October Newsletter

I’m home! This time last week my fellow travellers and I were enjoying our last three days together based in Rome – and what a memorable few days they were too. We began with a fabulous guided tour of the Eternal City, time for a lunch featuring fresh porcini which are in season, then free time before another sensational dinner. As always, fun was had, friendships were made and we were sorry to part from one another. It is a wonderful way to see the world and experience so many different cultures. Read more below and in upcoming blogs.

Jump ahead to see:
Tip Of The Month: All About Zucchini Flowers
Where I’ve Eaten – Moma Ristorante, Rome
What’s In Season
What’s In Season Recipes
Wine Of The Month – Calabria Family Montepulciano
2017 NSW Wine Awards
Kirsten Tibballs Fun Kids Halloween Treats
Ghost Lollipops & Spider Peanut Cookies
What’s On Sydney? Ferris Wheel Dining
What’s On Melbourne? Say Cheese Festival
What’s On Tasmania? White Wine Weekend

Interesting Read

Tip Of The Month: All About Zucchini Flowers

Delicate zucchini flowers with their bright-golden petals bloom at this time of year. The female flower has a tiny zucchini attached, whereas the male flower has a thin stem. The slightly nutty flavour is unique.

How To Select
Choose fresh-looking zucchini flowers that are not wilted. If the baby zucchini is attached to the flower, it should be firm, slender and glossy green.

How To Store
These spring flowers are highly perishable. The flowers are best used within 1 day of purchasing while those with the baby zucchini attached will last for a little longer when stored covered with damp paper towel in an airtight container in the fridge.

Ways To Use Zucchini Flowers
Stuff zucchini flowers with a mix of fresh ricotta, grated parmesan and basil then roast or fry until golden.

Dip zucchini flowers in a light tempura batter and shallow or deep fry in vegetable oil until golden. Serve with lemon wedges and sea salt.

Drizzle a tray of zucchini flowers with the baby zucchini attached with olive oil, season and roast with cherry truss tomatoes. Sprinkle with crumbled feta to serve.

Click here to get my stuffed zucchini flowers recipe.

My stuffed zucchini flowers

Where I’ve Eaten – Moma Ristorante, Rome

The array of superb breads at Ristorante Moma

With the tours/cruises I host, we have some included meals, a balance between formal and informal dining, some lunch, some dinner. We opted for a special dinner in Rome, on our first night and it was a wonderful lasting memory.

I researched online and was not disappointed in my choice. Gastone and Franco Pierini founded Ristorante Moma overlooking the Via Veneto over 10 years ago. This is a modern, elegant restaurant with a contemporary interpretation of Roman and Italian cuisine. Service is of the same standard; slick and welcoming. While the approach is modern, prime ingredients reflect small artisanal traditions and vegetables come from their own garden.

First up, the bread baskets on the table were amazing with several different types of bread including authentic foccacia with tomato topping and dough which had been rolled thinly through a pasta machine before baking.

From the seafood menu: raw “gobbetti” shrimps, pickled vegetables, “ricotta” cheese cream and lime. Each separate pile is designed to be eaten as a whole for the blend of flavours.

We had to choose prior as to whether we wanted the seafood or meat menu. Typically with such restaurants, though we had opted for three courses, rather than the tasting menu, there is always much more. All were given the amuse bouche, a wonder in three parts with strict instructions on which to eat first.

I chose the seafood menu and the entree (pictured) was stunning, also labour intensive but that’s why you go to a restaurant! The combined flavours worked really well. My main was “Risotto” mussels, leek and camomile, the latter being a dust on the top which worked really well.

The meat menu which began with Egg poché, amaranth, cheese fondue and pecorino cheese was pronounced stunning. The Mixed boiled beef “Mora romagnola” green sauce and vegetables comprised several different cuts of beef poached to softeness.

Cream and lime, raspberry jelly, wild berries, ginger and “stevia” herb

Pre-dessert followed mains and Petit fours and coffee followed our desserts. It was another memorable night with Sauvingon Blanc “Tramonti” and Montepulciano d’Abruzzo “Aufinum” and conversation flowing. Ristorante Moma deserves its mention in the Michelin Guide.

