June Newsletter

With Joe Fattorini from The Wine Show at Berry Bros & Rudd

What a lovely time I’m having in London. It’s sunny and mild and you never know who you’ll meet! Yesterday I had a meeting with the producers of The Wine Show, the best of its genre in my opinion. Hosted by actor Matthew Goode and with a plethora of other stars like James Purefoy and Matthew Rhys and wine expert Joe Fattorini. The program is dynamic and pacey set in all sorts of international locations, beautifully shot and produced and with no wanky wine speak. After lunch, I was invited to go and meet Joe at Berry Bros & Rudd where he also works and was giving a guided tour to the producers of the show. Naturally I jumped at the chance and had the most marvellous time touring Britain’s oldest wine and spirit merchant in the shop which was founded in 1698. They hold two Royal Warrants for H.M. The Queen and H.R.H. The Prince of Wales. Then we went around the corner to the new store for a wine tasting. Serendipity, especially as Joe knew of me from a mutual aquaintance!
Last Sunday my partner and I went by train to Oxford for the day. We went on a fabulous “free” walking tour. these are ones where you pay at the end according to your level of satisfaction. I have always found them terrific and informative and this was no different. As fans of the Inspector Morse TV series, we had lunch in The White Horse pub where he and his side-kick Lewis would often go for a pint.

During the day various friends texted and emailed me to let me know that I was on Saturday Kitchen Best Bites, a compilation of favourite parts of previous Saturday Kitchen episodes. It brought back all the fun I had on that show hosted by The Hairy Bikers with singer Elaine Paige podding my broadbeans.
Early this week the sound of numerous helicopters overhead took us out to our terrace. Huge Chinook helicopters were flying overhead. It didn’t take us long to figure out it was none other than Donald Trump landing in Regent’s Park beside the American Ambassador’s residence. After it happenes several times we were quite 
blasé. Amazing city.

TOP: outside The White Horse pub in Oxford, BELOW L: with The Hairy Biker’s Si King on Saturday Kitchen and R Donald Trump’s chinook helicopter landing in Regent’s Park

Jump ahead to see:
What’s In Season in June
The best in fruit and veggies this week

Focus on Kiwi Fruit

Recipe of the week
Exotic Vegetables in London
Interesting Reading
What’s On
How to’s

Clockwise from top left: pears, fennel, avocados and heirloom carrots

Fruit

  • Apples
  • Avocados
  • Banana
  • Custard apples
  • Dates
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwifruit
  • Lemons
  • Mandarins
  • Nashi
  • Oranges: Cara Cara Navel
  • Oranges: Navel
  • Passionfruit
  • Pears
  • Pomelo
  • Quince
  • Rhubarb

Veggies

  • Beetroot
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celeriac
  • Celery
  • Fennel
  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Onions
  • Parsnips
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Radicchio
  • Silverbeet
  • Spinach
  • Swede
  • Sweet potato
  • Turnips

The best in fruit and veggies this week in Australia

Kiwi fruit, oranges and pink lady apples

FRUIT

Keep an eye out for specials on fragrant Queensland strawberries as the season is about to get underway. Berries are always well-priced in London and we eat them every morning for breakfast.

Bursting with sweet juicy goodness vibrant mandarins are a top buy while popular Pink Lady and Fuji apples are naturally sweet,

Tropical tasting pineapples are tangy and sweet.Toss pineapple pieces into a stir-fry with pork and vegetables. For a quick dessert; warm chunks of pineapple in butter and brown sugar (with an opitonal splash of brandy or rum) and serve with a dollop of cream.

Hass avocados have a creamy texture and nutty flavour. The cooler months are the best time for value and quality. Use avocado, corn and tomato to make spicy salsas that liven up grilled poultry or add to tacos

Fresh California dates taste like caramel and make the most scrumptious desserts and puddings. This pear, date & chocolate crumble is a winter treat. Adding dates to a warm salad like this roasted carrot, medjool date & feta Salad is the perfect way to add natural sweetness 

Start your day in a healthy way and add diced fruit to your favourite breakfast cereal. Try adding kiwifruit this week, they are easy to prepare and rich in vitamins. See more information below.

