Last chance!

Last chance today to sign up for my newsletter before the end of September and go into a draw to win a night's accomodation at Outrigger Little Hastings Street.  Is that you I can see lying by the pool?


And there will be cupcakes!

I have it on good authority (you know who you are Michele!) that there will be cupcakes at the Mad Hatter day at Bella Rosa's just north of Stanthorpe on Saturday 2 October.  


Tourism Queensland's new brand, "Queensland, Where Australia Shines"

Lots of my favorite places in this clip!

Dreamfarm warehouse -Think Campos in Fortitude Valley meets Old Macdonald’s Farm.

Shopping for some new mixing bowls last week I came across yet another nifty invention from Dreamfarm, makers of my fave kitchen gadget - the Smood potato masher.

Well there's more good news on the Dreamfarm front - they are opening the  barn doors of a brand new warehouse this Saturday with a fun and funky coffee morning and gadget sale and they are throwing a fun little morning tea event as well.

Elephant Rock Cafe, Currumbin, Gold Coast

Brisbane's weather has been decidedly dodgy lately and with afternoon storms predicted there was a lot of procrastination about Sunday's bike ride.

But the optimists won so we donned the gear and headed down to Currumbin on a circuit that winds back through the Gold Coast Hinterland and Tweed Valley.

Heading straight down the highway, our first stop was Elephant Rock Cafe located, not so strangely, at Elephant Rock on the beach at Currumbin.


The perfect steak

K2 is a bit of a meat man. He's spent some time perfecting his barbie skills and is not easily persuaded that other ways to cook a steak stack up.

So it took some fast talking and some slow talking and then a simple 'we are following the instructions' before we had agreement on how to cook the large slab of premium beef that we were given to try after a dinner at Kingsleys Steak and Crabhouse in the Riparian Plaza, 71 Eagle Street, Brisbane.

The steak once was part of a 'bos taurus' cow, bred and finished in the rich, clean, temperate climate of Southern Australia. According to the Kingsleys website - Riverine Premium Beef is Cargill Beef Australia's premier grain-fed beef product. It is recognised for its superior marbling (marble score 2+) and consistent quality produced through advanced nutrition and management programs. The cattle are fed a mix of steam-flaked wheat and other supplements for the optimal number of days to deliver the succulent tenderness, rich colour and marbling.

It looked like a fine piece of steak so I was keen to follow the cooking instructions carefully, despite K2's inner belief that it simply wouldn't work. So here they are - the eight steps that guarantee steak perfection. If you don't believe me, ask K2!

Kingsleys' 8 steps to the perfect steak
  1. Take the steak out 20 minutes before to temper (come to room temperature)
  2. Set the oven to 200c
  3. Heat a thick bottom frying pan to hot - no oil
  4. Undo the steak, season with a nice coat of olive oil and salt flakes
  5. Place the steak in the hot pan (do not add any more oil) and cook for 1 1/2 minutes on one side. Turn and repeat.  (It would be really helpful to have a timer for this procedure as there's only so many times one can yell 'how much time left' without annoying one's partner)
  6. Place in oven for 4 minutes and take out, rest for 8 minutes on a rack in a warm place
  7. Place in the oven for 1 minute to reheat
  8. Slice, serve and enjoy!

Was it good  - yes! The steak was cooked just the way I like it and amazingly tender.

Would I do it again?  Yes - but I might have to bind and gag K2 or pretend the barbecue was broken.


When only a red velvet cupcake will do!

There's something quite transcending about that first bite into a red velvet cupcake.  The flavour, intense and chocolaty, combined with the almost iridescent red colour is very curious.  Combine that with a moist, dense cake and wow - my taste buds are dancing.

I've been resisting the drive to Poppy Cakes in Emporium for some time but my resolve is sure to fall apart tomorrow when Milk Bar at Ashgrove gets their first order of red velvet cupcakes from Poppy Cakes. Why are they doing this to me?

Not that I've done this myself (she says secretly wishing she had) but you can pre-order a 6-pack of red velvet cupcakes in a Milk cupcake box for Friday morning (24 September).

So who's going to be the star of the office, the fave of the family, adored by playgroup or the envy of their dinner guests coming up with such a simple but divine dessert?

If you'd like to make your own here's a recipe - otherwise - Milk  3366 2007.


Embassy XO, Sunshine Beach revisited

Last time I visited Embassy XO, the newest upstairs Duke Street destination at Sunshine Beach on the Sunshine Coast I came away disappointed.

