Thursday, December 16, 2010

Festive greetings!

Click here for my Christmas postcard which includes my food and wine (top seasonal cheer!) tips for an easy yet impressive Christmas as well as my highlights (there are a lot!) of 2010.

Wishing you a fabulous holiday season full of family, friends and good food and wine.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

High five for Plumm Glassware

Have you heard of Plumm Glassware? Maybe not. Have you heard of Riedel Glassware? Probably. A great product with a great philosophy – the taste of wine changes depending on where it is delivered into the mouth, so different wines taste better with different glasses. Most wine shows like the Sydney Royal, judge using Riedel glasses finding they show up the qualities and faults in wine in a more superior way to XL5 tasting glasses. However, there are now a dizzying array of different glasses – which can be a bit confusing for the wine lover at home.

For over fifteen years some of the Plumm team worked for Riedel in Australia. However, Riedel have established an independent presence here now, so this team came up with Plumm and have launched their own range. Talk about learning from the master.

Plumm undertook extensive research with wine aficionados and wine makers around the globe. What they came up with is surprisingly simple. The Australian designed Plumm Glassware found they need only offer five glass shapes:
Simply called, left to right:

REDa – suitable for big reds – shiraz and cabernet
REDb – suitable for medium reds – pinot and merlot
WHITEa – suitable for crisp, fresh whites – sauvignon blanc and gewürztraminer
WHITEb – suitable medium whites – chardonnay, pinot gris/grigio
Sparkling – duh

Simple! And easy to recognise in the glass cabinet.

As well as being not new to glassware, Plumm are not new to the wine industry. They have interests in vineyards, wineries, distribution and wine retailing. Utilising these credentials, Plumm have designed a stylish range of glassware that works well over innumerable wine styles.

The Plumm ‘5’ are available in four different ranges:
Handmade Vintage (hand blown) – for special occasions
Vintage (machine made) – for every day
Glass (stemless) – great for cocktails and beer as well as desserts
Outdoors (unbreakable polycarbonate) – they look like the real thing

I know they will be on every well-dressed table this holiday season!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The golden rules of freezing

As I’m often asked about freezing I thought it was high time I posted a summary of the tips and tricks I’ve picked up over many years cooking and eating.

Why freeze?
~ Freezing will preserve flavour, colour, texture and nutritional value as long as foods are frozen frozen fresh and in good condition
~ Great way to store leftovers and avoid waste
~ Out-of-season produce is available all year
~ Food bacteria stops growing (note: freezing won’t kill bacteria but does stop it growing)
~ Partial freezing of meat or fish makes it easier to slice, eg carpaccio

Why not?
~ Organisation is required for defrosting; frozen food normally stored in the fridge should be defrosted in the fridge
~ Some foods will spoil, eg food with high salt like ham or high sugar like jam can be watery when defrosted

What should I freeze?
~ Liquid based dishes – such as stock, soup, sauces and casseroles
~ Berries – such as strawberries (place in a single layer on a baking tray to open freeze, when frozen transfer to container and return to freezer)
~ Muffins, cakes and slices – double wrap (plastic and foil) and store in a plastic bag
~ Egg whites – try individually in an ice-cube tray
~ Meat – remove from butcher’s packing and wrap portions separately in plastic wrap
~ Mince – in a plastic bag and flattened to allow for even defrosting
~ Nuts – stops them becoming rancid
~ Ice-cream – cover surface with plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn
~ Pastry – make sure it is well wrapped

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy 150th birthday Tahbilk!

I have long been drinking Tahbilk wines, one of Victoria’s oldest wineries and family owned by the Purbrick family since 1925. I was delighted to be invited to celebrate this milestone at a grand dinner at the Plaza Ballroom in Melbourne last month – not the least because I had the pleasure of going there to do a beautiful pictorial story last February.

John Caldon with Rosa Purbrick and me

Guests, including many generations of the Purbrick family with their extended families and friends delighted in the Rococco themed dinner. Also in attendance were a who’s who of the wine industry, notably CEOs from Australia’s First Families of Wine (of which Tahbilk is a founding member) such as Robert Hill Smith (Yalumba), Stephen Henschke (Henschke), Bruce Tyrrell (Tyrrell’s), Ross Brown (Brown Brothers), Colin Campbell (Campbell’s), Peter Barry (Jim Barry Wines), Mitchell Taylor (Taylor’s), Doug McWilliam (McWilliam’s), Chester Osborn (d’Arenberg), Coonawarra’s Bruce Redman and Ian Hollick, and Victoria’s Stephen Shelmerdine.

The food and wine matching were well thought out – 2008 Tahbilk Sparkling Marsanne with canapés, a bracket of 2002 and 2009 Tahbilk Marsanne with the tiger prawn agnolotto entrée and 1999 Tahbilk Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and 2004 Tahbilk ESP Cabernet with the seared Asian-style duck with ginger, orange and palm sugar sauce main. Finally Tahbilk’s iconic 2004 1860 Vines Shiraz and ESP Shiraz perfectly complemented a selection of Australian cheeses.

