Presenting The Blair Milan Scholarship 2019 L toR: Tim Hansen, Sasha Cody, me and our winner Heather Edmonds.



Last Friday I drove 3 hours to Bathurst and then back again to present the annual Blair Milan Scholarship to an outstanding Theatre/Media student at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Bathurst. This is the 8th annual individual prize (the travelling prize for a group performance is given later in the year).  Students apply and, from their written applications, the judging panel I have put together of Blair’s CSU alumnae friends, including his sister Lucy, select a short list to interview. This is usually done with me on Skype but I am lucky to have Tim Hansen and Sasha Cody usually able to be there in person. This year they could both also attend the scholarship ceremony so with my partner, John (with whom I founded the scholarship) still in London I took them up on stage with me. It is wonderful to share the energy and enthusiasm of the scholarship winners and I was delighted to catch up with some later in the week at a performance at Belvoir Street Theatre. It is so important to support the arts and these brilliant young people.
We learned that CSU has had the most success in the last three years of their graduates getting jobs, and at higher salaries, than other universities. They also have the highest number of indigenous students. What an achievement!
30 years since foundation, the University has rebranded and has adopted the Wiradjuri phrase windyamarra winhanganha which translates as ‘the wisdom of respectfully knowing how to live well in a world worth living in’. Yindyamarra is a core concept in Wiradjuri philosophy meaning to show respect, to go slowly, to take care and to think before acting. CSU has adapted this “to create a world worth living in”, a sentiment at the heart of their approach to education and the Uni’s ethos “for the public good”.
Long may this wonderful university flourish. 



Jump ahead to see:
This Week’s Best Fruit and Veg
Recipe of the Week

Win Lyndey & Blair’s Taste of Greece
Mother’s Day

Interesting Reading
What’s On
Techniques and Know-how

Gartelmann Lunch at Regatta Report





Quinces, kiwi fruit and apples




Delicately scented, exotic quinces are on the shelves. Closely related to apples and pears, quince can be stewed, baked, poached or used to make jams, jellies and pastes. They are superb slowly simmered in a sugar and cinnamon syrup. 

Wonderfully versatile pears work well with sweet and savoury flavours. Toss thin slices for a firm pear with watercress, fennel, toasted walnuts and pieces of creamy blue cheese for a scrumptious salad or simmer from whole pears in a sugar syrup until tender. 

We are spoiled for choice when it comes to apples. Think Pink Lady, Fuyu, Jazz, Kanzi, Royal Gala, Delicious and Granny Smith.

Ruby red rhubarb has a distinct tangy flavour that teams superbly with apples, nashi, pears, cinnamon, lemon rind, ginger and cream to make impressive cakes or warming desserts like an apple and rhubarb sponge pudding. Rhubarb tangy flavour also teams well with roasted pork belly. 

The Cavendish banana is Australians favourite banana with more than one billion eaten each year.  Whip up a loaf of wholesome banana bread.

Sweet persimmons are an autumn treat. When eaten firm their pale orange flesh is crunchy like an apple and can be sliced or cut into wedges then added to cheese platters and salads. This non-astringent variety can also be allowed to over-ripen so that it becomes very soft, in fact, the flesh softens to resemble jam and the skin becomes transparent. Spoon ripe sweet persimmons flesh onto cooked porridge and serve with a drizzle of honey.

Attractive ruby-coloured and antioxidant-rich pomegranates contain jewel-like seeds bursting with juice and flavour. Sprinkle the seeds over a range of dishes, and use the juice for salad dressings or marinades. Pomegranate complements lamb, duck and chicken dishes. Liven up couscous, eggplant and hummus with a spoonful of pomegranate seeds. 

The quality of this season’s Imperial mandarin crop is first class. The fruit is sweet, juicy and well-priced. Mandarins are easy to peel making them an ideal snack for children and adults.

Australian grown green and also gold kiwifruit is in season this week.

Have you tried Candy Melon? it looks like a yellow honeydew with its golden rind, but on the inside is orange flesh resembles a honeydew. Super sweet, this melon is a top buy.



Beans, cauliflower and silverbeet




Large, snow white cauliflowers are superb quality and a thrifty buy.

Fennel’s crisp texture and subtle aniseed flavour teams deliciously with lamb, fish, oranges, pears or tomato. Enjoy fennel sautéed, steamed, microwaved or baked. Try fennel thinly sliced and add to soups, salads or pasta sauces. 

Build up your immunity with Brussels sprouts; they are loaded with vitamin C! For something a little different, finely shred Brussels sprouts and stir-fry with diced bacon, pine-nuts and garlic. 

