelievable. All are gluten and dairy free, with the Anzac and Rocky Road also being egg-free and therefore vegan.
Only this week, Vic’s Meats have added the Sour Cherry & Chocolate Brownie to their online store. All proudly Australian made with carefully sourced ingredients it’s super fudgy, velvety with luxurious couverture chocolate against the tartness of sour cherry. Also nut free.  Order here, noting one will feed 6 people.

Let’s go overseas in late 2022?

I like to look ahead and not backwards, to a time when most of us are vaccinated, borders are open and we can look forward to travel again. I am a fan of group travel, and will write more about that soon. The security of travelling with a company specialising in its area, with a local guide fills me with confidence. So that’s what I’m doing. 

Morocco Tour 23 Sept – 4 Oct 2022

Colourful tagines beckon in the medinas in 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.
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 cooking class after foraging 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

Feast on sea urchins, fresh from the sea in Puglia

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