With my lovely friends at Cafe Sydney L to R: Jan McKenzie, CEO of Cafe Sydney, Darren Jahn from Oatley Wines and Sally Evans, fellow Councillor at RAS and pal in all things vinous & musical
Welcome, I am trying to live by my new mantra “do more of what you love and less of what you don’t”. For a long term workaholic this is difficult. Mind you I think that stems from being freelance for so many years as a single parent, and I do mostly love my work. But I’m “just a girl who can’t say no”, though I am trying to change that. I can hear my friends laughing out loud right now.
However, to that end I drove to Maitland with my sister and brother-in-law to visit family last weekend which was just lovely. I also always prioritise exercise and have a great group of pals to share coffee with after pilates and circuit classes. We have an hilarious What’s App group to stay in touch. I have also joined not one but two choirs – With One Voice which is great fun and the more serious and challenging Sydney Philharmonia Christmas Choir. Apparently singing in a choir increases the endorphins, serotonin and dopamine – the ‘happy’ chemicals that boost your mood and make you feel good more than any other activity. It’s great.
On Tuesday I had what turned out to be a very looooooong lunch with some friends at Cafe Sydney, put off since Covid lockdowns and which instead was for my recent birthday. I hadn’t been there for years and the location, as you can see, overlooking Circular Quay, the bridge and Opera House is unrivalled and the food from Chef Sarajane Brown has never been better. She was promoted a couple of years ago when James Kidman left. Being a warm day (though by late afternoon we were thoughtfully offered blankets) we felt like light fresh seafood – and that’s what we had in so much diversity and creative presentation (see below). Jan read us the detail which went into the tuna sashimi which was a special on the day – and it is not anything I would have thought of nor attempted. But that’s why I go to restaurants – to eat food I wouldn’t cook for myself and to enjoy the company.
Not forgetting the importance of accompanying wines including Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve, two Robert Oatley Wines, the Pennant Margaret River Chardonnay 2019 and Frankland River Cabernet 2012 and Best’s Great Western Young Vine Pinot Meunier 2022. I did say we were there for a long time.
Tomorrow I have a reunion for those who came to Morocco with me for my tour last year so please stay in touch with me on FacebookandInstagramor email mewith your requests or comments.
Happy cooking, eating, drinking and travelling– Lyndey x
TOP: Abrolhos Island scallop crudo, jalapeno soy dressing, spring onion oil, fennel frond, roe; BOTTOM L New Zealand snapper, prawn mousse, zucchini flower, zucchini cream, lemon butter sauce and R: Sashimi Mooloolaba Tuna, tomato, yuzu kosho gremolata, lemon yogurt, togarashi sago
Recipes of the week
BBQ SQUID WITH SPINACH & FETA Baby squid is tender & delicious. Not difficult to make GET MY RECIPE HERE
RASPBERRIES & CREAM SHORTCAKE With Melbourne Cup Day coming up I thought these were fun GET MY RECIPE HERE
In the Kitchen with Lyndey
Carrot, Peanut Butter and Raisin Sandwiches
As there is both Melbourne Cup day coming up and International Sandwich Day, I thought it worth featuring sandwiches. These ones were the most popular in all the years I had my catering business, lovingly created by my sister. Watch the short video orread the recipe here If you would like to see more of my videos on both food and wine, subscribe to my YouTube channel HERE.
Wine of the Week
Freeman Prosecco RRP $30
I have long been a fan of Brian Freeman’s wines from his vineyard in the Hilltops region of NSW. Once a University wine science professor who puts paid to the myth that those who can do, and those who can’t teach. He is an incredible winemaker, joined since 2004 by daughter Xanthe. They focus on Italian varietals.
Prosecco has its home in Italy and I am not usually a fan of Australian interpretations. However, this one is different, more complex and not as sweet in the authentic Italian style. Ripe grapes are pressed prior to an initial fermentation in stainless steel, keeping the wine clean and fresh. However, a portion is barrel fermented and the lees (dead yeast cells left over from fermentation) are stirred giving a creaminess and complexity to the wine during a second tank fermentation, known in Italy as the “metodo Martinotti” (also known as the Charmat method). Bottled under crown seal to keep it fresh it has fine beading (bubbles). I found it delicate, easy-drinking and fresh.
What does “Season to Taste” Mean?
Salt – how much or how little, what type?
Seasoning to Taste
I have been developing recipes this week for Selector Magazine. I often write “season to taste” because it can be so individual. However, I thought to share a guide to what it means to me Definition of season to taste: to add as much salt or pepper or as much of a spice or herb as one likes so something tastes good
If only it was that simple! It can be a confusing measure. What it doesn’t mean is make it salty, rather make it taste better.
So, for ‘season to taste’, learn to use your palate and remember that while under-seasoning may ruin your carefully constructed dish, it can be corrected while over-seasoning for the most part, cannot. Proceed with caution and taste, taste and taste again. It’s always best to season during the cooking rather than adding afterwards, except for something like a risotto where you are adding stock, as some stock can be quite salty. Also, some people should exclude added salt from their diet so this advice is not for you. Let me know if you want some tips for reducing salt and still making your food taste good. The easiest one is to use lemon juice at the end of a dish instead of salt.
My seasoning tips include
Try a three fingered pinch rather than a teaspoon – this supports my “you can always add more” approach. Don’t have wet fingers or you will add too much. Taste as you go, then taste again, and again. It’s all about tasting and adjusting to bring out the best in what you are cooking.
