July Newsletter

On the set of The Morning Show on Channel 7 with hosts Larry Emdur and Sally Bowrey

It’s a couple of weeks since I’ve written and a lot has happened. My last full week in London I cooked for a cocktail party for 60 for our company Flame Distribution in our London home.  More on that below. We also attended the annual Summer Garden Party for The Australian Women’s Club London at Stoke Lodge, the home of the Australian High Commissioner in London.  It was also farewell to our outgoing President Helen Sargent whose done an amazing job, elevating the club in the last two years and a big welcome to Belinda Miles who has taken over the reins. There were also some lovely dinners and lunches including at The Five Fields Restaurant in Chelsea, Kiln in Soho, Mortimer House Kitchen in Ftizrovia, The Ritz in Mayfair and A Wong in Victoria – all worth a visit and now I need to diet – and a fun trip to the theatre to see 9 to 5 at The Savoy Theatre. The theatre actually predates the grand hotel, which was built around it. We also spent a lovely late afternoon and evening in Henley-upon-Thames, as my partner’s great niece was rowing in the Under 16s for Sydney Rowing Club. Very exciting though they got knocked out. The weather in London was warming up nicely but now in Sydney it’s cold and raining.
I flew directly home almost a week ago, but my new grandson Rafferty Tom Milan Davis arrived before I did so it was straight to the hospital from the plane to meet him, a healthy baby boy and little brother to Isabel, now 2 1/2. Tom is after my late father-in-law, a lovely man and wonderful grandfather to my kids and their cousins.

There was no time to take it easy as earlier this week I was back on The Morning Show on Channel 7, cooking two recipes from The Farmer Cookbook, a charity cookbook with all profits going to the CWA to dispense to farming families in need. You can now buy it online at Amazon and Booktopia, or in Angus & Robertson, Dymocks, Big W, Collins, Berkelouws, Harry Hartog and many independent booksellers. If you missed it you can watch the segment here.

L: with baby Rafferty 4 days old R: the beginning of 9 to 5 at The Savoy Theatre

Jump ahead to see:
What’s In Season in July
The best in fruit and veggies this week
Easy Ways to Boost Your Vitamin C
Recipe of the week
Flame Party in London
Interesting Reading
What’s On
How to’s

Spiced Cauliflower, Carrot & Pomegranate Salad – made with fresh seasonal veggies


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


  • 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
  • Witlof

The best in fruit and veggies this week in Australia

Dates, Cara Cara navel oranges and strawberries are in season this month


Grown in Australia, Cara Cara navel oranges are delicious with a deep rosy-orange juicy flesh. This naturally sweet variety is low in acidity and has a refreshingly tart taste, similar to cranberry. They are seedless with vivid orange thin skin. Try tossing orange segments into a winter salad with shaved fennel and baby spinach. Squeeze the juice over crepes and use to soak bircher muesli. 

Avocados are in peak supply and that means great value and quality. Look for bulk value buys.

Fresh Medjool dates have soft sweet flesh with a delicate hint of caramel. Eat dates fresh for a sweet snack or add seeded, chopped dates to cakes, puddings or porridge. Choose plump, shiny, dark brown Medjool dates. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for several months, or freeze for up to 12 months. Try this Medjool date & banana self-saucing pudding.

Winter’s the perfect time for crisp, vivid-green Granny Smith apples which are ideal for roasting, stewing and baking.

Choose plump, even-coloured, rich red strawberries. Before buying, check the underside of punnets, and avoid berries that are squashed. For optimum storage, transfer strawberries to a plate lined with paper towel. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge. They’re best used within 2 days. 

Fill your fruit bowl with juicy winter lemons. Drizzle tomato-based casseroles and soups with a little lemon juice before serving to enhance flavour. Add a strip of lemon rind and lemon juice to sugar syrups for poaching apples, pears and quinces.

Packed with vitamin C, mandarins are sweet and juicy and a choice buy. There are plenty of varieties to choose from including Afourer, Monarch, Imperial, Taylor Lee and Hickson.