Leafy greens like silverbeet are ideal for adding to hearty soups. Silverbeet teams beautifully with potato for a creamy style soup or pan fry with onions, garlic, diced chorizo sausage, add beef stock and shredded silverbeet. 

Enjoy the rich earthy flavour of nutritious Windsor grown mushrooms in risotto, pasta dishes, meatloaf and spaghetti Bolognaise or simply sauté and serve with eggs for breakfast. 

Machine green beans are good value.

Plump, subtle sweet-onion flavoured leeks are a choice buy. Use leeks as the bases for a satisfying homemade vegetable soup such as leek and cauliflowerleek and pumpkin or leek and celeriac.

Ultra-healthy Gai lum (Chinese broccoli) is perfect for stir-frying or steaming. Choose bunches with crisp, deep green leaves and firm stems. .

Vibrant green coloured broccoli is a versatile and nutritious vegetable; add broccoli florets to a stir-fry, to chunky vegetable soups, stir-fries, add to a pasta bake or toss blanched florets in a salad. 



Recipe of the Week



Oven roasted salmon with braised lentils and spinach



It’s Macular Month, so I thought it worth focussing on a recipe which can help prevent this disease which can be hereditary. We are advised to eat fish 2 – 3 times a week, and eat dark green leafy vegetables daily. Lutein and zeaxanthin are particularly important nutrients for the macula and are present in high concentrations in a healthy macula and can be found in silverbeet and spinach. More information from the Macular Disease Foundation here.
Salmon is high in Omega 3 and 6 so not only good for you, but very forgiving to cook which is why this oven method works so well. 

Lentils are under-utilised yet they are a wonderful source of all sorts of goodies and are extremely low in fat. They are also easy and quick to cook and very versatile. However, the main thing to remember with any pulses is to discard the water they are soaked or cooked in to avoid anti-social after effects!

Servings: 4
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

1 cup French style lentils
4 x 170g fillets salmon, skin on
1 tablespoon (20ml) olive oil
1 medium carrot, finely diced
1 leek, finely sliced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 tablespoon baby capers
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ lemon, juiced or to taste
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
200g baby spinach leaves
Extra olive oil, for shallow frying
1 jar salmon roe, for garnish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced). Place the lentils in a medium saucepan, cover with water by 5cm and bring to the boil. Bring to the boil then simmer for 10 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Drain.
  2. Carefully remove the skin from each salmon fillet and set aside. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper and place on a lined baking tray. Roast for 8 minutes for pink flesh or as desired.
  3. Heat oil in a large frying pan, add carrot and cook for 5 minutes. Add leek a cook for a further 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add drained lentils, chives, flat-leaf parsley leaves, capers, mustard, lemon juice and cayenne pepper and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir through baby spinach leaves until just wilted.
  4. Meanwhile, heat 2cm olive oil for shallow frying in a medium frying pan. Add salmon skin and cook for a minute, or until crisp on leave side. Drain on kitchen paper.
  5. To serve, place a large spoonful of lentils on each plate and top with roasted salmon, crisp salmon skin and a spoonful of salmon roe.



Win Lyndey & Blair’s Taste of Greece 



Lyndey and Blair’s Taste of Greece follows my lovely late son, actor and presenter Blair, and me, as we explore the beautiful cuisine and culture of Greece’s historic and picturesque Peloponnese. The whole spectrum of Greek cuisine is covered, along with amusing anecdotes and touching stories as our special mother and son journey unfolds.

The cookbook is the accompaniment to the SBS show which is returning to TV – tune in from 18 May for double episodes 6.30pm Saturdays on SBS Food (Channel 33). It’s stuffed full of food that beckons, like meat-stuffed dolmades,  saganaki and tzatziki and the legendary Kythiran honey biscuitrozedes.
Enter here 
Competition closes: Sunday, June 9, 2019, at 11:59 pm (AEST)
Competition drawn: Wednesday, June 12, 2019, at midday (AEST)



Mother’s Day



I love this photo with my Mum, Isabel Hall, at a David Jones Mother’s Day lunch many years ago. Now I am so thrilled that my granddaughter is named after her.



Forget expensive gifts and restaurants – or things which Mum has to do herself. Why not cook her something special? With my daughter living in Singapore it’s a very long time since I’ve had my favourite breakfast in bed.
It’s worth remembering that food heritage lives on. Here are some lovely recipes and tributes from SBS When mothers and grandmothers know best.
Here’s what some women in hospitality have to say, where work in the industry is generational. Mothers, daughters and sisters celebrate Mother’s Day.

