Crab Night at Gianni's

Wednesday night (July 1) is Crab Night at Gianni's Restaurant. Javier and his team in conjunction with Catalina Sounds Wines offer a mouth watering menu themed around the best mud crab, spanner crab, blue swimmer crab and snow crabs the market has to offer. This month the menu is

Organic Sweet Corn Soup with Zucchini Flower filled with Snapper & Crab Mouse

Spanish Bomba Rice, Lobster Bisque & Spanner Crab, Split Aioli

½ Chili Mud Crab and Jasmine Rice

Lemon Grass Crème Brûlée, Passion Fruit & Blueberry Compote

$95 per person, food only

Bookings from 6:30 pm

ph 3221 7655

Where to find the best coffee river view in Brisbane

Where can you find freshly brewed coffee, home made muffins and more, with a view that you could enjoy for hours?

The answer is Brendan's Cafe on the Goodwill Bridge.  It's right in the heart of Brisbane City yet suspended over the middle of the river.

Last Sunday I got out early for a power walk along the Brisbane River boardwalk at Southbank.

There's two hour street parking in Grey Street which is so much cheaper than the expensive all-day parking  in the underground car park.

We headed down towards Kangaroo Point along the Brisbane River but took a short detour on the Goodwill Bridge which connects Southbank and the Queensland University of Technology (my old stamping ground).

Half way across the bridge is what must be Brisbane's coffee with the best view. I'm sure this must be a popular stop with city workers needing an early morning lift as they start the day.

For the rest of the world, there's a couple of benches where you can take a break, drink your coffee and watch the river action. Great way to show off the city to visitors!

The coffee cart is open seven days a week from 5.30am till it gets quiet, which is some time late in the afternoon. It's worth the effort for the view.

Find out about the latest events on the bridge at Cafeonthegoodwillbridge


Masterchefs of Shanghai Cooking Class at the Hilton

Saturday morning saw me up bright and early heading to the Brisbane Hilton for the Masterchefs of Shanghai Cooking Class organised by Alison Alexander.

Alison is the mastermind behind Brisbane's well organised Masterclass series which will run again in 2010.

Two Shanghai chefs of high renown have been visiting Brisbane as part of the 20th birthday celebrations of the sister state relationship Queensland has with Shanghai. They were also drawing attention to Shanghai as the home of World Expo next year.

The chefs were Fuhua Chen, Deputy General Manager and chef at Shanghai Meilongzhen Restaurant and Kangyi Zhang, Chief Chef from Ya Wang (Duck King) Restaurant Group in Shanghai.

We were treated to a very impressive display of how to carve a Beijing duck - short version - carve the meat with a small strip of the delicious skin attached.

The chefs also enjoyed using local ingredients including Crystal Bay prawns and Murray Cod.
The recipes were fairly simple and after tasting the prawns, I'm definitely going to try it at home. Here's the recipe-

Dried Tomato Meilongzhen Prawns
serves 3 as an entree
9 deveined banana prawns
28g sweet glutinous rice (approx 1 1/2 tablesp) Wo Wo Wine Tasting Rice Brand
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup tomato sauce
vegetable oil
3 tsp ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion
1 tsp vinegar sprinkled over at end

  1. devein the prawns
  2. put a little oil in the hot pan and fry both sides of the prawns until about 60 percent cooked, remove from pan
  3. put tomato sauce, ginger, green onion, sweet glutinous rice into the pan. Stir fry until spices are combined. Cook down until the sauce is fairly dry.
  4. return prawns to the pan and stir fry until all ingredients are well done.
Recipe notes: Taste this recipe as you are cooking and adjust the seasoning to suit your own tastes. All the ingredients are available in Brisbane's Chinatown stores. You could use the sauce on a variety of other seafood. Try to buy the same brands as the chefs chose - check the photo.


Eating scorpions

Today I went to the Hilton Hotel for the Masterchefs of Shanghai Cooking Class. It was fascinating to watch but more on that later.

Chatting with Fiona Donnelly from The Courier-Mail the conversation moved onto eating odd things and the deep fried scorpions I by passed in Beijing came to mind.

