The Ebb and Flow of Life

Flashback to when I was in Hong Kong in 2004, here in a very modern bar with colleague Anna Last from Vogue Entertaining who has since moved to the USA

It will be a short newsletter this week as we have had a minor setback with my partner needing to back to hospital for a few days. We’ve had a few disrupted nights and some tests so he just needs some antibiotics and should be out in a few days. However, it has wreaked havoc with my schedule and I don’t know how much time I will get today. So please bear with me.
No Facebook Live this Sunday either as I was supposed to be going to a friend’s birthday and another’s live show. 

However, with so many countries in lockdown and with curfews, I thought we could all cyber travel to Hong Kong and participate in the Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival free from now up until 15 December. More below.

Meanwhile I hope the challenges in everyone’s lives at the moment are not to arduous and that we can all find joy in the small things.

Now read on or scroll down, remember there’s something for everyone in this newsletter wherever you are in the world.

Jump ahead to see:
YouTube video
Recipes of the Week
Facebook Live

Christmas Baking
Hong Kong Wine & Dine
Next Week and Last
Travel with me?

YouTube Video

Spiced Orange Cakes

Here is an adaptation of a Middle Eastern classic cake recipe. Made into smaller, individual cakes. You can watch me make it on YouTube here. You’ll find the written recipe here. You can subscribe to my channel here, so you can see other videos including my meals in a minute.

Recipes of the Week

Rick Stein’s Snapper with Mango Salsa

I do so love mangoes when they are in season – but if you are in the Northern Hemisphere fear not, as you could easily substitute pawpaw or papaya for this and use any skin-on white fish fillet. This is a recipe which I cooked with my friend Rick Stein when we were filming my Taste of Australia TV series. Here is the recipe
I also couldn’t resist my Honey Macadamia Wafers with Baked Caramelised Mangoes from my Summer Baking Secrets TV series.

Honey Macadamia Wafers with Baked Caramelised Mangoes

Facebook Live

Easy Pad Thai

Last week we travelled to Thailand with out taste buds when I showed the tips and tricks and created Easy Pad Thai. You will find my recipe here and you can watch the Facebook Live here. It proved very popular with 1,400 viewers so far.  I successfully matched it with a Grosset 2017 Semillon Sauvignon Blanc.


Pearl Meat with Native Australian Flavours

NAIDOC Week is just finishing, being later this year from  8-15 November 2020 because of COVID.  It is usually held in the first week (a Sunday to Sunday) of July that incorporates the second Friday – which historically was celebrated as ‘National Aboriginal Day’. It is a time to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

I firmly believe in the reconciliation of all cultures via food. If you eat the food of another culture, it must be a way of acknowledging that culture and wanting to learn about it? So, this week, let’s use some wonderful Australian indigenous spices in our food and think about where and how they have been grown for thousands of years.
Pearl Meat with Native Australian Flavours (you could use scallops instead of pearl meat)
Veal Cutlets with Australian Indigenous Flavours
Poached Yabbies with Lemon Myrtle Butter and Macadamia Warrigal Greens
Linguine with Spanner Crab and Lemon Myrtle
Turkey with Lemon Myrtle and Kaffir Lime
Chocolate, Pepper and Macadamia Brownies

Chocolate, Pepper and Macadamia Brownies

A very simple Christmas pudding

This week, a very, very easy Simple Christmas Pudding recipe, ideal to make now then store and bring out on Christmas Day.

Christmas Pudding Tips

  • Wrap the pudding thoroughly in plastic wrap then place into an airtight container or freezer bag. Refrigerate puddings for up to three months or freeze for one year


  • Thaw frozen puddings for 2 days in the refrigerator and remove them 12 hours before reheating.
  • STEAMED: Remove the plastic wrap and return to the steamer. Steam for 2 hours following the cooking instructions.
  • BOILED: Remove the plastic wrap and tie a clean, dry unfloured cloth on the pudding. Boil for 2 hours following the cooking instructions.
  • TO MICROWAVE: To reheat the whole large pudding, cover with microwave-safe plastic wrap, microwave on medium (50%) for about 15 minutes. To reheat 4 single serves at once, cover with microwave-safe plastic wrap; microwave on high (100%) for about 3 minutes.

Hong Kong Wine & Dine

A classic dish by Chop Chop chef Dai Lung

Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival is on now and you can experience it from the comfort of your own home free

Have you ever been to Hong Kong? I haven’t been for years, but one thing I love about it is that you can indulge in inexpensive street food, old-fashioned traditional Chinese food at both ends of the price spectrum yet also leading edge contemporarily cuisine. There really is something for everyone.
Now you can travel there virtually and enjoy the Wine & Dine Festival, which runs for five weeks from 11 November until 15 December 2020, will feature myriad online experiences, including an Online Wine Cellar, Gourmet at Home Menus, and live-streamed cookery and wine-tasting masterclasses on a new one-stop online platform.

A highlight will be a diverse series of 34 online masterclasses, live-streamed for three consecutive Saturdays and Sundays from 21 November to 6 December 2020. They cover a wide range of topics, from wine and spirits trends to fine dining, healthy eating and the art of food plating. There will be wine talks by Hong Kong-based, internationally acclaimed critic James Suckling and Master of Wine Debra Meiburg, cocktails from award-winning mixologist Jay Khan and live cooking demonstrations – led by celebrated Hong Kong chefs such as Australian, Shane Osborn, of Arcane and Cornerstone and Vicky Cheng, of VEA Restaurant & Lounge. Shane Osborn is a fabulous chef and a lovely man. I worked with him many years ago at Brisbane Hilton Masterclass and when I was in London there, hosted me at Pied a Terre where he was Executive Chef.

On 28 November it’s an all female line-up. Themed Lady’s Talk, five influencers who are shaking up Hong Kong’s food and beverage scene will each host a masterclass to share their unique take and expertise.

For more information on the Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival visit:
Full masterclass programme here 

Shane Osborn’s Pan Seared Ora King Salmon, Taiyouran & Egg Sauce Gribiche from Arcane Restaurant

Next Week and Last

L: giant poppies in public spaces in Munich a couple of years ago and
R: Remembrance biscuits

Somehow the weeks continue to pass very quickly. Last week was Remembrance Day so I shared the photo I took in Munich a couple of years ago of a moving display of giant fabric and metal poppies in one of the main squares. I also put a link for Remembrance biscuits which I published in a newsletter a few weeks ago. In acknowledgement of NAIDOC week I also shared an interview I did with my indigenous chef friend Mark Olive and here’s the recipe for his Wallaby Stack.

There was also a bit of baking with my Luscious Ginger Layer Cake illustrating my Fast Food Fact and, with a nod to the USA given the outcome of their election, Maple Glazed Baked Doughnuts.

I haven’t had a chance to think ahead to next week, given what’s going on for me, but please do join me on Facebook and Instagram!

Maple Glazed Baked Doughnuts

 Travel with me?

Meknes, Morocco

As we all know overseas  travel is well and truly on hold for the forseeable future. However, with Covid vaccines on the horizon, I am optimistically planning my tours to Morocco and Puglia for late next year. If we deem it not safe to travel, we will postpone to 2022, but I think accompanied tours with well-reputed and experienced companies will be the safest way to go.

Morocco culinary tour new dates – begin in Rabat on Friday 29 October until 9 November 2021 – some information here.

Culinary Adventures in Puglia and Basilicata: 10-16 October 2021
Full details and prices here,

How I long to get back to Puglia and Basilicata – this is a happy group in Alberobello

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

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