I love canal walks and this week we walked from Kings Cross back to Camden Lock and then home through Regents Park
“The best way to predict the future is to create it,” – Abraham Lincoln
Moving to London has not been without its challenges for me. Leaving work opportunities, family and friends and establishing myself in a whole new environment is not without its challenges. Sometimes it seems I am not in the right place at the right time, but I am lucky to also have family and friends in London (as I lived here from 1977 – 1980) and am relishing making a whole new network as well as undertaking some new work. So while I have always looked for the opportunity rather than the problem, these words from Abraham Lincoln are timely. (Thanks to Helen Hayes from the Australian Society of Travel Writers for including them in the latest newsletter.)
I love walking in London and after the great canal walk last week we did another, shorter one at the weekend. Also loving the sunshine (when its out), the inexpensive cut flowers and being easily able to buy such things as guinea fowl which I’m cooking for a dinner party tonight. Still struggling with finding really well-cared for seafood in retail. Also making the most of catching up with all the Aussie chefs I can find in London and trying as many different restaurants as possible.
The proximity to Europe is a bonus too and next week we are off to Burgundy for a few days to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Later in October,I am doing an advanced academic course in taste with Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and Reims with others from around the world. An amazing opportunity though I have now found out there is a written exam at the end! So there probably won’t be an update next week but do look out on social media for my posts.
Irresistible mangoes from the Northern Territory are sweet and tangy. Add sliced mango to a salad or team with strawberries and passionfruit for a quick dessert, we enjoy a warm mango and passionfruit muffin.
The juicy, deep burgundy to orange coloured flesh of blood oranges is sweet, fragrant and has a refreshing flavour. Team blood orange segments with thin shavings of fennel and toss with a drizzle of olive oil.
Juicy Packham pears are good quality and a thrifty buy.
Queensland and Northern Territory seedlesswatermelon is flavoursome and extra juicy. Serve chilled wedges as a healthy snack or team diced watermelon with mint and fried haloumi cheese.
If you grew up with a mulberry tree in your garden or neighbourhood than no doubt you will be delighted to know that mulberry season has started. Soft, juicy berries from Queensland are available in a 250g punnet. Mix berries with a little sugar and cornflour, then bake in a pastry case.
Strawberries supplies are now coming from Western Australia and Queensland. While both growing areas fruit is eating nicely, if you are looking for shelf life opt for those from W.A.
Asparagus, Globe Artichokes and Broad Beans
Crisp young and tender baby bok choy is a top buy. Select bunches with crisp pale-cream stems and fresh-looking green leaves. For an easy family dinner steam bok choy or toss into a hot wok and cook until just tender.
Choose firm, green broad beans with full but not over-bulging pods. Smaller younger pods yield more tender beans. As a guide, 1 kg of broad beans yields about 1 cup (250g) shelled beans. Flavoursome and nutritious broad beans are good value so add them to salads, risottos or whip an appetizing Broad bean & spinach dip. English spinach is a bargain this week.
Keep springtime dining light and easy with crisp sugar snap and snow peas. Choose bright peas that are firm and plump, but not bulging. Grab a handful of both varieties of pea, steam and toss peas with chopped fresh mint, crumbled low-fat ricotta cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
A unique and delicious vegetable, the globe artichoke has always been regarded as a delicacy. Artichokes have a subtle, sweet and somewhat nutty flavour. Select fresh deep green or purple artichokes with firm heads and tightly closed leaves. Artichokes should feel heavy for their size.
Keep a bag of mushrooms on hand for easy and healthy meals at any time. Stir-fry with noodles, sauté with seafood, add to pasta dishes, or whip a scrumptious mushroom omelette.
Fast to cook, loaded with flavour and extremely versatile Australian asparagus is at its best quality and value in spring. Steamed, boiled, barbecued, stir-fried, roasted or microwaved spears are tendered and tasty.
Field grown Australian grown red capsicums are in season.
Add a Caesar salad to the menu this week as crisp Cos lettuce is thrifty buy. Keep an eye for the new purple-leafed baby Cos lettuce. Sold in a packet of two, they are an attractive buy.