When not focusing on the excellent food and wine, James Morrison and his band with vocalist Emma Pask, charmed guests with their jazz. Some even ventured onto the dance floor.

Then it was time for cake, a sweet version of Tahbilk’s iconic tower which was wheeled out after CEO Alister Purbrikc’s speech and cut by all the family. Guests’ rendition of Happy Birthday raised the rafters!

Happy Birthday Tahbilk!

Friday, November 5, 2010

The easiest chocolate almond fondant pudding ever – and gluten-free too!

Really, these delicious, gooey puddings are almost too easy! They can be mixed together quickly in a saucepan (saves washing up), spooned into greased muffin tins or ramekins and baked immediately or set aside for an hour or two or even overnight – whatever suits your schedule. One important point … before baking don’t forget to insert a square or two of chocolate into each pudding to achieve the classic fondant melting interior. These decadent puddings are excellent with cream or ice-cream or, my favourite, thick Greek yoghurt. I find the slight sourness balances the richness of the chocolate.

These crowd pleasing puddings are perfect just as they are, but if you are seeking variety, add a teaspoon of finely grated orange rind or a tablespoon of strong coffee to the pudding mixture. And, for a really unusual twist (and a little heat), add a pinch of dried red chili flakes.

The other variation I was thinking is substituting ground hazelnuts or pistachios for the almonds. I’ll let you know how it goes …

Click here for the recipe on my main site.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Regional food stars at Brisbane Good Food & Wine Show - starts this Friday

For the third year running I’ve been asked to host the Lyndey Milan Producers’ Market at the Brisbane Good Food & Wine Show.

My friends at Forever Knives will be there too and I’ll be demonstrating my Brilliant Cut Knife on their stand at various times throughout the day. Make sure you come and say Hi.

I’ll also be chatting and interviewing these fabulous artisan and boutique producers at the Lyndey Milan Regional Producers’ Market:

Hills of Byron is an award winning, plantation roasted coffee from the Bryon Bay hinterland with rich flavour and aroma. The 18,000 Arabica coffee trees meet pesticide and herbicide free growing standards prior to being processed, roasted and packed. A judge at a recent coffee competition stated ‘the coffee has a good sweet aroma with hints of pleasant strong toasty fragrance and mix of molasses or honey’.

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. Just one taste and you will be convinced.

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!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Steak Haus – new neighbourhood gem

Don’t you love finding a great new and affordable local?

After finishing a meeting my colleagues and I headed out for a quick dinner in the Potts Point / Kings Cross environs. I had previously heard about the very newly opened (a few days prior) Steak Haus and was keen to give it a try. Situated around the corner from the Coke sign in the premises that formerly housed Blanco, the interior screams chic with the obligatory communal table, low lighting and friendly wait staff. In a word, stylish. One thing I didn’t like was the soundtrack – maybe it is just me but the Gypsy Kings (I think?) on repeat was just a tad too much – and too loud. Also, as the night wore on it was harder and harder to hear with the buzz from other tables. That aside, the concept is great, the food good and the whole very budget friendly.

The Steak Haus offers a three course set menu with a few options for $30. Kind of like the $5 pub steak, but oh so much better.

The one size fits all entrée was a classic bistro style green salad taken to the next level with a herby mustard dressing and fresh crunchy walnuts and buttery croutons offering toothsome crunch.

Mains came with frites – shoestring fries to the non-Francophiles – and lots of them. They were good too. Protein choices were steak or tuna plus a vegetarian option. Our table sampled the steak and tuna. The thinly cut steaks (again a generous serve) appeared sporting char grill marks, and all were cooked as ordered, as was the tuna.

Accompanying the protein and frites was a selection of four sauces served DIY style in the middle of the table. My pick was the Chimmie Churrie (sic), although I would have enjoyed the Le Paris (with café de paris butter style flavours) a little more if it hadn’t separated. Chilli and mushroom sauces made up the quartet.

L to R le Paris, mushroom, chimmie churrie (sic) and chilli

The wine list was also approachable – with a concise selection of good local and international (France, Italy, New Zealand and Argentinian) offerings. We enjoyed a couple of bottles of 2009 Merricks Creek Pinot Noir which seemed to suit both the meat and fish eaters.

There were four desserts in the set menu and like good sports, we decided to have one of each. The usual suspects appeared – panna cotta, macaron, profiterole and brulee, however all were sweetly satisfying, especially the profiterole adorned with crisp caramel and the vivid pink macaron with creamy white chocolate filling. Apparently all house-made.

For a restaurant that has only been open for a couple of weeks, they are certainly getting a lot right. It’s one you could go back to time and again, as long as the noise didn’t put you off.

Steak Haus is at 5-9a Roslyn Avenue, Potts Point.  Telephone 02 8065 1812.  As yet there is no website.

Friday, October 29, 2010

My new projects

There are a few very exciting things happening at the moment and I wanted to share them with you.