What’s In Season

Fruit
Avocados
Banana
Blueberries
Grapefruit
Mangoes
Melons
Papaw
Papaya
Passionfruit
Pineapples
Pomelo
Strawberries
Tangelos
Valencia Oranges

Vegetables
Asian greens
Asparagus
Broad Beans
Beetroot
Cucumber
Chillies
Fennel
Garlic
Globe Artichokes

Green Beans
Green Onions (Shallots) 

Kale
Lettuce
Mushrooms
Peas
Potatoes
Silverbeet
Spinach
Spring Onions

Watercress
Zucchini
Zucchini flowers

What’s In Season Recipes

Here are some recipes that can be made this month with fresh seasonal produce!

Asparagus with Parmesan
French bistro style chicken with smashed potatoes and a spring salad
King Salmon with prosciutto and asparagus
Mushroom Strudel
Oven roasted King Salmon with braised lentils and spinach
Pasta primavera
Prawns in Cartoccio with Smashed Potatoes
Prawn Salad with Macadamia Dressing
Rack of lamb with brown bread crust & crushed peas
Steamed snapper with white wine sauce

Left: Mushroom Strudel. Right: Prawn Salad with Macadamia Dressing.

Banana bread
Blair’s Banana cake with Passionfruit Icing
Brown Sugar Meringues with Passionfruit Curd
Ginger cardamom mango crepes
Grapefruit delicious pudding
Honey macadamia wafers with baked caramelised mango
Layered Hazelnut Meringue Cake
Passionfruit and lime cupcakes
Steamed banana and ginger pudding with coffee ginger glaze and bruleed bananas
Vanilla Slice

Left: Layered Hazelnut Meringue Cake. Right: Vanilla Slice

Wine Of The Month – Calabria Family Montepulciano

Calabria Family 2016 Montepulciano

I know I have featured Calabria Family wines before, but I just can’t get over the value of some of the range at $15. They make wonderful everyday drinking wines. I had some really good house wines in Europe, especially in Spain where they tended to deliver well above their cost.

This Montepulciano is one such wine. While this is the name of a place in Italy, it is also the name of a red grape variety, now planted in Australia. I appreciate the savouriness of this wine, along with the dard red fruits and hint of spice and tannin structure which helps with food, but is not too grippy, rather soft and balanced.

2017 NSW Wine Awards

Left to right: His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d), Bruce Tyrrell and Kim Mahaffy from Pier One.

The 2017 Pier One NSW Wine Awards results were announced today at the gala Presentation Lunch at Pier One Sydney Harbour. 18 trophies were handed out to the state’s best wines. These awards include the ultimate title of ‘NSW Governor’s 2017 Best in Show’, which is fabulous as our Governor is such a fierce supporter of all things NSW. I was delighted to see Tyrell’s taking out the top gong with their 2005 Vat 1 Semillon. This is a stunning wine with a great reputation in wine shows. At 12 years old white this wine and its predecessors have a 20 year old history with the NSW Wine Awards. See results of the wines that were awarded trophies…

NSW Governor’s 2017  Best in Show – Tyrrell’s 2005 Vat 1 Semillon

Kirsten Tibballs Fun Kids Halloween Treats

I can’t believe how popular Halloween has become, though it is an American tradition. I am not keen on kids door-knocking for “trick or treat” but you can have some fun at home. Kirsten Tibballs ‘Queen of Chocolate’ from Masterchef Australia and Callebaut have come together to make some fun Halloween treats. I am happy to share these recipes with you! 

Ghost Lollipops

Ghost Lollipops

Makes: approximately 30 truffles

Plastic Chocolate
500g Callebaut W2 white chocolate, melted
100g Callebaut cocoa butter, melted
150g glucose
20g white oil soluble colour (titanium dioxide)
50g water
Callebaut white chocolate truffle shells

Place the chocolate, cocoa butter, glucose and white colour in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture reaches an even consistency. Add the water and emulsify again. Pour the mixture onto a tray lined with plastic wrap and cover with a second sheet of plastic wrap. Allow the mixture to crystallise at 16?C for 24 hours.

