Home Sweet Home

 

My fabulous group on tour in Matera, Basilicata, Italy

Welcome,
to you all and thanks for your patience with my sporadic newsletters while I was travelling. I arrived home on Monday and am loving being in my own bed! Someone once said to me “the best thing about going away is coming home”. I think that is true but you need to experience and the fun of being away to then enjoy it. the best of both worlds. I hope to return to full newsletters next week, but here is a taste for now.

I am blessed that I can travel with my work and I gave a glimpse of my Morocco tour in my last newsletter. Below I reflect on another wonderful time hosting a culinary tour in Basilicata and PugliaFun all along the way. Join me next year 13 – 20 MayPuglia is the sun-drenched heel of the boot that spans two seas, the Adriatic and the Ionian. Basilicata is its neighbor to the west. Both agricultural regions with abundant healthy soil, over 50 million olive trees and a tradition of wine growing that has seen a fabulous dynamism in the last ten years. Details out soon.

I had a wonderful 10 days in Singapore on my way home, spending time with my gorgeous grandchildren, my daughter and her husband. I had several cooking sessions with them and you are in for a treat if you follow me on social media Facebook and Instagram. I was lucky enought to be there for my grandson, Rafferty’s, 5th birthday party – a Paw Patrol theme. The best bit? The kids sang Happy Birthday in both English and Mandarin.
You can also  read previous newsletters here.

Please always feel free to email me with any requests or comments. 

Keep cooking and you’ll keep smiling– Lyndey x

L: Isabel & Raffy with corn fritters we had made together and R: the family just before Raffy’s Paw Patrol birthday party

Recipes of the week

BASQUE CHICKEN
A delicious one pot meal perfect for the cooler weather and something the whole family or guests would enjoy.
GET MY RECIPE HERE
APPLE & BLACKBERRY CRUMBLE MUFFINS
So many apples are in season now and there’s blackberries around so make these with the kids.
GET MY RECIPE HERE

In the Kitchen with Lyndey

 

Authentic Pugliese Focaccia

Did you know that focaccia is regional in Italy? In Liguria it is very thin, while in Puglia it has toppings. Watch how we made authentic focaccia in Puglia on my recent tour.  Just click 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.

Puglia

A new experience for my tour this yeat – making tomato passata the traditional way

Beginning in UNESCO heritage site Matera in Basilicata, (photo above), home to many movies including James Bond No time to die, Wonder Woman and Ben Hur, our group quickly bonded with a wonderful welcome dinner in a cave. There was an incredible walking tour with a knowedgeable guide who brought the history to life. We also visited Altamura for an in-depth look at the making of the extraordinary DOP bread and focaccia and after shopping the next morning were off to discover Puglia’s famous trulli houses. These cone shaped dwellings are unique to the region and in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Alberobello with over 1,000 of them.

Imagine a local dairy farm with 0km food miles from the cows, to the milk to  cheese-making in the ancient traditions of Puglia, then eating.  Farmer and artisan, Giorgio, demonstrated the art of making fresh burrata and encouraged us to try twisting a knot of mozzarella or two.  A wonderful tasting of farm’s produce in the family’s home and we moved on to our home for the next five days, the glorious Masseria Montanapoleone.

TOP L: In Alberobello outside some trulli houses and R: inside a trullo preserved as a museum
BOTTOM l: Giorgio and R just some of what we tasted in his home – along with his homemade wine

I have always wanted to experience making of the traditional tomato sauce or “salsa di pomodoro” with an Italian. This was an additon to previous tours and local chef and food expert Gianna did not disappoint. We experienced hands-on all phases of the preparation of the tomatoes: cleaning, washing and squeezing; cooking, passing of the tomatoes through the press, 2nd cooking, sterilization of bottles, canning, cooling and finally, labelling. Typically on this day, locals will eat a spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce washed down with local wine – and so we did. Great fun. We each had some bottles of tomato sauce to take and, as some of us didn’t want to carry them home, I can advise they made excellent Bloody Marys! Dinner was quite a different rustic experience at a butcher shop where you choose your locally-reared meat to be cooked to enjoy with salad.  Take-away gelato completed the experience.

Next day a walking tour of Lecce, known as the ‘Florence of the South’, saw many amazing Baroque masterpieces and treasures of Italy, along with great shopping. A tour and private lunch at  Li Veli Winery was yet another highlight (so many iin this tour),

TOP L: fun & games enjoying the tomato day and R: the very stylish lunch and tasting at Li Veli winery

Our next day began with a full tour of the Montenapoleone estate, including the almond groves, the wheat fields and the many different fruit orchards and gardens.After, we got get busy in the kitchen for a hands-on cooking class using the estate’s produce from focaccia to pasta, ate what had been cooked before a relaxing afternoon swim. Another wonderful day concluded with a visit to one of Puglia’s oldest olive oil estates for a behind-the-scenes look at the fascinating olive oil history from Roman times and a tasting of the stunning extra-virgin olive oil before evening visit to the striking White City of Ostuni, a picturesque old citadel full of winding cobbled-stone streets. And superb pizza.

L: Collecting produce from the farm and R: hanging pasta to dry

There can be few better ways to enjoy the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic than out on the water. So next day we departed the port of Monopoli on an imposing gulet-style tall ship, with high masts and a beautiful wooden deck. We relaxed while sipping prosecco enjoying the sea breeze and incredibly blue water.  We sailed by the striking cliff top town of Polignano a Mare (which hosts the annual Red Bull Cliff Diving Championship) to see the dramatic sea caves, used by many centuries by smugglers.  A brave few swam before lunch at a local seafront restaurant with surely some of the freshest seafood on the planet. Lots of fun and laughter for our final dinner with promises of a reunion in the months ahead.

A wonderful bunch of people, shared experiences and friendships made. What pleased me most were the comments “this far exceeded expectations.” I’m looking forward to doing it all again next year 13 – 20 May. Mark your diary and there will be more details to come.

L An amazing seafood lunch and R: the freshest seafood, this is raw but we had plenty of cooked too

The Festival of Dangerous Ideas

It has been a labour of love for three years to create something to commemorate my late partner, John. The inaugural John Caldon Provocation will be the flagship and closing event of the Festival of Dangerous Ideas. Like John, we can always think outside the square if only we apply ourselves so you might care to join John’s friends and me for a thought-provoking evening with comedian and author David Baddiel, in an event which will challenge and entertain while honoring the legacy of John. My eternal gratitude to those who have donated to help make this a reality. John was a kind, generous and ever-optimistic man, friend and mentor who always thought laterally. This is a way of helping his mentoring continue.

Event Details:
– The God Desire – David Baddiel
– Sunday 25th August at 6:45pm
– Location: Festival of Dangerous Ideas, Sydney

David Baddiel is a renowned comedian, author, and television presenter, known for his insightful and often humorous take on life and identity. His latest book delves into his personal struggle with the concept of God and religion, offering a unique perspective on atheism.

The John Caldon Provocation: This event marks the inaugural John Caldon Provocation, an annual tribute to the legacy of businessman John, whose curiosity and innovation left a lasting impact.

More information and tickets here.

Whatever your views now, be there for an unforgettable discussion which may challenge us all?