According to those who tried them, they were rather crunchy and not unpleasant. I didn't hear if they had any side effects from eating them.

So if you ever wondered what deep fried scorpions look like - here they are!


Brisbane at twilight

I take photographs all the time but it's usually a quick click and then move on to the next item. At the same time I'm asking questions and writing notes - all a bit hectic! That's one of the reasons why it was great to spend last Thursday evening with a group of budding photographers lead by Nick Lancaster of Blue Dog Photography for a Brisbane at twilight session.

It was a couple of hours wandering around Southbank just looking for interesting compositions and learning a few techniques. I certainly picked up some great tips on shutter speeds (thanks Nick) and will be going back for more.

Blue Dog are based on beautiful Mount Tamborine but the workshops are held in a variety of places. If you sign up for a day workshop you could combine it with a night on the mountain - wouldn't that be hard - not!

Find their workshop schedule here -


Best bread and butter pudding - The Chelsea

Recently I enjoyed a progressive lunch at The Barracks, Petrie Terrace, with some media gals. We were treated with food from several restaurants which we enjoyed with much laughter.

The meal ended at The Chelsea, Steve Ackerie's latest project, with a plethora of desserts. Even though we were seriously challenged by our previous consumption, there were some desserts that just couldn't be left half eaten and one of those was a delicious bread and butter pudding.

Steve has generously shared the recipe here so you can recreate it at home or just pop in and enjoy it at the restaurant.

The Chelsea's bread &  butter pudding with dates, pecans & butterscotch

15 slices of white bread, crusts removed
Butter for spreading
4.5 cups of milk
5 eggs
3/4 cup of caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
Vanilla pod
Vanilla bean ice cream
Fresh dates, pitted

Butterscotch sauce
250 ml cream
180 g soft brown sugar
250 g butter
4 tblsp golden syrup

Spread both sides of the bread with butter and place in a greased tray. Put eggs, milk, sugar and fresh vanilla in a bowl and whisk to combine. Pour over the bread and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Dot pitted dates throughout the pudding making sure each portion will get some. Sprinkle over extra sugar. Place the dish in a baking tray and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the side of the dish. Bake for one hour at 150'C.

To make butterscotch sauce
Chop butter fine and add to pan with brown sugar, stir over low heat until butter has melted and sugar has dissolved. Bring to the simmer and add the syrup and cream, simmer for a further ten minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly. Remove from the heat and cool.

Serve the pudding warm with vanilla bean ice cream, fresh roasted pecans and butterscotch sauce.


Friday arvo wind down

If you are looking for somewhere to wind down on Friday afternoon, the Sip and Sup club at the Palace Cinema Cafe could fit. There's live music, cocktail specials and tapas platters. Afterwards you can take your pick of the movies upstairs at the Palace Cinema. Find out more at

There's plenty of parking under the centre and the first two hours are free. It generally costs $5 to park to see a movie.

Lady Lamington's Lamingtons

It was a bit weird to be drinking tea at a Merlo coffee shop but my first beverage in the newly opened Tearoom in the recently restored Old Government House building just had to be tea.

I've watched Old Government House for many years. First as a student (the verandahs were a great place for a picnic lunch) and later as editor of the National Trust of Queensland Journal. Old Government House was the Trust's headquarters for many years until it was turned over to the university.

Old Government House is perhaps the most significant heritage building in Queensland. The first public building to be designed and built in the new colony of Queensland it housed the Governor and served as a family home, an administrative centre, and a social hub for the new colony.

It's good to see that the building has been well loved and now is a fine place to reflect on Queensland's history. And forget the nay-sayers, this is definitely where lamingtons were invented!

The cafe is located in the original detached kitchen for the house and also lines the carriageway entrance with tables in the courtyard.

There's a lovely selection of teas including a blend called Ritz Carlton ( black tea, caramel, vanilla, apricot, cornflowers & calendula flowers) which I could drink all day. However I did follow it with a herbal tea (hibiscus, rosehip, orange peel, rose petals, cornflowers, safflowers & cats paw - not sure what cat's paw is) which also was very drinkable. I'd like to have it in the cupboard to reach for when I know I really shouldn't have yet another cup of tea.

