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Showing posts from March, 2009


Last night I dined at Alchemy enjoying the creative efforts of Brad Jolly's dalliance with pork for a dinner where the guest of honour was Babe's cousin.

The night started with pork hock broth with shitake mushrooms served in trendy test tubes and fois gras mousse on a wafer thin fois gras bark.

Also on the list were oysters with pork belly jelly, dried shots of pork that looked a little like muesli and pork crackling foam with a yoghurt sauce.

The entree was a braised pork terrine with pickled walnuts. Braised for four hours, it was a taste sensation. Yum.

The main was a glammed-up pork chop that didn't really excite but the dessert was one of those chocolate numbers that explodes with a gooey centre. Double yum. And the garnish -crispy little snippets of pork ears on a blood orange sorbet!

See all the action here.

Alchemy is located on the promenade level of 125 Eagle Street with stunning views of the Brisbane River, that's if you can drag your eyes away from the ruby re…

Granite Belt goodies

A big box of the Granite Belt's latest goodies has arrived on my doorstep. There's nothing like these farm fresh vegetables and fruit - the flavours are so intense and pure - a delight to cook and eat.

The flavour filled grapes disappeared very quickly but I'm planning something special for the biggest apple I have ever seen. Now is the time to head to the Granite Belt and pluck these new season fruits straight from the vine/trees.

I'll be working my way through these luscious fruits and vegetables for a while and I'm particularly looking forward to trying the Maple Apple jam from Greedy Me Gourmet and the Summit Estate Merlot.

Andrew Simpson, chef and food and beverage training manager at the Queensland College of Wine Tourism included this great recipe.

Cauliflower and Stanthorpe blue cheese soup
1 cauliflower
4 cloves of garlic
2 large onions
1 litre of chicken stock
300ml pure cream
300g strong blue cheese
freshly ground pepper
50 grams butter
1 small baguette
olive oi…

Cheap eats - Curry at Siana

Siana has brought back their lunchtime curry buffet with a $20, Monday to Thursday from 12.00 noon – 3.00pm, all you can eat, five curry buffet. There will be different hand-made Asian curries each and every week. The Siana website now has curry calendar so you won't miss your favourite.
Siana, Upper Plaza Level, Riparian Plaza, 71 Eagle Street, Brisbane. p 3221 3887.

Scenic Rim and Gold Coast at Southbank Markets

This week’s Wine and Growers Market at Southbank on Sunday features growers from the Scenic Rim and Gold Coast, an area new to Brisbane markets.

There’ll be lots of wineries including Warrego Wines, Normanby Wines, Cedar Creek Estate Vineyard & Winery and Barney Creek Vineyard plus some interesting producers. I’ll be lining up to taste-Malleea Cheese manufactured by 23 year old Nigel Jackson on his family farm, on the northern tip of the Gold Coast. Nigel’s dad milks the cows (which graze on pastures on the Albert River), and Nigel uses this milk to produce fresh, preservative and gluten free cheese which is also made without annatto and with non-animal rennet. Nigel and his mother also sell Malleea Cheese at the Rocklea, Bundall, Canungra and Ipswich Farmers Markets. Bee Happy Honey which won two first place awards at the 2008 Royal Queensland Show. The honey is processed traditionally onsite at Boonah Fruit Supply. No additives or preservatives are used, and the honey is n…

Raw talent today's nomination- the Granite Belt

Congratulations to Granite Belt Wine & Tourism for embarking on a new nude food and wine calendar for 2010. They say it will be a calendar 'with a difference' building on the two successful self-drive trails through and around the town of Stanthorpe, Queensland's apple and grape capital. Strange Bird is the name given to the Granite Belt alternative wine trail. Nude Food is the name of the region's food trail which promotes the fact that food in region and food in season is what nature intended. It's nude!

Nude, of course, doesn't have to mean depicted so well in the hit comedies Calendar Girls and The Full Monty.

