It’s lovely catching up with friends back in Sydney. Last Friday was a lunch organised twice yearly by my publicist friend Rea Francis. She has an extraordinary ability to put together a restaurant full of interesting people for what we call her Lucio’s Club lunch. I try not to miss them. Back when Lucio’s had just opened I was the first person to review the restaurant. Favourably because that’s what I experienced. Neither of us have ever forgotten where I sat when I was a walk in on a Monday night when many other restaurants are closed. Lucio even remembers what I wore!
Tune in to ABC Radio on Saturday morning around 8.30am as I will be undertaking the Chef’s challenge live on air with Simon Marnie. He’ll tell me what the providores say is good this week in seafood, meat, fruit and veg, and I’ll dream up some recipe ideas on the spot. My daughter and family return to Singapore this week and while it will be lovely for them to settle baby Rafferty into their home, we will miss them here in Australia. However we did manage a mother/daughter/baby lunch at Aqua Dining. Lucy wanted a very Sydney experience and this fitted the bill with delicious food too (see below).
L: baby Rafferty in a cute outfit I bought him and R: clockwise from top left Quail, cauliflower, cavolo nero; trout agnolotti; lamb backstrap, celeriac, black olive crumb and wagyu beef, textures of carrot
Nothing beats freshly-squeezed orange juice for flavour. Juice just before serving for maximum freshness and goodness. Look out for vibrant blood oranges, as the season is just starting, or juicy navel oranges. Whip up a fresh winter fruit salad with sliced navel oranges and kiwifruit, strawberries, fresh dates and mandarin segments. Warm 1/3 cup orange juice with 1-2 tbs honey and drizzle over the fruit salad to serve.
Eating an apple is good for your health and great for your diet. Crunchy apples, now in season included Royal Gala, Kanzi, Jazz, Fuji, Pink Lady, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious and Granny Smith.
Tangelos have a tangy flavour and a fragrant aroma. Use their juice and flesh in recipes as an alternative to oranges in winter. Team tangelos with baby spinach leaves and walnuts in a salad. A great way to kick start the day, juice tangelos for breakfast! They’re bursting with beneficial vitamin C.
Queensland strawberries are plentiful so a great buy and quality this week. Camerosa, Festival and Ruby gem varieties are loaded with flavour and a great source of vitamin C. Delicious for breakfast or dessert strawberries with ricotta french toastis easy to make.
Packed with vitamin C, mandarins are sweet and juicy and a choice buy. There are plenty of varieties to try such as Afourer, Monarch, Ellendale, Hickson and Honey Murcott.
Kiwifruit is plentiful supply and prices are low. Kiwifruit adds glorious colour to winter fruit salads or scoop out the flesh with a spoon for the perfect snack.
Creamy Hass avocados are enticing and naturally good for you, and with prices coming down are currently a bargain.
Packham pears are perfect for snacking on and making delicious winter desserts. Try this recipe for roasted pears with honey and walnut syrup. Add slices to a bread and butter pudding or poach in spices and red wine until tender. Read more about them here.
Cauliflower, fennel and broccolini
Broccolini is a hybrid vegetable; a cross between broccoli and Chinese broccoli. It is known as tender stem broccoli in the UK. Its stem is as tender as asparagus and is a great alternative when asparagus is out of season. Thisbroccolini & chicken teriyaki noodlesonly takes 10 minutes to cook and is packed with goodness.
Fennel is top value. Try pan-frying slices of baby fennel in oil and garlic until tender. Toss through cooked spaghetti with chopped fennel leaves and toasted pine nuts with grape tomatoes.
Victorian grown broccoli is bursting with natural goodness and well-priced. Rapidly cook broccoli to retain its vibrant colour and flavour.
Kids enjoy the naturally sweet flavour of kumara. Add roasted kumara to pizza topping or a risotto. Choose firm, medium-sized kumara with undamaged skin. Store in a cool, dark, well-ventilated place.
Toss thinly sliced Brussels sprouts and carrots in a hot wok with a little oil and sliced bacon until just tender, toss through noodles and soy sauce and serve.
Firm, snow-white heads of tasty cauliflowers are a choice buy this week. I focused on cauliflower in last week’s update.
Winter is the ideal time to savour the subtle sweet-onion flavour of plump leeks. Use leeks as the bases for home-made vegetable soup such as leek and cauliflower,pumpkin, leek & cannellini bean soupor leek and celeriac.
