Overlooking Beit She’an at the junction of the Jordan River Valley and Jezreel Valley.
It’s been another busy time with an extraordinary 8 days with friends in Israel, visiting historic sites and enjoying the food and wine. My partner is very knowledgeable about ancient history and has been visiting ancient sites his whole adult life. For me, much as I am familiar with such places in Greece, Italy and Turkey, Israel was like no other. In parts quite barren with a harsh climate and yet we saw remains from about 50 years BC. We walked in excess of 20,000 steps a day and loved the warm climate.
Highlights for me were visiting Copernaum where Jesus preached, amazing remains of a Crusader castle Belvoir Fortress, still with some of the roof intact; Beit She’án – a whole Roman city (though it dates back tsome 6000 years) with good remains of the amphitheatre, bathhouse, roads and houses; so much to see in and around Jerusalem on walking tours, including going down the City of David archeological site, the moving experience at the Western (Wailing) Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, in both where the Armenian, Greek Orthodox and the Roman Catholic religions co-exist in harmony and finally Masada. I did not realise that Herod was such a great builder, his architectural feats leaving heir mark throughout the country.This fortified palace built in 30BCE occupies a breathtaking, strategic location high on a flat plateau above the Dead Seais now a UNESCO site. Unforgettable with its two palaces, storerooms, dovecotes, ceremonial baths, swimming pool, living rooms, receptions and meeting halls.
At the beginning of the great revolt against Rome in the year 68 CE, the site was conquered by a group of Jewish zealots, and Masada became their last stronghold. In the year 72, the Romans besieged Masada and succeeded in reaching the steep fortress after constructing a huge earthen ramp on its western side. There is still evidence of where they camped! In the year 73, the 960 Jewish zealots living at the top of Masada chose to commit suicide rather than to fall into the hands of the Romans alive. We know the history thanks to a writer at the time, Josephus Flavius
L: some of the remains at Masada R: evidence of two Roman camps marked out in the earth below
We had fun times paddling in the Sea of Galilee at Tiberius, floating in the Dead Sea further south, walking through the markets and good times with great friends. We had our final day and night in funky Tel Aviv enjoying the shopping and vibe of the Jaffa area. Now I’m back enjoying my last week in London despite the cold, before returning to Australia via Singapore. Already we’ve had a fantastic guided walk through Brixton for the Foodies group ofThe Australian Womens Club Londonand also a long walk on Hampstead Heath. This weekend I’m off to the Tutakhamen Exibition. I leave for Singapore to spend time with my daughter and family next Monday so there won’t be a newsletter next week, but I’ll be active on social media.
Meanwhile if you want to watch any of my 8 TV series, many of them, like my award-winning Lyndey Milan’s Taste of Australia are available on Amazon.Click here.
L: Fun in the Dead Sea, note me floating with legs folded and shoes on because of the sharp solid salt on the sea bed and R: these salads are often complimentary at the beginning of a meal.
Brimming with vitamins and calcium and a rich source of fibre and potassium, mangoes are an all-time favourite. Kensington Pride is the most well-known and loved mango variety and it’s available from September until March. It has sweet succulent flesh. Late spring welcomes the arrival of Calypso, and R2E2 mangoes. A mango will yield to gentle pressure around the stem when it’s ripe.
Juicy green-fleshed honeydew melon is honey-sweet and a top buy. Picked ripe and ready to eat, it’s best to leave it for a few days at room temperature for its flavour to fully develop. When perfectly ripe, its flesh is succulent and juicy. White-skinned honeydew is the sweetest and contains more naturally occurring sugars than watermelon.
Nature’s superfood, sweet nutrient-packed blueberries are one of the healthiest snack foods. Low in kilojoules, blueberries are high in antioxidants and support brain health.
Naturally sweet bananas are a storehouse of carbohydrate, vitamins and fibre. The ever-popular Cavendish variety is great all-rounder perfect for snacking and fruit salads.Try this banana, blueberry & chia loaf.
Golden, velvety skinned apricots are now available at your local greengrocer. Fruit is richly flavoured and will improve as the season lengthens.
Brimming with beneficial antioxidants and vitamin C, sweet and succulent papaya is a delicious Australian-grown tropical fruit. Ultra-healthy papaya’s nutritious flesh is enhanced by a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
New season low chill white and yellow-fleshed, peaches and nectarines are now in season. This year’s drier growing conditions will mean that fruit size on average will be smaller in size, but it should also have a more intense flavour. .
