Thursday, October 27, 2011

Regional food stars at 2011 Brisbane Good Food & Wine Show

For the fourth year I've been asked to host the Lyndey Milan Producers Market at the Brisbane /good Food & Wine Show.
I’ll also be chatting and interviewing these fabulous artisan and boutique producers at the Lyndey Milan Regional Producers’ Market:

From Willunga in South Australia, the Honey Lady’s honey is unheated, unfiltered, raw honey. The business is a triple bottom line business – financially, environmentally and socially viable. Her product range includes honey blended with spices and herbs.  She started her business from seven bee swarms that she caught one season. She harvested around 1500kg and with a 6 week old baby started to trade at the local farmers market and had only grown since then! The Honey Lady is at the Willunga Farmers Market every Saturday and at the Adelaide Showgrounds Market every Sunday.

Nutworks is 90 minutes north of Brisbane in Yandina on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. They business started in the early 1990s in a small factory with six employees.  In 1997, due to rapid expansion, Nutworks built a new factory and tourist facility where they are today. At well as processing nuts, the tourist orientated site includes an information area, confectionary viewing area and gift shop for take home products at factory outlet prices.  The macadamias are sourced from most growing areas in Queensland. Nutworks export all over the world and locally, the range can be found at many major supermarkets and duty free outlets.

From Mullumbimby in New South Wales, Lentilicious produce a range of five dry lentil blends: coconut fusion, lime time, turmeric, red chilli and Mediterranean, all with herbs and spices added.  All are gluten-free.  They have a range of stockists Australia wide and they do markets at Byron, Bangalow and Yamba.

Byron Bay Chilli               
The chillis are grown and processed overlooking Byron Bay.  Byron Bay Chilli Company make a range of sauces, salsas and corn chips which are stocked in gourmet food stores as well as Coles and Woolworths supermarkets in Queensland and Northern New South Wales as well as many delis in the United States.  They sold a couple of barbecue style sauces branded with Jack Thompson’s name for Landcare Australia, one of Jack’s favourite causes.

Mix My Muesli                           
From Bundoora in Victoria, Mix My Muesli is Australia’s first custom mix muesli company.  They also sell a pre-mixed range that includes classic swiss, goji berry antioxidant, honey crunch, organic super grains, gluten-free and Craig Mottram’s Premium Fuel which is 43% fruit and nut.  Most ingredients are 100% natural, with no added sugar and are preservative-free.  The bases are wholegrains such as oats and barley, the nuts and seeds are all-natural as are the added ingredients.  These include dried fruits (apple, apricot, sultanas, raisins, prunes, figs, strawberries, coconut and cherries), nuts/seeds/grains (almonds, walnuts, linseed, chia and sesame seeds) and ‘naughty bits’ (chocolate and yoghurt coated nuts and seeds).

Silverwood Organics                                    
Silverwood Organics from Longreach in western Queensland sells and delivers organic meat packs.  Silverwood grows the dorper breed of sheep which naturally shed their wool and are also known for their excellent carcass and superior eating quality.  The free-range lamb is grown in natural Mitchell grass paddocks without chemicals or supplement feeding.  To avoid undue stress, the lamb is processed locally by an organically accredited processor.  Half or full packs with associated cuts are available online for home delivery.

Careme Pastry                                 
Located in the Barossa Valley, Careme Pastry is owned and operated by William and Claire Wood, who, coming from a restaurant background we were always disappointed with the quality of commercially available ready-made pastry. Careme only use natural ingredients, free of additives, preservatives and colours to produce their hand-crafted pastry products. Their product range includes ready to use pastry dough: all butter puff, sour cream shortcrust, vanilla bean sweet shortcrust and dark chocolate shortcrust as well as a range of tarts, pies, savoury galettes and sweet tarts and croissants and pastries. Stephanie Alexander commends it!

Estate grown and produced, Olivfresh, on Lake Wivenhoe in South-East Queensland, sources its olives from their 700 tree certified organic olive estate. The olives are naturally fermented in rainwater and sea salt. The product range includes Ligurian style olives, Arbequina black olives, Olive and fig tapenade dip, Green olive and avocado tapenade dip, Sun dried black olives, Green olives and Party mix olives.

