What does Easter Parade mean to YOU? – 31 March 2023
Thinking of Judy Garland & Fred Astaire
Judy Garland & Fred Astaire in Easter Parade.
Easter is nearly upon us, it’s always a busy time for me with the Sydney Royal Easter Show, so I was musing on a theme for this newsletter and Easter Parade sprang immediately to mind. “Easter Parade” was a 1948 American Technicolor musical film starring Judy Garland and Fred Astaire. It is joyful and romantic and I enjoy all of Irving Berlin’s music, even though this was well before I was born, it is a classic. The music includes some of Astaire and Garland’s best-known songs, including ‘Easter Parade’, ‘Steppin’ Out with My Baby’, and ‘We’re a Couple of Swells.’ You might enjoy watching the trailer here.
It also reminds me of all the Easter bonnets I made for my kids when they were in infants school for their Easter parade. Happy memories.
Easter for me is all about The Sydney Royal Easter Show. I am a self-confessed “show tragic” and love every aspect of it. I am the official No. 1 fan of the woodchop and, of course, have been presenting in the food area since 1887. I am especially thrilled this year to be able to take my 6 year old granddaughter for the first time since she was a baby. Animal Nursery here we come! Oh the joy of seeing everything afresh through a child’s eyes. Can’t wait.
I will also be there hosting Talk & Taste in the Dome, sharing this role on different days with Fast Ed, hosting two different award-winning food producers each day in half hour sessions, every hour from 10am – 1pm and 3 – 5pm. I’m there on April 7,8, 12, 15 and on 17 will be hosting the Sydney Royal Aquaculture Competition in the same space from 8.30am – 12.30pm. You can see at first hand how our esteemed judges evaluate Australian Prawns and Sydney Rock Oysters. this year we welcome an International Aquaculture Judge and one of New Zealand’s finest chefs, Martin Bosley to its Judging panel. Watch as Martin works alongside our expert Judges to help determine the best products on offer and provide his unique insight into the industry.
And while we are on the topic of seafood, it is Sustainable Seafood Week, an annual campaign which champions action to protect fish and marine life. This celebrates the fisheries, retailers, chefs and restaurants in Australia that support an end to overfishing and ensure we have seafood forever. So please always choose super seafood by looking for the blue MSC (for wild catch) and green ASC (for farmed) labels. More information here.
Meanwhile a massive thanks to my wonderful friends from pilates class, who got together for a Barbecure and raised funds to save lives via research into cancer.
Talking to my “pilates girls” about the importance of research into cancer, especially the statistics around AML (acute myleoid leukaemia) and look how much these incredible women have raised so far!
Recipes of the week
SALAD WITH PANCETTA & GOATS CHEESE Add some fresh pomegranate arils to this moreish salad. GET MY RECIPE HERE
SPICED APPLE & RASPBERRY SLICE Use new season’s apples in this lovely, comforting slice. GET MY RECIPE HERE
In the Kitchen with Lyndey
Moroccan Chicken Breast with Almond Couscous
A quick and easy dish with much shorter cooking time than you would find in Morocco – but the flavours are authentic! The written recipe isHERE. If you would like to see more of my videos, subscribe to my YouTube channel HERE or follow me on Instagram.
All about Pomegranates
I love pomegranates and find them festive, though they are an autumn fruit. Yet strangely, the myth of their origin is related to summer and spring. In the Greek myth of Persephone’s abduction by Hades, lord of the underworld, the pomegranate represents life, regeneration, and marriage. One day while out gathering flowers, Persephone noticed a narcissus of exquisite beauty. As she bent down to pick it, the earth opened and Hades seized her and dragged her down to his kingdom. By eating six pomegranate seeds, Persephone tied herself to Hades—the pomegranate being a symbol of the indissolubility of marriage. Inconsolable at the loss of her daughter, the corn goddess Demeter prevented the earth from bearing fruit unless she saw her daughter again. Zeus intervened and worked out a compromise: Persephone should live with Hades for one third of the year and the other two thirds with Demeter. Persephone’s return from the underworld each year is marked by the arrival of Spring and then Summer – a time to enjoy pomegranates. But hey, that’s an ancient myth (though it does have an inner meaning) so let’s enjoy them now – and you can freeze arils to use later in the year because they are fabulous on summer salads or lamb on the BBQ and lovely popped into sparkling wine.
Ripeness and Storage
The pomegranate itself gives you a clue to ripeness. As the fruit ripens on the tree, it loses its round apple shape and develops a gentle angular, hexagonal appearance which is when they are picked. These edges are the spines of the segments inside the fruit that hold the crimson pearls of the pomegranate. The brilliantly coloured, juicy seeds are called arils – 840 of them per fruit – and are what the fuss is all about. Selecting fruit that is the heaviest will prove to be the juiciest.
