October – November Newsletter

The Hautes Etudes du Goût  class of ’19 in Reims, France last Saturday.  25 students (1 missing) from 15 nationalities with Remi Krug, Chairman (centre front), Edwige Regnier, Program Manager to his left & Colette Padet, Director of Studies, University of Reims to his right.

Well, it’s been a long silence from me with a lovely several days in Burgundy in early October and then an incredibly intensive fortnight studying in Paris and Reims. This was a Post-graduate academic course in taste, HEG or Hautes Etudes du Goût. The first week was in Paris, based at Le Cordon Bleu and the second in Reims under the auspices of  the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne. It was full on with lectures going for up to 3 hours, lots of chemistry, physics and biology and great camaraderie with other students. We finished with an written exam last Saturday and to receive the  D.U.G.G.A.T (Diplôme Universitaire du Goût, de la Gastronomie et des Arts de la Table) need to complete a thesis in the next 7 months. Nothing like a challenge!
After a final lunch, hosted by Remi Krug who is the Chairman of HEG, we returned to Paris and I caught the Eurostar back to London. No sooner home than preparing for a cooking class I held for the Australian Women’s Club London. 16 ladies came, along with my friend Debra McGuigan who presented McGuigan wines with me to match my food. All made just a bit more challenging by the water being turned off in my building from 9am-4pm. However, with buckets, jugs and vases filled we survived and much fun was had by all.

L: Putting the finishing touches to my paella and R: Bessara, an easy Moroccan recipe

Youtube Fast & Fabulous Meal in a Minute

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Jump ahead to see:
What’s In Season in October/November
The best in fruit and veggies this week
Recipe of the week
In Season Recipes
Focus on Melons
Melon Recipes
Tip of the week

Come Travelling with me in 2020?
Interesting Reading
What’s On
How to’s

What’s in Season in October/November

Spring brings with it a wealth of wonderful fruit and vegetables

Fruit

  • Avocados
  • Banana
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Grapefruit
  • Loquats
  • Mangoes
  • Melons
  • Mulberries
  • Oranges: Valencia
  • Papaw
  • Papaya
  • Passionfruit
  • Pineapples
  • Pomelo
  • Strawberries
  • Youngberries

Veggies

  • Artichokes: Globe
  • Asian greens
  • Asparagus
  • Beans: Broad
  • Beans: Green
  • Beetroot
  • Cucumber
  • Chillies
  • Fennel
  • Garlic, fresh
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions: Spring
  • Onions: Green (Shallots)
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Silverbeet
  • Spinach
  • Sweetcorn
  • Tomatoes
  • Watercress
  • Zucchini
  • Zucchini flowers

The best in fruit and veggies this week in Australia

Mango, papaya and honeydew melon

FRUIT

Blueberries are one of nature’s convenience foods. They require no peeling, pitting or coring. Simply wash and enjoy them. Blueberries are an excellent source of vitamin A and a good source of vitamin C. Also available all over London and great value.

Supplies of peaches and nectarines from the Sydney Hills District and the North Coast are arriving in increasing volumes. Choose plump, highly coloured fruit with a fragrant, fruity aroma that has a give around the stem. 

In season now until mid-summer, succulent sweet Kensington Pride and R2E2 mangoes are bursting with tropical flavour. Mangoes add a delicious sweetness to spicy salsa. Team mangoes with fresh cooked and peeled prawn in a salad or whip up this Asian mango, pork & coriander noodle salad

Luscious new season Victorian and Sydney strawberries are highly coloured, good quality, fragrant and sweet eating. Serve sliced strawberries with ricotta French toast for breakfast or brunch.

One of the most nutritious fruits, papaya is rich in vitamin C (200g would provide 2-3 days’ supply) and beta carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A. Enjoy nutrient-packed papaya with a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Female papaya is more rounded in shape and male fruit is more oval in shape and generally smaller in size 

Bananas are at top buy. Whip up a loaf of banana, honey and cinnamon bread for afternoon tea.

Creamy Hass avocados are enticing and naturally good for you. This vibrant smoothie is packed with valuable antioxidants and tastes great. Try it this week Avocado & banana ‘spinach smuggler’ smoothie.

Add quality Truss tomatoes to your shopping list this week. For maximum flavour ripen tomatoes to a rich red colour by storing at room temperature. Cherry and grape tomatoes are plentiful and a thrifty purchase.

