Announcement of John’s Honour on the Queen’s Birthday holiday
Welcome, What a strange week It has been. It was a bittersweet moment when my late partner, John Caldonwas acknowledged in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for service to business through media content distribution. He also had a stellar career in business, banking, infrastructure and railways before our establishment ofFlame Media. A sweet recognition, which I knew about, but sadly he did not before he died. I am still knee deep in papers, memorabilia and books in our offices of the past 10 yers but have taken a welcome break to write this newsletter. Now my hometown of Sydney is topsy turvy with new Covid cases after a long time without. I have friends now in isolation. Good to see that Victoria is opening up a bit and that restrictions are slightly relaxed in Singapore. I think this is our way of life now. so roll on vaccinations though I see now Australia is only recommending Astra Zeneca for the over 60s. I am looking forward to my second jab in July. Luckily I had no side effects with the first one.
I’d like to give a big shout out to theShort + Sweet Festival. Begun in 2002, it is the on stage version of Tropfest and used to take place over four weeks, each week showing 10 different 10 minute plays per night. My sonBlairwon an award for his seven consecutive years performing, until he died in 2011. It has now become global, an opportunity develop new, original work with emerging artists, providing and also providing a platform for established artists to showcase their talents. It was the first time I’ve been back and it was fabulous. Last night there were only seven plays, and the whole programme has been trimmed because of the challenges of Covid. Well done to the team behind it and the director, Nick Hardcastle. The fun of it is, that you vote on your three favourite plays to help come up with the short list of finalists. It is travelling around Australia this year, so try to catch a night somewhere near you and indeed, research it in whatever country you are in.
I’m slowly getting back ontoFacebookandInstagramand this is where you will see photos of some of the delicious things I have eaten. Enjoy.
Now read on or scroll down, remember there’s something for everyone in this newsletter wherever you are in the world.
Citrus is great in any climate and I know I shared my recipe for lemon or lime tart, but this one has an extra step to really glam it up Caramelised Lime Tart.
Caramelised Lime Tart
Tips of the Week
Different vegetables in a market – you can’t cook them all the same
Root vegetables versus those which grow above the ground?
Ever wondered how best to cook vegetables? Boiling water or cold water? If you are cooking vegetables in water (rather than steaming, microwaving or baking) this is such a simple tip and easy to remember. Vegetables which grow below the ground should go into cold water which is brought to the boil, while those which grow above the ground are best going in boiling water. Let’s crack an egg?
Strangely I got a lot of feedback from my first appearance on The Cook Up where I gave this tip (as well as on Facebook Livewhere you can watch it) – if you crack an egg on a flat surface rather than the edge of a bowl, you won’t get any eggshell in the cracked egg. Simple and it works! For more tips
I just loved this piece in Gourmet Traveller “You have to listen to the rice popping”: chefs and restaurateurs share their family kitchen secrets.Things like using lemon or lime to help wash your hands and remove smells from them in the kitchen, the joys of home food processors, how to make the best roast, perfect rice, noodles and pastry, clear stock and how to enhance truffle flavour. Perfect Pasta
Here’s Pasta intel from two expert chefs
Here’s a lovely way to use quinces in a savoury recipe: Moroccan Lamb Shanks with Quinces. This comes from my second cookbook Flavours. A Fresh Approach, published in 1997. It reappeared in my Best Collection cookbook (2009 and 2013). It’s as good today as it ever was. It is NOT one of the recipes we are going to feature at my Moroccan Cooking Demo and Lunch at the Cook’s Shed with Martin Boetz on 11am – 3.30pm Saturday 14 August, so you may care to book and come to that too? It’s a collaboration between Martin Boetz from The Cook’s Shed, By Prior Arrangement(specialists in Moroccan travel)and multi-award-winning winemaker Neil McGuigan who will be presenting wines under his own personal label. We will be using the wood-fired oven, but give you recipes which will work at home and have fun. An absolute maximum of 50 people. Cost is $145 all inclusive and all bookings here.