The 2019 cherry season has started. Keep an eye out for cherries at your local greengrocer. It’s early days but the fruit quality s looking good.
Add quality Truss tomatoes to your shopping list this week. For maximum flavour ripen tomatoes to a rich red colour by storing at room temperature. Serve them warm in a delicious Greek-Style Stuffed Tomatoes or toss into a Salad Niçoise.
Versatile carrots are a thrifty buy. Enjoy them raw julienned and sprinkled into a salad or intensify their sweetness by roasting halved carrots with a sprinkling of harissa, then toss with currants, coriander and crumbled feta for a salad which packs a punch. Try thiscarrot, tomato & chicken quinoa salad.
Ideal for making long pasta-like zucchini ‘spaghetti’, zucchini is low carb, gluten-free and contains fibre. Created from fresh zucchini, it’s very easy to make using a julienne peeler or a spiralizer. About 800g zucchini is sufficient to make ‘spaghetti’ to serve 4. Get creative with super versatile zucchinis this week.
Premium handpickedgreen beans from Gympie have a 5-7 days shelf life and are a good buy. Alternatively, the machine harvestedgreen beans should be used within 2-3 days of purchasing for maximum quality.
Kumara (orange sweet potato) is delicious served as a mash or thinly slice and layer with cream and sliced spring onions into a baking dish and cook until tender.
A rich source of many nutrients, kale is packed with vitamins C, E and K, plus folate and beta carotene. This crinkly-leafed green also provides iron and calcium. Strip leaves from the stems and chop, then toss in a hot pan with olive oil, crushed garlic, chopped red chilli and a scattering of currants. Heat until the kale wilts, then serve.
Recipe of the Week
Salmon and Blood Orange in Cartoccio ready to wrap and bake
Salmon and Blood Orange in Cartoccio with Smashed Potatoes
Use blood oranges when in season, or use other oranges at other times of year.
Preparation 10 minutes
Cooking 30 minutes
6 blood oranges
4 salmon fillets
1 baby fennel, cored, thinly sliced, fronds reserved
20 green Sicilian olives, stoned
2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil Smashed Potatoes
800g chat potatoes, boiled until very tender
2 tablespoons (40ml) extra virgin olive oil
Pre-heat oven to 200ºC (180°C fan-forced).
For Smashed potatoes: Place boiled potatoes on a paper-lined baking tray and use the back of a fork or a potato masher to lightly crush each potato. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes or until crisp and golden, turning once half way to encourage browning. Increase oven to 220’C (200’C fan-forced). Leave potatoes in the oven.
Cut eight 34 x 30cm pieces of baking paper. Lay four pieces over the bench, top each with a second piece.
Wash 2 blood oranges, leave skin on and slice into rounds. Juice 1 blood orange, Cut 3 blood oranges into segments: cut a small slice off the ends of each remaining blood orange. Stand up on one end, and carefully, following the contour of the blood orange, 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. Squeeze juice out of the remaining core into the juice then discard the core.
Place a bed of blood orange slices in the centre of each layer of baking paper, and top evenly with salmon fillet, fennel, olives, capers, salt and pepper and drizzle with blood orange juice and olive oil.
Bring the long sides of each piece up and fold and roll firmly down. Then fold in the 2 short sides and tuck them under tightly to create a pocket. Repeat to make five more parcels.
Place parcels seam side on oven tray. Bake until just cooked through 10 minutes.
Remove straight onto serving plates, carefully open the top of each parcel. Serve with smashed potatoes.
Lyndeys note: Any fish or prawns can be used or try thinly sliced chicken breast or pork medallions. Vegetarian alternative: replace salmon with zucchini strips and mushrooms.
Many more recipes on my website here. You can search by ingredient, cooking style, cuisine or entree/main/dessert etc
Or watch fast & fabulous recipes on myYoutube channel
Salmon and blood Orange in Cartoccio with Smashed Potatoes
All About New Potatoes
Also known as Chat potatoes, these small, young potatoes are harvested before they reach maturity. Theyhave thin, wispy skins and a crisp, waxy texture. They are young potatoes and unlike their fully grown counterparts, keep their shape once cooked and cut. They are also sweeter because their sugar has not yet converted into starch, and are therefore particularly suited to salads.