L: TOP; truss cherry tomatoes BOTTOM; iceberg lettuce and  R: asparagus

VEGETABLES

Premium quality Iceberg lettuces are good value. Use the lettuce cups to serve San Choy Bow or cut ahead into six large wedges and serve drizzled with a blue cheese dressing. Or enjoy a classic French dish of shredding lettuce, cooked lightly in a dab of butter with a generous handful of fresh shelled peas. Click here to learn the best way to get the perfect lettuce cups.

Zucchinis are a thrifty buy this week with supplies coming from Queensland and the local Sydney area. Serve zucchinis char-grilled or barbecued. We also grating zucchini using them in these vegetable quinoa burger patties

Australian-grown tender green asparagus is at its best. Plunge trimmed asparagus spears into a pan of simmering water and cook for 2 minutes, drain and refresh in cold water. Wrap spears in a slice of ham for a quick snack, toss chopped spears through salads and include in rice paper roll fillings. 

Crisp and flavoursome Victorian grown fennel is delicious raw or cooked and good value.

Add quality Truss tomatoes to your shopping list this week. For maximum flavour ripen tomatoes to a rich red colour by storing at room temperature.

Flat mushrooms have a rich, umami flavour and are ideal for barbecuing or grilling. Brush well with garlic flavoured oil or melted butter before cooking . A delicious dish for an easy weeknight dinner or weekend brunch is this roasted mushrooms with wilted spinach & eggs

Celery adds crunch and flavour to a great range of salads and stir-fries and its juicy flesh teams well with creamy dips. Choose crisp pale green celery with fresh-looking leaves. 

Asian leafy greens are quick to cook, versatile and super nutritious. Add them to your favourite stir-fry. This miso veggies & beef with noodle dish is perfect to serve as a spring mid-week meal.

Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamins A and C. To retain maximum flavour and nutrition, cook broccoli lightly. Broccoli sprigs are delicious blanched and served with dips or added to a spring salad. This quick broccoli pesto & chorizo penne is packed with flavour.

Most garlic sold in Australia is imported from China, Argentina, Mexico, America and New Zealand. About 5% is Australian grown and the good news is fresh Aussie garlic from the Riverina is now in season. Fresh and juicy with sweet yet pungently flavour, Read my focus on garlic and garlic recipes in my September newsletter.

Recipe of the week

Salad of Beetroot, Feta and Walnuts

Salad of Beetroot, Feta and Walnuts (saláta may féta kai karídia) from Lyndey & Blair’s Taste of Greece cookbook.

I really enjoyed a salad of raw beetroot on Crete on a visit to Greece before I shot my TV series, Lyndey & Blair’s Taste of Greece there. 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 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.

In Season Recipes

Stuffed Zucchini Flowers

Stuffed zucchini flowers
Pickled baby beets
Asparagus, pea & zucchini with mint
Perfect pasta with quick cherry tomato sauce
25 mushroom recipes
Pasta with zucchini & lemon sauce
Mediterranean vegetable pie
BBQ Rangers rump with garlic & parsley served with zucchini, eggplant & grilled tomato salad
Seared waygu with mushroom wagyu & zucchini salad
Gluten-free zucchini & carrot slab cake
Poached peaches

Focus on Melons

MELONS
Colourful juicy melons flourish in the warmer weather. Melons are available in a range of colours, with each differing in flavour and sweetness. Simply slice and serve for a refreshing snack, enjoy them juiced or added to a sweet or savoury salad.

All melons are picked ripe and ready to eat. All melons should be washed before slicing and serving because they grow on the ground. Choose a whole melon that feels heavy for its size. If cut, the flesh should look even-coloured and moist. Store cut melon covered with plastic wrap in the fridge. It’s best eaten within a few days.

MELON VARIETIES
WATERMELON 

Vivid pink super cool watermelon is always a hit. Most watermelons are cylindrical to round in shape with a  mottled or stripy green rind and are available all year, peaking in spring and summer.

They are a source of vitamin C, which contributes to the normal functioning of the body’s immune system. Provides beta carotene which the body converts to vitamin A. This vitamin is needed for normal skin structure and function. The deeper the colour of the red flesh, the higher the level of beta carotene. A source of lycopene, a carotenoid also found in tomatoes and pink grapefruit and being researched for its role in the health of the prostate gland in men.