La Cour Patisserie                                
La Cour Patisserie is a Sydney based business that was established in 2010.  It sells a range of gourmet baking kits that taste ‘made from scratch’. The range includes cupcakes, brownies and biscuits.  All are preservative and artificial colouring free and made from the best ingredients. The kits are sold a range of gourmet food stores in New South Wales, Queensland, the ACT and South Australia.

Robins Foods                             
Located in Altona, Victoria Robins Foods and was formed by recognised pioneers of the native food industry, Ian and Juleigh Robins, in 1997. The range of products are branded Outback Spirit and the vision is to bring indigenous foods to the mainstream market locally and internationally while giving back to indigenous communities. The product range includes chutneys, preserves, dry marinades, seasoning salts, seasoning sprinklers, sauces, dressings, crushed garlic, herbs and rejuvenating water and are available from major and independent supermarkets nationally as well as Oxfam Fair Trade stores.

Gwydir Olives                             
Margi Kirkby and Jenni Birch started Gwydir Grove in 1996 with a second-hand olive press.  Soon after they started selling their oil in local shops in north west New South Wales.  Today they still grow, press, blend and market their products. Their Infused range includes bush berb, lemon myrtle, blood orange, lime, lemon, native mint & garlic and spicy chilli & fresh lime.  Their olive range includes kalamata olives, manzanillo olives and manzanillo olive pate. They also sell balsamic vinegar and olive oil soap (lavender, eucalyptus and fragrance-free).

Yumm Dressings                                          
Yumm Dressings from Sydney make dressings from natural ingredients with no artificial preservatives, colours or flavours. Each bottle is hand-made and many ingredients are sourced from local producers and markets. The product range includes Very Original (blend of olive and sesame oils, fresh garlic and honey), Poppy Splash (red wine and raspberry vinegars, Spanish onion and poppy seeds), Balsamic Drizzle, So Provincial (apple cider vinegar, honey and tarragon), Maple Zest (orange juice and maple syrup). They are available online and from various gourmet food stores and farmers’ markets. They really do taste home made.

The Peanut Van                                            
From Queensland’s peanut capital, Kingaroy, comes The Peanut Van, who recently celebrated their 40th birthday.  Their extensive range of products includes sugar coated, dry roasted, sweet & salty, hickory smoked, savoury tomato, salt & vinegar, garlic, chilli & lime and Mexican delight.  All peanuts are jumbo and freshness is guaranteed.  Theirs is always a popular stand at the show.

Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre
10am-6pm  4&5 November
10am-5pm  6 November
Click here for more information

Friday, August 5, 2011

Come and see me at Sydney’s new cooking school, Quarter 21!

On Monday 29 August I’m cooking at Justin North’s new cooking school, Quarter Twenty One.
Justin recently relocated his 3 hat restaurant Becasse to Westfield in Pitt Street Mall and added a bakery, grocer, wine store and cooking school.

The school is kitted out with state of the art equipment, including ovens and cooktops by Fagor and the best appliances. Retaining a feeling of home, this relaxed environment is perfect for sharing knowledge and having fun.

I’ll be demonstrating six easy, yet impressive, recipes from Greek-style rabbit to my favourite spiced duck with pomegranate sauce and the extraordinary Chocolate almond fondant pudding. There will be wine too!

The three hour class starts at 6:30pm and is limited to 16. There a couple of spots left and I’d love to see you there. For more information or to book:

Telephone 02 9283 3440

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Talking turkey

This week I MC’ed an event for Ingham’s Turkey. Four chefs, Miguel Maestre, Adrian Richardson, Damian Heads and Christine Manfield were selected to showcase different turkey cuts in unique and inspired ways.

I’ve always had a fondness for turkey; it is a regular on the table at my extended family Christmas lunch. But it is not just for Christmas, particularly considering the range of interesting cuts now available in the supermarket. Apparently it is also classed as a ‘superfood’ – ie high protein coupled with low fat. All I know is that it is packed with flavour and, if cooked properly, is lovely and tender. And never dry.

