Autumn is a glorious time in the World Heritage list Blue Mountains (200–1100 metres), and that is when I visited, a time of crisp mornings and evenings, as it is now. Famed for Echo point overlooking the Three Sisters there is much, much more to see, especially for a foodie, making it well worth staying for a night or two, or even more.
Taste of Australia encore continues this Sunday 4th September at 12:30pm on Foxtel’s LifeStyle FOOD.
An apple a day
Logan Brae Apples in Blackheath date from 1919, and celebrates old apple varieties and ways of working and with a sensational flavour result. The only remaining orchard in the Blue Mountains, kept afloat by the surprisingly young and passionate Sam Edwards. There’s something special about these ancient trees that have lined the valley’s edge for over so long, producing fruit which represents what’s great about the region. Sam enjoys the old fashioned way of working – and I loved the chance to again drive a tractor.
I used some of these apples to cook with later for a classic combo of pork and apples to make pulled pork sliders with apple slaw by the warming indoor fire at the historic Carrington Hotel, built in 1883 in Katoomba.
Wagyu beef, foraged mushrooms and chocolates from the mountains
Another surprise, deep in the Megalong Valley where Takao Suzuki – who came to Australia ‘because he wanted to be a cowboy’ – raises and feeds wagyu beef along traditional Japanese lines. The combination of Takao’s Japanese heritage, passion & knowledge in combination with the Blue Mountain’s 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 myself in Oberon.
Autumn is wild mushroom time and the forest is eerily quiet and an amazing location to forage for exotic saffron milk caps (or pine mushrooms) and slippery Jacks. Bella Hyde from FinSkis was a wonderful guide. In partnership with her best friend, Katriina, they draw on their Finnish and Polish heritages, but like to keep the exact foraging location in the forest secret. Their advice? Walk slowly…but look quickly. If you see a little mound …push the needles away gently and there will be your mushroom – if not a pine cone! If you do find one, look nearby—it will have neighbours.
The picturesque village of Leura is the home of two beauties. First the historical Everglades House which dates back to the 1930s with spectacular views over the Jamison Valley, was a great venue to put that waygu to good use with my foraged mushrooms. The second is the picturesque village itself where in the main street, Jodie Van Der Velden weaves her chocolate magic at Josophan’s. 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 are as famous for culture as they are for astonishing views. The Norman Lindsay Gallery & Museum in Faulconbridge utilises the talented artist’s old home and studio as a gallery to showcase his etchings, drawings, paintings, books and sculptures. In honour of his kids book of the same name, here I made my very own Magic Pudding in the form of steamed banana and ginger pudding with ginger glaze and brûléed bananas – and my little touch of magic the addition of some good espresso coffee!
Every time I visit the region I am impressed 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.
If you have enjoyed Lyndey Milan’s Taste of Australia, the book of the same name is available from www.flamedistributionstore.com , the book was awarded ‘Best TV Chef Cookbook in English’ at The Gourmand World Cookbook Awards last year.