In December Lyndey Milan Enterprises is launching a dedicated facility for culinary and lifestyle filming and photography in Artarmon, to be called the Sydney Studio Kitchen. The studio will feature kitchen and lifestyle sets with clever customised, interchangeable components and equipment. There will also be crew and other services for hire. The studio aims to meet the needs of advertising agencies and production companies which demand not just an elevated sense of design and functionality to enhance a product or a program’s identity, but also deliver production efficiencies. Also the set can look different for different clients!

As well as providing an innovative environment to showcase brands and shoot television content, we will also provide post production solutions with a fully equipped edit suite on site.

Upstairs will house the headquarters of Lyndey Milan Enterprises.

The other noteworthy project is the production company we have created to focus on unique television offers that will be filmed and marketed around the world. More about that soon…

While the core of my business (and life!) will always be my enduring love for all things gastronomic – food, wine, people and telling the stories behind them, I am thrilled that my new business ventures combine perfectly to fuel that love.

Lastly, with all this work … I’ve decided to leave ACP Magazines. I’ve loved my ten plus years at The Australian Women’s Weekly but feel now is the time to focus on these exciting projects. I will, of course, continue to appear regularly on Kerri-Anne on the Nine Network and will be sharing my new media commitments with you very soon.

Exciting times ahead!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Champion producers at Restaurant 2010

Restaurant 2010 is the key trade show for the food and wine industry, attracting business owners, restaurateurs, significant hospitality suppliers as well as key primary producers. It runs for two days (25 & 26 October) at the Royal Hall of Industries at Moore Park, Sydney.

Following very successful Lyndey Milan Regional Producers’ Markets at Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane Good Food & Wine Shows for the past three years, the exhibition organisers, Diversified, have asked me to put together a similar producers market for Restaurant 2010. The focus for Restaurant 2010 is on champion producers with a product suitable for the food service and/or restaurant trade market with supporting sales and marketing channels. Also there is only one per product category.

Click here to register. Its free!

I am delighted to present a fabulous group of champion producers:

Sublime Gelato
For nearly 10 years Sublime Gelato has been making authentic Italian gelato, sorbet and desserts in Sydney. All products are hand-made and the wide range of flavours is authentic yet innovative and unique. Sublime Cookies and Cream Gelato was recently awarded NSW Champion Frozen Dairy Confection Classes at the 2010 DIAA awards. Gelato have also won numerous medals at the Sydney Royal Cheese & Dairy Show as well the Grand Dairy Awards.

At Restaurant 2010, Sublime will be exhibiting:
Gelato: Pistachio, Belgian Chocolate, Cookies and Cream, Vanilla Bean (French Vanilla), Hazelnut, Tiramisu and Caramello
Sorbet: Mango, Lemon, Strawberry and Passionfruit

Jelm Lamb Pastoral Company
Multi-award winning Jelm is a family run business located at Sunnydale near Cootamundra in the Riverina district of NSW. The lambs and their environment are hormone and chemical free to ensure maximum quality, taste and texture. Proprietor Mark Williams manages the process from the farm to the abattoir through to preparation, packaging, delivery and storage. The result is numerous Sydney Royal Medals covering grass, grain and milk fed lamb. Jelm will be exhibiting their range of lamb products.

Stockyard Beef
Stockyard Beef, established in 1958, own and operate a 9200 head feedlot with supporting grain and pasture properties in Oakey, Queensland. They specialise in grain fed beef, especially high quality long fed and wagyu categories. Key values such as selecting superior genetics such as Angus, raising cattle in a clean and stress free environment and the right balance of nutritious feed ensure consistent tenderness and flavour. Stockyard is MSA graded to ensure superior eating quality. As well as Australia, their markets include Japan, Korea, Middle East, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, USA and Russia. Stockyard has won numerous medals and trophies and in 2010 Stockyard was awarded Champion status in both the Sydney Royal Fine Food Branded Beef Competition and the Royal Queensland Food and Wine Show. In fact, since 2006, Stockyard has been awarded Champion four times, making it the most successful beef brand in Australia.

Stockyard will be exhibiting their multi-award winning Gold range as well as Grain Fed (a young beef category grain fed for 70 days and MSA graded), CAAB (a 150 day Angus product certified by Australian Angus Beef) and Stockyard Wagyu (the ultimate in eating quality utilising Stockyard’s own wagyu genetics and unique feeding program).

Bellissimo Coffee
Bellissimo Coffee is located in Fortitude Valley in Brisbane. They are a new boutique coffee roaster that uses the highest quality beans that are organic, satisfy fair trade arrangements and are rainforest friendly. As a first time exhibitor, Bellissimo won a Gold Medal and Class Champion (overall winner) Espresso at 2010 Sydney Royal Fine Food Show for their premium blend Bellissimo Emporio. Amazingly Bellissimo Emporio was only created in 2010 and as well as being awarded Sydney Royal Champion also won a Gold Medal in the Cappuccino class at the Royal Hobart Fine Food Show.