I’ve cooked a couple of turkey dishes recently. The other night I roasted a whole bird that I stuffed with quinoa, toasted nuts, onion, garlic, parsley and porcini. I covered the breast with muslin soaked in melted butter and cooked the bird on a rack over water, all encased in foil. The liquid then becomes the basis for a flavoursome sauce. On Kerri-Anne the other week I cooked Sticky turkey wings with wok tossed vegetables and hokkein noodles.

The chefs this week came up with quite a range of ideas for different cuts.

Miguel Maestre used the breast in his dish, Aussie Spiced Turkey Popcorn with Lemon Aioli: a tender and juicy morsel of Turkey Breast Steaks smothered in Australian herbs and spices including wattle seed, lemon myrtle and bush pepper, deep fried beside a dollop of lemon aioli

 Adrian Richardson used turkey Marylands in his Turkey & Sage sausage: a combination of breast and thigh, in three different grinds, sage, parsley and a dash of good scotch whiskey, paired with creamy potato skordalia and drizzled with sweet sherry glaze

Damian Heads used the centre of the turkey wing to create twice (but really thrice) cooked turkey wings, sweet soy and szechuan salt: the wings were marinated, steamed, deboned, pressed, steamed again, chilled and then deep fried, paired with a sweet soy sauce and a dash of Szechuan salt. Great technique and amazing flavour.

Christine Manfield created Turkey drumsticks slow braised in spiced coconut sauce: an authentic Asian curry including red curry paste, fresh ginger, lemongrass and palm sugar, this creamy spiced coconut curry brings warmth and comfort and very tender drumstick pieces

Christine has kindly shared her recipe:

Turkey drumsticks slow braised in spiced coconut sauce
Serves 4
2 brown onions, finely sliced
6 garlic clove, chopped
1 tbsp minced ginger
2 long red chillies, finely chopped
4 tbsp red curry paste
1 tbsp minced lemongrass
1 litre coconut cream
1200ml chicken stock
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp palm sugar
4 turkey drumsticks
1 kg way potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
fish sauce

Saute onion, garlic, ginger and chilli in oil till softened, about 5-6 mins.
Add curry paste, lemongrass and cook for 3 mins, then add coconut milk.
Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 mins.
Add stock, oyster sauce and palm sugar and bring back to boil.
Add turkey drumsticks and potato, reduce heat to gentle simmer and cook for 1 hour until meat and potatoes are tender.
Add fish sauce and taste – adjust if necessary.
Remove from heat and cool slightly. Remove drumsticks from sauce and remove meat from bones and cut into large chunks. Discard bones.
Return meat to sauce, add herbs and serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Christine serving her drumstick curry

Miguel, me, Damian and Adrian
Miguel’s restaurant: Aperitif
Adrian’s restaurant: La Luna Bistro
Damian’s restaurants: Pony The Rocks, Pony Neutral Bay and Steel Bar & Grill
Christine’s restaurant: Universal

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Last Taste of Greece

The final episode of Lyndey & Blair’s Taste of Greece will air this Thursday night at 8pm on SBS One. I have been overwhelmed by messages of support and the ratings have been excellent. Many others have commented that they didn’t know how good Greek food could be, or that they now wanted to visit or re-visit Greece. I am also pleased that Blair’s terrific performance as a presenter has been immortalised.

This week we go to Olympia where Blair energetically runs the length of the original ancient Olympic stadium in only 25 seconds! We also visit Mercouri Wine Estate, where this precious photo was taken:
At Mercouri we tasted wine made with Refosco grapes which I also used with trachanas in a stuffing for lamb. Trachanas is a traditional Greek ingredient made by combining soured milk (usually goat’s) with cracked wheat. I used it in my stuffing recipe, but more traditionally it is made into porridge or added to soup. It is rich and nourishing. Comfort food, Greek style.

Next up we diversify from traditional Greek cooking at Aldemar Restaurant where, after learning how to prepare peppers stuffed with feta and graviera and rabbit stifado, we are treated to quite a different menu for our finale dinner: modern Greek food which draws on Greek tradition but creates something more contemporary. This was also my birthday. Don’t miss this last episode.

To other news, SBS are releasing the DVD of Lyndey & Blair’s Taste of Greece series on 3 August. Click here to order.