Queensland grown Jap pumpkins are plentiful. Add diced roasted pumpkin, to a salad or serve warm in pasta dishes with fried sage leaves.
Recipe of the Week
My Paella – developed over many years Photography by Brett Stevens
I posted this on social media on World Paella Day and it got a great response, so thught I would share it here. I often serve it at lunches or dinner parties. Bringing it to the table has great “wow” factor. My Paella
Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 40 minutes
The traditional pan for this recipe is shallow and wide. If you don’t have a paella pan or a large enough frying pan, use two smaller frying pans as the mixture should only be about 4cm deep. This recipe is best made just before serving and can be done across a couple of jets on the stove, or on the BBQ.
1 kilo clams
1 tablespoon coarse salt
600g medium uncooked prawns
1 kilo small black mussels
4 tablespoons olive oil
7 cups (1750ml) chicken or fish stock
1 large pinch saffron threads
4 (440g) chicken thigh fillets, chopped coarsely
400g chorizo sausage, sliced
2 large (600g) red onion, chopped
2 medium (400g) red capsicum, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
4 teaspoons smoked or sweet paprika
4 medium (720g) tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped finely
3 cups (600g) Calasperra (or Calrose or short grain) rice
2 cups (250g) frozen peas
3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
Alioli, to serve
To prepare the seafood:
Rinse the clams under cold water and place them in a large bowl. Sprinkle the clams with the salt, cover with cold water and soak for 2 hours to purges them of any grit. Drain and rinse.
Shell and devein the prawns, leaving the tails intact. Reserve shells. Scrub the mussels.
To make the stock:
Brown prawn shells in 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan. Pour in chicken or fish stock, bring to the boil and simmer 20 minutes. Strain, add saffron and set aside till needed.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in paella pan, add the chicken and cook until browned. Remove the chicken from the pan. Add the chorizo to the same pan and cook until browned; drain the chorizo on absorbent paper.
To make the sofrito (or picada, the key to a great paella):
Add the final 2 tablespoons oil to the pan, add the onion, capsicum, garlic, paprika and tomatoes to the same pan and cook, stirring, until soft.
Add the rice and stir until it is coated in oil. Return the chicken and chorizo to the pan.
Add the stock and saffron mixture and stir only until combined. DO NOT STIR AGAIN. Bring to the boil then simmer, uncovered, for about 12 minutes or until the rice is almost tender.
Sprinkle the peas over the rice and simmer, uncovered, for a further three minutes.
Place the clams, mussels and prawns over the rice mixture. Cover the pan with a large piece of foil and simmer, covered, for about five minutes or until the clams and mussels have opened and the prawns are just cooked through. Discard any shells that don’t open.
Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.
Not suitable to freeze.
Not suitable to microwave.
Lyndey’s Note: Chorizo is a spicy pork sausage made with garlic and red capsicums. Saffron threads are available from specialty food stores and some supermarkets. If unavailable, substitute a tiny pinch of saffron powder. Calasperra rice is short grain Spanish rice used in paella. If unavailable substitute short or medium grain rice. Good quality seafood marinara mix could replace the seafood.
Traditional paella has a crispy, caramelised, toasted bottom (called socarrat in Valencian) that is considered a delicacy. To achieve a socarrat, one either needs to time the evaporation of the water properly with the completion of the rice being cooked or turn up the heat to high and listen to the bottom of the rice toast
Recipe from Balance. Matching Food and Wine. What Works and Why by Lyndey Milan and Colin Corney (Hachette)
All About Broad Beans in season in Australia & coming to an end in UK
A member of the legume family, broad beans are quite hardy and adaptable, growing in most soils and climates. In the UK they are at their peak from the end of June until mid-September, so get in fast. In Australia they are in season from September to October. In the USA they are known as fava beans. Broad beans come in giant pods which when split open, reveal up to six or seven beans within, which also come in their own pale green outer casing. Good for you
A source of protein and iron, making them especially valuable for those who choose a vegetarian diet. A good source of B vitamins, including thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2) and niacin (vitamin B3), all of which are used in the body’s production of energy from proteins, fats and carbohydrates.A good source of vitamin C which is important for the normal functioning of the body’s immune system.One of the best sources of dietary fibre among vegetables. Dietary fibre is important to keep the intestine functioning normally. Choosing
Buy broad beans as fresh as possible; pods should be firm and crisp. Avoid any that feel soft, with pockets of air inside. Preparing
Slit each pod along its seam and run your thumb along the furry inside to push the beans out. Broad beans should be double podded, unless they are very young and tender. Put the beans in a pan, cover with boiling water, return to the boil and cook for 3-5 minutes. Then drain, empty into cold water, use your nail to slit the skin, or squeeze to pop out the bright green bean. This may be time consuming, but is a sign of care from the cook and will reward you with unbeatable sweet flavour and rich, creamy texture. Storing
Keep in a perforated bag in the fridge for up to five days. Cooking
Pod, purée and serve with a little fried garlic; parboil podded broad beans and peas, add some fried onion and serve with grilled halloumi and torn mint leaves. Top and tail very young broad beans and serve whole, in their pods, with a chunk of pecorino and some bread.