Bellissimo will be exhibiting their range of coffees, including their multi-award winning Bellissimo Emporio. They will also be exhibiting Conti commercial espresso machines (the Conti Twin Star 2 – the first commercial coffee machine in Australia to feature a revolutionary top model multiple boiler coffee machine with a newly developed group head design to provide optimum flavours during extraction and the Conti Essika SsK2) and Santos commercial coffee grinders (Santos 40A and Santos 55 – with the newly developed silent operating system which significantly reduces noise and automatic dosing control grind on demand technology for precision grinding).

Country Valley
Country Valley is located one hour south-west of Sydney in rural Picton and the Fairley family have been farming the lush valley for over 150 years. The dairy was established in 1958 and is now managed by John & Sally Fairley who run about 145 head of Freisian/Jersey cross cattle on 300 acres, producing a range that includes milk, yoghurt and cream. To maintain supreme freshness the dairy is 100 metres from the processing plant. Country Valley have won numerous awards and medals including Champion Yoghurt for their Lush Traditional Homemade Natural Yoghurt at the 2010 Sydney Royal Cheese & Dairy Show plus seven Gold Medals for other products. Most significantly they won the 2009 Sydney Royal President’s Medal – there were up again five other champion producers from the wine, dairy and fine food competitions, judged on a multi-faceted basis.

At Restaurant 2010, they will be exhibiting:
Country Valley Organic Milk
Country Valley Organic Lite Milk
Country Valley Premium Full Cream Milk
Country Valley Lite Milk
Country Valley Skim Milk
Country Valley Classic Cream
“Lush” natural yoghurt (champion at RAS 2008 & 2010)
“Lush” plain (sweetened) yoghurt

Managing Director (and farmer), John Fairley, will be on the stand for the duration of the show.

Grima’s Farm Fresh
For over 50 years Grima’s Farm Fresh Produce has operated in the Sydney basin. The family business has been managed for the past 20 years by third generation Grima brothers Sam and Stephen who, with their wives run the business as well as participate in growers’ markets. In recent years Grima’s have diversified in growing a wide variety of baby vegetables for the restaurant trade. The brothers are also working with local chefs in growing other varieties of vegetables. Grima’s are regulars at most Sydney growers’ markets: Entertainment Quarter Moore Park, The Good Living Growers Market at Pyrmont, Northside Produce Market at North Sydney and Hawkesbury Harvest Market at Castle Hill. They also at the Flemington Market in the growers section.

At Restaurant 2010 they will be exhibiting an array of their vegetables including pencil leeks, golden beetroot, target beetroot, baby beetroot, radishes, baby turnips and finger and baby fennel.

Sam and Stephen with their wives Theresa and Sharon will be on the stand.

See you there!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Edna’s Table native Australian lunch

Following the visit by world renowned chef Rene Redzepi from Noma in Copenhagen, who champions his native food (and wonders why we don’t champion ours … huh?), my great friends Raymond Kersh AM and Jennice Kersh AM of Edna’s Table rose to the challenge. See recent media.

Jennice and Ray set about putting together a spontaneous event using indigenous ingredients for some of the visiting chefs and media to sample.

The Royal Botanic Gardens was the obvious choice of venue and lunch in the sun dappled courtyard was preceded by a fascinating walk among the indigenous plants led by aboriginal education officers Leon Jinnabinga Burchall and Clarence Slockee. Most interesting was their explanation of regionality and the differences in plants and names for different areas, as well as the many medicinal uses for such plants.

A diverse group of lunch guests was assembled, including:
* Musa Dagdeverin and Murad Llgicioglu, visiting chefs from Turkey
* Jennifer 8 Lee, a food writer from America
* Margaret Xu Yuan, chef from Hong Kong
* Somer Sivriotlu, owner/chef of Efendy Restaurant, Balmain
* Leon Jinnabinga Burchall and Clarence Slockee
* Simon Marnie, Weekends Presenter, ABC 702 Sydney

Ray was assisted in the kitchen by chef Ashley Hughes from Alio Restaurant and Daniel Dewar, who also ran the floor spectacularly with Blair Milan.

Musa, Murad and Margaret were especially enchanted by the flavours. Margaret was avidly collecting samples while the Turkish chefs went into the kitchen to make a traditional onion salad, using Davidson Plum in place of sumac! Brilliant.

Ray and Jennice were extremely grateful to the following food producers who supported the lunch with fantastic product:
Lenah Game Meats John Kelly provided his fantastic Tasmanian wallaby
Herbie’s Spices My mate Ian ‘Herbie’ Hemphill has a very extensive range of native herbs and spices
Kurrajong Australian Native Foods

Leon Jinnbinga Burchall collecting nectar from bottlebrush

Even though Ray & Jennice's award-winning restaurant Edna’s Table closed several years ago, they haven’t lose their touch for hospitality, attention to detail and warmth and, of course, Ray’s magic touch with native food was showcased with his stunning menu.

