Lucy Sparkles and Friends Virtual Christmas Choir (Lucy middle top row with garland and her husband Toby in the red jacket)
Welcome In what has been a challenging year for all, something I hope to bring you some joy. My daughter Lucy Sparkles and her Virtual Choir singing White Christmas with some of the Sparkles team half a world a part. I am immensely proud of her and her beautiful work with children. Pretty chuffed to see my son-in-law joining in the fun. You can watch and hear the whole song here. I love that it is in sign language too.
It will be a very different Christmas for most people this year. So many of us are separated from family and loved ones. I have not seen Lucy and my adorable grandchildren in over a year and I can’t see that happening in the forseeable future. While we are keeping it smaller, I will be seeing most of my siblings and their families on Christmas Day and the next generation have issued a stern instruction that they are “hijacking Christmas” and we are banned from doing anything other than bringing drinks. And no washing up either! My sister, however, has to make her fabulous duck fat roast potatoes. Yum!
While I am taking a break from my Facebook Live sessions until the New Year next Monday night 21 December, I am joining Joe and Scott’s Trivia.My friend, entertainer, consummate actor, singer and comedianScott Radburn invited me to join them for one hour from 8:00 pm AEDST (7:00 pm QLD, 5:00 pm Singapore and 9:00 am London). I hope you might join us – I’m still working out what I will cook.
Here in Sydney, we have a new Covid cluster and I am grateful I had the foresight to cancel visiting friends in Dee Why yesterday morning. John is back in hospital, hopefully only overnight for a blood transfusion which we hope will pep him up and see him in good shape for the week ahead.
Christmas, Hannukah, New Year mean different things to different people so whatever it is for you, I hope the time will be happy and full of love and joy. This will be my last newsletter until after the New Year so I truly hope it will be a better year for everyone.
Warm wishes, Lyndey
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Champagne and Sparkling Wine
Regular readers will know I am a fan of sparkling red wine – any time of year, but at Christmas especially. For me it goes with everything from breakfast, to the ham, turkey or salmon on to the pudding. Sparkling red can be made from different red wines, and when looking at food matches it is the base wine that should be considered. A cabernet with minty, chocolate overtones could go well with chocolate. A pinot-based wine may go better with lighter food, such as seared tuna, perhaps with native pepper, as it can handle the spice. Wineries of all sizes are now making sparkling reds, and at all price levels.
Champagne and sparkling wines are ever popular at Christmas so you may like toread my blog about Champagne and sparkling wine. Aside from that I love the modern style of Australian Rosé which finishes dry and on a hot day, the heaviest red I can go is a Pinot Noir, which can still go with everything from oysters and seafood to ham and turkey.
And if you’re not drinking sparkling red, the match for Christmas pudding is Pedro Ximenez, a style of sherry with rich caramelised, toffee flavours.
Rillettes of Salmon with Horseradish Creme Fraiche and Mustard & Dill Pikelets
Gluten Freedom Broken Black Rice & Polenta Sourdough platter
I find the search for gluten-free bread to be a challenge. There are some stunning boutique bakers and restaurants who make a really good product – but you have to travel to find them. However, most of what is available in supermarkets and the like bears a closer resemblance to cardboard than bread and usually comes in only one or two varieties.
I well understand the limitations of gluten-free baking, so, it’s good to see an artisan range now nationally available. Tim Grainger, founder ofVenerdi Breadscompares the bread revolution to that of craft beer as both require a lot of trial and error in experimenting with new and unusual ingredients in the creation of innovative flavours and textures. they have released afull range of gluten-free products– along with keto, vegan and paleo. The gluten-free bread passed the toast and vegemite test for me. They are available from health food stores, Bio-Livingand are alsoavailable to order online.
Now they have come up with four platter ideas starting with bread as the foundation including (pictured) Gluten Freedom Broken Black Rice & Polenta Sourdough
– Sliced pear
– Fresh figs
– Homemade basil pesto
– Cured meats (salami, prosciutto)
– Dried apricots
Next Week and Last
Back of house of the Theatre Kitchen at the Easter Show with a surprise guest
With the wonderful news that the Sydney Royal Easter Show will proceed in a Covid-safe way next year, I posted a flashback photo from when I met Nicole Kidman there.
I also shared a whole Christmas menu on Happy-Aliwith recipes including my cheese biscuits (above), Roast pork, pea medley, parsnip and pumpkin purees and a Large summer pudding.
Next week I’ll be posting a blog on how to handle all those Christmas leftovers, so please do join me on Facebook and Instagram!
Roast Loin of Pork with Crackling
Travel with me?
Wonderful subtly spiced traditional Moroccan dishes. The salads (left) really transform seemingly ordinary ingredients like carrots
Covid vaccines are now a reality so I am optimistically planning my tours to Morocco and Puglia for late next year. If we deem it not safe to travel, we will postpone to 2022, but I think accompanied tours with well-reputed and experienced companies will be the safest way to go.