Foods for lovers and win a luxury massage

If you are hoping to inspire luck in love on Valentines Day, here are 10 aphrodisiac foods that might just do the trick.

The perfect menu for Valentines Day starts with a glass of champagne and and appetiser of guacamole. Follow with a dozen oysters and an asparagus quiche topped with basil.

Share a banana and finish with chocolate covered almonds and a few figs for good measure.

If you would like to treat your special Valentine with a one and a half hour mobile (it comes to you) Ripple Massage Day Spa Package, please leave a comment below.  We are looking for your most romantic Valentines Day experience, real or imagined. Check the conditions at the end of this post.

Here's what to eat and drink for Valentines Day.

1. Great champagne

Every one and everything looks better through the bottom of a champagne glass.

2. Chocolate 

Makes us happy because it contains theobromine, a stimulating alkaloid similar to caffeine.

3. Oysters 

Mighty high in zinc which raises libido. Casanova ate 50 raw oysters every day.

4. Almonds 

Regarded as fertility symbols throughout history.

5. Avocado 

The Aztec's name for the avocado tree was the 'testicle tree', and Spanish Catholic priests at one time prohibited their consumption.

6. Asparagus

Said to boost histamine production which will get you there faster, if you know what I mean.

7. Bananas 

Great for blokes evidently, except a banana left on a doorstep indicates that a marriage is about to take place.

8. Basil 

Has a warming effect and is a love-token in some parts of Italy.

9. Eggs 

An ancient fertility symbol that enhances libido when eaten raw.

10. Figs 

For their sexy appearance and texture.

Valentines Day is February 14, in case you were wondering.

Give away details:

The Ripple 1.5 day spa package is valued at $150.  There is one voucher package to be given away.

Ripple Massage will come to you at many places around Australia including Brisbane, Ipswich, Gold and Sunshine Coasts, Mt Tamborine, Byron Bay, Coolangatta, Tweed and Kingscliffe.  Also available Sydney, Victoria Central Coast NSW and Tasmania.  Check the website for full details

Leave a comment below with your most romantic Valentines Day experience, real or imagined, and send me an email with your address so a voucher (valid until January 2014) can be posted to you. - Note there is only one voucher up for grabs and only one entry per person please. You must leave both a comment below and send an email to be in the running.

The competition closes at 5pm EST, February 13, 2013.

Disclaimer: This is not a paid post Ed+bK was given a voucher by Ripple Massage for this give away.

Kerry Heaney


Breakfast Creek Hotel, Albion, Brisbane.

Yo ho ho, with over 400 bottles of rum to choose from you can have a very merry time at the Breakfast Creek Hotel’s new Substation No.41 Rum Bar.

Promoted as the largest rum bar in Australia, this atmospheric drinking spot has been designed to attract both the seasoned rum drinker and those curious to taste the unique flavours of rum from around the world. 

I was brought up as a rum drinker and do love a Bundy and coke, but there's much more to excite the palate here with a rum list that includes some of the world's most rare and exclusive rums. 

Taking pride of place in a locked cabinet is a bottle of the exclusive Havana Club Maximo – one of six bottles available in Australia.  This premium product is the pinnacle of rums available in Australia. 

The Maximo bottle is housed in a stunning glass cabinet centred in the bar and it sits opposite the limited release Bacardi 150th Anniversary bottle.  The Brekky Creek is lucky to have two of the Bacardi 150th Anniversary rum bottles out of six publicly available in Australia.

The bar includes rum that even scotch drinkers would appreciate.  Habitation St Etienne with a single malt finish is a popular choice.

Unique to the bar is the hotel’s very own spiced rum, which involves infusing Bundaberg Rum with a range of delicious flavours.  I sampled this 'Fair Dinkum' brew neat. It was a smooth drop with interesting hints of roasted wattle, gum leaf, dried banana, mango and pineapple, amongst others. I liked it.

K2 also tried a couple of neat rums but I suspect he'll be sticking close to the coke next time.

