Things are happening …..

L to R: Lorraine Godmsark from Lorraine’s Patisserie, Genevieve Copeland, me, Di Holuigue Kylie Kwong and Vanessa Martin


May good fortune and the weather gods shine on you wherever you are.

I am heartened to see things opening up, cruise ships allowed back into Australia and planning proceeding well for my hosted tours later in the year. It was also poignant, yet rewarding, to interview three candidates for the individual award for The Blair Milan Memorial Fund. It’s been very challenging for Theatre/Media students with Covid in the last two years preventing them from being able to have performances and interact with one another – an important part of their course. We had three worthy candidates, all with something different to offer: teaching, regional theatre and set building. As is so often the case I would have liked to be able to award them all something but the winner was Leila Broughton who both wrote an excellent application and interviewed very well. Congratulations and may you do Blair’s memory proud.

We also broke with tradition in awarding the funds for the Blair Milan Touring Prize to Theatre/Media alumnae againtouring their incredible show Schapelle Schapelle to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. The premiered in Orange and start in Melbourne as I write this newsletter.  There will be a night in Sydney which will raise funds for the Blair Milan Fund so watch this space if you live here.

The photo (above) is one I posted for TBT (Throw Back Thursday) 14 September 2004 the Great Women Chefs of Australia dinner. I was one of the chefs and also MC. I cooked Steamed Murray Cod with Black Bean & Tapenade Dressing on Rapa and Fennel for 400.  This was the 3rd of these great dinners and it was the lack of leading female chefs to follow which led me to approach then Minister for Women Sandra Nori and we started the Tasting Success female chef mentoring programme in 2007 with TAFE. I am thrilled, after not being able to hold this with the Covid lockdowns that we are again interviewing on Monday for suitable applicants whom I will match with a  leading chef mentor.

Finally, a big shout out to my friend (like another daughter to me, her son Charlie Blair is named for my son)  Amelia Adams, Senior Correspondent for 9 News for the incredible work she did for a month reporting from the Ukraine. She is so insightful and keeps everything real. Her pieces to camera, without notes, are compelling. You can listen to an incredible interview on ABD radio here.

On a more cheerful note, I was lucky enough to attend the opening night of Chicago in Wollongong by talented local SoPopera company. I have been going to their shows for years and they never disappoint. Great location with every seat in the theatre a good one. Outstanding performers Scott Radburn in male lead. Costumes, staging, design, direction, production, orchestra and performers all outstanding.

Please stay in the loop on  Facebook and Instagram or email me with any requests or comments. 


L:Cast & crew of Chicago and R: with my friend Cheryl Radburn

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

Lobster Tail Blog
Things to Read, Hear & Share
Baba’s Place
South Australian Tour
Morocco Tour 2022
Puglia Tour October 2022

YouTube Video

Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry

Most people find stir fries a quick, easy mid-week meal to please all the family. However, there are some tips and tricks to ensure yours will always be fabulous so here’s my YouTube Video How to make the perfect stir fry.

Here is a written recipe for Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry.  The key is not to cook everything all together.
Subscribe to my YouTube channel here for all my videos free including recipes in a minute. Enjoy.

Recipes of the Week

Passionfruit and Lime Cupcakes

I love passionfruit and when there is a glut of them have even been known to freeze them in ice cube trays, to then put in freezer bags and easily defrost at will. Gorgeous on top of strawberries and yoghurt for breakfast – or dessert. These Passionfruit and Lime Cupcakes are quick and simple to make, perfect for a little treat, to freeze or even for the lunchbox.
There’s something very appealing about Greek food. I know I have a soft spot for it, but it is also a cuisine which can appeal to just about everybody, so here’s my 
Greek-style Pork Cutlet with Skordalia, Fennel and Broadbean Salad, Grilled Flatbread. Enjoy.

Greek-style Pork Cutlet with Skordalia, Fennel and Broadbean Salad, Grilled Flat Bread

Lobster Tail Blog

Lobster Tail and asparagus ready for the griller

I’m a bit late with it, but as promised last week I have just published my step-by-step blog on how to prepare and cook your own lobster tail. Lobster Tails with Lemon Herb Butter are quick and easy to prepare.  I also find them sweeter and more tender than large lobster. I was able to buy some Australian ones online, ready cleaned, individually packed and snap-frozen from FishMe. 

Nothing left!

When you choose seafood with the blue fish label (for sustainably caught wild seafood) or the green fish label (for responsibly farmed seafood) you’re choosing a future full of fish forever

Australian Farmers present a weekly podcast Telling Our Story. Hosted by television presenter and journalist, Angie Asimus, it’s dedicated to connecting farmers with health conscious consumers and ethically minded shoppers. To learn more about the food we eat and the fibre we wear via an exclusive look behind the farm gate. 
You will find them here.
Grilled Zucchini and buffalo Mozarella Salad And, while we’re on the topic of zucchinis SBS has published Ten zucchini recipes that don’t totally zucc they very kindly feature my Gluten-free Carrot & Zucchini Slab Cake with the comment that it is lovely and light and tender – and a good one for kids who are tricky about vegetables.

In season: Shephard avocados returnHave you ever wondered about the history of hot cross buns? Read Sugar and Spice: hot cross buns – along with the ratings from Choice’s 2022 taste test. And don’t forget to use good quality butter on them.

