Weekly Update

UK-based Wine writer, Matthew Jukes (left) and winemaker, Jeff Grosset at Australia House, London

I’ve been immersing myself in the wine world in London, last week at the London Wine Fair and this week at Matthew Jukes‘ outstanding tasting at Australia House to launch his 15th edition of 100 Best Australian Winesthe finest one hundred Australian wines available on the shelves in the UK for the coming twelve months.

He aims to give a balanced, modern collection of all styles of wine, including sparklers, whites, reds, sweet and fortified wines, covering all price points and as many regions as possible, to give a snapshot of what is going on in Australia currently at the highest echelons of winemaking skill. Every wine listed has won its place by gaining immense scores in his notes and it has been confirmed by the various UK agents that they all have sufficient stock to last  through to the New Year and hopefully beyond. There are also an additional 89 wines listed making a grand total of 189 wines. Australia is lucky to have such an independent, highly regarded advocate.

Winery of the year 2018/2019 was Grosset, Clare Valley and by co-incidence we had already planned to have dinner with Jeff that night. What a celebration.

Jump ahead to see:
The Best Fruit and Veg This Week
Some Seasonal Recipes
Where I’ve Eaten
Together we can Cure Cancer
Interesting Reading
What’s On
A note about privacy

The Best Fruit and Veg This Week

Onions, kale and fennel

Sydney Markets advise

Celebrate the cooler weather in Australia with earthy root vegetables like carrots. Roasting root vegetables concentrates their inherent sweetness, delicious served with cooked meats or simply enjoy serve them in a bowl topped with hummus and chopped parsley. 

Fennel’s crisp texture and mild aniseed flavour is a delicious addition to casseroles, salads and soup; the fine fronds can be snipped and used to flavour or garnish chicken and fish dishes. 

One of the healthiest greens, vibrant curly leaf kale is a good source of vitamin C and folate, vitamin E, vitamin K and beta carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A. Kale also contains iron, calcium and potassium. Choose bunched kale with crisp deep green leaves.  Try  Mashed Potato with Kale & Green Onions.

Select brilliant cauliflowers with compact heads. Caulies are a good source of vitamin C. Add cauliflower curries or roast until tender and serve as a salad. This Creamy Cauliflower and Chestnut Soup combines them with in-season chestnuts.

One of the most popular and great value varieties, brown onions have a pungent sharp flavour when used raw but develop a delicious sweetness with cooking because the volatile oils convert to sugar. Use brown onions for casseroles, soups, stocks, risotto and Kumara & Caramelised Onion Tortilla

Winter is the ideal time to make the most of aromatic fresh herbs. Enjoy sage with fish, pork, duck, cheese, breads, potato, pumpkin, peas, leeks, veal, chicken and mushroom. Thyme is delightful teamed with chicken, stock, lemons, parsnip, potatoes, zucchini, squash, mushrooms and sausages. Read here abut how to keep them fresh.

Soft leafed English spinach is a versatile leafy green that also helps maintain eye health as it contains potent antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin that are important for the macula health. Grab a bunch of English spinach to enjoy in stir-fries, frittatas, omelettes, salads or a risotto.

Lemons, pears and rhubarb

Quality Hass avocados have a creamy texture and buttery-nutty flavour, beautifully complementing tomatoes, ham, prosciutto, green onions, lemon and pepper. Team avocado with citrus and fennel in a winter salad or serve avocados with chilli con carne.

Unzip a juicy mandarin, they are easy to peel and make an ideal snack with  four varieties to choose from including Imperial and Afourer.

Zesty, juicy lemons are so versatile. I have half a one aqueezed into hot water every morning to start my day. Whip up a tangy lemon curd, a steamy lemon pudding or marinate lamb steaks in lemon and oregano for a Greek experience.

Succulent Packham and Beurre Bosc pears are rich in fibre and make the most elegant desserts. Add slices of ripe pear to a bread and butter pudding for a fruit flavour or poach them in sugar flavoured red wine syrup until tender or add diced pear to a muffin mix. Try these pear and pecan muffins

Rich in calcium and fibre rhubarb is tangy rich tangy flavoured. It is often teamed with apples, strawberries or pears but and always sugar to make scrumptious desserts or baked goods

Some Seasonal Recipes

Pete Evans crisp cale chips with stracciatella. Recipe here.

