What will a new month & a new season bring?
September Newsletter

A fun dinner catching up with mates: Back row L to R: Cherie Romaro, Angela Bishop, Kerri-Anne Kennerley and Wendy Day beside me

What a week it’s been! Quite a lot of appointments to take John to, but lots of fun too. I’ve been developing recipes for the November-December issue of Selector Magazine (September is out now) which I always enjoy but I also had a fun night out with some women I have long been friends with: we laughed, reminisced, didn’t mention COVID once, temporarily forgot all our cares and woes (as the song goes) and realised how important it is to stay in touch with those whose company you enjoy, and you care about. Hard for those locked down, but there is always zoom.

On that note, I did an  online Zoom TV cooking segment for American TV. This is for a new channel to be called The Power of the Tribe on the Voice America platform. which takes its name from the founder Maureen Ryan-Blake’s women’s group of the same name. After launch it will feature 30 chefs over 30 days. Fortunately Facebook Live has taught me how to set up my home kitchen with lights and computer so then it was about which recipes to cook. I decided to make a Vietnamese-style salad using barramundi and macadamias as Australian indigenous Australian ingredients prepared in the Asian way so popular in Australia and my apple galette. I matched both, successfully with the Henschke Joseph Hill 2019
Gewürztraminer because I am so proud of Australian wines and family companies with longevity. I’ll let you know when the segment is released.

My Sunday night Facebook Live sessions are continuing and having visited Thailand, France, Greece, Spain and this week Japan, with our tastebuds. This coming week I am going to try to host a Q & A session on Instagram Live with my friend Sophie Hansen who writes the Local is Lovely blog. Would you believe Sophie used to work at Australian Table magazine as the co-ordinator where I was the Food and Wine Director in 1999. She has gone on to do great things including being 2016 Australian Woman of the Year. Join us at 6:00 pm on Wednesday night 9 September on Instagram and let’s see how it goes. It will be a first for me!I hope you have a great week ahead. And for my Northern Hemisphere readers who are farewelling summer, here’s a thought: Henry David Thoreau once wrote that one must maintain a little bit of summer even in the middle of winter. So let’s hope you find some joy in this newsletter.

Snapped straight after my Zoom TV cooking segment: Vietnamese Barramundi Salad, Apple Galette and Henschke Joseph Hill Gewurztraminer

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
Now for some good news- Happy Ali
YouTube Video
Facebook Live
Some Things to Amuse Us
Special Offer: Lyndey & Blair’s Taste of Greece cookbook
What’s in Season in September
Fresh Green Peas
Recipe of the week
In Season Recipes
This Week & Next Week
Come Travelling with me in 2021

Now for some good news
Happy Ali

Screenshot of the page on Happy Ali where my exclusive interview with Rick Stein appears

I am delighted to be the Food Editor for a new website, Happy-Ali which has just launched globally.  Happy Ali’s premise is very straightforward….. positive news, happier news than what we may have been used to in 2020, news that is current, global and news which is uplifting and is a lot of fun to read and be involved in.

With editorial teams across the globe, Happy Ali will provide quality independent journalism with a focus on inspiring and life-affirming news and features everyday…. It’s needed at this time in history more than ever. Arthur Koeman who is the creator and CEO of Happy Ali said this:-

“Positive news works as medicine for a healthier mind and body.  I was inspired to create Happy Ali for everyone who is distressed by the daily serving of disheartening news…. we need the good news to outweigh the bad.” 

Do have a look, it’s all very simple what we’re setting out to do, just adding a bit of positivity here and there (and everywhere!)  Thanks for subscribing if you can, it’s only a dollar a month. We’re where you’d expect us to be online also…. please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

The stories I have been able to write so far are: Food guru Rick Stein Reveals His Privte Passions
Why Spices Make You Happy, Happy Cows, A Farm to Table Experience at Grøndalen In Norway 
with more yet to be published.