Creamy bananas are a bargain and make the ideal quick snack, as the carbohydrates found in bananas have a low glycaemic index which means they is absorbed slowly and are extremely filling giving you sustained energy.

Juicy winter lemons are a great buy. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to winter soups and stews to reduce the richness and enhance the flavour,

In peak season during winter, Navel oranges are characterised by their vibrant orange colour and little belly button-like dimple on their base. These juicy oranges have virtually no seeds, sweet dense flesh and are easy to peel and naturally nourish your body with beneficial vitamin C.

L: kumara or sweet potato top R: top broccoli and bottom R; mushroom caps

VEGETABLES

Broccoli is excellent value this week. Lightly steam or microwave for best results. Small florets add colour to a pasta dishes or serve cold tossed in a flavoursome dressing. All the family will love these broccoli & cheese oven-baked fritters.

Leafy English spinach is a thrifty buy this week. Wash thoroughly before cooking. Use leaves and stems in stir-fries or toss through hot pasta.

Snow white cauliflowers are a good buy.. This cauliflower mac ’n cheese is the ultimate winter comfort food.

Fresh Asian greens such as Bok choy or choy sum are crisp and colourful and excellent in stir-fries. Serve these vegetables with a slight crunch and you are sure to enjoy their flavour. Bok Choy and Choy Sum are fabulous value.

Craving a sweet pick-me-up? Nibble on crunchy raw carrot sticks for a nutritious energy burst. For a deliciously warming lunch or light dinner, indulge in a rich creamy Mexican carrot, jalapeno & black bean soups. .

Hidden beneath their creamy white domes, mushrooms are a powerhouse of natural flavour and goodness. Fill a paper bag with mushrooms to enjoy at breakfast this roasted mushrooms with wilted spinach and eggs is loaded with healthy goodness. 

Warm up with immune boosting kumara, packed with vitamins and fibre. Delicious roasted, chopped orange sweet potato (kumara) with red onion wedges in olive oil flavoured with cumin and coriander for 30 minutes or until tender. 

Focus on Kiwi Fruit

L to R: gold, green and red-fleshed kiwi fruit

KIWI FRUIT

A nutritional gem, kiwifruit is a fantastic source of vitamin C and contains vitamin E as well as dietary fibre.

All kiwifruit have small edible seeds and thin brown skin. Some varieties are furrier than others. Their flesh colour, taste and texture can vary.

Green-fleshed kiwifruit is very popular and less sweet than the yellow-fleshed variety. It has a firm edible central core.

Gold/yellow-fleshed kiwifruit has very juicy, sweet, tender golden-yellow flesh. It’s slightly elongated in shape. A mere 40g of gold kiwifruit contains a days’ recommended intake of vitamin C!

Red-fleshed kiwifruit is a sweet and utterly irresistible new arrival to the market. Its green and red flesh has an attractive star pattern in the centre.

To ripen and store: Leave firm kiwifruit to ripen at room temperature. It’s ripe and ready to eat when it yields to gentle pressure around the stem. The yellow-fleshed variety is ideally eaten when slightly firm. Refrigerate once ripe. Keep apples away from kiwifruit to avoid kiwifruit ripening too quickly.

To eat: Cut kiwifruit in half lengthways and scoop out the flesh with a teaspoon. Alternatively, peel the fruit with a small sharp knife, and slice or dice as desired.

Recipe of the week

Luxe Irish Stew of Goat (or lamb)

From Lyndey Milan’s Taste of Ireland: episode 6, The Burren and Galway

Irish stew is traditionally made of lamb, potatoes and onions and with long, slow cooking the potatoes start to disintegrate and thicken the broth. However, I learned when I was in The Burren, that there is a long tradition of goats in Ireland, beginning as long ago as the great Irish potato famine in 17th. Therefore when I was in the area I decided to make a deluxe version of Irish stew using goat. You could also use lamb.