The Substation No.41 Bar claims to be the only venue in Australia that serves rum off the wood with Bundaberg Rum which draws in the flavour of a French oak barrel. Exclusively commissioned for the Brekky Creek, the lovely subtle oak flavours enhance the Bundaberg Rum for a truly unique twist on this classic flavour.

The bar is headed by the Brekky Creek’s rum expert Stuart Griffith who shares his passion and knowledge of the distinct rum flavours and how they vary from region to region. 

Patrons can pick a rum of their choice from the shelf or they can be guided by Stu’s Selections. 

Originally the Substation No.41 Rum Bar was a disused electricity substation building on the Breakfast Creek Hotel site.

The building had not been used since the seventies and had remained derelict.

Renovated again in October 2012, it features an 11.9 metre long Iron Bark timber bar, which once supported the overnight storage bin at the old CSR Sugar Refinery at nearby Teneriffe.

The Substation Rum Bar features nine stunning wooden beams running vertically along the back bar, salvaged and refurbished from the Townsville Wharf.  Each beam measures approximately four metres in length.

It has nine levels of wooden shelving with dark leather Winchester backing, all lit to produce a spectacular amber glow at night.

And when you've finished trying the rums, the Breakfast Creek's new succulent 500 gram dry-aged rib fillets, competitively priced at $45 each, will more than fix your hunger.

As you walk into the Spanish Garden restaurant, you'll see a large cabinet displaying the meat as it ages. I'm used to meat that is a rich red colour and is decidedly soft.  The meat in the cabinet is dark and looks hard with a crust on the outside.

According to the experts the finished  rib fillet, which has been aged for 60 days on the bone, is  incredibly flavoursome and tender.  Commonplace 40 years ago, this storage method has staged a comeback due to its flavour enhancing qualities.

Breakfast Creek Hotel Manager Sam Gullo said “Dry-aging beef is the natural way of enhancing flavour and tenderness of the meat. The longer the beef is aged, the more it allows the enzymes to break it down, tenderising the meat.

So what was it like? I can vouch for the tenderness and flavour of this steak and also the quality of the fresh bucket of plump, tender prawns that we also enjoyed.  While the dry aged steaks are new, the traditional Brekky Creek accompaniments of salad and chips with a choice of sauces remain.

Recommended for:  Steak lovers, rum lovers and traditionalists who like a great pub.

Bottom line: Steaks cost from $32 to $65 and all come with coleslaw or salad and an Idaho potato.

Best tip: Try the Fair Dinkum rum neat and enjoy the flavours.

Breakfast Creek Hotel

Kerry Heaney

Disclaimer:  Ed+bK and partner were guests of the Breakfast Creek Hotel for this meal.


Top cuts - Brisbane food news

Hearts go out to Brisbane's battling restaurateurs hit by another flood.

Thankfully those hard hit at South Bank seem to have escaped this year's water but it's not looking so good down at Eagle Street where the just opened Riverbar has been flooded, while Jellyfish is sandbagged and waiting for the flood peak at 11am.

Strong winds have caused damage at Javier Codina's Moda and rising drain water is another concern there while at Alchemy roof leaks have already caused problems and flooding is a possibility.

Hope they saved these comfy deck chairs at Riverbar.

Achacha in season

If you've never tasted this Bolivian fruit you are in for a treat. Sweet, tangy, refreshing, sorbet-like are the descriptors for this small, white fleshy fruit with a bright orange case exterior.

Helen Hill grows the fruit in North Queensland and  believes she is the world's first in fact and only large grower.

"We are now growing biologically, no chemicals, herbicides, fungicides, not  a 'cide' to be found on the place or synthetic fertilisers," Helen says.  "So 'uncertified organic'!"  

"Being a forest fruit, there are sometimes marks on the fruit's skin but it doesn't affect the inside. The skin makes a healthy drink full of extra goodness. We add a little of the Achacha honey. 

