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Showing posts from December, 2009

Search for the perfect cupcake -Top 5 in 2009

Officially I’ve been searching for the perfect cupcake for six months now. I’ve taken this job seriously and the search has continued throughout Brisbane, Sunshine and Gold Coasts, Melbourne, Thailand and Bali.

Reviewing my finds for 2009, I’m surprised where I haven’t been and these will go to the top of my 2010 list. Can’t quite believe I haven’t actually blogged Poppy Cakes. I will be looking forward to that visit as these are amongst the best I have eaten – however since they have not been blogged they can’t be in this year’s list. I also must sample cupcakes from The Shingle Inn, The Welsh Lady and The Cupcake Parlour.

Like most things, the quality of the cupcakes around varies greatly and price is not always an indicator. I’ve paid $2.90 for a cupcake (Duke’s Deli, Sunshine Beach)and been pleased by the value. Equally I’ve paid $4.50 and been very disappointed.

I’d advise anyone against buying a cupcake on the weekend unless you ask when it was baked. I’ve found too many plac…

Search for the perfect brekkie - Chelsea, The Barracks

The Chelsea at The Barracks on Petrie Terrace has become a bit of a frequent stop for me. It's so convenient, the coffee is good, service professional and the menu has plenty to offer. You'll find it around the corner a bit - look for tables out the the shade or under umbrellas.  There's also plenty of seating inside.

I was over my standard bacon and two eggs this morning and just liked the sound of  Bubble and squeak.  I wasn't disappointed - the eggs were nicely poached, the toast crisp and the vegetable melange well flavoured.

However when my partner offered me a taste of his Poached pear on french toasted brioche with blueberry curd and ricotta, the world stopped! This is a show stopping combination - the blueberry curd is so rich and thick it looks like chocolate and tastes divine. Combined with the french toasted brioche, ricotta and pear - well the effect is amazing.  Chelsea chef Michael Hoare says the dish is a little fiddly but well worth the trouble and I ha…

All I want for Christmas - more Panettone

I'm a late starter in the Panettone stakes having only discovered this delicious cake in recent years.  It's so light I love it as an alternative to a traditional fruit Christmas cake, but that doesn't mean I'm going to miss out on that either.

Evidently it was devised by a 15th century nobleman who wanted to win over the daughter of a poor baker, so he invented a rich bread and added eggs, dried raisins, candied lemon and orange peel.  (Flowers and wine work for me, Honey!)

It's great with champagne, with coffee and also dipped into a latte.

Should you be silly enough to have some of this delicious cake left over - here are some recipes
Jamie Oliver's Panettonne pudding
Panettone Summer Pudding
Chocolate Ricotta Panettone Pudding

If you like to be local, buy your Panettone fresh from CIBO Espresso. Look impressive in gift boxes and sell for $25. Find CIBO Espresso
Or pick one up on sale after Christmas and use it in the recipes above - delish!

Search for the perfect cupcake - JudyC's Christmas cupcakes

Okay - I know I'm in danger of overdosing on JudyC cupcakes but these ones are special.

Remember standing beside your mother as she made the Christmas cake or pudding and waiting to lick the spoon or better still - the bowl?  These cupcakes capture that and more.  They are the essence and flavour of Christmas wrapped up in one little package with the twist of chai latte icing.

The moist cake is spiced with cardamon and mixed spice and dotted with currants.  The icing is very buttery and has the crunch of silver cornicons on top.  Yum.

Find them at JudyC's Ashgrove shop at 1/227 Waterworks Road, Ashgrove +61 7 3366 9111 or at Coffee Hit, opening on Saturday at 100 Adelaide Street in the new King George Square area.

All I want for Christmas - a Turducken

WTF is a Turducken? 

I first heard about this Thanksgiving alternative that has long enjoyed popularity in the Deep South of the United States when a Brisbane chef mentioned it on his Christmas wish list.  He was suggesting someone else prepare it for him.

A Turducken is a chicken, stuffed inside a duck, stuffed inside a turkey – now wouldn’t that make a splash on the Christmas table – move over plain old turkey, ham legs and chicken – you’ve got competition.

If you’d like to make your own here’s a Youtube link

If, like me, you like an easier life, the good news is that Zone Fresh are making them to order following customer demand.

Zone Fresh director Sam Mangano describes it as ‘a guaranteed crowd pleaser’.

Despite the sheer volume of meat, turduckens still contain a significant amount of seasoned stuffing and dressing, so cooking time can stretch to six or seven hours depending on size.

