An image shared by The Compassionate Friends – see the recipe below
Welcome Last Saturday I actually spoke at a live event. My first in a very long time. All socially distanced with a Covid marshall and well organised. It was for The Compassionate Friends, a worldwide organisation which supports parents, siblings and grandparents after the death of a child of any age. The TCF NSW started in 1979 and they have around 30 groups meeting throughout NSW. They do important work and it was very moving to be in the room sharing my story and honouring the memory of my son Blair. As I said in my presentation, we are all members of a club we don’t want to belong to. So many stories, so many memories of so many people gone too soon. If you, unfortunately, are in this situation, I would encourage you to get in touch with them wherever you are in the world.
As a lovely aside, the Treasurer told me that my friend the late Margaret Fulton had created a Remembrance Biscuit recipe for TCF which was much used, especially in the early years. I share it with you below. Why not make a batch and remember something or someone with each one you eat?
A happy memory for me 20 years ago was doing a live cross to the popular NBC Today Show in the USA on a Saturday during the Sydney Olympics. I talked about Australian food and the prep my colleague had to do was amazing. A massive table groaning under all manner of food, including kangaroo and, of course, pavlova.I went in about 7pm, given the time difference to New York, had my hair and makeup done by the team they had brought with them, then be ready to go to air sometime after 9 or 10pm. I recall leaving at midnight. Such a fun thing to do.
Regular readers will know that I am a member of The Australian Women’s Club Londonand I still catch up with members via Zoom and run the foodies group with another friend. We did a Q & A session on Tuesday this week, where I answered their food and cooking questions. It was fun and it occurred to me that I could start a new section in my newsletter “Ask me ….?”The idea is you send me any question you like and I will answer it in my next newsletter. I’ll kick off this week with a couple of questions from these ladies. Then it’s up to you if you wish me to continue by sending in questions.
On Sunday night I will be again be hosting Facebook Live, this time we’re going to Italy with our taste buds so I hope you might join me at 6:00 pm AEST or 9:00 am BST. More below, including ingredients.
So this week is about remembering the good and the sad – and what my Mum always said “it’s not what happens to you in life which matters, but how you deal with it”. Sending positive vibes to everyone who has lost someone, is a carer, is in lockdown or facing another challenge. I hope there is something in this newsletter to make you smile?
Now read on or scroll down, remember there’s something for everyone in this newsletter wherever you are in the world.
Two recipes for you on YouTube this week. I had a question (see below) about how to cook fish and so I am showing you both that and also Steamed Snapper with ginger, Shallot and soy. Watch me make it on YouTube here.You’ll find the written recipe here.You can subscribe to my channel here, so you can see other videos including my meals in a minute.
Remembrance Biscuits—Rosemary and Cheese
Crisp, delicate and savoury. Perfect nibbles to enjoy with drinks. Keep a roll of unbaked dough on hand in the freezer and bake when needed.
90g Cheddar cheese, finely grated.
12 g Butter
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper or 1/4 tsp hot paprika
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
Some rosemary leaves.
Cream the cheese and butter until soft. Sift the flour, cayenne pepper, rosemary, pepper and salt, then stir this into the creamed mixtures together with the parmesan cheese. Mix well and form into a roll, 4cm in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap or alumiium foil and refrigerate for one hour.
Cut into thin discs and top each with a rosemary leaf, pressing it in. Bake on ungreased baking tray in a moderate oven 180c for 15—20 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Store in airtight containers. Makes approximately 60—100 biscuits.
Rosemary, the remembrance herb, is lovely in savoury biscuits. Do not use it freshly picked. Leave it 2—3 days to dry out a little or dry it on kitchen paper in a microwave oven on high for 4 –5 minutes & crumble. Store in a small jar.
Recipe given to TCF by Margaret Fulton, and much used in former days of TCF NSW.
