L to R: With Head Teacher Cookery Sheridan Marz, Mentor Naomi Lowry and some of the Tasting Success graduates 2019 at TAFE NSW in Ultimo

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

I’m back in Sydney now, having had a relaxing few days with my daughter and family in Singapore. As usual, ate some great food and admired the safety and cleanliness of the city and its fabulous MRT rail system. I also took my granddaughter to her first movie Frozen 2. She was very excited and enjoyed it too. Now happily home in Sydney, in time to go to the lovely Carrington Hotel in Katoomba to host a Moroccan night, along with friends Simon Marnie (from ABC radio) and Ian “Herbie” Hemphill aka The Spice King. A very good time was had by all and a couple more signed up for my trip to Morocco next April  There are now only 2 – 4 places left, so if you are interested, best to make contact now. More information at the bottom of this newsletter.
Welcome to the new subscribers who signed up that night. I hope you enjoy this newsletter.
Tasting Success is the female chef mentoring programme of which I am Co-Founder and Patron. We had our annual graduation this week and it always makes me proud. Since 2007 we have been encouraging apprenticed and non-apprenticed females training to be chefs from Sydney TAFE to complete their courses and stay in the industry. Aside from Masterclasses which cover things their courses don’t they have 35 hours face-to-face mentoring with industry greats. For me, the most rewarding thing about Tasting Success is the transformation and growth in confidence in the participants between their first interview and graduation.Also, though many subscribers are based in Australia or the UK, don’t be put off by the Australian in season information – there are still lots of recipes, interesting reading etc there. And if you scroll down there is information for the UK and often the rest of the world. So I’m mixing up the order a bit this week – and thanks to my friend who pointed this out. Let me know what you think? lyndey@lyndeymilan.com

L: Omar from Afous Restaurant washing Shelia Jarvis’ hands with rosewater on arrival. He also did the Moroccan tea ceremony at the end of our dinner at the Carrington R: the shower over the bathtub in my suite at the Carrington was installed for the Queen Mother when she visited many years ago

Jump ahead to see:
Pacific Opens in London
This Week’s Best Fruit and Veg
Recipe of the Week

What Onion is That?

Onion Recipes
Walking tour of Brixton Markets
Interesting Reading
What’s On
Come Travelling with me in 2020?

Pacific Opens in London

Just some of the dishes Shaun Presland is presenting at Pacific, London

I am thrilled to share with you that Pacific Restaurant has opened as a pop-up in London’s Mayfair. It is the brainchild of acclaimed Australian chef Shaun Presland, who has spent years mastering Japanese cooking under the tutelage of some of the world’s best Japanese chefs – including seven years dedicated to learning how to make sushi! . He was previously executive chef at the Sake restaurant group in Australia, getting great accolades for his cooking. Pacific is an all-day contemporary Japanese restaurant, specialising in market-fresh sashimi, grilled fish and Pacific-region wine with an Australian attitude. It’s so good I went twice in the first week it was open.

L: Kingfish jalapeno yuzu pepper and R: Kim chee brussel sprouts

Both times I had the Kingfish jalapeno yuzu pepper  ( £14 ), the fish in perfect condition, firm and fresh flavoured as always,  served with pickled fennel, house made jalapeno kosho and yuzu ponzu. Both times too a dish which will turn anyone into a brussel sprouts lover:  Kimchi brussel sprouts (£7), fried crisp with a spicy korean inspired vinaigrette, edamame beans and lime. right in season.

L: Robata grilled Waygu steak and R: Bondi roll

The well-named Bondi roll ( £11) is justifiably popular: Tokyo turnip wrapped assorted sashimi, avocado, chive and house soy, the sashimi rich and unctuous contrasting with the crispness of the turnip. Perhaps the most spectacular dish is the Waygu steak (£25)
Robata grilled to medium rare, it’s up to you how long you leave it on the flame. Served with three sauces :BBQ dressing, wasabi and chimi-churi dipping sauces. For someone missing good beef (which is so expensive in London) it was a delight to eat this from the Darling Downs.

The second time I also tried the Miso tooth-fish (£25), as Shaun calls it “Foxy brown grilled”, sustainably caught toothfish, old school Kyoto saikyo miso marinade.