Pears are plentiful and good buying too. Thinly slice firm pears and add to a salad with rocket and parmesan cheese or poach pears for a quick dessert.

Quince requires cooking before eating. Once peeled, quince discolour quickly so plunge into lemony water to prevent discolouration. Then bake or poach until soft and the flesh has turned an attractive shade or pink. Snap up the last of Quinces are in season for around another four weeks so enjoy them while stocks last.

L: TOP; kalettes, BOTTOM; chestnuts and  R: fioretto


Celeriac shines in winter. Add chopped celeriac to soups, casseroles and roasts. Team celeriac with potatoes to make a creamy mash. Grate raw celeriac and add to a winter slaw or a classic French remoulade sauce to serve with corned beef, fish or crab cakes or whip up a creamy celeriac, leek & smoked fish chowder 

Nutrient-packed kalettes are a delicious cross between leafy kale and tiny Brussels sprouts. Small, frilly, purple-tinged kalettes have crunchy loosely-packed leaves with a slightly nutty flavour. Halve kalettes and toss into a stir-fry with meat or chicken for a lovely crunch. Finely-shredded kalettes bring colour and crunch to salads and winter slaws. They team particularly well with Asian inspired dressings.

If you like cauliflower, you’ll love Fioretto. Also known as cauliflower blossom, it has crunchy long stems and tiny white edible florets which have a delicate cauliflower flavour. Rapidly cook Fioretto to retain its colour and crunch. Use it in any recipe as an alternative to broccolini.

Highly-nutritious broccolini is a superb choice for winter. Select bunched broccolini with crisp vibrant green stems. The crunchy stem and mini broccoli-like top can all be eaten, so no wastage! Warm up with a tasty bowl obroccolini & chicken teriyaki noodles.

Elongated, crisp Chinese cabbage is mild tasting with white to pale green leaves. This Asian green is also known as ‘Wombok’. Finely shred Chinese cabbage into minestrone and other winter vegetable soups. Toss chopped Chinese cabbage leaves through stir-fries. For an easy dinner, stir-fry chopped chicken, garlic, ginger and green onions (shallots) in a wok. Add Chinese cabbage and snow peas. Finish with a drizzle of oyster sauce and serve with rice.

Fennel is top value. Try pan-frying slices of baby fennel in oil and garlic until tender. This easy grape tomato, prawn, chilli & fennel linguine is a lovely way to use it.

Grab a handful of scrumptious roast chestnuts. Perfect for adding to soups, hearty casseroles, sauces and puddings Team with pumpkin mushrooms or cauliflower to make a warming soup. 

Easy Ways to Boost Your Vitamin C


Winter is well and truly here so think about some great ways to eat more Vitamin C as a natural defence to colds and flu.

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient with three key functions which act to protect the body from disease.

  1. The antioxidant properties of vitamin C help to neutralise free radical molecules that cause oxidative damage to body cells. Free radicals can lead to premature ageing and cancer.
  2. Our skin and connective tissue are made from collagen, and the production of collagen is heavily reliant on adequate supplies of vitamin C.
  3. Vitamin C strengthens the immune system by boosting our white blood cell count. These cells protect the body against infectious disease.

Enjoy a wide variety of delicious fresh fruit and veggies to obtain your recommended daily intake of vitamin C (45mg). We can always benefit from more so get feasting on these winter favourites!

1 guava 216
1 large orange 96
4 Brussels sprouts (lightly cooked) 74
1 kiwifruit 57
½ cup raw broccoli 41
¼ red capsicum 39
½ cup strawberries 36
½ cup chopped red cabbage 33
1 medium tomato 30
2 tbs lemon juice 24

Recipe of the week

Beef and Red Wine Pies

I have adapted a French technique of hot marinating the meat. The flavour in this is just amazing and well worth the effort. Once made, it tastes even better the next day. I prefer the flavour of commercial butter puff pastry to shortcrust pastry and have developed a great technique to use it for the base of the pie as well as the top.