According to Helen Achacha were on Harrod's of London shelves last season, sourced from an agent in Paris.  

"Marks and Spencer asked for a trial box a week ago too, so the name is getting out. Our agent in the Netherlands will take some boxes again to Fruit Logistica in Berlin, the world's biggert fruit fair, which happens again in a couple of weeks.  

"It was Horticulture Australia who took a few boxes of Achacha to Fruit Logistica two years ago.  We were then invited to enter their Innovation Award (we made it to the top 10 which gave us a small stand in the Innovation Award section and then to the top three last February) and all these European contacts came from being there. 

Want to try achacha? You can buy a small box of achacha online or use their online retail list to find a stockist near you. More information

Sip your cellar

Would you like to enjoy bottles of wine from your own cellar while dining out? 

First Wednesday of the month is Sip Your Cellar night in Javier Codina's Wine Room at Moda. 
The first four course dinner with no corkage will be held on February 6.  Menu details for the $99 per person dinner are available  from Moda.

You can even deliver your climate controlled wines to Moda 24 hours in advance and they will look after them for you.  Don't forget to book

Special blue tasting

Heads up cheese lovers - 28 wheels of Rogue Special Reserve Blue are about to hit our shores.
Rogue Special Reserve Blue a special pasteurized version of the raw milk American classic Rogue River Blue. This raw milk cheese is made and released just once a year in late autumn (US)and  won Super Gold at the World Cheese Awards in Birmingham in November 2012. 

It’s widely considered to be one of America’s best cheeses and is highly sought after in the international market, by the likes of Neal’s Yard Dairy and Whole Foods.

Want to taste? This special cheese will be available at Aria, Stoke House, Restaurant II and Cha Cha Char  in Brisbane and selected delis for a limited time.

Talk to the cheese makers visiting from Oregon, USA and taste their produce on Saturday February 2 at Superior Fruits - Shop 5, 365 Honour Avenue, Graceville, 9am – 10.30am or Rosalie Gourmet Markets - 164 Baroona Road, Rosalie, 11.00am – 1pm.

Kerry Heaney

Disclaimer: This is not a paid post

Tall Short Espresso, Paddington.

Long and red, it certainly stands out in the crowd, and that's a good thing because you definitely want to be able to find the red VW kombi that is home to Tall Short Espresso at an event near you.

Now the roaming coffee makers have a new place to call home with the opening of a coffee shop on Latrobe Terrace at Paddington, Brisbane.

You'll find it by the red and black stools and black umbrellas just off the footpath.

It's all about the coffee here and the bright red coffee machine certainly turns out a good one.  Your coffee also comes with a complimentary ginger bread man.  It's only tiny, so it won't break your diet, but packed full of flavour. If you are addicted to them, you can buy a larger version, along with some muffins and biscuits.

Look out for the red kombi in Eagle Lane, down near Eagle Street Pier, 6.30am - 2pm weekdays.

Bottom line: Great coffee
Best tip:  This is a morning based operation - open 7am to 2pm.

Tall Short Coffee

Kerry Heaney 

Disclaimer: This is not a paid post.


Your opinion? Is photography in restaurants really annoying you?

According to a report on Mashable some New York City restaurants are banning their customers from taking food photos.

They say taking photos of your meal is annoying to other customers, distracting to the chef and just plain silly.

I say, with a few self-imposed rules -

1. always ask permission
2. never use a flash
3. try to be discreet

food photography is a harmless hobby, a bonding experience with other food lovers and a great way to see what your meal could look like.

It's also a source of instant free publicity for restaurants, a rare and valuable commodity these days.

Permission to take photos has only been declined to me once, at Max Brenner in Sydney many years ago.

Have you ever been asked not to take photos?  Do you find it annoying when others take photos of their food?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.


5 of the best ways to eat mangoes

Bang, roll, roll, roll, pause and splat!

