Sharing food, stories and friendship – 11 September 2020
Sharing food, stories and
The main course at Janni Kyritsis’ home: Persian chicken stew with walnuts & pomegranate, Tahdig (Persian rice) and salad.
Welcome How has YOUR week been? Last Thursday was the very important RUOK day , a reminder to check in on your friends, family and colleagues, not just on this day but all year. In this annus horribilis it’s never been more important to support one another’s mental health, so take those four important steps to ask R U OK? listen, encourage action and check in. Remember a conversation can change a life.
I well understand the difficulties of getting some R & R – it’s all too rare in my case, but I do so appreciate the friends who invite me over in a safe way for the occasional meal away from my carer’s role.I have been lucky to know chef Janni Kyritsis since the 1980s and he sets a wonderful table, using lovely crockery or cutlery which perhaps a guest has given him, presenting amazing flavoursome food, choosing the wine carefully and inviting interesting friends. This week was one such night and there was much reminisicing, laughter and great conversation over a meal of soused sardines, witlof with smoked salmon and seaweed pearls, traditional Greek avoglemono soup with chicken and then a Persian main of chicken in a rich, spiced sauce and golden rice with pomegranates. So I have taken that as my theme this week: sharing food, stories and friendship. Nowhere is better to do this than across a dining table. thank you Janni.
We have also had some good news on the health front for my partner. A new drug he has been on from the USA, only on the market there since 6 May this year, having gained FDA (Food & Drug Administration) approval has significantly reduced the size of his cancer – but – he has been off it for 10 days now as it was affecting his liver. So I am not on the liver cleansing routine in the hopes it can recover and we can resume the drug.
Just for fun I had a go at Instagram Live on Wednesday night at 6:00 pm, with my friend Sophie Hansen who writes the blog Local is Lovely. Sophie worked for me in 1999 when we launched a new magazine Australian Table. She has gone on to teach social media for farmers and regional producers, write books and was Australian Rural woman of the Year in 2016. She and her husband Tim also run Mandagery Creek Venison and have two kids. If you have seen my Taste of Australia TV series or bookOn Sunday night I will be again be hosting Facebook Live, this time it’s Mexican recipes, at 6:00 pm AEST or 9:00 am BST. More below, including ingredients.
So, I hope you are OK and can share real or virtual time with family and friends to enjoy food, stories and friendship.
L: Soused sardines and salad R: Witlof with smoked salmon and seaweed pearls
Moroccan Chicken with Almond Couscous
I think enjoying the flavours of other cultures and cuisines is the way to go in this time of no travel and lockdown for so many. So, as I had to postpone my planned trip to Morocco this year until October next year, I thought you might enjoy an easy recipe for Moroccan Chicken with Almond Couscous. Watch me make it on YouTube here.You’ll find thewritten recipe here.You can subscribe to my channel here, so you can see other videos including my meals in a minute.
Now read on or scroll down, remember there’s something for everyone in this newsletter wherever you are in the world.
Greek-style Pork Cutlets with Skordalia, Fennel & Broad Bean Salad
I took Spring and the change of the seasons as the theme for my Instagram Live this week. I love green spring veggies like apsaragus and broadbeans and so this recipe sprang to mind. If you can’t get fresh broadbeans, the frozen ones are a very good substitute. Find the recipe here. Another favourite Spring recipe using seasonal greens Pasta Primavera
TOP Chicken Yakitori BOTTOM Okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake) snapped after I finished Facebook Live
I continue to enjoy Facebook Live every Sunday night at 6:00 pm. Last week I went Japanese, cooking Chicken Yakitori and Okonomiyaki or Japanese pancakes, with tips and tricks along the way. I had never cooked Okonomiyaki before, though I had loved eating it in Japan last year after the tour I hosted. It was so easy and the outcome delicious. You can watch how I did it on Facebook here, as well as talking a bit about sake which I matched with it..
If you are planning to cook with me on Sunday, here’s what you will need for 4 as finger food 4 white corn or flour tortillas
3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 green jalapeno
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
375g small to medium peeled prawns (750g unpeeled)
1/3 cup (95ml) thick yoghurt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh coriander
½ teaspoon grated lime rind
2 cobs corn, husk and silk removed
½ teaspoon dried red chilli flakes
1 tablespoon roughly chopped coriander
2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese See you then?