Sixth Sustainable Seafood Awards Australia.
Thanks to Eativity Newsletter for pointing this out.. The Marine Stewardship Council and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council have announced the winners of the sixth Sustainable Seafood Awards Australia. Best Sustainable Seafood Product went to Bidfood’s new Nordic Select Salmon range. Best Sustainable Seafood Product in the wild catch category was won by ALDI for its Ocean Rise Skinless and Boneless Pink Salmon.  Other notable wins included Tassal, which won the Above and Beyond Award for its Responsible Business Roadmap focusing on reducing plastic waste; and South Australia’s Yumbah Aquaculture, which won Best Responsible Producer.
Coles was named Best Sustainable Seafood Supermarket in 2022, a title they’ve held since 2017. This outstanding achievement acknowledges Coles’ wide range of MSC-labelled products as well as its commitment to communicating the message behind the blue fish tick to its team members and to the wider public. 

Read the full list of 2022 winners here.
It’s just been Sustainable Seafood Week and you can also watch some IGTV videos of chefs cooking with sustainable seafood.

Baba’s Place

The delightfully quirky, authentic interior of Baba’s Place with my goddaughter Kate who is cooking there

Go figure. I have a delightful goddaughter, born on my birthday, who shares many of my personality traits. Although she trained in another field entirely, working casually in cafes has now brought her to Baba’s Place where she is cooking – her responsibility starters and desserts. I couldn’t be more proud. No-one in the kitchen is a trained chef (which is not to say they are not wonderfully talented) and I am so pleased Kate has enrolled at TAFE to complement her working experience.

Bizzarely located in a warehouse in Marrickville, the co-founders Alex Kelly and Jean Paul El Tom have transformed the interior to reflect their Macedonian and Lebanese heritage. Well, Baba means Grandma.  I was enchanted by the decor – baba-style clear vinyl covered sofas, doily under plastic on tables, family photos and lace curtains in the windows. They are honouring their families and what it was like to grow up as migrants in Western Sydney. They have been joined by other friends and family members and service is warm, friendly and there is a delightful buzz. I am pleased to note a friendly, yet hard-working kitchen.

Cuisine-wise they share much too with a delightful cross-over and flavours which work really well together and somehow ring both true and unique.

The labne comes from a 30 year old culture from Lebanon served in a pool of garlic chive oil with moreish fried Afghan bread. Taramasalata on toast  is not nearly so simple as it sounds. Real (not awful pink coloured) taramasalata is piped on the white toast (shokupan is the most popular bread in Japan translated as “eating bread”) praline bottarga and whey pickle.

L: House labne, garlic chive oil + fried Afghan bread and R: Taramasalata on toast – shokupan + praline bottarga + whey pickle

An absolutely outstanding dish was a seemingly simple Fremantle Octopus – raspberry + lemon + thyme. Marinated, it was simply finished on the char grill, sliced and served. Tender, smoky and delicious.

I had to try something called Bouillabaisse bolognese – shanghai noodles + prawn/bacon (XO) lamb + smoked koji + cucumber/shallots. How could I not? It seems like such a wrong cultural mix but it was I who was wrong. It really delivered on flavour and appeal. The Shanghai-style noodles were bouncy, properly tossed through lamb ragù  with prawn head stock and a kind of XO sauce of fresh prawns, bacon and fermented chilli paste. Japanese shio-koji, smoked and infused in oil completes the global flavours. All finished with fresh prawns, lots of finely sliced green onions and lime. A fantastically complete taste sensation.

Fortunately we shared and there was so many other fabulous tastes like Hummus with lacto mushrooms, honey hazelnuts and parsley oil, Crisp roast chicken with celeriac toum, fermented garlic caramel + jus + marjoram and a really delightful Seasonal Salad of shredded iceberg, with tomato, purslane, golden peach, white onion and a chardonnay/pomegranate dressing (great vinaigrette Kate). Mini pav with figs, plum caramel and house cream was a refreshing dessert.

The wine list featuring some from Lebanon, Eastern Europe and Australia concentrates too much on “natural” or “orange” wines for my taste. But there is always beer. I’ll be back and it’s not only because of Kate. It’s a fun night out.

L: Fremantle Octopus – raspberry + lemon + thyme and R: Bouillabaisse bolognese – shanghai noodles + prawn/bacon (XO) lamb + smoked koji + cucumber/shallots

South Australian Tour
postponed TBA – August TBC

With my friend Maggie Beer in our Flame Studio Sydney. You will meet her on the tour

Things are so disrupted in the world of travel that we are exploring several potential dates for this tour. You will be the first to hear once all is settled.
The information on the website will be updated once reconfirmed. PH 1800 001 778 or email

Morocco Tour 23 Sept – 4 Oct 2022

It’s all about the spices in  Morocco

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 escort
  • 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.

To enjoy the taste of Morocco at home, try my Chicken, Preserved Lemon & Green Olive Tagine.

Puglia Tour October 2022

Foraging and cooking class fun 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. 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
Full brochure

Read more about my adventures in Puglia
Explore Puglia in House & Garden Magazine
Seven dishes you must try in Puglia, Italy in the Sydney Morning Herald
Puglia, the undiscovered heart in Selector Magazine

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