Chirashi salad

The Chirashi salad (£15) of assorted sashimi slices, lettuce, soba noodles, tempura cunrch and yuzu dressing is stunningly presented in an ice bucket.
Service comes with a smile and professionalism. There are tables and banquettes and a lucky few can sit at the counter and watch Shaun weave his magic with a knife. Highly recommended.

Apricots, Piel de Sapo melon and Cherries

FRUIT

One of the delights of late spring and summer is without a doubt Australian grown cherries. Adored for their luscious texture, sweet-tangy flavour, not to mention their glamorous glossy looks cherries can be firm or soft fleshed and vary in sweetness, depending on which variety. Early cherry varieties tend to be the softer eating and delicately flavoured. They will come down in price closer to Christmas but are good eating right now.

Bananas are an all-time favourite. When bananas start to develop a brown freckled appearance on the dulling yellow skin, this indicates that they are at prime ripeness and all the starch content has changed to sugar, so they are at their sweetest. Remember if they are over-ripe to pop them in the freezer until you want to make a banana cake or muffins.

Luscious tropical flavoured mangoes are a seasonal treat. I bought some as soon as I returned to Sydney. Select from Kensington Pride, Calypso and R2E2. Allow firm mangoes to ripen at room temperature until flesh yields to gentle pressure around the stem. Mangoes are coming from Katherine and the Burdekin and is excellent quality. Your local greengrocer is sure to have a special on trays ranging from $20-$30 depending on variety and size.

Golden, velvety skinned apricots are in season. Select plump apricots with a fragrant aroma and no sign of greening around the stem.

Melons flourish in the warmer weather. Look out for Rockmelon,  HoneydewPiel de Sapo melons h and seedless watermelon. Simply serve and serve as a refreshing and healthy snack. Try this Watermelon, Chicken & Marinated Feta Salad.

Check out berries this week: Victorian strawberriesblueberriesblackberries  and raspberries. This Fresh Berries In Maple & Orange Syrup is a delicious way to enjoy berries.

Fragrant and juicy peaches or nectarines are irresistible. Yellow and white flesh varieties from the North Coast of NSW, Peats Ridge (Hawkesbury area), South Australia and Victoria are now available. 

Radishes, cherry and grape tomatoes and green onions (shallots)

VEGETABLES

Cherry and grape tomatoes are plentiful and a thrifty purchase. Try the medley or heirloom tomatoes. These punnets of mixed varieties varying in colours, shapes and flavours are superb eating and have great eye appeal when tossed in a salad. Try this Roasted Cherry Tomatoes With Parmesan Crumbs.

Radishes are totally underrated; their crisp texture and mild mustard flavour add a delicious pop of flavour and texture to summer salads.  This recipe for Quick Pickled Radish, Cucumber & Smoked Salmon Salad is a delicious way to radishes year round. I also love the French way of serving radishes with butter and salt.

Mild tasting green onions also known as shallots are a bargain this week or try spring onions as the small bulb on onions sold by the bunch are a crunchy addition to a salad.

Glossy purple-black skinned eggplants have a tender texture and subtle flavour. Delicious sautéed, baked, grilled or barbecued, eggplants absorb flavours so work well with flavours like tomato, garlic and basil. Premium glasshouse grown eggplant are firm and versatile.

Cos and Iceberg lettuce are a thrifty buy and make wonderful crisp salads or cups for anything from sang choy bau to prawn mayo.

Fresh green beans are a thrifty buy this week or pay more for premium handpicked beans.

Antioxidant-rich kale makes a power-packed bowl, great for breakfast, brunch or a light weeknight dinner Green Veggie, Avocado & Egg Bowls.

Tender, juicy and full of flavour Lebanese cucumbers are a choice buy.. Combine diced cucumber with ripe tomatoes, olives, thinly sliced onion and feta cheese to make a traditional Greek salad.

Add button mushrooms to your shopping list. Slice and add to a pasta dish or stir-fry. Alternatively, thread on to a bamboo skewer, marinate and barbecue.