I’m also busily working on Lyndey & Blair’s Taste of Greece the cookbook, which should be out next year in time for Mothers’ day. The book will contain a mix of traditional and modern recipes as well as beauty shots of the majestic Peloponnese and stills from the series.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

2011 President’s Medal – competition and night like no other

Last year’s President’s Medal was held at Four Seasons Sydney. This year the celebration of six champion producers from the Sydney Royal Wine, Dairy and Fine Food shows moves to Sydney Showground at Sydney Olympic Park in the historic Badgery Pavilion. Executive Chef Tim Browne is amazingly talented and, with his team, more than up to the task. He has relished the opportunity to develop a special menu and show the wider community what he can do with award winning produce.

Since its inception in 2006, the President’s Medal has been recognised as the pinnacle of producer awards. Over 5000 products are submitted across three shows, Champions are named; the best of the best judged by industry experts, ‘palates’, producers themselves and educators. The Chairs and Committees of Sydney Royal Wine, Cheese & Dairy and Fine Food shows then nominate two Champions each to vie for the President’s Medal. An in-depth judging process ensues which includes site visits and a triple bottom line evaluation.

The judging process is aptly managed by Simon Marnie, ABC 702 presenter and Scott Davenport, Chief Economist, NSW Department of Primary Industries in collaboration with celebrated chef Mark Best of Marque Restaurant in Sydney’s Surry Hills and Tony De Thomasis, Senior Business Manager, Woolworths. Mark Best has also designed the dessert course.

Not only is there world class food, but outstanding wines in a night hosted by 702 ABC Presenter, James Valentine, with roving reporter “Fast Ed” Halmagyi from Better Homes and Gardens. See behind-the-scenes videos from the finalists and be there to learn the outcome!

The medal will be presented on Thursday 7 July at a celebration dinner. Click here for more information or to book tickets. The menu will feature produce from the six producers vying for this prestigious award.

Cobram Estate, for their Fresh & Fruity Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Country Valley, for their Organic Milk
Fonterra Australia – Spreyton, for their Duck River Premium Butter
Jelm Pastoral Company, for their Jelm MSA Lamb - Grass Fed 20 - 23kg
Phillip Shaw Wines, for their The Idiot by Philip Shaw 2009
The Yalumba Wine Company, for their Yalumba FSW8B Botrytis Viognier (2009)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Blair Milan Fund – supporting Theatre/Media students at Charles Sturt University

I have previously posted about the death of my amazing son Blair whose joyful life was suddenly cut short by Acute Myeloid Leukaemia on 17 April. Our family has been overwhelmed with support, well wishes and messages of love.

My family and Blair’s close friends have teamed up with Blair’s old university, Charles Sturt University, to form The Blair Milan Fund and we are seeking help to ensure his legacy will live on for years to come.

Blair graduated as a Bachelor of Arts (Communication –Theatre/Media) at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst with Distinction in 2003 (as did his sister, Lucy, in 2005). As Blair brought passion to everything he did it only seemed right that his passion and enthusiasm for the arts be passed on to future Theatre/Media students. I also want his name to live on though his life was cut short.

The Blair Milan Fund comprises two components:

PART ONE: The Blair Milan Scholarship
A scholarship of $3000 will be awarded annually to one second year Theatre/Media student who exemplifies the generous artistic spirit and attitude of Blair. The student will be carefully selected by the academic staff of the Theatre/Media course with input from Blair’s family and peers. Selection will based on the student’s community involvement, academic and on stage performance as well as goals and motivation. The scholarship aims to encourage students studying Theatre/Media to demonstrate optimism, enthusiasm and a passion for their chosen field.

PART TWO: The Blair Milan Tour
One of the most significant moments in Blair’s early career was performing in the production Death’s Waiting Room. This production was originally produced by Theatre/Media students in their final year who were fortunate enough to secure funding to bring the work to Sydney. Funding from the Blair Milan Tour will give other works the same opportunity by providing financial support for the presentation of the work of final year Theatre/Media students before metropolitan and/or regional communities. An amount of $7,000 will be provided annually to assist the chosen production which will be selected by academic staff of the Theatre/ Media course with input from Blair’s peers and the Milan family. Profits realised from this presentation will be returned to the Blair Milan Touring Fund.

