What Lies Ahead?
I choose optimism

This one doing the rounds keeps us laughing

Welcome 

As each week unfolds there are more dramas about vaccinations, RAT tests and depressing stories in the press about hospitals, the spread of Omicron and more. It reminds me of a comment made by my daughter when she was about 8 or 9 “Mummy why is it called the News? It should be called the Bad News”.  How right she was even all those years ago. I do think the press could do well to not dramatise things and report in a more balanced and non-opinionated way. (Says me being opinionated! Sorry.)

Anyway, I have decided that while still taking sensible precautions I am going to live my life as best I can. I want to be an active participant in life and not an observer from the sidelines. So I am thrilled to be  Australia Day Ambassador for Dubbo and I look forward to seeing all that I can while there especially the Dubbo Zoo as I have not visited that previously. I am disappointed, but totally supportive, that the outstanding Parabere forum has had to postpone it’s planned next international  event gathering thought-leaders in the field of gastronomy, food and nutrition. However, my view of travel and events now is that they happen if they happen and what a bonus when they do. Though I am really hoping I will be able to get to Singapore next month to stay with my daughter and family.

This newsletter will again be a short and hopefully sweet as I had two quiet relaxing low-key days with two friends at Palm Beach and am driving up to the Megalong Valley for the weekend. When in Palm Beach I took the opportunity to visit my friends Mitch and Mark (who won the last season of The Block) in their new store Mitch and Mark Home. We have been friends for many, many years and it did me good to have a real catch up – along with a bit of retail therapy buying a beautiful tray and pitcher. I can’t wait to use them in a food shoot.

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

Lyndey

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

Rosès to Enjoy
Things to Read and Share
Recipes for Australia Day

South Australian Tour
Morocco Tour 2022
Puglia Tour October 2022

YouTube Video

My Mum’s Branloaf

With schools hopefully returning soon, people returning to work our thoughts turn to something good for us we can make at the weekend and then use in lunchboxes, or snack on when working from home. This may not be the prettiest food photo you’ve ever seen but it is delicious. It is a treasured recipe in my family. Use whatever dried fruit or nuts you like –  it’s healthy, contains no fat or eggs yet is high in fibre. So watch me make My Mum’s Branloaf on YouTube. 
You will find the written recipe for My Mum’s Branloaf here. It was my son’s absolute favourtie, right from when he was a little boy and Grandma always made sure she had some on hand for him.
Subscribe to my YouTube channel here for all my videos including recipes in a minute. Enjoy.

Recipes of the Week

Fish Tacos, Tomato & Avocado Salsa

Fish Tacos, Tomato & Avocado Salsa makes the most of what’s in season. It’s a healthy version too, as the fish is not battered and deep-fried but gets extra flavour from some spices.

This is also the time for that classic Summer Pudding utlising all the glorious berries in season. 

Summer Pudding

Rosès to Enjoy

Photo by Brett Stevens from my book Balance. Matching Food & Wine. What Works and Why.

Wine is a very personal thing. I like to say there are two wines in the world:  the one YOU like and the one YOU don’t like. there is begins and ends. The value of wine education is figuring out why you do or don’t like a wine so you can remember for next time you choose one. When it comes to wine writing, like any sort of informed opinion, it’s a matter of finding someone whose writing style you like and whose comments you tend to agree with. Just like a movie review really. You agree with some critics and not others, like the writing of some and not others.

So my style is not learned or worthy, but my opinion, which you may or may not share. However, I thought it worth sharing some wines I have drunk lately which I have rather enjoyed.

Rosè
The perfect summer wine and versatile with food because rosè possesses qualities of both red and white wines. I find it a great compromise when dining with people who may generally prefer red or white. Usually, the wine is labelled rosé in French, Portuguese, and English-speaking countries, rosado in Spanish, or rosato in Italian. Be aware they can be reasonably high in alcohol, given the red wine component.

Traditionally rosè was made as a by product in those years where the berries were big and full and juicy the winemaker had a low fruit to skin ratio and in order to make the “main” wine more robust, shortly after fermentation began some juice was ‘bled’ off the top to increase the ratio. This ‘bled’ wine (the French term is saignee) was slightly pink and was rosè. So rosè can be a red varietal wine that has had minimal skin contact during fermentation or it can be wine made in two separate batches (one red and one white) that are later blended.

The challenge with rosè is that there is a huge range of rosè styles, some very dry and crisp as in Provence yet others similar to alcoholic fruit cordial. Grape variety is usually a good guide; think Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache are perhaps most common but increasingly it is being made from many different grapes. However, any lack of any varietal naming usually indicates a lesser and probably sweeter style. Pedigree has a lot to do with it; if this is a reputable maker with a name for serious table wine then it will probably be a dryer style. Price is also an indicator, there are few dry style serious rosés which are very cheap. Which is not to say there aren’t some great value wines around.

