Weekly Update

The chefs who created the Love Seafood Gala dinner LtoR: Ludovic Poyer from The Poyers, Mitchell Turner from Rick Stein Bannisters, due to open in September; me, Michael Jenkins from The Anchorage, Cassey Sheather, Ben Way from the Little Beach Boathouse, apprentice Andrew Coleman and Mat Key from the Little Nel

Last Saturday night I MCed the third annual Love Seafood dinner which promotes the fishing, aquaculture and seafood industry in Port Stephens and the abundance of high quality fresh, local seafood the region has to offer. It is also the prelude event to the Love Seafood Festival which encourages visitors and locals alike to celebrate the local seafood cuisine via a range of lunches, dinners and a fetival weekend 18-19 August at D’Albora Marinas.
Port Stephens is one of Australia’s coastal areas that was built up on the back of the fishing and aquaculture industry.  As the nation’s fishing industry grew in the 1800s, so did the population and the townships of Port Stephens were born. Stretching back to 1876, there has also been a long history of oyster farming in Port Stephens. 
The local seafood was prepared by five talented local chefs which pleased the 150 capacity crowd. What’s great about events like this is what it leaves behind: the collaboration and sharing by the chefs, liaison with suppliers and a great showcase for the region. More information here.
I only wish I could have stayed in the area longer and more fully enjoyed the facilities at The Anchnorage. Next time…..

Jump ahead to see:
This Week’s Best Fruit and Veg
Recipe of the Week
Where I’ve Eaten
Wine of the Week
Appetite for Excellence Winners
Interesting Reading
What’s On

Eggplant, kale and tomatoes. The weather must be getting warmer for tomatoes!

Super versatile fennel is a seasonally good buy for both the large bulbs and smaller baby fennel. Fennel teams well with tomatoes, citrus, potatoes, capsicums, lamb, chicken or seafood.

Enjoy the quality and flavour of market fresh locally grown bok choy, choy sum and gai lum . Toss in a hot wok and serve as a side vegetable or combine with meat for a quick, easy and healthy stir-fry.

Good for you … Field grown eggplant is a good source of dietary fibre and also provides some vitamin B6 that is important for the body’s use of protein. Try this Crumbed eggplant with easy minted tzatziki as a meat alternative

Antioxidant rich kale is a flavoursome and thrifty buy. Sauté chopped kale in olive oil and chopped garlic and serve as a side dish or add to your favourite juice to kick start your day with 100% of your daily requirements of vitamins A,C & K.

Savour the subtle sweet-onion flavour of plump, flavoursome leeks. Lovely simply fried or braised in chicken stock.

Add red capsicum to pizza toppings, salads, stir fries, char-grill or stuff with a meat and vegetable filling and bake until tender.

Broccoli is one of the most nutritious vegetables, it has some iron plus potassium and a high content of vitamins, including vitamin C. This week is an ideal time to make the most of broccoli as it is well-priced. Alternatively it’s a great week to pop a cauli in your trolley. They are firm, compact and delicious roasted.  I feature them often in winter.

Blueberries, strawberries, lemon and lemon curd

Warm Queensland weather is producing a bumper crop of luscious, plump and sweet strawberries. Your local greengrocer will be offering fabulous specials this week especially on multi buy purchases. Whip up a quick strawberry cheesecake sundae – this quick cheat is fabulous for a mid-week dessert.

Blueberries are sweet eating and good value so whip up a batch of blueberry and coconut muffins

Make the most of late winter lemons. Juice and zest adds flavour to marinades, cakes, steamed puddings or make a soul warming Greek Lemon and chicken soup. Select lemons that feel heavy for their size, this indicates good juice content. This microwave lemon curd is super delicious and so easy to make. Use as a filling in butterfly cupcakes and crepes.

Ultra-juicy tangelos are sweet, tangy and easy to peel. Fruit should feel heavy for their size, as this indicates a good juicy content. Tangelos are $3-$5 a kilo. Use as you would oranges; the juice, rind and plump are packed with flavour.

With their rich raspberry-red succulent flesh and sweet flavour, blood oranges are ideal for juicing. One medium blood orange yields about 1/3 cup juice. Add the juice to salad dressings or sauces. Various recipes here.

