Weekly Update

Sharing a casual monthly morning tea at the V & A Museum with Australian Women’s Club members in London. 

It’s getting chilly in London, though last weekend was glorious. This week I have had to succumb and turn on the central heating, including now as I write this. It is 8’C.  Mentioning last weekend, it was not the predicted 100,000 people who demonstrated in a march from Park Lane to Parliament on the people’s right to vote on the Brexit terms, but an incredibly 700,000. The aerial photos were extraordinary.
I have also been pounding the pavements looking for new London office premises for our TV business Flame and I do enjoy finding streets I didn’t previously know. Having lived in London in the late 70s and making many visits back, I do know it well, but it’s always great to learn more.
I also saw a very moving play Warheads, co-written by a friend of mine, which centred on a young man suffering PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) after two tours in Afghanistan. I found it all the more poignant, as it was my young friends who were conscripted and went to the Vietnam War. PTSD was not diagnosed for so many of them until long after.  More than anything it shows that with a war, no-one is a winner.

Jump ahead to see:

This Week’s Best Fruit and Veg
Recipe of the Week
Where I’ve Eaten
London Jottings
Interesting Reading
What’s On
Techniques and Know How

This Week’s Best Fruit and Veg
in Australia & a mention of London

The best of this week’s fruit: avocadoes, mangoes and honeydew melon

The Northern Territory mango season is hotting up with thousands of trays arriving in the Sydney Markets and dispersed to greengrocer across NSW and ACT. Look out for juicy Kensington Prides or a firmer fleshed R2E2 variety. Your local greengrocer will also have specials on trays or multi buys, so make the most of cheap mangoes this week.

Honeydew melons are in season. Select from two varieties, both have super sweet white flesh but one has a white rind and the other a golden yellow rind. 

The sweet, attractive crimson flesh of seedless watermelon makes a refreshing change. Enjoy a slice or wedge as a healthy snack or dessert fruit. It also makes wonderful juice. 

Small quantities of mulberries and blackberries are now available and certainly I have been buying beautiful fat blackberries from the barrows in London.

Sweet and tangy Queensland pineapples abound. Pineapples do not ripen further after harvesting, once cut, cover and refrigerate. Serve sliced, diced, crushed or pureed. Try these Pineapple & chicken satay kebabs.

Harvesting of South Australian, Western Australia and Victoria strawberries is yielding quality berries and punnets are very reasonably priced.

Large cherry tomatoes are a top buy. Try them roasted or added to a pasta like this fast and fresh Cherry tomato, chilli & tuna spaghetti.

Versatile and vitamin rich, avocados are a health choice and a bargain this week. Also a bargain from barrows in London. This Spicy avocado, tomato & lime salsa with salmon is perfect to serve as a mid-week meal.

Beetroot, broad beans and asparagus

Fresh beetroot are a thrifty buy so bake, steam or microwave. The cooking times will vary depending on the size of the bulbs – it helps to choose bulbs of a similar size so they will cook in the same time. Add diced beetroot to a salad. Try a combination of beetroot, watercress, toasted walnuts and goat’s cheese.

Halloween pumpkins are increasingly becoming a seasonal favourite. If you are participating in Halloween festivities then decorating your door step with a carved a glowing jack o lantern at your front door or gate. is a fun way to let the kids in your neighborhood know that you are willing to participate in a trick or treat? 

Fast to cook, versatile, healthy and delicious – Aussie green asparagus is still a bargain.  Barbecue, sauté or steam and serve with cracked black pepper and Parmesan cheese. Also fabulous as vegetarian finger food for a cocktail party. Toss together this Broccoli, snow Pea, asparagus stir-fry and serve with salt & pepper squid or alternative protein.

Liven up a pasta dish, stir-fry or rice dish with broccoli florets or cut heads in to 4 thick slices to serve steamed for barbecued, then drizzled with a salsa verde or romesco sauce. 

