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Showing posts from April, 2009

Caxton Street Seafood Festival

Although it sounds very enticing and is only down the road, I've never made it to the Caxton Street Seafood Festival which is on again this Sunday (May 3). My friends report it's a bit of a bun fight, with long queues for the seafood, so this option from The Barracks might be just the solution.

The Barracks, Petrie Terrace are offering a ‘Business Class’ option for festival patrons. Pizzeria 1889, The Chelsea, Hogs Breath and Libertine Restaurant & Bar are all offering special seafood menus. There's also free parking for two hours for diners and entertainment from two live bands.

Menu options include a traditional Wood-Fired Pizza with prawns and calamari with a glass of PinotGrigio from Pizzeria 1889, and Blacklip Mussels steamed in a tomato, chilli and coconut broth from the Chelsea Cafe. The Hogs Breath Cafe has a twist on Surf n Turf, with prime rib, king prawns and salt and pepper calamari. Libertine, with its ‘Indochine’ French Vietnamese cuisine, i…

New kid on the block

The Crosstown Eating House is newly opened in the end of Logan Road that's just opposite the Gabba. This enclave includes the Pearl Cafe and 1889 Enoteca. There's also the most quirky gift shop, Ab Fab, that's a great place for unusual gifts, several antique shops, and a great little dress shop. I heard a rumour that Ben O'Donoghue, who is newly established in Brisbane and on the prowl for the perfect site, might be opening a restaurant here soon as well.

The Crosstown Eating House is located in a former antique centre which has been cleverly converted into a funky restaurant with lots of tables in spaces that open off each other. It's all light and airy with white walls and plenty of wood. There's also a large bar at the front where you can grab a drink or food on the go.

The concept is shared plates so everyone gets to try each dish. I stopped in for a coffee but the menu includes a ploughman's platter, buttered mushrooms and toast, beetroot manchego an…

Smood heaven

I'm in Smood heaven. The beater mix has been retired to the back of the cupboard and even the most fussy male member of the house is happy. Bliss!

It's all over the delicate matter of mashed potatoes. They have to be just right or some family members are not happy. Light, fluffy with no lumps is the requirement. This used to require dragging out the beater mix which is more than 2o years old - Sunbeam know how to make em!

Now I've got a Smood it only takes one step. It looks bit of spiral wire on a stick but of course it's totally engineered. The spring coils collapse to force food through which produces a light and fluffy mash and it's easier to use than my old fashioned masher. The Smood people say it works with any food but I've only tried it on potato so far. I'm sure it would do pumpkin and avocado well too.

The other good thing about the Smood is that it's made by an Australian owned kitchen and homewares company Dreamfarm and is part of a new ran…

Vintage in the Vines

I met Alex Brydges at a fabulous lunch on Wednesday at Martin Duncan's Freestyle Escape property in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Alex brought plenty of wine for the lunch and I enjoyed a glass of the Bridgeman Downs Cellars 2008 chardonnay.

If you'd like to try some of Alex's wines where they were made, the beautiful South Burnett, head for Vintage in the Vines on May 16. Alex says with another year’s harvesting is done, it’s time to park the tractor and take pleasure in the fruits of someone else’s labour.

The inaugural five-course Vintage in the Vines dinner celebrating the end of the season will be held at Bridgeman Downs Cellars in the heart of the South Burnett wine region, overlooking the picturesque Lake Barambah. Festivities begin with dinner on Saturday May 16, followed by the perfect recovery, a Merlo Coffee Appreciation Session, hosted by coffee ‘Don’ Dean Merlo, on Sunday morning.

More information: Bridgeman Downs Cellars +61 7 4168 4784

Bye bye Bruno

Bruno Loubet does his last service at Baguette this Friday and leaves for the UK in early May.

Marilyn Domenech says they have appointed Sous Chef, Graham Waddell, as Head Chef. Graham has worked with Bruno for two years and has a strong team behind him to continue Baguette's new direction in food – French bistro food with a contemporary twist designed to appeal to a wide range of people.

Baguette, 150 Racecourse Road Ascot p 3268 6168

Qld Finalists in VET Awards

Congratulations to the Queensland finalists in the 2009 Vogue Entertaining + Travel Produce Awards. The awards celebrate the best of Australia's produce, and the people committed to its continuing excellence - from farms and markets to restaurant kitchens. These are the products anyone interested in food needs to know about.

