Giving my Australia Day address in Gunning last Saturday
Big thanks to the Upper Lachlan Shire for a wonderful Australia Day in Gunning, Crookwell and Taralga. My thanks to Mayor John Stafford and everyone who assisted in organising an amazing visit. Each celebration had its own flavour, reflecting the different communities. Gunning celebrations were MCed by two Year 12 girls with the Lions Club providing the traditional breakfast of sausage or bacon and egg sandwich. It was well attended for a small community and the Welcome To Country thoughtfully given, also welcoming people from other lands and cultures to Australia.
Then it was on to a much larger event in Crookwell, complete with musical accompaniment and a stand hosted by the local CWA, the first one in Australia, founded in 1822. Then in Taralga it was lunch, put on by their CWA in the lovely old showground pavilion, before a small ceremony which preceded the opening of the Taralga Rodeo. What was amazing in each place, was to hear the citations and the Community Service and shire citizenship awards which were given, including to incredibly articulate young people. Very special. You can see some photos on the Upper Lachlan shire facebook page.
To finish, we slipped away with the Mayor to have an Australia Day beer in the Taralga Inn. Very welcome when it was way over 40’C
L: with Award winners in Gunning; R: Australia Day cake in Crookwell
In the heat of the day, nothing is more thirst quenching than a slice of juicy chilled melon. Watermelon, yellow fleshed champagne melon and the extra small mini lee melons are a delicious eating and despite their sweet taste, melons are very low in kilojoules. Refreshing rockmelons from Hay and Griffith are naturally sweet and fragrant.
Sweet and crunchy Menindee, Flame, Red Globe and Crimson seedless grapes are plentiful.
Tangy and refreshing achacha (a-cha-cha) are a new tropical fruit with a tangy creamy, white flesh are available only for a short time. Similar to a mangosteen in taste and texture, achacha are originally from Bolivia.
Celebrate Chinese New Year with tropical tasting lychees, in season right now.
Plump red and ripe Roma tomatoes are plentiful and there also good buys on 18 kilo sauce tomatoes at $28-$30 a kilo.
Zesty limes plentiful and good value. Used extensively in the tropics for juices such as limeade and cordials, food flavourings and pickles, both the juice and the rind of limes can be used in cooking in the same way as lemons. The aromatic rind is rich in natural oils and adds excellent flavour to a range of dishes.
Plums are plentiful with several varieties red and yellow fleshed varieties to choose from. .
Don’t forget to snap up the last of the season’s flavoursome and top-quality cherries.
Radish, eggplant and sweetcorn
VEGETABLES In abundance in summer, fragrant basil teams well with ripe tomatoes, fresh cheese like bocconcini or ricotta and pasta. Choose vibrant basil with firm leaves and a distinct fresh aroma.
Zucchinis are a bargain so choose plump zucchini with glossy, unblemished skin. They’re best used within a few days. Create zucchini spaghetti, long pasta like zucchini spaghetti is low carb, gluten-free and contains fibre. Use a julienne peeler or spiralizer. 800g is sufficient for serve 4 people. Serve Zucchini ‘spaghetti’ with chilli, tuna & feta.
Crunchy textured with a delicate peppery bite, radishes are a thrifty buy and great in summer salads.
Lebanese cucumbers are a great buy but they will deteriorate rapidly.
Snakes beans continue to be a great buy. Ideal for Asian dishes and stir-fries, snakes are complemented by flavours, such as garlic, ginger, tomatoes and fresh herbs.
Versatile carrots are delicious used raw or cooked. Whip up this super tasty, Moroccan inspired carrot, rocket and chickpea salad, this recipe is sure to become a favourite.
Glossy skinned eggplants are a good source of dietary fibre. They also provide vitamin B6 that plays a role in hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body. The purple skin is a rich source of antioxidants. To preserve its low-fat content, bake, grill or barbecue eggplant rather than frying it. Try thisEggplant, tomato & coriander salad.
Fresh sweetcorn is succulent, naturally sweet and a truly delicious eating experience, provided it is cooked and eaten as soon after picking as possible. Hawkesbury sweetcorn is great value.
If you are looking for an ingredient that is rich in flavour and very easy to prepare then you can’t go past mushrooms. They cook in minutes and add loads of flavour to stir-fries, salads, risottos and pizza toppings.
