Weekly Update

Here’s a photo you won’t see often – my partner, John, with me on the ferry in Bangkok

What a week it’s been. No sooner had the Easter Show ended than we were packing our bags for London via Bangkok. I hadn’t stayed in Bangkok for several years and it proved a really enjoyable few days. Not overly hot, and with some great recommendations from friends in Bangkok and on Facebook, I had a really wonderful time. I’ll write up dinner at David Thompson’s Nahm and a night market another time. However, I hope you’ll find some interesting information in this update.

The incredible view from the carpark of a night market in Bangkok

Jump ahead to see:
All About Finger Limes
Recipes using Finger Limes
Tip of the week:
Cleaning your chopping board

Recipe of the week:
Linguine with seafood and garlic crumbs

Breakfast in myriad styles
Interesting Reading
What’s On

All About Finger Limes

Fabulous finger limes in their various colours
Image courtesy of Sydney Markets

Finger Limes

I have long been a fan of finger limes and am lucky enough to have a bush in the country. Such a terrific native plant, which self-protects as it is very prickly and you can only harvest the fruit when it drops to the ground under the bush. Even so I always end up with some scratches – but it’s worth it and I respect the bush for this precaution. At least the kangaroos don’t get at it. It’s amazing how much one bush will yield and I find they freeze really well.

Now this fabulous native Australian ingredient is adding zest to plates all over the country. Chefs love their unique refreshing flavour and their beautiful shimmering look. Finger limes are often described as ‘citrus caviar’.

Finger limes get their so-called name because of their elongated shape, they’re not so pretty on the outside, however once cut they begin to shine. They’re full of jewel-like beads that burst in your mouth giving up fresh, zesty flavour.

The outside of the whole fruit can be rusty red or greenish yellow in colour, while the beads can be pink or lime green. Their flavour spans from zingy lime to sweet pink grapefruit.

To use them

Cut them in half crossways (never vertically). Then squeeze them gently (just like squeezing a toothpaste tube) to release the beads.

Add their delicate crunch, bright citrus tang and shimmer to

o   Dress fresh oysters, sashimi or sushi. Or smoked fish or eel.

o   Add their zest as a final flourish to a stir-fry of prawns, garlic and chilli.

o   Top pan-fried salmon or ocean trout with roasted macadamia, coriander leaves, and a drizzle of soy and fish sauce, then squeeze over the finger lime beads.

o   Fill mini pastry cases with lemon curd, top with finger lime beads.
o  Sensational in a gin and tonic.

Recipes using Finger Limes

Blood Orange & Lemon Meringue with Finger Lime

Blood Orange & Lemon Meringue with Finger Lime 
When we were filming Lyndey & Herbie’s Moveable Feast TV series, we shot an episode in the Northern Rivers and Katrina Kanetani from Town café and restaurant, Bangalow cook this for me.

You can find the recipe here.

Spiced Bocconcini Salad

I also created this recipe when shooting Lyndey & Herbie’s Moveable Feast. This time, I had visited a water buffalo farm and then used some bocconini a local cheesemaker had made from their milk. This fabulous salad can be served as finger food, or a plate to share with chicken, seafood or beef. It would be especially good alongside char-grilled prawns or salmon. Shepard avocados, which are available now are perfect to use, since they don’t turn brown, you can easily prepare the salad topping in advance.
Recipe is here.

Tip of the week:
Cleaning your chopping board

While I prefer a wooden chopping board, it can absorb strong aromas like garlic

It’s the one piece of kitchen equipment you use everyday …well yes, alongside your knives and like your knives it needs a little care to perform well day after day. I prefer wooden boards as they are kinder to your knives too and it’s important to keep your chopping board clean and bacteria free, here’s how you do it. As well, my quick and clever trick to banish smells from ingredients like garlic and seafood.

Recipe of the week:
Linguine with seafood and garlic crumbs

My Linguine with seafood and garlic crumbs, created with ingredients I gathered on my own farm trail in the Shoahaven episode of my TV series Taste of Australia

Serves 4

Preparation 15 minutes

Cooking 15 minutes

1/3 cup (80 ml) extra virgin olive oil

1kg assorted seafood, cleaned and cut to size

2 bulbs (260g) baby fennel, finely sliced, fronds reserved

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 medium (240g) zucchini, julienned

2 medium (400g) tomatoes, skin removed, seeded and chopped or 250g cherry tomatoes, halved

¼ cup (60ml) dry white wine

500g linguine

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 bunch chives, finely chopped

Garlic crumbs

¼ cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil

1 large red chilli, finely chopped

1 large green chilli, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 cup (70g) sourdough breadcrumbs

Make garlic crumbs by heating oil in a large non-stick frying pan, add chilli, garlic and breadcrumbs; cook, stirring, until crisp. Remove from the pan and reserve.

Prepare seafood. Heat half oil in frying pan over medium heat and sear the seafood on both sides until almost cooked. Remove from pan to a warm place and reserve.

Add remaining oil to the pan and cook the fennel until beginning to soften. Add garlic, zucchini and cook one minute more, stirring until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and wine, simmer, uncovered, until hot. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile cook linguine in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender; drain, reserving ½ cup (125ml) cooking liquid. Return the linguine to the pan.

Add fennel fronds, chives and seafood to the pasta; toss gently, adding reserved liquid if necessary.  Serve topped with garlic crumbs.
Lyndey’s note: If you twist the bowl as you place the linguine down, the pasta will go into a very neat pile.