The objective is to raise over $100,000 so that the annual awards can be funded from the income of the Blair Milan Fund in perpetuity. My partner John Caldon and I have undertaken to match dollar for dollar (up to $50,000) the amounts received during the initial fund raising in commemoration of the role played by Blair Milan in our Naked Flame production of Lyndey and Blair’s Taste of Greece which is currently being shown on SBS.
The Fund Raising
The Blair Milan Fund will sit within the Theatre/Media Foundation of the Charles Sturt University. There are no additional administration costs with the creation of this new Fund.
We are currently accepting donations by cheque, bank transfer or credit card. Click here to download a donation form. You will be sent a receipt in order to claim your tax deduction. With your help we will ensure Blair’s legacy continues forever through the work and creativity of new Australian artists.
Please give generously.
How you can help
Click here to download a donation form.
Click here to like on facebook.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Wenonians’ Women of Spirit

I was invited as a guest speaker to the recent Wenonians Inc Women of Spirit breakfast at Rydges Hotel, North Sydney. As an old girl and mother of an old girl, I was delighted to speak to one hundred Wenonians and their friends about my career and the food/wine/travel/adventure television series I shot with my late son, Blair, Lyndey & Blair’s Taste of Greece, now showing on SBS One at 8pm on Thursdays.  The fifth episode will air this Thursday, 23 June, the sixth on 30 June and the final on 7 July. If you missed the first few episodes you can download them here.

Various auctions were held, including a ticket to my next class at the Sydney Seafood School. The winning bidder was Marcelle Perko, who I look forward to seeing on 10 August. It was gratifying that, in their 125th year, over $4,000 was raised for Wenona education scholarships. 
Marcelle Perko with me and Trish O’Brien, Executive Director, Wenona Foundation

In honour of Blair’s memory, guests were asked to support the Leukaemia Foundation. A total of $750 was donated with more expected to follow. It was very gratifying to be able to help this organisation.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The real ragu

I’ve blogged before about my fondness for comfort food and slow cooking. I think ragu is the ultimate winter recipe with the ultimate combination of comfort and slow cooking.

Like many traditional Italian recipes, there are seemingly endless ragu variations. My favourite version uses a mix of pork and veal mince (for flavor and sweetness), white wine, not too much tomato and a drop of milk at the end – definitely not your average spaghetti bolognaise!

The secret is long, slow cooking. I also love to add chicken livers with the meat but not everyone likes offal. I find short pasta works best with this sauce, but you could use whatever you have to hand.

As this is so good, my tip is to double the recipe and freeze half for later. As well as serving the ragu with pasta, use it to stuff cannelloni shells or as a lasagne filling.

Here is a link to the recipe on my main site.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Lyndey & Blair’s Taste of Greece media launch at Sydney Studio Kitchen

You may know that the first episode of the television series I shot with my late son, Blair, in Greece aired at 8pm last Thursday night on SBS One. In the week prior, we hosted a dinner at Sydney Studio Kitchen for twenty journalists to launch the series.

For the night our Sydney Studio Kitchen was transformed from a television studio into a glamorous event space, complete with gorgeous little jars of olive branches.
We even decorated the napkins with olive branches and Greek evil eyes (which actually are lucky charms).
The menu was Greek (of course!), some courses from the show, others inspired by it and included: 
Haloumi, about to be grilled until golden brown, and served with a spritz of lemon
Baby prawns which were deep fried until crisp  
Tiny white fish got the same treatment 
 I helped out by preparing the mezethes in the set kitchen 
My fabulous mates Julie Ballard and her son Andrew (pictured) prepared the entree, main course and dessert. We began with an easy Mediterranean fish soup, much easier than the traditional kakavia. My good friend, Greek-born chef Janni Kyritsis proudly told me it was the precursor to the popular French bouillabaisse coming from the Phoenicians, an Ancient Greek people who founded Marseille in 600 BC.