Asian leafy greens – such as bok choy, choy sum and gai lum are quick to cook, versatile and super nutritious. Add them to your stir-fries or steam and toss with soy sauce and sesame oil.

Ruby red coloured beetroot is sweet, nutty favoured and great value. Use beetroot raw in a salad, finely julienned, it is delicious, juiced and teamed with orange and ginger or roast until tender and toss with feta cheese or create a refreshing Beetroot Detox Breakfast Juice.

Versatile zucchinis are a choice buy.. Try slicing them in half lengthwise, score, then brush with a little olive oil and place on the barbecue or grill plate, cook turning once until tender. This Broccolini, Zucchini Noodle & Pork Stir-Fry only takes 15 minutes to cook and is packed with goodness.

For value, taste and ease of cooking fresh asparagus is a winner, its delicate nutty flavour can be enjoyed raw or cooked, hot or cold and Aussie spears team deliciously with veal, pasta, seafood, prosciutto, chicken and steak. This premium quality vegetable is top of my list now I’m back in Australia. Purple asparagus is also available.

Versatile Jap pumpkin is a thrifty buy this week. Roasting pumpkin concentrates the flavour and it’s a delicious addition to a salad. Try this ultra-tasty roast pumpkin, chickpea, rice & barley salad.

Crisp and vibrant, green sugar snap peas have come down in price. Cooked quickly they maintain their stunning colour and certainly liven up a stir-fry, salad or curry.

Recipe of the Week

Roasted Summer Tomato Tart

Serves 4 or 6 as entree
Preparation Time: 20 minutes + roasting and resting time
Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:
1¾ cups (260g) plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
160g salted butter, chilled, cubed
1 egg yolk
¼ cup (60ml) cold water
1 tablespoon polenta
8 sprigs fresh thyme
100g creamy feta, crumbled
baby salad and beetroot leaf salad mix, to serve

Roasted Summer Tomatoes
350g tub tomato medley
250g packet baby truss tomatoes
3 medium sized vine ripened or heirloom tomatoes
3 small green plum tomatoes
Extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt flakes

Lemon Mascarpone
250g tub mascarpone
Finely grated zest and juice one lemon
Freshly ground pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced). Line two large baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Place the flour and salt in a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse 15 – 20 times while adding cold water all at once. It should just come together into a smooth ball. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead gently.
  3. Place on one of the prepared trays and, using your fingers, push the pastry into rectangle shape measuring about 30cm x 23cm. Sprinkle dough with polenta. Place tray in fridge and refrigerate pastry base for 30 minutes to rest.
  4. While pastry rests, prepare the roasted summer tomatoes: Depending on the size and shape of tomatoes, quarter, thickly slice or leave whole so there is a mix of shapes and sizes. Place the tomatoes on the remaining prepared tray, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake tomatoes for 15 minutes, or until they have softened. Don’t overcook as they cook again on the pastry base. Leave to cool for 15-20 minutes.
  5. For the lemon mascarpone: Combine all ingredients, stir gently.
  6. To bake tart, spoon a tablespoon of lemon mascarpone over pastry base. Place roasted tomatoes evenly over pastry. Sprinkle thyme leaves and sprigs over the top. Either sprinkle with the crumbled feta now (or for a fresher finish add after baking). Bake for 20-25 minutes until pastry is golden and crisp. Rest the tart for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with a dollop of lemon mascarpone and a salad of baby lettuce and beetroot leaves.

What onion is that?

Onions are the most marvellously versatile of vegetables and used in just about every cuisine in the world. There is often confusion about the correct names for onions, compounded by the fact that they are called different things in different states of Australia. So here is a guide.

Green onions (shallots)

Sold in bunches, green onions are often called shallots or green shallots. These green onions have long green stems with a small white underdeveloped bulb at the base. Simply discard the roots and the deep dark green tops before use. Green onions are best eaten raw or quickly cooked. You can also try planting the roots to regrow some green onions.

Brown onions
With a well-balanced yet distinct onion flavour, brown onions have crisp white flesh and papery brown skin. They’re the perfect all-rounder for cooking, we use brown onions in our classic Fresh onion soup recipe and during the cooler months they are ideal for using in casseroles and braises.

