New month, new season and hope

for the New Year 

The Tasty Trivia team

It is the beginning of a new month, a new season and let’s hope a more promising New Year for everyone wherever they are? Sadly I won’t be able to see my daughter and family this Christmas and my granddaughter sweetly keeps asking me “Mama, when the virus is gone will you come and stay with us for a long time?” I realise so many people are separated from friends and family and with a new COVID case in NSW we are unsure if WA will open its borders and what the Queensland response may be. As for those in other countries, a vaccine seems ever closer so let’s hope that can become available sooner rather than later?

Thank you for all your messages and thankfully John is home though we have had some confusing reports, now clarified which rather took the wind out of our sails. But it seems all is back on track now though I am taking him for radiotherapy every day this week. We are so grateful for medical advances.

My team again attended TastyTrivia at the Terminus Hotel. We only came third this time, missing three questions we really could have got right, as there were different opinions at our table. However, it is all good fun and the winning team, mostly friends and colleagues certainly deserved it. We’ll be back next year.

I’m loving my work with Happy-Ali and was thrilled to publish a story on my friend Sasha whom I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. You can read here Chesleigh Homestead: Where Animals Join Your Zoom Meetings. It only costs $1 US per month (with the first month free) for this great site full of good news stories. You can read three articles for free to see if you like it, but a subscription makes a great Christmas present.  As we have a pretty quiet life these days, we have been loving watching The Queen’s Gambit streaming on Netflix. There’s another great article here Anya Taylor-Joy On Her Latest Series “The Queen’s Gambit”.

Facebook Live is back in its stride at 6.30pm Sunday nights AEDST or 5:30 pm, QLD time and an early 7:30 am UK time. More below.

I hope you have a lovely weekend and week ahead.

Now read on or scroll down, remember there’s something for everyone in this newsletter wherever you are in the world.

Jump ahead to see:
YouTube video
Recipes of the Week
Facebook Live
Festive Pomegranates

Canapes for Christmas Entertaining
Next Week and Last
Travel with me?

YouTube Video

This is an oldie but a goodie. I have two versions of this on YouTube. It is a recipe I made up when filming for The Carousel. I had been musing on just how long and complicated it was to make the standard chocolate caramel slice on a biscuit base and thought I need to find an easier way to make an indulgent slices. First of all I called this my “train wreck slice” because you throw it all together and it looks like a mess. But it is soooooooooooooo yummy and moreish, I thought the title might put people off.
You can watch me make it in one minute here or here the full version with me presenting is on YouTube here.   You’ll find the written recipe here. You can subscribe to my channel here, so you can see other videos including meals in a minute.

Recipes of the Week

Chicken with Walnut and Pomegranate Stuffing and Jewel Rice

Thinking about festivities and that there are many alternatives to turkey for Christmas, especially for smaller groups – and the fact that I have some lovely pomegranates (see below), I decided to share my Chicken with Walnut and Pomegranate Stuffing and Jewel Rice You can see Jewel Rice in the background and also, in the front left Yoghurt and Beetroot Salad.

In keeping with the Arabic theme, I thought I would share an Arabic dessert. Here is my Saffron Rice PuddingEnjoy! 

Saffron Rice Pudding

Facebook Live

Steamed Snapper with Ginger, Shallot and Soy matched with Winmark Single Vineyard Reserve Chardonnay and Rusty’s Run Chardonnay, both 2019.

Last week was the simplest recipe yet, as our tastebuds when to China for the classic dish of Steamed Swith Ginger, Shallot and Soy along with Jasmine rice cooked in the microwave and stir-fried choy sum.  It matched perfectly with Winmark Wines 2019 Single Vineyard Reserve Chardonnay  The written recipe is here and you can watch me make it all here. 

Next Sunday we go to Italy with a dish easy enough for a week night but smart enough for entertaining and with wonderful flavours for a sauce on Christmas day if you are having a hot meal. To make enough Chicken with vin Santo for two you will need:
1/6 cup (25g) plain flour
Salt and pepper to taste
2 chicken supremes (skin-on breast with wing joint attached)
2 tablespoons (40ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, sliced
300g Swiss Brown button mushrooms, halved if large
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
100mls vin santo or dry marsala
125mls chicken stock
2 sprigs rosemary or bay leaves
Lemon juice (optional)
Soft Polenta
2 cups (500mls) milk
1 small brown onion, quartered
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic, quartered
4 black peppercorns
1/2 cup (85g) instant polenta
20g butter, chopped
To serve: 150g green beans, steamed till tender
chopped fresh parsley

Won’t you join the Facebook Live here?

Festive Pomegranates


OK, so up front, I will ‘fess up. Pomegranates re not in season in Australia. However, I have readers around the world and the California Pomegranates are now available in many countries. I love the festive touch they add to recipes and, being red, they remind me of Christmas. They are also fabulous on summer salads, on Mediterranean lamb – or lamb on the BBQ and lovely popped into sparkling wine. So forgive me.

There, is, interestingly though, a link to summer and spring. In the Greek myth of Persephone’s abduction by Hades, lord of the underworld, the pomegranate represents life, regeneration, and marriage.  One day while out gathering flowers, Persephone noticed a narcissus of exquisite beauty. As she bent down to pick it, the earth opened and Hades seized her and dragged her down to his kingdom. By eating six pomegranate seeds, Persephone tied herself to Hades—the pomegranate being a symbol of the indissolubility of marriage. Inconsolable at the loss of her daughter, the corn goddess Demeter prevented the earth from bearing fruit unless she saw her daughter again. Zeus intervened and worked out a compromise: Persephone should live with Hades for one third of the year and the other two thirds with Demeter. Persephone’s return from the underworld each year is marked by the arrival of Spring and then Summer – a time to enjoy pomegranates.

