A Quick Message this week

L to R: a lovely lunch with my dear friends Kerri-Anne Kennerley and the birthday girl Cherie Romaro

Hello again,

And a special welcome to my new subscribers.

I hope you’ve had a good week? I’m pleased to say mine has been busy and rewarding and I am just revelling in things getting back to whatever normal is now. I never tire of travelling, learning, tasting and celebrating and this last week has had all of those.

Despite a three hour delay at the airport (thank you Qantas, no explanation just text messages though I was in the lounge) I got into Coffs Harbour last Friday for the 30 minute trip to beautiful Bellingen. What a lovely town and diverse population!  Bellingen Show, had already had to cancel the animals due to the poor condition of the ground and the ongoing rain. However, the enterprising President had put in an Artisans’ Tent where eight local artisans demonstrated and sold their wares. Entry to the Show was also free with just the request for an optional donation. Of course, I had to look at the cooking and arts and crafts and was impressed by much that I found. I was blown away by the flowers which some green thumbs managed to grow despite the incessant rain.

I loved doing my dems and sharing my recipes and shortcuts and had some wonderful women who volunteered to be my back up and help with the prep. Despite the rain everyone was cheerful and helpful. Sadly there was consistent rain again  overnight and the Show had to be cancelled on the Sunday. But, having got a taste of it, the good news is that I have been invited back next year.

Having to travel on Friday meant I missed the Scholarship Ceremony for Leila Broughton, this years individual winner of The Blair Milan Scholarship in honour of my late son. One of Blair’s (and my) friends, Sasha Cody,  who is on the judging panel went and represented me. I am looking forward to meeting Lelia this Friday as I am lucky to be going up to Sasha’s family property in Sofala with many of Blair’s friends and peers from Charles Sturt University. As Blair would have said “Good Times”. However, as I need to get away around lunchtime, this is an unusually short newsletter this week, so apologies, especially to my new subscribers. You can read past newsletters here. They have a lot more news and information in them.

I hit the ground running as we are still interviewing for Tasting Success, the female chef mentoring programme which I co-founded and has been running since 2007. Not much happened in the last two years so it’s wonderful to be back carefully matching mentees with leading chef mentors and planning special workshops.

I had a lovely afternoon off, celebrating a dear friend’s birthday, have been to a couple of wonderful events which I will write more about when I have more time. I’ve also had my second booster (4th vaccination) for Covid so I’m ready for action Thursday night when I am hosting an innovative food and wine matching event for Women Chiefs of Enterprises International. I find it really stimulating working on new concepts and am looking forward to it.

Here’s my review of Bar Patron in Sydney, recently re-opened after two years closed.

Wherever you are eat and drink well.
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L: amazing ginger entered in the competitions and R: on site radio interview with the fab local community radio stations

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

Jump ahead to see:
Video Recipe
Recipes of the Week
South Australian Tour
Morocco Tour 2022
Puglia Tour October 2022

Video Recipe

Oven Poached Quinces with Honey and Star Anise

This week I’ve put a step-by-step video on my website for Oven Poached Quinces with Honey and Star Anise. both the written recipe and video are there on my website if you scroll down once you connect with the link.

However, you’ll find many more and you can Subscribe to my YouTube channel here for my videos free including some recipes in a minute. Enjoy.

Recipes of the Week

Orecchiette with Broccoli Raab
Photography: Max in Puglia

I’m still travelling with my tastebuds and thinking of the tours I am hosting later this year (see below). Here’s a very simple but delicious recipe: Orecchiette with Broccoli Raab. Orecchiette means “little ears” and you can see ladies making it at their doorsteps in Bar Vecchia in Puglia. In Italy broccoli raab or rabe is called cime di rapa (meaning “turnip tops”). It is also known as rapi, or rapini. You can substitute brocolini.
For something sweet, another Italian recipe which came from a friend whose Italian mother made it: Lemon Polenta Cake and Lemon Mascarpone.

Lemon Polenta Cake

South Australian Tour
dates shortly to be confirmed

L: with my dear friend Maggie Beer in Flame Studio Sydney and R: smallgoods, cheeses and house made tracklements at David Franz

I have had a lot of interest in this tour.  We are close to finalising dates and tweaking the content to make it even better and also reducing the cost a little. All the highlights will be there but  I am currently working on a couple of other things including a very special experience with chef/owner Peter Clarke at Vintner’s Bar & Grill after our visit to the Barossa Farmer’s Market. So watch this space.

The information on the website will be updated once reconfirmed. PH 1800 001 778 or email directadmin@insightvacations.com.au

Morocco Tour 23 Sept – 4 Oct 2022

Colourful tagines on sale in the medinas in Morocco

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.
Details of the adventure include:

  • Meals as per itinerary: breakfast daily, 9 lunches, 11 dinners with ½ bottle of wine per person at dinner or sometimes lunch
  • Transportation throughout in luxury air-conditioned vehicles with professional experienced English-speaking driver, including related expenses and allowing for physical distancing
  • English-speaking escort
  • English-speaking local licensed guides in Rabat, Volubilis, Meknes, 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
  • 3 cooking classes

You can enjoy this experience from AUD $9600 per person twin share (flights from Australia not included). Cost for single travellers is AUD$10,700.

By Prior Arrangement is highly experienced and well-known in Morocco as Principal, Carol Prior lived there for 13 years and has been arranging tours there for over 30. I have confidence in working with them to bring this very special tour into being. Talk to them about the trip, or feel free to email me with any queries. I am excited!
Read Where to Eat Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner in Rabat.

To enjoy the taste of Morocco at home, try my Chicken, Preserved Lemon & Green Olive Tagine.

Puglia Tour October 2022

Learning how to hand make orecchiette at a cooking class in Puglia

Puglia in the boot of the heel of Italy is still relatively unspoiled. A secret Italians tend to keep to themselves, it is a wonderful place to visit and so much less crowded than Tuscany. Join me and 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
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

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

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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