Focus on Lychees
L: Fresh lychees and R: BBQ lychees wrapped in prosciutto
Choose plump lychees that feel heavy for their size. Fresh lychees have a fragrant aroma and deep pink skin. Avoid very hard fruit.
Store lychees in a bowl covered with plastic wrap or a sealed plastic bag in the fridge. Use within 5 days.
GOOD FOR YOU
Lychees are a good source of vitamin C, which contributes to the normal functioning of the body’s immune system. 100g of lychee flesh provides the recommended dietary intake of vitamin C for a day. Lychees also hae some potassium and iron and are low in kilojoules. Lychees contribute some dietary fibre, which helps the normal function of the intestine.
FRESH FOR KIDS™
Most kids will happily peel lychees so pop a few into the school lunch box. Peel lychees then halve and remove the seed. Add flesh to fruit salads or swirl through natural yoghurt.
12 plump lychees, peeled
75g soft blue cheese, cut into 12 cubes (about 1?2 tsp each)
12 thin slices prosciutto
Olive oil cooking spray
Extra virgin olive oil, to serve
Cut a small slice into the flesh of each lychee and remove the seed. Fill each lychee cavity with a cube of blue cheese. Wrap each lychee in a slice of prosciutto and thread onto a cocktail skewer (or toothpick). Liberally spray with oil.
Preheat a greased char-grill or barbecue plate over medium heat. Grill or barbecue lychees, turning occasionally, for 2–3 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve.
Recipe of the Week
Welcome the Year of the Pig with this Crisp pork belly with orange pickle (as blood oranges are no longer in season use other oranges)
Preparation Time: 20 minutes plus optional 2 hours – overnight refrigeration
Cooking Time: 1 hour 20 mins
1k boneless pork belly, ideally of even thickness
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon five-spice
Juice of 1 orange
60 ml (1/4 cup) soy sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
55 g (1/4 cup) brown sugar
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 cm piece ginger, grated
Stir-fried greens or green salad, to serve (optional)
3 oranges, peeled, sliced into rounds
½ cup (125ml) orange juice
½ tablespoon caster sugar (or to taste depending on sweetness of oranges)
1 large red chili, finely sliced
1 small cucumber, seeded and cut into long matchsticks
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into long ribbons
1 bunch coriander, leaves picked, reserve some sprigs for serving
Using a very sharp knife, score the pork belly rind by making diagonal cuts 1 cm apart across the whole surface. Place in a colander or on a rack in the sink and pour over a kettle full of boiling water to help the rind separate. If necessary, score more lines. Dry well with paper towel and place, uncovered, in the refrigerator for 2 hours or even overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to cooking.
Preheat the oven to 220°C. Wipe the pork well with paper towel to remove any excess moisture, rub with salt and place, rind side up, in a baking dish (see note) not much bigger than the pork and roast for 25-30 minutes.
For the sauce. Combine all ingredients in a jug.
Remove the pork from the oven and reduce the heat to 180°C. Lift the pork from the baking dish, pour out any fat, then pour the sauce into the baking dish and replace the pork on top, ensuring no sauce gets on the rind. Return to the oven and roast for an additional 50 – 60 minutes or until the rind is crisp and the meat juices run clear. If the juices are clear and the rind is not crisp enough, grill for 5 minutes or until the rind blisters. Remove to a wire rack to rest.
Meanwhile prepare the pickle by combining the orange juice with the caster sugar (if needed) and chilli in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, increase the heat, bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Pour over the oranges, cucumber and carrot and set aside. Stir through coriander leaves just before serving.
To serve. Cut the pork into thin slices, drizzle the flesh with some sauce and serve with the orange pickle topped with the coriander sprigs. Serve with stir-fried greens or salad if desired.
Lyndey’s Note: Small disposable aluminium trays are great for this. Use double and fold the inside one inwards to keep the sauce up around the pork flesh. Saves on washing up! Use a vegetable peeler to slice the vegetables for the pickle. The orange juice replaces vinegar in the pickle so it needs to be tart which is why the sugar may not be necessary.