Lebanese Lamb Kebabs with Chickpeas snapped after I finished Facebook Live
I continue to enjoy Facebook Live every Sunday night at 6pm. Last week I made Lebanese Lamb Kebabs with Chickpeaswith tips and tricks along the way. You can watch how I did it on Facebook here, as well as talking a bit about Ponting Mowbray Boy Pinot Noir which I matched with it. Please join me at 6:00pm (Sydney Time) or 9:00 am British Standard Time, this coming Sunday as we go to Italy and I show you the real classic Spaghetti Carbonara but with a twist. Master this recipe and you have the basis of a sauce for many different pasta recipes. Simply like my Facebook pageand at 6:00pm to click here to join and watch Facebook Live video on Sunday night.
If you are planning to cook with me on Sunday, here’s what you will need for 4 as a main course: 500g good quality dried spaghetti – I’ll use gluten-free
¾ cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 whole bird’s-eye red chillies (optional)
125g Australian bacon, chopped
2 large fresh free range eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup (40g) parmesan cheese, freshly grated
freshly ground black pepper and some optional extras to add in, if you wish, like mushrooms and asparagus.
See you then?
Questions and Answers
These are just some of the questions I was asked in a Foodies Zoom Q & A. Ask me yours too?
Helen asked: tell me about some different ways to use the black garlic – what’s the flavour difference between it and regular garlic (obvs colour)? Answer:
Essentially it is an ordinary white garlic that has been aged in a specific way which turns it black. Use the cloves as you would roasted garlic: Purée them with oil, then smear the paste on crostini, incorporate it into dressings, or rub it onto chicken or fish before roasting. Powdered, it’s like umami fairy dust: Sprinkle it on anything that wants some earthiness and depth. Watch How to Make Black Garlic on YouTube
Here’s How to Cook with Black Garlic and recipes from The Huffington Post.
It seems a simple thing but I would like to know how best to lightly fry a skin on fillet of fish and get both sides a bit brown and crispy without the bloomin’ thing falling apart and sticking to my so-called non-stick pan! Answer: This was an easy one to answer as I referred her to How to Cook Fish with Crisp Skin and my recipe for Crisp-skinned Flathead with Capsicum. What questions do you have? Just email in response to this newsletter.
Blast from the Past
This is Fresh with The Australian Women’s Weekly reversioned
I was co-host of Fresh with the Australian Women’s weekly for 8 years from 200 to 30 June 2008. During that time I had three co-hosts: Jason Roberts, Geoff Jansz and Peter Evans. Now, some of this old footage has been reversioned into a show called Easy Eats, also shown on the 9 Network. I have only caught one episode when I realised it was on. A real blast from the past. Not sure about how I looked then but the recipes still stand up.
On social media last week:
It was World Gratitude Day on September 21 and I shared my thoughts: I’m using this day as a reminder to pause and reflect on all the things I’m most grateful for. This year has been hard on many of us and there’s still so much unknown ahead. I hope you can also put your stress to one side today and write down a few things you are grateful for. One of the things I am grateful for is my ability to share my love of food and cooking with my wonderful online audience. It fills me with joy when people get in touch to say they tried a recipe or loved a TV series. Thank you for joining me and being a part of this fabulous foodie community. I’m grateful for you. I was touched by the response and I share that sentiment with readers of the newsletter too.
I shared my recipe for Easy Pad Thaiand asked about favourite British chefs.
Next week we’re travelling the world with Italian food and recipes, with an Italian recipe for my Facebook Live.
There’ll be more too, so don’t miss out, join me on Facebook and Instagram this week!
Travel with me in 2021 or 2022?
Enjoy sea urchin, fresh from the sea in Puglia
MY HOSTED TOURS RETURN IN 2021 or 2022?
I am full of hope for next year – but also realise we may not be travelling internationally that soon. So we have delayed my planned Moroccan trip from May to October 2021, straight after the planned one to Puglia. Makes it worth being that side of the world and it will be fun to do back-to-back. Many more details to come, but here’s a heads up, although it is too soon to be thinking about travelling overseas again. Here are the dates: Culinary Adventures in Puglia and Basilicata: 10-16 October 2021 Full details and prices here, Morocco culinary tour probably mid-October 2021 – some information here.