Each month has a food and wine theme and a community competition is being held to select twelve photos. There's a photo competition and advertising opportunities....

Find out more at


One of my tasks when writing the food pages for Style Magazine was to ask people about their favourite dining haunts. So many Inner West locals nominated Anouk it started to get boring. Now I know what they were on about.

Anouk is located in the city end of Given Terrace at Paddington. It's a busy spot where it's not always easy to find a park, but that doesn't seem to stop anybody. We turned up at 11.40am after a meeting looking for a late breakie or early lunch but couldn't get either until the kitchen opened around noon. I was a little put out by this as we had a timetable to work to but it didn't worry the group on the next table. They immediately ordered two cakes that looked spectacular when they arrived. They gave us a taste of the housemade chocolate truffle cake and New York maple cheesecake which certainly packed a flavour punch.

The glossy table tops, fans and French music create a chic atmosphere at Anouk but with concrete floors it tends to get bit…

Time to get Nude

Nude Deli Cafe is new to the Mooloolaba Esplanade at Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast. It's taken the spot formerly occupied by Raw Energy which has moved further up the strip.

The original Nude Deli Cafe was established in Cotton Tree in 2003.

They promise creative 'housemade cooking' prepared on the premises and the shelves are filled with housemade pesto, tapenades, grilled zucchini and eggplant. And they deliver!

The turkey, cranberry, avocado and swiss on turkish with pesto ($10.90) was delicious. So delicious I bought a container of the pesto to devour at home. The steak sandwich was enormous with huge slabs of bread, a heap of avocado, tomato and cheese with a thin slice of beef steak. The steak was a little chewy and lacked flavour but at $15.90 for the lot it's hard to get too upset.

This is definitely a place I will return to taste more of the housemade treats - especially muffins which the menu proudly proclaims as not-to-be-missed.

The coffee is Lavazza.


Fun, fast and fabulous food

I remember the days when I used to spend two days preparing for a dinner party only to sit down to eat completely exhausted. I think I even fell asleep at the table one night when dinner seemed to drag on.

Now I'm older, wiser and not prepared, even if I had the spare time, to spend hours in the kitchen preparing elaborate five course menus. That's just one of the reasons I like Alison Taafe's book "Fun, Fast and Fabulous Food".

I met Alison at a recent dinner to showcase the new facilities at Miele's showroom at Eagle Farm. More on this soon.

Alison impressed me with her energy and passion, but also with her practical attitude towards home entertaining. Practicality shines through the whole book which details every step in the recipes, with a timetable to make sure you get it right. There's also a shopping list which, in a stroke of brilliance, is available as a download on her web site. Top marks for this!

One of my favourite recipes is Prawns Baked in P…

Taste of India

If you’d like to know about chai making, authentic spice blending, curry making and the ancient science of Ayuverdic cooking head to cookware retailer, Taste in the Valley on Sunday March 29. The energetic Jodie Macaulay is planning Taste of India, a day of interactive workshops and expert demonstrations.

Workshop topics will include all about Indian Breads, chai making, authentic spice blending, curry making, and the ancient science of Ayuverdic cooking.

What’s Ayuverdic cooking you ask? According to Jodie it’s the art of personalising your food to your mood and body type, that has been passed down through Indian generations for over 5,000 years. It is said to hold the secrets to longevity, youthfulness, healing and health.

So brace yourself for a sensory overload of coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, tamarind, saffron and dill and be there for expert tips, sampling and advice at 10am – it’s free!

Taste, 3 Montpelier Road, Fortitude Valley. p 07 3252 2909

Rose petal cupcakes

How good do these cupcakes look? And they taste even better. I discovered them on a recent visit to Tognini's and couldn't resist the taste test.

The cake is not a traditional cupcake sponge but a very rich white chocolate and orange blossom mix with just the right amount of creamy icing. The rose bud topping is gorgeous, but left till last it couldn't surpass the cake.

It's a bit smaller than the usual cupcake, which is fine because it's such a rich cake mixture.