The all day menu includes salads, tarts, soup and sandwiches but I think the real experience would be the Lady Lamington High Tea. This is a selection of ribbon sandwiches, home made pastries & tarts, lamingtons made from the original recipe, and lemon lime meringue chocolate pave.

If you want the lamington recipe you can buy a tea towel from the gift shop but they are rather exxy ($25 from memory). The Tearoom lamingtons are delicately sized so a lady can eat them delicately, but let's hope Lady Lamington is not watching!

Merlo's kitchen is headed by Garry Lyons, who you may know from the Fig Tree Deli, with Outback Matty, ex Jamie Oliver's Fifteen Foundation Program, in the kitchen. There's also a new pastry chef who is whipping up all types of delightful creations, including cupcakes topped with merange.

Old Government House has many different areas that are available for hire and would be wonderful for weddings or functions. The billiard room is a definite for a dinner party for 20.

General admission to the house is free and it's open 10am to 5pm everyday except Saturday. Find it in QUT's Gardens Point campus, just a short walk from the city centre, at the river end of George Street and within walking distance of Parliament House, The Botanic Gardens, The Queensland Museum Science Centre and Southbank.

Old Government House Tea Rooms on Urbanspoon


Top six wines women want

Here's THE list of wines that women want voted by a group of 18 Brisbane women who know wine and love to drink it.

Instigated by Manda Duffy of Wine North and Barambah Wines, the 'Wine Women Want Taste Off' was held in conjunction with Paula Tewksbery's Brisbane Fine Wine Festival scheduled for the Mercure from June 26 to 28. Paula has some seriously good prices on these wines at the festival.

And the winner is -
  1. 2004 Chain of Ponds “The Amadeus” Cabernet Sauvignon Adelaide Hills SA - $25.99 / $22.99
  2. 2002 Bertrand Devavry Prestige French Champagne,Village of Hautvelliers - $84.99 / $74.99
  3. 2005 Shingleback “D Block” Shiraz, McLaren Vale, SA - $52.99 / $49.99
  4. 2005 Ben Potts “Fiddlers Block” Shiraz, Langhorne Creek, SA - $31.99 / $27.99
  5. 2005 Lake Breeze “Arthur’s Reserve” Cabernet Sauvignon, Langhorne Creek, SA - $32.99 / $28.99
  6. 2008 Cassegrain Premium Chardonnay, Tumbarumba & Northern Slopes, NSW - $10.99 / $9.50
Paula says the winning red is a red with age, finesse and elegance. Sounds like a good combo to me!

The Brisbane Fine Wine Festival is worth a look and the masterclasses are an absolute bargain. For $25 you can experience a tutored wine tasting of eight different wines, four canapes and a take home bag. Chefs include Stephane Bremont from Tukka Restaurant and “The Truffle Man”, Philippe Reboul who will explore the heavenly food match to Sauvignon Blanc.

Meyjitte Boughenout, two star Michelin Chef of Absynthe at Q1 on the Gold Coast, will explore “French Styles Down Under” while Salvatore Siragusa of Café dell Ugo’ in Brunswick Street will match Pizzini Pinot Grigio with delicious whitebait fritters prepared Sicilian style with lemon zest, beer batter, parsley and pecorino cheese.

The classes go for 50 minutes. Tickets from Ticketmaster


African queens do bobotie!

Suzanne Quintner, well known for her fabulous dips and condiments and Matilda Scarfe who specialises in South African cuisine will show you how to cook African-style at the Buderim Ginger Cooking School on the Sunshine Coast on June 21.

Originally from South Africa, Matilda has a passion for the foods and flavours of her homeland and retails her own successful product range of sauces, chutneys and pastes that capture the mysterious flavours of South Africa.

Suzanne’s love of African cuisine has crossed over into her professional life and she has been teaching the secrets of North African flavours for nearly 20 years, while also retailing a range of North African-inspired dips, infused oils, sauces and marinades.

