How could I resist getting this photo, though it may not be the greatest, but I am with the amazing Fiona Cairns who created the extraordinary wedding cake for the Royal Wedding of William and Kate – that’s it in the photo.
It has been wonderful to be part of the Australian Women’s Club in London. This week I attended one of their regular Speaker’s Coffee Mornings at the Australia Centre in Australia House. I was mesmerised as Fiona Cairns told us the story of her rise from baking cakes at home to the daunting yet thrilling heights of being commissioned to make the Royal Wedding cake. I intend to write about this delightful woman at more length, but in summary the brief for the cake was for it not to be ostentatious or grand, but romantic and informal, featuring17 flowers, chosen by the Duchess, which all have different meanings; e.g., Lily of the Valley symbolises sweetness and humility. The four national flowers also feature on the cake; the Rose to symbolise England, the Daffodil for Wales, Thistle for Scotland and the Shamrock for Ireland. Lace details from the Duchess’s dress were also piped onto the cake.
Designing and constructing the cake was a real architectural project. It was over 1 metre tall and weighed 100 kg. The bottom three tiers provided the stable base for the cake by creating 4 ‘corners’ and was made of twelve cakes. The cake was very carefully driven down the M1 to Buckingham Palace with lots of spares of everything It took a team of 6 people three days to complete.
My update this week is shorter than usual, and there won’t be one next week, as I am off to Turkey on Thursday for 10 days. So do watch out on social media to share what I see and do.
The best of this week’s fruit: strawberries, mangoes and papaya
The love of strawberries seems international and I have been eating strawberries, raspberries and blueberries for breakfast since I arrived in London. In Australia it’s the peak time to enjoying luscious sweet eating strawberries at great prices. As with all farmers who produce food for our nation, strawberry growers strive to ensure the quality, security and freshness of their produce. News of recent spiteful incidents has reached the UK – so disheartening and troubling for growers, wholesalers and greengrocers.
Spring pineapples are sweet eating. Enjoy them in a fruit salad; add them to a Thai style curry, a sweet and sour dish, kids love a classic ham and pineapple pizza or team with spring fruits for a vitamin rich dessert salad. Toss pineapple with strawberries, chopped oranges and blueberries in a super-sized vitamin Cspring fruit salad.
Brimming with healthy goodness, tropical-tasting papaya from the Mossman area of Far North Queensland is a bargain this week. A fragrant aroma is a good indication of good flavour. If cut, select fruit with bright-coloured, undamaged flesh. Start your morning with thisPapaya, Mango & Pineapple With Lime Yoghurt.
Prettily green: apsaraus, broad beans and fennel
The refreshing flavour of mint is a refreshing addition to an Asian style salad. Toss mint leaves with coriander leaves, thinly sliced cucumber, chopped green onions (shallots) and shredded cooked chicken. Drizzle with a mixture of sweet chilli sauce, fish sauce and lime juice. Top with chopped roasted peanuts and serve. ThisMint & Redcurrant Sauce is superb served with fish, chicken or lamb.
Fresh, luscious Victorian asparagus is top value and premium quality right now. Thick or thin spears are equally as tender, but it makes sense to buy the same thickness as they will take the same time to cook. These Asparagus & Ham Cheese Munchies are a delicious snack or party food.
Asian greens are top quality and value this week. For maximum flavour and freshness buy Asian greens regularly and cook them only until just tender.
Flavoursome broad beans are still available. Remove bean from the pod, shell a second time then simmer in boiling water until just tender. Broad beans team superbly with chicken, lamb, mushrooms, feta, mint, potatoes and artichokes.
Watercress has a distinct peppery flavour and is an excellence source of vitamin C. Add watercress to salads; serve with roast beef, tomatoes or with grilled or barbecued salmon fillets. Watercress is best used within 2-3 days of purchase. Try this Watercress, Green Apple & Smoked Salmon Salad.
Leafy silverbeet and English spinach are also super good value and rich in an antioxidant called lutein, which is important for eye health.
Crisp textured with a mild aniseed flavour fresh fennel is a Mediterranean vegetable that teams superbly with citrus, tomatoes, potatoes, seafood, lamb and chicken. Delicious served raw or cooked. TryGrape Tomato, Prawn, Chilli & Fennel Linguine.
Recipe of the Week
Vitamin Red Breakfast Bowl. Extend the blood orange season and freeze now to make this easy breakfast and extend their season
Forget acai, use the wonder fruit blood orange. Best of all, freeze your Redbelly and you can extend its glorious season to enjoy its flavour and health benefits right through summer.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
400g frozen Redbelly blood orange pieces (approx. 4 Redbelly)
1 medium banana, sliced, frozen
¾ cup Greek style yoghurt or coconut yoghurt
1 Redbelly, cut into segments
1/4 cup granola or gluten-free cereal
1 to 2 tbsp toasted coconut flakes or shredded coconut
Cut a small slice off the Redbelly for the topping. Stand up on one end, and carefully, following the contour of the Redbelly, cut down to remove the peel and the pith. Holding the fruit in one hand, cut down one side of the membrane on one segment, almost to the core. Cut down along the inside of the opposite membrane, to cut out a wedge with no pith or membrane attached. Repeat until you have cut out all segments.
Place the frozen Redbelly, banana and yoghurt in a food processor or blender and combine until smooth.