Red onions
These vibrant deep crimson-skinned onions have crunchy white flesh tinged with red. They are sometimes incorrectly called Spanish onions. Finely sliced or chopped, red onions can be eaten raw in salads and salsas. Once cooked, they develop a subtle sweetness, which makes the red onion a popular one.

White onions
With their mild yet distinct onion flavour, fleshy white onions are good for barbecuing and general cooking.

Pickling onions
These small-sized onions (about the size of 20 cent coin) are perfect for pickling. Add whole peeled pickling onions to slow-cooked casseroles and roasts.

Spring onions
Sold by the bunch, spring onions are similar to green onions however they have a small white immature bulb at the end of the stem. They’re perfect for braising or slicing, or adding to soup, stir-fries and salads. They are sometimes incorrectly called salad onions.

Eschalots
These small onions grow in clusters and have papery golden-brown skin and are sometimes called French shallots. Sweeter than brown, white or red onions, eschalots have a distinct well-balanced onion flavour. They’re mainly used in French and Asian cooking.

SELECT
Choose white, brown and red onions and eschalots that are dry and firm. Spring and green onions should be firm, vibrant and moist.

STORE
For maximum quality remove from plastic bag and store white, brown and red onions and eschalots in a cool, dry, dark well ventilated place.  Spring and green onions are best kept in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

GOOD FOR YOU
A rich source of a variety of natural sulphur compounds that may have health benefits.
A source of dietary fibre which helps keep the intestine functioning normally and also vitamin C, which contributes to normal immune function.
Onions provide small amounts of many minerals and vitamins that add to our daily intake of these essential nutrients.

Onion Recipes

Thai Salad Lettuce Bites

Thai Salad Lettuce bites – the recipe is here, or watch me make it on Youtube
Balsamic Red Onion & Lamb Salad
Roast Balsamic Apples & Red Onions
Kumara & Caramelised Onion Tortilla
Garlic roast beet, red onion & haloumi salad

Walking Tour of Brixton Markets

There are actually three markets in Brixton, both indoor and outdoor

Elsa showing how coffee is traditionally poured in Ethiopia and R: also always served with popcorn because both coffee and popcorn are toasted in the pan. Note the tray – I bought one too for  £10

Just before I left London, we took an Australian Women’s Club Foodies group on a tour of Brixton Markets with Penelope Sacorafou of Fox and Squirrel. We were mesmerised and she has been kind enough to write what we did and saw – so now you can go and enjoy it yourself – or book a group yourself.
Penelope writes:
“Exiting Brixton station one is immediately faced with a cacophony of traffic, religious chanting, political slogans. You can just about distinguish the calls from vendors in the market right behind the station. The market itself is a treasure trove of unique and wonderful culinary ingredients, street food, and random artefacts. Personally, I’ve always gravitated to the area. It really does embody the beauty of London, the multiculturalism, the diversity and the history of the capital.
We start off our tour by entering Brixton Village, the first of the three covered markets to be renovated. In 2008, the financial crash hit London. Following years of speculation about this hot property, developments for it came to a halt. It was also granted the status of a cultural and architectural gem, a listing that put the final nail in the coffin for the developer’s plans.Our first stop is Elsa’s Ethiopian restaurant. I first met Elsa when she had a tiny street stall on station road. She is a stunning lady with cheek bones Michell Pfeifer would be jealous of. At the time – this is now ten years ago- she was conducting coffee ceremonies every Saturday morning. Ethiopia is responsible for the Arabica blend of coffee. And, Elsa is proud of this fact.Brixton has suited Elsa well and since her days on station road she has moved into a shop in the village. She greets us, and serves us Fata, toasted bread soaked in tomato sauce served with Greek yogurt. This is followed by coffee, which she serves with ginger.Invigorated and warm we meander through the village. Japanese, British, Caribbean, Chinese and Colombian dishes are being cooked and served as we walk by. “

Surprisingly delicious, spicy Fata and R: with the charismatic Brian, trained chef and owner of Fish, Wings & Tings

