Sunday

Honey Chocolate Cake recipe



Here's a recipe for a moist chocolate cake that that's perfect for Easter.  You are still getting your chocolate fix, in a less intense way, and the cake sugar level has been reduced with the addition of honey.  It's a honey/vanilla Honeyfusion combo which also adds an interesting variation, deepening the flavour.  I'm keen to try it over pancakes or in yoghurt.

The cake takes about 20 minutes to make and less time to eat depending on who is around. :)

Honey Chocolate Cake


Ingredients

125g butter, softened
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup Capilano Vanilla Honey
1½ cups self-raising flour
½ cup cocoa
½ cup milk

Icing

2½ cups pure icing sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 tablespoon softened butter
1 tablespoon Capilano Vanilla Honey
1½ tablespoons boiling water
to decorate
chocolate curls (see tip)
small chocolate Easter eggs


Method

  1.     Preheat oven to 170C. Grease and line a 22cm round cake pan with baking paper.
  2.     Place butter and sugar into a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add honey and beat until combined.
  3.     Sift flour and cocoa together. Add to creamed mixture and stir to combine, then add milk and mix until combined.
  4.     Pour into prepared pan and bake 45 minutes or until cooked. Insert a wooden skewer into the centre of the cake – it should remove clean. If cake browns too quickly place a piece of foil loosely over cake. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove from tin to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5.     Make icing. Sift icing sugar and cocoa together into a medium bowl. Add butter. Place honey in a small heatproof bowl; add boiling water and stir to combine. Reserve 2 teaspoons of the liquid. Add remainder to the icing sugar mixture and stir until smooth. Add reserved liquid, if necessary, to make a spreadable icing. Spread icing over cake.
  6.     When icing is set, decorate with chocolate curls and Easter eggs to form a nest.

Tip

Use broken Chocolate Flake bars in place of chocolate curls.

For more honey recipes visit 


Kerry Heaney
Disclaimer: This is not a paid post.

Sprout, Auchenflower


Tucked away in Auchenflower, Sprout is a French cafe that has spread its wings a little to embrace breakfast, lunch and dinner six days a week.

They have also stepped outside the normal culinary square with some interesting options that should inspire foodie interest.



We tried the breakfast menu and were over joyed with the thick maple cured bacon that accompanied our perfectly poached eggs.  Chef Oliver Boudon explained that he couldn't find bacon he liked so he decided to make his own.  It's a good move because you'll come back for the thick, sweet bacon alone at Sprout.


I was tempted by trying a duck egg and the smooth, velvety texture did not disappoint.  It was rich and Oliver is right, one egg is enough.  I managed to fit a side of tender sliced mushrooms as well.



Number One son splurged with Sprout Eggs Benedict which saw him diving into oozing eggs on crisp potato rosti all dressed with a homemade Yuzu hollandaise sauce.  The kicker was the spanner crab meat on the side. (Yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit)

Interesting breakfast options include black pudding, cassoulet beans and french waffles.  Their set price breakfast is good value at $25 for orange juice, coffee, fresh baguette with jam and two eggs with maple cured bacon.  You won't be hungry after that!
 
There's also baskets full of fresh pastries so you can simply order a takeaway coffee and grab a pastry on the run.  Great for busy morning starts.


The community bookshelf has been included to inspire book recycling. The idea is that you bring along a book you don't want any more and pop it onto the shelf.  Browse the shelf and take home the want you want to read.

Sprout donates their walls to local artists and the exhibition covering their walls changes every six weeks.  There's some interesting metal sculptures that I could see gracing my dining table there at the moment.

I'm planning a return visit to test drive the lunch menu which divides into French and Russian roots and  a wide range of interesting light options.  Think salade nicoise and croque-monsieur, borscht and pierogi ruskie, or brie and beetroot salad with warm quince dressing and potted lamb pie.  Plenty to work your way through here.




We did try two sweet items -  a tarte tatin with wonderfully caramelised apples that came with a creamy caramel vanilla ice cream and french toast highlighted with lemon zest and accompanied by raspberry ice cream with a touch of ginger.

