Easter Newsletter

 

At Government House L to R: Danni & William Wilson (long-time stewrad & judge), Sandie Barnes (wife of Angus, Chair of Wine Show), Ian Kingham (Chair of Beer & Cider competition), me and Brock Gilmour CEO of the RAS

Welcome, 

Easter is officially here with the The Sydney Royal Easter Show opening today. A busy time ahead for so many of us so don’t forget to come and book in to Talk & Taste in the Dome (it’s free), with Fast Ed, or me, hosting two different award-winning food producers each day in half hour sessions.

Showtime kicks off the day prior, with a lovely morning tea in NSW Government House, kindly hosted by the Governor Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC KC. It is a time when we invite those who support the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) all year round and also present the young finalists of the Rural Achievers with their akubras and those of Young Woman competition with their Sydney Royal badges. Such impressive young people who already do so much. The Governor is an incredible woman, welcoming all in the Gadigal language and then speaking, wihout notes of the importance of agriculture and food. She proudly advised that only NSW food and wine are served in Government House. After that I was chuffed when her Official Secretary, Colonel Michael Miller RFD who was MC, spontaneously acknowledged the assistance of the RAS in advising on NSW produce several years ago and me specifically. So humbling and lovely to be remembered.

We were also invited to go and view the room set up and ready for the swearing in of the new NSW Government yesterday afternoon. Photo below and you can read more here.

No newsletter next week as I will be fully occupied at the Easter Show but you can see what’s happening  on Facebook and Instagram or email me with any requests or comments. 

Happy cooking, eating and drinking – Lyndey x

The room in readiness for the swearing in of the new NSW government

Recipes of the week

MUSHROOM STRUDEL
Something to please vegetarians and ominivores alike
GET MY RECIPE HERE
LEMON POLENTA BITES
Sometimes small food is delightful just to pop in your mouth
GET MY RECIPE HERE

Fun with wine

 

Matching champagne with food

Here’s another in my series, Fun with Wine. How do you match champagne or sparkling wine with food?  If you would like to see more of my videos, subscribe to my YouTube channel HERE or follow me on Instagram.

Blue Mountains Visit

With my friends Pam Seaborn, a Blue Mountains local and Colin Barker, Executive Chef at Lot 101

Last weekend I had a short but satisfying visit to the Blue Mountains. An easy drive on a Friday night, not leaving till 6pm and at my accommodation at Kyah Hotel, a refurbished, reduced environmental footprint, retro beauty by 7.40pm. Here I was immediately impressed by their support of hyper-local produce, beginning with a sales stand in the entrance to Blaq restaurant. The menu, created under the culinary vision of executive chef Mate Herceg is a celebration of all that is local, along with  quality seafood, which can’t be local, of a similar high standard. The service staff were justifiably proud of all that they do and it was good to see wines of the West starring too. Much of the food on the menu is gluten-free too, as being lighter. Incredible to find a Vegan house-made Gnocchi with Kyah garden vegetables and salsa verde. We were warned that, being gluten and dairy-free it could be chewier than regular gnocchi but it was far from heavy and I would happily order it again. Impressive.

It’s worth trying some of the bespoke cocktails like Kyah-oto Collins made with  navy strength gin from local distillery Karu, with cointreau, yuzu, lemon juice, grapefruit, lemon verbena and citrus salt. Or the Native Negroni, with native okar bitter, blue mountains gin, sweet vermouth and dehydrated orange. The wines are listed by style and weight with a good selection by the glass. And don’t miss the triple cooked chips!

L: Produce stand at Kyah and L: Sydney Rock Oysters, finger lime mignonette; BEHIND Miso roasted pumpkin, corn crisps, dukkah and R: Fremantle octopus, pickled heirloom beetroot, Lisdale goats curd, sumac

Next morning we drove through the beautiful Megalong Valley. Next to the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area at the centre of Sydney’s water catchment, the Megalong Valley is remote, unmistkably Australian and full of wildlife.

First stop, Lot 101 which is opening on 13 April. It is dedicated to demonstrating that we don’t need to choose between wonderful food and a sustainable, productive environment. Across approximately 600ha of native bushland and farmland under the cliffs of the Megalong grows a huge variety of vegetables and fruit, raise sheep, cattle, ducks and chicken – and served at the soon-to-be-open restaurant, Megalong, and popular historic Megalong Valley Tea Rooms. At its helm, an old friend of mine Executive Chef Colin Barker (ex-Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay).
This is the most complete, wholistic accommodation, farm, restaurant I have seen in the area and is, without a doubt, world class for its location and authenticity. I can’t wait to go back.

