As the days go on – relaxation for some, not for others – 1 May 2020
Does Recovery Lies Ahead?
My home kitchen set up for my first Facebook Live cooking dem
As the days merge together it seems, in parts of Australia, at least, that we will see the relaxation of some of the isolation rules. I have lovely subscribers from around the world, so I am keen to hear from you too, about your experiences. I really feel for those trying to work and home educate their kids. No wonder lots more kids showed up at school when the holidays ended in Queensland. It brings into sharp focus one of the problems in Australia. We have different State governments and no uniform education or health departments across this great country of ours. In other times it makes work transfers between states challenging but now we have one rule for some Australians and other rules for others. Crazy system. Or lack of system.
I had a funny time with my first Facebook Live recipe demonstration last Sunday night. I spent so much time perfecting the recipes and setting up my kitchen. I realised I had to move my computer a few times so people could see what I was doing. So I had a big candle holder to rest it on for my welcome, opening and closing. Then I had two storage boxes to rest it, tilted, so you could see my ingredients. However, I struggled with the technology and couldn’t work out how to make my image full screen for me, so that I could properly see what I was doing and participants were seeing. It was only halfway through I could see the questions coming through. Not like TV at all – but fun to try.
I had decided to do something quick and effective so did a melt-in-the-middle chocolate mug cake and carrot mug cake with a streusel topping – both in the microwave and both with existing household ingredients. If you missed it, you can still see the fun here on Facebook. And, if you would like the recipes, you can find them here.
This week I am doing another Facebook Live at 7pm Australian EST this Sunday, so that is 10 am BST. You will be able watch it here, on my official Facebook page.In response to a request last week, I am planning “how to cook the perfect steak”. So, to give you, my subscribers a heads up, if you want to cook along with me, then, for 2 people you will need 2 boneless steaks, salt, pepper, olive oil and for the reduction sauce 1/2 cup (125mls) beef stock, 1/4 cup (60mls) red wine and 1 1/2 tablespoons redcurrant jelly. Then whatever vegetables or salad you would like to have with it.
Apologies for my delay in starting my Zoom cooking classes but we have a lot going on privately and in our business at the moment – pivoting I believe is the new word. However, stand by for an announcement about them. Do register your interest if you haven’t already?
Stay safe, happy and well – and try this.
Visit Puglia from Home
My Ricotta Torte – a typical Pugliese recipe
from November/December 2017 issue of Selector Magazine Photography Brett Stevens
I have now had to postpone my planned hosted tour to Puglia later this year, hopefully to 10 – 16 October. Meanwhile, I have looked back to a feature I created for Selector Magazine and thought I would continue my idea to travel from home, via food. As everyone seems to be baking, I thought you might like this recipe Ricotta Torte
Preparation: 30 minutes + 1 hour resting dough
Cooking: 80 minutes For the pastry
2¼ cups (335g) plain flour
3 tablespoons sugar
75g unsalted butter
90ml dry white wine For the filling
900g fresh ricotta (sheep’s milk to be authentic!), drained
12 eggs, separated
¾ cup sugar
Grated zest of 2 lemons or 2 oranges
½ cup candied orange, citron or peel
½ cup golden raisins plumped in hot water
For the pastry: combine flour and sugar in food processor. Pulse butter until the texture of coarse breadcrumbs then quickly blend in the wine. Roll pastry into a large ball and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 190’C. Roll pastry out between 2 sheets of baking paper and line the bottom and sides (leaving 1cm pasty to sit over the rim) of 23cm springform cake tin. Cover the pastry with baking paper and weigh down with dried beans or rice. Blind bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Discard paper and beans and return to oven to dry out the base for around 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce heat to 160’C.
If ricotta is not very smooth, push through strainer to remove any lumps. Beat egg yolks and sugar with electric beaters in a large bowl until thick and pale, then beat in the sieved ricotta. Fold in the lemon zest.
Beat the egg whites until they are stiff but not dry. Fold gently into the ricotta mixture then the candied orange and drained raisins, spoon into the pie shell, and bake for around 50 minutes or until the top of the torte is golden brown and filling is set. Do not be concerned that the filling rises as it will settle as it cools.
Remove and cool to room temperature before serving.
Like so many, our oyster farmers are doing it tough with restaurants closed. Added to that, the annual Narooma Oyster Festival has moved online this Saturday 2 May. At 10:00am on Saturday May 2 you can watch Paul West (from River Cottage Australia) explore estuaries of the NSW South Coast, tasting fresh oysters along the way. Travelling by seaplane, Paul interviews oyster farmers from Narooma, Pambula, Merimbula and Batemans Bay, discussing farming techniques and the differing flavour profiles.
Why not buy some fresh oysters online, sit down and relax for the virtual festival
I woke up one morning this week to find a gift in my inbox from my friend, the amazingly talented and altruistic musician Jonathon Welch AM. I admired him from afar as the founder of the Choir of Hard Knocks, then was lucky enough to be able to go to Taree and do two weekend singing workshops with him. He is inspirational and such fun. The Choir Of Hard Knocks was also the subject of an award winning documentary released in 2007. His commitment to music and the arts and his tireless work within the marginalised and homeless communities across Australia has been recognised many times – including being awarded the Victorian and Australian of the Year Local
He is alsoa multi award winning Australian singer, conductor, teacher and cultural icon. He has just released a new song ahead of Mother’s Day– Grateful. Grateful is an inspiring, uplifting pop/opera cross-over track; a song of love and gratitude to the people in our lives that have been by our side and helped us through difficult times. In this age of Coronavirus this message of thanks and love is more important than ever.
YOU TOO LISTEN TO GRATEFUL HERE. Jonathon said: “My own wonderful Mother was very front of mind when I began writing this song just a few months ago. I found a photo of her as I was moving house and as I sat on my bed and looked at her beautiful smile, the whole melody came to me one afternoon in about half an hour.
Even though she’s been gone for many years, she has inspired me throughout my life. I’ve always wanted to find a way of saying how grateful I am for her enduring love and support, even though we cannot be together.
I then collaborated with my dear friend and great musician Dave Newington to finish the lyrics and the arrangement, and we were about to record the track and the COVID 19 lockdown began. Without changing a word, we realised that the song would resonate for many people who are isolated and separated from their loved ones, especially those working on the ‘front line’.
I think many of us are reflecting on who the special people are in our lives, given this pandemic. I think this song is the perfect way to share your feelings and give thanks to those people we are grateful for, including our Mothers and other loved ones who have been there to help us through difficult times”.
Baked Figs by LiamDesbois (UK) winner of Marks & Spencer Food Portraiture
I was very honoured to be a judge for the global competition for Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year. We did the initial judging on line and then, sadly, rather than judge the finals in London, had to judge them also online. The awards ceremony also appeared online and you can watch it here. I judged two categories, Philip Harben Award for Food in Action and Marks & Spencer Award for Food Portraiture and then judged the finals from the winners of all categories. There was a fabulous standard of entries. It was a great experience, I only wish I could have joined all the other judges at the planned judges dinner in London and the awards ceremony and reconnected with chair of Judges renowned food photographer David Loftus.
Oh well, maybe I’ll be lucky enough to be invited back. Meanwhile, enjoy the beautiful images. Luckily, figs are in season in Australia, so I, for one, am inspired to cook baked figs.
K M Asad’s winning photo from the category Politics of Food. Myanmar Rohingya refugee children wait in a queue to collect food a refugee camp in Ukhiya, Cox’s Bazar. According to the UNHCR more than 742,000 Rohingya refugees fled from Myanmar, most trying to cross the border and reach Bangladesh.
Do We Really Look Like this?
Some very sexist but fun images from an article I read in The New Daily about how we look right now
An article in The New Daily avers This is what Aussies look like, according to our shopping habits. These images say it all, though plenty of men are baking and plenty of women are working.
I have to admit, I do dress casually and rarely wear make-up these days, but we do keep to a routine of clearing urgent emails, exercising, showering, breakfasting and then working. We do enjoy having lunch together at home as a break in the day and I do look forward to a 6 pm drink. Aside from that, I’m trying to tidy out a drawer every day or two and eat the pantry. Not that I stocked up, we were overseas and then in lock up while people were doing that, but I do tend to have quite a bit of stock in there anyway.
Zoom has become a new word with multiple meetings per day.
Coming up next week, recipes on Facebook
Jamon Croquetas – part of my batch cooking series coming up on Facebook
I am being more active on Facebook and Instagram and am sharing lots of recipe, tips and tricks. coming up this week will be a series on batch cooking. Recipes you can cook one day, reheat the next, or freeze, or reinvent. I’ve done that a couple of times this week and it’s been a boon to just heat something up for dinner.
Also, after my Facebook Live session I will be publishing a blog with the full recipe and more.
And there will be a special Mother’s Day blog up too on May 6.
Join me – interactive cooking classes from home
I love teaching and demonstrating. This is in our studio when I was shooting my original Baking Secrets TV series
Thanks for the emails of interest for my planned Zoom cooking classes. sorry for my delay but I am working out how to do it I am also keen to know what type of recipes and techniques you may find interesting? Please let me know? email@example.com
These will be intimate, interactive classes on Zoom, which is easily accessed from a computer or phone. It will be done quite simply in my home kitchen. You will need to register to attend the class at a small cost. I will then email you the recipe in advance so that you can have the ingredients. I will then show you how to cook the dish, tips and tricks, all in real time. You will be able to see me and I can see you. You can ask questions which I can answer then and there. The recipes will be approachable and feature easy to get ingredients, how to extend meat, what’s in season in my no-fuss style.