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Five Questions with Lyndey Milan

September 13, 2013

Lyndey Milan

Meet Lyndey Milan

 

…also known as “the lady on the television who taught me how to cook”.

It’s a true story. I planned my lecture times around Fresh TV, read her articles in the Australian Women’s Weekly where she was food director for over 10 years, and finally worked up the guts to borrow mum’s kitchen to bake some muffins I’d seen her demonstrate. We were a noodle and rice family growing up, you see, and the thought of a roast chicken that didn’t come already cooked from the shops was unknown in our home until Lyndey came along. I saw her as my non-Asian-food mother. The one who would show me the things that my own mother didn’t know.

And then I got an invitation to meet her and I almost broke my laptop with the eagerness of my response.

We were there to watch her cook. To have dinner (and wine! and whiskey!) with her, and to watch snippets from he latest television series, Lyndey Milan’s Taste of Ireland, which had just been released to DVD. There was smoked salmon and oysters, a watercress salad that took us a little too long to pick, seared venison with colcannon (of course!) and a sticky Irish Whiskey snap and Guinness creme brulee for dessert. In the meantime, we chatted and sang. We shared stories of food past and present (and when I meekly mentioned her influence on my cooking, she beamed and offered to take a photograph with me… which I’ll pop up on the facebook page over the weekend in case you’re into seeing me grin like a dork)

As you can imagine, I was thrilled to have her involved in my little “five questions with…” project…

 

And this is what we asked her

 

1. What was the very first meal you made without assistance (and how did it turn out?)

When I was 16 I used my pocket money to buy The Margaret Fulton cookbook – I still have my treasured copy, signed by Margaret many years later.  I also remember reading American  magazines under the desk at school which a friend’s mother used to buy.  I can’t remember exactly my very first meal but at 16+ my sister and I were holding dinner parties together, supplemented by a bit of Chinese take-away. However, I do remember a recipe for pork in sour cream with some tomato paste and spices. It was very rich but that was the trend of the time. Our guests were always happy!

2. You’ve been filming around Greece, Ireland and Australia in recent years, what was the most unexpected highlight of your travels?

Aside from the food, always a highlight, it is always the people I meet and what they do with the challenges they confront which astounds me.  These people put their heart and soul into growing and producing the food we share with our family and loved ones.  In Greece it was Fani, Chryssa and Harris at O Pseiras Taverna who allowed us to film impromptu and shared their family recipes with us.  In Ireland it was the thrill of cooking the Darina Allen of Ballymaloe and fishing with Martin Shanahan. In Australia it was foraging and cooking with Rick Stein. But more than that it is the farmers and producers and their families, who work so hard and so willingly share their knowledge and food who continually blow me away.

3. I’ve heard you’re quite the singer (and I’ve heard you sing to boot!) What kind of music do you like to play when in the kitchen?

I do love show tunes but when I’m in the kitchen I really prefer the peace and quiet.  Cooking can be escapism for me; I love getting ‘in the zone’ when creating recipes or even cooking old favourites.  Music for me can be the sizzle in a pan, the crackle of pork or the crunch of fresh vegetables.  But give me an audience – and it’s Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Natalie Cole  and yes even Andrew Lloyd Webber. However, what my partner and I enjoy best is rewriting the words of well known songs for birthdays or New Year’s Eve parties – always with a theme of course.

4. You’re hosting a dinner party for 10. What never-fail, always popular recipe do you turn to first?

The first ‘recipe’ I turn to is the mix of guests – conversation is king. My partner John and I entertain a lot, both for business and with friends and family, and often a combination of the two.  Either way, we like an eclectic mix of guests – and especially love it if someone can play the piano!  In terms of food, dinner parties are all about enjoying the hospitality of the table and singing!  I tend to keep it simple with a cold entrée like freshly shucked oysters or salmon tartare followed by a quick cook protein like duck breasts, skirt steak or pork loin steak, finishing with a perfectly ripe Australian cheese.   At weekends I might add a dessert.

5. What is your somewhat secret, highly unfashionable food love? (Mine is sardines from a tin. I can’t get enough of them.)

I always have a stock of tinned tuna. I especially like the one with chilli – it’s great for a hangover!

 

And for you, a giveaway!

 

In celebration of the release of Lyndey Milan’s Taste of Ireland on DVD, we are giving away five (!) copies of the full series to lucky readers of onebitemore.

To enter, all you need to do is send an email to [email protected] telling us (in 25 words or less) which country you’d like to have a taste of. Please also let me know your name and postal address just in case you win!

(If you’d like to leave a comment in the section below, that wouldn’t hurt either).

The competition opens on Friday 13th September 2013 and closes at midnight on 30 September 2013. Winners will be notified by email and also listed on this website. This competition is a game of skill, and not chance. The winners will be selected in accordance with the levels of sprightliness and amusement contained within their answers.

Unfortunately, this competition is only open to people with an Australian postal address.


  • #1
    September 13th, 2013

    Oh I loved Fresh TV. I too would always make the time for it, especially after school. I found myself working up an appetite for dinner haha

  • #2
    September 13th, 2013

    That is the sweetest post. thank you so much. It gives me real joy when people tell me I have taught them to cook – that is my whole mojo. Thank you for sharing this.

  • #3
    September 15th, 2013

    How amazing for you to interview your cooking hero, Shez! Great post. PS I love tuna with chilli, too 😀

Shez