That made for a late night on Thursday before another emotional day, accepting my late partner John Caldon’s posthumous Order of Australia from Governor Margaret Beasley and then hosting drinks for family and close friends. I wonder what he would have made of it all. However, it was another opportunity to share stories, connect and raise a glass to an extra ordinay man.
Friday I am off to the Bellingen Show, with unfortunately, a high probability of rain. However, the Show Kitchen will be dry and fun and you can find a full scheduleof events here. I love agricultural shows, they are the heartbeat of their communities.
Please eat and drink well, travel with your tastebuds if not in person, and be happy and healthy. Stay in the loop on FacebookandInstagramor email me with any requests or comments.
John’s Order of Australia
Read on or scroll down, remember there’s something for everyone in this newsletter wherever you are in the world.
I have had some lovely responses to the Fragrant Chicken Soup recipe I posted last week. Thank you. Thinking back over my travels, including a fabulous one I hosted in Japan in 2019, this week I decided to post on my YouTube channel the recipes for Japanese Yakitori and Okonomiyaki which I first made on a Facebook Live session during lockdown.
You can find the written Easy Okonomiyaki recipe here and the Yakitori here. Okonomiyaki is loosely translated as “whatever you like, cooked”, also known as Japanese pancake, it’s a lovely combination of your choice of shredded cabbage, some sort of meat with an egg batter and cooked teppanyaki style. The golden dish is then topped with okonomiyaki sauce (I give you a very simple recipe), kewpie mayonnaise and dried bonito flakes. There are regional differences, but I just like to make it my own. Subscribe to my YouTube channel herefor all my videos free including some recipes in a minute. Enjoy.
Recipes of the Week
Moroccan Lamb Shanks with Quinces
I love quince season and have just poached some in the oven which reminded me how very good they are with savoury dishes and, as I’m thinking about travel this week, thought I would share a recipe from my second cookbook, Flavours. A Fresh Approach published in 1997; Moroccan Lamb Shanks with Quinces.
L: Beijing duck pancakes in the making and R: the stunning array of fresh seafood at Kitchens on Kent
Kitchens on Kent I had a bit of fun last week when I called in briefly to the launch of Kitchens on Kent new winter menu. It’s in the Langham Hotel, but was previously The Observatory in Sydney’s Kent Street. It’s all about their interactive dining buffet and it was brought to life on the night. It’s all about seasonal produce primarily from NSW used in a whole range of different cuisines. Right on point for the theme of this newsletter of global travel and flavours.
Think Berkshire pork and also King Brown mushroom yakitori skewers from the ever popular Robata, Beijing-style duck pancakes with hoisin sauce and shallots, sushi chefs torching nigiri salmon, Bermagui tuna and scallop sushi rolls and Hiramasa kingfish sashimi and from the Indian kitchen housemade pakoras with green chilli and mint yogurt and authentic curries.
The miniature dessert table looked like something from Alice in Wonderland with compressed watermelon and strawberry skewers served with local Malfroy’s honey and raw coconut, an unusual pairing of truffle, white chocolate and hazelnut, a cherry mousse, a bite-sized orange friand and avocado and chocolate mousse.
Italian Ricotta Cheesecake with Honeycomb
World Bee Day As I write this, Friday 20 May is World Bee Day. In Australia, we’re lucky to have around 2,000 native bee species and we need to protect them, not only from bushfires but also by thoughtfulness. On a cruise and tour I hosted some years ago (more travel) one of my guests was an Australian beekeeper. In Turkey where we went through a bee museum he explained how important it is to protect our bees by NOT bringing honey back from overseas. I have never forgotten it.
World Bee Day is about raising awareness of the amazing work they do to keep our ecosystems healthy while highlighting major threats like climate change, habitat loss, intensive agriculture, pesticides, disease, and invasive plants. We can support bees by planting bee-friendly flowers appropriate to where you live. In Australia native flowers for native bees and elsewhere perhaps Daisies, Poppies, Schizanthus, Alyssum and Nemophila. Or set up a pollinator farm or ‘bee hotel” on your balcony, terrace, or garden.
We need bees for three crucial reasons: 1. To support our ecosystems. Bees provide essential pollination services for other plants. Maintaining plant diversity supports other essential ecosystem services including helping to regulate climate, purify air and water, build soil and recycle nutrients.
2. To ensure food security. Bees are important to our livelihood as they help to pollinate most of the crops we eat! Nearly two-thirds of Australia’s agricultural production benefits from bee pollination.
3. To promote healthy biodiversity. Some plant species can only be pollinated by a particular species of bee. Without pollination, that particular plant species may die off.Then we can all enjoy honey in recipes likeItalian Ricotta Cheesecake with Honeycomb
I loved jaffles when I was a kid. I no longer have a jaffle iron, but I do have a sandwich press so I though this piece on ABC Everyday was fun Go beyond classic jaffle filings
South Australian Tour we’re nearly there
L: with my dear friend Maggie Beer in Flame Studio Sydney and R: Mark Gleeson at SiSea in Adelaide Central Markets
This tour is being tweaked making it better, more personal and better still, reducing the cost a little. All the highlights will be there but I am currently working on a couple of other things including a very special experience with chef/owner Peter Clarke at Vintner’s Bar & Grill after our visit to the Barossa Farmer’s Market. So watch this space.
This trip will see us travel from Rabat the capital, to spiritual Meknes and Fes, and to Marrakech the red city. On the way you will explore the archaeological site of Volubilis, visit a Berber village in the Atlas Mountains, and relax by the coast in tranquil Essaouira. You’ll discover the delicacies of Moroccan and French food, dine in local eateries through to upmarket restaurants, and experience the making and flavours of Moroccan dishes during cooking classes. Luxury accommodation is in charming, authentic riads, sometimes in exclusivity. Only 10 – 12 guests.
Details of the adventure include:
Meals as per itinerary: breakfast daily, 9 lunches, 11 dinners with ½ bottle of wine per person at dinner or sometimes lunch
Transportation throughout in luxury air-conditioned vehicles with professional experienced English-speaking driver, including related expenses and allowing for physical distancing
English-speaking local licensed guides in Rabat, Volubilis, Meknes, Fes, Marrakech and Essaouira with all entrance fees included to the sites visited with the guides
Atlas excursion including mules and the specialist trek guide
3 cooking classes
You can enjoy this experience from AUD $9600 per person twin share (flights from Australia not included). Cost for single travellers is AUD$10,700.
By Prior Arrangement is highly experienced and well-known in Morocco as Principal, Carol Prior lived there for 13 years and has been arranging tours there for over 30. I have confidence in working with them to bring this very special tour into being. Talk to them about the trip, or feel free to email me with any queries. I am excited!
Read Where to Eat Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner in Rabat.
Puglia in the boot of the heel of Italy is still relatively unspoiled. A secret Italians tend to keep to themselves, it is a wonderful place to visit and so much less crowded than Tuscany. Join me and 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
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