They can be kept for a month in the fridge or a week at cool room temperature In the dark – and the seeds and juice can be frozen.
Janni Kyritsis and his Dolce Vita Cocktail
This is the loveliest story which I wanted to share. My friend, the extraordinary chef, Janni wrote:
“My late friend David liked to serve pomegranate seed with a sprinkling of gin for breakfast. He thought the combination is perfect. While at MG (Garage restaurant) one night my friend Lyndey Milan and friends were dining there. I had just removed the seeds from a box of pomegranates for a jelly and granita on the menu. As they finished their meal I put all those seeds on a silver platter in a pyramid and on the side a bottle of Bombay Sapphire Gin, I thought they may like to taste the seeds with a touch of gin. Well, an hour later most of my work was gone and most of the gin (yes they took taxis home) and it was all worth it because they always remember (or not remember) that night,
I put a name to this cocktail because I always refer to my dear friend Lyndey as DOLCE VITA.”
I was, and am, honoured. This was such a memorable night, that when I published my bookFabulous Food, I put a shot glass of iced gin and a slice of watermelon on the cover, in honour of Janni and that night.
Read more on my blog Ruby Red Jewel of Beauty
Some great dining experiences
At Petermen from top clockwise: Ox Heart Tomato Salad, Warrigal greens, sour onions & garlic, Bearnaise Sauce and Mooloolaba Yellowfin Tuna chateaubriand with Shoestring Fries
I’ve really been out and about since I returned from Streaky Bay. First stop was Petermen, Josh & Julie Niland’s new restaurant in St Leonards. The latest addition to Saint Peter, Fish Butchery and Charcoal Fish. I’ve known Josh since he was an apprentice and he told me many years ago that it was the fabulous seafood chef Steve Hodges who told him “just think about treating seafood like meat”. This is what he has done to put himself at the forefront of seafood cooking globally, with international acclaim for his restaurants and his cookbooks.
Who else would think of Mooloolaba Yellowfin Tuna chateaubriand ($120 for two, $240 for four) served as a complete meal with hand-cut shoestring fries, Warrigal greens, sour onions & garlic and sauce bearnaise? The rosy-pink rounds are soft and tender, carefully cooked and rested – an incredible flavour and texture experience and we found the order for two enough for three with a side of Ox Heart Tomato Salad ($14).
I had started with a crisp, dry Saint Peter martini made with Oyster Shell Gin (of course) and there is a collaborative Sea Spray Ale (with Lord Nelson). We had chosen one item from the Preserves list, Flinders Island Scallops in Bull’s Kelp Oil ($26), shining lobes of scallop and roe which didn’t taste at all ‘preserved.’ Two from To Start, Mooloolaba Yellowfin Tuna Tartare & Pickles on toast ($26), rich and unctuous on top of smoky this toast, and Raw Coffs Harbour Kingfish & Finger Lime Ponzu ($24), the flesh benefitting from Josh’s careful dry ageing, lifted by the zing of finger limes in the umami-rich ponzu. We tried the Chalou Pinot Noir 2022 from Orange ($82) and found it a superb match for the food. None of this is cheap, but neither is the quality of the produce, the skill of the chefs, fit out of the restaurant nor the care of the staff. Our bill was $337 between three, no room for dessert. We loved it and will be back as soon as the sound baffles on order have been installed.
At Kiln: L oyster, finger lime, kombu oil; R raw tuna, nori, tomato jelly
Atop the Ace Hotel, Kiln is anything but a hotel dining room, though the elevation this gives the space means wonderful 18th floor views, and a special sunset. The menu is quirky, but so appealing, given it comes from talented chef Mitch Orr. A credit to him and his team that he was not in the night but the food was faultless.
Stunning oyster, finger lime and kombu oil ($7 each) and a dish which sang of late summer: raw tuna, nori, tomato jelly ($34) which we combined at the table. We also tried the grilled baby abalone, marigold salsa and incredible as a crudo, trevally circled like a rose in bright green blood lime ponzu and scallion oil ($32).
For mains a whole flounder ($58) with a umami rich miso brown butter, served suprirsingly with koshikari rice, usually used for sushi, but an excellent aromatic rice as a side while roasted eggplant, macadamia, curry leaf ($26) could almost convince you to be vegan it was so good. Then it was all we could do to share a dessert of corn ice cream, popcorn, salted caramel ($20).
The wine list is sensibly divided into s textural whites, orange wines, and organic, minimal intervention wines but still with a great choice for traditionalists. The whole experience was buzzy (if a tad noisy), fun with lots of good energy and conversations.
Clockwise from top: roasted eggplant, macadamia, curry leaf, whole flounder, miso brown butter and randall farm koshikari rice
Easter Newsletter next week with lots of recipes – hopefully early, on Thursday!