Penelope continues:
“On to Electric road to purchase dumplings from an expert shop. Never have we seen such a selection of noodles and dumplings housed under one roof. It’s important to note that Brixton is not so much a seasonal farmers market – it’s a global market catering to its diverse ethnicities.
We walk through Reliance Arcade – the last of the three to get a makeover. We stop to purchase Berber spice. Personally, it’s the most complicated spice mix with over 40 ingredients making it up.Head on straight for Market Row. Salon, a British restaurant that set up shop a few years ago offers a rich tasting menu paired with wines. It contrasts the greasy cafe opposite. Miss Cupcake’s kitchen is on our right as we make our way out of the market. A vegan cupcake company, apparently delicious!Walking up Atlantic Road which is lined with butcher’s shops. These guys were the first to sell goat in London. As a Greek – I love the flavour and texture of goat. The Brits took a while to convince!Although it’s a sunny day it’s freezing! We warm our hands and bellies with a wholesome chicken soup from Black and White. Take away please! And we head to Brian’s Fish Wings and tings.Brian opened his restaurant in Brixton 10 years ago. At the time he was the only trained chef amongst a group of pop up restaurants trying their luck in the recession. Brian is still there, and his cod fish fritters served with mango and lime aioli have been described as a high five from Jesus. His goat roti is divine, challenging the perception of goat meat as stringy and string flavoured. This is soft and has been marinated for days and is served with chickpeas.Our tour has come to an end and as we walk back to the station we pass by a mural displaying the calls of the vendors. Traffic, religious chanting and political slogans have subsided…”

What’s On

The Girls from Oz

In London
Earlier this year a trio from The Girls From Oz entertained at a cocktail party we hosted. I am a fan of what they do. Individually, the girls have performed at jazz venues and theatres all over the world, including London’s West End. Between them they have played such roles as Christine in Phantom of the Opera, Mrs. Banks in Mary Poppins, Nancy in Oliver, Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes, Eva Peron in Evita and Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar. However they are also full of sass and armed with killer harmonies, they can sing, joke and put on one helluva an entertaining evening. While they do private and corporate events, they have a couple of concerts coming up:

Friday 20th December, 9pm,
Toulouse Lautrec Jazz Club, 140 Newington Butts, SE11 4RN
Tickets: Concession £14 | Standard £15 |  On The Door £20
With their unique 3-part harmony spin on Christmas favourites, the girls will also pay tribute to Aussie legends such as Kylie, Sia, Peter Allen, The Bee Gees and AC/DC.

Australia Day Sunday 26th January, 8pm. Pizza Express Live
99 High Holborn, WC1V 6LF
Tickets £15

16,500 km away to the Land Down Under you can hear their fair dinkum 3-part harmony spin on Aussie legends such as Kylie, Sia, Tim Minchin, The Bee Gees and Accadaaca (AC/DC), this cabaret will bring enough sparkle to brighten up even London’s grey skies. Struth!
Both shows and more can be booked via the website
www.thegirlsfromozgroup.com

I was lucky to see Irving Berlin’s White Christmas before I left London, and if you love Danny Kaye singing that song, you’ll love this too. At the Dominion Theatre in London but only until 4 January.  Details and booking here.

Join me at Morocco on a Plate for fun, stories, dinner and dancing at the Carrington Hotel, Katoomba Monday 25 November

Global

GELINAZ Tuesday, 3 December 2019
Following the success of the inaugural SHUFFLE in 2015 – an unprecedented feat where 37 chefs from across the globe swap restaurants, homes and personal lives for four days – this year’s challenge, DomoSophism is all about staying put. In a world of environmental consciousness, GELINAZ! SHUFFLE 2019 stays at home. This year only the recipes travel. Picked by ballot, each restaurant will be partnered with another anonymous participating restaurant, sharing recipes across the globe. Chefs received 8 new recipes on 1 November. The official mission: to undo each one of them, to remix them all and create eight new, spontaneously rethought & totally remodeled dishes. In true GELINAZ! spirit, no one (not chefs, front of house staff, nor guests) will know the name of their partnered restaurant or chef until dinner is served, when GELINAZ! will inform with a grand reveal.