If you’re a fond of nutty flavoured broad beans than now is the time to get cooking. Broad beans are plentiful and inexpensive. Choose firm, pale green broad beans with plump, rather than bulging, pods. Smaller young pods house the most tender beans.  This broad bean & spinach dip is also delicious used as a sandwich spread.

Crunchy radishes with their colourful skin and crisp-white flesh have a unique peppery flavour. They are always very well-priced in London with different sizes and colours, Add very thinly sliced radish to salads, slaws and sandwich fillings. This Lettuce, cucumber, radish & chicken salad is fresh and zingy. .

Team mild aniseed flavoured Victorian fennel with smoked salmon. Try this lovely salad combination Crunchy greens & smoked salmon salad.

Vibrant Lebanese cucumbers add a juicy crunch to salads and are perfect to serve with dips. They team well with the fresh flavours like mint and dill, tomatoes, lemon, sour cream, feta and yoghurt. 

Sold by the bunch, tender English spinach is delicious eaten raw or cooked. Wash leaves and stems then shred to add them to a salad, omelette, pasta dishes or a risotto. 

If you’re tossing together a stir fry, pick up a few bunches of Asian vegetables such as Bok choy and Choy sum are great value, full of flavour and only take minutes to cook.

Crisp and vibrant, green snow peas are a choice buy. Cooked quickly they maintain their stunning colour and certainly liven up a stir-fry, salad to vegetable medley.

Recipe of the Week

Flash back to my Taste of Ireland TV series: Stuffed Pork Fillet wrapped in Bacon

From Lyndey Milan’s Taste of Ireland – episode 4, County Fermanagh
This recipe is all about Pat Doherty’s black pigs and the pork and bacon they produce. They roam freely on an island in Lough Erne and the finished product is sold in his shop. I combined with with salad, freshly picked from Orchard Acre Farm.

Serves 2
Preparation 5 minutes
Cooking 15 –20 minutes

1 large (300g) pork fillet
6 long, even rashers bacon
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
3 teaspoons (15g) butter
8 fresh sage leaves

Stuffing
1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
200-250g pork mince

Salad
2 thick rashers bacon
4 leaves curly lettuce
4 leaves baby kale
4 soft lettuce leaves, e.g. butter lettuce
1 young beetroot, peeled and sliced
½ cucumber, peeled and sliced
2 yellow tomatoes, cut into small wedges
1 sprig spearmint, leaves chopped
Nasturtiums, leaves and flowers
Snow pea shoots and flowers

Vinaigrette
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon brown sugar
½ tablespoon (10ml) white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons (40ml) extra virgin olive oil

For pork, mix stuffing ingredients and set aside. Cut a pocket in the pork fillet by slicing lengthways, leaving the last centimetre uncut. Cut a further pocket by slicing sideways from this cut, down the left and right side.

Open fillet out and flatten with fingers. Place stuffing evenly down the length of the fillet. Roll pork to reform original shape. Wrap bacon rashers, one at a time around pork, overlapping the ends. If necessary, hold together with toothpicks. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and add oil and two teaspoons butter. When the butter is foaming, add pork fillet and cook over medium heat, turning frequently until, brown on all sides. Reduce heat to very low and cover. Cook for 10 – 15 minutes or until firm to the touch and cooked through. Remove to a warm place, cover with foil and rest for 5-10 minutes.

For vinaigrette, whisk together all ingredients except oil in salad bowl. When well combined, drizzle in oil while still whisking. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

For salad, cut extra bacon into small strips to make lardons and dry fry in preheated small frying pan over medium heat until brown and crisp. Remove and drain on paper towel. Build salad on top of vinaigrette placing leaves first, then beetroot, cucumber, tomatoes, spearmint and finally lardons and flowers. Toss just prior to serving.

To serve, melt remaining one teaspoon butter in a small frying pan and when foaming add sage leaves. Turn and when crisp drain on paper towel. Slice pork, dot with sage leaves and serve with salad.