From the Earth:
Bunnyconnellen Olive Products, QLD
Bauer's Organic Farm, QLD

From the Dairy:
Barambah Organics, QLD
Vanella Cheese Factory, QLD

From the Paddock:
Stockyard Beef, QLD

From the Sea
Spanner Crabs Noosa, QLD

The winners and medalists will be announced in the Vogue Entertaining + Travel June/July 2009 issue, on sale 13 May.

Pear and pecan loaf

This is just the ticket to have with a cup of tea or coffee. Avril's Pear and Pecan fruit and nut loaf is just what it says - mainly fruit and nuts. Avril makes the cakes herself and has a number of equally delicious varieties.

I've tried a slice of pear and pecan loaf with a hefty slice of runny brie and that definitely worked too.

It's no surprise this loaf was a gold medal winner at the 2007 Sydney Fine Food Show.

I was told the small loaf I bought will last for months, well wrapped in the fridge. Yeah, right, I can see that happening - only if I hide it right at the back and suffer memory loss!

I bought this at the Moggill Country Market but it's also available at other markets - check Avril's website.

Food + Wine 09

If you haven't already, rush out and grab a copy of the Weekend Australian Magazine and drool your way through the Food + Wine 09 special.

As well as launching several new writers, including John Lethlean, Necia Wilden and James Halliday, it has a very eclectic list of restaurants which 'best illustrate the way we like to dine out today.'

It includes eateries from all around the country which would make a great starting point when next dining out in an unfamiliar city.

Brisbane restaurants to make the top honours include E'cco Bistro, Philip Johnson's amazing eatery in Boundary Street, and new kid on the block, The Buffalo Club in the Valley. According to the review Ryan Squires is serving up '16 courses that channel the cutting-edge masters of Europe and America, via tropical Queensland, as thoroughly and inspirationally as any left standing in this increasingly empty circle.' High praise indeed.

On the honourable mentions lists were -
Wasabi, Sunshine Co…

West End Market update

In advance of a public meeting tomorrow to express concern on the change of management for Brisbane's West End markets, Blue Sky Events has established a web site to provide information.
Blue Sky Events says "they will work closely with existing stallholders to ensure the market continues to reflect the local culture and provides customers with a diverse and authentic West End experience."
Check out the website and see what you think.

1889 Enoteca, Woolloongabba

A change of plans saw me joining friends Alison and Lara at a Woolloongabba eatery that I've had on my list for a long time.

1889 Enoteca is located in that funny little bit at the end of Logan Road with plenty of street parking outside. The street is currently being revamped so there's a bit of work going on. The heritage listed Taylor-Heaslop building (circa 1889), is very cute and the fit out certainly does it justice.

By the time I arrived the mains were virtually done and dusted, however I did manage to sample a piece of the pizze. It was gorgonzola, sharp cheese on a crisp base - very good ($22). I was told the gorgonzola risotto with forest mushrooms and truffled pecorino ($23) was also very good.

I was in time for dessert. The choices were tiramisu ($15), poached white peach, vanilla bean ice c ream and almond biscotti with 45ml Passito di Pantalleria ($25).

I chose the Sorbetto with raspberry, mango, orange sorbet and little balls of melon. The flavours in the sorbet…

Brisbane Cheese Awards

The Brisbane Cheese Awards are on June 13 at Royal on the Park and I’ve been invited to judge again. It’s a full-on half day of tasting an amazing variety of cheeses, around 300 in 10 categories from all around Australia, along with some of Brisbane’s best palates. Just like wine judging, you are supposed to taste, not swallow, but I still ended the day feeling very cheesey.

Easter eggs!

My thoughtful daughter gave me a double Easter present - eggs I can write about before I eat. She went to Biome on Latrobe Terrace in Paddington and chose some eggs anyone can eat without feeling guilty.

'I'm a good egg' screams one - and it's true. The egg is made from organic couverture dark chocolate using fair trade ingredients with no GMO products - plus it's made in Australia - Victoria to be exact.

The Loving Earth raw organic chocolate bar is made from 'activated' almond and purple corn dark chocolate. It's sugar free and includes 62% raw cacao. Again the cacao is fair trade sourced from Satipo, Peru. I'm not sure what purple corn has to do with chocolate but the chocolate is very rich and dark and it claims to include up to four times as many antioxidants as conventional chocolate.

But the best thing about the chocolate and eggs is that they were given with love from my daughter!

What did you enjoy eating for Easter?

Thumbs down on Davies Park Markets

It's a sad day for Brisbane with control of the Davies Park Markets, also known as the Green Flea Market at West End slipping out of the city to a Sydney-based organisation, Sky Events. This is the same mob that runs the lack lustre Southbank Markets distinguished by their lack of original produce and boring sameness.

