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Showing posts from November, 2008

Accomodation Creek Cottages

Our recent trip to the Granite Belt included two nights at Accommodation Creek Cottages. Located just a few minutes drive from Ballandean, the cottage was a perfect antidote to a stressful city week. Curious kangaroos surveyed our arrival and kept us company, from a safe distance, over the weekend.

Inside our cosy cottage was a well equipped kitchen, sitting area with television and dvd and a cd player. There was even a coffee machine and a stash of coffee in the fridge.

Coming from sultry Brisbane, it was a surprise to discover the night was just cool enough to light the fire - in November!

The fridge included some fine Granite Belt produce - local cheeses from Granite Belt Dairy, condiments to match and some wonderful strawberries, cherries and apricots. How long since you have bitten into an apricot and juice has run out? Suttons Apple juice and gourmet yoghurt from Toowoomba were the finishing touches. There's even a barbie in the back yard!

The bed was comfy and the robes th…

Lemon Tea Cake

I couldn't resist buying some lemon butter when I visited Jamworks on the Granite Belt recently. They have a huge range of condiments, jams and sauces, so it's hard to make a choice but there's just something about lemon butter that really does it for me. Now I'm torn between enjoying it in little tarts with a dollop of cream or making a lemon tea cake from the recipe supplied by Jamworks. Here's why....

Lemon Tea Cake
1 cup Self-Raising Flour
1/2 cup Castor Sugar
60g Butter
1 Egg (lightly beaten)
2-3 tbsp Jamworks Lemon Butter

1: Preheat oven to 180c. Grease and line 17cm baking tin
2: Sift flour and mix in sugar��������������…

Isis closing for revamp

Well Jason's leaving and Isis is closing for a revamp! There's only a short time to get your Isis fix before Simon Hill and Rachael Duffield close the doors on December 25 for what they are describing as a complete refit. No short term reno here! Expect to see the place open again some time mid year.

Find it at 446 Brunswick St Fortitude Valley, p 3852 1155

The Barracks opens

Hooray! Finally after what seems an eternity, The Barracks at Petrie Terrace is opening on Thursday. I'm just as excited about the new Coles (boy am I sick of the parking ticket system at WoolworthsPaddington) as I am about Chelsea, which is a restaurant and wine bar being opened by Michael Hoare of Cirque Café in New Farm. There are lots of other food outlets, a Swiss ice- creamery and the Centro movie theatre group. Also opening are Honey Birdette and Coaldrakes amongst others. It's way too exciting.

New at Salt

There's a new face at the helm of Salt at Rosalie. Mario Perna, who also owns Cafe di Moda at Stones Corner is the new owner and Rhett Allen is still head chef. The menu has changed a little and the bug and prawn skewers with mango salsa are a stand out. Also worth a try is the Chilli Crab and Chicken Linguini. Mains range from a reasonable $20 to $27.

Mario says he doesn't plan to change much - a good thing as the restaurant has a devoted band of regulars. However he is planning to open nights leading up to Christmas and perhaps again in the new year - stay tuned for updates.

My Salt favourites include the Caramel Banana Pancakes and a Berrocca for those self-inflicted mornings when only that will do :(

Find it at 5 Nash St, Paddington p 3367 0775

African Rhythm & Reds

Wow! What a way to get a crowd moving! From the pit helmet groupies to the baseball capped mini teen, they were up and strutting their stuff at Rumbalara Estate Wines on the Granite Belt on for African Rhythm & Reds.

Mike and Bobbie Cragg of Rumbalara were returning to their African roots with a music, food and wine event where you can eat, drink and dance to an African rhythm. It started with African drum and dance from Rhythm Connection as plates of Mandela's Sticky Chicken Wings, Xhoso Imifino Patties, (East African Parcels filled with coriander, onion and tomato) and Malawi Mbatat Cheese and Sim Sim Balls (delicious sweet potato, cheese and sesame seed balls) flowed through the crowd. The kitchens opened for the evening meal from 5.30pm s eat as much as you like of Umbako (traditional Xhosa pot bread), Moroccan Lamb, Ethiopian Doro Wat (spicy chicken breasts) and Kenyan Vegetable Curry. New vintage Merlot and Shiraz was available straight from the barrel. For dessert lo…

Jamming it up at Jamworks

I've found a new love - Jamworks' Spicy Fig Jam! I can't live without it smeared across a cracker with a nice sharp cheese. Peter Ingall (pictured left) from Jamworks likes it on his cheese sandwich with a spot of lettuce for texture.