African cuisine draws from a melting pot of cultural influences attributed to its location on the spice trade routes and the formation of major trading ports along the African coastline. Dutch, Moroccan, Malay, Indian and Portuguese are just some of the influences of African cuisine.

Expect to discover eight dishes ranging from Malay Curry Samoosas, Bobotie and Moroccan dips to Melktert with Ginger and Brik Pastry Rolls infused with rose water. Suzanne and Matilda also will share their tips, tastes and techniques. The four-hour African Safari cooking demonstration costs $95 per person and includes eight delicious courses, glass of wine, all recipes and product samples.

Brisbane Cheese Awards results

I won't be eating cheese for a while after judging at the Brisbane Cheese Awards on Saturday. It was all white coats and very attractive hair nets so you are not getting any photos!

The tables were groaning with plates and plates of cheese which the judges worked through to find the top cheeses in each section. Congratulations to the organisers for staging a great event.

Here are the results.

Gold medals

Fresh curd
Ashed Chevre - Udder Delights
Ashed Pyramid - Meredith Dairy
Chevre - Udder Delights

Fresh curd textured
Goat Fetta - Emmos Fine Foods
Frisky Fetta - Towri Sheep Cheesery
Federal Fetta - Bangalow Cheese

Fresh curd matured
Edith - Woodside Cheese Wrights
Black Savourine - Yarra Valley Dairy
Chevre Matured - Gympie Farm Cheese

Fresh curd marinated
Marinated Goat - Meredith Dairy
Marinated Chevre - Udder Delights
Marinated Goats - Tarago River Cheese Co

White Mould
Triple Cream - Witches Chase
Kaarimba Soft - Locheilan Farm House
Old Telegraph Road Brie - Jindi Cheese Co

Blue mould
Jindi Blue - Jindi Cheese Co
Jumbunna Blue - Top Paddock
Tasmanian Heritage Signature Blue - National Foods

Washed Rind
King River Gold - Milawa Cheese Co
L.I. Washed Rind - Witches Chase
Harvest - Woodside Cheese Wrights

Clothed 2kg - Maffra Cheese Co
Clothed Matured - Ashgrove Cheese

Semi-hard Cooked Style
Raclette - Heidi Farm
Tilsit - Gallo Dairy
Gruyere - Heidi Farm

Hard Cooked Style
Romano - Mil Lel
Capricornia - Milawa Cheese Co
Parmesan - Mil Lel

Department of Primary Industries & Fisheries Cup - Best Queensland Cheese: Gympie Matured - Gympie Farm Cheese

Rosalie Gourmet Market Cup - Best Cheddar: Cloth 2kg - Maffra Cheese Co

Black Pearl Epicure Cup - Best White Mould: Goat Camembert - Udder Delights

Palatable Partners Cup - Best Blue Cheese: Tasmanian Heritage Signature Blue - National Foods

Champion Cheese - The Lord Mayor's Cup King River Gold - Milawa Cheese Company


American Impressionism

You've got plenty of time to view the Queensland Art Gallery's latest show, American Impressionism & Realism which will be at the Gallery until 20 September, but don't hold back. It's an exhibition filled with light and love, paintings that shine and capture the moment with amazing clarity, images that take you there in a moment.

There are many big American names like Sargent and Whister, and many of the much loved Australian impressionists, including McCubbin, Bunny, Condor and Roberts. There's even one of my all time favourites by Vida Lahey,"Monday Morning".

Although I enjoyed just wandering through the exhibition - I'd love to go to The Met Up Late (Friday nights from 5.30 -9.30 pm) which includes a DJ spinning American jazz on vinyl. Book tickets for this through qtix. Full program details at


Sipping history

There were plenty of eager punters ready to have a taste of Penfolds Grange last night at the Taste…For the Love of Cooking ‘A Taste of Grange’ evening organised by Jodie Macaulay

Hosted by wine identity, Darren Davis from Purple Palate, guests enjoyed tasting their way through Australian wine history with an amazing flight of six iconic Australian wines, including a legendary vintage of Penfolds Grange.

Darren told us that many the wines were specially released museum wines that had been perfectly matured – not the sort of thing you get to taste every night!