Servings: 4 – 6
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 – 2 hours

1 shoulder (or leg) of goat, cut into chunks (approx 1.2kilos)
¼ cup (35g) plain flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup (60ml) rapeseed or olive oil
1 litre (4 cups) chicken or lamb stock
6 cloves garlic
20 (800g) baby new potatoes
1 bunch (400g) Dutch carrots, peeled
4 small (480g) parsnips, peeled
1 bunch green onions, trimmed and cut into 5cm lengths
Freshly chopped parsley

  1. Toss goat in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. (A plastic bag works well to keep the hands clean).
  2. Heat one tablespoon (20ml) oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Add half the meat and brown all over, turning frequently. Remove. Repeat with another tablespoon (20ml) oil and remaining meat. Remove. Deglaze the frying pan with stock, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom which add to the flavour of the sauce.
  3. Heat a large pot suitable for stove top or oven over medium high heat. Add remaining tablespoon (20ml) oil. Add garlic cloves and cook, stirring continuously until they start to brown. Layer meat, potatoes, carrots, parsnip and green onions on top of the garlic. Pour over stock from frying pan. Bring to the boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for an hour or until goat is tender. (Cooking time will depend on the age of the goat and also if it is wild or farmed. If it requires very long cooking remove the vegetables after an hour and then return after the goat is tender to warm through).
  4. Taste for seasoning. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately with a glass of Guinness.

In Season Recipes

Javier Codina’s jamon croquetas with Romesco dipping sauce

Harira
Javier Codina’s jamon croquetas with romesco dipping sauce
Tex-Mex style beef sliders with a quick pickle
Hot and sour soup
Fried pumpkin balls
Hidden onion and cheese quesadilla
Barbecued mixed vegetables
Barbecued beef sirloin with native flavours
Chicken pie with celeriac mash

Pineapple and lime upside down cake

Exotic Vegetables in London

L: Roasted Purple Sweets with Basil-Mint Sesame Pesto and R: Turmeric-Brown Sugar BBQ Cone Cabbage Heads

I have recently discovered a street market, not too far from where I live with nearby shops selling all manner of different vegetables and spices. Wonderful for a cook from Australia. Not so long ago they were still considered exotic vegetables that could only be bought in a handful of stores and market stalls dotted around the UK.

But now the likes of the dudhi, chayote, cassava, and other vegetables from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean are becoming mainstream with demand rocketing across the UK.

And their popularity is not restricted to major inner city stores either with sales soaring in wider towns across the country. Among the most popular in the last 12 months are the:

  • Dudhi – demand up by 25 per cent
  • Chayote – up by nearly 80 per cent
  • Cassava – up by more than 40 per cent
  • Purple sweet potatoes – up by nearly 125 per cent
  • Fresh turmeric – up by 80 per cent
  • Plantains – up by more than 60 per cent
  • Okra – up by 24 per cent
  • Sivri chillies – up by nearly 500 per cent.

Tesco exotic vegetable buyer Katie Frost said: 

“These wonderful exotic fruit and vegetable varieties may be new to some shoppers but are a mainstay of Caribbean, Asian and African cuisine.

“Demand for them is soaring as a direct result of a new adventurism and passion that is sweeping through home cooking, inspired by celebrity chef TV food shows.

“Programmes such as Rick Stein’s India and recipes by other celebrity chefs such as The Hairy Bikers and Jamie Oliver have inspired people who love cooking to try new ingredients.”

Among the top selling exotic vegetables are:

Dudhi, from Asia – Similar to a courgette and great in stir-fries, added to curry dishes, or tossed into salads.

Plantain, from the Caribbean – Looks like a large banana but less sweet and is used like a potato in Caribbean cooking. Delicious added to stews or casseroles, grilled or baked.

Okra, from Africa and Asia – Delicious chopped and added to a curry, with vegetables or meat.

Chayote, from Latin America – similar in taste to a courgette with pale green, cucumber like flesh. Popular as a side dish when mixed with potato to create a chayote squash.

Cassava, from South America – A root vegetable with an earthy, nutty, and slightly sweet taste that can be boiled and mashed to be eaten as a tasty side dish.

Purple Sweet Potato, originally from Japan but now grown in North America – Richer tasting member of the sweet potato family

Sivri Chilli, from Turkey – the long, green medium-heat chillis that are commonly found in take-away kebabs.

Fresh Turmeric, from the Indian Sub-Continent – The root vegetable which has a mild, peppery flavour has become extremely popular as a key ingredient in healthy smoothies, curries and soups.

