The Joys of Daylight Saving and New Freedoms – 8 October 2021
The Joys of Daylight Saving & New Freedoms
What a lovely picture to receive for my birthday
I’ve just scrawled through my phone and there are no glorious photos, though I did take some videos of lovely morning walks, so I thought I would share this photo which brought me so much cheer. As I mentioned last week, hot pink is my favourite colour (and my brand colour so, it is in the background of these newsletters) and one of my friends sent me this as a birthday card. A painting she did with beautiful seasonal flowers in front. Thanks Charlie. I hope she has another exhibition soon. I’ll let you know if she does.
I am continuing my love affair with picnics, with twilight ones being my favourite and I am just loving seeing people out in the open air enjoying one another’s company and the balmy weather. I am off on another one this evening, if I can get this newsletter out in time. I do hope we continue them despite being allowed to open up more. It is such a lovely relaxed way of catching up with family and friends. I am a bit concerned that the new NSW Premier is opening up too much and too quickly as I really do think we need to see how we go and take precautions with masks and the like, while still wanting the economy to recover. On that note, I am looking forward to some restaurant bookings I have made.
I am thrilled with my now restarted renovations. My kitchen is almost done and I have been able to put everything away. I have stunning bookshelves in my spare room and that is a long slow job, looking at all my lovely books and then putting them in author order or cuisine order. I am finding some to give away and pass on to others, as well as for the Australian Culinary Archive at the Powerhouse Museum. While time consuming, it is a lovely past time. I also have an full wall entertainment unit going into the lounge room, to be completed on Monday, so that will be another big job. Again enjoyable though. Then I just have the plumber to come back, electrician and painters. I won’t know myself.
Bean shoots or bean sprouts are in season so here’s a great recipe for warmer weather, picnics and to support your local Chinese supermarket or restaurant Asian-Style Roast Pork Salad.and when you have a whole packet of the bean sprouts, store them in a bowl of cold water in the fridge and change the water every day. Here’s some recipe ideas:
1. Top a spicy laksa or other Asian-inspired soups with bean sprouts.
2. Toss bean sprouts through any stir-fries just before serving.
3. Add bean sprouts to Pad Thai or fried rice
Fun zoom masterclass mixing cocktails with Josh O’Brien from St Remy
St-Rémy’s new brandy, Signature is now launching across Australia. Presented in a minimalist and elegant bottle, it is the first original creation of Cécile Roudant, Master Blender of St-Rémy. The purpose to breathe some life back into the brandy category and inspire a new generation, the 21st century cocktail connoisseur, behind the bar or at home. There has certainly been a surge in home cocktail making in the last 18 months!
It was named Best Brandy of the Year at the prestigious London Spirits Competition where Professional bartenders, mixologists, bar owners and consultants judge and assess products by their quality, taste, price and design.
I joined a fun zoom masterclass on Thursday with St-Rémy Brand ambassador, Josh O’Brien (a cocktail bar manager of note). I was fascinated to learn more about brandy as opposed to Cognac (of which I am also very fond). A little like champagne, Cognac grapes must all come from the Cognac region of France (for an AOC or controlled designation of origin certification). Anything outside is classified as Brandy. St-Rémy Signature grapes are sourced from Champagne, Bordeaux, Languedoc-Roussillon, the Rhone Valley, Loire Valley (where the brand originated in 1886) and Burgundy. There are then two maturations, the first in new in oak casks and the second in a second use traditional cask to develop the distinctive brand aromas and flavour.
Brandy has languished a bit in more recent times so Josh has created some new cocktails, which we also made (and you can now too) to try with this new serve of brandy:
St-Rémy French Old Fashioned
60ml St-Rémy Signature
1 drop of bitter
3 drops of orange bitter
One of the most famous cocktail recipes, the Old Fashioned, reinvented.
Garnish with an orange zest. To Pine For
45ml St-Rémy Signature
10ml Maraschino liqueur
20ml fresh pineapple juice
10 ml sugar syrup or caster sugar
Add all ingredients into shaker, fill with ice, shake hard, fine strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with dried pineapple.