Pop a tangy-sweet pineapple in the trolley this week. Choose firm fruit which feels heavy for its size. Pineapple does not ripen after harvesting; a perfumed aroma indicates good flavour. Pineapple adds a delightful tang to a salsa, try this Pineapple & chilli salsa with crisp-skin salmon

Just coming into season now until mid-summer, succulent sweet Kensington Pride mangoes are bursting with tropical flavour.

Looking for a low kilojoule snack, then you can’t go passed Aussie apples. Pink Lady, Fuji, Jazz, Fuji and Royal gala are eating nicely and good value. Red Delicious apples are worth eating too.

Salad tomatoes are plentiful and fabulous value at $3-$4 a kilo.

Recipe of the Week

Roasted Duck in Red Curry from Balance. Matching food & Wine. What Works & Why
Photography: Brett Stevens

Servings: 4
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes

400 ml coconut milk
1 stalk lemon grass, sliced
1 tablespoon of good quality red curry paste, or more to taste
1 red chilli, split and de-seeded
2 kaffir lime leaves, bruised
1 whole Chinese roast duck
1 teaspoon Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 baby eggplant, sliced
½ punnet cherry tomatoes
½ tin (95g) water chestnuts, drained and sliced
Few sprigs of coriander or Thai basil, chopped

  1. Scoop the thick cream from the top of the coconut milk and heat it in a wok or frypan with the lemon grass, curry paste, chilli and kaffir lime leaves. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile remove the breasts from the duck and chop into four. Remove the legs and chop into two. Remove any other meat and delicious skin from the duck too.
  3. Add the duck and remaining coconut milk. Return to the boil and add vegetables. Cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes until vegetables are cooked. Season with fish sauce and sugar. Taste to see if more chilli, sugar or fish sauce is needed. Add coriander or basil and serve with jasmine rice.

Lyndey’s Note: Chinese BBQ ducks can be bought in Asian stores or from Chinese restaurants. Make sure you ask for whole duck and not chopped up, having them chopped up can lead to little bones getting into the curry.
This dish goes beautifully with a nice full bodied Shiraz.

Recipe from Balance. Matching Food and Wine. What Works and Why by Lyndey Milan and Colin Corney. Available for purchase online for $35.00 AUD by clicking here.

Where I’ve Eaten
Contact Bar and Kitchen

Canapes: clockwise from top left: Spiced beef puffs with black sesame,  Rice crisp with miso aioli, Merimbula oysters with rice wine vinegar, lime and ginger, Corn mousse tart, candied chilli seeds, black sesame

I wrote some weeks ago about Contact Bar & Kitchen and the wish of restaurateur Markus Stauder to encourage customers to truly make contact, in person without the use of mobile phones and social media to connect, share ideas and experiences, all while enjoying good food and wine around a table. I also noted that while I thought it was a great idea, I hadn’t tried the food. Well, now I have and it doesn’t disappoint. My partner has already gone back again!

A warm welcome awaits you, and the offer to securely lock away your mobile device and even charge it for you. For this, you receive a complimentary glass of wine. However, I wanted to try the Secret Degustation where the chef will surprise you for only $49 for 4 courses. Chef Marco Giuliani did a sterling job also accommodating requests for our group: two gluten-free, one no-shellfish and one no fresh tomato.  So for canapes, stunning oysters and beef tendon made into puffs topped with the same candied chilli seeds and black sesame as the corn mousse tart. Also some rice crisps with a really appealing miso aioli (I must try that spin on aioli myself.) We also opted for the recommended accompanying wines, also secret ($35pp) so began with a refreshing glass of Serafini & Vidotto, Prosecco, Treviso DOC.

L to R: Carpaccio, seeded mustard dressing, baby turnips, curry leaves and Blue fin tuna (NSW), ponzu, shepherds avocado, Tasmania wasabi, linaria, furikake

Then the menu proper began to roll. First up a textured, fresh plate of diced Blue fin tuna ponzu, avocado, Tasmania wasabi, linaria, furikake. Given its Japanese flavours, appropriately this came with a glass of  Kariho Akitasakekomachi Junmaishu Sake. The so-named carpaccio was actually rolled and torched on the outside, finished with seeded mustard dressing, baby turnips, curry leaves. I guess a play more on tataki but it was delightfully smoky, tender and morish. With this a glass of HÃHÃ Pinot Noir, Marlborough, NZ, 2016.