That's the noise a mango makes when it drops from lofty height of  tree branch onto the tin roof of a Queenslander home, rolls down the steeply pitched roof, hits the gutter and flies over to land, smashed on the concrete path.

Imagine this takes place in the middle of the night, with the sound of a possum who must be wearing work boots, following it.

My relationship with mangoes is love/hate.  I love to eat them, love their glossy green leaves and welcoming cool shade but hate the noise of dropping mangoes and the mess.

We just won't mention the year both giant mango trees fruited so well we could do nothing but put the excess in to the wheelie bin.  Unfortunately we found out a wheelie bin fully loaded with mangos is too heavy for a garbage truck to lift. Off to the dump for us!

The lush green leaves of a mango tree have been my companion for the past 30 years. Some of the trees have produced great fruit but others planted back in Brisbane's early days, were what locals call 'turpentine' mangoes.  I don't need to describe why.

A good mango is the fruit from the gods. It's warm yellow flesh is deliciously firm and yet tender, sweet and aromatic. No stringy bits are allowed!

When a box of Honey Gold Mangoes arrived at my front door I had plenty of ideas about how to use them.

Honey Gold Mangoes are fatherless offshoots from a mysteriously pollinated Kensington Pride tree. A bit of nature's magic.  In 1995, after waiting three years for his nursery-bought Kensington Pride mango seedlings to bear fruit, a sole mango farmer in Rockhampton, Queensland, found that one of his 1800 trees was different to all the others. And that was the beginning of Honey Gold Mangoes.

Here are my five favourite ways to enjoy a mango.

1. Just straight - no frills, except slightly chilled from the fridge.  

Cut off each mango cheek and score in a grid. Push the back of the skin and, hey presto, the mango pops. The cubes of flesh are easy to eat or pop into a salad. Don't forget to suck the flesh off the seed, best done standing over the sink!

2. Mango salsa

Peel and chop a mango finely. Add three tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce and one of fish sauce. Add some chopped mint and coriander if you have it.

Use this to accompany grilled meat, add it to rice paper rolls, spread it on a sandwich as a condiment. Delicious and easy.

3. Sliced mango in a chicken salad

There's definitely an affinity between chicken and mango.  My favourite easy peasy salad includes a packet of salad mix from the supermarket, the shredded meat of a barbecued chicken (not too finely shredded), a avocado and red capsicum sliced long ways, a  mango sliced the same, some persian fetta, a small handfull of roasted pumpkin seeds and maybe some black olives.  I then throw over caramelised balsamic dressing.

This is so good.

4.  Mango breakfast trifles

These are surprisingly filling so don't over do it.  Grab a wine glass or other attractively shaped glass and chop a mango per person or between two people.  Layer the mango, toasted muesli and mango yoghurt (either buy mango yoghurt or mix mango into plain yoghurt). Add a layer of chopped mint and macadamia nuts if you have them.

This is so delicious you may never want to go out for breakfast again.

5. Mango Mojitos

For each glass, muddle three lime wedges, 6-8 mint leaves and a few chunks of mango. Add crushed ice, a shot of vodka, sugar syrup to taste and top with soda water. Garnish with a spring of mint and slices of mango.

Sugar syrup: combine 1/2 cup white sugar and 3/4 cup water in a saucepan and simmer for 7 minutes.  Cool before using.

Disclaimer: Ed+bK was gifted a box of mangoes.

Kerry Heaney

Disclaimer:  Ed+bK was gifted a box of Honey Gold mangoes


Australia Day long weekend dining in Brisbane

Whole roast possum, emu patties, lamb and vegemite sausages, crocodile kebabs and barbecued wallaby - where can you get it on the Australia Day weekend?

I have no qualms about eating kangaroo. The meat is lean and well flavoured and, carefully cooked, it is moist and tender.  I've eaten many other native animals, from emu to crocodile and even snake but possum is just a little hard.  I have visions of those cute critters that sometimes sit outside my window. And whole possum, well that's another world.

