Weekly Update

Giving media training to my Tasting Success female chef mentees at TAFE, along with Skills One

It’s been a busy week with media training for my Tasting Success mentees at TAFE. I like to kick off the day which is then run by the talented team from Skills One.  Ultimately some of the vision will be shown on their twice daily TV show on Foxtel.
I also moderated a panel “Reality bites – when work starts and life impacts” at the SkillsIQ NSW ITAB Forum. It was an important industry event to discuss the reasons why apprentices and trainees in the service industries struggle to complete their qualifications. We discussed the reality of work life in commercial kitchens, the demands of the trade versus social preferences, and the various life challenges that young people contend with.  Panellists included Michael Bennett, CEO HTN, Malcolm Meier – Founder and Chef of the Food for Thought charity, Aaron Brittliff a “mature age” apprentice chef (at 23 years old), and recently graduated apprentice chef Cathy Yichen Yang, now a Junior Sous Chef who migrated from China at 19 to train. The value of supervisor support/development and pastoral care for apprentices were discussed, as well as career pathways for apprentices if they “stick with it”. I was very impressed with these young people who love their work and are prepared to make sacrifices for it. the industry needs more like them.

Jump ahead to see:
The Best Fruit and Veg This Week
Recipe of the Week
Where I’ve Eaten
Wine of the week
Bastille Day Recipes
Interesting Reading
What’s On
Special offer for subscribers

The Best Fruit and Veg This Week

Kumara or sweetpotato; fennel and kale

Sydney Markets advise

Add colour and sweetness to a stir-fries or a breakfast omelette with sliced or diced red capsicum.

Warm with a big bowl of Asian mushroom, kale & tofu miso ramen. This nourishing and flavoursome soup only needs 10 minutes cooking time. 

Versatile carrots are a bargain.. Perfect for winter creamy carrot & chickpea soup or add carrots to a spiced Rogan Josh.

Snap up the last of the 2018 season’s chestnuts and add to your Christmas in July meals. Serve them with Brussel sprouts, add them to a stuffing for a turkey or chicken or create chestnut and mushroom sauce.

Stir-fry broccoli with, red onion, chilli, ginger, beef and oyster sauceand serve with rice for a quick mid-week meal.

What celeriac lacks in appearance it certainly makes up for in flavour and versatility. Celeriac has a delicate celery flavour and starchy texture which makes it ideal for making a heavenly mush or creamy soup. 

Add sliced fennel to rich meat or chicken casseroles. Pan-fry with fish or thinly slice and toss into a salad with parmesan. Use the feathery leaves instead of dill in recipes. Fennel is best stored in a plastic bag in the crisper section of the fridge and used within 5 days. 

Kumara or sweet potato as explained in last week’s July newsletter,  has a sweet flavour and creamy texture when cooked. Rich in vitamin A and C, kumara makes an extremely tasty soup; it is scrumptious mashed and thinly sliced it makes superb chips. 

Cara Cara oranges, kiwi fruit and Medjool dates

Combine one bunch of ruby red rhubarb with a 250 g punnet of strawberries and 2 tbsp caster sugar in an ovenproof dish, top with a crumble mixture and bake. Rhubarb & strawberry brown sugar crumble. This sweet, hot crumble is delicious served with ice-cream or custard. 

Oranges is plentiful and you have so much or choice winter. Traditional navelsCara Cara navels  and mid-July see the first of the new season blood oranges like Redbelly Citrus. Make toffee and drizzle of segments to serve with ice-cream.

Use tangy juice lemons to make luscious deserts or combine the zest of lemons with crushed garlic, parsley and olive oil to make a super tasty grematola to drizzle or soup, ossobuco or slow roasted lamb shanks. 

Fill your fruit bowl with super juicy mandarins. Easy to peel and eat, they are the perfect school holiday snack.

The vibrant green or gold coloured flesh of kiwifruit adds colour to a fruit platter or salad and has the added bonus of being sweet tasting and rich in vitamin C. 

Winter is great time to enjoy fresh Medjool dates. Plump, soft and caramel sweet in flavour fresh dates are also a good source of vitamin C, one of the factors important to help prevent infection. Add dates to a curry, enjoy as a snack or whip a delicious sticky date cake. Try choc-coated -Medjool dates with orange and ricotta.

Passionfruit are plentiful and a top buy, also available in bulk. I sometimes freeze the pulp in ice-cube trays.

Nutritious and natural sweet pears are perfect for creating simply elegant desserts or enjoy poached pears for breakfast. Poached, roasted, baked or stewed pears are great value. I love them simply sliced with parmesan too.

Luscious custard apples are deliciously sweet, and easily scooped out with a spoon to be simply enjoyed as it is or utilised in savoury and dessert dishes. Try this custard apple teacake for a change.