For mains, we feasted on goat two ways – grilled long rib cutlets with rigani and stewed shoulder and leg with eggplant and tomatoes (from episode 2 so don’t miss it!), lemon potatoes, horta (wild greens) and my favourite marouli salad – a fresh mix of cos lettuce and dill. The mains were served ‘family-style’ as is traditional in Greece, in the middle of the table.

Dessert was Greek rice pudding, known as Rizogalo, which we served drizzled with fragrant Greek honey and poached quinces.
Executive Producer, John Caldon with Erik Dwyer, Executive Producer Food & Leisure, SBS 
Yasmin Newman, MasterChef Magazine, Jessica Brook, delicious magazine and Deb McDiarmid, Sydney Studio Kitchen
As well as Greek wine, we also drank ouzo
Feedback on the first episode has been fantastic. The second episode airs at 8pm on Thursday 2 June on SBS One.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Our beautiful Blair

I am unsure about writing this blog but the news has been so public about the loss of my beautiful son Blair, and the interest so intense, that I wanted to share the facts. Also, we do have something to celebrate with the upcoming screening of the seven part TV series Lyndey & Blair’s Taste of Greece which I was lucky enough to shoot with him last year. It starts on Thursday May 26 at 8pm on SBS nationally. Click here to follow on Facebook.

Blair died suddenly from Acute Myeloid Leukaemia in the early hours of Sunday 17 April. He was taken ill on the previous Thursday and rushed to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. I was overseas with my partner John and flew back immediately. By the time I arrived on the Saturday morning he was medically sedated on a ventilator in intensive care. Blair’s father, Nigel, had been with him from the Thursday and was magnificent, as was the hospital. We spent a precious 17½ hours at his bedside. There were 30 people in the waiting room, another 30 outside and even more old school friends at the pub! Blair would be pleased.

He was the most positive person I had ever met, and it was a joy and a privilege to have been his mother.

Blair’s friends and family flew in from around the globe. A bunch of his Charles Sturt University friends set up in our offices at the Sydney Studio Kitchen and spent a fortnight producing audio visual tributes. Ultimately Blair was farewelled in a heartfelt service in the chapel of his old school, Barker College on Saturday 30 April with an audience of 800 packed inside and also standing outside in the pouring rain. Several of us near and dear spoke at the service and Blair’s sister Lucy who flew in from London, and a close friend sang beautifully. A celebration followed at Sydney Theatre which culminated in theatre-style tributes by many of his friends. They sang, read poetry and spoke of their love for Blair. The finale was this appropriately upbeat, for Blair was a party man, video compilation put together by his friends from Charles Sturt University.

Tribute from Lyndey Milan on Vimeo.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Afternoon delights matched with NSW wines at The Bayside Lounge

As well as those stunning duck confit pies I wrote about last year, The Bayside Lounge at the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre is also serving up a fantastic selection of New South Wales wines – many by the glass – until the end of July. As a fierce proponent of NSW wines being offered in NSW venues, this makes me really happy.

The list was compiled by Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre’s Certified Sommelier, William Wilson. William is one of only a handful of Australasian sommeliers to attain the Court of Master Sommeliers’ title of Certified Sommelier; a title that recognises high standards of wine service, commitment to quality customer care and extensive knowledge of international wine, beer and spirits.

Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre's William Wilson at work tasting wines

William Wilson with me

Scottish-born William (who incidentally looks fabulous in a kilt!) has remarkable wine knowledge that is as vast as it is impressive. He has handpicked some outstanding wines from New South Wales regions including Cowra, the Southern Highlands as well as the Hunter Valley, Mudgee and Orange. The newer alpine region of Tumbarumba is also well represented on Williams’s list (and I love the way he says Tumbarumba too, with his Scottish accent!). If you are not familiar with wines from Tumbarumba or the Snowy Mountains, the relatively high altitude and cool climate make for ideal pinot noir, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc styles.

William’s two stand-out wines are both from New England: 2009 Toppers Gewurztraminer and 2009 Zappa Reserve Release Barbera. With its rose and citrus nose and mild spicy plate, think cinnamon and nutmeg, the Gewurztraminer would complement many of Uwe’s sweet and savoury afternoon delights, especially the Crystal Bay prawn and cucumber bruschetta and the Orange and vanilla crème brûlée. Barbera is an Italian red grape variety with low tannins and high acid. Why not enjoy the Zappa Reserve Release Barbera with those duck confit pies?