Darren started us with a 07 Glen Eden Riesling and a lecture on how we undervalue Riesling. It’s a great buy at the moment because it’s so not sexy. The Glen Eden 2007 shows classic Barossa classic style and Darren recommended drinking it with a dozen oysters. Its zesty lime character is the hallmark of good Aussie Riesling, but you could put it down for another 5 -15 years to develop another layer of flavour.

The 05 Cirillo 1850s Grenache is, according to Darren, ‘out of this world’ and arguably the best Barossa Grenache available. Evidently Australia has some of oldest vines in the world courtesy of a vine root eating louse that ripped through Europe. The older the vine the more exceptional the fruit giving the wine intense flavours. This Grenache is full of spice dried fruits, almost a Christmas cake.

We moved onto a 05 Rockford BP Shiraz - a well balanced wine. Evidently some people buy this wine straight from the winemaker and send it to auction and get two to three times the price. However, it only happens once and then they are off the winemaker’s list.

Next the 96 Wynns John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon, a variety that grows well in the Margaret River area. Drink it with rosemary lamb.

At last the Grange. We shared tasted two bottles - 81 & 89. I learnt that the name Grange came from the cottage where the Penfolds family lived, a 1951 Grange is undrinkable but now worth $60,000 and the starting price for this year’s vintage is $650.

All this was followed by a David Franz Old Redemption Very Old Barossa Tawny. It's sticky date pudding in a bottle.

Darren likes to focus wines you can take to a dinner party and tell their story, something he’s very good at! Keep your eyes open for Bar Barossa, opening soon in inner city Brisbane. Also - wondering what needs drinking in your cellar? Darren will come and check it out and let you know

It was a great way to spend the evening!

Pictured: Chris, Jodie and Darren from Purple Palate.

Find Taste at 3 Montpelier Road, Fortitude Valley. p 3252 1022

South Bank Regional Flavours Market

The inaugural South Bank’s Regional Flavours Market will bring producers and wine makers from across regional Queensland together in one location at South Bank tomorrow, Saturday 13 June, from 10am-3pm on Little Stanley Street.

You'll be able to taste produce from more than 80 growers from the Darling Downs, the South Burnett region, the Granite Belt, Scenic Rim and Gold Coast regions. There will be wine appreciation sessions and fresh produce, meats and poultry, wine, liqueur, coffee and chocolate to buy.

Stallholders will include The Bramble Patch, Sandmill Pestos, Granite Belt Dairy, Sirromet Wines, Granite Belt Highlands Winery, Crystal Ridge Lavender, Barambah Organics, Barambah Wines, Bunnyconellen Olives, Kingaroy Cheese, and more.

Live cooking demonstrations by Peter Howard and other chefs from local restaurants will showcase recipes solely utilising ingredients from the Granite Belt.

Here's the timetable





Granite Belt Venison Sautéed with Bramble Patch raspberry vinegar glaze and spiced pears.

Pyramids Road Cabernet



Harslett’s Asian Slaw with Sutton’s apple syrup dressing and chicken skewers

Heritage Unwooded Chardonnay Verdelho



Fish broth with fish and Ecoprama’s tofu

Casley Mount Hutton Chenin Blanc



Repeat no. 2

Harslett’s Asian Slaw with Sutton’s apple syrup dressing and chicken skewers

Sirromet Viognier



Char-grilled Mediterranean vegetable salad with Sandmill’s pesto dressing and Granite Belt Farmhouse Dairy Pepato cheese

Ridgemill Tempranillo



Hawker Brother’s Italian pork sausage and braised Borlotti beans

Golden Grove Estate Barbera



Repeat 5

Char-grilled Mediterranean vegetable salad with Sandmill’s pesto dressing and Granite Belt Farmhouse Dairy Pepato cheese

Granite Ridge Petit Verdot




Women want red, not champagne!

Listen up men, next time you want to win the heart of a woman, don't automatically choose champagne even if it is French!

According to Paula Tewksbury from All About Wine, most men think the “Wine Women Want” is champagne. Paula bases this statement on a fine combination of popular opinion and a small survey in a lift where she got this answer three times from various men.