The history of Mother’s Day is here.
Good Food has some breakfast and brunch recipes.
Make Mum or Grandma Dan Lepard’s triple lemon drizzle cake.
Time Out lists Things to do on Mother’s Day in Sydney.
Taste Cooking sharethis story about how ‘a bowl of fruit is how Asian mums say I love you’. 



Interesting Reading



The New Irish Cuisine – A Cultural Revival



I discovered the joys of Irish produce and food when I shot my Taste of Ireland TV series in 2011.  Now Fine dining Lovers discovers that Ireland has a proud cultural identity but until recently food was not part of the conversation. A new generation of chefs are creating a New Irish Cuisine. Read The New Irish Cuisine – a Cultural Revival.

The James Beard Foundation Awards, were held in the Lyric Opera in Chicago this week with restaurateurs, chefs, designers, servers and sommeliers out to celebrate the theme of “Good food for Good” at one of the biggest nights in the American culinary calendar. See the full list of winners here.

From Pavlova to Cheesecake: Yotam Ottolenghi’s 10 perfect dessert recipes.



What’s On


Taste Champagne comes to London for the first time



For UK Readers
Taste Champagne London, Wednesday 12 June.
Over the past six years, Taste Champagne has grown to become the largest champagne showcase in the New World. It’s certainly something I never miss. Now the inaugural Taste Champagne London offers a public tasting as well as trade and will be showing 211 cuvées from 46 champagne houses to show champagne in its full and glorious diversity. Think 50 vintage cuvées, 36 rosés and 22 prestige.

For a full list of all 211 cuvées on show at Taste Champagne, download the tasting booklet here. The complete list of 46 houses is here.
Public Showcase 6 – 9pm
Spitalfields Venue, Commercial Street, London, E1 6LY
Tickets £85
Buy tickets here in your preferred currency.

For Global Travellers
Seafood Festivals 2019: 11 Worldwide events to try the Catch of the Day
Whether on the windswept coast of Galway in Ireland on the Kentish coast in the UK or in spectacular New South Wales in Australia there are plenty of fishy events to be found around the world, from oyster shucking to fresh lobsters, crabs and prawns.
Fine Dining Lovers picks the best seafood festivals on around the world this year.

In Australia
The Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend 17 – 20 May
Annual festival is a celebration of the region’s award winning wines, local food and country hospitality. More than 25 wineries participate in the event, with numerous special events and degustation dinners. This has been going for 35 consecutive years, making it the oldest food and wine event in Australia.

Information here

Will I see you at The Crookwell Potato Festival, Saturday 11 May?
I’m delighted to be the Celebrity Chef for The Crookwell Potato Festival. I will be giving Irtish-inspired (as that is the theme this year, with the Irish Ambassador attending) potato and other recipes from 11am – 12 noon and 2 –  3pm on the day.
More information here.



Techniques and Know-how



Women’s Weekly’s coconut ice



Women’s Weekly Food shares How to make coconut ice


Gartelmann Lunch at Regatta Report




L: Half shell Port Phillip by scallops, Potato chive mousseline, lemon caper beurre blanc R: Slow cooked lamb rump, crushed peas, zucchini, oregano scented goats curd, lemon preserve



What a wonderful lunch we had last Sunday at Regatta restaurant and thank you to those of you who attended. We mostly kept the rain at bay and the waterside location made for a relaxed afternoon. Jorg Gartelmann entranced us with his stories and explanations of the names of his wines and Executive Chef, Logan Campbell’s food was sublime.
Star of the show, however was the range of Gartelmann wines which wowed everyone, from the 2017 Blanc de Blanc on arrival to the finale palate cleanser made with the sparkling shiraz. It was fascinating to compare the 2014 and 2018 Benjamin semillons served with the scallops. The restrained and therefore inperceptible use of oak in the 2017 Lisa Chardonnay made it incredibly balanced – and if there is one word I would choose to describe the range of wines, it must be balance. The 2016 Deidrich shiraz partnered the lamb, with enough acid to work with the lemon preserve. We were fortunate to try the 2011 too, as that was the mystery wine when I ran a Wine Options game.
Another revelation to me was the 2016 Georg Pertit Verdot which is the softest and most balanced I have tasted, along with the 2016 Jonathon Cabernet Sauvignon.
A wonderful, relaxed, delicious and inspiring afternoon. Thank you Gartelmann Wines.



Busy times coming up as I host my trip to Japan from 13 May, then on to London. This means no time to write my weekly update for the next two weeks. Next will be my June Newsletter.
Meanwhile keep up to date with my travels on all my social media channels:
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