I discovered the Spicy Fig Jam at the Granite Belt market at Southbank where Jamworks had a stall. I'm looking forward to trying some of the other unusual condiments and jams they produce including Boysenberry & Black Muscat Liqueur Jam,
Blackberry & Chilli Jam, Lemon and Nutmeg Butter,
and Mushroom & Walnut Relish.

Jamworks jams and preserves made using locally grown produce where possible. You'll also find real fruit ice-creams and Devonshire teas, coffee and cake at their Stanthorpe store. Find it 10 km south of the Stanthorpe Visitor Information Centre, on the corner of Townsend Road and the New England Highway at Glen Alpin.

Blue to Ballandean

Leeanne Gangemi was very excited at the recent Granite Belt Market at Southbank. She was busily sticking blue-gold labels on Ballendean's 2008 Semillon Sauvignon Blanc ($16.50) that had just arrived from the Sydney International Wine Competition. The blue-gold medals are judged on wine matched with food.

Inspired by the fresh produce available on the Granite Belt, Ballandean Estate are now producing their own range of preserves, all available at the cellar door. Look for nectarine and fig chutney, onion jam, chilli onion jam, spicy tomato relish and maple apple jam - yum!

Find Ballandean Estate on Sundown Road at Ballandean. p 07 4684 1226.

Hats off to Brisbane's top restaurants!

The Brisbane Times Good Food Guide was launched last night in the Queensland Terrace at the State Library. Got to say this is becoming one of my favourite venues - the mirrored ceiling reflecting city lights and rows of collectable china are just too fabulous.

I was one of several reviewers who ate their way around Brisbane for the Food Guide - yes it was a tough job but someone had to do it. All reviewers were anonymous and paid for their meals so you can trust the advice.

Congratulations to those who received hats. Two hats were awarded to Urban, E'cco, Isis, Restaurant Two, River House and Vanitas. One hat was awarded to 1889 Enoteca, Absynthe, Baguette, Bar Alto, Berardos, Era Bistro, Fellini, Lurleen's, Montrachet, Muse, Peppers Spicers Peak, Restaurant Rapide, Ricky's, Sono, Spirit House and Wasabi. Chef of the Year is Craig McCabe of 1889 Enoteca, Restaurant of the Year is Urbane and Best Wine List went to Restaurant II.

Best New Restaurant is Pearl Cafe. Simon Thom…

Muesli magic

I've always regarded muesli as a health food, so that's my excuse for indulging in Dello Mano's delicious breakfast treat. It did have some crispy bits that looked suspiciously like bran but the overall flavour was decadent with delicious choc chips as only Dello Mano can. The ingredients list includes Belgian chocolate chips, coconut, vanilla and dates all lightly toasted to create a very special weekend indulgence. It's available on their web site and makes a wonderful breakie for two. (250gm for $10.)

If you are looking for a special gift for someone, Dello Mano's Rise and Shine ticks lots of boxes.
It includes Dello Mano Belgian Chocolate and Date Toasted Muesli (250g), a bottle of Dello Mano Roast Hazelnut and Chocolate Spread (as the Italians do - perfect for toast!), 2 chocolate bars of Dello Mano Belgian Chocolate Luxury Brownies and Campos coffee (250g) ($56).

Find Dello Mano at Jan Power's Powerhouse Market, at selected retail outlets and online at

Granite Belt heats up Southbank

Brisbane turned on a scorcher for the third Granite Belt Market at Southbank today. Coming from the cooler Granite Belt climate into a hot humid Sunday was a stretch for some stall holders, although Sue Smith (pictured right) from Pyramids Road Wines was holding up well, but the visitor turn up was once again high with a steady flow. A wide assortment of wineries including Ballandean Estate, Symphony Hill, Pyramids Road Wines, Casely Mount Hutton and Granite Belt Highlands Winery were serving samples to eager punters who also were lapping up their special offers.

Pureheaven was there with some of their extensive range of natural skin care, Granite Belt Dairy had plenty of cheese on ice, Jamworks was showing a huge array of preserves plus there was home made cannoli and other Italian delicacies from Mary's Kitchen.

It's a long break until the next Southbank Market in March next year, so if you need to stock up on something in the meantime it will mean a trip out to Stanthorpe -…

Shot of Granite Belt Spice

Bridging the gap between city and country, the third South Bank Growers Market will showcase fresh gourmet delights from the Granite Belt region on Sunday November 16 with over 40 stalls flaunting farm fresh fruit, vegetables, cheeses and wine.