There's a shortage of great BYO cafes in Brisbane so keep Sprout on your radar for a champagne breakfast or wine inspired dinner.

Bottom line:  Great local cafe and BYO is a real bonus
Best tip: Plenty of parking here.

Sprout Cafe, 111Haig Road, Auchenflower

Kerry Heaney

Disclaimer: Ed+bK was a guest at Sprout for breakfast.



Saturday

Marbled tea eggs recipe



So you are up to your eyeballs in chocolate but still want to have an eggy Easter?  How about these sure-to-impress tea-marbled quail eggs?

They combine the Asian tradition of marbled eggs with tea gastronomy. A simple, but stunning starter or combine with a quail salad for extra points.  I'm sure this would work with any kind of egg so don't be put off by having to source quail eggs.



Dilmah Soaked Quail Eggs

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons of Dilmah Ceylon tea
15ml dark soy sauce
100ml light soy sauce
2 cloves
2 star anaise
1.5l chicken stock
20 quail eggs


Method:

  • Add all the ingredients, except for the quail eggs, into a pot and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Place the eggs in the liquid and cook for a further ten minutes.
  • Remove the eggs and gently crack but do not peel
  • Return the eggs to the liquid for 1 hour (and up to 3)
  • Peel the eggs when ready to serve

Wednesday

Ten things to do in Noosa Heads



It doesn't matter how many times I head down the hill on Noosa Drive towards the ocean, I still get a little shiver of excitement every time. This very special part of the world has achieved international recognition for its unique environment and I am privileged to be able to dip my toes into it on a regular basis.

Here are ten of my favourite Noosa pastimes.






1. Although it’s always tempting to sleep in, I don't like to waste a moment of the day when I wake up in Noosa. The best way to start is in the coffee queue at Sails on Hastings Street and then a stroll along the winding boardwalk to the National Park, koala spotting along the way.





Depending on my mood and energy level, I continue the walk through the park to enjoy the beachside views. Some like to run it. You can pick up a coffee at the information hut in the national park as well.





2. After a bit of exercise there's nothing like a big breakie at Aromas and a spot of people watching. With the chairs and tables mainly facing the street it's hard to miss the passing parade unless, of course, you are distracted by the great breakfast. Check the counter for fresh coconut milk straight from the coconut.


3. Hastings Street is always worth a wander to check out what's new and funky and look for seriously good sale racks. My wardrobe is peppered with Noosa bargains that have become old faves.




4. When it comes to lunch I'm still happy to be in Hastings Street with a leisurely lunch at Berardo's on the Beach, Bistro C or Season in mind. There’s something special about dining with a view of beach and surf.





5. The latest taste sensation on Hastings Street is where I like to head after lunch for a sweet treat. I'm addicted to Nitrogeni's Salty Caramelly Popcorn and Lemon Meringue flavours.




6. My one attempt at learning to surf was not what you would call successful but I'm keen to have another go with a world surfing champion at Noosa Learn To Surf. No cameras please.




7. Browsing the Noosa Farmers Markets is a quick way to stock up on fabulous local produce and make some new finds. From fabulous French pastries to fresh sugar cane juice, you'll find more than enough to excite your palate here. It's on every Sunday morning, 7am – 12 noon.




8. Gympie Terrace in Noosaville is another favourite haunt. There are plenty of spots along the Noosa River bank where you can sit and watch the view. Sunsets are particularly nice. Gympie Terrace and Thomas Street are both filled with an interesting mix of cafes, restaurants, homewards shops and boutiques making a perfect destination both night and day.




9. Cooroy is the Noosa area’s best kept secret. Just a scenic short 22 km drive from Noosa it has the best French patisserie and Thai restaurant. Take your appetite with you to visit Dhom’s Kitchen but be sure to book ahead as their traditional Thai fare is widely popular. Maison de Provence serves equally excellent pastries, macarons and coffee. Be adventurous and try the snails too.



10 There are many ways to cruise the Noosa River and I suggest you try all of them. From a swish speed wooden boat  , to the sunset ferry cruise, all are deeply relaxing and rewarding. You can also try your hand at kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding in the river.


Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Tourism Noosa  but the feelings are all my own.

Kerry Heaney

Tuesday

Down the rabbit hole - Mad Hatter's Lobby High Tea, Stamford Plaza


You won't be late for this occasion as not a moment of the Stamford Plaza's Mad Hatter's Lobby High Tea should be missed.

It's a world of wonderment, full of fairy tale fantasy, exquisite cakes and fine china, all washed down to the evocative sounds of a classical duo.






This is the perfect event for mother/daughter celebrations, aunties who love to spoil or just groups of girls who wanta have fun.  I think there may have been a man in the room but he certainly would have been surrounded by a bevy of women.

The tables are set with a sea of the finest china and the plates laden with treats including cucumber sandwiches, buttermilk scones, backwards pocket watch macarons, a top hat marquise, magic mushrooms, and an eat-me-up cupcake.











The Mad Hatter's High Tea is on until Sunday April 14, excluding Easter Friday. The cost is $45 for adults and $30 for children. Reservations p 3100 5749.

Stamford Plaza

Disclaimer: Ed+bK was a guest of the Stamford Plaza for high tea.

Kerry Heaney

Monday

Top cuts - just the best food news



It’s back – the pick of local food news.

Taking it to the streets

 



Tacquito Taco Pop Up launched on Sunday in Kelvin Grove and my spy tells me there were 200 people waiting for a taco at 1pm. It's great to see Brisbane embracing new food options and congratulations to the team who got it all together. They ran out proving popularity makes it tough for everyone to get their fill, but there will be more.  Line ups are all part of the fun for pop-ups. Make sure you check their Facebook page for updates. 

I'm looking forward to seeing more on the road – that means you Jay Holland and your Wing n it. More speed to your slow tradies in outfitting the van. In the meantime, you can get your food truck fill at The Wandering Elephant and The Bun Mobile


Applause for Symphony

 

 

Hot off the presses – Ewen Macpherson of Symphony Hill tells me that they just have won a major award at the Canberra Winewise Awards which judge only gold medal winning wines over the last 12 months. Their 2009 Reserve Petit Verdot also was awarded trophy for Best Other Red Variety Trophy - Yalumba got the Other White trophy. Symphony Hill is now listed amongst the big boys and girls down south like Rosemount and Heggies. Well done Ewen and Symphony Hill Winemaker Mike Hayes.


Early Sprout

 

 

Popular Auchenflower café restaurant Sprout has taken a bit look at its home ground suburb and decided there’s a shortage of quality food options.  The good news is that Sprout is now offering new combination of grab-n-go coffee + pastry, a new patisserie with the most delicious French pastries, plus dining for breakfast and lunch as well as their traditional dinner. They envisage that Sunday brunch may involve lots of champagne…  Find it at 111 Haig Road, Auchenflower.  They are open six days a week and will be open over Easter.


Adelaide Food Festival

They do food well in South Australia and this new Adelaide Food & Wine Festival promises eight days of mouth-watering events across the state. It all kicks off with a Market Feast on Saturday April 6 and continues through till April 14. My top picks are the Bacon Trail with Saskia Beer, a Pie Float Off competition, plus hands on classes, Say Cheese mozzarella stretching, an around-the-world chocolate experience and a dinner that celebrates one of SA's foremost food and wine lovers - Don Dunstan at Fino Willunga.


Burlesque and Louboutins   

 

        

The name Christian Louboutin, the  celebrated designer behind the world-famous line of red-soled shoes, puts a gleam in the eye of any self-respecting shoe fashionista. Here’s a chance to enjoy a French-themed cocktail party with canapés and wine, followed by an exclusive screening of Louboutin’s film Feu in 3D which was a hit at the French Film Festival. It’s all in aid of Dress for Success Brisbane and will be held on Tuesday 16th April at Palace Cinemas. Tickets are $60 + booking fee (all proceeds go directly to Dress for Success Brisbane). Book here




Disclaimer:  This is not a paid post


Kerry Heaney

Saturday

Tea-infused Chocopot recipe




Here's a great make ahead dessert that will impress your guests with unusual flavour twists. And it incorporates chocolate - say no more!