Wines were generous supplied by my friends at NSW Wine from their recently announced Top 40 wines. They matched superbly.

Following are pictures of each course with matching wine.

Marinated emu, Mulloon Creek honey and native finger lime salad
Shaw Vineyard Estate 2009 Premium Riesling, Canberra

Magnetic Island cheese fruit & goats cheese tartlet with mango basil & lemon myrtle oil
Meerea Park 2005 Alexander Munro Semillon, Hunter Valley

Tasmanian grilled wallaby fillet filled with enoki mushrooms, La Perouse warrigal greens and pandanus leaf sauce
Hungerford Hill 2008 Epic Chardonnay, Tumbarumba

Northern Territory crocodile, corn & coriander nori parcel with hot sour native aniseed broth
Angullong Wines 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Orange

Grilled fillet of kangaroo, kumara sweet potato, beetroot & Mulloon Creek wild rocket and ponzu dressing
Thomas Wines 2009 Sweetwater Shiraz, Hunter Valley

Sadly I didn’t take a photograph of dessert – Native Davidson plum & mountain pepperberry ice cream, Wattleseed crème brulee, Rosella buds & quandongs, delightfully matched with McWilliam’s 2008 Morning Light Botrytis Semillon from the Riverina.

Let’s hope this is the beginning of a revival of interest in native flavours!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Week of Tastes starts today!

… and runs until 24 October.  I love being part of this fantastic initiative to involve and educate 8 and 9 year olds regarding food identification, preparation and taste.  More than just school visits, the program includes events and special restaurant menus that aim to teach kids about using all the senses when they eat – sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami as well as expanding their food vocabulary and showing them that trying new, unknown foods is not scary.

A board of senses and tastes at St Francis School, Paddington (participants in 2009)

As I previously mentioned I’ll be at Willoughby Primary School on Friday 22 October from 10am. This year over 120 school classes are participating – a record!

If the school your children attends is not involved with the program, there are a couple of other ways you and your family can get involved.

Week of Tastes menus
As part of Sydney International Food Festival a number of restaurants including Bathers’ Pavilion and Glass Brassiere are offering child-friendly menus (often designed by the chef’s children), served at family-friendly hours, designed to be both educational and enjoyable.

Tickle your Taste Buds
A few of Sydney’s top chefs, including Justin North and Alex Herbert, together with well-known journalist Simon Thomsen will guide this hands-on family workshop on Sunday 17 October between 10:30am and 3:15pm at the Powerhouse Museum. Click here to book.

For more details visit the Week of Tastes website.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Rocks Markets Cheese Showcase

There is so much on this weekend! If you are not heading out of town to the McGuigan Seasonal Market in the Hunter Valley don’t miss The Rocks Markets Cheese Showcase – on Sunday 10 October from 10am until 5pm in Jack Mundey Place.

In association with The Australian Specialist Cheesemakers’ Association, the Rocks will come alive with market stalls featuring a rich array of boutique cheeses (see list below) and wines from Yering Station and Cumulus. When you are there don’t forget to pick up my cheese and wine matching recommendations. Here is the list of beautiful cheeses you can taste and buy on Sunday:

Milawa Cheese Company
Camembert: velvety, white mould made in the Normandy style with a mushroomy aroma and a mild salty flavour and, when ripe, a creamy golden interior
Brie: soft, luscious white mould cheese. When matured develops a rich milky melting taste with a buttery flowing centre
King River Gold: a speciality washed rind yet subtle cheese
Gold: a European style cheese inspired by such famous classics as Port Salut and pont L’Eveque. This piquant, ambrosial cheese has a distinct gold to red rind
Blue: soft blue cheese with a mild flavour enhanced by the restrained growth of delicate green/white mould
Chèvre: a fresh, sharp acidic cheese with a subtle goat flavour
Native Pepper Chèvre: a light dusting of crushed native leaves and berries with a uniquely Australian mild pepper/eucalypt bite
Goat’s Camembert: this fast ripening cheese with more complex, earthy flavours than normal Camembert
Ceridwen (ker-id-wen): fresh chèvre with vine ash and white mould, typical of Loire Valley styles
Capricornia: hard goats cheese with a mild nutty bite when aged

Shaw River Buffalo Cheese
Buffalino: white with a smooth creamy texture and tangy fruit taste
Smoked Buffalino: a light smoking turns this cheese a golden caramel colour with a soft creamy texture that melts in the mouth
Annie Baxter: semi hard cooked cheese with a smooth and aromatic palate that is creamy white in colour with a light natural rind

Small Cow Farm
Camembert: a mild creamy camembert with a buttery interior
Fetta: fresh cows curd textured cheese
Marinated Fetta: fresh cows curd textured cheese marinated in garlic, herbs and olive oil
Blue: strong bitey blue in a stilton style, piquant and robust