Makes 8 pies
Prep 15 mins plus marinating 1 hour +
Cooking 2 hours

Meat Filling
Bouquet garni – 6 sprigs thyme, parsley stalks, 3 bay leaves, 3 star anise, 2 strips orange rind
1 bottle (750mls) red wine
1 cup (250mls) Muscat, Oloroso sherry or Malmsey (Madeira)
1.5 kilo thickly cut blade steak, untrimmed, cut into 3cm cubes
2 tablespoons (40g) soft butter
2 tablespoons (40mls) extra virgin olive oil
4 eschallots, diced
1/3 cup (50g) plain flour
salt flakes to season
1 ½  teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 large (360g) carrots, diced
2 sticks celery, diced
200g (approx. 18) Swiss brown button mushrooms, sliced thickly
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
3/4 cup (180ml) beef stock

For the pastry bases and tops
3 sheets butter puff pastry
1 egg yolk, beaten lightly

  1. For the meat filling: tie bouquet garni ingredients in muslin and place in a medium saucepan with wine and muscat.   Bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer for around 10 mins or until reduced to 400mls.  Pour the hot liquid over the meat and leave to marinate for one hour. (To do 24 hours prior, cover and place in the fridge as soon as it is cool.) Drain well and reserve the marinade.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 150’C.
  3. Melt 1/2 tablespoon each of butter and oil in a large flameproof casserole pot, add eschallots and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until soft and just golden brown. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and reserve in a large bowl.
  4. Combine the flour, salt flaked and pepper. Dust beef with seasoned flour (or shake in a plastic bag). Add a little more butter and oil to the pot and brown the meat in three or four batches. Remove each batch from the pot and add to the eschallots.
  5. Add remaining butter and oil to the pot, add carrot and celery and cook for a couple of minutes, then add mushrooms and cook stirring frequently until vegetables are just tender. Add garlic for last minute or two. Remove and add to the onions and beef.
  6. Add reserved marinade to the vegetables and bring to the boil for one minute. Add tomato paste and stock. Return meat and eschallots to the pot, mix well. Cover pot with its lid and cook in the oven for around 1 ¼  hours or until meat is very tender. Remove pot from oven and cool.
  7. For the pie bases: Preheat oven to 200°C. Butter pie tins generously. Use 12cm round cutters or cut around a large saucer in a size big enough to comfortably cover the base and side of 12cm round individual pie tins and trim any excess. (Use a paring knife or run the rolling pin over the edges of the tins to cut off any excess pastry). Prick all over with a fork and place in the fridge for 15 minutes to rest.
  8. Cover the pastry bases with baking paper and either weight down with another tin the same size or fill with pastry weights, rice or dried beans, making sure they go right up to the corner. Place on a baking tray and bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.Remove the paper and pastry weights, rice or beans, and bake for a further 10 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven.
  9. To assemble the pies: spoon the beef filling generously into the pastry-lined pie tins, mounding it up.
  10. Cut eight more 13-14cm puff pastry rounds (big enough to cover the pie generously) Place a pastry round over each pie, easing the pastry down the side to enclose the filling.  Cut a small cross in the middle to allow steam to escape.
  11. Whisk the egg yolk, salt, sugar and a little water together. Brush pastry top with egg yolk mixture and place pies on an oven tray. Bake at 200’C for about 20 – 25 minutes or until browned and hot.

Lyndey’s Tip: for a really shinning, brown pastry top, mix a little sugar and salt with the egg yolk wash.
Recipe from Lyndey’s Milan’s Baking Secrets – now available on SBS on demand.

