With my dear friend Maggie Beer in our lovely Flame Studio Sydney
Welcome, My dear old Mum, Isabel, used to say “it’s not what happens to you in life, it’s how you deal with it that matters”. How right she was. And how true for us all globally – as individuals, as members of communities and of different nationalities. Our generation was blessed by not enduring a world war (let’s hope it stays that way) though I had friends who went to Vietnam. What a time they had! Now we are all facing the effects of Covid in one way or another: restricted movements, lockdowns, health concerns, inability to travel, separation from family and friends, businesses going to the wall and more. I know when I feel overwhelmed, as I do at the moment, it’s sobering to think of others.
My darling friend Maggie and I have both known loss, but what a joy it was to have her in our lovely Flame Studio Sydney this week. We have been friends for many years, love food and singing and any excuse to have a hug. She was filming, one day also with Simon Bryant, for the Maggie Beer Foundation to show chefs and cooks some wonderful nutritious recipes suitable especially for those living in aged care homes. The studio itself is available for hire with lighting, props and equipment included. It is perfect not only for food shoots (having a sound-controlled prep kitchen right beside it) but also fashion shoots, interviewing and even live-streaming.
Meanwhile I am busy and sad, clearing out my partner John’s office and personal effects. A challenging time but I am grateful for my friends’ support. I’ve also been able to get out for some wonderful meals which has been a great respite. With my inability to go out much for 11 months, I am finally getting to some places I have wanted to try.It’s officially winter in Australia and it has come with a vengeance. Yesterday we had our coldest day in Sydney in 37 years with a maximum of only 10.3’C. We are experiencing an Antarctic chill which has lingered over the East Coast, along with damaging storms in Victoria. It’s great weather to stay warm inside and last night I caught an episode form my friend Stefano de Pieri on SBS in his new show exploring Australia’s Food Bowl. Highly recommended.
I’m doing my best to get back onto FacebookandInstagramand this is where you will see photos of some of the delicious things I have eaten. I hope you are finding some enjoyment in your life.
Now read on or scroll down, remember there’s something for everyone in this newsletter wherever you are in the world.
I’ve been cooking a lot of Chinese recipes recently, doing my thesis. I have mastered how to make Cantonese (not Peking) roast duck, but it’s so much easier to buy one ready roasted. Then you can do wonderful things putting it into salads etc. but one of my favourites is this Roasted Red Duck Curry. It’s fast and easy to make yet tastes incredibly authentic.
Still loving lemony recipes, so this week my Yummy Lemon Pudding which is really just my version of an Aussie favourite Lemon Delicious. From my first cookbook, Plates. Real Food for Fast People first published in 1995.
Yummy Lemon Pudding
Moroccan Cooking Demo & Lunch
Join Martin Boetz & Me for a Moroccan Cooking Demo and Lunch at the Cook’s Shed Saturday 14 August
As we can’t really travel overseas much these days, I am teaming up with my long term friend (he calls me Mummy) and fabulous chef, Martin Boetz from The Cook’s Shed, By Prior Arrangementand multi-award-winning winemaker Neil McGuigan who will be presenting wines under his own personal label. I have worked with everyone before and it will be huge fun.
We will begin around 11am with a welcome drink, then sit down for a cooking demonstration from Martin and me, then a three course meal, eating what we’ve demonstrated, with accompanying wines. We will wrap up around 3.30pm. The Cook’s Shed is a bespoke events space, recently refreshed. It’s located at 2 West Portland Road Sackville where Martin first set up Cook’s Co-op growing and supplying outstanding produce. It’s all Covid-safe. Think wood-fired oven, bubbling pots of warming food, recipes to take home and fun, fun, fun. An absolute maximum of 50 people. Cost is $145 all inclusive and all bookings here.
Menu available at the Strangers’ Restaurant, Parliament House
Earlier this week I attended a Koori Takeover of the kitchen at NSW Parliament House Sydney. The outstanding Executive Chef there, Vanessa Harcourt, worked with six young indigenous chefs and apprentice chefs to showcase native ingredients in a stunning canape menu. It’s all part of celebrations of National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week 2021. It’s not widely known that members of the public can book in what is called The Strangers’ Restaurantfrom Monday to Friday from 12 noon to 3pm. It is so called because historically, guests to Parliament, which may include visiting dignitaries, consulate representatives or even members of the Royal family were referred to as ’strangers’. It became known as the place ‘where strangers become friends’. So this is where you can experience a Koori Tasting Plate, which includes three of the items served this week plus Scallop with celeriac and samphire.
Kylie Kwong recently opened her new restaurant Lucky Kwong, a casual eatery in South Eveleigh. Named for the “angel baby son” she and wife Nell lost to still birth in 2012, it’s all about life-giving food, simplicity, community and sustainability.