Yarra Valley Dairy
Persian Fetta: first created 15 years ago this cheese is soft and creamy and marinated in an extra-virgin olive oil blend with thyme and garlic
Juno: soft fresh goats' cheese marinated with juniper berries, green olive, rosemary, red capsicum and garlic
Cardi: soft fresh goats' milk cheese marinated with cardamom pods, shallots, coriander and black pepper
Saffy: creamy fresh cows' milk cheese marinated with saffron, lemon zest, cumin seeds and garlic
Black Savourine: semi-mature goats’ milk cheese made in the shape of a pyramid and coated with vine ash with a full, rich flavour of roasted nuts, citrus and cooked cream
Geo George: handcrafted goat cheese with unique complexity and depth made in the traditional French soft curd style using lactic acid fermentation with a creamy full bodied interior with a citrussy tang and nutty overtones

Capra Cheese
Fresco Fromage Blanc/Fromage Frais: soft, fresh goat's milk curd that is both light and creamy as well as deliciously moist and fluffy, and exhibits floral overtones with a refreshing acidity
Allegro Chèvre: firm, fresh goat's cheese with a dense and sensuous texture and a slight citrus tang and delicately clean finish
Mountain Ash: traditional French-style pyramid with a delicate sweetness is balanced by gentle acidity
Cameo: mature ashed & white mould cheese that is aromatic, intense and slightly sweet, with a lingering mouthfeel, hint of blue tones and a creamy texture.
Velvet: signature French-barrel style mature white mould cheese which, when young, is nutty with a mushroomy aroma and subtle suggestions of truffle and as it ages, develops a sweet, full-bodied richness.
Serenade: mature heart-shaped cheese with a velvety, white mould rind and an ash layer running through the centre that is smooth and rich, with complex cheddar and blue overtones and a heady hint of spiciness when fully mature.

And the wines:

Yering Station
2006 Yarrabank Cuvee
2008 Yering Station Chardonnay
2010 Yering Station ED Pinot Noir Rose
2008 Yering Station Pinot Noir
2007 Yering Station Shiraz Viognier
2008 Yering Station Cabernet Sauvignon
2008 Yering Station Late Harvest Riesling

2010 Rolling Moscato
2009 Rolling Sparkling Pinot Grigio Chardonnay
2009 Climbing Sauvignon Blanc
2009 Climbing Pinot Gris
2008 Climbing Chardonnay
2009 Rolling Pink
2008 Climbing Merlot
2008 Rolling Shiraz
2007 Cumulus Shiraz
2008 Climbing Cabernet Sauvignon
2008 Five Friends Cabernet Shiraz

About the Australian Specialist Cheesemakers' Association
ASCA is the peak body representing the Australian specialist cheese industry. Its role is to promote and accelerate excellence and bring together the best available knowledge and expertise to stimulate dialogue and provide continuing education, operational guidance, recognition and professional growth and development for its members.

There will also be two different cheese tasting plates on sale. Talented presenter Blair Milan is hosting interviews with cheese and wine producers between 11am and 4pm.


Seasonal delights at McGuigan Hunter Valley

You may recall I hosted the McGuigan Season in the Barossa last June.  What a great day – lots of amazing producers and, of course, wine.

The good news is that the markets are on again but this time in the Hunter Valley – this Sunday, 10 October – at McGuigan’s cellar door. Click here for location and directions.

Like the seasonal market in the Barossa, McGuigan Winery in the Hunter Valley will transform into a vibrant farmers’ market, showcasing the finest local product from the Valley with live music and family entertainment as well as wine.

Producers and restaurants attending this Sunday include:

Mikes Got Worms
Pukara Estate
Hunter Valley Cheese Factory
Gelato Company
Alldinga Oysters
Hunter Valley Chocolate Company
Lambert Macadamias
Good Food Distributors Australian Beef
The Steakhouse Restaurant
The Verandah Restaurant

I will be doing a cooking demonstration using a selection of produce gathered exclusively from the market. Can’t wait!

Come along and also enjoy a glass of wine from award winning McGuigan Wines, International Winemaker of the Year in 2009, at the International Wine and Spirit Competition, London. A fine selection of their wines will be available at the market, including the McGuigan Bin 9000 Semillon 2003, which has scooped awards at the International Wine Challenge and the Decanter World Wine Awards this year and a selection of quality wines from the McGuigan Wines Discover range. Impressive.

I will also have a selection of my books for sale and the new Lyndey Milan Brilliant Cut Knife. Come along and try it out for yourself.

Details are:
McGuigan Seasonal Market
09:30am – 3:00pm
McGuigan Hunter Valley Cellar Door
Cnr Broke & McDonalds Roads, Pokolbin
Click here for more details.

See you there!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

How to win with Australian Pork – a pork masterclass, Brilliant Cut Knife and my latest three books

I am excited to let you know that I have teamed up with my friends at Australian Pork who are running a fabulous competition with

I’ve written about my love for Australian pork and my main website features a few of my favourite pork recipes plus a round up of cured pork.

