A Few Things to Enjoy

In my element, emceeing the Sydney Royal Cheese & Dairy Produce Awards. Photo The M1 Group

Welcome,
It’s a quick one this week as I have been busier than usual but still some lovely things to share. Last week I emceed the Sydney Royal Cheese & Dairy Produce Awards, which I have been doing for some years. It is something I find so enjoyable as we reward Australian producers for their outstanding work, honour them and share it with the industry and Royal Agricultural Society of NSW members and interested public. Our chefs put up an amazing menu, using award-winning produce, washed down with beverages from the Wine, Beer and Cider shows. I am constantly in awe of our wonderful producers and the deliciousness of what they make. You can see all the winners here.

While there have been some sad moments, there has been joy as well with celebrating the bridal shower of my goddaughter and meeting her wonderful young friends. With my own daughter living in Singapore, it is always special and energising to spend time with young people. Also dinner with special friends and back feeling uplifted singing with my choir.

I have had an interesting few days with the travel industry – on  Thursday a very full day of stimulating presentations at a Travel Media Summit, with another day networking with industry on Friday, hence the brevity of this newsletter. 

As ever, keep up to date with me on Facebook and Instagram.  Please always feel free to email me with your requests or comments. 

Keep cooking and you’ll keep smiling– Lyndey x

Recipes of the week

CEVICHE
Great in hot weather, impressive and you can make it in advance –  and yet so easy
GET MY RECIPE HERE
APPLE & BLACKBERRY CRUMBLE MUFFINS
These raise the bar a little from other muffins, but still easy to make
GET MY RECIPE HERE

In the Kitchen with Lyndey

 

How to poach an egg in the microwave

This quick hack absolutely went off on my social media, so due to requests from my pilates friends, I am sharing it again here. Just click on the picture of me and it will take you through to YouTube to view it.

If you would like to see more of my videos on both food and wine, subscribe to my YouTube channel HERE or follow me on Instagram.

Ask Me

A fresh egg on the left and a not-so-fresh one on the right

Questions and Answers:

This is YOUR section. Thanks for keeping the questions rolling in as there will be others interested in what YOU ask – so please feel free. You can even be anonymous if you like!

Pauline asked: How long should I keep eggs purchased from the supermarket? I refrigerate mine and, also, how do I know when they are fresh?
Answer:
First, full marks for keeping yours in the fridge. Supermarkets should all store theirs in the refrigerated cabinet, but they don’t! Fresh eggs can be kept in the fridge for up to 6 weeks from production, but if in doubt, check the use by date on the carton. Always store them in the carton, not only so you know the use by date, but as egg shells are porous and the carton helps protect them from any potential contamination.

Now, there is a very simple way to check freshness of the eggs. Fill a glass with cold tap water and place an egg in it. If it sinks to the bottom and lays flat on one side, it is fresh and good to eat. A bad egg will float because of the large air cell that forms at its base. Any floating eggs should be thrown out.
You might like to read my Four Fun Facts About Eggs.

John asked: Can you really put ice in wine?
Answer:
Purists will tell you “No” but mea culpa, when it is hot or I am wanting to limit my intake, I do! Of course, winemakers are craftspeople and would prefer you to taste their wines as they intended. Wines for judging are tasted at ambient (not hot) room temperature. However, we live in a hot country and I find if red wine, especially is too hot, I really don’t enjoy it. I often pop it in the fridge for 30 minutes before I am going to serve it. Room temperature in Europe is not room temperature in Australia, or other hot countries. Much better between 10 – 16’C. However, I find it can heat up in the glass and so some ice will help that – also a boon if you want to reduce your intake. So probably not a perfectly “correct” answer – but you are your own expert so please do what works for you.

Janice asked: I would like a breakdown on different blenders and what they can be used for ?
Answer: 
I think her question is really about how to blenders perform compared to food processors? Well, while they are similar in that they both contain sharp, rapidly turning blades, they are quite different and can be used for different things. So it’s best to work out how you cook and what you need. Also, what can you fit in your kitchen?

Food processors come with a variety of attachments, like chopping blades, slicers and graters and even an attachment for making pastry dough. So basically for dicing, slicing and shredding or actions which might otherwise require a grater, mortar and pestle or chef’s knife. They can also puree though they are not ideal for this as they are better for thicker, drier ingredients and do a great job for example in making hummus by blitzing chickpeas. With their pulse function, they can also be great at combining butter and flour for pastry rather than rubbing in by hand.

A blender is better than a food processor at handling anything liquid, like smoothies, as well as puréeing soups or sauces. Blenders perform best with some liquid to get things going. Blenders can get food incredibly smooth and can handle a bigger volume of liquid. There are also stab blenders, which can go straight into a saucepan to puree things, or have an attachment which makes them perfect for chopping small quantities of herbs and the like.

Jan asked: What would you consider a basic white wine list for beginners who don’t really drink often?
Answer:
My initial reaction is to only buy a glass, or one bottle at a time. So if you are in a pub or restaurant, try a glass and see if you like it and make a note of it so you remember if you liked it – or not. Try something new and think about why you do, or do not like it. Usually beginners like silky, smooth wines with some fruit and balanced acidity. When I think back, I certainly preferred fruitier wines. So looking at what is available now, you could start with prosecco for something approachable and sparkling. Then try an off-dry riesling, verdelho, pinot grigio or a modern, less oaky style of chardonnay. It also depends on what you are eating, but make a start with some wine and see what you think.

