With industry leader, teacher, mentor, advocate, social activist, incredible woman and friend Wendy McCarthy AO at the launch of her book “Don’t Be Too Polite girls”
I hope this finds you safe and dry? Every day the news brings tears to my eyes as we see terrible devastation from floods in Australia and unconscionable behaviour by Putin with his aggression in the Ukraine. However, in both instances, it is the incredible actions of seemingly ordinary (yet clearly extraordinary) people, who put their communities before themselves and show that human kindness is still alive and well. My heart goes out to all and I encourage you to assist in any way you can. For floods, GIVIT is a charity where everything will go to flood victims, nothing on administration. This article lists some ways to help those in the Ukraine.
Last Friday was the beginning of an incredible weekend of reunion with 34 women I attended high school with. How unaware and insular we were as teenagers as a What’s App group we formed some months ago revealed. So many of us felt we didn’t fit in. Yet how connected we all are now. Amazing, independent women, achieving and facing life’s challenges in so many different ways. Lunch on Friday morphed into evening drinks, then on Saturday a tour of the school, a smaller lunch, more drinks and then dinner with a couple on Sunday night. Sadly some of our friends are either unable to get home due to flooding, isolated or have been evacuated by boat in Northern NSW. We are staying in close touch and are all there for each other. It’s wonderful.
One of only a very few teachers who were remembered fondly, was Wendy McCarthy. She didn’t teach me and it was years later we met and became friends. One girl reports she said “You’re an intelligent, bright girl. Make sure you do something”. This became her inspiration and she became very successful in her chosen field.
I was delighted to go to Wendy’s launch this week for her memoir “Don’t be too polite girls” from the song of the same name (next words “show a little fight girls”). Wendy, while a feminist, has never lost her womanliness, had a long and happy marriage and is the most incredibly wise and balanced human being. Her list of accomplishments could fill this newsletter. I can’t wait to read the book.
So with International Women’s Day coming up next week, I thought it worth acknowledging all the amazing women in the world, and those men, like my late partner John, who always stand in our corners – and all those out there helping others.
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Now read on or scroll down, remember there’s something for everyone in this newsletter wherever you are in the world.
An inexpensive snack or starter for all ages to enjoy is Mashed Carrot Salad. It is rather like a dip and can be served at room temperature or warm with bread to whet the appetite. A carrot dish like this is popular in many countries with Arabic influence. The dish itself is gluten-free – but the bread is not.
Poached fruits are wonderful and this recipe for Poached Peaches includes an interesting twist on making the poaching liquid into a granita or sorbet, if you like. It is from my first cookbook Plates. Real Food for Fast People published in 1995. Good recipes are timeless s it was republished in Lyndey Milan. the Best Collection years later.
With Gary Mehigan before filming our live crosses to Sunrise last week
I am also now writing occasional restaurant reviews for delicious.com.au which appear first in the Saturday Telegraph and are later published on the website. Here’s my review of Upstairs at the Woollahra Hotel. If you’re in Sydney, it’s very affordable and good food.
I’m delighted to be back eating out. A fairly new restaurant Bistro Loulou in Milson’s Point, Sydney was so good I’ve made two more bookings with different people. It’s classically French yet somehow the food is lighter. Starters are designed to share and my friends and I shared not only these but a stunning main of John Dory farci, sauce Champagne which you can see on the website. The food had all the hallmarks of classical technique, great flavour and served by lovely wait staff. Best of all, next door is a boulangerie and traiteur selling breads, pastries, charcuter, fromage and wines. I bought a piece of Pate en Croute and some Duck Liver pate to take home. Both superb.
Clockwise from top left: Ocean Trout Gravlax, citrus ($16), Terrine de Campagne ($18); warm brioche with Chicken liver parfait ($18) and Shaved veal tongue, Sauce Ravigote ($22)
In more good news for Sydney diners, Peter Conistis has a new restaurant Ploos (meaning a voyage) in the Rocks, serving the food of the South Aegean. Here he is back cooking his own take on Greek cuisine. Always ahead of the curve, the food is creative, innovative, fresh and light yet with an authentic Greek heart. Who else would put warm Dolmades with seared tuna, crisp sesame wafer and all Aussie finger lime? Or Manti (light dumplings very popular in Turkey as well as parts of Greece) but stuffed with the traditional spinach mix which goes in spanakopita, dotted with currants, fillo crisps and finished with burnt butter?