Recipe of the Week

Japanese Gyoza
The perfect gyoza is golden brown and crisp on one side and juicy on the inside. In Japan you can find them being served at specialty shops, izakaya, ramen shops, grocery stores and at festivals. They originated in China where they are called Jiaozi.The key characteristic of gyoza lies on its cooking method, which involves both pan-frying and steaming (like a Chinese pot sticker). They are first fried in a hot pan until crisp and brown on the bottom, then a small amount of water is added, the pan is covered to quickly steam them. This technique gives gyoza the best mix of textures: crisp bottoms, tender soft tops that encase the juicy filling. One of the distinctive differences is that gyoza usually come in a smaller size with thinner skin making them crisper, the filling is finer in texture and perfumed with garlic.

Pork and Cabbage Gyoza
Makes 40 – 45
Prep 25 mins
Cook 20 mins

1 ½ cups green cabbage, very finely chopped (approx. 50g or 3 leaves)
½  teaspoon salt
500g pork mince (fatty is good)
1 bunch garlic chives, finely chopped (makes about 1 cup)
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2  teaspoons soy sauce
40 – 45 round wonton (gyoza) wrappers (usually 24 per packet)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil (or other cooking oil) + 1 teaspoon sesame oil
Dipping Sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar or mirin
Fes drops chili oil (Rayu is Japanese chili oil) optional

Combine cabbage and salt in a small bowl, then set aside for 20 minutes for cabbage to wilt slightly. Squeeze out any excess water from the cabbage and place it in a medium bowl. Add remaining filling ingredients: pork, garlic chives, garlic, ginger, sesame oil and soy sauce. Mix well using your hands.

Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place 1 gyoza wrapper on the palm of your left hand (or right hand if you are left-handed). Dip your finger in water and run it around the edge of the gyoza wrapper.

Place 1 slightly heaped teaspoon of filling on the wrapper. Fold wrapper over and use your right hand assisted by your left hand thumb and forefinger  in a rolling motion to create 4 pleats. Press to seal and place on the tray. Repeat with remaining wrappers. Do not overfill gyoza

Combine oils, heat half in a large frying pan which has a lid,  over medium high heat.
Place about 12 gyoza in rows, slightly overlapping each other. Cook until the underside is crisp and golden, then pour 1/3 cup of water around the gyoza and place the lid on. Cook until the water has completely evaporated, approx. 3 minutes and the wrapper is translucent on top. Use an egg lifter to transfer onto a plate upside down i.e. golden side up. Serve with combined sauce ingredients.

Lyndey’s Note: some traditional recipes put cornflour in the pork mince but I prefer to leave it out. Garlic chives can be replaced with ordinary chives + 2 extra cloves chopped garlic. Some people put in green onions, sake and even shiitake mushrooms but I find this mixture simple and lovely.
Gyoza wrappers (or Gow Gee) can be found in Asian food stores and some supermarkets.

I cooked the gyoza at an information night for my tour of Japan next year which I am hosting with Claudia Rossi from Mary Rossi Travel. More information here if you would like to join us in May 2019.

Where I’ve Eaten

Agedashi tofu and eggplant, infused chilli daikon dashi

Azuma is one of my friend Tetsuya Wakuda‘s favourite restaurants and whenever we want to catch up, invariably he suggests we go there. Just as invariably, he chooses a menu, chatting with the wait staff to come up with something not necessarily on the menu. Well I guess omakase does mean “I’ll leave it up to the chef”. My only request had been that as it was so cold outside could we have some hot food! We got it in spades.
First up was a sublime Agedashi tofu and eggplant with infused chilli daikon dashi; hot, crisp outside yet silky inside with the perfect hit of flavour from the broth, finished with threads of nori. Then one of my favourites: steamed savoury egg custard, Seafood chawanmushi.
Next was  a menu regular, Grilled West Australian scampi with Azuma’s own mayonnaise. Beautifully cooked and easily loosened from its shell. then braised pork belly kakuni, blanched spinach. Kakuni (??) is Japanese braised pork belly, literally meaning “square simmered” referring to the shape of the meat. Long slow cooking renders the fat and gives an unctuous finished dish.

LEFT: Grilled West Australian scampi, seared mayonnaise and RIGHT: Braised pork belly kakuni, blanched spinach

Japanese food is all about the harmony of contrasting textures.  Dengaku eggplant was glazed with Kyoto white and red miso then seared, comfortingly silky,  soft and warm. Assorted seasonal tempura was crisp and light, served with a trio of powders to dip in or sprinke over: salt-curry, matcha and sansho pepper. The penultimate dish was outstanding: Azuma style unique sushi, wild yellowfin tuna, fried eggplant caramelised soy, seared salmon belly with lemon juice, tempura king prawn inside-out rolls, futomaki sushi rolls. to finish a nourshing miso soup with silken tofu.
Thank you Tets and thank you Azuma. thanks too to our friend Andrew Cameron from
Deja vu Wine company  for supplying not only some amazing wines, but also a sake which he imports.

