Flashback to an incredible day visiting Coffin Bay for the first time at the last stop, sampling Coffin Bay gin
It’s cold and very wet again in Sydney with rain down the Eastern Seaboard again – exactly where we don’t need it while the lovely Adelaide Hills desperately needs it. I guess that’s ever the way things go in Australia.
However, I am still basking in the afterglow of a wonderful time at Tasting Australia and have got out dining again in Sydney which has been great. I also saw the outstanding production Picture of Dorian Gray at the Sydney Theatre Company. It was truly breathtaking as actor Eryn Jean Norvill plays all this dark tale’s 26 characters through a clever use of technology, brilliant direction and incredible acting. Two hours, no interval and gripping.
I’ve also had fun developing and testing chilli recipes for the July – August issue of Selector Magazine. I’ve also started a three week online social media course with TAFE. Two nights a week of three hours. There is so much to learn.
Also tomorrow I go to Government House in Sydney to accept my late partner John’s posthumous Order of Australia and have organised a gathering afterwards to honour him, so I am not at all sure of getting back to my desk.
Wherever you are in the world and whatever the weather I hope you are eating and drinking well, and happy and healthy.
I cheered myself on Mother’s Day by having a morning walk with friends on beautiful Balmoral Beach
Read on or scroll down, remember there’s something for everyone in this newsletter wherever you are in the world.
I do love Chinese flavours and tested a lot of recipes when writing my thesis last year. There are some absolute classics of Chinese cuisine like Kung Pao Chicken. I researched thoroughly to come up with my version.
An oldie but a goodie is Warm Winter Fruit Salad suitable for the cooler weather, though it is also delicious cold with thick yoghurt for breakfast. It is a great standby when all the wonderful summer stone fruits are not available.
Warm Autumn or Winter Fruit Salad – delicious cold too
World Hummus Day
OK so I know there is a day for everything but Hummus is special, beloved of adults and children alike. So Friday 13 May is International Hummus Day. There’s even a Facebook page. When I was in the Barossa last week, visiting my friend David Franz, planning for my hosted trip to south Australia, I tasted his hummus which was quite simply outstanding. He sent me the recipe but it is in the huge quantity he makes for his cellar door. I need to reduce it and test it but his secret – passed on by a friend of his mother Margaret Lehmann, is to put white miso in it. You heard it first here!
However, here is a link to my Roasted Sweet Potato Hummus.
Roasted Sweet Potato Hummus
Entertaining on set of my Baking Secrets TV series in Flame Studio Sydney
Now that things have opened up, do we remember how to entertain at home? Here are my
Top Five Tips For Entertaining
Keep it all within your comfort zone. Better to do something simply yet well than try something complicated and flounder. If in doubt trial a recipe beforehand. “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” Julia Child
Forward planning is the key. Think about the balance of the menu in terms of what you are eating, how complicated it is and what you can prepare ahead. Write up your menu and put it on the fridge so you can check things off. Check linen, napkins, crockery, candles and any special equipment.
Streamline shopping Write your shopping list in sections according to where you buy things or which part of the supermarket. Do you need to order anything? Shop for non perishables at least a couple of days ahead and don’t unpack them – saves double handling.
Think about drinks. Plan the wine you will serve when you have decided the menu. Or choose the wines first and then food to go with them. Put whites in the fridge the day before. Stand the reds up in a coolish place in case they have sediment. Ensure you have full water jugs and glasses on the table.
Have fun, relax and enjoy. It’s about enjoyment, hospitality and companionship not performance! The greatest compliment you can pay someone is to invite them into your home. The worst home-made disaster is better than anything bought in.
“Food is a celebration. If you offer people food you create peace, harmony and understanding” Sheila Kitzinger
Things to Read and Share
Chicken Adobo – just one of many classic Filipino dishes worth trying.
Photography Benito Martin, SBS Food
As regular readers would know, I went to South Australia for 6 days. Being short of time, I packed too much – of course. I think it takes longer to pack wisely and sensibly. Therefore I was interested to read in Food & Drink Destinations How to Pack for Two Weeks in Europe in a Carry-on Bag
South Australian Tour work in progress
TOP LEFT: Maggie Beer, Jake Kellie and me at Arkhe; RIGHT: David Franz (Lehmann) and me BOTTOM: at Grunthal Brew and Udder Delights Cheese Cellar and RIGHT: at Seppeltsfield Road Gin Distillery
Planning is underway tweaking this tour, making it better, more personal and better still, reducing the cost a little. All the highlights will be there but I am currently working on a couple of other things including a very special experience with chef/owner PeterClarke at Vintner’s Bar & Grill after our visit to the Barossa Farmer’s Market. So watch this space.
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.
Details of the adventure include:
Meals as per itinerary: breakfast daily, 9 lunches, 11 dinners with ½ bottle of wine per person at dinner or sometimes lunch
Transportation throughout in luxury air-conditioned vehicles with professional experienced English-speaking driver, including related expenses and allowing for physical distancing
English-speaking local licensed guides in Rabat, Volubilis, Meknes, 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
3 cooking classes
You can enjoy this experience from AUD $9600 per person twin share (flights from Australia not included). Cost for single travelers is AUD$10,700.
By Prior Arrangement is highly experienced and well-known in Morocco as Principal, Carol Prior lived there for 13 years and has been arranging tours there for over 30. 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!
Read Where 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. 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