Some other fabulous seasonal recipes 
Stuffed pork fillet wrapped in bacon
Quick Mexican Soup with Spiced Avocado Salsa
Luxe Irish Stew of Goat
Turbot is the most wonderful fish widely available in the UK, but you could substitute any fish for this recipe of Turbot with Coloured Vegetables from my Taste of Ireland TV series.
Gourmet Traveller has fennel recipes for Autumn

Where I’ve Eaten

Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill

Seafood platter with oysters, dressed crab and langoustines

I first heard of Richard Corrigan when I went to Dickie’s Bar in Mayfair. I enjoyed it so much I wrote about it in a piece on 6 London Bars You Need to Visit. I made a mental note to return to the restaurant. However, a couple of weeks ago I had a drinks meeting with some people in the food industry at Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill. There are the next table was Richard Corrigan who is also owner and chef and sent over a magnificent seafood platter (pictured). It was sensational so the following week I returned for dinner with a friend and colleague for a special night out together. She is as committed to food as I am.

Richard Corrigan has cooked all his life, opened numerous restaurants, cooked for the Queen, gained a Michelin star and appeared on television. His passion for seasonal food is matched only by his enthusiasm for ingredients sourced in Britain and Ireland. He bought and refurbished Bentley’s in 2005, this oyster and seafood restaurant just off Piccadilly which is some 100 years old. He went on to open Corrigans Mayfair in 2008. In 2014 Richard bought this dream 150 acre estate the Virginia Park Lodge where he married his wife Maria 28 years ago and which now supplies much of his fresh produce.

We were immediately made to feel welcome by the extremely well-informed, professional yet friendly staff. I wanted my friend to try the dressed crab and langoustines, so we began with those. No-one quite does dressed crab (£22) like the Brits and this was superb, the white meat carefully picked and packed back in the shell with stripes of egg yolk, parsley and egg white and a pot of sublime silky duck egg mayonnaise. The langoustine (£23.50) again were fresh and flavoursome and we made short work of them. They were served with head and clase attached but the body peeled, lemon in muslin and more duck egg aioli. As we sucked on the heads we marvelled at the wonderful match with a French white burgundy (chardonnay £52).

L Half lobster and R Turbot with Skinny chips and Spinach

Many years ago Rick Stein told me turbot, a flat, white-fleshed fish, was his favourite fish so I had to choose it (£36), as it is a Northern Hemisphere fish and not one we get in Australia. I have seen it around quite a bit and was pleased to try it here where seafood is a speciality and found it quite meaty, simply served with a meunière sauce. The half lobster (£29) was simply grilled, incredibly moist, juicy and tender. Sides (£5.50 each) completed our mains.
Beautifully presented in its own pan, a perfectly cooked Rhubarb tart completed our very special night. It was not cheap (not much in London is) but it satisfied on every level and we walked out very, very happy.

Rhubarb Tart with Vanilla Ice Cream

Together we can Cure Cancer

27 May – 3 June is Cancer Research Awareness Week

Cure Cancer Australia has launched Cancer Research Awareness Week; to draw attention nationally to the importance of funding young, innovative cancer researchers across Australia. Cure Cancer Australia only fund brilliant emerging researchers working across all areas of research and all cancer types. The pioneering ideas of these talented young scientists give us hope for the future. I am proud to be one of their ambassadors.

Thanks to research:
1. We understand much more about cancer causes
2. Treatments for many cancer patients can be personalised to offer a greater chance of a cure
3. We can more readily detect cancer and catch it before it spreads

This year, they’re asking you to show your support for Cancer Research Awareness Week by ‘Giving it Up’ for young cancer researchers. Give it Up is a Regular Giving program that encourages Australians to give up one thing a month – be it a beer, coffee or treat – and make a tax-deductible donation of $10 per month towards life-saving research instead.
Information on how to make a donation or get involved in social media here.

Recipe of the week:
Poached Yabbies with Lemon Myrtle Butter and Macadamia Warrigal Greens

It’s also National Reonciliation week from 27 May to 3 June which is a time to celebrate and build respect between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians. It also marks significant dates in the history of indigenous Australias : the 1967 referendum and the 1992 Mabo decision. So my Recipe of the week acknowledges this as it uses indigenous ingredients.

Poached Yabbies with Lemon Myrtle butter and Macadamia Warrigal Greens 

Poached Yabbies with Lemon Myrtle Butter and Macadamia Warrigal Greens
I caught yabbies myself at Murray Bank Yabby Farm near Albury during the filming of my Taste of Australia and took inspiration from my interview with local Wiradjuri woman Leonie McIntosh to incorporate indigenous ingredients into this stunning dish.