Long time Brisbane identity Peter Hackworth, who started the markets, was their manager but the council's decision was to award the new contract elsewhere. What a pity the tender process didn't factor in local knowledge and a love of Brisbane as important elements. Markets need a community soul and a relationship with the area for ongoing viability.
Councillor Helen Abrahams has called for a cooling off period before the new contract is signed, to allow the Brisbane community to have their say.“I believe Brisbane residents should be given the opportunity to have a say on this latest decision,” she said. It will be interesting to see how this decision affects …

Maple Apple Jam

I'm eating water crackers with a hint of black pepper, liberally smeared with Maple Apple Jam and topped with a hefty slice of good sharp cheddar. Bliss!

The jam comes from GreedyMe Gourmet at Ballandean on the Granite Belt. It's a favourite from the region and I know why. The thick, sweet jam would also work well with pork, baked ham or on freshly baked scones. Be still my beating heart! The ingredients include Granny Smith apples, maple syrup, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

It's truly delicious.

Find it at GreedyMe Gourmet, Sundown Road, Ballandean. p4684 1226.

Bitter Sweet Chocolate, The Barracks, Petrie Terrace

It was Natascha Mirosch's tip that led me to Bitttersweet at The Barracks and their new range of antioxidant chocolate.

Owner Ann Atkinson told me she started stocking the chocolate for a customer who was recommended by a London doctor to try it after she had a car accident.

It's exceptionally rich in antioxidantsand contains high levels of natural cocoa flavanols straight from the cocoa bean.

The list of benefits from eating Acticoa chocolate is a dream come true - as if anyone had to convince me to eat more chocolate.

Don’t want to do the egg thing?

Over cheap compound Easter eggs after a bad experience last year? I was never one of those kids who could keep their Easter Eggs until June just to annoy their siblings – get it, eat it is my motto!

But when it comes to Dello Mano’s premium chocolate brownies I am much more restrained. Made with Belgian chocolate, these brownies are a true experience – not something to be scoffed quickly, but savoured, pushed around the mouth until the flavour can be truly appreciated and it just slides down your throat. Just one small brownie will do it for me but the thought of having a box at Easter is irresistible!

Dello Mano is run by some truly nice people, Deborah and Bien Peralta, right here in Brisbane. They’ve been selling their wares at the Powerhouse Markets for a while and also are available at the new City Markets, Togninis at Milton and Spring Hill, Sweet at the Ferry Rd. Market at Southport and Dello Mano’s shop door. Plus you can buy online at

The fine folk at Dell…

Crowing about Easter

How cute is this little fella? I found him at Tognini's and had to bring him home. I don't know if he walks during the night but I did find him in a different place one morning - I'm suspecting the cat. He's still in perfect condition - just waiting for someone to bite his head off on Easter Sunday.

Find him at Tognini's at Milton and Spring Hill.

They also have some real eggs filled with chocolate truffle and hand painted in gorgeous colours. Just the thing to find in your Easter basket.

Depot blasts with new menu

Depot launched their new menu tonight with a range of Iberian small-plates menu with bite size morsels based on the flavours of the Iberian Peninsula with influences from Spain’s Catalonia region, Portugal and France. The menu includes traditional Portobello mushrooms and a tempting selection of small dishes.

We tried some deliciously crispy squid and some peppers that really packed a punch. Evidently one in ten peppers is a real killer and that's the one that Wendy (pictured right) picked.

Located at Emporium in the Valley, Depot is a popular spot for a post work drink and a meal at any time.

Depot,1000 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley p 3666 0188,

David Pugh raises the steaks as Queensland’s chef

Congratulations to Restaurant Two chef David Pugh, who has been appointed the DPI's Queensland ambassador chef to showcase Queensland food as part of the Q150 celebrations.

David's role in Q150, Queensland's sesquicentenary celebrations, will be to promote the state's reputation for excellence in food production for the next two years.

You’ll be seeing David as a guest presenter at events throughout the year, with his maiden appearance at Beef Australia 2009 in Rockhampton in May. No bull!

David has long been a supporter of local produce, not just because it’s local but because he sources the best. Last year he was named the Courier Mail's Queensland Chef of the Year and this year was awarded two stars by Gourmet Traveller. David also steps out of the kitchen to lend support to charities like the Starlight Foundation, Camp Quality and Red Kite at the Royal Children's Hospital.

David travelled to southern Sri Lanka last year as a Queensland representative and guest…