YouTube Video

Smoked Salmon Pate at Connemara Smokehouse, Ireland

A blast from the past this week. I was trawling YouTube and found this old clip of an interview I did with Graham Roberts whose family have crafted traditionally-smoked wild Atlantic seafood for over 40 years at Connemara Smokehouse in Galway, Ireland. During the time I was co-host of Fresh with The Australian Women’s Weekly on the Nine Network, 2000 – 2008, I went to Wales and Ireland to film some location stories. This was one. Graham is one of Rick Stein’s Food Heroes and he took me through the time-honoured smoking process and I then created two quick recipes. 
Watch the interview and my recipes on YouTube here. You’ll find the written recipe here. You can subscribe to my channel here, where I also have meals in a minute and will be adding more videos over time.

Facebook Live

Prawns and Chickpeas with Garlic

As I mentioned, despite the set up time, I am really enjoying my weekly Facebook Live cooking demos on Sundays from 6:00 – 6:30ish Australian EST or 9:00 am British Standard Time, a time I hope suits both hemispheres. If you miss it, you can catch up on my Facebook page with everything I do anyway.

Last week I cooked the easiest recipe yet Spanish Prawns and Chickpeas with Garlic.   I also matched a wine.  If you missed it, you can watch it here.

This coming Sunday I’m intending to make two Japanese recipes Chicken Yakitori and also, I’ll make my first Okonomiyaki or Japanese pancake.
Details and how to join here.
If you would like to cook along with me – here is what you will need, a lot of those for the okonomiyaki you will have in your pantry already
For the chicken Yakotori – for 4
20 mini skewers or 12 longer bamboo skewers
600g chicken thigh fillets, cut into 3cm bite-size pieces
3 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
White sesame seeds, to serve
100ml soy sauce
1/3 cup (80ml) sake
1/3 cup (80ml) mirin
½ teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 ½  tablespoons finely grated ginger
4 garlic cloves, finely grated
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the easy okonomiyaki – for 2
1½ tbsp tomato ketchup
½ tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp runny honey
1 tsp dark soy sauce
3 large free-range eggs
3 tbsp plain flour
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp dark soy sauce
½ tsp toasted sesame oil
2 large green onions, thinly sliced
275g white cabbage, shredded
oil to cook with
Hope to see you there.

Some Things to Amuse Us

Automata’s Roasted Red Cabbage with Bonito Butter
Photo: Chris Court

How long do you spend shopping? Is it a chore or a pleasure? I guess it depends where you shop – supermarket or farmer’s market or somewhere else? Read Adam Liaw on how to mail the 10 minute supermarket shop

Do you find that even if you buy only half a head of cabbage it takes forever to use it up? Help is at hand. Have more red cabbage than you know what to do with? Help is on its way.

Time Out has capitalised on lockdown restrictions which meant  daily iso-walks close to home, encouraged people to get to know more about their own neighbourhoods. They have taken this on as a project and have launched Love Local Guides with information about a grwoing number of suburbs. Read more here.

Special Offer: Lyndey & Blair’s Taste of Greece cookbook

This book is the companion to the successful television series Lyndey & Blair’s Taste of Greece, which follows my late son, Blair and me, as we explore the beautiful cuisine and culture of Greece’s historic and picturesque Peloponnese.

Stunning photography, amusing anecdotes and authentic yet fresh recipes abound as chapter by chapter we travel through Greece’s historic heart. You can learn how to recreate favourites from the TV series including the traditional fisherman’s soup Kakavia, mezedes old and new, crisp-skinned whole loin of pork and the secret to truly tender octopus.
Blair’s cocktails
including Blood of Hercules feature as do the traditions and recipes of Greek Easter. The whole spectrum of Greek cuisine is covered in additional recipes like Bandit’s Lamb and Goat with Eggplant, both time-honoured favourites. An array of salads shows there is more than the much-loved traditional Greek salad to enjoy. Seafood abounds with squid in myriad guises and simple, fast fish dishes. There’s something for everyone with country style macaroni pie and recipes where fennel, artichokes, broad beans, pumpkin, zucchini and okra play a starring role. Sweet treats include a more-ish Cheesecake with muscatels and a clever frozen ouzo frappe as well as traditional favourites rozedes, diples and Greek shortbread.