You can braise, roast, grill or barbeque your turducken and a meat
thermometer will help you wo…

All I want for Christmas - Dinner with Rick Stein

If you are a Rick Stein fan, this March jaunt at Bannisters boutique hotel on the NSW South Coast could be irresistible.

A small group will be able to eat, cook and play with Rick and G & L's Stuart Gregor who will match Tapanappa wines to Rick's seafood-rich menu on  March 10 and 11 2010.

It’s a two night package deal with dinners, cooking demos, a wine class and massage (not together!)

Rick Stein at Bannisters recently received 16/20 from Terry Durack of the Sydney Morning Herald.

This is the first time Rick will host a group at Bannisters and one of a few getaways he will host anywhere around the world in 2010. Who needs to go to Padstow, UK when you can head to Mollymook just three hours south of Sydney?

More information: Gregor & Lewis +61 7 5447 4666 or

All I want for Christmas - Farmer's market goodies

I'm a big fan of farmer's markets. There's something about buying from the source, seeing who's made or grown the product and having a little chat while making a purchase. I don't think I take too long doing this but my partner and daughter may beg to differ.

Plus there's always the excitement of the unknown - the new products, the seasonal changes and the simply must-haves.

This year I'll be stocking up my pantry, fridge and gift baskets for Christmas, with some select items from Jan Power's Powerhouse Farmers Markets. It's an old fave and I love that I can take my corgi with me for the morning outing and he can sniff up with the other dogs in the adjacent dog park.

What's on my list?

Suckling Pig Ham

German small goods specialists Chriberg have legs of suckling pig ham this year. Smaller than standard hams, they are sweet and tender, triple smoked over imported German wood chips at $22.50 a kilo.

Twist ‘n’ Roll Macaroons de Paris

One bite of…

Search for the perfect cupcake - Casa Gourmet

Lately, when I'm not dreaming of vibrant Bali sunsets viewed with a cocktail in hand, my mind turns to the delicious cupcakes I found at Casa Gourmet in Seminak Square, Seminak, Bali.

Walking into Casa Gourmet was like waking up in Oliver & Co or Zone Fresh in Bali. It is a very western style food market with everything from bread and meat to seafood and pantry staples.  For locals in need of a friendly food fix, when nothing but the old familiar will do, it would be heaven.

But it also had some nice style features that anyone could take on board to increase their dining experience offer. This included a little cup of small savoury shape biscuits in a cute Burbury paper container and also small shot glass of jasmine tea to follow my coffee.

The chocolate cupcake was flavoursome and moist with a hard, very choc icing decorated with Christmas sprinkles. All for the cost of 8500 rupiah or about 90 cents. The coffee was Black Canyon and good.  They also had an extensive juice menu…

All I want for Xmas- A massage from Ripple

Got someone difficult on your Christmas list? Chances are they would love a massage and even better, a massage that comes to them.

I also think a massage is a great pre holiday or post holiday present, particularly for those who fly. Airports and plane travel can quickly take the gloss off even the most wonderful trip. A massage restores energy to body parts that cramped by small seats and inactivity.

While I love any massage, putting clothes back onto an oiled body and walking through a shopping centre does take away some of the shine - much better to slip into something comfortable and relax in your own home.

That’s why I like Ripple Massages. The therapist comes to your home, hotel room or where ever and brings her own table. I’ve sampled many of the massages and even enjoyed a pedicure and manicure – delish – but I did especially enjoy a recent sea shell massage.

Ripple founder Alison Shaw has the tough job of tracking down new massages. She’s the one who discovered choc…

All I want for Xmas - Hilton Brisbane Masterclass Voucher

Some people are easier that others to buy for at Christmas and I can't think of a better present for a foodie than a voucher to the 2010 Hilton Brisbane Masterclass Weekend!

Held over 24 and 25 July 2010 the event, organised by fabulous foodie Alison Alexander, is sure to have another knock out program. Established in 1995, previous line ups have included chefs and winemakers including Antonio Carluccio, Gordon Ramsay, Michel Richard, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Michel Roux and many more. With 20 sessions each day there is plenty of choice.

Buy your voucher before January 11 and you'll get 15 percent off as well!

Search for the perfect cupcake - Christmas cupcakes

I found these Christmas cupcakes at Michel's Patisserie at Indooroopilly Shoppingtown but would guess that they are available at other Michel Patisserie outlets across town.

They are a basic sponge cake with a soft white icing and hard sugar decoration.  The cake is fairly tasty for the price of $2.50.  I wouldn't call them gourmet but I was pleasantly surprised.

Bottom line: value for the price.