48 of the world’s greatest and cutting-edge chefs from
138 restaurants in
38 countries
700 hours of simultaneous cooking
2,200 recipes
Information, participating restaurants and bookings here.

Interesting Reading

The Christmas market in Aachen, Germany Photograph: Alamy

Time Out writes about The Best European Christmas markets to visit this winter.

Apparently Rosemary is not a separate species of plant after all — it is a sage, the Royal Horitcultural Society (RHS) has ruled as they tell gardeners to change their plant labels.The RHS is to adopt a change in the scientific name for rosemary after research has shown that is in fact a salvia, or a sage. In technical terms it will now be known as Salvia rosmarinus, rather than Rosmarinus officinalis, but its common name – rosemary – remains unchanged.
The Telegraph (UK) reports  Rosemary is not a rosemary, rules RHS – it’s a sage, as they tell gardeners to change plant labels. 

The Age reveals that a new book Signature Dishes that Matter includes more than 200 dishes from restaurants around the world. Stellar dishes from such world-famous chefs as Ferran Adria, Alain Ducasse, Rene Redzepi and heston Blumenthal are joined by Bill Granger’s Avocado Toast, Black Star Pastry’s strawberry watermelon cake, Tetsuya’s confit of ocean trout with fennel salad and Golden Century’s XO sauce live pippies.

Come Travelling with me in 2020?
Two very different trips
Slight change of dates for Puglia

The next tour I am escorting is with By Prior Arrangement to Morocco 16-27 April 2020. This is an extraordinary destination, but one best visited with specialised knowledge and contacts to ensure a happy and seamless experience. Carol Prior of By Prior Arrangement focusses only on Morocco, a country she has known for 30 years and where she lived for over a decade.  I could think of no-one better to plan the tour with.

This trip will see us travel from Rabat the capital, to spiritual Meknes and Fes, and to Marrakech the red city. On the way you will explore the archaeological site of Volubilis, visit a Berber village in the Atlas Mountains, and relax by the coast in tranquil Essaouira. You’ll discover the delicacies of Moroccan and French food, dine in local eateries through to upmarket restaurants, and experience the making and flavours of Moroccan dishes during cooking classes. Luxury accommodation is in charming, authentic riads. sometimes in exclusivity. Only 10 – 12 guests$8850 pp shared, or $10,550 single.
Details here
Read my article Where to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in Rabat
Read
Off on The Road to Morocco in this Magnificent Life
Read
Lyndey Takes Us On a, Exotic Food Journey Through the Cobbled Streets of Morocco.

Wonderful sublty spiced traditional Moroccan dishes. The salads (left) really transform seemingly ordinary ingredients like carrots

Culinary Adventures in Puglia 30 September – 6October 2020.
Puglia is a relatively undiscovered part, in the boot of the heel of Italy, it’s where Italians go for holidays! 

“I loved every moment of the tour, Lyndey is an excellent host, great fun & very  knowledgeable in wine & food while our tour guide, Max, knows the history of Puglia so well, which was great as we visited lovely old towns with amazing old buildings.Our accommodation was 4 to 5 star & wonderful & we had some truly amazing meals & wines.” writes Julie Tulloch, a fellow traveller in May last year.
It was such a fabulous experience, we are repeating it in October 2020 to share an unforgettable week of culinary and cultural exploration. Think hands-on bread, cheese making and cooking class; visits to wineries, olive farm, tours of UNESCO sites Alberobello & Matera & other cultural centres with local guides. All sensational meals and wines included. You only need money for the very inexpensive shopping you will find there.

Group size: an intimate 8-16 places only
Price: $5499 per person for all ground arrangements (single supplement $799)
Lodging in authentic, family-run noble estates and palaces
Operated by: Local Puglia specialist Southern Visions Travel: the leading experiential travel company in Southern Italy
Full brochure 
here

Read more about my adventures in Puglia
Explore Puglia in House & Garden Magazine
Seven dishes you must try in Puglia, Italy in the Sydney Morning Herald
Puglia, the undiscovered heart in Selector Magazine

Sea urchins fresh from the sea, ready to eat and a happy group last tour in Alberobello, Puglia

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Lyndey

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