Back Doing What I Love

Not a paella – but a great way to cook Moroccan Vegetable Tagine – with Martin Boetz


I salute you in a box – filled with sesame seeds each filled with 100 greetings

This is a traditional Moroccan love note, a country where the language is as magical as the food. What a joy it was to bring this to life at the Cook’s Shed last Sunday with my friend Martin Boetz. In planning I went over my notes from visits there and various articles I have written and it brought the colours, sights, sounds and aromas of this wonderful country back to me. The cuisine, like the country itself, it is one which beckons. Small wonder that the writer Paul Bowles, long ago declared “Once you have been there you can’t help yourself. You will go back for the absolute has no price.”

I am therefore thrilled that the world is opening up again, well in advance of the tour I will be hosting there in late September 2022. See more below. You may consider joining me there next year, or another year? If the dates don’t suit you, just let us know?

Mostly I am thrilled to be out working again, dining out and feeling the buzz in the air as cafes and restaurants start up again. There’s joy and energy in the air. However, it’s been another whirlwind week – largely because, if possible, my apartment is in even more of a mess with things moved to the centre of rooms and covered up for the painters. I have had to move out for several nights but will be back soon.

Delighted to say I have been eating out quite a bit. Saturday a friend and I went to Katoomba to visit a friend who lives up there whom we have obviously  not seen for some time. We dined at Echoes and I was astounded at the high quality of the food and the service so soon after opening up. Interestingly I learned that it is fine dining which is coming back, as people could get take away and cook-at-home packs, but the combination of food and service which fine dining offers is not something easy to replicate at home. Let’s get out and support our restaurants and all who work in them and supply them.

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Some of the Moroccan dishes I cooked. clockwise from top left: Beetroot Salad, Bessara, Moghrabieh Couscous, Chicken, Green Olive and Preserved Lemon Tagine and Carrot Salad

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

Some Great Value Wines
Last Week and Next
I’m Back on the Cook Up
Tips & Know How
Morocco Tour 2022
Puglia Tour October 2022

YouTube Video

This recipe is ridiculously easy. People love slices, but who wants to spend the time separately making and cooking three layers? Here, you just throw it all on the base, bake it and “hey presto” you have a rich, indulgent slice. Just a word of warning – but the pieces small as it is as rich as it is easy.  Here is the printed recipe for Chocolate Pretzel & Marshmallow Slice. It takes only 1 minute to watch me make it on YouTube.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel here for all my videos including recipes in a minute. Enjoy.

Recipes of the Week

Spiced Rib-Eye with Quinoa & Stinging Nettle Salad

While both these recipes have “spice” in the title they are absolutely proof that spice does not necessarily mean hot. Only chilli and black pepper are hot. so try these.

The weather is warm where I am, and my London friends tell me it is glorious there, so I think it is time to break out the BBQ, though Spiced Rib-Eye with Quinoa & Stinging Nettle Salad can just as easily be cooked in a pan. You might also be interested in my post on How To Cook the Perfect Steak, also with a link to that on video.

Raspberries are glorious at the moment so here they are used in a different way: Spiced Apple & Raspberry Slice.

Spiced Apple & Raspberry Slice

Some Great Value Wines

New labels and creative campaign for Yalumba Y series

Recently 170 year old family company, Yalumba launched a new look for its Y Series collection with a new label design still with the distinctive signature letter ‘Y’, but connecting the wine label to life moments. The 12 bottles feature 12 original pieces of artwork created by South Australian artist Cindy Durant. Each artwork is inspired by her visit to Yalumba and depicts a layer of the vineyard, from sun to soil to wind.

Crafted with fruit from South Australia’s most celebrated wine regions, the Y Series collection includes traditional and emerging varieties that are sustainably produced with lower alcohol in an approachable, medium-bodied style. What is incredible is the price at $15 per bottle.