A source of vitamin C, a vitamin that contributes to the normal structure and function of blood vessels throughout the body. A source of dietary fibre, especially if the skin is left on. Dietary fibre contributes to normal laxation. The skin of potatoes also helps retain vitamins during cooking. Provides potassium which may help balance sodium from salty foods.
Choosing Choose new potatoes that are firm, dry and blemish-free. Unwashed potatoes last longer as the dirt protects them from bruising and general deterioration. Avoid potatoes with even a hint of green skin. Store potatoes in a cool, dry, dark place because light causes them to go green.
Preparing They’re very versatile and do not require peeling; just rinse to remove any dirt and cook whole, selecting similar-sized ones so they cook evenly.
To boil, place potatoes into a pan of lightly salted water, bring to the boil, simmer until tender (about 10 minutes) and drain. Dress new potatoes as soon as they are cooked to help them absorb the flavour of the butter or oil (this way you will also use less).
Storing Store new potatoes in a cool, dark, well-ventilated place. They should be used within a few days of purchase.
In London The Regent Street Christmas Lights
I couldn’t resist this though these lights are being turned on Thursday 14 November, as I write this newsletter and cook for a dinner party. they are always stunning and well worth a look.
See all the informationhere. London does great Christmas lights so look too in Covent Garden, Marylebone, Seven Dials which are already on, Syon Park’s Enchanted Woodland and Leadenhall Market which are turned on November 15 and on November 20 Christmas at Kew Gardens.
Join me at Morocco on a Plate for fun, stories, dinner and dancing at the Carrington Hotel, Katoomba Monday 25 November
In Australia Morocco on a Plate 25 Nov 2019
An evening of Moroccan inspired delight and to hear about my special culinary tour of Morocco happening in April 2020. Hosted by Ian ‘Herbie’ Hemphill and me your evening will start with a glass of sparkling wine and canapes on the Piazza along with a fire dancing performance. Join us in the Grand Dining Room once the sun goes down for a 3 course menu of Moroccan dishes featuring wines from Dryridge Estate. Time: 7:00pm
Tickets: $95.00 per person
Bookings available from The Carrington Hotel Reception Details here
Email: email@example.com or call 02 4782 1111
Fish Butchery Masterclasses at Saint Peter Fish Butchery in Paddington, Sydney there are still a few places left for some of the upcoming classes in December, but you’ll have to be quick. Details here.
You know you’ve been in the food-writing world for too long when you’re shocked to see someone cut birthday cake with a knife…writes Jenny Rosenstrach in
A Cup of Jo
Shortbread is, quite possibly, the best thing to have ever come out of Great Britain says Women’s Weekly Food. It’s buttery and sweet and the rice flour in this recipe gives it a gorgeous texture. Here’s theirTraditional Shortbread recipe in time for end of year Christmas gifts.
And while we’re in Christmas mode, here are 13 Christmas cookie recipes. In Israel I saw gozleme being made in a traditional way over a hot stone dome. Now we can make it at home following these steps:Lamb & cheese gozleme. Here’s a video showing how to make Josh Niland’s potato scallop.
Come Travelling with me in 2020? Two very different trips Slight change of dates for Puglia
The next tour I am escorting is withBy Prior Arrangement to Morocco 16-27 April 2020. This is an extraordinary destination, but one best visited with specialised knowledge and contacts to ensure a happy and seamless experience.Carol Prior of By Prior Arrangement focusses only on Morocco, a country she has known for 30 years and where she lived for over a decade. I could think of no-one better to plan the tour with.
Wonderful sublty spiced traditional Moroccan dishes. The salads (left) really transform seemingly ordinary ingredients like carrots
Culinary Adventures in Puglia 30 September – 6October 2020.
Puglia is a relatively undiscovered part, in the boot of the heel of Italy, it’s where Italians go for holidays!
“I loved every moment of the tour, Lyndey is an excellent host, great fun & very knowledgeable in wine & food while our tour guide, Max, knows the history of Puglia so well, which was great as we visited lovely old towns with amazing old buildings.Our accommodation was 4 to 5 star & wonderful & we had some truly amazing meals & wines.” writes Julie Tulloch, a fellow traveller in May last year.
It was such a fabulous experience, we are repeating it in October 2020 to 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
Price: $5499 per person for all ground arrangements (single supplement $799)
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
Full brochure here