Next came little pillows of light Gnocchi with black trumpet mushrooms finished with a rich star anise jus, walnuts, and 24 months aged parmesan. The same delicious finish was given to herb risotto for the gluten intolerant. Interestingly the sommelier switched us back to a white wine for this and it worked admirably: Italo Cescon, “SVEJO”, Manzoni Bianco, Veneto, IGP 2016

A crisp piece of barramundi with broccoli, romesco sauce and delicately spiced with vadouvan was an alternative to the  Pork & mascarpone tortelli, seaweed brodo, dill oil, sugarloaf cabbage powder. Another white with this, a textured yet elegant Wignalls Single Vineyard “Premium Chardonnay”, Albany, WA, 2016.

We may have sneaked in more than four courses as Koji lamb, glazed Japanese eggplant, smoked eggplant puree, sorrel appeared next, admirably matched with Jim Barry Single Vineyard Cabernet, Coonawarra, SA, 2015.

I don’t have a sweet tooth so found the not-too-sweet Hazelnut Bomb, hazelnut dacquoise, hazelnut bavoir, cocoa butter glaze a wonderful finale with Carlo Pellegrino, Passito di Pantelleria DOP, Sicily 2016

To complete the story – I am not a hypocrite who used my mobile phone to take photos. I asked the owner the next day to send me some pics – and these are the ones I have used! The downside for them is that if customers follow their philosophy, they don’t get much social media, so it is my pleasure to write up my experience here and share it with you.

TOP: Gnocchi, black trumco broccoli, romesco sauce, vadouvan; LEFT: NT Barramundi, romanesco broccoli, romesco sauce, vadouvan; RIGHT: Hazelnut Bomb, hazelnut dacquoise, hazelnut bavarois, cocoa butter glaze

Wine of the Week

Inaugural release: 2017 Percival’s Mill Grüner Veltliner RRP $38

A couple of weeks ago I reported on the Winelist of the Year Awards. Part of this was an exhibition of some of the  top wineries featured in award-winning winelists which also sponsored individual awards.

It was great to taste some icon wines and also some newer ones. I was impressed by this 100% grüner veltliner made from grapes planted on ancient grey shales in 2011 by viticulturist Prue Henschke at the Henschke Lenswood vineyard in the Adelaide Hills.  Grown biodynamically, The Percival’s Mill pays tribute to the early pioneering days of Lenswood. The demolished historic E.W. Percival’s timber mill once stood on the Croft Road property in the early 1900s. Over time the valley was established with apple orchards, due to the cool continental climate, making Lenswood one of the most highly regarded apple producing regions in Australia.
The Henschke family took on ownership as a vineyard property, while maintaining extensive areas of native vegetation.
We are starting see more gruner veltliner in Australia and this is a wonderful example with Intense citrus flavours of lemon and  lime, summer fruits like guava and nectarine, great texutre yet good acidity which augurs well for aging.
Available online.

Appetite for Excellence Winners

The Winners: L to R, young waiter, Tyler Austin, young restaurateur, Cam O’Keefe and youg chef Max Sharrad

Appetite for Excellence is a wonderful program with which I have been involved as a judge since its inception 13 years ago by Luke Mangan and Lucy Allon. It has expanded over the years and hats off to Luke Mangan for keeping it going without a naming rights sponsor this year. The  2018 winners were announced on Monday night at an awards ceremony at Luke’s Kitchen in Sydney.

The program continues to attract the best of Australia’s food industry each year, to celebrate and nurture young talent and the future of the hospitality industry. This year it has joined forces with Luke’s The Inspired Series, a development program that enables students, apprentices and young hospitality workers to gain insight from some of the country’s top chefs, waiters and restaurateurs on their experiences, providing them with career advice, tips and support within in the industry.