Not by the flavour of the food, but the total dining experience.  The restaurant had been open a couple of weeks but they still had a lot of issues to sort. My blog on the occasion sparked much comment and plenty of defence by passionate locals.

Last Saturday I revisited to see what changes the past four months had brought to the restaurant.  I was a little worried that a busy school holiday night might affect their service but the restaurant was quiet and there was even an opportunity to discover the upstairs bar which locals tell me is great for sunset drinks. Last time the restaurant was so over crowded with people it was hard to see much.

With only two diners this time we decided to try one dish we enjoyed before - Rice crusted coral trout with bean shoot salad, red nam jim and coconut rice $34 - and a new one - marinated sticky lamp rump, rolled garlic noodles and spicy fragrant broth $34.  Both dishes were well presented with a complex flavour and texture range. I particularly liked the lamb rump but found the slices just a little large - a knife fixed that quickly.

The waiter suggested wine matches - a Firegully Cabernet Merlot and Cape Mentelle Semillion Sauvignon Blanc - which worked well.  The service overall was friendly and efficient.

Although I loved the sound of some of the 'add ons' - Tomato, smoked tofu, mint and crispy shallots or warm iceberg salad with son-in-law egg - we were satisfied with the meals as they were.

Since the menu hasn't changed, I think next time we might pig out on the starters list and share the booty. I am partial to Vietnamese style ground prawns on sugar cane skewers.

Locals or Friday night visitors can join the Friday Night Flights at  XO Bistro Wine Bar downstairs.  From 4 to 6 pm they are offering $15 for five flights of wine plus finger food - good value.  Then you can buy the presented wines at the Cellar on the night for 10 percent off.

Bottom line:  Good to see this restaurant living up to its promise. 

Embassy XO
Cnr Duke & Bryan Street, Sunshine Beach +61 07 5455 4460


Thomas Corner Eatery, Noosaville

David Rayner, ex River House Restaurant, opened his latest venture, Thomas Corner Eatery, just two weeks ago and it's definitely found a market.

We visited for a late breakfast/early lunch on Saturday and the place was busy. Granted it was the start of school holidays but my efforts at boosting the local retail economy with purchases in shops adjacent to the eatery revealed they were very pleased with increased patronage at the centre.

If you missed the opportunity to experience David's cuisine at River House you'll be pleased to catch up with him at Thomas Corner.  Not only is the food spot on here, but the decor is a delight as well.

“After selling River House Restaurant I took some time to formulate my concept for a new eatery, I want it to be relaxed and to reflect the roots of Noosa," David says. 

I think he and wife Belinda, have done well.  You can sit on the terrace and look at the river and all the happenings out there or you can relax at comfortable banquettes designed for lounging on and eating long  lunches and dinners. 

One of the features I particularly liked was the wall of ferns with bench seating.  We only discovered this after completing our meal, otherwise I would have loved to dine surrounded by the ferns.

The food is quite simple. Brunch, served until midday, includes Sugar crusted raspberry muffin with Gympie butter, cinnamon sugared apple fritters with maple syrup and a toasted leg ham, Dijon, shallot and Gruyere sandwich. Prices range from $4 to $14.

The lunch menu includes plenty of local favourites including Mooloolaba fresh shellfish, spanner crab, prawns and cuttlefish quiche $25 and a big selection of starters, several in small or larger sizes, that would be wonderful to share or combine - roast organic duck and caramelised apples with apple balsamic dressing $18/27, Venison scotch egg, curry mayonnaise and cress with celeriac $15.

But it was the sandwiches, on grain sourdough, organic white sourdough or ciabatta roll, all with rosemary salted hand cut chips or salad. that won the day.  I went for spanner crab with lime mayo and cress $18 while K2 unleashed his inner bloke with a Thomas Corner chilli steak sandwich $17. They were truly delicious and the crab sandwich was even better than the ones I used to enjoy with my Dad, although we did indulgently stack the crab more.

Although sorely tempted, I resisted the dessert menu until David offered me a 'sliver' of the chocolate, golden raising and caramel tart with local double cream $15. It was more than a sliver but soooo good. A rich, deep chocolate/caramel flavour with hints of raisin and short buttery pastry.

The dinner and Sunday lunch menu includes a wide selection of grills - lemon and organic chicken $23; Darling Downs rump fillet 4+ $24; White River milk fed veal chop $29 and Yellowtail kingfish $25, with a selection of accompaniments.

On the side for $5 are more of those delicious chips; garlic and chive mash, nutmeg buttered spinach and more.

Bottom line: Casual eating, exceptional ingredients and reasonable prices for a quality product.  I'm going back.