Anyhow,  here’s some top spots and inventive menus so you can stretch your Australia Day legs.

Constance Street Australia Day Weekend

Two of Brisbane’s hottest party venues, Limes Hotel and Alfred & Constance, have decided that one day is not enough and will be throwing their doors open for a four-day spree with free BBQs, Australian fare and live music from local artist, Sons of Midnight.

Take advantage of the public holiday and wrap up your Australia Day long weekend with dinner at A&C on Monday night. Order pavlova for dessert before heading up to Limes’ roof top for a cinema under the stars of the Southern Cross.

When: Friday 25th – Monday 28th January from noon at Alfred& Constance, various times at Limes Hotel 

Where: Alfred & Constance and Limes Hotel, Constance Street, Fortitude Valley  

Room with Roses

Parmesan crumbed lamb cutlets with potato bake, steamed greens and mint jus or herb-crusted barramundi with roast chat potatoes, steamed greens, hollandaise sauce and lemon -  this sounds like the sort of comfort food you wish mum would make!

Finish with a mini palova or an Australia Day petit four selection that includes cherry ripe slice, mini lamington, Anzac biscuits and passionfruit slice.

When: Until Saturday, Jan 26
Where: Room with Roses

Regatta Hotel Australia Day Weekend

Slip off your shoes and sink into a courtyard of lush green grass brought in especially for the weekend. The ever-popular Hottest 100 Countdown playing in the background, superb lamb roast on the spit and there’s a fabulous cocktail pitcher menu designed by internationally recognised bartender, Krystal Hart.

The Boatshed has some real Aussie favourites including mouth-watering lamb cutlets, a traditional pavlova plus custom-made lamb and vegemite sausages 

Coat of Arms burger

In celebration of Australia Day,  Grill’d has created a unique blend of kangaroo and emu - giving hungry Australians the opportunity to eat their national emblem in a Coat of Arms burger.

They have combined a lean kangaroo and emu pattie with award winning Meredith Dairy goats cheese, beetroot, juicy quandongs, tasty bush tomato relish, native
thyme mayo and caramelised onion..

All this is brought together with citrus-fresh thyme mayo and tangy relish made with bush tomatoes - a favourite with Aboriginal people for thousands of years

The Coat of Arms burgers will be available from selected Grill’d restaurants across the country between January until 31 – but burger lovers have to be quick, as only 50 will be made available per restaurant each day.

Where: Grill'd

The Dayboro Deli

Head out to country Dayboro for a three course Aussie feast on Saturday 26th January  with  crocodile kebabs, coat of arms steak, barbequed prawns, warm bush potatoes, damper, mango cheesecake with an Anzac bickie base and pavlova cream.

On Monday the menu will be full of steak, lamb, prawns and other ‘strayaday favourites. Call to reserve a table 3425 1510.

Bitter Suite

On Saturday Bittersuite’s chef is doing a special menu including whole roasted possum, smoked emu sausage, barbecued wallaby and spiced crocodile tail!

Where: Bitter Suite, Cnr of Lamington and Welsby Streets, New Farm


Poolside at Bacchus could be the place to be this Australia Day long weekend. On offer on 26 January is a luxury brunch, lunch or afternoon drinks poolside with an extraordinary line up of live entertainment featuring Sons of Midnight, supported by Cutloose, Gavin Boyd, Shariff D (live on Sax) and Japanese born, Californian raised DJ Kaku. The menu includes an oyster and champagne station, spicy prawn skewers, gourmet sausage rolls, tempura fish, lamb lollipops plus traditional scones and pavlova. Doors open at 11.30am. General admission is $70 per person or $25 from 2.00pm.

Where: Bacchus, Podium Level, Rydges South Bank

Disclaimer:  This is not a paid post.

10 foods that make you proud to be an Australian

Which truly Australian foods deserve to grace our tables on Australia Day? 

Here is my list of foods that scream Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!