Remember salt takes many forms – don’t add salt if you are using soy sauce or fish sauce
Think about the saltiness of your ingredients like olives, anchovies, capers or bacon, as then you may not need any salt.
Consider the temperature you are serving your finished dish at. Cold suppresses flavour, so you may need a little more for something served cold.
If you are salting water to cook something in, then you need to think about how much time the food will spend in that pot. If it is only for a short time, you will need saltier water.
Choosing your Salt
Usually, the size of the crystal will determine the saltiness. So bigger flakes dissolve more slowly in your mouth while small dissolve quickly and you can taste it more immediately. This, of course, changes if the salt flakes will dissolve in your dish.
Australian in Australia please, like Olsson’s Salt or Murray River, at the table.
Beware interchanging salts in recipes – one teaspoon of fine ground salt is more than one teaspoon of sea salt or salt flakes.
For your health you should use iodised salt for cooking. Iodine is very important for our thyroid function and although we can get it from seafood it’s simple if you use iodised salt.
The November/December issue of Selector Magazine will be out on Monday 6th. It is the 85th edition and I have been contributing since the 10th Anniversary issue, which was the 17th edition in Autumn 2011. What a lot of recipes I have developed, as well as the Calendar for some years, without ever doubling up!
I am proud of my lamb feature which is in it. I used lots of different cuts, including less expensive ones like lamb neck, strips, breast, mince, ribs and shoulder. The Porchetta-style lamb breast roast is very festive and the flavours in the Aussie lamb neck sambo really work together well.
The whole issue, is, of course, festive. The cover story is with TV personality and chef Colin Fassnidge about his work with My Kitchen Rules and Australia’s Kitchen Nightmares, as well as what he’ll be serving up for Christmas. It also honours the 10th anniversary of the pioneering restaurant Ester with founder and chef Mat Lindsay, interviews some of Australia’s leading winemaking families about how they’ll be celebrating the festive season, and share the bubbly around with an in-depth tasting of Australian Blanc de Blancs. Then, it’s off to Mitchelton to blow out the candles on 50 years in wine with a delicious Dream Vertical, before swanning about the reinvigorated Swan Valley wine region. Plus of course plenty of recipes to liven up your own celebrations
Shopping for oarka pastry for our cooking class in the souk in Fes
Join my next culinary tour to Morocco from Saturday 27 April – Wednesday 8 May 2024 organised with Carol Prior from By Prior Arrangement who has 40 years experience and peerless contacts there.
Taking in the best Morocco has to offer, this authentic gastronomic experience will see you visiting ancient palaces and medinas and enjoying exclusive dining experiences.
We will travel from Rabat the capital, to spiritual Meknes and Fes, and then onto intoxicating Marrakech, the red city. On the way, we will explore the archaeological site of Volubilis, visit a Berber village in the Atlas Mountains and relax by the coast in tranquil Essaouira. Together, we will discover the delicacies of Moroccan and French food, dine in humble local eateries and upmarket restaurants, and experience the making and flavours of Moroccan dishes during cooking classes. Luxury accommodation is in charming, authentic riads.
Personal hosting by me
11 nights accommodation
Meals as per itinerary: breakfast daily, 7 lunches, 11 dinners with ½ bottle of wine per person
Transportation throughout in luxury air-conditioned vehicles with professional experienced English-speaking driver, including related expenses and allowing for physical distancing
4×4 pick up and drop off to and from the desert camp
Bottled mineral water and hand sanitiser in the vehicle daily
English-speaking local licensed guides in Rabat, Volubilis, 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
2 cooking classes
Local tourist taxes
Drivers and guides gratuities
Bank transfer and currency fluctuation fees
Testimonial: “I just wanted to thank you for the wonderful trip you organised to Morocco with Lyndey!
I found everything absolutely wonderful. The group was amazing as we all had the same likes in life – food and wine and adventure!
Thanks again” Anne, September/October 2022 Cost $10,000 per person (twin share).
More information HERE, full itinerary HERE or email me or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
L: jewellery making in the souk and R: traditional bread, fresh from the oven
Puglia Culinary Adventure – May 2024
Culinary Adventures in Puglia and Basilicata
Spend an unforgettable week with me learning the secrets of a deeply passionate and undiscovered region of Southern Italy. Puglia is the sun-drenched heel of the boot that spans two seas, the Adriatic and the Ionian. Basilicata is its neighbour to the West. Both agricultural regions are abundant with healthy soil, over 50 million olive trees and a tradition of wine growing that has seen a fabulous dynamism in the last ten years. This area produces some of the most exciting food and wines on the planet. With award-winning Southern Visions Travel.
An in-depth visit to the UNESCO site of Matera, with free time to explore and shop
Bakery visit in Altamura at a DOP bakery
Visit to the Trullo Capital, UNESCO Heritage Site, Alberobello
A hands-on cooking class with a Nonna and me
Insider’s look at burrata cheese making from cow to table
Salsa di Pomodoro tomato experience
Olive grove tour and oil tasting at an ancient olive oil estate
Private lunch at Li Veli Winery
Visits to Lecce and Ostuni (the White City)
A half day on the water from Polignano a Mare followed by a seafood lunch
Testimonial I was lucky enough to join Lyndey on her Puglia tour of 2022. I thoroughly enjoyed my gastronomic tour through southern Italy. We had knowledgeable, delightful guides who took us to the most interesting and charming places at only locals would know. We not only sampled the delicious produce of the regions we visited, but a door was opened to the history of the places we visited that was fascinating. I certainly would recommend a tour with Lyndey, so much fun! Diana October 2022