On set of MKR Finals VIP Night with two old friends: L: Peter Evans with whom I co-hosted Fresh With the Australian Women’s Weekly for 3 years and R: Manu Feildel whom I met when he was the fabulous head chef at Bilson’s restaurant

Blink and you missed me but it was a bit of fun to be a VIP guest and to taste and comment on the food of the finalists in Episode 45 of the 10th series of MKR (My Kitchen Rules). The contestants were just lovely and so keen to do well. Great to catch up with colleagues and be part of it.
Welcome to all my new subscribers from the Easter Show. You can catch up on previous weekly updates and monthly newsletters here.
However, read on for something YOU can be part of.

Join me for a Long lunch at Regatta on Sunday 5 May with Gartelmann wines and fabulous food by Logan Campbell. This might tempt you:

Menu
On Arrival

Blanc de Blanc
1st course
Half shell port Philip Bay scallops
Potato chive mousseline, lemon caper beurre blanc, shaved caviar
Paired with Benjamin Semillon 2018 and 2014
2nd course
King George whiting grilled in paperbark
Petit herb salad, finger limes, crisp eshallots
Paired with Lisa Chardonnay 2017
3rd course
Slow Cooked Lamb Rump
crushed peas, zucchini, oregano scented goats curd, lemon preserve
Paired with 2016 Diedrich Shiraz
4th course
Pasture Fed Beef Striploin
Smoked chestnut puree, crisp enoki, brussel leaves, tear drop tomato
Paired with 2016 Georg Petit Verdot and 2016 Jonathan Cabernet
Palate cleanser
Nitro frozen sparkling red
using Gartelmann Sparkling.

Details here
Sunday May 5th from noon
Regatta Rose Bay 594 New South Head Rd Rose Bay
Members $135 ea. and Non-members $150 ea.
Bookings via email 
members@gartelmann.com.au or phone the Cellar Door on (02) 49307113

Jump ahead to see:
This Week’s Best Fruit and Veg
Recipe of the Week
The Sydney Royal Easter Show
The President’s Medal

Interesting Reading
What’s On
Techniques and Know-how

Mandarins, pears and persimmon

FRUIT

Apples are an ideal snack food, but they also add sweetness to salads, are superb roasted to serve with pork or core unpeeled apples and fill with nuts and dried fruits and bake with a squeeze of orange juice and maple syrup. With ten different varieties currently available, it’s time to taste-test them all. 

The flavour of a ripe, super soft persimmon has overtones of apricot and honey. Whilst the soft flesh can be turned in to ice-cream, a mouse or fool, the easiest way to savour this autumn favourite is to cut them in half and scoped out the flesh with a spoon. 

Poached pears are simple to prepare. They drink up their poaching syrup and so an unpretentious fruit can be a can transformed. Try poaching peeled and firm, elegant long-necked Buerre Bosc pear in a mixture of red wine, sugar, the rind of a lemon and orange, add a cinnamon stick, star anise and a split vanilla pod until just tender. Cool pears in the syrup and serve with ice-cream. You can also reduce this syrup, slice the pears and return them to it for a lovely pear confit to serve with cheese.

Australians enjoy around 70,000 tonnes of mandarins throughout the April-October local season. The first of the season’s Imperial mandarins are harvested from the Gayndah area and this year’s imperial mandarin crop is sweet eating and excellent quality. Look after your health by enjoying vitamin C rich, new season mandarins from your local greengrocer.

Large round and pink skinned red globe grapes are a sweet eating and a good buy alternative Crimson seedless are super crunchy. 

They may have a rich, creamy texture, but bananas contain no fat at all. Bananas make an ideal snack or fancy dessert like this banana with salted caramel or a banana & caramel tart. Add bananas to muffins and cakes or shake up a delicious smoothie

Fennel, pumpkin and carrots

VEGETABLES

Rosemary is the herb of remembrance and ANZAC day (yesterday) still means it’s the perfect time to enjoy this fragrant herb. It is delicious teamed with lamb, garlic, parmesan cheese, potatoes, yoghurt, chicken, pork and pumpkin. Try these rosemary, garlic & parmesan potato wedges or rosemary, potato, tomato & lamb bake.

Crunchy fennel has an aniseed flavour, it can be eaten raw and is delicious roasted, braised or ideal for adding to chunky style veggie soups. For a quick side dish, pan-fry sliced fennel and onion in olive oil over medium-low heat until tender. Season and sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese and serve. 

If the change of season has you craving comfort food, then look no further than nutritious and versatile potatoes. Perfect for creamy, mash potato and leek soup, potato gratin or Crunchy potatoes with cheddar cheese crumbs

Autumn is chestnut time. Cut a cross in each chestnut then roast for 20 minutes in a hot oven, remove from the oven, cool slightly and peel will still warm. Toss roasted and peeled chestnuts with Brussels sprouts for a tasty side dish, with roasted vegetable or through a salad. 