In Season Recipes

Roasted Duck in Red Curry from my book Balance. Matching Food & Wine. What Works & Why.
Photography: Brett Stevens

Donal Skehan’s steak and guinness pie from episode 7 of Lyndey Milan’s Taste of Ireland on SBS FOOD (Channel 33) on at 6.30pm this Saturday night 6 July.
Quick chicken comfort soup with Asian flavours
Aromatic fish curry
Roasted duck in red curry
Chicken pie with celeriac mash
Persian chicken with walnuts and pomegranate with jewel rice
Spiced cauliflower, carrot & pomegranate salad
Easy roast quinces

Warm spiced apple and custard crumble
Yummy lemon pudding
More seasonal recipes from The Australian Women’s Weekly

Flame Party in London

Thai Prawn Salad in Witlof (gluten-free) or Croustades

As I mentioned in my introduction, we had around 60 guests to our home in London for a cocktail party. Fortunately we were blessed with good weather so could spill out onto the terrace. A fun time was had by all (the last leaving at 1.45am) but people often ask about cocktail party menu ideas, so I thought I would share mine for this one. I find a careful combination of ready-made items (croustades, gyoza, ice-creams) and home made works well. Some are quick and easy to prepare (haloumi, asparagus) and some I can make the day before (sausage rolls, quesadilla filling). I ensure I have a balance of hot and cold, vegetarian, seafood, meat and gluten-free items, always finishing with something sweet which is usually an indication that the party is over!
We themed the party for Summer Solstice and were only one day off the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere with glorious twilight even after the sun goes down. Ancient solstice celebrations centred around a bonfire – some might say a FLAME  – a symbol of the sun. Attendees danced around the fire and chanted songs of praise for the Sun God.It was believed that the livelier the dance, the better the harvest would be.
The foods served also mimicked the celestial being: round, sun-coloured fruits and vegetables and a bonus if the foods were grilled over an open flame (of course) – again symbolizing the sun. Honey and herbs are also important.
So I took a global  “flaming approach to the food” with items like haloumi with lemon (inspired by my Taste of Greece TV series) spicy prawn salad in witlof, spicy chicken quesadilla, Aussie lamb sausage rolls with spicy tomato chutney from My Summer Baking Secrets TV series, Japanese gyoza (as I’d just returned from the trip I hosted in Japan) French gougere and in honour of the season, asparagus with lemon oil; summer vegetable tart;  pea, fetta and mint frittata and chorizo in honey and red wine. Mini ice creams to finish so eat up! Here’s the full menu:

Prawn salad in croustades & witlof (chicory) leaves 
Japanese gyoza with dipping sauce or Thai sweet chilli sauce 
Asparagus with lemon oil over tips vego, cold, gluten free
Summer vegetable tart with chipotle base hot or room temp, vego
Spicy chicken quesadilla hot
Pea, mint & fetta frittata 
Haloumi and lemon 
Chorizo in red wine and honey 
Spicy lamb sausage rolls frwith spicy tomato chutney
Mini chocolate-coated ice-creams 

L: Gougere and Pea, mint & fetta frittata and R: The Girls from Oz

I do always like to surprise with just one performance. I have recently become friends with Kara Lane, Manager, Artistic Director and performer of The Girls from Oz. There are six of them in all, meaning there are always three available for events from jazz and cabaret clubs, even the main room at the world famous Ronnie Scott’s and their debut album is coming out later this year, a collaboration with The Jive Aces who are the UK’s No. 1 jive and swing band who rose to fame as semi-finalists on Britain’s Got Talent in 2012. The girls are all Australian and feature songs by beloved Australian artists like Kylie, AC/DC and Sia which they rework into their own 3-part harmonies. They were originally influenced by the likes of Glenn Miller, the Andrews Sisters and the old MGM movie musicals and can sing acapella or come with a small or large band. they sang Happy Little Vegemites, an hilarious female version of Land Down Under and finished with In the Mood. You can watch their sizzle reel here. 

An impressive line up of McGuigan wines which we served at the party

It was Louis Pasteur who said “A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine” so, of course the wine is important. So thanks to my friend Neil McGuigan who is the only person to be named International Winemaker of the Year 4 times (2009, 2011, 2012 and 2016) we drank the following wines and for my UK readers, I include the RRPs and where you can buy them.
McGuigan Frizzante  (£7 RRP; from Amazon)
McGuigan Black Label Sparkling Rosé (£7.50 from Sainsbury’s)
McGuigan Pinot Noir Rosé (£10, but not distributed in the UK)
McGuigan Shortlist Chardonnay (£15 from Sainsbury’s)
McGuigan Founders Shiraz (£9 from Sainsbury’s)
I know everyone enjoyed them because there was scarcely any left. The two Rosé were especially popular in the balmy weather.
 Thank you Neil and Australian Vintage.