Ripeness and Storage
The pomegranate itself gives you a clue to ripeness. As the fruit ripens on the tree, it loses its round apple shape and develops a gentle angular, hexagonal appearance which is when they are picked. These edges are the spines of the segments inside the fruit that hold the crimson pearls of the pomegranate. The brilliantly coloured, juicy seeds are called arils – 840 of them per fruit – and are what the fuss is all about. Selecting fruit that is the heaviest will prove to be the juiciest.

They can be kept for a month in the fridge or a week at cool room temperature In the dark – and the seeds and juice can be frozen.

Extracting the arils
My friend chef Somer Sivrioglu of Efendy Restaurant, Anason and Turkish Masterchef fame, gives a great demonstration of thee ways to release the arils (or seeds) from pomegranate. One of them was new to me too. Watch him here. Which method do you prefer?

Janni Kyritsis and his Dolce Vita Cocktail
This is the loveliest story which I wanted to share. My friend, the extraordinary chef, Janni wrote:

“My late friend David liked to serve pomegranate seed with a sprinkling of gin for breakfast.
He thought the combination is perfect.
While at MG one night my friend Lyndey Milan and friends were dining there.
I had just removed the seeds from a box of pomegranates for a jelly and granita on the menu.
As they finished their meal I put all those seeds on a silver platter in a pyramid and on the side a bottle of Bombay Sapphire Gin, I thought they may like to taste the seeds with a touch of gin. Well, an hour later most of my work was gone and most of the gin (Yes they took taxis home) and it was all worth it because they always remember (or not remember) that night,
I put a name to this cocktail because I always refer to my dear friend Lyndey as DOLCE VITA.”

I was, and am, honoured. This was such a memorable night, that when I published my book Fabulous Food, I put a shot glass of iced gin and a slice of watermelon on the cover, in honour of Janni and that night.

Canapes for Christmas Entertaining

L: Smashed Broad Beans with Mint & Feta on Tortilla Triangles and R: Smoked Duck with Christmas Spiced Pickled Cherries

Each week in the lead up to Christmas I have been sharing recipes with you. this week, it’s finger food or canapes for those lucky enough to be able to entertain. There are a couple of vegetarian options here too as I always like a balance of food items.
Smashed Broad Beans with Mint & Feta on Tortilla Triangles
Smoked Duck with Christmas Spiced Pickled Cherries
Almond Gazpacho with Seared Scallops
Chicken Yakiitori
Rillettes of Salmon with Horseradish 
Crème Fraiche and Mustard and Dill Pikelets
Japanese Gyoza

Next Week and Last

Christmas tree in Martin Place, Sydney

A couple of friends and I have lunch a few times a year and always before Christmas. It has become a tradition to have it at glass brasserie where we are always so well looked-after. I was ultra-impressed by the social distancing they practice, the best I’ve seen. Something ultra-important for me (caring for John) but indeed for all of us. It was my pleasure to share all this on social media.

The food and the service were, as usual, superb, beginning with a little complimentary tempura prawn. We all chose to start with Ocean trout sashimi, aromatic spices, trout roe, apple, feta, nori ($29). The fish was fresh, beautifully sliced and perfectly set off by the accompaniments and I loved the subtlety of the shreds of nori in the sauce.  We stuck with two entrees each as we intended sharing a dessert.  Local producer Vanella Cheese featured in a vegetarian offering of Burrata with ripe baby heirloom tomatoes, olives, candied walnut, basil dressing ($26) and two of us were amazed at the size yet excellent flavour of Grilled split prawns, dashi, chilli & garlic butter, lime ($35). Luke had recommended we try the latest incarnation of his famous liquorice parfait and it did not disappoint: Luke Mangan’s Liquorice meringue roll, lime, mint ($21). I’m fascinated to know how the whole was not too frozen, with the meringue just slightly crisp. I assume it was all frozen and then flashed in the oven. I must find out.

On my way home after taking the time to do some shopping, a rare thing for me, I walked through Martin Place to see the huge Christmas tree there. It was some recompense for how very disappointing the Christmas windows at David Jones were. Once they took up three sides of the store and were a source of wonder, joy and amazement to all ages. I have been viewing them since I was a little girl and it saddened me to see just a few windows with a story constructed to encourage you to buy a book.

Next week I’ll be sure to post some more recipes and useful information for year end entertaining so please do join me on Facebook and Instagram!

TOP L:  amuse bouche of tempura prawn with a glass of champagne; R: Ocean trout sashimi, aromatic spices, trout roe, apple, feta, nori; Bottom L: Grilled split prawns, dashi, chilli & garlic butter, lime and R: Luke Mangan’s Liquorice meringue roll, lime, mint

 Travel with me?

Colourful tagines, the name for both the vessel and what is cooked within it, Morocco

Covid vaccines come ever closer so I am optimistically planning my tours to Morocco and Puglia for late next 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.

Morocco culinary tour new dates – begin in Rabat on Friday 29 October until 9 November 2021 – some information here.
Read Where to Eat Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner in Rabat.

Culinary Adventures in Puglia and Basilicata: 10-16 October 2021
Full details and prices here,

Carefree travellers in Puglia

Stay safe, healthy and happy. Keep up to date  on all my social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter Pinterest and my YouTube channel.

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