Pop in for an afternoon delight at The Bayside Lounge. It is served from 1pm to 4pm on Wednesday through to Sunday. The menu is presided over by Executive Chef Uwe Habermehl and highlights include duck confit pies, Crystal Bay prawn and cucumber bruschetta and white chocolate pistachio eclair. Click here for more details. 

Executive Chef Uwe Habermehl with me in The Bayside Lounge enjoying afternoon delights

Click here to view venue details including the full wine list and menu.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Celebrating Sydney Royal Trophy winners and Champions on Kerri-Anne

Last week in my regular segment on Kerri-Anne (Thursdays at 9:40am) on the Nine Network I presented a selection of the newly crowned champion and trophy winners from the 2010/2011 Sydney Royal Wine, Fine Food and Cheese & Dairy Produce Shows. I combined a few of these products into a mouth-watering:

Click on the links below for the recipes on my main site:
Stockyard Striploin steak on Brasserie Bread Boulot with Hasham’s Walnut Chilli Dip and eggplant
Pasta Di Porto Crab, Potato & Leek Ravioli with Pukara Estate Truffle Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil

I have a long history with the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW. I am a long time councillor and board member. This is my first year as Chair of the Sydney Royal Wine Show; formerly I was founding Chair of the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show. Australian producers enter thousands of products into the three Sydney Royal Shows each year. To maintain credibility and integrity, the products are judged by panels made up of industry experts, producers such as winemakers and educators and specialist media.

Here is a full list of the champion and trophy winning products featured on Kerri-Anne:

Sydney Royal Wine Show
Three time trophy winner (Macquarie Group Perpetual Trophy, Royal Agricultural Society of NSW Annual Prize for Best Semillon and Albert Chan Memorial Prize for Best White Wine of Show): 2005 Margaret Semillon, Peter Lehmann Wines. This true Barossa Semillon is named in honour of Peter Lehmann’s wife, Margaret. Released as a five year old wine, Margaret is a fruit driven, deliciously dry, white wine.

Sydney Royal Fine Food Show
Champion Oyster: Pristine Angasi, Pristine Oyster Farm. Brothers Brendan, Tony and Guidera have been farming oysters in Coffin Bay, South Australia for twenty years. The award-winning native angasi oyster is plump, sweet and strong tasting.

Champion Prawn: Crystal Bay Farm prawns 21/30. Grown by Seafarm, one of the largest prawn farming operations in Australia, sustainable Crystal Bay prawns are available all year as fresh-chilled, cooked and uncooked.

Champion Beef: Stockyard Gold Beef. Established in 1948, family owned and operated, Stockyard is one of Australia’s most reputable producers with an internationally recognised brand. The award winning, consistently tender and flavoursome Gold range is derived from Angus genetics, fed and cared for over 200 days and MSA graded to ensure superior eating quality.

Champion Deli Meat Gourmet Product: Barossa Fine Foods Duck Terrine. All Barossa Fine Foods’ products are 100% gluten-free and made from traditional recipes handed down through four generations.

Champion Flavour Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Pukara Estate Truffle Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Hunter Valley based multi-award winning Pukara Estate produces distinctive, sophisticated and flavoursome extra virgin olive oils and vinegars. The Truffle Infused oil is rich, earthy and decadent.

Champion Regional Food: Nicholson Fine Foods Euro Style Spiced Beetroot Finishing Vinegar. Nicholson Fine Foods is an artisan food company that creates and develops an eclectic range of products for professional chefs and home cooks alike. With spiced earthiness, the multi-purpose Euro style Spiced Beetroot Finishing Vinegar can be used to dress salads, barbecued meat, fish or chicken.

Champion Fancy Pasta: Pasta Di Porto’s Champion Crab, Potato & Leek Ravioli. Pasta Di Porto’s range is free of artificial colours, preservatives and flavour enhancers. Most ingredients are grown by local farmers and/or sourced nearby. Some are also certified organic. To maintain high quality and freshness, only small quantities are made.

