Easter Show Fun + More

 

The RAS of NSW President’s Medal finalists, committee and Governor Margaret Beasley in the middle with the winners from Pecora Dairy Michael and Cressida Cains on the left of her

Welcome,
What a fortnight! I hope your Easter was wonderful. I went to my gorgeous goddaughter’s delightful, happy country wedding, then straight back for the official opening of The Sydney Royal Easter Show and what a splendid affair that was. Governor General, David John Hurley, AC, DSC, FTSE gave one of the best, unwritten speeches I have ever heard at the celebratory dinner, praising the Australian character and acknowledging the hard, resourceful work of farmers and producers and encouraging a positive outlook.

Then I was right into it with so many fabulous events. I hosted Talk & Taste and the live Aquaculture judging of Sydney Rock Oysters in the Dome where you can see the District Exhibits (pictured). Sheep dairy producers and previous finalists Pecora Dairy took home the prestigious 17th Annual President’s Medal. Run by the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RASNSW), the President’s Medal recognises a champion fine food, dairy, wine, beer or cider producer for their contribution to the integrity of their business, industry, and the wider agricultural community. Established in 2011 by Michael and Cressida Cains, Pecora Dairy is a full-circle, single-source, farmhouse producer of cheese, with the business constantly striving to deliver uniquely Australian cheeses including Australia’s first raw milk cheese “Yarrawa”. Taking on a multi-functional approach to their business, Pecora Dairy not only delivers champion-winning products but also invests in the future of their business by off-setting carbon emissions, only clearing 60% of their land to ensure farm biodiversity is maximised and opening a farm shop to help diversify their business. Cressida said “Now that our business is mature, Michael and I are stepping into more leadership roles in agriculture, and we want to be the inspiration for other producers to grow businesses with strong fundamentals that drive agriculture forward.”

 

The sensational agricultural district exhibits at the Easter Show. All made from regional produce by dedicated volunteers who collect produce and work on it for a year.

It was a wonderful Show, blessed by good weather with almost 800,000 welcomed through the gates, despite there being no school holidays. The Show, run by the RAS, is a unique Australian experience that brings the country to the city and showcases the very best Australian agriculture has to offer.There is so much to see from farmers to food, animals to arts and crafts, rides to rodeo and good old-fashioned family fun. A Show institution, the CWA (Country Women’s Association) Tea Room, sold over 38,000 scones, helping support women in rural areas. Nearly 12,000 people enjoyed a classic sausage sizzle at the Big Bush BBQ, with proceeds going to rural and regional communities.
Other highlights for 2024 include:

  • Over 500 baby chicks hatched across the 12 days of Show.
  • Biggest pumpkin at Show was 407 kilograms.
  • 400 pallets of lemons juiced at the Cheese on a Stick stands.
  • 12,000 Easter eggs eagerly collected in the Sydney Royal Egg Hunt.
  • 12,000 sausages sold at the Big Bush BBQ.
  • 100 tonnes of potatoes transformed into Chips on a Stick.
  • Over 23,200 entries across Sydney Royal competition classes.
  • Over 8,700 animal exhibits in competition.
  • Over 10,000 events judged for 2024 Show.
  • 7,000 Show jumps attempted by horses.
  • 15,000 flower stems adorning shops and competing in competitions.
  • Five tonnes of honey sold, highlighting its glowing popularity among Showgoers.

 The Sydney Royal Easter Show will return next year, bigger and better than ever before!
The 2025 Show will run from Friday, 11 April to Tuesday, 22 April 2025.

More information here.

L: I am always honoured to present awards and R: the incredible female woodchoppers. 

One of my favourite competitions at the Easter Show is the Woodchop and hats off to all competitors especially the impressive women involved. Women who chop have to take at least a year off when they have a baby. There were two first time World Championships for Women and the one I saw had a winner with two small children while another contestant had only gone into remission from breast cancer two years ago. I love the opportunity to go and present the awards whenever I can. I have been watching them since I was a little girl and it is always a thrill.

