Nature knows no virus. Spring is definitely sprung in Regent’s Park. I am so grateful I can still walk there with my partner. We are allowed out once each day to exercise.

Welcome,
I’m not really sure how to begin this weekly update – and those of you who know me will know that I am rarely stumped for words. But what can we say? Cornoavirus dominates the airways, the internet, the newspapers, social media and our conversations.  Some of us are in isolation, worse still some of us, or  those dear to us, may have it, others are losing their jobs or struggling to save their businesses. I am waiting in London to fly home but am lucky that my partner and I can still go out once a day to walk in nearby Regent’s Park, staying away from others, or to buy food.

My heart goes out to the hospitality industry which has taken a massive hit with restaurants and bars having to close everywhere. If you know ones doing take-away please support them. they are trying to make it work – along with online delivery for wine and spirits. See more below.

I am, however, uplifted by the humour which abounds and every hour brings some funny video, email or memes to make me laugh. Long may it last. We need to keep our spirits up. In that vein, a friend of mine and I have started having a cocktail every evening. We began with the letter A. I have just done E – East India Gimlet, reputedly good for scurvy, so I hope for coronavirus too. Yesterday was Deliverance Mojito, today Flamingo Fling with fresh pomegranate seeds and gin. You can follow it all on Facebook.

My East India Gimlet, just before sunset, overlooking the rooftops to Regent’s Park

We are due to leave London on Friday night and I am very grateful we have got a flight. Evidently the airport is very quiet with lounges and shops closed. I received this email earlier in the week: 
At British Airways we take our commitment to your safety, comfort and well-being very seriously, which is why we wanted to tell you about some of the changes we have made to our onboard service to ensure we deliver on that promise.
We have been working closely with food and health experts to agree a temporary service for your flight which will include a selection of hot and soft drinks as well as some light refreshments. We will be carefully and hygienically preparing and packaging each meal before your flight.
If you have any special dietary requirements or allergies, unfortunately these will not be provided for.
For another bit of fun I asked for suggestions as to what I should take with me on Facebook. There were some wonderful suggestions and lots of humour. Worth reading. Anyway, below is what I came up with – not quite all gluten-free but almost all is and my partner doesn’t have to worry.

My aeroplane food plus bananas, dried fruit and herbal tea bags. Note the face masks, gloves and hand sanitiser

Remember- scroll down as this newsletter is full of info wherever you are in the world!

Jump ahead to see:
Youtube video
This is not the first time….
Creativity in Challenging Times
Lyndey Milan’s Baking Secrets on Amazon Prime
This Week’s Best Fruit and Veg
Recipe of the Week
Let’s Cook Our Way Through the Crisis
Interesting Reading
Think About The Charities

Youtube Video

Something warming and nourishing to comfort you. It is really adaptable and can be made as vegetarian, pescatairan or just as it is. Watch for just one minute.  I do hope you enjoy it.  Watch it here oFull written recipe here. Subscribe to my Youtube channel here to find lots more how to videos and easy recipes.

This is not the first time….

Most of us have been a pretty lucky generation, though certainly I had friends who suffered and continue to suffer from the Vietnam War and my parents lived through the Great Depression and the Second World War. On the up side this meant my mother taught me to use all of everything, re-invent with left-overs and not waste food. There have been stock market crashes which have adversely affected self-funded retirees, but what we are faced with now knows no national or economic boundaries. Here in the UK Prince Charles has corona virus, along with Tom Hanks and all manner of famous and ordinary people. We just need to do our bit by staying home and following the rules of our various governments.
Heeding the impassioned plea of a tired, despondent and committed NHS Dr who has worked in ICU for 25 years on Radio 4 this week: “Your grandparents put their ages up and lied about their health to go and fight in world wars, we are not asking you to fight, we are just asking you to stay home and sit on your couch”.
Watch science guru Dr Karl debunk some myths around COVID-19 and explains how we can all do out part to help flatten the curve. Here’s the video.