The Grape, Grain and Graze Festival is back It’s been a long time between drinks but at last, the barrels are being rolled out for the popular Grape, Grain & Graze Festival this August. Wine enthusiasts can taste from an incredible range of up to 1800 wines, sample entries from the Sydney Royal Beer & Cider Show, and satisfy their food cravings with Sydney Royal medal-winning food.
The Grape, Grain & Graze Festival is an afternoon packed with tastings of the 2021 success stories from the KPMG Sydney Royal Wine Show. With entries pouring in from all over the country, this is a great opportunity to taste through wine regions of Australia and discover for your favourite wines and styles.
As I wrote last week, I am relishing the chance to get out and try restaurants which have popped up in the last year or so. This week I made it to Ezra. Mind you, booking is hard these days, with two sittings. This is the case with many venues and I can’t blame them: it is so hard to get staff they have to make it work somehow. So we happily went at 6pm which I seem to be doing a lot lately.
The food is Israeli and very delicious it is too. I loved the food in Israel when I was there in 2019 and this was a great way to virtually travel to Tel Aviv. The palate is broader than that though spanning Ashkenazi (eastern European) and Sephardic (Mediterranean, North African, Levantine) influences with a playful air,
We began with “Gilda Radner”: Salmon pastrami, olive, chilli ($7 each), surely a play on the Spanish pintxo, the Golda with the house smoked salmon pastrami replacing the traditional anchovy and presumably named for the American comedienne and actress from Saturday Night Live? The flavours and textures were extraordinary in Tuna tartare, buttermilk, beetroot horseradish chrain ($26), the most perfectly balanced and seductive dish. Burrata, Brussels sprouts, tabbouleh ($22) was less successful, a dominance of lemon detracting from the rich lusciousness of the cheese.
A word of warning here. You may be best to request that your dishes are spaced out and not all brought in quick succession. I was catching up with an old friend after a long time and it seemed we scarcely had time to speak though we were also sipping on a lovely 2019 Chateau L’Arnaude ‘Mediterranee’ Grenach from Provence ($65).
Just as the Potato latke, silverbeet, sour cream & salmon roe ($22) was served, so too was our shared main of Swordfish, chickpea miso, parsley & tahini sauce ($42). Somewhat taken aback, as it was only 6.50pm we called over another waitress and explained how we felt. She could not have been more co-operative and delightful, explaining that the potato latke is usually served with the main course. We were not advised of this, so she happily took away the fish and said, when we were ready they would cook a fresh one. A fabulous response.
The latke is a very large cake, cut in a crisped wedge, draped with silverbeet, a generous dollop of sour cream and salmon roe. The silverbeet really worked against the richness of this fried dish.
Swordfish, chickpea miso, parsley & tahini sauce and Moroccan carrots, labne, black olives
After a welcome break, our lovely waitress asked if they could send a complimentary dish from the kitchen to go with our fish. We chose Moroccan carrots, labne, black olives ($16). This fish was well flavoured, superbly matched with the chickpea miso, parsley and tahini sauce. However, the carrots were very al dente and we would have preferred them softer, as they are cooked in Morocco.
By now we were sipping on an excellent 2019 Maison de Vigneron ‘Vaucluse’ Syrah, Grenache from the Rhone Valley ($10, $19 or $55) and we had thoughtfully been advised we could stay longer if we chose. What a great example of how to turn a negative to a positive. I will be back. It was fab – and we did get time to talk in the end.
New Dates for Escorted Travel with me in 2022
Our happy group in UNESCO town Alberobello, Italy
Inviting you to join me, travelling in small, curated groups with reputable travel companies with expertise in their areas.
I am delighted to confirm the new dates for my next two overseas tours, though final itineraries are not up yet (but previous ones will give you an idea). Please consider these dates as I would love to have you join me: Moroccan Culinary Tour begins in Rabat on Friday 23 September til Tuesday 4 October 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. By Prior Arrangement is highly experienced and well-known in Morocco and 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! ReadWhere 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. Culinary Adventures in Puglia and Basilicata 8 – 14 October 2022. 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