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Showing posts from May, 2008

Australian Regional Food Guide

Sally and Gordon Hammond have travelled Australia exploring and enjoying regional food. They've put all their knowledge onto this website and their regular newsletters. They want to raise the awareness and appreciation of Australian food and to respect and value the people who grow and produce it. This is a good site to explore if you are travelling to a new area or want an update on what's happening in your own home town. The events listing is great and constantly updated and there are regional recipes like thisVenison Carpaccio with Chocolate Oil & Hazelnut Crunch- pictured. Find it at

Hot coffee house

So new the paint is barely dry, the Boys' House of Coffee in Musk Street, Kelvin Grove has full-flavoured, well-rounded coffee and a great range of breakfast and lunch options. Well priced for students and locals, the daily-roasted fair trade coffee starts at $3 and eggs on toast costs a reasonable $7. Muffins are $3.50.

The decor is street smart with pop art inspired graffiti and polished painted concrete floors. There's also a spectacular crystal pendant light and plenty of outdoor seating for people watching.

We tried some gorgeous little cakes, pistachio and orange and chocolate. The chocolate was a little dry but the pistachio, well that got rave reviews.

Kelvin Grove Village is only minutes from the city on a good run and there was plenty of parking around 3pm on a week day when we visited.

Boys House of Coffee, Musk Street, Kelvin Grove.

Best muesli

I'm very particular when it comes to muesli. None of this stuff that tastes like horse chaff or is so hard your jaw aches half way through breakfast. I like my muesli toasted and tasty, full of fruit and flavour and crunchy. I've often been disappointed by muesli that promises much and delivers little. However, I found my nirvana at the South Bank Granite Belt Growers Market! And the fact that I'll have to make the trip to Ballandean is just another plus. According to Vineyard Cottages owner Peter Cumming, after many, many requests they have finally decided to package the muesli they serve in the restaurant. This is a good thing! I have not stayed at Vineyard Cottages (which look very inviting) but I have eaten at the cafe and it was delightful. At $10 a packet this is premium muesli but definitely worth it.
Find Vineyard Cottages & Cafe on the New England Highway at Ballandean. +61 7 4684 1270

They came and they conquered

Sunday's South Bank Growers' Market was a great success with some stalls sold out by 11am after a 10am start! People were queuing up outside the most popular stalls which included Granite Belt Dairy, LiraH Vinegars and Symphony Hill Wines. I tasted and bought some delicious soft white brie from Granite Belt Dairy.

Ecoprama's tofu was sold out very early so I'll have to head to Wray Organics at Newmarket to pick up some. The Suttons were still busy selling apple juice. Do taste their apple brandy and grappa - both pack a punch!

Vineyard Cottages were there with bags of limes, raspberry jam and delicious muesli - more on that tomorrow.

There was plenty of parking underneath Southbank but a big back mark to the SouthBank Corporation for the $15 entry fee. This is more expensive than the Myer Centre ($12.50) on Sunday. Judging by the turn around of cars, this policy is boosting the coffers considerably but is not at all family friendly for a family-orientated destination.

The …

Granite Belt Growers Market

I'll be heading to Brisbane's South Bank on Sunday morning for the first South Bank Growers market which is showcasing the gourmet delights of the Granite Belt. Top of my list will be fresh juicy apples from the Suttons and a bottle of their new apple syrup to try on my ricotta pancakes, some cheeses from the new Granite Belt Dairy and olives from Mount Stirling Olives (just love their olives bottled in raspberry vinegar). I'm also keen to try Ecoprama's marinated tofu which captured my attention at Noosa recently. If my mates, Ewen and Elissa Macpherson from Symphony Hill are there, I'll grab some of their wines and head home for a gourmet lunch made with the freshest produce around! The markets open at 10am and there's plenty of parking underneath.

