Weekly Update

Something dear to my heart: awarding The Blair Milan Memorial Scholarship to the 2018 individual winner, Mitch Lourigan at Charles Sturt University, Bathurst

As I wrote last week, awards season is well and truly upon us. For me, the most important is the annual Blair Milan Memorial Fund individual award, in memory of my late son, actor and presenter, Blair Milan. It follows a written application and interview process and is given to a third year student in Theatre/Media at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst. There is also a touring prize which goes to the best major work, later in the year.  This year’s winner, Mitch Lourigan is a worthy, hard-working winner and we have high hopes of him in the future.
More awards further down this update.

Jump ahead to see:

This Week’s Best Fruit and Veg
Recipe of the Week
Where I’ve Eaten
Sydney Royal Wine Show winners
More Awards
Interesting Reading
What’s On

Cocktail potatoes, broccolini and beetroot

I’m looking forward to new season’s asparagus which Sydney Markets report is with us alreadyTop blanched asparagus with grilled bacon, a poached egg and ground black pepper.

Broccoli supplies are coming from Victoria and Queensland and the quality is superb. Alternative broccolini sold in bunches is very tender. Try this Broccolini & Cauliflower Fried ‘Rice’ & Chicken Bowls.

Compact snow-white cauliflowers are still a top buy. Perfect for a cauliflower rice or scrumptious roasted.

Wombok also known as Chinese cabbage is traditionally a pale buttery green in colour. Its ideal for shredding and adding to a salad or add to a stir-fry. 

Small new potatoes (also known as cocktail potatoes) have a shiny cream skin colour and moist white flesh. Perfect for making this Lemon, mint and feta potatoes.

Carrots sweet, earthy flavour is an essential ingredient in winter cooking and are good value.

Locally grown Asian leafy greens and bunched English spinach are both fabulous buys this week. Enjoy the quality bok choy, choy sum or gai lum steamed or stir-fried. Toss spinach into a hot wok with crushed garlic and toss until just wilted.

Vibrant coloured beetroot comes into its own in winter. Select bunches with small to medium sized bulbs with crisp, green leaves. Roast or boil whole beets. Serve fresh young leaves or boiled, diced beetroot in swish winter salads. Make sure you wash them well to remove all grit.

Warm up winter nights with Jap or Jarrahdale pumpkins flavoured soups, roast chucks sprinkled with chilli and ginger or add grated pumpkin to curries and risottos for added sweetness. 

Blueberries, strawberries, lemon and lemon curd

Aromatic and flavoursome strawberries are also a good source of fibre. Between June and October, approximately 33% of Australia’s strawberry harvest comes from Queensland. Serve Strawberries with French Toast.

Supplies of large, antioxidant rich blueberries from Caboolture and Coffs Harbour are delicious eating. Did you know that purple foods like blueberries can protect your brain health?

There are good supplies of papaya. Grown around Innisfail, papaya is deliciously refreshing and one of the best sources of protective carotenoids and rich in vitamin C. It is also a good source of fibre and aids digestion. Papayas are the perfect breakfast fruit, served with granola and coconut

Tangelos are a cross between a grapefruit and a mandarin; they are sweet, tangy and easy to peel. Fruit should feel heavy for their size, as this indicates a good juicy content. 

Creamy, nutty flavoured Hass avocado is cholesterol free and super value at this time of year..

Luscious early season mangoes are now available. Allow firm mangoes to ripen at room temperature until flesh yields to gentle pressure around the stem. 

Cherry tomatoes are bursting with flavour, perfect for the lunchbox.

Snap up the last of the season’s quince as they are almost finished. .

Smooth and creamy Queensland bananas are top value. Make a delicious smoothie by blending 1 peeled banana with 2 cups milk, a small tub of berry yoghurt and a few strawberries or bake a scrumptious Banana, honey & cinnamon bread.

Ruby-fleshed juicy blood oranges have a rich raspberry-like citrus flavour. They’re smallish in size compared to Navel oranges. Fruit with ruby-red tinged skin generally has the deepest coloured flesh, although the intensity of colour depends on variety, the fruit’s exposure to sunlight and growing conditions. Choose firm blood oranges that feel heavy for their size and keep in the fridge.

Recipe of the Week

Salad of beetroot, feta and walnuts from Lyndey & Blair’s Taste of Greece cookbook
Photography: Chris Chen

Salad of beetroot, feta and walnuts
Batsária saláta may féta kai karídia

I really enjoyed a salad of raw beetroot on Crete on a previous visit to Greece. It was thickly sliced and sprinkled with raw garlic. I wanted to make a more refined yet very delicious version. Perfect with barbecued lamb or seafood – Greek style of course!

