23 May 2014
This episode was a collaboration between Destination NSW and Lyndey Milan’s ‘Taste of Australia’ showcasing Regional NSW.
Autumn is a glorious time in the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains, with beautiful crisp mornings and evenings. The area is famed for Echo Point, overlooking the magnificent Three Sisters, but there is much more to see – especially for a foodie – making it well worth staying for a night or two, or more!
An apple a day
Logan Brae is an apple orchard in Blackheath that was planted in 1919. It’s the only remaining orchard in the Blue Mountains, supported by the young and passionate Sam Edwards. The orchard celebrates old apple varieties and traditional methods of working – the result is a sensational flavour. There’s something special about these ancient trees that have lined the valley’s edge for so long, producing fruit that represents what’s great about this region: quality fresh produce.
I used some of these apples to cook a classic pork and apples combo, making pulled pork sliders with apple slaw by the warming indoor fire at the historic Carrington Hotel in Katoomba, which was built in 1883.
Wagyu beef, foraged mushrooms and chocolates from the mountains
Deep in the Megalong Valley, Takao Suzuki – a Japanese native who came to Australia “because he wanted to be a cowboy” – raises and feeds Wagyu cattle using traditional Japanese methods. The combination of Takao’s Japanese heritage, passion, and knowledge, together with the Blue Mountains’ lush farmland, makes for a truly distinctive Wagyu product. I paired this melt-in-the-mouth, high-quality beef with some mushrooms I foraged for in Oberon.
Autumn is wild mushroom season and the forest is eerily quiet, but it’s an amazing location to forage for exotic Saffron Milk Caps (also known as Pine Mushrooms) and Slippery Jacks. FinSki’s blogger, Bella Hyde, was a wonderful foraging guide. In partnership with her best friend, Izabella, they draw on their Finnish and Polish heritages to create a wonderful blog filled with great recipes, food experiences, and foraging escapades, but like to keep their exact foraging location secret. Their advice? Walk slowly, but look quickly. If you see a little mound, push the needles away gently to find a mushroom – if not a pine cone! If you do find a mushroom, look nearby – it will have neighbours.
The picturesque village of Leura is the home of many beauties. Dating back to the 1930s, the historical Everglades House offers spectacular views over the Jamison Valley, and was a great venue to put the Waygu beef to good use with my foraged mushrooms. In Leura’s main street, Jodie Van Der Velden weaves her chocolate magic at Josophan’s Fine Chocolates. Using only fair trade chocolate, Josie produces delicate treats that are heavenly for any chocolate addict and very hard to resist!
The Magic Pudding!
The Blue Mountains is as famous for culture as it is for astonishing views. Utilising the former home and studio of Australian artist and writer Norman Lindsay (1869-1969), the Norman Lindsay Gallery & Museum in Faulconbridge showcases his etchings, drawings, paintings, books, and sculptures. In honour of his iconic children’s book, The Magic Pudding, I made my very own ‘magic pudding’: steamed banana and ginger pudding with ginger glaze and brûléed bananas. My little touch of magic was the addition of some good espresso coffee!
Every time I visit the region I am impressed not only by the food and culture of the Blue Mountains, but also the people; the area has an overwhelming sense of community which really binds this region together.