There have been no cooking requests lately and while I have a lot to share, time is against me for more, but I hope you enjoy what follows. As always keep up to date with me on Facebook and Instagram.  Please always feel free to email me with your requests or comments. 

Keep cooking and you’ll keep smiling– Lyndey x

Recipes of the week

CHICKEN WITH POMEGRANATE & WALNUT STUFFING & JEWEL RICE
Pomegranate arils (seeds) make things special
GET MY RECIPE HERE
ORANGE & LIME MARMALADE TRIFLE
A lovely use of citrus fruit at any time of year – with the added benefit it is a do ahead recipe
GET MY RECIPE HERE

Fun with Wine

 

What order do you drink your wine?

What order do you serve or drink wine in? Just click on the arrow or here 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.

Book Review

It seems that dinner parties have gone out of fashion partly due to Covid but, I think, also because of the effort involved. Certainly I rarely get invited to any and don’t host like I did with John. I am, however, making a conscious effort to have friends over and have had fun working on my next menu (albeit using some fabulous award-winning produce I bought at the Easter Show).

However, help for all of us is at hand with this new book aimed at keeping any type of entertaining hassle-free.  Ideas for quick after work one-pan dinners to more impressive, yet still achievable dinners. There are shortcuts and make ahead tips, shopping, storage and pantry-stocking advice. It is all beautifully shot and styled as one might expect from an author who lives between Provence and London and has styled for many famous food authors. Featuring 120 delicious recipes, including a bloody mary station for a brunch get-together, a classic wedge salad with blue cheese dressing to serve alongside a quick-cooking skirt steak, or, gnocchi with wild mushrooms, Dukkah-spiced Sheet Pan Schnitzel and to finish no-churn lemon meringue ice cream or a fudgy chocolate skillet cake.  Each recipe includes helpful toolbars, offering tips and tricks for effortless ingredient substitutions that will make it easy to accommodate any guest. 

Some Product Reviews

 Circulon ScratchDefense™ A1 series

Regular readers will know that I don’t take paid endorsements in this newsletter – and if I did, I would declare them. So what follows is my sharing some things I have trialed or tasted and enjoyed.

Circulon ScratchDefense™ A1 series

I am very hard on cookware. Not as hard as I used to be when I had a catering business but I do tend to get the worst off and perhaps throw it in my dishwasher and I do love to cook over high heat at times and sometimes need to scour a bit. So that’s my confession. I have had Circulon pans in the past (I still have one in pretty good condition) but I was thrilled to be given this new version of nonstick combined with durability to trial. And trial it I have. I have not needed to put it in the dishwasher (though you can) because it is so very quick easy to wash. I just put it in hot water with a brush and it’s clean.
It’s a delight to cook in as it conducts heat well so my pan can preheat quickly making it great for searing. The claim is it has a thick, triple-layer nonstick cooking surface which has been proven to last 130 times longer than other brands and withstand 350,000+ scrapes without scratching. It has a limited lifetime guarantee. I am very happy with mine and will certainly consider getting a larger pan too. So if you’re looking for new cookware, it’s worth looking at.   Learn more here.

Broken Bay waterways, home to Broken Bay Pearl Farm

Broken Bay Pearl Farm 
Nestled in historic oyster farming heartland, Broken Bay Pearl Farm operates in the waters of both the Brisbane Water and the lower Hawkesbury River only one and a half hours from Sydney and offers wonderful informative farm tours by boat which is what I enjoyed recently. With  headquarters at Mooney Mooney – the Shellar Door – is open to the public for an array of pearling experiences. Pearl oysters have provided a living for coastal people around the world for thousands of years. They were traditionally fished for mother of pearl shell, and more recently farmed for pearl culture. The larger pearl shell has great commercial value as a textile (mother of pearl) used primarily for buttons. Due to the presence of many culturally significant shell middens around the waterways of the Hawkesbury and Central Coast, we know that Broken Bay pearl oysters are likely to have formed part of a broad range shellfish diet for local Aboriginal people.