Click here for your chance to win:

First prize
* A one-on-one Australian Pork masterclass with me in Sydney (which includes economy flights from your nearest capital city and ground transfers in Sydney – value $2,500).
* A Brilliant Cut Knife including sharpener and 52 minute DVD featuring five of my favourite recipes plus hints and tips on how to get the most from the Brilliant Cut Knife – value $278.95
* Copies of my latest three books: Lyndey Milan The Best Collection (New Holland), value $50; Just Add Spice (Lantern) co-written with Ian ‘Herbie’ Hemphill, value $50; and Balance, Matching Food and Wine, What Works and Why (Hachette) co-written with Colin Corney, value $35

Runners-up prizes
* Three Brilliant Cut Knives including sharpener and 52 minute DVD featuring five of my favourite recipes plus hints and tips on how to get the most from the Brilliant Cut Knife – value $278.95

Good luck!

Monday, September 20, 2010

What makes the confit duck pies at the Bayside Lounge so delectable?

That’s a good question and one that I hope to discover ...

As you may know I’m the newly appointed Food & Beverage Ambassador for the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, the home of the stylish new Bayside Lounge. As such I get to work with some truly lovely people: Ton van Amerongen, Chief Executive; Simon Lomas, Director of Food & Beverage and the uber talented Uwe Habermehl, Executive Chef.

I’ve long been impressed with the food and service at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, especially at the annual Australia Day lunch. You can read my post about Australia Day this year here.

I’m also very happy to be presenting The Magic of Spices at the Bayside Terrace (the event is part of the Sydney International Food Festival) on 12 October with my Just Add Spice co-author, Ian ‘Herbie’ Hemphill. For event details click here.

Executive Chef Uew Habermehl feeding (!) me that pie

Now back to that pie … Uwe is keeping his recipe secret … don’t you hate that? I know that the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre promotes Australian produce so we know that it contains good stuff. But what?

If you’ve ever made duck confit (confession: I haven’t for quite a while) you’ll know that it is a bit of a process. Two to three days to be precise. First you have to rub the duck with spices. What spices does Uwe use? My palate detected thyme, garlic and pepper, but what else? Think I need to sample a few more to sure. In the interests of research you understand. Uwe?

Oh, and the duck is lovely and meaty and melts in the mouth. Uwe buys his duck from the Macleay Valley in New South Wales. Gotta love regional New South Wales produce.

Once I’ve figured out the confit flavourings, I’ll begin work on the pastry. Two types I think – one for the base and another for the top. Might need a few more research samples … Uwe?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Diary date: Week of Tastes (14-24 October)

Week of Tastes, a fantastic food related initiative targeted at 8 and 9 year old children, runs from 14-24 October. I’m delighted to be involved this year. It’s always great to go somewhere you have a connection and my great nephews attend the infants department of Willoughby Public School, so that’s where I’m headed to give a lesson.

I have long believed on exposing kids to different flavours and cuisines and engendering a love of new foods. When my kids were at pre-school I went and taught pasta making to 4 year olds – and how positively they responded! Therefore I’m committed to educating everyone, especially children, on making good and informed food choices, the enjoyment of cooking and the hospitality of the table.

A little bit of history … Week of Tastes is based on a French program that has been running across Europe and the US for 20 years. There are two elements: the teacher delivers an introductory lesson covering food appreciation and good health through a series of experiential exercises and cooks or chefs follow up with further, more specific education about the world of taste, food and cooking.

Briefly Week of Tastes aims to:

* Develop children’s relationship with food and address some habits that might contribute to obesity.
* Create positive associations with the process of food creation, taste and the act of making good food choices.

The lesson plan delivered by the teacher contains some lessons for us all:

* An understanding of how the senses affect both taste and appreciation of food
* Expanding your food vocabulary
* Developing positive attitudes towards trying new foods
* The link between food and good health

How are these for comments from children, teachers and chefs:

"I also learned that even though something doesn’t look good, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste good. It was an adventure for my taste buds." Zak, grade 4 student, Hunters Hill Primary

"We feel the multi-sensory learning experiences were so successful that we plan to extend the program in 2010." Debbie Campbell, teacher at Redlands College

"The teacher was provided with lesson plans that integrated the health strand of PDHPE with Science and English. A highlight of the week was a visit from a French pastry chef. He talked about different types of pastry and methods of preparation. He also brought samples for the students to try! The children presented an assembly item at the conclusion of this week. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive from the students, the teacher and the parents. If you have the opportunity to participate in this program I strongly encourage you to do so." Amanda Donlan, principal at Northbridge Primary

"Programs like the Week of Tastes help to instil in growing children the importance of good health and understanding of where our food comes from. I think taste education programs are so important. Food appreciation started young will result in healthy happy kids." Pete Evans, chef, My Kitchen Rules

Look at these pictures from Week of Tastes 2009

Chef Peter Evans at Bondi Primary

Chef Kylie Kwong at St Francis Paddington

If you are a teacher, chef or child and want to be involved visit

Or maybe I’ll see you at Willoughby Primary on Friday 22 October at 10am!