Economical, healthy and discreetly delicious, fresh celery is a staple vegetable that rarely the hero ingredient, yet when teamed with carrots and onions it creates a flavoursome base for soups, casseroles and stir-fries. One  way to store celery is to trim each bulb and place unwashed into a plastic container lidded with absorbent paper and keep refrigerated. However, I prefer to soak it in water, separate and wash each stem, but of all the tops for celery soup, then store the rest in a plastic bag in the crisper. It then lasts very well.

Nutritious broccoli is a family favourite that is delicious steam, stir-fried or process and added to a broccoli & sweetcorn buttermilk pancake

Versatile carrots are a thrifty buy and so versatile. Eat them raw as a snack, add them to salads, roast them or added grated carrot to an easy, orange, carrot and almond cake.

Tasmanian Cipollini onions (pronounced chip-oh-lee-knee) are a brown skinned onion with a flattened disc shape that are prized for their delicate yet extra sweet onion flavour. Usually served whole and roasted, their flesh softening and becoming caramelised and extra sweet. 

Pumpkins golden flesh and natural sweetness offers so many possibilities. Team pumpkin with aromatic flavours like lemongrass, ginger and kaffir lime for a sweet Thai style curry or a soup. Roast with chopped sage and toss pumpkin through pasta, gnocchi or an autumn salad. 

Peppery flavoured watercress is a top salad green. For a quick salad, toss 3 cups watercress sprigs with 250g halved cherry tomatoes, 100g crumbled feta cheese and 225g can drained flaked tuna. Sprinkle with 2 thinly sliced green onions (shallots) and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve. Watercress is also delicious as a side vegetable sautéed.

Recipe of the Week

No knead bread with olive oil, chorizo and rosemary 

This is the perfect lazy baking recipe – as there is no need to knead the bread with this clever technique.

Makes 1 round loaf
Preparation 10 minutes plus 80 minutes (or up to 24 hours) resting
Cooking 55 minutes

3 cups (450g) bread flour
2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary plus a few sprigs
10g instant yeast
1½ teaspoons salt flakes
1¼ cups (310ml) warm water
¼ cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 (approx 300g) chorizo sausages or sliced mushrooms for vegetarians
2 tablespoons (40ml) extra virgin olive oil, extra
1 teaspoon salt flakes, extra

  1. Place flour, chopped rosemary, yeast and salt in a large bowl.  Add warm water and olive oil and mix to form a soft dough. Cover with plastic wrap and rest at room temperature for an hour or in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
  2. Remove the skin from the chorizo, slice one in half length ways and then cut it into thin slices.  Chop the remaining chorizo into small dice.
  3. Lightly oil a work surface, or work on a sheet of baking paper. Place dough on top, shape into a round, sprinkle with the diced chorizo, then fold dough over on itself twice and lightly shape dough into a round. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for another 15- 20 minutes.
  4. While dough rests place a large round flameproof casserole pot (with a lid) into a cold oven and turn on to the heat to 220?C.  After 15-20 minutes, carefully remove the heated pot from the oven.  Lightly grease it with olive oil and line with two thick 6cm wide foil strips that run over the base and up the side of the pot (this will help you remove the hot bread from the pot once the bread is cooked.) Carefully place the round of dough into the hot pot, using your fingertips make small indentations over the top of the dough. Top with sliced chorizo and rosemary sprigs, drizzle with the extra olive oil and sprinkle with the extra salt.  Cover pot with its lid and bake for 40 minutes.  Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes to brown the top of the loaf and crisp the chorizo.
  5. Remove pot from oven, carefully lift out the loaf using the foil strips, serve warm.

Lyndey’s Note: Bread flour is what is known as a “strong” flour, one with a high gluten content – important in this recipe where we are not kneading the bread. Usually kneading develops the gluten in dough. Bread flour is slightly heavier than plain or all-purpose flour.

This recipe is from Lyndey Milan’s Baking Secrets TV series

The Sydney Royal Easter Show

Cooking in The Australian Women’s Weekly Theatre Kitchen in the Dome with some of the Roosters

Well The Sydney Royal Easter Show is over for another year. The biggest ticketed event in the Southern Hemisphere it was great to see over 900,000 people through the gates over 12 days.

I started giving cooking demonstrations at the Easter Show in 1987 and have loved every minute of it ever since. It is one of my favourite times of year, so as my readers are global, I thought I would share some of the highlights with you. Here are the recipes I cooked during the Show:
Southern-style crisp chicken tray bake
Cheesy chicken pockets

Yellow jungle chicken curry

L: Sydney Rock Oyster Judging R: awarding the trophy to Noel Herbst from Gold Coast Marine Aquaculture for Champion Aquaculture Product for Gold Coast Tiger prawns, with Chair of Judges, John Susman

For the first time we judged the Sydney Rock Oyster and Prawn section of the Sydney Royal Aquaculture Competition in public, on the first day of the Easter Show. Thanks to Frank Theodore from de Costi for allowing us to use his oyster bar area.  It was a fabulous morning and great to see so many high quality oyster and prawn entries, depsite the difficulties which heavy rain can present. Full results here.