Terrific tofu

Food tastings and displays were a feature of the Saturday program at Celebration of Australian Food and Wine Noosa Style on the weekend. Amongst the new products on display was tofu made by Ecoprama at Stanthorpe. Suveda Hardwick was there sharing her passion for the product which was delicious - certainly a much improved version of any tofu I've tasted. It's made using a traditional Asian technique using whole organic soybeans, pure water, organic cider vinegar and nigari. Small batches ensure an authentic firm tofu. The Ecoprama concept of providing whole food products that are grown, made and sold in a sustainable way, is also refreshing.

UPDATE: Ecoprama is available at Wray Organic at Newmarket.

New menu at Freestyle Tout

I have been known to forget a main and simply order dessert at Freestyle Tout, Martin Duncan's fabulous venture at Emporium in the Valley. This is a great place for everything from a quick coffee with friends to lunch or dinner. It's also handy pre and post movies. Parking can get busy during peak times but take a tip and look in the streets lining the centre. I've often found an easy park for a couple of dollars there and that beats doing rounds of the car park stalking people.

Martin's new menu includes more mains. I was tempted by the Kurobuta Berkshire Rare Breed Pork Cutlet served on sweet corn risotto with zucchini flower, bacon & pea foam but a recent dental appointment steered me towards easier eating with theDuck, Bacon, Mushroom & Fennel Risotto. My companion chose the Twice Cooked Goats Cheese Soufflé with sugar & vodka cured ocean trout, asparagus, Crispy prosciutto, apple balsamic & vincotto which looked terrific when it arrived.

Of course w…

Australian Food and Wine Noosa Style

Just back from beautiful Noosa where the weather was so warm my friends were swimming at the beach and lazing by the pool.

Australian Food & Wine Noosa Style was a great event which started on Friday and runs through to finish with a concert on Sunday afternoon.

I had had a great afternoon on the Seafood Alfoat Trail on Friday with scrumptious food prepared by chefs David Pugh and Matt Golinski as we motored up and down the Noosa River. I'll be writing about the cruise in the December edition of Selector Magazine.

As well as a fine selection of wines there was the opportunity to learn about crab harvesting from Spanner Crabs Noosa and watch a beaut mud crab being pulled straight from the river in a crab pot. David Pugh showed the group how to fillet a fish with style and Matt Goliniski shared his tips on shucking oysters without damaging yourself or the oyster!

Find out about next year's program at

Beer tasting in Brisbane

Beer is rarely given credit for its complexity according to award winning Master Brewer Brendan Chan at Brisbane's Albert Street Brewhouse.

At the tender age of 18, Brendan started brewing his own beer after tasting a beer called Old Speckled Hen. "I didn't know beer could taste that good," he said.

Now with five years experience under his belt, recently came in the top ten at the Australian International Beer Awards, the second largest beer competition in the world and brews 12,000 litres a week at the Brewhouse.

On the second Sunday of each month Brendan leads a beer tasting event at the Brewhouse where 6-8 boutique beers are tasted and discussed by a growing band of dedicated beer lovers. They are the sort of beers you can’t just go down to your local bottlo and buy and really show the diversity of the brew.

I discovered that not only does beer have flavour notes like wine, which range from coriander and bubble gum to skunk, horse blanket and even cannabis, but it…

Queensland Wine Experience

If you've been reading about great Queensland wines but haven't been able to find them in your local bottleo, try Wine Experience in Rosalie. After you'd had dinner at Sings, dessert at Cold Rock, followed by coffee at Blue Grotto, you can browse the racks at Wine Experience and revisit those Granite Belt weekends that you enjoyed so much.

Discover wines from Symphony Hill, Casely Mount Hutton, Rooklyn, Ravens Croft Wines, Golden Grove and a good selection from my personal fave, Robert Channon Wines. There are wines from other Queensland wine growing areas too!

Wine Experience
150 Baroona Road,
Rosalie. p 3368 1576

Powerhouse Farmers Markets

Got up early on Saturday and made it to the Powerhouse Markets at New Farm. It never ceases to amaze me how many people are out and about at these markets early in the morning.