I was disaapointed that my absence in the UK this year meant I couldn’t join the amazing panel of fellow judges including Luke Mangan (Luke’s Kitchen), Analiese Gregory (Franklin), Peter Gilmore (Quay, Bennelong), Sam Christie (The Apollo, Cho Cho San), Duncan Welgemoed (Africola), Danielle Gjestland (Wasabi), and Lisa Van Haandel (Longrain,Longsong), among others.
The 2018 Appetite for Excellence program saw applications increase by 20% on the previous year, with applicants from seven states, and a 400% increase on female applicants.

Appetite for Excellence 2018 winners are:
Australian Young Waiter 2018

Winner: Tyler Austin, Stokehouse Q QLD
One to watch: Olivia Evans, Paper Daisy Restaurant NSW
Australian Young Chef 2018
Winner: Max Sharrad, Shobosho SA
One to watch: Jessi McEwan, Hogget Kitchen VIC
Australian Young Restaurateur 2018
: Cam O’Keefe, CENTRA VIC

The program has an unparalleled record of discovering Australia’s best new talent. In the past I have been privileged to judge Josh Niland (Saint Peter), Thi Le (Anchovy), Jake Kellie (Burnt Ends), James Viles (Biota) and Adam D’Sylva (Coda and Tonka), along with many others who have come through the program.

Interesting Reading

Paris Mash

We lost legendary French chef Joël Robuchon this week, but he lives on through his food. His pommes puree were legendary and Food & Wine shares them here. Guillaume Brahimi whom I interviewed brought the dish to Sydney and renamed it Paris Mash as explained to Good Food. He had done 2 weeks work experience with Robuchon at his restaurant Jamin at the age of 14 and returned for 4 years to begin his career as a chef. Business Insider has written a wonderful obituary.
The New York Times writes Joel Robuchon rewrote the rules of fine dining.Herbie (Ian Hemphill) tweeted to share an excellent article on caraway. “As Jennifer Richards says, a spice that’s often under appreciated. Caraway is essential to a good Harissa and a Yemeni Spice Mix.”Cooking “en papillote” is a lovely technique which I have used in my Steamed snapper with white wine sauce. Pure Wow explains the principles.Gault & Millau reports on Restaurant trends to watch in 2018 but it also includes an interesting analysis of what customers do and don’t like.

What’s On

Cake Bake & Sweets Show returns to both Sydney and Melbourne

Cake Bake & Sweets Show is  a three-day live event devoted to the world of baking and the art of cake decorating.It is packed with celebrity demos, informative classes and interactive workshops is sure to fulfil your sweet tooth.

Learn new skills and techniques, receive tips from the best in the business, stock up on all the latest supplies and  meet your favourite pastry chefs.
More information here.

KIama Food & Wine Festival 11 – 12 August

The inaugural Kiama Artisan Food Festival kicks off this weekend, 11 and 12 August, celebrating the best of boutique regional produce, local artisan skills and cuisine at the Kiama Showgrounds.
Fun for the whole family, the festival includes a 3 course dinner created by Indigenous chef Mark Olive, from the well-known television series The Outback Chef, along with the best local produce sourced within a 50km radius.
Learn valuable hints and tips on how to make artisan products with a range of workshops including cheese making, fermenting vegetables, craft beer, wine, boutique gin, pizza making and more. Or bag a picnic spot at the all day Sunday markets showcasing over 50 local producers and an array of delectable tasting dishes. A one stop shop to the best cuisine in the region, the Kiama Artisan Festival will also dish up free cooking classes for kids, live music, rides and a great day out for all ages.

From 10am on Sunday 12 August there will be over 50 stalls set up at Kiama Show Grounds and in the Pavilion, showcasing local produce, meat, wine, beer and cider plus artisan food and beverage production tools. A free Kids Love to Cook will host workshops from 11am where children can learn to make Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls or Healthy Bliss Balls. Each class will run for 15minutes with all equipment and ingredients provided. And there’s more from jumping castles, carousels, singers and a range of local entertainers throughout the day.

Tickets for the 50km dinner are priced at $140p/p including wines, the workshops are priced at $30 p/p and the markets day with entertainment is free! For more information or to book visit www.kiamashowevents.com

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