Interesting Reading 

Tharkish Sri Ganesh (10) and Mierra Sri Varrsha, (8) Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, photographed March 26, 2017 for Gregg Segal’s examination of “daily bread”.

It’s all in the picture. See this fascinating photo essay of children from different cultures around the world, surrounded by their weekly diet.
There’s a lot of doom and gloom about with many Sydney restaurants closing so I rather enjoyed this alternative piece, not on anyone’s favourite restaurants or awards, but what type of customer are restaurants’ favourites.
On a serious note, a close friend wrote this wonderful piece This (hereditary) Life in The Australian on the challenges of inherited disease. Let’s hope the charitable organisation she helped set up the PKD Foundation Australia  is able to fund research which finds a cure for Polycystic Kidney disease.

Broadsheet provides a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes on workflow in restaurants How Kitchens Work.
When we went to Henley I drank my first wine in a can, a Rosé.  I was sceptical, but the girl who served us said that it is popular and enables them to sell some better wine than the house wine which is available by the glass. Now The Shout in Five Wine Trends You Need To Know explains that wine in cans is a big trend.

What’s On

Donal Skehan’s Beef and Guinness pie with him, my daughter, Lucy and me in the background. Watch Taste of Ireland on Saturday 6 July on SBS Food (Channel 33) at 6.30pm

In Australia
The final two episodes of Lyndey Milan’s Taste of Ireland is on SBS Food (Channel 33) on Saturday night from 6.30pm. So special with my daughter Lucy joining me in Dublin and In Ep 8 at 7pm  I show how to cook dishes inspired by the show.

In Sydney

This August, chef and owner of Restaurant Orana, Jock Zonfrillo, will bring his award-winning Adelaide restaurant to Sydney, taking over the former Longrain site on Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills. Zonfrillo and his team are designing a menu exclusive to the Sydney residency incorporating produce from Indigenous communities across Australia. Most Indigenous communities have six or more seasons which gives a short window to produce a menu with in-season produce at its peak. The Orana in Residence will donate 10% of profits to Zonfrillo’s not-for-profit, The Orana Foundation, which fosters the preservation of indigenous food culture.
Restaurant Orana will close in Adelaide for the duration of the residency as the full team will be travelling to Sydney, the last service being on 10 August.The food menu costs $350 per person (plus 1.75% CC fee) and is payable at the time of booking. The beverage program at Orana in Residence will include a standard wine pairing, a premium wine pairing, an extensive wine list, and a non-alcoholic pairing which can be purchased on the day of dining. 

Bookings here from 9 July.
Orana in Residence
85 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills

In London
Monsieur le Duck
Inspired by the
douceur de vivre of Gascony, Monsieur Le Duck brings the food and wine of South-West France to the heart of London. Duck obsessed owner Richard Humphreys is passionate about the food from southwest France. Among the signature dishes at Monsieur Le Duck are: a Barbary duck burger with prune mayo; duck steak baguette; duck Wellington; confit Moulard duck leg; and duck magret breast. If you don’t like duck, you’re rather stuck. The wine list also shines a light on southwest France, with wines available by the glass, carafe or bottle. Armagnac is also shown a lot of love on the list. The duck-centric restaurant went permanent after a successful six-month pop-up near Liverpool Street.

27 CLERKENWELL ROAD, LONDON, EC1M 5RN (closest tube is Farringdon)
Open 7 days a week, Mon-Fri: 11am – 11pm / Sat: 10am – 11pm / Sun: 10am – 5pm.
Reservations: info@leduck.co.uk / 020 3970 0490

How to’s

How to make roti to go with your curries

Women’s Weekly Food shares How to Make Roti.
also How to Make Baklava.
Read here for the 10 recipes everyone should master 

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