Sri Lankan born Val Rence from Shot of Spice has been blending her homemade curry spices she was a child with family recipes passed onto her by her parents. Val also incorporates produce from the Granite Belt into her dry curry powders and wet curry pastes.

The dry curry powder is gluten free and has no heat in it so it can be used for those who love the taste of curry but not the heat. You can always add chilli if you like. The wet curry paste incorporates chilli and is ideal for convenient, quick curries. All you do is marinate and sauté with coconut milk for a delicious home cooked curry. There's also a date and lemon chutney as well as an eggplant savoury delight.

Apart from the Farmer's Markets, Shot of Spice is available at s…

Nude food unveiled

The lovely Lana made her debut last night at the Granite Belt Nude Food Trail launch. With an annual fruit and vegetable turnover of $130 million and Queensland's acknowledged wine capital, the Granite Belt is well placed to be at the forefront of culinary tourism.

The trail map shows visitors how to find 20 local producers with their opening hours. There are seven categories: eating out; wild things; fresh produce; local meats; savoury staples; sweet moments and events. Journey out to the region and you'll probably find even more places to stop as the trail concentrates on operators who are open at least four days a week and mainly seven days a week.

It includes a list of what produce is being harvested during spring, summer, autumn and winter. Keen foodies will love the 'wild things' and hunt out wild Asparagus and wild Fennel. The foundations have beenlaid for the production of Saffron and Truffles as well..

Granite Belt also is a proven area for Almonds, Carrots,

Hot at Iceworks

Wow, the new Iceworks has taken off with a bang. I went there on Friday night with Natascha and Kaye after the Nude Food launch and it was standing room only in the front Iceworks Bar, Dining, Lounge, which opens up onto Latrobe Terrace. The crowd was mixed and obviously enjoying the new setting. Down the side in the Dowse Bar the guests were younger but it was much less crowded and noisy.

We took one look at the crowd and headed to the rear and Peak Fine Dining where chef James Williams, ex- Restaurant Two, is turning out some great food. The prices are fairly steep - $24 upwards for entrees, around $35 to $45 for mains, desserts $16.

As we had filled up on some fine Granite Belt food entrees were enough and we all opted for one - the salad of ocean king prawns and mud crab with candied fennel and an orange cardamon dressing. It looked good (see the photo) with the crab as a thin layer that looked like a slice of bread. The prawns were excellent with that sweet/salty flavour and firm…

Snaps to Peter Howard

From the man who gave us ABC days (anything but chardonnay days) we now have 'carrot footprint'. In a play on carbon footprint, Peter neatly encapsulated the advantages of eating local at the launch of the Granite Belt's new Nude Food Trail.

"For too long we've considered it progress to buy peaches or strawberries out of season. Actually, it is a madness to pay a premium for food that has probably travelled great distances. Not only is taste impaired, but the 'carrot footprint' with some of these items is incredible."

Peter says start eating seasonally, buy local and do your body and your wallet a favour. I can't help but agree! Congratulations Peter Howard!

Congratulations also to locavore Alison Walsh for her persistance in sticking to a 100 mile diet for the whole familyas outlined in her story in today's QWeekend magazine. Along with Natascha Mirosch, Alison was inspired by the book 'The 100-mile Diet' by Canadians Alisa Smith and J…

Nude Food

I'm off to the Good Food Show at the Brisbane Convention Centre to see what's on offer. There's a strong contingent of Queensland producers showing this year so I'll enjoy talking and tasting my way around the show. I'm particularly interested in the new Nude Food trail being launched by the Granite Belt tonight. Hopefully I can show you some photos of this soon - probably food rather than people shots. :)

Street Smart

With the festive season fast approaching it's nice to think about giving back and what better time than when you are dining out enjoying yourself with friends.

For the six weeks in the lead-up to Christmas, StreetSmart partners with restaurants to ask diners to make a small donation to StreetSmart on their bill. Every table is asked to add $2 or more to their bill, not even the price of a coffee or mineral water. It’s a simple idea that adds up to a big impact on the lives of people who are homeless.

StreetSmart is a unique bridge between the community and small, grassroots agencies that assist people experiencing homelessness. They support critical services and emergency aid as well as projects that promote social inclusion, empowerment and sustainable change for people who are homeless. When money is raised from the public through Streetsmart fundraising events, 100 per cent of donations are distributed in the form of grants. To date, over $485,000 has been raised and distributed…