Broad Bean Recipes
Bulk up double-podded broad beans with asparagus, peas and beans.
Over the years I have had many videos posted on Youtube, but I hadn’t done anything about consolidating them into one channel. It seems I acdtually have two channels butthis is the one to use. I am gradually posting videos there. However, I have especially shot some one minute fast food hacks like this Thai Salad Lettuce Bitesto show how fast and fabulous creating delicious recipes can be. I hope you like them. It would be great if you subscribe to the channel (it’s free) so you will know when there are new recipes there.
If you would like a written version of the recipe you can find it on my website here.
Some other breakfast guests at Bali Zoo
Breakfast with Orangutans at Bali Zoo
I promised to write more about this unsual experience I had in Bali. Breakfast in the zoo might be a common thing, or not – but breakfast with Orangutan? As the first one in Indonesia, Bali Zoo has a Breakfast with Orangutans program. The package comes with a hotel pick-up around 7 a.m. for transport to the zoo. Once there it’s all about the fresh air of Gianya, light breeze, the day emerging from light fog accompanied by bird song and other animals as they wake up.
A walk and short bus ride take you to Gayo Restaurant at Kampung Sumatra, where elephants are ready to be fed and patted, and orangutans show off. Beware your glasses and handbags as they are very quick to help themselves!
Other animals are brought out on display including beautiful, tame birds. Guests are allowed to feed the elephants and hold and take a pictures with birds before touring the zoo.
A friendly elephant and a cheeky orangutan just before he tried to grab my handbag
Breakfast starts with assorted seasonal tropical fruits and fruit juice. While others chose from the generous spread of more Western fare I was entranced by an authentic Balinese offering of beef soup. The onsite chef ladeled out noodles, rice, beef and broth into a bowl then you could season it to taste with green onions, chilli, local calamansi lime, prawn chips and the like. It was surprisingly light yet nourishing and a wonderful savoury start to the day. I was amazed more people didn’t try it. For me, it was an important part of the whole experience. After breakfast we had a wonderful walk through the rest of the zoo. It is Bali’s first and only zoological park with over 500 rare and exotic animals in a lush, tropical environment. In line with modern trends the zoo is moving away from cages for the animals to large protected areas where the public can see but not disturb the animals. It is very well done with new areas being opened up all the time. There are other interactive events available.Breakfast with the Orangutan details: 07.00: Hotel pick up 08.00 – 10.00: Breakfast with orangutan 10.00 – 12.00: Morning Zoo Tour + Animal Show 12.00: Return transfer to hotel Price: Rp. 800.000,- per adult, Rp. 560.000,child (inclusive hotel return transfers, full breakfast, Bali Zoo admission fee, animals show, and insurance)
L: The chef serves noodles, rice, beef and broth and R: my finished beef soup
World’s Biggest Dinner
With my friend & co-ambassador for Cure Cancer, nutritionist Michele Chevalley Hedge
WORLD’S BIGGEST DINNER
Everyone loves a dinner party – regardless of their culture or which worldly cuisine is served. Dinners bring us together. Cure Cancer is asking every Australian to bring together their friends, family, neighbours or colleagues and host a dinner party for the WORLD’S BIGGEST DINNER to raise funds for the World’s brightest cancer researchers. I’m proud to be an ambassador for them.