201 Gympie Terrace, Noosaville.  +61 7 5470 2224

Disclaimer - Ed+bK paid for the mean but the dessert was complimentary


Continental Cafe, New Farm

Soy lime chicken breast

A New Farm institution for the past 12 years, The Continental Cafe is not the place to go to for latest cutting edge cuisine.  Instead they pride themselves on offering the same house specials and simple comfort food that their regulars love.

Their menu is full of honest, unfussy honest food that is well executed known as 'Conti classics', complemented by a range of specials.


2010 Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering Awards for Excellence Queensland Winners

More surprising results last night at the at the 2010 Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering Awards for Excellence.

North Queensland can take a bow as they scooped many of the awards edging out Brisbane's best contenders. That should be wonderful news for travellers who can now seek out these culinary gems.

Here's the list -

Boombana Cafe, Mt Nebo

When a beautiful Brisbane Sunday morning arrives - you know, the sky is blue and the birds are singing - we like nothing better than hoping on to the motor bike for a short trip into the country. In just minutes you can be winding through bushland with fabulous views over huge valleys.

One of our favourite places is Mt Nebo/Mt Glorious on Brisbane's west side.  It's just a hop, skip and jump from my abode to Waterworks Road which leads out to the mountains.


Sing's Asian Kitchen, Rosalie, Paddington

Larb Gai
I've resisted the temptation to tell you about Sing's for quite a while.

It's my local fave and seriously busy.   I didn't want to share the love and have to wait longer to get a table next time.  Bad Kerry!

However I can't resist any longer, so here it is.


The ultimate prawn, peach and mango salad - a recipe you'll want to repeat.

I really enjoyed the contrast of textures in this salad - it was just sensational!

Grilled Mooloolaba king prawns, Szechuan salt, white peach and green mango salad
Serves 4

16 large green Mooloolaba prawns
4 tablespoons sesame oil
3 white peaches
1 green mango
1/2 small bunch of mint, picked and  washed
2 oranges, segmented
1 spring onion sliced thin
2 limes
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon szechuan peppercorns
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
4 tablespoons sea salt flakes
2 tablespoons sea salt flakes
2 tablespoons white sticky rice


Combine both seeds and szechuan peppercorns in a frying pan. Stir over a medium heat until fragrant.  Add chilli flakes, remove from heat and crush in a mortar and pestle with the sea salt.

Dry fry the rice in the same way as the spices until well toasted and crush, keep aside.

Peel and devein prawns, coat in the sesame oil and enough szechuan salt to coat well. Cut the peaches into bit sized slices, julienne the green mango, pick and wash mint, slice spring onion and segment oranges.

Barbecue the prawns on the char grill.

Combine all ingredients in a large salad bowl. Squeeze limes over the salad, season salad with desired amount of szechuan salt and toasted rice.


Junk Bar, Ashgrove

Here's another new addition to the Ashgrove scene.  Is Ashgrove becoming uber trendy?

The Junk Bar is the sort of place that only locals know about because it certainly doesn't shout its presence on the street.  All you'll see is a black sign and a shop window that looks like it belongs to an accountant.


Latest Tasty bits from bmag

Brot, Ashgrove

Bread is really the staff of life for me - just love the stuff!

Give me a good, thick slice of bread spread liberally with fine butter and maybe not even anything else, anytime.

That's one of the reasons I was delighted to see a bread shop with a difference open its doors in suburban Ashgrove.  (For locals it's in the strip near the new Woolworths but on Waterworks Road, not in the centre).


Top five blogs in August

Subscribe to the E,d+bK newsletter during September and go into a draw to win one night's accommodation in a one bedroom suite for two guests at the brand new Outrigger Little Hastings Street Resort & Spa, Noosa. This resort includes a Stephanies Ocean Spa, an exciting new restaurant - View on Hastings, bar, resort pool and lap pool, all just a hop from Noosa's fabulous beach and shopping.
*Conditions apply and subject to availability at time of booking. Not available during school holidays and high season. Visit: or call +61 7 5449 2277 or 1800 726 591 (Australia only).

View the full newsletter here


Gunshop Cafe, West End

Well known to Brisbanites for its fabulous breakfasts, The Gunshop Cafe at West End hosted a dinner for Brisbane's food bloggers last night and we were impressed.

Hard not to be impressed when Chef/owner Jason Coolen spoke so passionately about his many local suppliers, about the fishermen who tweet and text details of their latest catch so he can have the pick, and the fun they have in the kitchen.

It's the sort of place where the menu is constantly changing to reflect the best available produce and there's not a laminated menu in sight!