Tea-infused Chocopot


Ingredients:

2 cups chopped good quality bittersweet chocolate
2 ½ cups thickened cream
½ cup milk
1 ½ tsp Dilmah Earl Grey tea
½ cup sugar
6 egg yolks
¼ vanilla bean
1 chocolate-coated honeycomb bar


Method:


1. Pre-heat oven to 150°C.
2. Heat milk in a small saucepan until hot but not boiling. Remove from heat and add the tea. Steep for several minutes until the Earl Grey flavour is developed. Strain most of the tea but leave a tiny amount of residual tea. Set aside.
3. Into a large bowl place chocolate, thickened cream and sugar and simmer over a saucepan of water of water until chocolate is the melted and sugar is dissolved. Blend in the infused milk and egg yolks. Stir.
4. Divide the mixture between 6 small coffee cups (demitasse). Cover each cup in plastic wrap and place in a dish of water so the water is halfway up the sides of the cups. Gently pierce the wrap to prevent sweating.
5. Bake until just set (50 minutes) then refrigerate.
6. Top with crumbled chocolate-coated honeycomb before serving.

Kerry Heaney

Disclaimer: Simply sharing food love

Friday

Egg-cellent healthy Easter eating





Rivalled only by Valentines Day, Easter is the best excuse to eat more chocolate with the sound of that bunny hopping down the path with a big basket of choccie eggs music to the ears of chocolate lovers everywhere.

It's also a little scary for the calorie conscious, diet watchers amongst us (me included) as it's so easy to indulge in this treat.

However it's not all bad news - chocolate  has wonderful beneficial properties from a nutrition standpoint says Sally-Anne Livock, APD, director of Sunshine Coast Dietetics.

“Powerful antioxidants can be found in chocolate – specifically, polyphenols. These abundant and essential nutrients can help reduce our ‘bad’ cholesterol, known as LDL, whilst increasing the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol,” she says.

Eating dark chocolate has also been shown to significantly reduce blood pressure. And don’t forget the psychological effects: “Eating chocolate releases calm, soothing, feel-good hormones,” Sally-Anne points out.




However, while she loves a chocolate bunny as much as anyone, Sally-Anne – whose dietary doctrine is all about moderation – encourages self-control.

“Keep this in mind next time you peel back the foil on an Easter treat: it takes about 35 minutes of running or an hour of swimming to burn off a single chocolate egg. Plus, chocolate contains significant quantities of unhealthy fats.”

Chocolate can be addictive, too, especially after a period of sustained intake, like Easter. It contains stimulants – caffeine and bromine – which provide the “lift” experienced by eaters.

“The ’lift’ from chocolate is similar to other addictive chemicals. Because of this, chocolate craving is not just an excuse – it’s a real occurrence,” says Sally-Anne.









Sally-Anne shares tips for those seeking to ensure their Easter is egg-cellent – while practising moderation:

•       Purchase only small quantities of chocolate - enough to last only a day or two - because typically the more you have on hand, the more you eat.
•       Buy the best quality you can.  A small amount of high-quality chocolate will satisfy you sooner than a large quantity made with inferior ingredients. Schedule a visit to Monty's or Mayfield Chocolates.
•          Eat chocolate at room temperature: it’s the best way to get that velvety mouth feel, says Sally-Anne!
•       Consider giving a small, high-quality chocolate treat for Easter alongside a second, non-chocolate gift. This helps keep Easter from becoming just another “eating excuse” – and helps stave off a chocolate addiction.

Learn more at www.sunshinecoastdietetics.com.au

Kerry Heaney

Disclaimer:  This is not a paid post - simply sharing good eating tips to balance my food obsession.


Thursday

Kitty and the Bean, Red Hill



Bowls Clubs are the new hip spot to find boutique coffee spots, or will be if new western suburbs trends sweep Brisbane.

Hot on the heels of Beans on the Green at Bardon, we now have Kitty and Bean in neighbouring Red Hill.  Both are zapping up under utilised bowls clubs and turning them into much loved neighbourhood centres for a diverse range of locals.