Creativity in Challenging Times

I love the human spirit and its inventiveness. I am loving the many humourous emails, posts and videos I am sent. I love this version of The Beatles famous song rewritten to : ‘I gotta wash my hands”. Hysterical.
The Guardian shareCoronaviral: the best memes, tweets and cartoons to get you through.

On a more practical note:
Read The world is cooking to get through coronavirus isolation.
This is fantastic Cutting food waste can help you beat pantry panic with great recipes like Quick   kitchen-scrap pickles, Buy nothing new curry and soup, Veggie scrap crackers, Potato peel chips, “Tired herb” green sauce, Salt-preserved citrus skins and Banana-peel cake.
And How to use every part of your fish.
Bon Appetit has a great collection Cooking at Home in the Time of Coronavirus

Home deliveries and takeaway in the UK
A Little Bird rounds up London Restaurants and Suppliers That Deliver to The Door
I love this one Signature Brew Launch Pub in a Box, hand delivered by now out of work musisicans
Home deliveries and takeaway  in Australia
I love the new cocktail packs and meal kits which Fratelli will deliver to the door
La Rosa and Pendolino are home delivering wine and beer and are also considering adding a metro grocery delivery, including handmade pasta. Fill in the survey if you are interested.
Broadsheet shares The Eight Best Takeaway Meals and Deals From Sydney Restaurants, Cafes and Bars
Read Prince of York Launches Little Prince Food Truck so You Can Grab One of Its Fabulous Home-Cooking Boxes at a Stop Near You

Broadsheet’s Live List: Sydney Restaurants Pivoting to Takeaway Due to Coronavirus
Time Out shares Here’s how Sydney’s hospitality businesses are adapting to the Covid-19 pandemic
Good Food reveals 
What Melbourne’s restaurants are doing in response to the coronavirus pandemic

Wherever you live, just google and you will find information on businesses that are doing takeaway and home delivery.

Lyndey Milan’s Baking Secrets on Amazon Prime

In Flame Studio Sydney where we shot most of Baking Secrets

I love anything positive or creative and think the idea of home baking to raise our spirits is fabulous.  Read here about The hashtag connecting home bakers in isolation #BakeCorona. I think it is a great idea. Also, baking doesn’t take too many ingredients and so many of them are pantry staples. Here too you can read my 11 Baking tips that will make all your cakes and biscuits better.
On that note, I’m delighted to say that, along with other of my TV series, my Baking Secrets series is on Amazon Prime Video in the UK, Australia and New Zealand – along with most of my TV series. You can find the link here  If you watch and like it, please consider posting a review directly on Amazon – even a very short one with a word like fabulous (!) and 5 star rating would be much appreciated. There is also a trailer on my website you can view.

A MESSAGE WORTH READING FROM WONDERFUL SYDNEY MARKETS

Australians have just gone through the worst drought and bush fire season in history and many growing regions are still recovering, some were even impacted by recent floods. Disruption to some growing cycles has created a short gap in supply for a few lines.

Panic buying is another pressure that adds to fluctuating prices.

Come on Australia remember the good old Aussie spirit we saw during the bushfire, lets stand side by side (1.5 meters apart of course), buy only what you need and prices will ease

Apples, Pomegranates and Persimmon

FRUIT

Generally, all seasonal fruits are available.

New-season Royal Gala, Jonathon, Granny Smith, Delicious and Golden Delicious apples are all available. Fresh off the trees they are sweet and crunchy.

Put grapes on your shopping list as the range and quality are superb. With over a dozen different varieties to select from including seeded and seedless varieties, juicy grapes are at their best eating in autumn. Prices will vary depending on variety, size and colour.

With their sweet, tender and juicy flesh, pears are an autumn delight! To ripen pears, leave at room temperature for 3-5 days. Select from Williams, Packham and Corella pears. Serve pears poached, add wedges to salads or enjoy sliced pears with low-fat cheese. You will love these Pear & muesli muffins. Pear prices are the same for this time last year.

Smooth, creamy with a nutty-flavoured Shepard avocados are a top buy. A good source of vitamin B6, this vitamin has many functions and is especially important during exercise when it plays a role in changing amino acids into glucose to provide energy to the muscles.

