With my daughter Lucy and son-in-law Toby at the Ritz Carlton Hotel a couple of days before I left Singapore.
The Australian borders are now open, thankfully, though still not Western Australia which strikes me as rather ridiculous. However, before this, at the beginning of February I was able to go to Singapore to stay with my daughter and family. It was quite an effort to get all my paperwork in order, though things are getting simpler as each week passes. So I thought it worth sharing everything I needed to do with you.
I booked a flight in a VTL (vaccinated travel lane), then needed to apply for a VTP (vaccinated travel pass) in no less than 3 days before travelling. I had enormous problems uploading my International Vaccination Certificate and in the end, my son-in-law assisted me, though even he did not find it easy. I also needed special Covid insurance for Singapore (only $39) and to book and pay for a RAT test on arrival. Then I needed to get a medically administered RAT test within 24 hours of departing and needed to upload that. I checked and double checked the paper work required, had everything printed, twice, as well as available digitally. I got to the airport early but everything was fine.
Landing in Singapore all was streamlined and I had the RAT test (there called ART) on arrival and was quickly out. I had to go straight to my daughter’s and isolate until I got my results which only took 5 hours. Very efficient. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Also, they had Covid when they were in Australia so were pretty safe.
I had a wonderful time, being with the kids, visiting markets, seeing friends and eating at everywhere from hawker stalls to smart restaurants. I will share more of that another time. However, I then had to isolate for a week as I tested positive for Covid. Being double vaccinated and boosted my symptoms were very mild – just a few aches – but I had to delay my return. The day after I was due to return the requirements to enter Australia changed and, again, I had trouble uploading my International Vaccination Certificate which I had to do manually. Read this excellent article on Australia’s new Digital Passenger Declaration. I needed a medically administered ART test within 24 hours of my return. I managed to do all this and once checked in things were very smooth to. On arrival in Australia I had to come straight home, do a RAT test and will do another on day 5. All good.
Now I am adjusting to the 3 hour time difference and, while missing the family, happy to be back in my own space. I hit the ground running so read on to find out more. This newsletter may be a little short as I am going to a reunion lunch from my school. 51 years since we left school – we had to delay from last year. 34 of us and I know it will be huge fun – so best to get this out first.
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L with Isabel and Rafferty making cupcakes and R with Rafferty at a Lucy Sparkles and Friends music class
Now read on or scroll down, remember there’s something for everyone in this newsletter wherever you are in the world.
Back when we were in lockdown or restricted, I used to do a Facetime cooking dem every Sunday night. It was fun and let me feel that I was back being me, doing what I love most – showing people how easy it can be to cook. German Schnitzel and Potato Salad was one of those recipes. “Wienerschnitzel” is a geographically protected term in Germany and Austria and is always made with veal, though it does not come from Wien (Vienna).
Figs are well and truly in season and don’t need much attention as they taste so good as they are. I enjoy them as a starter like Figs Wrapped in Prosciutto or as a simple dessert such as these Honeyed Figs with Brioche. Both are from my first cookbook Plates. Real Food for Fast People published in 1995. Good recipes are timeless.
L: Figs Wrapped in Prosciutto and R: Honeyed Figs with Brioche
RAS of NSW Celebrating 200 Years
L to R: Author Gavin Fry, Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC and RAS President Michael Milner
Sydney Royal, celebrating 200 Years of the Royal Agricultural Society of New South Wales, celebrates the history and milestones of the RAS and the people of NSW who have affectionately embraced the RAS and Sydney Royal Easter Show for two centuries.
It delves into the history of Australian agriculture and the incredible legacy of a 200-year organisation, and its founders, Council, volunteers, staff, Members and supporters who have worked tirelessly to support the development of agriculture and rural communities in Australia. I was thrilled to be interviewed for this book, especially about the Fine Food shows which we first held in 1998 and even get a cameo mention.
The book will be on sale for $75 ($50 for RAS members) via the RAS website and at the RAS’ iconic celebration of agriculture, the Sydney Royal Easter Show from 8 – 19 April 2022 in the heritage pavilion and Member’s stand.
Also, it has just been officially announced that Princess Anne will be officiating at the opening of theSydney Royal Easter Showon Saturday 9 April. The whole show, with lots of extra attractions in acknowledgement of our 200th year is on from 8 – 19 April.Pre-booking essential here.
Doing a weather cross under the Rotunda on Observatory Hill on Sunrise with Sam Mac talking about BarbeCURE
I am a proud ambassador for Cure Cancer and their wonderful fund-raising initiativeBarbeCURE. Cure Cancer only funds brilliant young researchers at the beginning of their careers, who think outside the box. There have been some astounding outcomes. This year target is to raise $200,000 to fund 4000 hours of vital research into childhood leukemia. I like that fund-raising is directly linked to researchers and outcomes.
The idea is to host your own BarbeCURE – it can be as simple or involved as you like. Ask friends and family to donate for the pleasure of your cooking for them. There is added incentive this year with friendly rivalry between Team Meat and Team Veg depending on how you like to eat – but it’s all about getting together in a way which has been difficult the last few years, enjoying one another’s company and raising funds for a really good cause. You can do this anytime up until March 30. Every single one of us can make a difference no matter how small our donation. Together we CAN cure cancer so please be part of it.
Fish Tacos cooked during the Channel 7 segment – Harbour Bridge in rain in the background
Things to Read, Do & Share
These blue signs are all over London showing where famous people lived
In London The Alfred Hitchcock London Locations Walk includes discussion of his love of food and wine. Sandra Shevey`s award-winning tour segues into his 24th year with all 3 hour tours (11am) conducted personally reflecting on an interview she conducted with him c1972. You can listen to an excerpt of this on her website.
Book at email@example.com
Online One of the things I love about travel is experiencing different cuisines. I also think that food and history are closely intertwined. We can all virtually travel, even if travel in person is still a little challenging. I was interesting to seeFeast Afrique, A Digital Archive Dedicated to West African Cuisine, online. Food historian and blogger Ozoz Sokoh launched Feast Afrique in January 2021 after working on the project for the better part of a decade. Born in Nigeria and currently residing in Canada, Sokoh is passionate about her culture’s cuisine. In 2020, she collected roughly 200 digital books on African and African-inspired food. These texts became the basis of her online archive. You can access the more than 190 books and collections in the digital library here.
Online butcher feeds meat lovers’ appetite for connectionis a great story of success from adversity. A young farming couple have turned the traditional notion of a trip to the butcher on its head, developing a subscription-based “eaters club” home delivery service – now one of Australia’s largest suppliers of grass-fed and organic beef outside the major supermarket.
A new study recently released by the University of Adelaide reveals that eating meat helps us live longer.The study across more than 170 countries concluded “eating meat still offers important benefits for overall human health and life expectancy,” says University of Adelaide researcher in biomedecine Dr Wenpeng You.
Read more about the study in the International Journal of General Medicine.
South Australian Tour postponed to May 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 travellers, 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. Whilst things have started to settle down, we have decided to defer the trip for a short while and are looking to reschedule in May. 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 travellers 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