To use the plastic chocolate, knead it with your hand to get an even consistency and softness. Store the plastic chocolate at room temperature, wrapped in plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.

Milk Chocolate Honey Ganache
87g Bulla Pure Cream
20g Honey
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
150g Callebaut 823 Milk Couverture
300g Callebaut white chocolate W2, for dipping

Place the cream and honey in a saucepan, add in the vanilla bean paste and bring to a boil. Place the milk couverture in a bowl and pour the boiling cream over it. Whisk by hand until all the chocolate is melted and combined with the cream to create a ganache. Cover with plastic wrap touching the surface of the ganache. Leave at room temperature until it cools. Transfer the prepared ganache into a piping bag and pipe it into each of the truffle shells, filling to the top.

Temper the white chocolate and add in the titanium dioxide, mixing together until fully incorporated. Transfer some of the chocolate to a paper piping cone and pipe a small amount of the chocolate on top to seal the truffle shells. Stick the lollipop sticks into the base of the truffles immediately before the chocolate sets. Once the chocolate sets, dip each truffle shell into the tempered white chocolate and place onto a lollipop stand or stick into a polystyrene base.
Ghost Eyes and Mouth
50g Callebaut 2815 Dark Couverture

Temper the dark chocolate and transfer to a paper piping cone. Pipe a small amount of the chocolate in the shape of eyes and a mouth onto a piece of baking paper or a guitar sheet on top of a baking tray. Allow to cool.

Assembly
QS  cornflour or corn starch, for dusting
50g Callebaut W2 White Chocolate

Lightly dust the top of the bench with cornflour. Roll out the plastic chocolate to a round shape 10-13cm and 2-3mm thickness. Temper the white chocolate and transfer some to a paper piping cone. Pipe a small amount of the chocolate on top of the truffle shells to ensure the plastic chocolate sticks to the shell. Cover the outside of the truffle shell with the plastic chocolate and create the desire ghost shape by immediately curving it with your hand. Finally stick the eyes and the mouth onto the body of the ghost, securing with the tempered chocolate. Leave the plastic chocolate until it sets completely.

Spider Peanut Cookies

Spider Peanut Cookies

Makes: 30-35 cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies
240g unsalted butter
80g caster sugar
300g  brown sugar
2 whole eggs
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
130g crunchy peanut butter
400g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
200g Callebaut milk chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 170?C. Mix the butter, caster sugar and brown sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until the butter is fully incorporated. Add the eggs, vanilla and peanut butter and continue mixing. Sieve the flour and baking powder together into a bowl. Add the sieved dry ingredients to the mixture and lastly add the chopped chocolate chips. Remove from the stand mixer.

For each cookie, weigh out 40g of the dough and roll into balls. Place each ball onto a baking tray lined with baking paper, leaving space between each cookie to allow for spreading. Lightly press down on each ball. Bake at 170 ?C for 10 minutes.

Remove the cookies from the oven and using a teaspoon, make a small dent in the middle of each cookie while they’re still warm. This will allow the spider to sit on top of the cookie. Cool the cookies at room temperature.


Milk Chocolate Honey Ganache
87g Bulla Pure Cream
20g Honey
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
150g Callebaut 823 Milk Couverture
300g Callebaut 823 Milk Couverture, for dipping
Callebaut milk chocolate truffle shells

Place the cream and honey in a saucepan, add in the vanilla bean paste and bring to a boil. Place the milk couverture in a bowl and pour the boiling cream over it. Whisk by hand until all the chocolate is melted and combined with the cream to create a ganache. Cover with plastic wrap touching the surface of the ganache. Leave at room temperature until it cools. Transfer the prepared ganache into a piping bag and pipe it into each of the truffle shells, filling to the top.