Sweet persimmon also known as fuji fruit is a non-astringent persimmon the most popular variety being the Fuyu. Select smooth, glossy, bright-coloured orange fruit. Like an apple, sweet persimmon can be eaten firm and crisp, however, you can also leave at room temperature to soften. Prices vary, depending on size and quality.

There is still plenty of good eating stonefruit available. Peaches, nectarines and plums, some that were destined to be exported are now available at your local greengrocer and seasonal prices.

Banana prices have been up for a few weeks now, due to exceedingly hot days back on February that cooked the fruit on the trees. Supplies are bouncing back and prices are expected to easy and supply increases. TIP: Remember that overripe bananas can be frozen, then added to a smoothie or defrost and add to cakes, muffins and pancakes.

Vitamin C rich pomegranates are a beautiful, delicious and antioxidant-rich. Add colour and sweetness to an autumn salad with a generous sprinkle of pomegranates arils; they team delicious with oranges, rocket, feta, rice, lentils, beetroot, quinoa, rhubarb, pears and lamb. Serve pomegranates with panna cotta, yoghurt or spatter arils over a Pavlova. Try this Pumpkin, pomegranate & chickpea tabouli salad.

Broccolini, fresh Chestnuts and Eggplant

VEGETABLES

Lively, leafy Asian greens add flavour, colour and crunch to stir-fries. Make the most of the quality selection on offer steam or add leaves to a stir-fry. Most are locally grown so stored in the refrigerator on a plastic bag will keep fresh for several days.

Kale is a super nutritious leafy green that is delicious and easy to prepare. Crisp and crunchy the leaves are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and iron. Toss trimmed leaves into stir-fries, soups, delicious roasted or sautéed kale is a thrifty buy.

Vibrant eggplant comes in many shapes and sizes, so versatile, this mild-tasting veggie is the perfect addition to a variety of cold and cold autumn dishes because it readily absorbs flavour and becomes very tender once cooked. Eggplant is delicious any way you try it barbecued, roasted, grilled or fried.

Red capsicum and salad tomatoes are a bit short supplied. This is a result of delayed planting, earlier in the year, due to extreme weather. Supplies will be more abundant in coming weeks.

Chestnut season has started and you would be nuts not to try them. Cooked chestnuts have a sweet, taste and a texture similar to roast sweet potato. Chestnuts are delicious eaten once boiled, baked, grilled or roasted.

Medium to large-sized zucchinis are so versatile and their mild flavour makes them perfect for grating and adding to risotto, rissoles, meatloaf, pasta dishes and tasty zucchini, parmesan and basil frittatas or use them in a delicious cake like our ‘zucchini and date cake’.

Fennel’s mild aniseed flavour is scrumptious teamed with tomatoes, oranges, lemon or yoghurt in salads, roasted fennel is a superb partner for lamb, chicken or seafood. Bulbs can be cooked whole, cut into wedges or finely shred for salads.

Broccolini is a versatile quick to cook vegetables similar to broccoli in flavour but this week a more thrifty option as broccoli prices are seasonally up at this time of year.

Recipe of the Week

Mediterranean Vegetable Pie

This recipe comes from episode #, Pies & Puds,  of Lyndey Milan’s Baking Secrets.

Serves 4-6
Preparation 40 minutes
Cooking 40 minutes

1 red capsicum
1 green or yellow capsicum
1 small eggplant
1 medium zucchini
2 eschallots, peeled
1 small head garlic, separated into cloves, peeled
¼ cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
120g goat’s cheese

Olive oil pie crust
2 cups (320g) wholemeal plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup (125ml) cold water
1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil

Herbed tapenade
1 cup (150g) pitted black olives
¼ cup (35g) semi-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
2 tablespoons (40ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons (40ml) red wine vinegar
¼ cup thyme or oregano leaves