Other stand-out dishes (though it’s hard to choose among so many) were kibbeh-like Aylesbury duck koupes, tahinisalata, vissino, herb salad ($16 for two) and an amazing dessert Chickpea Baklava, halva ice cream, candied lemon, cumin seed pasteli ($16) – as Peter said a deconstructed dessert version of hummus with everything in there except the garlic.
This is somewhere else I will be returning, not least because the floor staff are exceptional at a time when finding staff is hard. They are a diverse bunch, all comfortable in themselves, filled with joy about the menu and striking the right balance between friendliness and professionalism. This comes from the top.
In South Australia The full Tasting Australia programme has been released. The annual celebration of all things Australian and South Australian takes place across the State with some stunning food and wine experiences between 29 April and 8 May. New highlights include:
Pie Life: Top chefs at The Lion in North Adelaide celebrate the delicious possibilities of pie. Headlining the event are Terry Intarakhamhaeng (Soi.38), Justin James (Restaurant Botanic), Lauren Eldridge (Berowra Waters Inn), Ben Devlin (Pipit) and The Lion’s resident chef Brendan Boothroyd. $50 pp.
Town Square Kitchen Express Lunches: Chef line-up: Dave Pynt (Burnt Ends, Singapore), Rosheen Kaul (Etta), Amy Hamilton (Liberté) Daniella Guevara (La Popular Taqueria), Ben Williamson (22 Agnes), Adam Wolfers (Gerard’s Bistro). Tickets available 4 April. $40 pp.
Eleven Mayura Station and Henschke Dinner: For one night only eleven is bringing together Mayura Station and Henschke Winery, two of Australia’s most highly regarded food and beverage producers both at the peak of their industry. $350 pp.
Beverino: An interactive tasting event of natural wines from some of South Australia’s best winemakers, held in University of Adelaide Masterclass Pavilion, Town Square. $65 pp.
The Tasting Table: White Burgundy: These are the most sought-after white wines on the planet: the likes of Coche-Dury, Comtes Lafon, Domaine Roulot, Etienne Sauzet and Jean-Claude Ramonet from the stellar 2014 vintage at the East End’s Mother Vine. $2,000 pp.
Dark and Delicious: Seppeltsfield’s Centennial Collection of fortified wines are the rarest in the world and date back to 1878. Discover all the secrets behind this treasure trove of fortified wines while tasting some rare and special bottlings. $95 pp.
Vegustation: Join the team from Francesco’s Osteria for a plant-based feast to ignite the senses. $58 pp.
Charcoal and Churrasco: Adelaide’s Weber Grill Academy is celebrating the exuberant, colourful and delicious food of churrasco – Brazilian barbecue. $185 pp.
For UK readers The English Wine Diaries podcast is presented by Rebecca Pitcairn on the Southern Quarter. She notes that with increasingly similar growing conditions to those in the Champagne region of France, the vineyards of Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire are leading the way in English wine and sparkling wine production. This podcast is an interview series which talks to people in the world of wine (and beyond) about how a love of wine – particularly that made on British soil – has helped shape their lives and careers. She has just released her 28th episode.
Online Food Lovers has been running a YouTube series Conversations with the Criticsin which experienced restaurant critics Brian Steel, Jeremy Ryland and Dane Richards discuss the many aspects of the overall dining experience whether you are a critic, chef or diner. There are eight in the series so far.
My friend and colleague Xanthe Clay writes in The Telegraph in the UK that while roughly 6% of Britons are vegetarian, around 1% are vegan – yet increasingly the vegetarian option is being pushed out by vegan dishes. Read How veganism killed the vegetarian.
New Selector Magazine
A new Selector Magazine is available in selected newsagents, bysubscriptionor free with your regularwine subscription. The theme is Methods and Mastery – an in-depth look at the techniques and approaches employed by master chefs and winemakers at the top of their game, featuring the Australian maestro of meat Adrian Richardson, Nobu Sydney’s head chef Harold Hurtada, winemakers Ed Carr, Andrew Spinaze, Tom Carson and many more. My At Home this month features recipes showcasing the many different variety of onions.
South Australian Tour postponed to June 2022
With my friend Maggie Beer in our Flame Studio Sydney. You will meet her on the tour
Since we released the programme for this one-of-a-kind tour, there have been some bookings but also considerable interest from a range of clients, some of you and past travelers, and others who are just interested in the itinerary. There were also some concerns expressed from potential clients regarding travelling at this time, particularly as the release of the tour coincided with disruptions in travel over the new Covid variant. With floods in QLD and Northern NSW and more rain to come, we have decided to defer the trip for a short while and are looking to reschedule in June, 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 travelers 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