Now the owner, Pearls of Australia is all about creating  immersive customer experiences with tourism, education, and  taste despite the Hawkesbury River suffering catastrophic flooding and fresh water pollution three years ago. It has bounced back and is farming local Akoya pearl oysters as a food. They grow in a cluster on a “rope” a bit like mussels and are smaller with a different shaped shell.

Akoya oysters used to be a by-product of pearling but sustainably, they are now they are being used as a food source (as are some in Western Australia). Just like other oysters  Akoya can be eaten raw and whole. With a flavour profile stronger than the subtle pearl meat from Broome with typical briny flavours they are nevertheless quite different from other oysters. I have been ambivalent about the Akoya previously but philosophically think it’s a great idea. At lunch afterwards at Saddles at Mt White, a 10 minute drive away, Head Chef, Kodi Southgate, did a great job and I really enjoyed it. He described it best saying “It’s exciting to work with the Akoya pearl oyster, which is a relatively new food item in NSW, and lucky for us – found locally. The Akoya has a rather intriguing taste, with the creamy finish of a Sydney Rock oyster but the texture more like a mussel, so you basically get the best of both worlds when consuming this oyster,” .

His menu was creative and delicious: he freshly shucked some oysters, others served with various toppings like Davidson Plum vinaigrette; Grilled with fermented chilli butter & saltbush pangrattato; beef carpaccio with Akoya mayonnaise & coffee and an incredible dessert of Akoya oyster crème brulée.

 

TOP L: on the farm tour R: Akoya oysters in a cluster as they grow BOTTOM: L Akoya oysters showing the size  and R: freshly shucked Akoya ready to eat

L: Akoya with Davidson Plum vinaigrette; Grilled with fermented chilli butter & saltbush pangrattato; and Akoya oyster crème brulée.

Moroccan Culinary Tour



The beautiful Atlas Mountains, Morocco

Join my next culinary tour to Morocco from Saturday 27 April – Wednesday 8 May 2024 organised with Carol Prior from By Prior Arrangement who has 40 years experience and peerless contacts there. I have a lovely group of people coming with me, couples, singles, mothers and daughters. The mix always works and some have travelled with me before which is wonderful.

Taking in the best Morocco has to offer, this authentic gastronomic experience will see you visiting ancient palaces and medinas and enjoying exclusive dining experiences.

We will travel from Rabat the capital, to spiritual Meknes and Fes, and then onto intoxicating Marrakech, the red city. On the way, we will explore the archaeological site of Volubilis, visit a Berber village in the Atlas Mountains and relax by the coast in tranquil Essaouira. Together, we will discover the delicacies of Moroccan and French food and wine, dine in humble local eateries and upmarket restaurants, and experience the making and flavours of Moroccan dishes during cooking classes. Luxury accommodation is in charming, authentic riads.
Inclusions:

  • Personal hosting by me
  • 11 nights accommodation
  • Meals as per itinerary: breakfast daily, 7 lunches, 11 dinners with ½ bottle of wine per person
  • Transportation throughout in luxury air-conditioned vehicles with professional experienced English-speaking driver, including related expenses and allowing for physical distancing
  • 4×4 pick up & drop off on the day trip to a desert camp with optional camel riding.
  • Bottled mineral water and hand sanitiser in the vehicle daily
  • English-speaking local licensed guides in Rabat, Volubilis, Fes, Marrakech and Essaouira with all entrance fees included to the sites visited with the guides
  • Atlas excursion including mules and the specialist trek guide
  • 2 cooking classes
  • Local tourist taxes
  • Porterage
  • Restaurant tips
  • Drivers and guides gratuities
  • Bank transfer and currency fluctuation fees

Testimonial: 
“Such a wonderful way to experience Morocco!
Lyndey is an exceptional tour host and our guides and drivers were first class.
It was a memorable tour filled with unique experiences.”
Debra and Neil,  September/October 2022

Cost $10,000 per person (twin share).
More information & booking HERE, full itinerary HERE or email me or travel@bypriorarrangement.com with any questions.

L: You will cook something like this in a cooking class and R: Mint tea is a refreshing welcome