Wine: This dish celebrates fresh seafood, so the wine needs to enhance that, so go for the delicate flavours of a semillon – one with a little age will develop toasty flavours and also work with the crumb.

Breakfast in myriad styles

Breakfast Asian-style at the Dusit Thani hotel in Bangkok

Breakfast is such an Australian “thing”. A young English girl who worked with us told me this in 2011 when we were filming Lyndey & Herbie’s Moveable Feast, and she advised we do a breakfast segment, which we did. It is catching on here in London, mostly at weekends. Certainly at Bill’s it’s alive and well. In Sydney, while smashed avo on toast remains a favourite, Time Out has listed it’s 20 Best Breakfasts. 

What kind of breakfast do you like?
When I’m travelling I always eat the food of the nationality of the airline I am flying, and, if eating in a hotel, do the same. So in Italy I’ll tuck into the cold meats and cheeses and in Asia, eat that style of breakfast. I am normally not fond of buffet breakfasts but there are exceptions and this was one. There was everything for a traditional English breakfast, Japanese and congee as well as all sorts of stir-fries, fruit and pastries.

A chef at the Dusit Thani hotel prepares my breakfast for me: rice noodles, greens, bean shoots, fish balls and pork mince dunked in stock, then add your own chilli, fish sauce, green onions, fried shallots and tofu puffs.

My massive, inexpensive street food breakfast in Bangkok
TOP: catfish with galangal, noodles with sweet dressing and Thai chives, sticky rice and fresh greens
L: rice, pork neck and snake bean salad R: Steaming chicken soup

I was keen to go on a food-focussed walking tour while in Bangkok. A friend referred me to Chili Paste Tours and so I went on the Old Bangkok Food & Culture Walk. The owner and host, former school teacher, Chin, takes small groups and even solo visitors, such as me. The rice for a one-on-one tour was a very reasonable 3,000 Baht, around $Aus 125.  The tour is foussed around the narrow streets of Bangkok’s Old City, or Banglamphu, where families have been perfecting their specialised recipes for generations. Don’t be put off by the nondescript shophouses and markets tucked into mazes of alleyways. Chin chooses carefully those with high turnover and clean equipment. It is amazing to see everything packaged in small plastic bags to be taken away, perhaps as an offering at the temple.

Our tour began t at Krung Thonburi BTS SkyTrain Station, the Sky Train being an excellent cheap, clean (and very air-conditioned) form of transport. We first took a cab to get coffee and she gave me some local lychees and rambutans. Then we were off on our walk, on a very hot day, to our first stop to sample Thai-style breakfast food in an alleyway market lined by century-old shophouses.
Our breakfast was substantial and made in front of us including dressings and pickles pounded in a mortar and pestle. Cooked, cooled catfish was deboned and chopped with galangal, kaffir lime, lemongrass, chilli and roasted rice. Eaten with fresh, cooling greens including mustard greens which Chin called “Thai wasabi” and sticky rice (not the sweet one) which can be eaten with the hand to pick up crumbly bits of food. Noodles were overly sweet and warm served with big Chinese chives. Then came a piping hot chicken soup which I was surprised to find a lot of dill in. Chin advised this is typical, as is the use of eggplant, hough not the tiny ones we associate with Thai food. Dill is often used to prevent fish tasting too fish, as is basil. I commented that Western cuisine typically dill is paired with fish. A salad of snake beans, called long beans was dressed with fermented fish, lime, tomatoes and a dressing much like that for a green papaya salad.
We had to dodge motorbikes coming along the cluttered laneway, children played and Chin greeted people as we walked. The cost for this feast was 210 baht, or less than $9. That’s some breakfast. I’ll write more about the tour another time.

Interesting Reading

Just one ingredient better not kept in the fridge

I am astounded at what people do and do not keep in the fridge. Pure Wow writes an excellent article about nine foods that actually taste, slice and spread better when you leave them out on the counter. Delighted to read it as my pet hate is when tomatoes are ruined by being put in the fridge. It changes the natural sugars into starch and the tomatoes become floury.

What’s On

A sample of what you might eat on A Taste of Asia in Chatswood

Continuing in the Asian theme of this update, there is a forthcoming walking tour a Taste of Asia in Chatswood.   Over the last several years Chatswood has grown into an exciting hub of authentic Asian cuisine and culture, attracting the best brands and unique family owned businesses. It is where Korea meets Hong Kong, with China and Japan just around the corner. Lead by Taste Cultural Food Tours, A Taste of Asia will lead you on a feast for the senses as you tour through some of the best dining hotspots to indulge in delicious dumplings, bulgogi, sushi, noodles and more. You will try the traditional and the modern, authentic and fusion
10.30am – 12.30pm,
26 April, 5 May, 10 May and 19 May
Chatswood Station, Railway St, Chatswood
Cost $50

Bookings essential: TasteTours.com.au
Contact: Taste Tours on 0417 206 323 or email info@tastetours.com.au

Keep up to date with my travels on all my social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
Meanwhile you can catch up on my TV series Taste of Ireland on SBS Food Network.
Enjoy what you cook, eat and drink.

Lyndey x

Follow me on Facebook

Follow me on Twitter

Follow me on Instagram

Grab your copies of Lyndey’s books, DVDs, Brilliant Cut Knife and more from the Flame Distribution Store!

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences