Back in the Groove


L: with my friend Nik at BOTTEGA Pendolino and R: with my friend Sonia at Chicago

and I hope you are all in a happy space? I am just loving being home, back in my routine of exercise followed by coffee with friends, catching up with people, theatre, restaurants and also some nights at home in my own space (with the heater on!). Busy as always.

As you can see from my photos, I saw Chicago the Musical which was sensational and Anthony Warlow as Billy Flynn was having such a good time, as were the rest of the cast and the orchestra. Highly recommended. Also the chance for a rare Friday lunch catch up with my friend Nicole Hatherly who is also the brand strategist who came up with my new tagline Connecting at the Table (it’s so right and my new website is coming soon now that I am home to work on it). We took the opportunity to try the new BOTTEGA Wine Bar in front of Restaurant Pendolino in the historic Strand Arcade. We chose small plates to share (see photos below) and everything was delicious. My absolute favourite was Eggplant Fritters, Chickpea Salsa Verde but as they were very dark on top the photo wasn’t so good. There is also an excellent winelist – short for convenience or a comprehensive one with a good list by the glass. A shout out to the excellent 2019 Tertini ‘Private Cellar Collection’ Nebbiolo from Hilltops in NSW, available by the glass and also, sensibly a carafe. All with the fabulous service one has come to know from Pendolino. Also highly recommended.

I am delighted to advise that I will be hosting culinary and cultural tours to both Morocco (30 April to 11 May) and to Puglia from 13 – 20 May next year. We are currently sorting out accommodation and other details so watch this space.

Meanwhile don’t forget the programme is out for the Festival of Dangerous Ideas including the inaugural John Caldon Provocation as the flagship and closing event. I wrote about this last week.

Meanwhile please keep up-to-date on Facebook and Instagram and read previous newsletters here.

Please always feel free to email me with any requests or comments. 

Keep cooking and you’ll keep smiling– Lyndey x

L: Chilli & Garlic Baby Endeavour King Prawns, Garlic Shoots, White Wine and R: Steamed Rainbow Chard, Crushed Sebago Potato, Lemon, Pendolino Fruttato Allegro in front of Grilled Free Range Victorian Bannockburn Baby Chicken Rosemary Skewers, Italian Red Cabbage Slaw, Mint Salsa at BOTTEGA Pendolino

Recipes of the week

Baby it’s cold outside! Get into some soup. I made a fat-free version of this for a friend who is very unwell & it was well received.
This easy recipe suits all ages and yet is smart enough for guests. Or you could make it with lemon

Fun with Wine


Why is Pinot Grigio so popular?

Pinot Grigio is rapidly becoming the white wine of choice for many people. Click on the arrow 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.


Mark Olive at the opening of The Midden by Mark Olive at the Sydney Opera House a year ago.

NAIDOC week is a time to celebrate and recognise the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. Its origins can be traced to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920s which sought to increase awareness in the wider community of the status and treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Now National NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia in the first week of July (Sunday to Sunday), and provides an opportunity for all Australians to learn about  First Nations cultures and histories and participate in celebrations of the oldest, continuous living cultures on earth. 

For me it is about people and practical appreciation. I was first introduced to indigenous ingredients by my friends Ray and Jennice Kersh at the legendary, ground-breaking restaurant Edna’s Table which opened in 1981. They taught me to respect, enjoy, love and honour tthese unique flavours. Back then most people didn’t even know about such ingredients and were mostly horrified by the idea of eating kangaroo. I would argue with other foodwriters about its importance and relevance and gleefully take overseas guests there who were invariably blown away. Then in 2010 Rene Redzepi from NOMA visited Sydney and in a keynote at the Opera House challenged chefs present about foraging for our own native ingredients. Kylie Kwong took up the challenge and incorporated indigenous ingredients into her food which also helped bring it to prominence.

The Midden by Mark Olive
Wonderful at last to the see the rise of indigenous chefs and no-one is more deserving than my friend, Bundjalung man, Mark Olive. He has done the hard yards from apprentice chef at Wollongong Hospital to avail himself of every opportunity and to work hard also at studying  acting, theatre, film and production. He is friendly, cheerful and a hard worker, a wonderful mentor and example to younger indigenous people. So I was thrilled when a year ago, with Doltone House, he opened The Midden by Mark Olive at the iconic Sydney Opera House. It was going to be called The Midden and I urged him to put his own name to it. It opened a year ago, the same night as the Sydney premiere of the latest Mission Impossible movie with Tom Cruise in attendance. His opening party was packed and as Mark said that night  “if you told me that an Indigenous bloke from Dapto would one day open a restaurant at the Sydney Opera House, I would’ve said that’s Mission Impossible!”

