Sunday, 31 March 2013

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, 30 March 2013

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

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Where to eat over Easter in Brisbane?

Not all your faves will be open this Easter but here's a few to choose from where the food is good and the welcome warm.

If you know any more to add to the list, please send me an email

Open 

 



Sake, CBD

Head Chef Shinichi Maeda will continue to create his sought after signature dishes for Easter lunches and dinners; Good Friday (12.00pm–3.00pm and 6.00pm–10.00pm), Easter Saturday (12.00pm-3.00pm and 5.30pm-late), and Easter Sunday (12.00pm-3.00pm and 6.00pm-late).

Bavarian Bier Cafe, CBD





Open from 11am to 10pm Good Friday and from 11am to late on Easter Saturday, Sunday and Monday.









Riverbar & Kitchen, CBD








Open from 11.30am to 10.00pm on Good Friday (29 March) and  from 8.00am to 11.30pm on Easter Saturday, Easter Sunday, and Easter Monday for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Located on the promenade level of Riparian Plaza (71 Eagle Street).



Alfred and Constance, Fortitude Valley





Open for Good Friday  from 8 am in the Alfred Cafe, and then Vanguard will be open for lunch straight through to dinner with  a fish and chip pop up. The Tiki Bar is open from midnight Good Friday. Alfred and Constance is licensed to serve alcohol to patrons who are eating with them on Good Friday.






Pintxo, New Farm




Open Easter Saturday and Sunday, lunch and dinner.


Sichuan Bang Bang, Kenmore




Sichuan Bang Bang is open all Easter Weekend holiday from 5pm - late for dine in and take away.





Open all Easter.

Closed

 

Mr & Mrs G Riverbar
Merlo - eveyrwhere except the airport
Baguette
Il Centro


Disclaimer:  This is not a paid post - just helping you find what you need.

Kerry Heaney

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

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, 26 March 2013

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
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