While the RRP is $40, I am making this book available to you, my loyal subscribers for only $20 including postage in Australia. Be quick. Log onto our shop here, I will sign each copy personally if you can advise who you would like it dedicated to where it says Add A note for the seller and put in this voucher code at the checkout GREECEFB

BBQ squid with spinach and feta
Photography: Chris Chen

What’s in Season in September
in Australia

Bananas and Chinese Broccoli


  • Apples: Lady Williams
  • Berries: Strawberries
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemons
  • Mandarins: Honey Murcot
  • Mangoes
  • Oranges: Blood
  • Papaya
  • Papaw
  • Pineapples
  • Pomelo
  • Tangelos


  • Asian greens
  • Asparagus
  • Beans: Broad
  • Beans: Green
  • Beetroot
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Chillies
  • Fennel
  • Garlic, fresh
  • Globe Artichokes
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions: Spring
  • Onions: Green (Shallots)
  • Peas: Green
  • Potatoes
  • Silverbeet
  • Spinach

Avocadoes and Globe Artichokes

Fresh Green Peas

Fresh Green Peas

Bursting with sweetness, just-picked green peas define spring freshness.

Select plump green peas with bright green intact pods. Once picked, green peas rapidly deteriorate and lose sweetness as the sugars convert to starch. The pod protects the delicate peas so remove just before cooking. For optimal flavour, cook peas on the day of purchase.

Easy to Pod

Kids especially love podding fresh green peas so get the whole family involved in this fun and memorable task. Simply use your thumbnails to pry open the pod lengthways and remove the peas.

For the easiest of side dishes, rapidly boil podded green peas in salted water with a pinch of sugar and sprig of mint for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain, return peas to the pan and gently smash. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil or butter, season with salt and pepper then serve.

Recipe of the week

French Toast stuffed with Ham and Fontina cheese

This recipe is pretty special, and just the thing to cook for Dad on Father’s Day this coming Sunday in Australia – or for yourself just because you can. It really ups the ante on the usual French Toast. Instead, enjoy French Toast Stuffed with Ham and Fontina Cheese.

In Season Recipes

Petit Pois a la Francaise

Petit Pois a la Francaise
Asparagus with Parmesan
English Spinach & Cashew Dip
Asparagus & Green Beans with Chilli & Cashews
Asparagus, Watercress & Blood Orange Chicken Salad
Spiced Chickpea, Pumpkin & Spinach Salad
Asian Mango, Pork & Coriander Noodle Salad
Vietnamese Chilli Chicken Salad
Prawn & Asparagus Linguine with Chilli Pangrattato
Oven-roasted Salmon with Braised Lentils & Spinach
Moroccan Chicken, Chickpea, Carrot & Spinach Salad
Stephanie Alexander’s Spiced Kangaroo with Galangal, Green Pawpaw and Banana Salad
Sweet Things
I can’t believe how inexpensive strawberries are at the moment. So why not make
Microwave Strawberry Jam
Banana & Buttermilk Muffins
Banana Caramel Sticky Pudding
Banana Bread

Banana Caramel Sticky Pudding

This Week & Next Week

Mushroom Filo Tarts

This week just gone on social media, I shared my Mushroom Filo Tarts and my Spiced Orange and Olive Oil Dessert Cake with Botrytis Oranges, along with a throwback to a champagne party I attended back in the days we had parties.
Next week I’m not sure where our tastebuds will take us in our virtual travels – any suggestions?
We’ll look forward to World Salami Day and RUOK Day. And, with no international travel, I’ll share one of my top Australian food experiences.  So do follow me on social media – all the links below.

Come Travelling with me in 2021

L: 3000+ year old olive tree in Ostuni, Puglia and R: traditional mint tea in Morocco

MY HOSTED TOURS RETURN IN 2021 and/or 2022

So international travel is problematic, but I’m not giving up. It will be even more important to travel with all the safeguards which well-organised group travel offers, so I have merely postponed my tours to Morocco and Puglia until it is safe to go there.
Do keep these in mind when you are able to travel again:

Culinary Adventures in Puglia and Basilicata: 10-16 October 2021

Details here.
Morocco culinary tour probably October 2021 (dates still to be definitely confirmed) – some information here. Meanwhile read How to enjoy Morocco at home.

Follow my food and travels on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. don’t forget my YouTube Channel for easy recipes.
Please share my update with your family and friends. They can subscribe here.  And I am also storing them on a tab on my website, so you can look back at previous updates.

What are you cooking, eating and drinking?
Warm wishes,

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