At the recent “Wine Women Want” taste off, 18 women from media, government, business, wine industry, and tourism choose a red wine as the “Wine Women Want”. It was the same two years ago at the last Brisbane Fine Wine Festival Celebrity Taste where the Tasmanian Josef Chromy Sparkling Pinot Noir Chardonnay was the bridesmaid to the Chateau Tanunda Lyndoch Single Vineyard Barossa Shiraz.

At this year's event a group of women again collectively choose a red wine, this time a Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine in second place was again a sparkling and in fact a French Champagne.

The top six wines chosen were four red wines, generally medium to full bodied styles, a medium to full bodied dry white wine and a dry sparkling wine which we now know was champagne.
All else will be revealed next week.

The top 20 contenders, the final six wines and the “Wine Women Want” Wine will all be available for tasting at the Brisbane Fine Wine Festival from Friday 26 June to Sunday 28 June. Many of the 20 wines have also won trophies.

The "Wine Women Want" and 14 other trophies will be presented at the Presentation of Trophies Dinner on Thursday June 25 at the Mercure Brisbane Ballroom.


Grilled again

I've read some favourable reviews of Grilled at Rosalie recently but just can't get enthusiastic. What they are making there is not rocket science so there are precious few excuses for getting it wrong.

My recent order (x 2) of a Grilled Bird 'n Brie - a chicken, brie and cranberry roll with herb mayo for $10.90 is a prime example. The enthusiastic staff put plenty of the mayo, which is seriously good, on one side of the roll and plenty of cranberry on the other. But did they put the brie next to the cranberry - no they put lettuce. The brie went next to the mayo. The result was a seriously mixed up burger that just didn't taste right.

When I commented on the combo arrangement to the staff member checking whether we were happy with our meals, she explained it's all to do with the order the containers are placed in the fridge cabinet.... and it was supposed to be that way! I don't think so.

You might be lucky and they might have rearranged the containers for your next visit but I'll be looking elsewhere before I take the chance again.


Coffee and Chocolate

Starting with the name, Coffee and Chocolate has a lot of good things going for it, but not enough to make me go back.

I read a review of this establishment some time ago by Alison Cotes in The Courier-Mail. She wasn't that impressed so I decided to give them some time before I visited. Unfortunately they still have a long way to go.

The good things - firstly that it was till open at 3pm on a public holiday when many other coffee shops had closed - secondly it didn't have a surcharge.

What cheesed me off? As there was no sign saying table service, we joined a queue at the counter and waited a considerable time to place an order only to be told to take a seat. Then we waited again for someone to come and take our order and waited again for the uncomplicated order (bottle of water, cappuccino and a muffin) to come.

While we waited, and waited, and waited for the order, the table next door got theirs and I was very surprised to see a bagel that was seriously burnt rather than toasted. I would have sent it back. There was also a very unappetising smell coming from the kitchen - sort of burnt chicken/cheese sandwich gone wrong....

The sign said fresh muffins baked daily so I was looking for something good. Chocolate seemed a safe bet but although it looked good in the cabinet, the only saving grace was that the muffin was warm. It just didn't have any flavour - even the chocolate bits! Definitely not worth the calories. And expensive at $6.95 served with a dollop of what was perhaps cream and half a strawberry.

The coffee was $4 and Toby's Estate. It was a 6/10.

The fit out is attractive with plenty of different seating options and a reasonable range of chocolates for sale. They would have to taste a lot better than the chocolate muffin!

Find it on Given Terrace at Paddington. There's another one in Queen's Plaza.

Brisbane Cheese Tastes

The line up for Cheese Tastes on this coming Sunday (June 14) is looking very inviting.

Royal on the Park in Alice Street, opposite the Botanic Gardens in the city, will be full for the day (10.30 am to 4.3o pm) with a very large range of Australian-made cheeses. Cheese producers will offer free tastings of award winning cheeses, plus a wide range of their produce will be available for sale.