 1.  Pavlova

There are lots of stories about the origins of this dessert which I love to cook. The oldest known named recipe for pavlova is from New Zealand, but I like the story that the dessert took its name from a performance by Anna Pavlova at the Esplanade Hotel in Perth where she danced "as light as air" in reference to the light meringue.

Some find pavlovas tricky to make, but it's quite simple if you stick to the rules.  Here's a good recipe.   I like to top my pavlova with mix of seasonal fruit (mango at this time of the year) and dust with crushed Flake. Too easy.

Market queen Jan Power shares a lamington

2. Lamingtons

Lamingtons, squares of sponge cake coated in a layer of chocolate icing, then in desiccated coconut, are also easy to love.

Although there are claims from Toowoomba that they were first made there, I like the romance of the Old Government House story. The French-born chef Armand Gallad, was called upon at short notice to provide something to feed unexpected guests during the busy period leading up to Federation in 1901. He cut up some left-over French vanilla sponge cake baked the day before, dipped the slices in chocolate, set them in coconut and, voila, we have lamingtons! Here's a recipe.

3. Pies

What would a trip to the footie be without a meat pie in hand? Of course it has to be a hot pie and the trick is to eat it without burning your mouth or letting the tomato sauce drip down your shirt.

It's hard to beat the range on offer at the Old Fernvale Bakery in Brisbane Valley, about an hour from Brisbane city.

Here you'll find 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!

If you'd rather make your own - here's a dinki di recipe

4. Bush tucker


Native plant foods include fruits such as quandong with its tart apricot and peach flavor, sweet, apple-flavored muntries, tangy Davidson plums and long, thin finger limes filled with tiny caviar-shaped bubbles of lime flavor.

Spices such as the sweet citrus tang of lemon myrtle, the punch of mountain pepper and the subtle flavor of aniseed myrtle create gentle but distinctive variations to dishes.

Other leafy plants, such as warrigal greens, can be used as a substitute for spinach, but only in cooked dishes as it toxic when eaten raw.

Want to try bush tucker?  Head to Tukka Restaurant in Brisbane or Seabelle Restaurant on Fraser Island.

5. Sausages

Throwing a snag on the barbie is definitely an Australian tradition. I was a judge at the  2012 Royal Queensland Food and Wine Show (RQFWS) and Australian Meat Industry Council’s (AMIC) State Sausage King Competition in Brisbane and got some great tips on how to cook the perfect sausage.

6. Lamb

Tom Cruise might be out of favour, but lamb is definitely on my list of great Australian foods. Roasted, grilled, barbequed or fried - it's all good but I do love it when they bring around lamb cutlets at parties.

7. Prawns

A bucket of prawns, fresh white bread, salt and pepper and thick creamy butter.  Life doesn't get much better in my book.  I last had a bucket of prawns at Sunshine Beach Surf Club overlooking the beach. Bliss.

Buy them fresh from the trawler if you can. The ones at Shorncliffe are great.

8. Damper

So easy to make, damper is a traditional Australian soda bread prepared by swagmen, drovers and other travellers. Usually a wheat flour based bread, it is traditionally baked in the coals of a campfire. You can also shape it like a sausage around a stick and then cook over an open fire.  Golden syrup, and lots of it, is the traditional accompaniment. Here's a recipe.

9. Anzac biscuits

Sweet and crunchy, Anzac biscuits are made using rolled oats, flour, sugar, butter, golden syrup, baking soda, boiling water and desiccated coconut. Anzac biscuits got their name from the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) established in World War I, when the biscuits were sent by wives to soldiers abroad because the ingredients don't spoil easily and kept well during transportation. Here's a recipe that adds a touch of rosemary.

10. Kangaroo

There's nothing like eating part of the coat of arms on Australia Day.  You can buy it at your local supermarket and it's a great meat but like all game meat, needs to be carefully cooked.  Give it a try. Here's a recipe.

Kerry Heaney

Disclaimer: This is not a paid post.