Friday, September 3, 2010

The pasta of spring

How many times can one welcome Spring?  First we had GLAMB and now it’s time for spring pasta or Pasta Primavera - a quick and simple 15 minute bowl of spring freshness and goodness.
I’ve used new season’s asparagus, the smallest zucchinis I could find, crunchy snow peas as well as broad beans. I do love broadbeans: the fresh variety is in season from spring right through to mid-summer but sometimes can be difficult to find. If you are lucky to find them, remember to double peel, ie remove the beans from the long pods, then blanch in boiling water for a few minutes, then run under a cold tap before peeling away the second layer of skin around the bean. Use your fingers to pop the bean out. This is a great job for the kids. If you can’t find fresh broad beans, frozen are just as good. But again, I recommend peeling away (or popping!) the skin surrounding the bean.

The sauce is the perfect foil to the fresh vegetables, based on egg and freshly grated parmesan as in pasta carbonara, with the addition of warm milk (or cream if you are feeling decadent) and freshly grated parmesan. Easy. Dinner in 15 minutes. I couldn’t be happier. And Kerri-Anne really tucked in during the commercial break!

Click here for the recipe on my main site.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Spring into lamb with GLAMB

I love love love lamb, especially spring lamb and am delighted to front the food side of MLA’s spring lamb campaign this month.

The Milan Collection is about fashion – but what you eat rather than what you wear! I developed a number of main course and picnic style recipes using cuts such as rump, backstrap, easy carve leg, butterflied shoulder, loin chop, forequarter chop, rack and cutlets for a fabulous booklet attached to October Australian Good Food magazine, called Chop Til You Drop. Nicole Vonwiller and Clementine Whyte from ACP have done a fantastic job and I especially love all the ‘fashion’ references in the booklet including:

Lamb-alicious: the coolest cuts this spring
Lamb is the best dressed meat this season
Lyndey’s latest are a leg ahead

And the booklet was beautifully styled by Margot Braddon and shot by Chris Chen who also shot my latest book Just Add Spice.

To give you a taste, some of the recipes from the Milan Spring Lamb Collection are:

Thai stir-fried lamb rump and glass noodle salad
Poached lamb backstrap with baby spring vegetables and garlic cream
Spanish-style lamb forequarter chops with warm vegetable medley
Slow roasted lamb shoulder with rocket, goat’s cheese and orange salad
Grilled sticky lamb with kecap manis, ginger and lime

I’ll be cooking a selection of these glamorous lamb (also known as GLAMB) recipes on Kerri-Anne in September as part of my regular Thursday cooking segment at around 10:40am.

The official launch was today at Chophouse in the Sydney CBD. I was there with Henry Roth fashion designer extraordinaire and Project Runway Australia mentor talking up GLAMB during the live weather crosses on the Today Show. He was so much fun and as enthusiastic about my lamb as the models. The models looked amazing and the whole thing featured throughout the Today Show!

The Today Show’s weatherman Steve Jacobs with the models dressed as a garlic bulb and a barbeque 

Henry Roth on the catwalk

The models

Friday, August 27, 2010

The sweetest thing

I start every day with fresh seasonal fruit and while I love winter vegies, find fruit choices much more limited during this season. However, surprisingly this is the best time of year for a tropical fruit – luscious sweet pineapples.

Pineapples are a super food, high in vitamin C and low in sugar. In fact just one cup of pineapple provides the daily recommended dose of vitamin C. To my mind, eating pineapple beats taking cold and flu medicine.

When selecting pineapples, look for fruit that is free from soft spots, bruises and darkened eyes, all indicating the fruit is past its prime. While pineapples will happily sit in the fruit basket for a couple of days, after skinning and slicing you should store in the fridge for up to 6 days.

I enjoy pineapple in savoury dishes – think Asian-style pork belly or filet with chilli pineapple salsa or red duck curry with pineapple –as well as sweet treats like this dessert style cake from my recently released cookbook Just Add Spice []. The flavour is intriguing because it contains quatre epices – a seductive blend of cinnamon, allspice, cloves and black pepper which provides an interesting, complement to the sweetness of the pineapple.

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

Monday, August 16, 2010

Chicken & tarragon pie in 30 minutes

Winter is all about comfort food – not the we always have time on our side. This pie, however, doesn’t take that long, pleases adults and children alike and is smart enough for a midweek dinner party.

I love the classic French combination of chicken and tarragon and have further highlighted the aniseed flavour by including fennel (in season now!) in the filling and finishing the tart off with a sprinkle of fennel seeds for crunch, aroma and, of course, flavour.

A quick word on the chicken – I’m a fan of thighs for their meatiness and flavour, however breasts can easily be substituted, just be careful you don’t overcook them.

The pie is topped with filo, instead of traditional puff pastry. I like filo because it is easy to work with, quick, incredibly forgiving … and always in my freezer.

I’ve made one big family-style pie, but the recipes work equally well as individual pies cooked in ramekins – these can be topped with filo or circles of puff pastry.

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