Lunar New Year
Now celebrated as the Lunar New Year, not just Chinese New Year as other cultures also celebrate it, we will be welcoming in the Year of the Pig next Tuesday 5 February. The Pig is the twelfth of all zodiac animals. According to one myth, the Jade Emperor said the order would be decided by the order in which they arrived to his party. Pig was late because he overslept. Another story says that a wolf destroyed his house. He had to rebuild his home before he could set off. When he arrived, he was the last one and could only take twelfth place.
The Pig is also associated with the Earthly Branch (??—dì zh?) hài (?), and the hours 9–11 in the night. In terms of yin and yang (??—y?n yáng), the Pig is yin. In Chinese culture, pigs are the symbol of wealth. Their chubby faces and big ears are signs of fortune as well.
We drove down last Friday to experience the region before Australia Day. We began with lunch at the fabulous, carefully renovated Argyle Inn in Taralga which has deservedly received a “hat” in the Good Food Guide. I was delighted to be welcomed by co-owner Hugh Wennerbom, whom I knew in Sydney as a chef and then providore. We feasted on antipasti including house-made pate and terrine, followed by gnocchi with chilli oil, hand cut pasta with duck ragu then a wonderful veal T Bone and ox-heart tomato and spiced spatchcock, all cooked over the open fire. It was also a great opportunity to try such local wines as the Hatherliegh 2013 Pinot Noir and Yarrh 2017 Sangiovese. Well worth poppin for a snack, lunch or more formal evening menu. The rooms look very comfortable too.
Two of the excellent local wines we sampled
Then it was off to learn all about seed potatoes with fourth generation potato farmer Garry Kadwell on a tour of his property. Not only did he explain how potatoes grow from little pieces of tissue, over 5 years, but why he has dedicated 32%of his property to wetlands with conservation areas and ecological zones. He also produces 1800 prime lambs annually. Sustainability on the farm comes from fencing off remnant vegetation and planting additional shelterbelts. This in turn has reduced chemical applications. He also showed us where he is trialling different types of potato and since I got home, I have tested some of his produce and it is fabulous.
L: some trial plantings and R: Garry harvesting some potatoes for me to trial
Dinner that night was at Laggan Pantry, where we also stayed. We received a warm welcome from co-owner Sally and after freshening up from the heat, made our way to dinner. I loved the presentation of gin & tonic, with a choice of garnishes. I filmed with Wild Brumby in the Snowy Mountains so chose the pretty Rubus patch (raspberry) gin. However, soon we were onto another very local wine the Laggan Pinot Noir 2012, made by longtime wine industry friend, consultant and judge, Nick Bulleid who also makes the Hatherleigh wines.
We all began with the warm, house-smoked mussels, which I was surprised to see were green-lipped, native to New Zealand. However, I was pleased to learn that they now grow in Australian waters. Much of Lagan Pantry’s fruit and vegetables come from their kitchen garden. The concise menu included two beef dishes and one chicken, but as I had eaten these at lunch I opted for the salmon, which while not local, was delicious and my partner chose butternut pumpkin cooked three ways, a really innovative vegetarian dish. Then it was off to our comfortable bed for an early start on Australia Day.
L: a lovely presentation of Wild Brumby Rubus Patch gin and R: house-smoked mussels
Some of the lunch items planned for The Delhi Sunday Social Club
Vicki Bonneville of Indian at Your Place fame and Javed Khan owner of award winning Delhi o Delhirestaurant in Newtown have joined forces to bring The Delhi Sunday Social Club.
This new lunch offering is also the idea behind Vicki’s catering company Indian at Your Place and Javed has been itching to offer a chilled out lunch experience to his regular customers and wants to welcome new people to The Delhi. The banquet lunch menu promises fresh, zingy flavours – some street food, some traditional but served in a modern way. Share plates,retro music, and an optional Drinks Package or if you prefer, a weekly cocktail special such as Mango Mimosa.
Funday lunch at The Delhi Sunday Social Club – Sunday 10th February Banquet lunch $45/pp – add the bottomless drinks package $25/pp or order as you go. Bookings PH (02) 9557 4455. Delhi o Delhi – 3 Erskineville Street, Newtown
I am delighted that my Taste of Australia TV series which won Best Food TV series in the world, is being shown on Nat Geo People TV in Asia. Already I have had emails from people who have seen it in Singapore and Sri Lanka. On Thursdays at 9:45pm and repeated on Sunday at 7:30pm, Thursdays at 3am & Sunday a 1am at 5:45am. The schedule is here