Seedless varieties have become very popular and are ideal for serving to young children. Sweet watermelon has a high-water content making it hydrating and refreshing for busy kids on the run. Toss watermelon balls into a fruit salad. Watermelon is delicious served icy cold but why not try it warm? Place wedges on a chargrill or barbecue for a few minutes and serve with feta cheese, mint and olives.
For an adult palate refresher or snack, serve a slice of watermelon with a shot of vodka or gin.

HONEYDEW MELON
Honeydews are usually round to slightly oval in shape with a smooth, white or gold rind. The flesh colour ranges from pale green to green and is succulent and juicy. White-skinned honeydew with a musky aroma is the sweetest and contains more naturally occurring sugars.

Available all year round honeydews melons are a popular choice in spring and summer with the season peaking January to February.

A good source of vitamin C which contributes to the formation of collagen and its role in healthy gums, teeth, cartilage, bones and skin. Provides dietary fibre, needed for normal laxation.

ROCKMELON
Juicy orange-fleshed rockmelon has a distinctively sweet taste and netted firm rind. The sweetest rockmelons have a delicate musky aroma. Serve wedges of rockmelon in a tub of reduced fat tropical yoghurt for a sweet snack or serve on an antipasto with cold meats. 

Rockmelons (sometimes called cantaloupes) are available all year round. Peaking in November to March.

A source of beta carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A. This vitamin is needed for normal vision. A good source of vitamin C which contributes to the normal functioning of the body’s immune system. Provides potassium which may help balance the effects of sodium from salt.

PIEL DE SAPO MELON
New to the marketplace this melon originates from Spain, where its name translates to toad skin, an apt description for this melons extra thick and rough mottled rind. Known also as Santa Claus or Christmas melon, Piel de Sapo melons have juicy pale yellowish green dense flesh, that is super sweet eating. Available all year round. Select melons that feel heavy for their size. Serve as a healthy snack, team with sweet or savoury flavours. For a delightful and refreshing change toss melon balls or chunks into a salad.

Melon Recipes

Melons with spiced sparkling drizzle, quark & pistachios

  • Serve melon wedges with thinly sliced proscuitto, rocket leaves and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
  • Thread melon balls onto skewers alternatively with baby bocconcini, serve with drinks.
  • Team chopped melon with Greek yoghurt and honey for breakfast.
  • For a starter, served chilled melon slices topped with sliced baked ricotta and thinly sliced serrano ham. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil to serve.

Melons with spiced sparkling drizzle, quark & pistachios
Watermelon, rocket & haloumi salad with mint dressing
Rockmelon & turkey salad
Watermelon, chicken & marinated feta salad
Watermelon & barbecued chicken salad
Rockmelon “carpaccio” & haloumi salad
Watermelon cubes with feta, olives & mint
Watermelon & mint granita

Tip of the week

Authentic lasagne

I only read about the Pasta Grannies – Italian home cooks, all over 65, whose skills at hand-making pasta have been documented on film by food writer Vicky Bennison, when I read The Times last Saturday. Along with an extract from the new Pasta Grannies cookbook, was some advice which I thought I would share.

Bennison, who lives part of the year in the Marche region of Italy had noticed that  pasta skills are dying out in Italy She started her Youtube channel as a way to catalogue the traditional handmade pasta skills of Italy’s grandmothers. For the past five years, she has crisscrossed the country, inviting her audience into the homes of these nonnas as they lovingly prepare their favorite dishes. There are now more than 250 videos to watch and Pasta Grannies on YouTube now has more than 400,000 subscribers.

So the top tips for lasagne?
1. The pasta must dominate the lasagne. The meat ragu has a supporting role, so be sparing with it when you assemble the lasagne. To be a proper lasagne bolognese there should be at least five layers of pasta.
2. Don’t buy shop-bought passata, use a tin of whole tomatoes and blitzi them to make a passata – the producers have to use their undamaged, unblemished tomatoes for this, making it a better-quality product.
3. Add whole milk to the ragù, as it adds a touch of creaminess and sweetness and also balances out the acidity of the tomatoes. Add it along with the passata and add more as necessary during the simmering process (which should take about two hours).

I use milk in my Traditional pork & veal ragu with penne.

Come Travelling with me in 2020?

Enjoy the sights, sounds and colours of the souks in Morocco

Two fabulous hosted trips:
The next tour I am escorting is with By Prior Arrangement to Morocco 16-27 April 2020This 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

In Puglia, you too can experience traditional bread making and sea urchins fresh from the sea

Culinary Adventures in Puglia 4 – 10 October 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

Trips are always fun. Here’s a happy group in Alberobello, Puglia

Interesting Reading 

So, Ottonlenghi loves tray bakes? Like this Pasta and butternut squash cake.

