At the beginning of the Australia Day parade at Murrurrundi 26 January 2020
Happy New Year How was your Christmas? Different?
With lockdowns, closed borders and restrictions on flights many of us had a very different Christmas. Sadly my family had to separate and my nephew and his family of 5 had to stay away from the rest of us so we didn’t exceed the 10 adults allowed in Sydney. My daughter and family were in Singapore, having been unable to come to Sydney and in London my sisters-in-law were unable to have their usual Christmas together, only managing a socially-distanced 15 minute drink outside. A foreign correspondent friend was in the USA, covering the Trump campaign, the race riots and more recently the Capitol Hill storming, complete with tear gas. She, her husband and two children certainly had a different Christmas. Around the world many were far worse off, so we were content to observe the restrictions in the interests of safety. It’s been a tough time as my partner is not doing well. That’s why it has taken me so long to come back to writing my newsletter. I am sure you understand and thank you for your good wishes. Just send all your positive vibes this way. I am also, therefore, continuing to take a break from Facebook Live for the time being. With international, and even intra-national travel off the agenda, are you planning a staycation, or something close to home? If so, you might like to read the piece I wrote on How to Plan an Epic Staycation This Summer.Lots of tips and tricks there too.
I know opinions differ, but as a 5th generation Australian, I am deeply honoured to be an Australia Day Ambassadorfor the 19th consecutive year. Acknowledging the achievements of all Australians while honouring the traditional owners and their ongoing legacy. I always ask to go to regional Australia and next Tuesday I will be in Kyogle in regional NSW and look forward to meeting the local community, learning about the area, presenting awards for local achievers and sharing my stories. I find it especially moving when people take on Australian citizenship. Last year I was delighted to be in the small town, with a big heart, Murrurrundi. Then we were concerned with drought and bushfires, this year COVID and the consequent economic pressures.
To my friends in the USA, I am so pleased you have a new President who is addressing the many issues you have, especially COVID. I do hope you are all safe and happy. Also to everyone in the UK, what a challenging time you are having, but good to see the vaccine rolling out. And to everyone, I hope you are also feeling positive about the New Year and we can all look forward with hope and friendship. Lyndey
Now read on or scroll down, remember there’s something for everyone in this newsletter wherever you are in the world.
In honour of all things Australian – where else in the world can you pat a kangaroo, in national park, beside a beach? Nothing about food, but you can see the action here.You can subscribe to my channel here, so you can see my other videos including meals in a minute.
Recipes of the Week
Prime Rib of Beef with Baby Bean, Corn & Sweet Pepper Salad
It’s also a great time to transform your pavolova into a slablova – much easier to share for a crowd. I created this recipe for a Celebratory Slablovafor Pace Farm Eggs. Enjoy!
Celebratory Slablova – in Aussie green and gold
Over the break I actually managed to read a book: my friend Jonathon Welch’s autobiography, Choir Man. He is an incredible person, a great contributor and so straight forward and lovely. I have been lucky enough to do two singing workshops with him in Taree where one of my sisters lives, along with my niece and second cousin from Brisbane. He sent me the book a little while ago but I lent it to my niece first. It is engrossing, easy to read, well-written, flows easily and not one grammatical error – such a joy in this modern world.
There is quite a bit of synchronicity in it for me too. He mentions a massed choir and getting some choristers from the Randwick Proms. My friend, singing teacher Dallas Watts was the founder, director, conductor of the Randwick Proms and I was it’s Patron. He had taught my daughter, Lucy, singing at school and she had given me a singing lesson with him the year she left school for that Christmas. I loved it and ended up taking my partner, John too. So one year he had the “Cappuccino Choir” in it – John and I were in that along with my other sister and brother-in-law. It was such fun. And it transpires that one time Dallas and Jonathon sang the very moving male duet in the Pearl Fishers Opera.
Also, my uncle the late Max Aronsten (born in 1904) first put Joan Sutherland on stage for the Sun Aria competition. She never forgot him, nor my Aunty Joan (they were both pioneers of Australian radio, Max a musician, singer and teacher, Joan a playwright, author and poet). At a dinner I was lucky enough to go to for the two Dame Joans (Sutherland and Hammond), as we all stood for the arrival of the official party, Dame Joan Sutherland spied Joan and Max and made a beeline for them to kiss and hug them both before she took her place. When she was on an Australian stamp for Australia Day in about 2004, at the Australia Day lunch (which I attend as an Ambassador) I took my daughter over to meet her. What a thrill. I also interviewed her for Gourmet Traveller back in the 80s for a story on comfort food. Can you believe she twice left a message on my answering machine. What a lovely person she was, as well as a global talent. Such happy memories and connections.
I wrote to Jonathon to tell him all this and ask when he was going to write the rest of this autobiography from aged 50 onwards. He had intended beginning the sequel during lockdown (he lives in Victoria) – ‘A Hard Knock Life’ – but with homeschooling his two great nephews whom he and his husband Matt had adopted, and having to move all his choirs to online rehearsals, there was no time.. However, he has made a lovely offer for readers of this newsletter. He will give a discount on his book, CD and DVD of the TV series Choir of Hard Knocks (which I have also watched and loved) charging only $50 for all three. Just go to his website to order and use the code LYNDEY.
I’ve been recipe testing for Selector Magazine and have a great tip to share about sweet corn. Strip off the leaves and silk, wrap a cob in baking paper and cook in the microwave on high for 1 1/2 – 2 minutes. Then you can char directly on your gas burner by turning for less than a minute! On the BBQ you can put the whole cob on, silk, leaves and all. As you cook and turn, the leaves will protect the corn. Remove leaves and silk carefully and eat corn as it is, or you can get char markings on the BBQ too.
Travel with me?
Wouldn’t you love to buy a pair of these in Morocco?
With Covid vaccinesnow available I am still optimistically planning my tours to Morocco and Puglia for late this year. If we deem it not safe to travel, we will postpone to 2022, but I think accompanied tours with well-reputed and experienced companies will be the safest way to go.