L: standing block competition and R: awarding the ribbons at The Woodchop

My parents always took us to see the woodchop and it is a great honour for me, since I have been on the council of the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) which runs the Easter Show, to be able to present ribbons to the winners too. I dubbed it the sash and pash” and the name has caught on – put the ribbon around the woodchoppers’ necks and give them a kiss!

A panorama of the main arena at the official opening Grand Parade

The Grand Parade is always a highlight of the Easter Show. It is an incredible feat to get so many animals on the ground at the one time parading. 

These piglets were born overnight, on the second last day of the Show

The President’s Medal

Sandy and Julie Cameron of Meredith Dairy with their President’s Medal

I am always proud to MC The President’s Medal awards dinner now held during the Easter Show.  This is the only competition of its type in Australia in the integrity and thoroughness of its judging process.
5458 products in 453 classes are entered in the Wine, Dairy, Fine Food, Beer & Cider competitions at the RAS.These are judged blind and independently by panels of industry and taste experts. From the gold medals which are awarded there were 92 champions and from these 6 finalists were identified:

  • Staple Bread & Necessities for their Staple Classic Sourdough
  • Tathra Oysters for their Nelson’s Lake Premium Oyster
  • Two Rivers Wines for their 2013 Stones Throw Semillon
  • NH Foods for their Manning Valley Naturally Beef
  • Meredith Dairy for their Marinated Feta, Sheep Goat Blend
  • House of Arras for their 2008 Grand Vintage

These producers are then judged on a triple bottom line assessment to determine their social, economic and environmental impacts, not only the industry but their local communities.

Through this process, Meredith Dairy demonstrated an outstanding devotion to the local economy for the town of Meredith, located in Victoria providing ‘enterprise fostering’ for staff to encourage local community development and agricultural innovation such as investing in DNA genomic research. Julie Cameron, Owner of Meredith Dairy says her team took on judges’ feedback when they were a finalist in 2014 and came back to claim the top prize. Congratulations! Read the full release here.

Interesting Reading

Do you have any wine apps on your phone?

Maille Mustard, which makes bespoke and seasonal mustards as well as their regular ones are releasing a new Provence rosé mustard, exclusive for the European Spring/Summer 2019 season. I love their shop on Picadilly in London, complete with mustard sommeliers. Read my blog Mustard – not simply seeded or smooth.

Here are some great Cheap hacks for fancy places from Time Out. All about how to access fine dining on a budget in Sydney.

Broadsheet advises that Carriageworks has announced its massive 2019 food program.

Vanity Fair reviews Ruth Reichl’s new memoir Save Me The Plums. Epicurious also features  I’m Ruth Reichl, and These Are the Best Recipes from my Gourmet Years.

See what you think of the new LA Times Food Section

It’s Greek Easter this weekend so here are some Easy Greek eats in Good Food.

What’s On

Sydney Writers’Festival, Carriageworks 2018

Sydney Writers’ Festival 29 April – 5 May
Time Out recommends their Guide to the Best Events at Sydney Writers’ Festival.  All details of what’s on here.

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.

Mould: A Cheese Festival – Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, 
 is a celebration of Australian artisan cheese, presented by REVEL (responsible for cult wine event Pinot Palooza) in collaboration with Nick Haddow of Bruny Island Cheese. From 24-25 May in Sydney, May 19 in Brisbane,16-17 August in Melbourne, the best producers from around the country, including Bruny Island, Yarra Valley Dairy, Grandvewe, Section 28, Shaw River, Tolpuddle, Tongola, That’s Amore and many more, will showcase their produce with demonstrations, conversations and masterclasses.
Details and tickets here.

For UK Readers
The British Library are running another season of last year’s highly popular talks, workshops and courses on food www.womeninthefoodindustry.com The events are all inspired by their extensive food-related collections. Many of the events feature prominent women in the food industry, including a discussion on embracing plant based ingredients by Women in the Food Industry (WiFi) supporter, Chantelle Nicholson of the library’s neighbouring restaurant, The Gilbert Scott. The events run until 30th May 2019.

Techniques and Know-how

Women’s Weekly’s Basic hummus

Women’s Weekly Food explains How to make basic hummus and  How to make tzatziki.

Pure Wow advises How to tell if those eggs living in the back of your fridge are still good.

Taste of Home reveals 11 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Baking Brownies.

Busy times coming up as I host my trip to Japan from 13 May, then on to London.
Keep up to date with my travels on all my social media channels:
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

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Lyndey

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