Who doesn’t love Ottolenghi? Well, he is a fan of tray bakes as this article reveals.
The Eater reveals The Best Indian Restaurants in London.
Good Food in Australia advises: How to eat at hatted restaurants for less
Here are The World’s 50 Best Bars 2019: At a Glance.
Go London shares Michelin star guide 2020: These are the new restaurants across the UK and Ireland named in the red book

What’s On

The Annual Sculpture by the Sea is on at Bondi, Sydney

In Australia
The annual Sculpture by the Sea is on again. It’s the largest free to the public sculpture exhibition in the world. Now in its 23rd year, Bondi’s famous Sculpture by the Sea spectacle attracts almost half a million visitors over the course of 18 days until its close Sunday, November 10, 2019, and unofficially signals the beginning of summer in the Harbour City. Sculptures are along 2km of the Bondi Beach to Tamarama coastal walk.
Bondi, 23rd annual exhibition  |  24 October – 10 November 2019
Cottesloe, 16th annual exhibition  |  6 – 23 March 2020
Information plus a video of highlights here.

In UK
If you’re a fan of food and food photography, you may be excited to hear there is a new exhibition at The Photographers’ Gallery in London, exploring the rich history of food photography. Discover the gallery’s take on the development of food photography and the artistic, social and political contexts that have influenced it.

Mon – Sat: 10.00 – 18.00
Thurs Lates: 17.00 – 20.00
Sun: 11.00 – 18.00
£5 / 2.50; Free after 17.00 daily; Under 19s go free
16 – 18 Ramillies Street
Londo W1F 7LW

In Sydney
QT Hotel has launched Sydney’s Wine Personal Training.  In a fun parallel with boot camp, they promise to keep things strictly fun, not physical, with the only heavy breathing emanating from a decanted Malbec. The  five part program begins with a Wine Fitness Assessment, in the first session, with attendees undergoing the vino equivalent of the beep test to assess their capabilities as a budding sommelier.  Once the assessment is complete, guests move onto Fizzical Therapy to up the ante on their bubbly facts. Session three is all about Prescription Meds, the classical and contemporary side of Mediterranean wines and transports guests from Spain through to Sicily. The fourth module takes wine fitness to the next level, with the Code Pink Boot Camp exploring rosè varietals. Finally, session five rounds out with a Meal Plan guests will actually want to stick to as they’re led through the 101’s of acid and tannins and why fat is your friend when it comes to food and wine matching.

October 31, November 7, 14, 21, 28 at 4.30pm or 5.30pm. Sessions can be booked individually at $59.11 each, or $225 for the whole series.
Details and booking here.

Time Out lists 85 November events in Sydney.

The Cake Bake & Sweets Show will be joined by a new event aimed at the keen home cook, For the Love of CookingCo-locating, these shows will offer a range of food, celebrity chefs, cooking inspiration and shopping opportunities,
This year Celebrity Chefs include Miguel Maestre, dessert queens Kirsten Tibballs, Katherine Sabbath and Anna Polyviou.
You can also discover new and exotic flavours at the World Table, join  the Queen Make and Take classes where you can learn some sweet new tips and take home what you have made
When: 8-10 November
Time: 10am-5pm
Where: ICC Sydney Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour, Sydney 

How to’s

Easy Caramel Pork

Women’s Weekly Food shares Easy caramel pork using only 5 ingredients and explains: This traditional Vietnamese meat dish combines a sweet and sticky palm sugar caramel sauce with wonderfully tender pork rashers. It’s a great shortcut for slow-cooking pork belly for hours, and is lovely served over noodles or rice.

Here’s a different “how to”: remembering and finding a wine you’ve had before or sourcing something special or even ordinary, all via text message with the launch of TextWine. Broadsheet reports Reliving Your Best Wine memories is Just a Text Message Away.

Women’s Weekly Food explains How to make your own pizza dough.

Pure Wow explains 7 Reasons Why Your Rice Sucks (and How to Fix It),

I’m off on my first visit to Israel, so there won’t be an update next week. Follow my food and travels on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
Please share my update with your family and friends. They can subscribe here.  And I am now storing them on a tab on my website, so you can look back at previous updates.

What are you cooking, eating and drinking?
Lyndey

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