I was shopping for mothers day lunch and found some great food. Fresh Mooloolaba prawns, $24 a kilo, 500gm of lovely smoked salmon $10, a truly scrumptious artichoke, pea and baby octopus salad $9, six individual sticky date puddings and caramel sauce $14. Combined with fresh white bread and a plain green salad this made a memorable mothers day feast with minimum fuss.

I also picked up some fresh pink lady apples from the Sutton's stall and a flowering cyclamen as a present for mum!

There was a new place selling Greek sweets at the front entrance which deserves checking out on a future visit. I also bought a take home lasagna from Urban Salt who have large range of heat 'n' serve meals. Waiting on a taste test here!

The queue for Merlo coffee was too long so we opted for Auswana, which is locally gro…

Cinco Bistro

My good friend Jodi dragged the girls over the south side of town to her favourite restaurant, Cinco Bistro at Camp Hill, last night and we were pleased she did. This is a delightful restaurant, where a large number of patrons were obviously enjoying good food and good company.

We sat at the rear of the restaurant and enjoyed a glass of champagne to start - a reward for breaking away on a busy day and making time to enjoy the company of good friends.

Although the entrees were tempting and one dinner companion was very disappointed to find dessert was the preferred option, we decided not to indulge. Even chef/owner Peter Stubbs' tempting offer of a very special foigras could not shake our resolve.

Our choices included Braised Wagyu Beef Cheeks, Mustard Creamed Potato, Garlic Confit and Shallots which was very well received and Roasted Pork Loin, Crackling, Celeriac Puree, Pedro Prunes and Fresh Apple Salad which was another success. My selection was the House…

Doll and dinner

LaBoite's new production of the Australian classic, 'Summer of the Seventeenth Doll' by Ray Lawler, provided an opportunity to check out St Jeromes at Kelvin Grove. It's located in what is known as the 'urban village' which is really just another name for a group of apartment buildings and shops around the Kelvin Grove QUT campus.

St Jeromes is a funky little restaurant with a bar and lots of comfy lounge seating and a bar inside and tables outside. The menu is not extensive but covers breakfast through to dinner and some dishes are available all day. All are designed for sharing and some are offered in platters which makes the whole process super simple. We chose a mains Taste Plate - which included salt and pepper squid, pumpkin risotto with seared local scallops, chargrilled marinated vegetables, warm bread, confit duck spring rolls and rosemary roasted potatoes. It was a great success except for the spring rolls which were a little oily. The pumpkin r…

Rare bird rescue

When it comes to characters, Mark Tully is up there with the best.Here’s a bloke who declares birds have saved his life, so he is saving theirs.Mark is dedicated to saving and preserving rare breeds of chooks and pigs at his Blue Hills Poultry Stud at Gatton.With the support of his local shire council, he plans to open the world’s first national heritage domestic livestock museum. Importantly for foodies, according to Mark it is the rare breeds that have all the layers of fat that make meat tasty. He's planning to breed them up and put them on the table so watch out for rare breeds on restaurant menus. This is Jimmy's Farm (Lifestyle Channel) meets the bird man.Mark’s rare breeds rescue program, which takes him into backyards and chook shows around Australia, is the subject of a short film by Film Australia which will be screened on the ABC.Mark says there are rare breeds in backyards all over the country that people brought in with them years ago when they migrated to Austral…

Captain's choice

During a recent visit to Kingaroy to judge the South Burnett Culinary Competition, I was introduced to these two delicious jellies hand made by the good folk at Captain's Paddock Vineyard, just out of Kingaroy. The deep red shiraz jelly is wonderful on a light fluffy scone, as served at the vineyard's café, or as an accompaniment to cold meats. The chardonnay jelly is perfect with cheese and, of course, a glass of wine. Both are available from the vineyard café and cellar door or online. Try making your own lemonade scones to go with the jellies and enjoy a high tea! Captains Paddock also has a very cute cottage with a most curious pot belly stove – you’ll just have to see that one! Captains Paddock +61 7 4162 4534