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C and line two large baking trays with baking paper.
  2. For the vegetables: chop capsicums, eggplant, zucchini and eschallots into 2cm dice.  Tumble onto one of the prepared tray with garlic cloves, drizzle with olive oil and toss with your hands to ensure all are coated.  Season well salt and pepper and roast for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through, tossing the vegetables after 10 minutes to ensure even cooking.
  3. For the olive oil pie crust: combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and add cold water and olive oil.  Using one hand, quickly mix the ingredients together just until they form a ball.  Place the ball on the remaining prepared tray and, using your fingers, push the dough into rectangle  shape measuring 30cm x 23cm.  It should be 0.5cm thick.  Using your thumb and pointer finger press the pastry edges to form an edge of around 1cm, then , pinch pleat  this edge using your fingers.  Bake the pie crust for 10 minutes.
  4. For the herbed tapenade: process all ingredients until smooth.
  5. Remove the pie crust from the oven, spread the base with herbed tapenade, top with roasted vegetables and crumble over goats cheese. Bake for 30 – 40  minutes or until the pie is golden and cooked through.  If the vegetables and cheese are browning too much, cover with a sheet of aluminium foil.  Slice and serve immediately.

Let’s Cook our Way through the Crisis

Slow-roasted Tunisian Spiced Lamb in Paper

My Char-grilled Beef and Asian Veggies
1-minute gluten-free chocolate cake in a cup
Well, I didn’t get to Morocco this year – but I will next year! Meanwhile make my version of Harira, the hearty main meal soup traditionally used to break the fast of Ramadan.
Rag pasta with pumpkin and sage
Spaghetti alla Carbonara
Foolproof Living has 40+ Easy pantry recipes for every mealJoin the Stay at Home” Starter Challenge and begin making your own sourdough bread.

Slow Cooking
Now that most of us are working from home and staying indoors except for daily exercise, it’s the perfect time for slow-cooking. Enjoy the aromas as you work through the day. Get the kids involved.
Slow-roasted Tunisian spiced lamb in paper from Lyndey & Herbie’s Moveable Feast TV series

Slow-cooked beef with Guinness
Slow-roasted sage and thyme beef rump with vegetables

Interesting Reading

Mushrooms are a great food to boost immunity

Here’s a really informative, helpful post from my friend Michele Chevalley Hedge Wellbeing in The Time of Corona – One Bite At A Time
In Stonesoup Jules Clancy writes My Top 3 Best Immune Health Foods
and
How to stock your pantry for coronavirus
Also How to avoid wasted ingredients
Read my blog How to choose, store and cook chestnuts

and
How to stock a pantry
I Love Manchester reveals  
Restaurants are closed – but Manchester chefs are teaching us to cook at home. There are Facebook Live classes which you can join.
I’m not sure keeping wine at the moment is an issue but my friend Fiona Beckett writes How Long Does Wine Keep? 

For our last few nights in London, we’ve been watching Endeavour episodes not available in Australia. However, Time Out has rounded up  The 9 best food movies you should be streaming right nowEmiko Davies, Florence–based cookbook author, writes on how she’s using optimism to cope with this new reality:  Homebound: Our Life in Italy Is Forever Changed, but We’re Not Losing Hope

Think About The Charities

Cure Cancer is committed to finding a cure for cancer in our lifetime

Charities are doing it very tough right now. Organisations like Foodbank in every country are really busy assisting with feeding those in need and well done to all of them doing such important work. One can only imagine how things might change if the situation worsens. Pressure is mounting on them daily as the BBC reports.
Other charities like Cure Cancer , for which I am an Ambassador, find that the ability to fund raise has ground to a halt. In Australia especially where there have been other demands like supporting bush fire and drought appeals, now the impact of COVID-19 is proving to be the biggest challenge of all. Resources are thinly stretched to fund brilliant young researchers who think outside the square at the beginning of their careers. Read their latest newsletter which explains all and is full of innovative ways to support. You can also read my co-ambassador nutritionist Zoe Bingley Pullen’s Immune Cheat Sheet

Stay safe, healthy and happy. Keep up to date with my travels on all my social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter Pinterest and my Youtube channel.

Please share my update with your family and friends. They can subscribe here. You can also read previous updates and newsletters on my website here.

Lyndey

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