Some I have enjoyed:
Longview in the Adelaide Hills has two Rosès made from the Italian Nebbiolo grape. 2021 Nebbiolo Rosato (RRP $26) and  the lower priced Juno Adelaide Hills Nebbiolo Rosato.  Both are dry and refreshing.
Madfish Rosé (RRP $18) from the Great Southern in WA is made from a blend of grenache and pinot noir is also delicate, pale pink, dry with a range of typical berry and citrus notes.
Taylors Estate 2021 Pinot Noir Rosè is also from the Adelaide Hills, again with berry flavours, along with watermelon and a hint of rose or musk but still finishing dry. Wines in this Estate range and also their Promised Land wines have Optimum Drinking Temperature Sensors on their back labels which can indicate the temperature of the bottle with a light which shows if it is the right temperature to enjoy.

Recipes for Australia Day

Okkah-crusted Barramundi with Coleslaw

Australia Day means different things to different people. It is a public holiday so invariably means time off, hopefully with your local community or family or friends. It is a time to reflect on our indigenous origins so why not use some uniquely Australian spices in what you cook, like Okkah-Crusted Barramundi with Coleslaw? It is a play on the nut and spice mix known as dukkah. Or try Barbecued Beef Sirloin with Native Flavours.

Celebratory Slablova utilises the green and gold of our sporting colours and is a great way to feed a crowd.

Things to Read & Share

Korean Gimpab which translates to seaweed and bap cooked rice

Korean food has grown immensely in popularity all over the world. In Hospitality Magazine, Annabelle Cloros explains Gimbap is not Korean sushi.

In the UK it is Veganuary. while I am neither vegan nor vegetarian I am very happy to have meatless meals as part of my ominivorous diet. However, I do take philosophical issue with things being called “meat” or “milk” when they are not. They may be great products but don’t call them fake names. A bigger concern is that some of these so called “healthy” meat substitutes can be highly processed, made in factories and with huge food miles if they are imported into Australia. I am a fan of fresh (and frozen) vegetables, beans, legumes and pulses enjoyed for what they are. My friend and colleague, the highly-regarded Xanthe Clay has written an excellent piece in The Telegraph in the UK It’s possible to eat a healthy vegan diet, but many of the meat substitutes aren’t healthy at all.  She also lists the “Vegan good guys”.

However, we all know we need to pack our meals with more fresh fruits and veggies so here you can read 10 Hacks for healthier meals.

And while we’re on fresh produce, if the major supermarkets ae in short supply, you can always shop at a Farmers Market or go to the major wholesale markets in your city which usually sell retail too, especially on a Saturday. Read Off to Market: How to Beat the Supply Chain Drama Affecting Sydney Supermarkets. 

I often find Richard Glover’s column in the Saturday Sydney Morning Herald amusing and last week was no different: The best beach companion is your dog? Depends who is asking. He writes abut hiding his car keys in his shoe but Broadsheet has another piece Nine cunning, totally Practical Ways to Hide Your Valuables at the Beach.

South Australian Tour
29 March – 3 April 2022

Behind the Scenes in Adelaide and the Barossa Valley 29 March – 3 April 2022
I’ve really enjoyed planning this trip and promise lots of fun and great experiences. with all the uncertainty with border restrictions, Insight Vacations have promised that should Covid prevent interstate travel, deposits will be refunded in full up until 1 February. So book your space to enjoy:
  • Food, wine and quality time with living legends
  • Meeting, greeting and feasting with Maggie Beer 
  • Learn about Chinese tea and wine at Bai Long Store with the tea master and me
  • Cooking dem and tapas-style feast at the Central Market with Mark Gleeson and me
  • Think outside the square at d’Arenberg where wine meets art
  • Taste and learn abut Barossa  smallgoods and wines with David Franz Lehmann
  • Hear a private recital of the Baroque Organ
  • Meet former Young Chef of the Year at the newly opened Arkhe Restaurant
  • Barossa Farmers Market, dinner at Seppeltsfield Winery, interactive gin tasting at Seppeltsfield Road Distilleryextensive tour and lunch at Yalumba and much, much more with some suprises along the way. Lots of meals included as they are specially planned.no more than 22 (plus Insight travel host and me). Cost is $4,4495 twin share ($925 single supplement).
If you would like to join me in March 2022 on a close to home journey to explore behind the scenes in Adelaide and the Barossa Valley, follow this link for the brochure, and different contact details for the holiday season email directadmin@insightvacations.com.au or PH 1800 001 778.

Morocco Tour 23 Sept – 4 Oct 2022

Visit the stunning Atlas Mountains 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.

Puglia Tour October 2022

Enjoy authentic Pugliese focaccia

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
 here

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

Stay safe, healthy and happy. Keep up to date  on all my social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter Pinterest and my YouTube channel.

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Lyndey

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