Serves 4 as an appetiser
Preparation 15 minutes
Cooking 10 minutes

16 yabbies
1 tablespoon salt
1 small white onion, roughly chopped
250 ml (1 cup) white wine
1 tablespoon native pepperberries
2 tablespoons lemon myrtle leaves
1 sprig flat-leaf (Italian) parsley

Lemon myrtle butter
125 ml (1/2 cup) white wine
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon ground lemon myrtle
2.5 cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
125 g cold butter, diced

Warrigal greens
1–2 tablespoons macadamia oil or extra-virgin olive oil
250 g warrigal greens, leaves picked
60 ml (1/4 cup) water (optional)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
40 g (1/4 cup) macadamia nuts, lightly toasted and roughly chopped

Place the yabbies in the freezer for 15 minutes to put them to sleep. Meanwhile, place 2 litres (8 cups) water, the salt, onion, wine, pepperberries, lemon myrtle leaves and parsley in a large stockpot, bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the yabbies to the pot and poach for 10 minutes or until red in colour and the tails spring back when pressed. Drain and refresh under cold water.

To peel the yabbies, twist off the heads. Using scissors, cut down the side of the shell and peel off; discard. Remove the intestinal tract.

For the lemon myrtle butter, place the white wine, lemon juice, lemon myrtle and ginger in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil and reduce the liquid by half. Strain and return to the heat then whisk in the butter until all the ingredients have emulsified. Remove from the heat.

For the greens, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the warrigal greens and cook for 2 minutes or until slightly wilted and bright green in colour. Add the water if necessary to help the wilting process. Once wilted, add the garlic and macadamia nuts.

Add the yabby flesh to the same pan as the warrigal greens (with an extra tablespoon of oil, if desired) and flash-fry to brown slightly and heat through.

To serve, divide the warrigal greens among serving plates. Top with two yabbies and spoon over the lemon myrtle butter.

Note: Warrigal greens, also known as warrigal spinach, New Zealand spinach or Botany Bay greens, were used by Captain Cook to prevent scurvy among his men. The plant was taken back to England by the botanist Joseph Banks. Warrigal greens should always be blanched, even if using for salad, to remove the oxalic acid. You could substitute silverbeet (Swiss chard), English spinach or kale.

 Wine: The lemony flavours are well suited to a semillon, and the butter dictates an older one with toasty aged flavours.

Recipe from Lyndey Milan’s Taste of Australia

Interesting Reading

Strawberries – the amazing Michael Mosley tests why strawberries taste sweet when they’re low in sugar

Michael Mosley never ceases to amaze me with his investigations. Now he is testing not only why strawberries taste sweet when they are low in sugar, but also other things in a new three-part series Secrets of Your Food on SBS. It started on 16 May but you can watch via SBS On Demand or read about it here.

Further to my weekly update a couple of weeks ago about the challenge of the drought to farmers, Matt Moran writes We have a responsibility to help our farmers.

Gourmet Traveller announces the winners of the 2018 Hotel Awards crowning Lake House in Daylesford as the best regional hotel. Great news the lovely co-ownber and Executive Chef Alla Wolf-Tasker

I was interested and delighted to taste a range of English sparkling wines at the London Wine Fair. Now trhe drinks business announces that English fizz is to be poured in France’s top restaurants. I have hard that some French champagne houses are planting in the UK, given the effects of global warming.

The Guardian reports on a study which found that regularly eating meals alone is the the biggest single factgor for unhappiness, besides existing mental illness. The friend effect:why the secret of health and happiness is surprisingly simple.

What’s On

Proud Henry in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane is hosting masterclasses on World Ging Day 9 June

Proud Henry will be hosting master class featuring Wild Wombat Gin, Boodles London Dry Gin, Brokers Gin and Malfy Gin, live music from Bella Paton from 4pm and host special guest bartender of the year Evan Gamkrelidze. Tickets $79 includes two gins and tonic, food and fun.

Mudgee Wine & Food Festival is on from 7 September to 1 October

There are a huge array of events on to celebrate the fabulous Mudgee region but best to book accommodation now. More information on what’s on during the festival and at other times of year here.

Good Food reports on Where to Eat & Drink during Vivid Sydney

A note about privacy
On 25 May 2018 General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) came into force in the EU. It is a new set of rules on how companies collect, store and use your personal data – all to proect the consumer. As reassurance, anyone who receives this weekly update has either signed up on my website, or filled in a form asking to be registered. I do not use it for any other purpose nor share it with anyone. You can unsubscribe at any time, though I’d be sorry to see you go.

I’m off to Barcelona for the weekend. Keep up to date with my travels on all my social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

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