Interesting Reading 

The bulb of the garlic turns black during a production process after harvesting. (ABC Sale Victoria: Simone Smith)

Did you ever wonder just what black garlic is, how it is grown or processed? It is explained in this article Black garlic producers investigate export opportunities as demand continues to grow. Essentially it is an ordinary white garlic that has been aged in a specific way which turns it black.
And while we’re on the topic of garlic, please don’t buy that awful Chinese garlic which is pristine white from the use of chemicals. Read 
Garlic grower urges consumers to buy local, quality produce to cut down on food waste
Wherever you are in Australia here are Good Weekend 52 best brunches 2019: Top 15 in Sydney with links to Melbourne’s Top 15 and Elsewhere in Australia.
In London, I’ve been wanting to get into Clare Smyth’s Core restaurant but since she won 2 Michelin stars almost immediately after opening last year, it is very hard to get into. Therefore I enjoyed this article about the chef behind Harry and Meghan’s wedding reception menu.

What’s On

Episodes 7 and 8, the last two, of Lyndey & Blair’s Taste of Greece is on Saturday on SBS Food (Channel 33) at 6.30pm

In Australia
The final two episodes of Lyndey & Blair’s Taste of Greece is on SBS Food (Channel 33) on Saturday night from 6.30pm. So special with Blair running an amazingly fast 100 metres at the ancient Olympic site, tours, personalities and recipes and a finale. In Ep 8 I show how to cook many of the dishes we ate in Greece.

FOR UK READERS
Sustainable Gastronomy Day Panel & Supper 
So many amazing women in the food industry have sustainability at the core of their business models or have been making them as sustainable as possible.Celebrate the efforts of the UN in creating Sustainable Gastronomy Day. It’s a day to recognise that all cultures and civilizations are contributors and crucial enablers of sustainable development.  With organic Prosecco & soft drinks on arrival, watch demonstrations of delicious dishes using “wonky” veg by Rosalind Rathouse – founder of Cookery School in Little Portland Street (London’s most sustainable cookery school) and Pervin Todiwala of Cafe Spice Namaste, Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen and The Park Cafe in London. Pervin Todiwala – Cafe Spice Namaste, Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen and The Park Cafe in London
Anastasia Emanuel & Amelia Christie Miller – Food Chain & Feast Fairly
Alicia Lawson – Commercial Director of Rubies in the Rubble
Linde Stale – CSR and Foundation Manager of Belazu
Jess Latchford – Founder of WasteKnot
More on Women In the Food here
Ticket price includes a welcome drink of organic Prosecco, light supper AND the goodie bag.
All are welcome to attend both women and men!
Cookery School, 15 Little Portland St, Marylebone, London W1W 8BW
Mex@mexmarketing.co.uk
 020 7631 4590

The Great Australian Red dinner at M Victoria, 11 June from 6.30pm

Award-winning wine communicators UK Matthew Jukes and Australian Tyson Stelzer have long been fans of the traditional Australian wine blend of Cabernet and Shiraz. An Australian institution, they love it, hold a competition for it, write books about it and say Australia championed it, refined it and still does it better than anywhere else in the world!

They will both be at M Victoria, 11th June for The Great Australian Red Dinner to showcase the truly world class wines from their Great Australian Red competition. I know them well and both are great raconteurs, amusing and at the top of their games, so it should be a fun and informative event – 4 courses, exceptional wines & awesome conversation.
Cost: £120
M Victoria, 74 Victoria St, London SW1E 6SQ
Bookings  PH: 020 3327 7775  Email: lenart@mrestaurants.co.uk
Details here.

How to’s

Slow-cooked beef brisket for tacos. Photo: Simon Schluter

We’ve always known that the so-called secondary cuts pack a punch of flavour and pleasure from long, slow cooking. Read Good Food’s Cheap tricks: Butchers’ picks of underloved meat cuts and how to cook them.

OK, so I don;t know her but I really admire Samin Nostrat., her honesty, way of cooking and how grounded she is. Couldn’t resist her 10 Essential Persian Recipes. 

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What are you cooking, eating and drinking?

Lyndey

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