Temper the milk chocolate and transfer to a paper piping cone. Pipe some of the chocolate on top of the truffle shells to seal them. Once the chocolate sets, place a toothpick into the base of each truffle and dip the shell into the tempered milk chocolate. Tap the shell on the surface of the chocolate to create surface tension and remove any excess chocolate. Wipe the base of the truffle on the side of the bowl and carefully place the shell onto a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray, twisting the toothpick to remove it. Allow to set.

Spider Eyes
50g Callebaut 2815 Dark Couverture
50g Callebaut W2 White Chocolate
5g  white oil soluble colour (titanium dioxide)

Temper the dark couverture and add in the titanium dioxide, mixing together until fully incorporated. Transfer some of the dark chocolate to a paper piping cone and pipe a small amount of the chocolate into a half sphere mould. Allow to set.

Temper the white chocolate and add in the titanium dioxide, mixing together until fully incorporated. Transfer some of the white chocolate to a paper piping cone and pipe a small amount of the chocolate on top of the dark chocolate, covering it. Allow to set.


Assembly
100g Callebaut 823 Milk Couverture
50g Callebaut W2 White Chocolate
5g red oil soluble colour
10g Callebaut cocoa butter

Temper the milk couverture. Transfer to a paper piping cone and pipe a small amount of the chocolate onto the middle of each cookie. Place a truffle shell on top of the cookie and pipe lines of chocolate on each side to create 8 spider legs (4 legs on each side). Remove the chocolate eyes from the moulds and secure them to the truffle using the tempered chocolate.

 

Temper the white chocolate. Create the blood by adding the titanium to the tempered chocolate. Mix together to combine then add the red colour and mix again to ensure it is fully incorporated. Melt the cocoa butter to 29-30?C and add it to the red chocolate to make it more fluid. Use a paper piping cone to randomly place drops of the chocolate blood around the spiders and cookies. Allow to set fully before handling.

What’s On Sydney? Ferris Wheel Dining

Ferris Wheel Dinning is back for it’s second year in Sydney. The Deck and Luna Park Sydney have once again joined forces to host the Ferris Wheel Dining experience which takes guests on a 3-course degustation journey with matching wines whilst they enjoy spectacular of Sydney. 

Where: Luna Park – 1 Olympic drive milsons point
When: Only Sunday’s from 5th November – 25th March
Tickets: $399 per carriage which accommodate 2 guests

For more information or to purchase a carriage click here.

What’s On Melbourne? Say Cheese Festival

Prahran Market will once again be transformed into a cheese lovers’ delight with delicious cheese offerings from Market traders, external exhibitors including artisan cheese makers, popular eateries and much more. With live tunes, complementary drinks and a whole lot of cheese. There’s an impressive line up of chefs demonstrating in the Omega and Neil Perry kitchen and I can highly recommend mozzarella master Giorgio from That’s Amore who will run three hands-on cheese workshops.

Where: Prahran Market – 163 Commercial Rd, South Yarra
When: Sunday 29th October
Time: 10am – 4pm
Tickets: Free Entry

For more information or to see who will be at the festival click here.

What’s On Tasmania? White Wine Weekend

This year’s Tasmanian White Wine Weekend is on this weekend featuring over 50 wines from wineries and vineyards from throughout Tasmania, with wine classes, food, live music. Understandably the varieties are those the island does best: Sparkling, Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Grigio, Rosé  (strictly speaking red, but made like a white!) and some other less known varieties.

Where: Princes Wharf No 1 – Castray Esplanade, Hobart
When: Saturday 28th – Sunday 29th October
Time: 12am – 5pm

To get more information or see which wineries and vineyards will be there click here.

Interesting Read

Research Reveals: Foodies spend big in Istanbul

For the last 7 years Mastercard has been producing a global cities destination index that ranks the world’s 132 top destination cities. This is based on visitor volume and spendings for the 2016 calendar year. It allows us to see where people are travelling and what they are using their money on. The latest findings interestingly named Istanbul as the top destination for expenditure on food and beverage (33.6%).  Other foodie destinations that made the top three include Prague (29.3%) and Barcelona (29.0%). To see more of the Mastercard global cities destination index click here.

Meanwhile, what are you cooking – or drinking?

Lyndey x

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