Slow Roasted Sage & Thyme Beef Rump with Winter Vegetables
Beef rump is the perfect cut of beef for slow roasting and is packed with flavour. You can also buy a small or larger roasting piece depending what size you need. I also love the combination of sage and thyme, especially with the selection of vegetables below. You could however substitute other vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes or pumpkin as well as other herbs – maybe try oregano, mint or parsley.
850 g – 1 kg beef rump
Salt and pepper, to season
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic
¼ cup sage leaves
6 sprigs thyme
1 teaspoon salt, extra
½ teaspoon ground peppercorns, extra
4 baby fennel, halved
1 bunch Dutch carrots, trimmed
4 medium parsnips, peeled and halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon olive oil, extra
Preheat oven to 130°C.
Score the fat of the beef and season all sides with salt and pepper. Heat half the oil in a small frying pan over high heat, add beef and brown on all sides. Remove to a heavy based medium baking dish.
Place remaining oil, garlic cloves, sage leaves, thyme, extra salt and extra ground peppercorns in a pestle and mortar. Pound until well blended, spread over browned beef and insert a meat thermometer diagonally into the beef. Place fennel, carrots and parsnips around the beef and roast for 45 minutes or until the meat thermometer reaches 70°C.
Remove beef to serving dish and tent with foil. Increase oven temperature to 200° (180°C fan-forced) and return vegetables to oven to crisp and brown for 15 minutes, while the beef is resting.
Serve beef thinly sliced with vegetables.
Lyndey’s Note: I highly recommend using a meat thermometer. It is a small investment in return for perfectly cooked meat, every time.
Focus on Fennel
Native to the Mediterranean region, fennel is one of Italy’s most popular vegetables and used in many other cuisines too. It is in season in Australia from March to August. Fennel has a bulb-like base, stalks likecelery, and feathery leaves.
Like celery, the entire fennel plant is edible and lends itself to a wide range of cooking styles. This mildly licorice-flavored plant is actually a member of the parsleyfamily. Just one cup of fennel contains almost 20 percent of your recommended daily value of vitamin C. You’ll also find plenty of iron, fibre, folate, potassium, Vitamin A and manganese (which is important in the regulation of brain and nerve function).100 g of raw fennel supplies 130 kJ.
Wild fennel can be found growing along the sides of the road and in vacant land. It does not have a bulb and is considered a noxious weed in some Australian states.
Choose fennel that has fresh, feathery leaves on top, smooth, glossy stalks and a firm plump
bulb. Avoid selecting fennel with slimy, brown leaves or those with visible damage (such as
bruising) on the stalks and bulb.
How to store and keep fennel
Store fennel in the crisper section of your fridge. Use within five days.
How to use
Try fennel shaved into fresh salads, or braised in a thick sauce, sautéed or roasted and served with grains or other vegetables.
Sauté fresh fennel with green pear, chilli flakes and fennel seed and serve as a side dish with chicken or pork.
For an easy side dish – sauté fennel in oil until tender, place in baking dish, grate parmesan cheese on top and bake until golden and crunchy.
Fennel is great with roast meat or chicken – place fennel and carrots in a baking dish, drizzle with oil, honey and a splash of balsamic vinegar and bake until tender.
Pork with Blood Orange Glaze, Fennel & Blood Orange Salad
Episode 3 The Dazzling Coast
Queensland’s Sunshine Coast has crystal blue waters, white sands, and is surrounded by green rolling hills, which makes for perfect agricultural conditions and a haven for food producers. We begin with a ginger fiesta: a tour of the Buderim ginger factory, a chat with a ginger farmer, and some delicious ‘Ginger, Cardamom and Mango Crepes’. Wind it all up with a little ballroom dancing and it’s a great day out. We visit a gorgeous vegie farm, meet a Wagyu farmer who creates a wonderful stress-free life for his cows and then as the sun sets, they create the perfect steak dinner by the river.
Episode 4 Sunshine Extra
In this second visit to the sunny coast, I meets a great character who breeds water buffalo, and combined with a local trumpet player’s cheese, create ‘Spiced Bocconcini Salad’. Together we discover the common garden snail breeding like wild fire at the Glasshouse Mountains Snail Farm and check out a local spanner crab company that has turned the industry on its head. That visit inspires my mouth-watering ‘Linguine with Noosa Spanner Crab and Lemon Myrtle’ (Herbie’s favourite recipe of the whole series). The journey concludes with a cooking session at the sublime Spirit House where a glass of Riesling complements the head chef’s famous Miang of Duck.