Your dinner can be anything you want it to be: romantic, backyard, bite-sized, buffet or rustic. Sushi, Chili, Mexican, Indian or Moroccan. One course or five. Themed or not. Host it to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or just as an excuse to get together – you choose!
Through the World’s Biggest Dinner, we want to inspire the community to come together and all play a part to help ensure this generation is the last one that dies from cancer.
All you need to do to turn your dinner into a WORLD’S BIGGEST DINNER PARTY is to ask guests to make a donation towards cancer research – it’s easy!
Let’s Dine Together and Cure Cancer, one dinner at a time!
Find out more here curecancer.com.au/worldsbiggestdinner and use these tags #biggestdinner @curecancerau
In London Western Australian Premium Wine Tasting 24 October 6-8pm, Australia House
There will be over 100 different wines to sample from 31 Western Australian wineries, all of which are available to purchase here in the UK. The wines will be from some of WA’s 9 fantastic wine regions. Western Australia is responsible for producing less than 5% of the total wine produced in Australia but accounts for approximately 20% of the ultra-premium market. There should be some exciting wine styles on show so don’t miss out!
Tickets £30 Book here
Fortnum and Mason Culinary Salon 2 October, 6.30pm – 8.30pm The Culinary Salon is a monthly event hosted by Thane Prince. Each event features leading gastronomic figures discussing what’s happening on the food scene, what we should be eating and drinking. This month, why we should move on from gin and embrace whisky as our new spirit of choice.
Thane brings to these culinary salons her experience of founding and running the highly acclaimed Cookbook Club in North London, over 30 years of involvement in journalism, writing and interviewing.October’s panel comprises butcher extraordinaire, Peter Hannan, farmer’s son and chef, Richard Corrigan and Felicity Cloake, author of the Guardian’s long-running How to Make the Perfect column as well as six books.
£30 Tickets and information here.
Sager and Wilde Wine Bar, Hoxton
I wrote up 6 London Bars you Need to Visit a couple of years ago but pleased to see this new listing in Spectator Life: London’s Best Wine Bars.
This year the Australian Women in Wine Awards were announced in New York. Here is the list of all the winners, photos and a video. The results are out for the prestigious Sydney Royal Fine Food Show, celebrating Australian growers and producers. Over the past month, more than 1,800 Fine Food entries across nine categories were judged by some of the finest palates in the country; supporting excellence within the industry by providing invaluable feedback to exhibitors and awarding quality producers. Read the topline results here. Next time you’re shopping look out for a Sydney Royal medal, as it is your guarantee of excellence in Australian agriculture.
The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation has announced the results of an evaluation into the long-term impacts of the Kitchen Garden Program. The ‘What’s Cooking’ study – in conjunction with the University of Melbourne – is the first to measure the Foundation’s long-term impact during its 15-year history.
Of the young people who took part in the Program between 2008 and 2010 – now aged 18-23 years – 84% agreed the Program had a positive impact on their lives, with 58% reporting it increased their enjoyment of school. A positive influence on cooking skills leading into adult life was reported by 75% of those surveyed, an increased respect for fresh and seasonal produce was also noted.
Read the full reportHERE.
Who says you can’t put ice in champagne?
Thank you David Lebovitz for Champagne On Ice. So pleased that I seem to have got it right, especially in a warm Australian summer. He says “Adding ice to a glass of wine, typically rosé, is called apiscine (pool), popular in the south of France, where a fewglaçonsare added to wine to beat the heat. But it’s not always limited to rosé; when in Corsica, people were plopping cubes of ice in glasses of red wine. “It’s too hot…” one person told me, as ice bobbed on the surface of her glass. Champagne isn’t necessarily sacred either. The head of the most prestigious champagne house once told me, “It’s better to add a cube of ice to a glass of champagne, if it’s not served cold enough, than to drink warm champagne.” As someone who’s been served a glass of champagne at a less-than-ideal temperature, I have to agree.”
Come Travelling with me in 2020? Two very different trips
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 4 – 10 October 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