Champion Sourdough or Artisan Bread: Brasserie Bread Boulot. As well as supplying numerous cafes, restaurants and delis, Brasserie Bread runs their own café, baking school and retail shop in Sydney’s Botany. Taking two days to make, the Boulot is a traditional round sourdough with ingredients that include 16 year old sourdough starter, organic flour and river salt.

Champion Bottled Beer: Matilda Bay Brewing Company Alpha Pale Ale. In 1984 a group of guys got together in Fremantle, Western Australia to make beer under the Matilda Bay Brewing Company brand. Alpha Pale Ale mirrors traditional English India Pale Ale yet with assertive bitterness and distinctive fruit and citrus aromas from local hops.

Champion Traditional Sausage: Avoca Beach Butchery's Australian Breakfast Sausage. Robbie Hunt from NSW Central Coast based Avoca Beach Butchery has a passion for quality meat. He produces a range of sausages with an emphasis on quality and versatility – suitable for the oven or barbecue.

Sydney Royal Cheese & Dairy Produce Show
Champion Butter: Fonterra Spreyton Duck River Premium Butter. Fonterra Spreyton, near Devonport is supplied with high quality cow’s milk from some of the best dairying land in Australia. The Duck River Brand is named after the Duck River near Smithton, where the factory was originally established in 1904.

Gold Medal Dip: Hasham’s Dips Walnut Chilli Dip. Established in 1998 Hasham’s Dips is a Cairns based family owned and operated business. Their variety of dips, tapenades, pesto and marinated vegetables are made from local produce, using traditional recipes. Turkish style Walnut Chilli Dip is made from fresh walnuts and hot chilli.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Greenhouse by Joost: where sustainable practice and living meets the urban environment

Designer, horticulturalist and eco-friendly pop-up restaurateur extraordinaire, Joost Bakker has chosen Campbells Cove on glorious Sydney Harbour as the Sydney location for his ground-breaking venue.
Joost Bakker speaking at the Greenhouse launch
This eco-friendly restaurant is built using 100% recycled and recyclable materials. Think shipping containers and packing crates with straw bales for insulation. All furniture, light fittings, crockery, glasses and staff uniforms are also made from recycled and recyclable materials. It gets better … water is collected, waste is recycled and the generator runs on cooking oil.

First impressions are intriguing – shipping crates, strawberries growing up the exterior walls, herbs growing on the roof and a white walled interior covered with menu written in graffiti style, apparently by Joost, and completed in one night. Is there no end to this man’s talent?

I was delighted to officiate as MC at the launch and finally I got back there last week to see the venue completed and try the whole experience.
Greenhouse by Joost’s exterior during construction.
Now the outside is covered with strawberry plants.

The staff are lovely, from the gorgeous multi-talented maître’d (industrial designer by day and member of Joost’s hospitality team by night) and the cornucopia of friendly young’uns working the floor to the über chef-of-the-moment, Matt Stone, formerly of the Greenhouse in Perth.

Matt’s menu is short but well-crafted with a workable assortment of snacks, salads and bigger offerings. Many of the components – bread, pastries, pizza, yoghurt and butter – are made on site. The drinks list is also short with one red, one white, one beer and one cider for those who fancy the hard staff. All are served in glass jars.

The food presentation was as much fun as the venue, served either on pieces of recycled plywood or in wide-necked glass jars.

I loved the Wagyu on romesco, especially as it was a little used cut, girello – perfectly cooked beef (grass-fed of course) served sliced on a well-textured romesco sauce heady with smoked paprika. Mint added a lovely freshness to the quinoa and avocado salad. Oysters sang with freshness, the spiced cauliflower in a paper cone left me wanting more, the deep-fried school prawns were hot and crisp and you can’t go past the pizza of the day from the wood-fired oven.

Greenhouse by Joost’s interior.
The tables are made from old signs.

If you are a Sydneysider, my advice is get down there! This is a totally new concept which works because the food is so good. It’s an alternate view of the world and how we can co-exist sustainably. The bonus is the million dollar view and the soundtrack of water ebbing and flowing against the harbour wall. Go knowing you are learning vicariously how to make better food choices while, if you are like me, being equally thrilled by Joost’s flair and vision.

Greenhouse by Joost is open until the end of March 2011.