L: Linguine with Noosa Spanner Crab & Lemon Myrtle and R: me parking Edna with Herbie alongside
Download the Cure Cancer Barbecure winter cookbook with recipes from Michele Chevalley Hedge and me, for only $5 and help save lives
The inaugural Curated Plate food festival is on across the Sunshine Coast 7 – 12 August with a wide range of activities to enjoy
In Australia The Curated Plate, Sunshine Coast: 8-11 August The Curated Plate is a new food festival on the Sunshine Coast, featuring the best chefs from Australia and around the world. There are all sorts of lunches, dinners, foraging, masterclasses and activities. I am thrilled to be MCing the Main Stage for free Demonstrations and Talks at The Food Fair at Black Swan Parkwith the likes of Zaiyu Hasegawa (Japan), Peter Gilmore, Analiese Gregory, Nelly Robinson and Troy Rhoades-Brown.
All details onThe Curated Plate website
Global Table, Melbourne 3 – 6 September Global Table brings together leading international and Australian agrifood events under one umbrella to join the conversation on solving our biggest food challenges and creating tomorrow’s breakthroughs. It is a three-day global agribusiness and food conference, innovation exhibition and trade show plus awards, pitches and hackathons designed to deliver business growth, conversations and connections at the Melbourne Showgrounds. It also featuresSeeds&Chips – The Global Food Innovation Summit, coming to Australia for the first time.
All details on Global Table website.
Schapelle Schapelle is being performed as part of the Blair Milan Tour Prize. This award commemorates the talent and passion of my late son Blair.The scholarship is awarded to one 3rd year Theatre/Media Creative Work team that exhibited a performance as part of the SPRUNG Festival of Creativity at Charles Sturt University each year, specifically to tour the work beyond Bathurst. The performance on 31st gives back 10% door takings to the fund. I’ll be there so come and say hello. Support means a lot to me.
31 July: 6 – 8pm with interval
Factory Theatre, 105 Victoria Rd, Marrickville, NSW
$25 Tickets here
Perth – WA Italian Club ladies’ fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Research Centre, WA Gala Ball
3-course dinner, live entertainment by Dr Bogus, exclusive fashion parade by the international fashion designer Steph Audino, live & silent auctions, raffle and a speech from special guest Professor Arlene Chan. Saturday 10th August, 7pm
Empire Function Centre, Upstairs WA Italian Club, 217 Fitzgerald Street West Perth
$150 pp Tickets available online
How to ……
A warming winter casserole can be easily cooked in a slow cooker
It’s time I got my slow cooker out. Out of sight, out of mind. But then I saw thisHow to adapt your favourite recipes for a slow cooker.The key points are that a recipe that takes 2 hours to simmer or slow-roast will take about 6-8 hours on Low or 3-4 hours on High in the slow cooker. Also, as a general rule, a slow cooker should be at least half-full when cooking casseroles, curries and soups. Place vegetables into the cooker, put meat on top, then add the liquid.
From time to time I still make my own pasta in my old hand machine. I remember making pasta for 250 people with it back in the 80s during my catering days. My whole kitchen was draped with the stuff. It is very satisfying to make your own (though I wouldn’t recommend making enough for 250 again) and Gourmet Traveller shares How to make fresh pasta (it’s easier than you think). This recipe is very similar to mine, though I sometimes use cooked, chopped well-drained spinach for green pasta rather than broccoli powder.
How about joining me on my next tour withBy Prior Arrangement? I first went to Morocco in 1978 and then again on an amazing food trip in 1994 with theInternational Olive Oil Council and have been entranced by the place ever since. Morocco 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.
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, hike or ride a mule to a Berber village in the Atlas Mountains, and relax by the coast in tranquil Essaouira. You will 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. Your luxury accommodation is in charming, authentic riads.
Highlights of the tour include:
– personal hosting by me
– must see destinations Rabat, Fes, Essaouira, Marrakech
– visit of an authentic Berber village in the Atlas Mountains
– a unique foodie tour of Marrakech souks and some cooking classes
– historical and cultural visits throughout with local licensed guides
– the Majorelle Garden and the Yves Saint Laurent museum
– accommodation in traditional riads, sometimes in exclusivity Details here