L: the cocktail kit I received and R:St-Rémy French Old Fashioned
Last Week and Next
As promised I posted for World Taco day – my Fish Tacos with Avocado and Tomato Salsa. On Sunday I had shared Smoked Salmon and Nori Rolls as a picnic idea. There was lots of interest in my Prawn Laksarecipe, a great use for bean shoots as noted above. If you follow the link you’ll also find one to my Low Fat Prawn Laksa too. I can’t say the same about the popularity of a post for Pasta with Chicken Livers, Sage and Rocketbut oh how I love duck and chicken livers. I am determined to find some and cook this again soon.
However, TBT (Throw Back Thursday) proved as popular as ever with lots of comments about this shot of Matt Moran and me, though I did point out it is from 2006 – 15 years ago. He was the first chef onboard for my female chef mentoring programme, Tasting Success, with TAFE NSW in 2006. He mentored for this for many years, as did so many other generous high-profile chefs. They give back in ways so many people would never realise. So let’s go out and support them as their restaurants open. Sadly Covid has wreaked havoc with Tasting Success making mentoring impossible but we certainly hope to resume next year. Next week:
I’m hoping to get out and about a bit so will be recording that.
With Chef Matt Moran at the launch of Tasting Success at Ultimo TAFE in 2006
The Joy of Cookbooks
Claudia Roden’s Mediterranean Cookery published 1987
I can’t remember when I first became aware of Claudia Roden, the Egyptian-born, UK-based food writer and cultural anthropologist. Probably when I lived in London in the late 70s. I was then an enthusiastic amateur cook and was loving the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of Europe. I watched any chefs who were on TV. There weren’t so many then.
My beloved cookbooks are all in boxes or I would look out all of hers which I have. However, I have just found her book Mediterranean Cookery (published in 1987 to accompany her BBC TV series of the same name). It is dedicated to me and signed by her 27 October, 1988 (see photo below). She was probably visiting Sydney on an author tour. I must have reviewed it at the time (for my radio segment on 2UE), as there are underlinings in the preface, noting that the recipes come mostly from women who cook for their families, though she has ensured the recipes work.
Imagine my joy when she was part of a large group brought together in Morocco in 1994 by the International Oil Council. This was an amazing familarisation of the wondrous country Morocco which I had visited once previously. It cemented my love for the country (and I am so looking forward to hosting my long-delayed tour there next year), it’s food and for extra virgin olive oil – which I guess was the point. There was a small Australian contingent, including the late Margaret Fulton and lots from the USA. Claudia would sit just a little back from the front of the lectures and demonstrations and knit. I had to shake the image of Madame Defargeknitting the names of those to be killed by guillotine during the French Revolution in Charles Dickens’ novel, Tale of Two Cities. Sadly my photos from this trip are stacked in my garage shed but I must look them out. However, I digress. Now, aged 85 she has just published another book. I haven’t got hold of it yet, but certainly intend to. I relish that in some areas age is admired as opposed to an obsession with the cult of youth. Last week, it was Stephanie Alexander, aged almost 81 who has published a new book.
I read in The Guardian a lovely piece Claudia Roden:’What do I want from life now? Having people around my table’. This is a lovely interview where shediscusses her new book, Med, while three chefs she influenced, Yotam Ottolenghi, José Pizarro and Sam Clark talk about her influence and pick their three favourite recipes of hers. Over the weekend I hope to stack my beautiful new bookshelves. I will be holding each book, Marie Kondo-style and thinking, “does it give me pleasure”? Thing is, I suspect most of the hundreds of them will. Watch this space.
Morocco Tour 23 Sept – 4 Oct 2022
Moroocan Mint tea anyone?
Moroccan Culinary Tour begins in Rabat on Friday 23 September til Tuesday 4 October 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. This tour is nearly fully booked, so we are considering another tour later in October but will wait until Australia has opened up to overseas travel to finalise these details. By Prior Arrangement is highly experienced and well-known in Morocco and 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 Tour October 2022
Making fresh cheese by hand in Puglia
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. After Morocco I’m going on to host Culinary Adventures in Puglia and Basilicata 8 – 14 October 2022. 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