In 2009, Julie Goodwin, wife and mum of three boys, was plucked from obscurity when she won the first season of MasterChef Australia
. Her life changed forever.
Julie was selected in the top 20 from over 7000 applicants and spent three months away from home with the other contestants as the program was filmed.
How things have escalated since then. Julie is Channel 9's resident cook and can be seen on the TODAY Show on Tuesdays. Plus she has her own show called Home Cooked which premieres on Saturday, August 7 at 5.30pm. She's also a regular columnist for the Australian Women's Weekly and released her cookbook Our Family Table earlier this year. Her book includes recipes from family and friends as well as recipes she devised while on MasterChef.
She also supports many charities Community Chest, St Vincent de Paul, Red Nose Day, Australia's Biggest Morning Tea and was recently appointed official ambassador for the McGrath Foundation.
Julie's warm personality and enthusiasm captured the hearts of Australia and she was in many ways responsible for people discovering or rediscovering the joys of cooking.
Dermott is always ready for a good meal and he was very happy to join Julie on a picnic in Sydney's Lane Cove National Park. First though, they had to go shopping and visited Thomas Dux Grocer on the way to the park.
When it comes to picnics, you want as little washing up as possible, so steak sandwiches and chicken in rolls and wraps sounded like a good idea. Fresh fruit and cheese to follow and then a cake.
Once the barbecue was cranked up, Dermott was put on corn duty. Julie showed him how to gently fold back the husks, butter the corn and fold the husks back in place before barbecuing.
She sliced red onions and spiced the steak with coriander and cumin seeds, paprika and salt. The friendly butcher at Rea's Family Butchery in Lane Cove cut Scotch fillets 1cm thick, the choice for steak sandwiches. Chicken breasts were cooked very simply with lemon and garlic, with more lemon juice and parsley added when they were cooked. Bread should have some flexibility. Nothing worse than it cracking when its folded and everything runs down your arms.
Fresh fruit and cheese is always popular and Julie and Dermott both enjoyed the cheese with cranberries in it. Something new for both of them.
Choosing the cake had been the major issue of the day but the frangipani cake was a popular choice.
Lane Cove National Park
The beautiful Lane Cove River winds through a peaceful bushland valley within easy reach of the city centre. It extends from the suburbs of East Ryde to Wahroonga and Pennant Hills.
The river is the focus of most activities take a stroll along the bank, or hire a row boat. The northern part of the park is good for bushwalking and bike riding on fire trails.
There are dozens of picnic spots and you can stay overnight in cabins or powered/unpowered camping sites at the nearby award-winning Lane Cove River Tourist Park which is operated by the NPWS.