Servings: 4
Preparation and Cooking Time: 15 minutes

3 small whole beetroot
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup (60ml) olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup (85g) toasted walnut pieces
100g feta, crumbled

  1. Peel beetroot, slice and cut slices into sheds. Pile beetroot on serving platter. Whisk together the garlic, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour over beetroot,
  2. Sprinkle walnuts and feta over dressed beetroot. Toss salad when you serve it to combine the colours and flavours.

Lyndey’s Note: Baby spinach leaves can be tossed with the beetroot and feta if desired.

Recipe from Lyndey & Blair’s Taste of Greece cookbook. Available for purchase here

Where I’ve Eaten
Anason

Tarama. White cod roe, finger limes, radish  with Saj pita bread

Somer Sivrioglu has long given us an authetic taste of Turkey at his Balmain restaurant Efendy.  Since late 2016 he has offered his Anatolian food in Anason in Baragaroo. Modelled on Turkish meyhanes, or drinking bars which focus on seafood mezze with wine or raki, it is an open-air terrace facing the kitchen and bar right beside the water.

First up, I asked to have some Turkish wines recommended to me and opted for a glass of  2015 Kayra, Narince ($14), a dry, medium bodied white wine which went very well with our first dish of real Tarama ($17) which is white and not sickly pink.  Covered with thin slices of radish and finished with salmon roe it had a rich flavour and creamy texture, perfect to scoop up with the za’atar sprinkled house-made pita bread.

L Pachanga. duck and almond borek, tkemali plum sauce R: Patlican. Grilled eggplant, burnt yogurt, pomegranate, wild rice

It was hard to choose from the appealing menu when only two of us were dining, but we opted for the duck borek ($26) and resisted the larger serve of wild and native greens, feta, filo pie (next time!). The duck was moist , sublty spiced and finished off with a zing of plum sauce. A whole grilled eggplant ($17) was skinned and topped with smoky yoghurt, and a scattering of pomegranate seeds and wild rice. I will never look at eggplant the same again and can’t wait to adapt this dish at home.
I asked for a lighter style of red, more like a pinot and was very happy with the  2014 Vinkara,  Kalecik Karasi ($14). If you go do ask and try these very different, indigenous Turkish varieties.

Küsleme. Lamb fillet, charred leek begendi

Our waiter very strongly recommended the lamb fillet ($38), his favourite dish on the menu. A great recommendation, beautifully presented. Cooked medium, then sliced and upended as were the leeks, which were also used in the soft splash of leek begendi under the tender  lamb. 

Turkish Mess. Mastika cream, merengue (Turkish spelling), berries, rose liqueur

To finish a shared plate of Turkish mess, a glorious tumble of cream flavoured with mastic, meringue, berries and rose liqueur. All  that we needed then was superb traditional Turkish coffee with Turkish delight.

Sydney Royal Wine Show winners

I was honoured to present awards for two trophies dear to my heart and tastes:
L Geoff Alexander accepting the RAS of NSW Annual Versatility Prize for Brown Brothers Milawa and R Adam Carnaby accepting the Intercontact Perpetual trophy for Best Sparkling Red for Seppelts

The judging is over for another year and the results were announced last Thursday for the 2018 KPMG Sydney Royal Wine Show. 2332 wines from 369 exhibitors in 66 classes (or categories) were judged blind and independently by 6 panels, each comprising a panel chair, 2 senior judges and 2 associate judges, all presided over by Chair of Judges, PJ Charteris.  the visiting international judge was Fongyee Walker, MW. 

Penfolds Wines’ 2017 RESERVE BIN 17A Chardonnay won The KPMG Perpetual Trophy Winner for Best Wine of the Show and the Tucker Seabrook Perpetual Trophy Winner for Best State Show Wine.

P-J Charteris,  paid tribute to the diversity seen amongst the winning wines this year;
This really was testament to the traditional wine regions stepping up with quality offerings and the newer regions in wine showing what they are capable of now and into the future.”
Full results can be viewed here.

Sydney Royal Beer and Cider Award Winners named at Sydney Showground
It was a busy week as last Saturday these awards also being announced. While the connection between beer competition and the Agricultural Society of NSW dates back to 1824 (the awarding of ten Spanish dollars for a hogshead of the best beer at Parramatta), there was no beer competition at the Sydney Royal Easter Show from 1918-2007.

