I went to Regional Flavours and this is what I saw

At yesterday's South Bank Regional Flavours (continuing Sunday) I saw long queues of happy people waiting for a taste of something special.


Regional flavours at Southbank

This year's Regional Flavours event at South Bank is shaping up to be fabulous combination of food pleasures including 100 food stalls, Queensland wine tasting, cooking demonstrations, sustainable gardening practices and cooking competitions with an extended two-day program over Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 July.


A little Italian for dinner

In another life I may have been Popeye’s daughter.

Not because I have bulging arm muscles but I do have a fondness for spinach.

Usually my fridge is stocked with easy-to-use English spinach so when Perfection Fresh offered me a sample of their Tuscan cabbage, cavolo nero, I was keen as mustard (or should that be spinach?).


Sake Restaurant, Brisbane

I’ve discovered it’s not hard to develop an appreciation of the distinctive yet mellow taste of sake with a little guidance from sake sommelier, Miriam McLachlan.

It felt like a girl’s night out as I sat around the table with fellow food writers waiting to take a sip from the three glasses lined up in front of me.  

We were amongst the first to try Sake Restaurant’s new Sake Discovery Sessions where guests can try three sakes with tasting notes and bite-sized food matches.   

You can taste the sake in a private dining room as a 30 minute booked master class as a prelude to a dinner or more informally at the bar if you are a group of two.

It was a bit of a girls' night out - yay!

The private dining room sessions are designed for minimum bookings of six and priced at $40 per person. Each session includes three tasting spoons created by Head Chef Shinichi Maeda matched to three different sakes. The menu will change on a regular basis so guests are presented with a wide mix of flavours.

“Many people don’t know that there is a comprehensive range of sake styles and, like wine, flavours can vary from floral and fruity to nutty and earthy,” says Saké Sommelier Miriam McLachlan, who developed her expertise for matching sake and wine with Japanese food while working at one of London’s finest Japanese restaurants.

“We exclusively import a range of outstanding sakes from the 300-year-old Kozaemon brewery in Japan,” adds McLachlan. “During the Saké Discovery Sessions we highlight the distinguishing features of each variety – it’s a great opportunity for groups of friends of corporate teams to enjoy a dining experience out of the ordinary!”

Along with Saké Discovery Sessions, diners can expand their knowledge with a ‘Master Flight’ – a chance to try three of the world’s finest sake varieties for just $18.

Miriam loves her sake and shared lots of interesting information.  Here’s some of what I learnt.

Sake mould - and I still drank the sake after seeing this!
  • The difference in sake flavour does not come from the rice variety but the way the sake is produced.
  • Milling and polishing of the rice is the most significant factor
  • Making sake is like sculpture - the more you take away from the rice through milling the more you reveal.
  • Sake is made with multiple parallel fermentation
  • Mould is sprinkled over the rice until it grows thick and green. It’s a different yeast than used for bread but grows in hot humid conditions.
  • Sake bottles are called Go bottles and hold 1.8 litres
  • 60 mls of sake is about a standard drink serve
  • Sake only has about one third the acidity of wine and is more gentle on stomach with less preservatives and less sulphur
  • Drink sake however you prefer - chilled or not.
  • Prices cheaper than wine for the same quality
We tried three sakes with tastes from Head Chef Shinichi Maeda – a delicate scallop with ponzu and ikura with Amabuki Diaginjo; kingfish sashimi with Kozaemon Junmai Gino #38 Bizen Omachi; and a mini wagu burger with Kozaemon Yamahai Junmai Banshu Yamadanishiki.

After the tasting we enjoyed more of Shinichi’s dishes from his new menu.

I chose Venison tataki which came with crispy ginger chips, kumquats and cape gooseberries with a plum and sansho pepper dressing.

My main was a galantine of quail stuffed with yama-gobo and shiitake mushrooms coated with an orange-soy glaze and served with poached golden beetroot leaves and pickled golden beetroot.

Both dishes were an exceptional combination of clean, fresh flavours with ingredients normally not found on a Japanese-inspired menu.

Bottom line: An interesting opportunity for both seasoned foodies and beginners to explore the world of sake.  You’ll be surprised by what you find.

Sake, Top level, 45 Eagle Street, Eagle Street Pier, Brisbane. Ph 07 3339 0999

Previous Sake post

Kerry Heaney 

Saké Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon


Vietnamese and French-inspired fare at Libertine

I'm always taken by the sparking fairy lights at Libertine as I drive into The Barracks on Petrie Terrace at night.

The ambiance of the old building, landscaped courtyard and pergola with it's long bar look particularly inviting, even on a cold night.

Recently I was invited to try Libertine Bar + Restaurant’s new winter menu, a creative fusion of Vietnamese and French-inspired fare created by new Head Chef Paul Roets.


Glorious sun on Noosa Beach in mid winter

Noosa's fabulous weather has returned!

Standing on the far end of Noosa Beach on Saturday and Sunday I was seriously tempted to swim.

And I wasn't the only one - plenty of people were heading into the water, many toting their surfboards.

K2 sat beside me on the warm sand grinding his teeth cause he didn't have his trusty surfboard by his side.


Judy C Cakes, Ashgrove

Made to family recipes using real butter and eggs with a touch of love, baked goods from Judy C Cakes certainly pass the most fastidious taste tests.