The master classes sound particularly interesting, plus there will be gourmet food, beverages, condiments and biscuits for sale. The day includes free education sessions on Fresh, White Mould, Washed Rind, Semi-Hard, Hard and Blue cheeses. Do book early for these.

Cheese producers providing tastings and sales at Cheese Tastes include Fromart (Eudlo, Qld),
Kingaroy Cheese (Qld), Maleny Cheese (Qld), Meredith Dairy (WA), Yarra Valley Dairy (Victoria), King Island Dairy (TAS), Tasmanian Heritage (TAS), Heidi Farm (TAS), Olympus Cheese (Qld), Udder Delights (Adelaide Hills, SA), Ashgrove Cheese (TAS), Tarago River Cheese (Vic), and Gallo Farms (Nth Qld). Do try the Gallo Farms Cheese! I've visited their Atherton Tableland operation and tasted some of their great cheeses there.

Other stalls include Food by Farrell, Kurrajong Biscuits Sydney Biscuit Co, Maggie Beer, Oaty Joes (Qld), and Icemeister (Qld ice cream).

Master Classes
Session 1 – “Cheese on Toast” with Shannon Kellam - Matured Cheddar Welsh rarebit en croute w sand crab crab bisque. Open sandwich of Brie, Peking duck & crisp Asian salad, Chinese master stock.

Session Two – “Bunny in the Burrow” with Adam Herbert Wild Slow Cooked Rabbit, Goat’s Cheese & Caerphilly, Filo Pastry, Jerusalem Artichoke Puree, Mustard Fruit Salsa, Sorrel, English Mustard Sauce.

Session Three - “Blue Cheese & Chocolate” & “Liquid Nitrogen Goat’s Brie” with Gary Farrell Pre dessert Mexican Chocolate Mousse scented with Bangalow Blue, Blue Oil, Crumbled Blue, Hazelnut Brittany Biscuit, Chilli Chocolate Pebbles, Chocolate Tempura of Celery Leaves Dessert Warm Chocolate Fondant studded with Chocolate Bomb Liquid Nitrogen Cooked Goat’s Brie and Vanilla Custard Warm Chocolate Jelly, Goat’s Brie French Toast, Chocolate Bubble

There's $5 off if you pre-book your tickets through


Chado (Japanese Tea Ceremony)

Tokonoma Gallery and Green Tea House is a beautiful little place in the Gold Coast Hinterland. It's an art gallery cum eatery designed around a Japanense Australian combo theme. The food is delicious and so artfully presented with Japanese style.

It's the brain child of Margaret Price who has a long history and love of all things Japanese. From June 11, Margaret is also offering instruction on the Japanese Tea Ceremony on Thursday mornings from 9:30-11:30.

Margaret has set up a tatami space in Tokonoma Gallery where students will practice both making and receiving tea while discovering the spiritual and aesthetic allure of Chado. If you would like to get centred and bring more beauty and tranquillity into your life, do give Chado a try.

Margaret has been a practitioner in the Urasenke discipline for 30 years and is co-founder of Chiichanakai (The Little Tea Society) based in Tokyo.

Details: Fee: $20 per each 2-hour session or $60 for 4 sessions paid in advance. One-off registration fee $20. Students must commit to a minimum of three months (12 lessons). Class size is limited to six. Introductory session (June 11 9:00-11:00) $10 For the introductory session please bring a pair of white socks. Reservations required.

Tokonoma, 442, Springbrook Road, Mudgeeraba, Gold Coast. p 5530 2378.


Twice as much - Freestyle Tout, West End

There's no stopping Brisbane restaurateur Martin Duncan who has transformed the corner of Browning, Melbourne and Boundary Streets in West End with a second edition of his much-loved Freestyle Tout.

The menu at West End is similar to the one at Freestyle Emporium but the big news here is a large bar which will be a great place to mix and relax. Licensing is still to come through, so wait a week or so before testing it out.

But as always Martin's desserts are the star and chef Nicholas Cooper has come up with a great list. Our choices on opening night were sticky date pudding which had a great ginger twist and a hint of burnt caramel in the luscious sauce.

The lemon tart was pronounced beautifully sharp and the chocolate cake was well appreciated although the newly addicted to 70 per cent coverture lover wished for a bit more bite.