Lyndey’s note: beetroot leaves can also be added to the salad

Where I’ve Eaten

A zero waste snack made from what many would consider waste – a seed cracker with whipped smoked trout, mustard seeds and dill

Native

Native opened a couple of years ago in Covent Garden but is now in a quiet location nearby London Bridge. It aims to provide its guests with an original dining experience that encapsulates the country’s best native wild food through a combination of innovative cooking and country thrift. I have to say I loved Jay Rayner’s comments in his review of the original Native in Covent Garden, where he notes that foraging is not sustainable in any volume and that “Farming is what made us who we are today”.  As I put in my London jottings last week, I enjoy reading his reviews. He did, however, like the restaurant for its excellent cooking. So did I, and for the service though the surroundings were quite pared back, rustic perhaps, but more industrial.

Certainly the zero-waste ethos is very on trend, so we were keen to try asnack. From three on offer, we opted for a crisp “cracker” of seeds cleverly held together and topped with whipped offcuts of smoked trout, topped with brown mustard seeds and dill. Loved the presentation on a large smooth stone too.

L: Smoked Ham Hock Croquettes, Burnt Apple Bearnaise, Pickled Apple;
R: Chegworth Butternut Squash, Beenleigh Blue Mugwort Butter, Sage

We opted for the Express Lunch Menu without the express time frame, largely because the items on it were what we wanted to order anyway. Good value at 2 courses for £23 and 3 courses for £30 with two choices per course.
I find croquettes irresistible so that was my choice for starter. These were smoky and meaty, well contrasted by a burnt apple bearnaise and little balls of apple. The melon baller had been at work too on the Chegworth Butternut Squash, several perfect, slightly firm globes of squash nestled amongst blue cheese, crisp sage and a pumpkin skin pangrattato. Yep – you got it – dehydrated pumpkin skin crumbed and deep fried. Truly delicious.
The organic Von Buhl Riesling Trocken from Pfalz 2015 (£45) was very dry, but once we started eating, sang with the food.

L: Wild Mallard, Sutton Farm Squash, Pickled Kohlrabi, Walnut Granola;
R: Hogseed Vadouvan, Carrot & it’s Tempura Tops, Hay Ash Honey, Dukkah

Regular readers will know of my love of game, so the Wild Mallard was a natural choice. Squash appeared again, this time as a puree which the rare and rested fillets of richly-flavoured duck breast sat on. The leg was well-cooked and fell off the bone, beside a neat tower of pickled kohlrabi which provided a tangy contrast to the richness of the jus. All finished with walnut granola and some prunes.
The stand-out dish, however, was the Hogseed Vadouvan. The house-made spice blend was perfectly balanced, contrasting with the sweetness of pan-fried carrots served on top of a smear of yoghurt, the crunch of the tops treated like tempura and sprinkled with dukkah. 

L: Hay Cream, Kentish Raspberries, Basil, English Chia Seed Sable;
R: Caramelised Honey Truffle, Burnt Meringue

Delicious as it was we had enough of squash and carrot so avoided the Carrot curd dessert and instead went for the Hay Cream, which was in fact pannacotta, topped with a berry syrup and raspberries, the sweetness cut by the use of Greek basil. It came topped with a half disc of crisp chia seed sable. With that, not so much a dessert as a petit four, Caramelised honey truffle (£3), coated in torched meringue and served on a stick.
There is no espresso machine, but the excellent filter coffee came served in, you guessed it, cups made from pre-used coffee beans! Fun, relaxed, delicious and well-priced. Worth a visit.

London Jottings

My local, Regent’s Park

Loving:

  • how close London is to so many other fabulous places. We’re going to Paris for 24 hours on the EuroStar next week. Can’t wait.
  • my new digital radio and discovering stations like BBC 4
  • Rick Stein’s pasticcio. He cooked it for dinner last Sunday night and I can still taste it! Catching up with old friends is always special.
  • cooking with ingredients brought back from my travels, red chickpeas and dried pepperoncini  from Puglia and dehydrated eggplant shells from Turkey

Not so happy

  • missing the influx of mangoes as the season gets into full swing in Australia
  • roadworks all over London which take an eternity to be finished. Wherever you walk there are barricades and road or footpath closures. Why so many?
  • missing the beginning of the jacaranda season, a tree I have sentimental reasons for loving. Here’s where to see the best in Sydney and NSW. 