Focus on Broad Beans
Beautiful broad beans: in their pod, podded and double podded
Broad Beans – incredibly in season now in the UK and Australia
Broad beans are in season in Australia in Spring, so September to November. They are also towards the end of their season in the UK, as they are best from the end of June to the middle of September. In the US they are earlier from May to July and are known as fava beans. This diversity is because they are very adaptable and grow in most soils and climates. So now is the time to celebrate them.
Broad beans are a legume, so full of protein and iron, making them especially valuable for those who choose a vegetarian diet. They are also a good carbohydrate and a great source of B vitamins, including thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2) and niacin (vitamin B3), all of which are used in the body’s production of energy from proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
A good source of C which is important for the normal functioning of the body’s immune system. It also contains vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin whichis important for normal vision, the immune system, and reproduction. Vitamin A also helps the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs work properly.
One of the best sources of dietary fibre among vegetable. Dietary fibre is important to keep the intestine functioning normally.
Buying and Storing Broad Beans
Choose shiny firm pods that feel heavier than they look, a sign that the pod is full of beans. Bigger isn’t necessarily better, and while small pods will only have small beans inside they don’t need double podding. The ratio of beans to pod can be low which means you may need to buy up to a kilo of broad beans to end up with 1 cup of double podded beans.
Keep in a perforated bag in the fridge for up to five days. Blanched beans can be frozen and stored for up to three months if you have a glut.
Preparing Broad Beans
Pull on the stem of the pod and pull to open. If a pod doesn’t open easily, just use a paring knife, slit the bean pod entirely open, exposing the spongy insides and the beans.
Remove the beans and discard the pods.
Blanch beans in a pot of salted boiling water for 2 minutes.
Drain and plunge immediately into a bowl of iced water to arrest the cooking and make the beans cool enough to handle.
Squeeze gently with your fingers, and slip the outer skin off of each bean, revealing the inner bright green one. Discard the outer skin. This is known as double-podding and to my mind, essential with larger broad beans. It takes awhile but is worth it to taste the sweet fresh beans inside. You can always bulk them out with other seasonal greens like asparagus or peas.
How to Cook With and Eat Broad Beans
Once the beans have been blanched and peeled, they are tender and cooked enough to eat. They can be combined with other vegetables, smashed on bruschetta or added to a salad.
Try these simple ideas:
Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, pepper and sea salt and perhaps some chilli flakes. Add to an antipasto plate for some green.
Add to a farro or any whole grain or pasta salad.
Toss in a salad with other green vegetables, such as asparagus and baby rocket
Combine with rice, couscous or orzo or add to a vegetable risotto.
Add to sautéed scallops or prawns
Make Egyptian ful medames and puree to a dip with lemon juice, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil.
Blair and me, having fun at the Bourtzi Fortress off Nafplio in Greece – is the M for Milan?
SBS Food has continued to screen many of my shows in succession. Now they are on SBS On Demand. All the episodes of Lyndey & Blair’s Taste of Greece are currently available as, with my late son Blair, we tour Greece’s fascinating Peloponnese seeking culinary delights, adventure and antiquities. There is also an interview with me after our return from Greece.
Prime video has some of my shows – in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Lyndey Milan’s Taste of Australia– all 16 episodes and many other of my TV series
Wherever you are in the world, you can probably access some of my shows online if you google.
I hope you enjoy them, especially as we can’t travel now.
Next Week and Last
This week, Monday was World Salami Day – yes, that’s really a thing. I used it as an excuse to share my Muffaletta recipe which is a real winner for picnics. That recipe here. I also shared a recipe for Rum and Raisin Chocolate Browniesthinking they’d be a great gift to make for Father’s Day. As mentioned above, there’s also my Instagram Live session with Sophie Hansen.
Next week we’re travelling the world with Mexican food and recipes, including a couple for my Facebook Live. I’m thinking more virtual travel, cocktails, artichokes and mussels.
There’ll be more too, so don’t miss out, join me on Facebook and Instagram this week!
Screen shot of the page on Happy Ali News of my intro to a recipe by the fabulous Yottam Ottolenghi
Have you had a chance to look at the new seriously happy global news site, Happy-Ali.com? I ‘m delighted to be the Food Editor. Happy Ali’s premise is very straightforward….. positive news, happier news than what we may have been used to in 2020, news that is current, global and news which is uplifting and is a lot of fun to read and be involved in.
Over the weekend I was thrilled to write the intro to a very special recipe from Yottam Ottolenghi’s new book Flavour. Read it here.
Do have a look, consider subscribing for only a dollar a month with the first month free. You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Travel with me in 2021 or 2022?
Cooking class at Masseria Montenapoleone, 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: 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.