On Monday I visited The Midden with some friends and we were not disappointed. The pictures below show what we tried: the Indigenous Australian Grazing Plate and then a sample of other dishes including Lemon myrtle cauliflower chips with blue cheese sauce, my absolute favourite Smoked Blue Gum BarramundiChardonnay vinegar mash, lemon myrtle chilli and macadamia broth; a succulent Braised Wallaby Shank, Native infused tomatoes, sweet potato rosti and a delicious and satisfying Baked Bush Bell Pepper, Legumes, wild herbs, rice, saltbush, chilli, macadamia crumb. The flavours and textures all worked together, complementing rather than competing. Be sure to finish with Mark Olive’s Bush Pavlova, Native fruit coulis, roasted wattleseed cream.

As befits a national icon which really belongs to all Australians there is a very affordable $49 lunch menu for a main, side and beverage as well as options for Pre-theatre, Native High Tea, Degustation and Grazing. There are Australian Native Cocktails, Mocktails and wines by bottle and glass which acknowledge the traditional land from which they come.

Here’s an interview I did with him many years ago and a recipe for his Wallaby Stack.

In honour of NAIDOC week, why don’t we all try, eat or cook with some indigenous ingredients or go somewhere we can and ponder the heritage of this great land of ours?
Here are a couple of my recipes “Okkah” Crusted Butterflied Lamb or ‘Okkah’ Crusted Barramundi with Coleslaw. ‘Okkah’ is a play on dukkah where I use native spices to give it an Australian twist .

L: Indigenous Australian Grazing Plate; NSW regional cheeses, native thyme hummus, smoked kangaroo, emu, lemon myrtle tandoori crocodile, olives, pickled vegetables, marinated artichoke, roasted macadamia nuts, quandong paste, Tasmanian mountain pepper leaf flat bread and R: shared dishes at The Midden by Mark Olive

Book Review: On Sundays

Embla in Melbourne is one of Australia’s essential wine bars, coming up to 10 years in operation. Chef Dave Verheul has released his first book On Sundays: Long Lunches Through the Seasons,  (Hardie Grant $55) a cookbook of memorable recipes and curated menus to be shared at the end of the week.

For many of us, Sunday is the perfect day for entertaining, with things at a slower pace and we can spend our time meaningfully with family and friends. But how to choose what to cook on a Sunday according to the season and the occasion?  This beautifully photographed book offers 16 considered menus to suit every mood and gathering throughout the year.

Divided by the four seasons, each chapter includes a selection of self-contained recipes to inspire different types of Sunday. The topics are great, perhaps now  ‘A fireside Sunday’ beginning with Sardine Toasts with Lemon & Mustard or  ‘A Sunday after a tough week’,  A ‘Sunday dread’ Sunday featuring Lamb leg, purple-sprouting broccoli, navy beans, anchovy. There’s also recipes for lunch on a languid summer afternoon with poached rainbow trout and artichokes. Each chapter includes helpful tutorials on breadmaking, preserving and mushrooming along with advice on How to use the book, Buying produce, Equipment and Ingredients. Written in a friendly, conversational way these recipes will elevate your usual repertoire.

Cook with the Kids these Holidays?


How to make Croque Monsieur

I think it is important that cooking with children doesn’t always mean making sweet things. My grandchildren loved making croque monsieur. Click on the arrow and see for yourself.

My Tips for Cooking with a Busy Schedule

It can be hard to stay on top of cooking with busy schedules. I hope  you may find some of my tips useful?

  1. Plan your weekday meals – makes shopping easier and everything is there ready for you when you get home at the end of the day
  1. Keep your pantry well-stocked with basics. Read How to stock a pantry.
  1. Use old favourites or fast, simple recipes and if you need to, read through the recipe first. They aren’t always written in the best order so note you can start cooking something while prepping something else.
  1. Use some good pre-prepared items like tomato pasta sauce, canned chickpeas and lentils etc. Also fast preparing grains like couscous or dried noodles.
  1. Cook once and eat twice: double and change up for the next night or take for lunch? You can put almost anything in a wrap. Cold meats and veg are great in a salad in warm weather, add some spice to a cooked wet dish like bolognaise or chicken stir fry to have Mexican flavours, or a curry.
  1. One pot meals or tray bakes are so easy and mean less washing up. Often you can throw everything in and it can cook while you do something else.
  1. When you’re heating up on the stove, cover your frypan or saucepan as it will heat more quickly. Boil water for pasta or anything in a kettle.
  1. Use your microwave – try my incredible microwave mushroom risotto.
  1. Always have eggs in the fridge. You can always make an omelette or frittata with veggies in your fridge, or learn how to make spaghetti carbonara as with that basic recipe you can always make a “sauce” for your pasta and add in other things.
  1. Freeze leftovers in portions for easy reheating
  1. Clean up as you go like a professional chef. Teach your family to do that too.