The once-industrial locomotive workshop in Locomotive Street is an area being thoughtfully revitalised and is well worth a visit. Lucky Kwong is currently only open weekdays for lunch from 11.00am – 2.30pm, you’re best to get there at 11am to avoid the queues as only 25 can sit at one time. We were a bit daunted when we got to our table, to find we needed to use a phone to click on a QR code for the menu, though staff were very helpful and there is an option to go up to the counter and order. Once ordered you need to pay via card and then the order goes through. That said, it was very easy to reorder a second glass of wine, once that had all been established.
Kylie was very welcoming, in full view, busy on the pass, and once the food came, it made everything worthwhile. The menu is simple, short but appealing. She uses the very best, ethical suppliers like Palisa Anderson of organic Boon Luck Farm and Josh Niland’s Fish Butchery who are acknowledged on the menu and native plants grown on a nearby rooftop garden. Her food sings with freshness and Kylie’s intent of nourishing more than just feeding. Indigenous ingredients are integrated seamlessly.
L: Steamed Prawn Dumplings and R: Boon Luck Farm Bok Choy
It is all Modern Cantonese-Australian, canteen style and some dishes arrive together. Steamed Prawn Dumplings had a kick from Sichuan chilli dressing & Jiwah native bush mint ($16). I loved the way the tofu was cut in batons in the Salad Of Five-Spice Firm Tofu with pickled carrot, potato, fresh black fungus, Palisa’s herbs, tamari & ginger dressing ($16). It reminded me very much of the way potatoes are cut in China for Sichuan Stir-Fried Potatoes, a technique not widely known outside China. A really lovely dish. The Steamed Boon Luck Farm Bok Choy with tamari and sesame ($8) was seriously the freshest and best I have ever eaten.
If I had to choose an absolute favourite, it would be the LK Steamed Savoury Pancakes with fried egg, vegetables, Asian herbs & caramel-tamari ($19). I didn’t notice there was an optional daily special topping (+ $7) but the vegetarian version was light, fragrant and healthy in the true sense of the word. The drinks list is simple and we chose the only white wine, 2018 Cullen ‘Dancing in the Sun’ Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Verdelho ($13 per glass).
The lights of beautiful Sydney Harbour
It may officially be Winter, and the temperature sure makes that evident, but here’s a silver lining. In the lead up to the longest night of the year, Sydney is coming out of hibernation for Sydney Solsticeuntil 20 June, a festival celebrating food and drink, art, entertainment and culture.
Events are focussed on four key precincts (Newtown, Darling Harbour, CBD, Oxford St. and their surrounds), providing an opportunity to rediscover Sydney in wintertime by visiting popular and emerging venues with rich offerings.
Activations include the Sydney Opera House’s Badu Gili, a six-minute animation showcasing the work and stories of six female First Nations artists, along with a program of live music and poetry: a guided trip to Me-Mel (Goat Island), to learn about the significance of this island to the local Aboriginal people including a traditional welcome ceremony, bush tucker lunch and campfire Q&A sessions.
Next weekend 18-19 June, the South Eveleigh precinct mentioned above will have its own Solstice Festival, the first major public event to be held at this rejuvenated site. Music, art installations and food from local restaurants such as Eat Fuh, Lucky Kwong, RaRa Chan, Steve Costi’s Famous Fish and pioneering no-waste bar Re partake are all involved. .There are two cheesemaking classes hosted by Kristen Allan at Two Good Co; one focused on ricotta, cultured butter and yoghurt, and one on burrata, mozzarella and stracciatella.
Or back in the city. snack on dim sum at a Midnight Feast at Mr Wong. There’s more on at Darling Harbour including a “Moonlight” sea kayaking experience, skating, ice dancers, winter foodie market and giant arctic slide. Oxford Strreet and Five Ways Paddington are getting in on the act along with popular Sydney restaurants, pubs, precincts, art galleries, museums, and live music venues across the city. You’ll find everything here.
New Dates for Escorted Travel with me in 2022
Cooking Class in Puglia, Southern Italy
Inviting you to join me, travelling in small, curated groups with reputable travel companies with expertise in their areas.
I am delighted to confirm the new dates for my next two overseas tours, though final itineraries are not up yet (but previous ones will give you an idea). Please consider these dates as I would love to have you join me: Moroccan Culinary Tour begins in Rabat on Friday 23 September til Tuesday 4 October 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. By Prior Arrangement is highly experienced and well-known in Morocco and 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! ReadWhere to Eat Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner in Rabat.
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. Culinary Adventures in Puglia and Basilicata 8 – 14 October 2022. 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