Bowls clubs are a great spot for a coffee shop - there's plenty of parking, lots of safe areas for children to roam, dogs are welcome, rents are low and there's an established local community.




Kitty and the Bean is starting out slow with a small menu that features variations on toasted sandwiches and wraps, all with very reasonable prices.  There's some muffins in a cabinet and a great looking parfait style muesli  and fresh berry concoction that incorporates granola from Banneton.

The coffee is organic fair trade and good.  Another plus is that the cafe is supporting local shop keepers and buying their fruit and veg at Ashgrove, organic where possible.

This is a family run affair with Duggan family member,s father Eddie Duggan, son Shafer Duggan, daughter Kellie Jade Duggan and Kylie Norton all pitching in. The cafe blossomed from a conversation between builder Eddie and the Red Hill Community Sports Club on how to make better use of the great environment around the Bowls Club. 

One of the projects in the pipeline is is a DIY herb garden inspired by the Stephanie Alexander Foundation, where kids can come and plant their own herbs, then label, water and nurture them, returning to watch them grow each week while their parents relax and have a coffee.





Head down there on Sunday (March 24) for their opening celebrations which will include  free barefoot bowls lessons, live music, drinks, food, board games and more.

Find Kitty and the Bean on Fulcher Road, Red Hill, just off Waterworks Road near the TAFE and Broncos.  There's plenty of parking but watch out for fast driving jerks leaving the Broncos training area.

Do you have a great coffee shop at your local bowls club?  I'd love to know about it.  Please leave a comment below.

Kerry Heaney

Disclaimer:  Ed+bK paid for the coffee and wrap.


Five top Brisbane Easter treats



Looking forward to sharing food, wine and fun with friends and family over Easter? Here's five top ways to get the most out of Easter in Brisbane


1. Your personal egg


Order a personalised Easter egg from Mayfield Chocolates  in milk or dark chocolate for $39. The message has to be short so it will fit but you can always squeeze 'luv' into it.  Yep it's big, but I'm sure my family could eat this over a few days.  They are lucky I am the sharing type. While you are at Mayfield Chocolates I dare you to walk out without some of their chocolates. With names like Bushrangers Dream, Riviera Dreaming and Nipple of Venus, how could you resist?  Find them at The Barracks, Paddington; Wickham Terrace, Spring Hill and Tamborine Mountain.


2. Hot cross buns that actually taste good


There are hot cross buns on just about every street corner at the moment but so many need lashings of butter to make them taste good or leave you with that 'I've just eaten a hot cross bun' feeling for hours later.  Tognini's have come to the rescue with some of  the best I have tasted.  I think it's Narelle's boozy dried fruit mix that makes the difference.  Get your orders in quick for these.  Tognini's also have Italian Easter Cake, Easter chocolates and an Easter cheese box for those who don't have a sweet tooth.  








3. Easter cake pops and cupcakes

Carla Burns at Vanilla Pod, Ascot is on overdrive at the moment with the cutest array of Easter gingerbread houses, cake pops, old fashioned candy eggs, Easter cupcakes that look like hot cross buns and iced gingerbread Easter biscuits.  I've tried the iced Easter gingerbread biscuits and can recommend them as a good way to enjoy the Easter theme without going overboard on chocolate.





4. Mad Hatters High Tea



Unleash your inner child or just grab a child (one that you know) and head off to this delight at the Stamford Plaza available until Sunday 14 April. The Stamford's elegant lobby high tea has been transformed into a world of dreamlike bliss with a sureal Mad Hatter’s lobby High Tea so you will think you are in wonderland. You will be swept away by the sounds of the lobby strings while sipping the chilled bubbles, pink lemonade and the fine tea selection.  From $45.00 per adult and $30 per child. I'm going on Sunday  yipee!






5 Don't like the Easter bunny?  Eat rabbit!




Head out to Sichuan Bang Bang at Kenmore for one their Easter weekend specials -  a Sichuan classic... Dry Plate Rabbit... aka very spicy bunny!  They are open all Easter weekend too from 5pm till late!










Disclaimer:  Simply spreading food love