TOP LEFT: Dengaku eggplant with seared Kyoto white and red miso; RIGHT: Assorted seasonal tempura, tempura salt-curry, matcha and sansho pepper. BOTTOM: Azuma style unique sushi, wild yellowfin tuna, fried eggplant caramelised soy, seared salmon belly with lemon juice, tempura king prawn inside-out rolls, futomaki sushi rolls

Wine of the week

2017 McGuigan The Shortlist Adelaide Hills Chardonnay

We were lucky to have McGuigan supply the wines for my Japanese information night. The 2017 McGuigan The Shortlist Adelaide Hills Chardonnay went incredibly well with my Gyoza (recipe above). From the premium cool climate growing area of the Adelaide Hills, this is a modern style of chardonnay with lemon, honey and stonefruit aromas with the most delicate use of wood for seasoning. Refreshing yet with some middle palate richness to stand up to the pork in the gyoza. The previous vintage won Winestate Magazine‘s wine of the year in 2017. Given its structure and acid level, it should age – but why bother? I’d be drinking it right now. Around $25 per bottle.

Bastille Day Recipes

Paris Brest with triple berry jam, rosewater, cream and spun sugar.
If you can make choux pastry, you can make this!

Keep the French feeling going with some of my French recipes:
French bistro style chicken with smashed potatoes
French savoury loaf
Paris Brest with triple berry jam, rosewater cream & spun sugar
and here’s some information on
Champagne and sparkling wine
Food and Wine has 16 French recipes every beginner cook should master.

Interesting Reading

Peter Gilmore at Quay who reveals his favourite cookbook in Gourmet Traveller

Gourmet Traveller has a relatively new series where they ask favourite chefs about the cookbook that’s left a lasting impression on them. Peter Gilmore from Quay and Bennelong explains that his is the French Laundry Cookbook.

Stephanie Rosenbloom writes in The New York Times On Eating Alone in Paris
Food & Wine explains 5 things every slow cooker user should know

What’s On

Thrilled to announce that I will be MCing the Love Seafood Festival Gala Dinner will be at Broughtons at the Bay on Saturday August 4

Port Stephens is renowned for sensational seafood and their annual Love Seafood Festival 4-5 August will celebrate this with live cooking demonstrations, tastings, signature dinners, seafood lunch and dinner specials, oyster tasting and shucking, educational talks and, kids’ activities and much more.

Mitchell Turner from Rick Stein Bannisters, Port Stephens, Mat Key from The Little Nel, Michael Jenkins from The Anchorage, Ben Way from Little Beach Boathouse and Ludovic Poyer from The Poyer’s are cooking the Gala dinner, each course matched to a 50ml tasting of Oatley’s wines. Tickets are $140 per person including Oysters and Prosecco upon arrival. Read the menu here and more information and how to book here.

Orange Winter Fire Festival 3 – 5 August
Kicking off with a winter night market in historic Millthorpe Village the three day festival will showcase the best of an authentic country winter through a series of bonfire events inspired by the Australian cracker night bonfire tradition.
3 August – Winter Festival Night Market in Millthorpe
4 August – Bonfire Night
5 August – Blazing Sunday in country pubs and restaurants
More information here.

Special offer for subscribers

The Grape, Grain and Graze Festival is on at Sydney Showground on Saturday 11 August 2-6pm

The Grape, Grain & Graze Festival (formerly The Wine Experience) is an afternoon of fabulous wine, brews, fine food and live music – and you can get $14 off the single entry price of $90 – so that’s $76 which represents amazing value.

This is your opportunity to taste incredible wines from the 2,200+ entries from the 2018 KPMG Sydney Royal Wine Show, enjoy products from the 2018 Sydney Royal Beer & Cider Show and satisfy food cravings at grazing stations laden with Sydney Royal medal-winning food.

Sample your way through the 2018 success stories, taste new trends and pick up a tip or two at Judges Tutorials. Industry Judges will be on hand to answer your questions and guide your palate around the stunning array of varietals and blends.

As a special offer for subscribers, I am offering $14 off all single tickets which have a RRP ticket price of $90. Please use code LMGGG18 at checkout.
Purchase tickets here
When: Saturday 11 August 2pm-6pm
Hall 6, Grand Parade, Sydney Showground
General public: Single Ticket $90 + booking fee; Double Pass $164 + booking fee
RAS Members: Single Ticket $80 + booking fee; Double Pass $150 + booking fee

Please note: the online ticketing link will close 5pm, Friday 10 August.
Alternatively, tickets can be purchased at the door.

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Enjoy what you cook, eat and drink.


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