Divide between four bowls and finish with Redbelly segments, granola and toasted coconut flakes and serve immediately.
Lyndey’s Note: Use coconut “yoghurt” to keep this dairy free and omit the granola or use gluten-free cereal to keep it gluten free. To freeze Redbelly, slice into segments and put in a layer on baking paper lined tray in freezer, or chop and freeze in an ice cube tray. When frozen store in a freezer bag.
A few things I’ve consumed
At the Food & Travel Magazine 2018 Reader Awards, L: thrilled to see an Australian wine, Yalumba Viognier matched to the first course; R Glencoe Venison Loin, Buttered Autumn Greens, Cep Pithivier, Barola Savoury Jus by Gary Lee from The Ivy
L: Uruguayan Picanha steak with baked bone marrow £14.00 at Lobos; R: Bhel puri, raw mango, tamarind, sev, yoghurt (left) £5.50 and Samphire pakoras, date & tamarind chutney, chilli garlic mayonnaise (right) £7 at Kricket
My daughter Lucy was in London for a couple of weeks working on her business Lucy Sparkles and Friends, so we had one of our “mother/daughter” nights. Often this is pre-planned and we go somewhere special, but we were both busy so agreed to meet at Oxford Circus tube station and find somewhere in Soho. We didn’t want anywhere we had to queue or that was too noisy and happened upon Lobos Meat & Tapas. We both like Spanish food and Lucy wanted an early night as she had a big day filming the next day, so tapas was a perfect choice. Loved the bone-marrow.
On their last night, Lucy and her husband Toby, John and I went to Kricket which had been highly recommended to me. While it has communal tables and is a bit noisy we had been able to book downstairs. It’s a shame Indian food doesn’t photograph well but it was delightful. Very modern, not heavy or cloying but different with fresh, lovely flavours and great service. The samphire pakoras were simply samphire in pakora batter deep-fried with accompaniments – a great way to start along with great cocktails like Samphire Margarita.
Two beautifully presented cupcakes from Fiona Cairns’ “Language of Flowers” range for Harrods. The book of the same name had been given to her by Kate prior to Fiona making the Royal Wedding Cake.
We may not need public phone boxes to make calls so much any more, but love this conversion to a coffee cart in Russell Square
the warm-ish still relatively long days
beautiful crab on so many menus from cafes to restaurants
meeting new people
the efficiency of the transport system – CityMapper app is the best
the way people enjoy and use the many parks in London
wine under screwcap – it’s starting to happen but we have got so used to the screw cap, not only to prevent cork taint, but for convenience
a powerpoint in the bathroom so I can dry my hair
walk-in showers rather than ones over baths
My Baked Scotch Eggs with Tomato Chutney and Rocket
Picnics or Lunches? The weather is great in both the UK and Australia for picnics and this recipe works for those, or for a do-ahead lunch to take to work or school. I bake my Scotch eggs rather than deep-fry and also don’t coat them in breadcrumbs. Recently I developed some egg recipes which are now beginning to be released. Find it here.
What are your kitchen essentials?
Gourmet Traveller has asked chefs to name their essential essentials. These are the tools chefs can’t live without – and odds are they’d make your life in the kitchen better, too. It also shares The best food shows to watch on Netflix this month.Delighted to read this good sense in The Observer “If we are thinking about injury prevention and the dominant ‘safe system’ approach used within road safety, there is actually a strong case for redesigning infrastructure over relying on other methods of changing behaviour.” ….. “Mr Helman is addressing those zombies who are glued to their mobile phones, to the discomfiture of anyone else within 15ft. ” I couldn’t agree more – read the whole piece here.In The Guardian, Nigel Slater celebrates the 20th anniversary of Nigella Lawson’s first cookbook, How to Eat, with six recipes.
High tea creations by Punk Pastry Princess Anna Polyviou
Anna Polyviou will host a Pink Ribbon Ruby Chocolate High Tea in support of breast cancer awareness and The McGrath Foundation, high in the sky at Blu Bar on 36, Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney on 5th October, 11.30am – 2.30pm. Featuring the completely new Ruby RB1 chocolate by Callebaut, the specially designed desserts will be a star attraction at live stations, including Mrs Whippy (ruby choc tops) and Loukou-My-Anna’s (candy popcorn, ruby pipets), designed in the Punk Princess of Pastry’s distinctive style.There will also be free-flowing teapot cocktails such as Pink Panther, a gin concoction topped with pink fairy floss along with savoury options. Tickets are $125, with $50 from each ticket to be donated to The McGrath Foundation. Each guest will receive an exclusive Callebaut Belgium Ruby RB1 chocolate gift box to take home.
Tickets: www.shangri-la.com/sydney, firstname.lastname@example.org call (61 2) 9250 6000.
Gluten Free Expo 6 – 7 October 2018 at Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre It’s back with over 80 exhibitors showcasing the latest in everything gluten free, with product tastings, show specials and the inside track on what’s new in gluten free.
Eat from the Gluten Free Food Precinct and listen on the Genius Stage to hear an expert line-up of speakers with recipes demonstrated on the Cooking Stage. Doors open from 9am-4pm daily and you can save if you purchase tickets online. A great way to entertain the kids in the school holidays, children under 16 get FREE entry.
You can a watch segments from my shows on demand on Foodnetwork in Australia, times here. Keep up to date with my travels on all my social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
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That’s it until my October newsletter, after my return from Turkey.