Further on into the Valley is beautiful Dryridge Estate. Much as I have enjoyed their wines before, I had never visited and we had a perfect day for it. We sat above rambling vineyards, ringed by native forest and towering sandstone escarpments. Operated by Simon Doyle and Emma MacMahon since 2015, this boutique vineyard produces elegant minerally wines from the pink granite soil.

By dinner Pam and I had quite a day of it and were pleased to be able to share Small Plates at The Bowery. This is a new restaurant in the historic St Andrew’s church (formerly the Gingerbread House), from the same team as Katoomba’s iconic Avalon Restaurant and Cocktail Bar. It is designed especially for casual eating, drinking and socialising, serving brunch, lunch and dinner and was buzzing (if a bit noisy). They too focus on fresh, local and seasonal produce, with hearty mains and a  drinks list showcasing  local wines, craft beers, spirits and cocktails. Aside from the dishes shown in the photo below and Prawn Koliwada (crisp spicy prawn with a tangy coriander and mint dip), we especially loved the Fish Tacos of battered flathead, charred corn, coriander, red cabbage, chipotle aioli and tomato herb salsa washed down with a fabulous Rowlee Single Vineyard Arneis from Orange by the glass. Finishing with an Affogato which used local spirits we learned that all spirits served here are Australian, as is the music which is played. A well-rounded experience.

It’s a few years since I have been able to look at the growing  food scene in the Mountains, especially post-Covid and I was thrilled to see it so vibrant. With new restaurants and distilleries, I’ll be back to dig deeper. And there’s something lovely about the crisp mountain air and roaring fires as the weather gets cooler.

L: Cheese & charcuterie platter at Dryridge Estate and R: Soft shell crab roti and Duck spring rolls at The Bowery

Easter Recipes

Slow Roasted Lamb with Salad of Black-Eyed Peas & Herbs

Easter tends to be all about seafood, lamb (especially Greek recipes) and chocolate so here are some more recipes to try:
Fried Small Prawns and Baby Fish
Oysters with Pico de Gallo
Asian oysters with shallot, ginger and sesame
Polenta canapes with prawns
Churrasco prawns with aji sauce
Prawns in cartoccio with smashed potatoes
Swordfish Souvlaki with Capers and Dill
Betel leaves topped with spicy fish
BBQ Salmon Skewers with Crunchy Slaw
Cataplana
Prawn Pie
Seafood platter with chimichurri sauce and chipotle mayonnaise
Fish with green chilli
Fish Tacos, Tomato & Avocado Salsa
Easy Acqua Pazza Fish
Rainbow trout with preserved lemon and herb dressing
Snapper in a salt crust with gremolata
Slow Roasted Lamb with Salad of Black-Eyed Peas & Herbs
Slow-roasted lamb ribs with yoghurt and feta sauce – this is an incredibly inexpensive way to enjoy lamb
Spicy lamb sausage rolls
Greek lamb burgers

L Swordfish Souvlaki with Capers & Dill and R: Fried Small Prawns & Baby Fish

Easter Bread & butter Pudding

For something sweet
Simple Chocolate Sour Cream Cake with Coffee Spiced Dates
Chocolate Souffles
and after Easter
Easter Bread & Butter Pudding

Looking Ahead

Look  out for my cooking comfort food for grief on The Morning Show on Channel 7 on Wednesday 19 April.

I am involved in two events for Tasting Australia: guest chef at A Taste of Streaky Bay (some coverage in their local press here) and in Adelaide a Tea and Tannin masterclass on Saturday, 29 April. Together, we will explore the diversity of Chinese teas and their distinct variations, alongside some uniquely Australian wine styles which suit Australia’s multicultural cuisine, climate, lifestyles and dining culture. And, there will be some Chinese dim sum to enjoy with this.

Autumn Celebration of Food in the Shoalhaven
I will be one of the celebrity chefs as part of this years Autumn Celebration of Food in the Shoalhaven. I will present on the value of food tourism to regional NSW to attract visitation. The Shoalhaven has a diverse offering of excellent local food and wine and dining experiences.More information to come.
 
My next hosted tour to Puglia  is so new that the details aren’t up on the website yet but it will take place with an extra day and night, from 11 – 18 May 2024 and we are including a couple of new experiences.
Another tour to Morocco is, as yet, unconfirmed but we are looking at 26 April – 8 May and are checking with accommodation.

Watch this space!