While the tempranillo and shiraz/viognier which I have tried so far are good drops, especially at that price, what is more remarkable is their first ever pinot noir in this range.  It has all the varietal characteristics of pinot, fruit driven, fresh and bright with no interference from oak. Incredible value for a variety which is viticulturally more challenging than some others.
I look forward to trying the other varieties including Sangiovese Rosé and Viognier, a variety Yalumba know plenty about. All Y Series wines are vegan friendly, gluten free and 100% wild fermented.

Y Series wines are available at and local liquor stores for RRP $15.

Last Week and Next

Chicken, Preserved Lemon & Green Olive Tagine

It’s been a disjointed week with me unable to enter my office because of the painters for two days and sleeping away for three nights with two more to come while the paint smell goes from my walk-in wardrobe. However, I wanted to begin sharing my Moroccan recipes so began with Chicken, Preserved Lemon & Green Olive Tagine. This had been at my first live event in something like two years so it got me thinking about work I have done over the years. I was particularly proud of many of the 12 recipes I developed for Pace Farm eggs some years ago and so shared my Wok-tossed Crab & Mushroom Omelette.

Champagne Day was celebrated last Friday thanks to the Australian Champagne Bureau and I was fortunate to be one of a limited number going to a small event at smoke Rooftop in Barangaroo.  It was a marvelous afternoon, a chance to catch up with people I had not seen in months and years, but also to try some fabulous champagnes. We tried a range from Blanc de Blanc (all Chardonnay grapes) to the traditional blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. However, I was most impressed with several Rosé champagnes (which get their colour from skin contact with pinot noir grapes though they are not necessarily made from entirely pinot noir grapes): Champagne Drappier Brut Nature Rosé, Champagne Rosé de Craie and Champagne Fleury Brut. The food which accompanied these tastes was outstanding as was the service.

Next week: Saturday is Halloween. I dealt with that with Spooky Pines for lanterns last week. I do have a pumpkin recipe coming up on Happy Ali which will probably go up on Saturday itself. Tuesday is Melbourne Cup Day but not sure how that will be celebrated this year? I am catching up in person with my pilates friends which will be a first for us since lockdown. Wednesday 3 is International Sandwich Day so we might celebrate this. I do like a good sandwich – but not a bad one.

Some lovely champanges including the impressive Fleury

I’m Back on The Cook-Up

My Cherry Galette with my “cheat’s” Cherry Ice-Cream

Airs 7:00pm Thursday 4 November, 2021 on SBS Food

I join Fabbrica chef Hugh Piper and host Adam Liaw in The Cook Up kitchen for the fourth and last time as we feature an Aussie summer favourite ingredient – cherries.
My recipe for Cherry Galette is here. As always, I try to simplify things. Some secrets include using butter puff pastry, the love Frangipane filling as the perfect base for cherries. My quick cheat’s “ice-cream” adds another dimension with the cherries. You can use fresh cherries in season, or frozen.

Tips and Know How

Looks delicious – but is this roti or is it naan? (It’s naan)

One of Marty’s chefs who is also a baker made an incredible flatbread last Sunday. It got me to thinking about the many styles and types – with yoghurt or without, with yeast or without etc. Then up popped this piece which notes that flatbreads are an indispensable part of Indian cuisine but there are so many different types. Read A beginner’s guide to Indian breads: The difference between roti and naan.

Good Food shares: Bay leaves: Everything you need to know.
Gourmet Traveler has released its Top 80 restaurants in Australia for 2022Congratulations to all who made the list – what an achievement with the year we’ve all had.

We all need salt in our diets but some of us need to reduce our intake so this is an interesting piece from SBS Food Health. Here’s how you can salt your meal without actually adding salt. Of course, the best thing you can do is not eat processed food. As Julia Child once said…..
“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.” 
Thanks for that quote Eativity and while we’re at it – thanks too for your piece Food Allergies: 5 myths explained

Do you have any questions you would like answered?
One reader has asked about purging clams so I will include that next week.

Morocco Tour 23 Sept – 4 Oct 2022

Taking time for mint tea is so important in Morocco

More flights, no quarantine so join me on one of my two overseas tours in 2022?

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 yet to be determined. If you are interested but these dates don’t suit, contact us? 

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

Eat sea urchins fresh from the sea 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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