Please let me know how you get on?

Things to Do and Amuse

Podere Macchione in Monteroni d’Arbia the villa which will be home to a wonderful retreat in Tuscany

SPECIAL OFFER FOR SUBSCRIBERS 

 My friend Mandi from Nourish Travel is offering a retreat at 50% discount. Bring a friend for free or go solo. It’s a mix of writing, yoga, meditation, hot springs and more. You can do as much or as little as you like to make it YOUR retreat and come away feeling rejuvenated and replenished Unleash Your Creativity in Tuscany: write and retreat with Lisa Heidke. 18th – Sunday 24th March 2024. Original price EUR 6995 now offered to my subscribers for  EUR 2995. Women are attending from Australia, Germany, USA, Canada & UK. 

– Some Fun Trivia –

I learned at a lunch hosted by New York State Tourism ( the whole state and not just New York City), that Buffalo wings are so named because they originated in Buffalo, the second largest city in New York State. Also, while there are a couple of versions of the origin of Thousand Island dressing certainly it is named for the Thousand Islands region along the upper St Lawrence River. George Boldt, the proprieter of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel put it on the menu there which really popularised it. He is the same man who introduced room service into hotels and came up with the phrase “the customer is always right”. Moreover the word vacation came because wealthy residents of NYC would “vacate” their city homes for their lakeside summer retreats.

Next day during a chat with the Executive Director I commented on ageism and my annoyance that in Australia, the media will refer to “an elderly woman of 70” and show people on walkers. He told me the word elderly is never used in the USA and senior only occasionally. Rather older is the term used. He then gave an example of a car. A 40 year old Honda is not really valuable, but a 40 year old Model T Ford is treasured. Long may we treasure older, wiser people!

– Sydney Royal Easter Show –

Tickets to the 2024 Show ware again being sold almost exclusively online and must be purchased for a specific day, to maintain a daily capacity limit of 80,000 ticket holders. With no school holidays this year (22 March – 2 April) this means the Easter weekend won’t be impossibly crowded. Public transportation is again included in the ticket price. This is a great value day out to celebrate everything we know and love about Australian agriculture as the country comes  to the city. There are 12 hours of free entertainment, competitions, exhibits, activities, and family fun and brand-new entertainment guaranteed to thrill with trick-riders, stockman vs cowboys, and a bison stampede happening every day in the Main Arena. Show goers can pat and cuddle more animals than ever in the Farmyard Nursery, see and taste the best of what Australian agriculture has to offer, and watch their favourite competitions including the 125th year of the wood chop and sawing competition. I will again be hosting Talk & Taste in the Dome (25, 28, 29 March & 1 April) and emceeing the Aquaculture Competition on 26 MarchThere are also after 4pm tickets available.
Tickets and more information here to plan your day – and don’t forget to book your parking in advance if you want to drive.

Moroccan Culinary Tour



The beautiful Atlas Mountains, Morocco

Join my next culinary tour to Morocco from Saturday 27 April – Wednesday 8 May 2024 organised with Carol Prior from By Prior Arrangement who has 40 years experience and peerless contacts there. I have a lovely group of people coming with me, couples, singles, mothers and daughters. The mix always works and some have travelled with me before which is wonderful.

Taking in the best Morocco has to offer, this authentic gastronomic experience will see you visiting ancient palaces and medinas and enjoying exclusive dining experiences.

We will travel from Rabat the capital, to spiritual Meknes and Fes, and then onto intoxicating Marrakech, the red city. On the way, we will explore the archaeological site of Volubilis, visit a Berber village in the Atlas Mountains and relax by the coast in tranquil Essaouira. Together, we will discover the delicacies of Moroccan and French food and wine, dine in humble local eateries and upmarket restaurants, and experience the making and flavours of Moroccan dishes during cooking classes. Luxury accommodation is in charming, authentic riads.

Inclusions:

  • Personal hosting by me
  • 11 nights accommodation
  • Meals as per itinerary: breakfast daily, 7 lunches, 11 dinners with ½ bottle of wine per person
  • Transportation throughout in luxury air-conditioned vehicles with professional experienced English-speaking driver, including related expenses and allowing for physical distancing
  • 4×4 pick up & drop off on the day trip to a desert camp with optional camel riding.
  • Bottled mineral water and hand sanitiser in the vehicle daily
  • English-speaking local licensed guides in Rabat, Volubilis, Fes, Marrakech and Essaouira with all entrance fees included to the sites visited with the guides
  • Atlas excursion including mules and the specialist trek guide
  • 2 cooking classes
  • Local tourist taxes
  • Porterage
  • Restaurant tips
  • Drivers and guides gratuities
  • Bank transfer and currency fluctuation fees

Testimonial: 
“Such a wonderful way to experience Morocco!
Lyndey is an exceptional tour host and our guides and drivers were first class.
It was a memorable tour filled with unique experiences.”
Debra and Neil,  September/October 2022

Cost $10,000 per person (twin share).
More information & booking HERE, full itinerary HERE or email me or travel@bypriorarrangement.com with any questions.

L:Camel riding is not compulsory, but it is fun and R: hand crafted pottery