Owner Judy Cook has built her business around keeping Brisbane's cafes cabinets filled with cakes, slices and biscuits and making specialty cakes to order.

You can also indulge with a taste of her freshly goodies directly at the source. It's compact, but there's space for about 15 people on the verandah outside with shop. The locally roasted Wolff Coffee prepared by experienced barista with a subtle sweet edge is the perfect compliment to a slice of cake.

Judy C’s popular biscuits, muffins, cakes, cupcakes and slices, as well as the ever changing
daily offerings are all there for you to choose.

So are the celebration and bridal cake displays and the new coffee nook is the perfect place to sit, drink coffee, sample cakes, browse through cake look-books and bridal magazines or have a consultation with the cake design team.

The store’s opening hours are; Monday to Friday 6.30am – 5pm, with coffee served until
3.45pm and 8am to 12.30pm Saturday.

Recommended for: Cake lovers
Best for: I like everything Judy makes but her cupcakes are a definite standout.
Bottom line:

Disclaimer: Ed+bK pays for her cakes


Lamb appreciation for foodies

I appreciate green fields of white flocked lambs frolicking in the sun - but I appreciate their lamb chops even more!

Last night I joined Brisbane Food Bloggers and friends for a Lamb Appreciation night at Super Butcher, Eagle Farm.  It's an experience I enjoyed last time when the topic was beef.


Think Pink cupcakes

One of life's little pleasures is when someone knocks at my door with cupcakes in hand!

Today it was the lovely Tash with cupcakes fresh from the oven, made by her mum Lisa.  Lisa is a creative genius when it comes to cupcakes and every Thursday there's a new surprise waiting for customers at her family owned coffee shop, Cafe le Net at Indooroopilly Centre.


Caramel, chilli then blueberry chocolate - yum!

I make no secret of the fact that I love chocolate.

In fact the only thing I love more than chocolate is blogging!

(Note: I said ‘thing’ which excludes all my nearest and dearest – including the pets – phew!)

That said – I’m also a sucker for anything new and a little bit left of square so when a package containing Lindt’s new chocolate flavours arrived on my doorstep there were squeals of glee all round.

Latest Tasty bits from bmag

This edition- Coffee & Chocolate by Merlo at Portside Wharf, July 29 and 31, New Kings Cafe at Tennyson, revamped Brazilian Touch at Milton, Wagamamma opens express restaurant in the Myer Centre.

See full page

Talking about food - Symposium

Symposium for breakfast suggested Number 1 Son, as we hopped into the car and drove to Brisbane's Fortitude Valley.

What did I expect to find at our destination? Maybe a group of suits talking business or long tables filled with water glasses and bowls of mints?

Instead I discovered a quirky cafe with an interesting menu in one of the Valley's main drags.


Pie lover's heaven

I've discovered a foodie's heaven -  14 types of single breed meat pies with over 100 different pies in total on offer!

Yes, I'm talking Wagu, Black Angus, Limosen, Charolais, Brahman, Droughtmaster and more with most available for sale in the cafe and bakery - bliss!


Magnolia Bakery, New York

Here's a guest post by my great mate Victoria who recently holidayed in New York. 

As New York is still on my bucket list (sigh), Victoria gallantly offered to report on her visit to Magnolia Bakery.  

After reading her comments, I wonder how their cupcakes would stand up in a side-by-side taste test with our home grown cupcakes? What do you think?


Elm Haus, Mount Glorious

Surrounded by the warmth a combustion stove quietly burning away in a glowing pine-lined room with quirky figurines, bowls of lemons,delicious aromas and well loved couches, Elm Haus is like your favorite Aunt's kitchen.

And with new owners in da Haus, the food is now well worth the trip.


Jamaica blue, Mooloolaba

With warm sun on your back everything seems aright, even an average breakfast.

A sunny spot at the breakfast table was my motivation for choosing a table at Jamaica Blue on the water front stretch at Mooloolaba under Zanzibar on The Esplanade. It seemed perfect for a sun shining, blue sky, Sunshine Coast day.


Hamptons Home Living, Paddington - closed

What's better than a great coffee on the verandah while enjoying a fabulous view of Brisbane's city skyline?

For me, add homewares, gifts and the odd book and I'm in heaven.


Appetite - Food news from Tiger Tales Asia

Exploring the burgeoning Asian food scene is exciting me and there's no shortage of good stories in the line up for my bi-monthly pages in Tiger Tales Asian edition.

And with top Asian destinations including Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok to write about, it's little wonder.

Brisbane's Bastile Day dinners

There's plenty of action planned in Brisbane to celebrate Bastille Day on Thursday, July 14.

A turducken Christmas in July

I have a recurring dream. It involves snow drifting down gently outside a window, a roaring fire and a table set for a feast.


Appetite - Food news from Tiger Tales

Well I guess nobody is seeing my stories in the new edition of Tiger Tales for Tiger Airlines this week so you'll have to read them here!


Latest Foodie Bits from bmag - July 5

Latest Tasty bits from bmag - Organic Char opens; Jam workshop at Freestyle Escape, Sunshine Coast; Kooyong wine dinner at Urbane; Wellington on a Plate in August; Marion Grasby's new book.