The Sydney Royal Beer and Cider competition earned its own stand-alone status in 2013 and has gone from strength to strength as its popularity among Australian beer and cider devotees grows.

Chair of the Sydney Royal Beer and Cider Awards Neal Cameron says the standard of entries is improving year on year; “The quality of the beers we are getting through is just incredible, to the point that if brewers don’t reach a certain marking standard, Judges become a little annoyed that you have made them drink that beer,” Neal Cameron said.“The quality of ciders was also exemplary this year,” he said.

Of the 225 entries received this year, the five champions were:
Champion packaged beer – Pirate Life Brewing Mosaic IPA.
Champion draught beer  – Lord Nelson Brewery Nelspresso brown ale.
Champion experimental or specialty beer – Hope Brewhouse barrel aged extra stout.
Best NSW beer – Australian Brewery Australian Seis Hermanos.
Champion cider – Flying Brick Cider Co original cider.
Full results here.

More Awards

delicious Produce Awards Producers of the Year: Carla Meurs & Ann-Marie Monda, Holy Goat Cheese VIC

 

The winners of the 2018 delicious Produce Awards were announced this week.The annual ceremony is always a fun event in the food calendar. The delicious Produce Awards are designed to celebrate the country’s most outstanding ingredients and regions, inspiring sustainable producers, farmers’ markets, innovators, and regional and emerging chefs.

Fifteen trophies and thirty-seven gold medals were presented, plus one highly commended mention, with each of the State Winners across the four major categories (From the Dairy, From the Earth, From the Paddock and From the Sea) judged by the National Judging Panel, and considered for the overall Producer of the Year Award, which was last night awarded to Carla Meurs and Ann-Marie Monda of Holy Goat Cheese.

The second annual Alla Wolf-Tasker Foundation delicious Produce Awards Good Food Matters Scholarship was awarded to Burrawong Gaian Poultry and may be used for educational travel, ‘staging’ with other practitioners in their field, and the pursuit of relevant educational courses and workshops or similar.
More information and full list here.

The Weekend Australian Magazine has revealed their hot 50 restaurants. Attica was named Hottest Restaurant nationally, while Clayton Wells’ A1 Canteen was Hottest New Restaurant, Laura at Point Leo Estate was Hottest Regional and Matt Stone and Jo Barrett at Oakridge in the Yarra Valley were Hottest Chefs. 

Interesting Reading

Food & Wine reveals How to make poached eggs in advance. Perfect if you are hosting a breakfast or lunch.
Also How to make pickles from your leftover vegetables and avoid food waste.Good Food tells How to build an Indian pantry along with Adam Liaw’s weekly meal planner for Indian dinners.Travellers may be interested in Lifestyle’s When to book to get the best flight deals.

Visitors and travellers alike may enjoy Time Out’s 20 top Sydney attractions.and also Sydney restaurants with a view.

What’s On

Sample Food Festival again offers a Taste of Northern NSW on 1 September

Sample Food Festival offers enthusiasts from far and wide the opportunity to “sample” the best food and beverage, Northern New South Wales has to offer. The region’s top restaurants compete for the coveted “Gold Fork” awards and collaborate on a special luncheon. there are workshops and demonstrations as well as stands where producers and farmers show their wares. Bangalow Showgrounds 8am – 4pm Saturday 1 September

The team from the Three Blue Ducks, Mark LaBrooy, Darren Robertson and Andy Allen are joining forces with some of the country’s best chefs for a fundraising dinner in aid of our farmers on Tuesday 4 September. Chefs involved include Clayton Wells, Monty Koludrovic, Matt Stone and Jo Barrett, Mat Lindsay, Duncan Welgemoed, Shannon Martinez, James Viles and Andy Bowdy. All proceeds will go to Rural Aid. Tickets are $220 for a four-course dinner and drinks.

Turkey Flat Long Lunch in Brisbane

Fifth generation family  member, Alex Schulz will launch the new vintages of the Turkey Flat Range, including the rare Ancestor Shiraz, made from oroginal vines planted in 1847. 3 course meal matched with 8 wines. $127.03
Alchemy Restaurant & Bar,
175 Eagle Street,
Brisbane.
Information and booking here.

I’m delighted that Aer Lingus is screening episode 3 of my Taste of Ireland TV series all this month – just in case you are flying with them.

Keep up to date with my travels on all my social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
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Enjoy what you cook, eat and drink.

Lyndey

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