Interesting Reading

Savoury or sweet? The cheese course at Laura, Point Leo Estate. Photo Kristoffer Paulsen

Gemima Cody writes in Good Food on Food trends of 2018: From Vegemite curry to tartare terrorism.

A fascinating piece in SBS online reporting  You may be surprised at the most popular street foods according to Intrepid. Who’d have thought it was falafel in France?

Time Out reports on the best sushi in Sydney according to Amex.

In The Real Review, Toni Paterson MW opines that “There’s a time, and place, for colloquial wine terms. Fine dining is not one of them.”

What’s On

Celebrate Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead)  with pop-ups by Patrón Tequila, traditional food, installations and secret parties

Sydney
Everyone knows about Halloween, but there’s another event at the end of October that deserves just as much celebration: the Mexican celebration of Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. This annual festival traditionally starts on the same day as Halloween (October 31) and runs until November 2, with the holiday focusing on remembering and honouring loved ones who have died. This year Sydneysiders can join in with the celebrations with a week-long series of events hosted by Patrón Tequila. This Mexican tequila brand is throwing a Day of the Dead bash across the city with festivities such as live installations, art exhibitions, music, entertainment, traditional food and plenty of Patrón tequila.

Read more in Time Out 
Tickets are available now via Eventbrite. 

Delhi ‘O’ Delhi Wine Dinner with First Creek Wines
Charismatic chef, Harpal Singh Sokhi is returning to this  Newtown restaurant to create a menu to match a range of award-winning wines from the acclaimed 5 red star Hunter Valley winery, First Creek Wines. $5 from every ticket sold is also being donated to OzHarvest – Australia’s leading food rescue organisation.
Thursday 1st November. 2018
Delhi ‘O’ Delhi: 3/13 Erskineville Road, Newtown
Time: 7pm
Cost: $100 per person
Bookings: Delhi ‘O’ Delhi: Phone: (02) 9557 4455 | Email: events@delhiodelhi.com.au

Melbourne Cup Lunches
Sydney Scoop gives the low-down on venues for The Melbourne Cup celebrations: Sit Down Lunch vs Canapes
Vacations Magazine lists 11 of the best Melbourne Cup lunches

Essential Ingredient Warehouse Sale 9am – 4pm, Saturday 10th November 2018
Discounts of up to 80% off RRP are on offer on a first come first served basis.
Rear of 48 O’Riordan St Alexandria – entry via William Lane
Read more here.

Paris
Forbes Magazine reports that the indefatigable Alain Ducasse has launched a Haute Gastronomy Cruise on the Seine.

Netflix

As a cook and wine lover, I have long used the five tastes – acid, bitter, salt, sweet and umami – and indeed now the 6th, fat – as a way to theorise about food and wine matching. So I am intrigued by the concept of Salt, Fat, Acid Heat, the book by Samin Nostrat. Now the TV series which goes with it is going to be shown on Netflix.  

Techniques and Know How

My favourite recipe for ragu

SBS ponders The true ragu: Have we been doing spag bol all wrong?
What recipe do you follow? Like many traditional Italian recipes, there are many ragu variations. My favourite version uses a mix of pork and veal mince (for flavor and sweetness), white wine, not too much tomato and a drop of milk at the end – not your average spaghetti bolognaise! The secret is long, slow cooking. I also love to add chicken livers with the meat but not everyone likes offal. I find short pasta works best with this sauce, but you could use whatever you have to hand. Here is my recipe for Traditional Pork & Veal Ragu with PenneWomen’s Weekly Food have pulled together 20 gluten-free desserts and sweets.

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Lyndey

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