Freestyle has a 'Pronto Lunch' offer to launch the new location. It's a quick $12 lunch special with two fabulous options available Wednesday to Friday at West End and Monday to Friday at Emporium.

West End is open most nights until 11pm and is closed Monday.

Bottom line: Dessert satisfaction can be yours.

Freestyle Tout on Urbanspoon


When one is enough!

It's not often that I would willingly say that one chocolate is enough - that it satisfies the craving. But today I did. I've discovered the sort of chocolates that are worth the calories. So full of flavour that you're left thinking about the taste long after the evidence has disappeared.

Where are these gems you say? Monty's Chocolates at Paddington is where they can be found. Monty's owner Steve Sheldon imports these goodies by Coppeneur direct from Germany. The flavours I chose were cactus fig, pomegranate, mandarin, cranberry, lavender wild berry and bourbon vanilla.

Of course Monty's has lots of other chocolates that are delicious. Take the time to browse the shelves and you are sure to be tempted. It's also worth checking out the other shops in the strip which include gift/clothing store Green Tangerine and the Paddington Antique Centre.

Monty's Chocolates, 155 Latrobe Terrace, Paddington. ph 3369 3135.

New cheap eats at Baguette

Here's a good lunchtime offer at Baguette - any two dishes from the list below and a glass of wine for $30.

* prawn fettuccine chilli, pernod sauce * coq au vin, mash, mushrooms and bacon * tomato tart, goat's cheese, rocket, basil * creme brulee, pistachio biscotti * tarte tatin of pears, vanilla ice cream
Baguette's new larger winter menu begins this week with all entrees and vegetarian dishes under $20, mains from $27-$35 plus five great cuts of meat from the char-grill.

150 Racecourse Rd, Ascot 3268 6168

Peppers pips all

Topping the list of 15 winners announced last night at the 2009 Restaurant & Catering Queensland HOSTPLUS Darling Downs Awards for Excellence at Preston Peak Winery was Peppers Spicer’s Peak which was awarded Best Fine Dining establishment.

This destination venue deserves high praise. I've dined there several times and stayed overnight and can only say it was a totally delightful experience that has been seldom matched.

Peppers Hidden Vale was announced winner of the Best Hotel/Motel Restaurant title which
led them to top gong; Darling Downs Restaurant of the Year 2009. This is another well deserved title. I was very impressed by the food when dining there and the location is wonderful. So close to Brisbane but a real country get away with horse riding and clay shooting options.


Winter pears and cheese

Love these suggestions for combining pears and cheese in the cheese matters newsletter.

  • The yellow-coloured Williams pear works well with blue cheese, but you also can try a sweet brown Beurre Bosc pear with Vintage Cheddar, a juicy Triumph with Camembert or the delicate Red Anjou pear with Brie.
  • Roast pears in a little butter for 20 minutes and serve as an accompaniment to blue cheeses.
  • Layer thin slices of pear, smoked chicken and Vintage Cheddar Cheese onto a puff pastry sheet and bake until golden. Serve topped with rocket.
  • Try a salad of baby spinach with chargrilled bacon, chargrilled pear wedges, Goat's Cheese and toasted walnuts with a light lemony dressing.
  • Poach pears in Sauternes dessert wine and serve with Mascarpone and crushed toffeed almonds.
There's also a recipe for proscuitto pears with parmesan waffers which would make a great light entree.

Crab night

Here's a feast for crab lovers at Gianni’s Restaurant on Wednesday night (June3). A crab night with Ceviche of Spanner Crab, Mediterranean Style & Mini Croutons, Sweet Corn Soup, Topped with Arbequina Olive Oil & Steamed Crab Meat, ½ Chili Mud Crab and Jasmine Ric .

Thank goodness the dessert has nothing to do with crab - Lemon Grass Crème Brûlée, Passion Fruit & Blueberry Compote.$95 p.p It's one of their regular, first Wednesday of the month, crab dinners. Enjoy.

Gianni's Restaurant, 12 Edward St, Brisbane Qld 3221 7655