Find them at Togninis at Milton, Spring Hill and at the State Library.

Rating: Very good.

Raw talent - Dominque Rizzo

What's under the cookbooks? That's the question that remains to be answered and the only way to find out the truth may be on the walls of West End's Gunshop Cafe. A photographic show by Trevor Templeman (until April 12) includes images of many Brisbane food identities including Philip Johnson, ThierryGalichet, Bruno Loubet and the very relaxed Dominique Rizzo, reclining under her collection of cookbooks. You'll know Dominique from her stints on the television program, Ready, Steady, Cook.

Find the Gunshop Cafe at 53 Mollison Street West End p 3844-2241. I've always found it very busy so do book.

The perfect cup of coffee

If there's one thing the guys at Merlo know, it's how to make a great cup of coffee. The coffee culture has gone from strength to strength in Queensland since the Merlo family introduced the first espresso machine to Queensland at their Italian restaurant in 1958. In 1996, Dean Merlo established the Merlo Torrefazione – an Italian style coffee roasting house in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley.

Here are some tips from Frith La Vin Lloyd, Merlo's new Training Manager.

Coffee Storage Hints

• To maximise the flavour of your fresh espresso coffee for the longest period of time, eliminate or minimise coffee coming into contact with oxygen, water, heat, direct sunlight and other aromas.

• To achieve this, coffee should be stored in an environment that is air tight, cool, dry and dark.

• The best way to store your coffee is in an airtight container in a frost free fridge. merlocoffee’s packaging with its one way valve is ideal.

• Beans will hold their flavour longer than ground coffee.


Northshore oil

For breakfast this morning we headed for Northshore Cafe down past Portside. I've been to this cafe before and it's a great little spot with beaut views of the river. I wasn't expecting the 'beach closed' sign courtesy of spilt diesel oil from the MV Pacific Adventurer nor was I expecting the nasty smell. Granted, you couldn't smell it inside the cafe but this area of the river has definitely been affected.We enjoyed a great breakie. Eggs and bacon on turkish ($13.90), eggs on toast ($11.90) and eggs benedict with ham ($14.50). The coffee was Grinders and very good – rich, smooth and creamy on the mouth.Not so impressive was the bottled orange juice which was labelled organic but really didn't taste great. Freshly squeezed juices would have been a much nicer alternative. Also failing to impress was the double choc muffin we purchased after breakie. At $5.50 I was expecting something very lush and it just wasn't.And while I'm having a gripe…

Farmers Markets at Southbank

Two markets coming up at South Bank should be on all foodie's calendars. On March 15 the growers from the Granite Belt are coming to town. I've been a regular at this one and purchased wine, cheese, jam (lots of jam), biscuits, tofu (when I was early enough), apples and apple juice, the best muesli and more. I am addicted to some of these products and would line up for many.

Two weeks later, on March 29, growers from the Gold Coast and Scenic Region will be bringing their wares to South Bank. This should be particularly interesting as it's a first for this district. They have a wealth of fine produce which I am looking forward to trying. Hopefully avos are still in season and they'll be plenty to pick up.

Poppy Cakes, Emporium, Fortitude Valley

Save yourself $4000 says Theo Levonis.

Satisfy your craving for New York style cup cakes in Brisbane instead of New York. If you loved the look in 'Sex and the City', you'll love the taste of these truly creamy cupcakes.

They are made with all the best stuff including Valrhona chocolate and creamy European butter.

Crabby night at Gianni’s

Seafood lovers can start drooling now! Gianni’s is introducing a monthly crab night with a mouth watering four course menu themed around crab - mud crab, spanner crab, snow crab, blue swimmer crab…. the best the market has to offer. Priced at $95 per person (food only), $125 (with wine). The first dinner will be on Wednesday April 1 and - bibs and hot towels will be provided. p 3221 7655

Brisbane's budget bites

Jetstar's Inflight Magazine has published a story I wrote on where to find Brisbane's best budget bites. I asked four top Brisbane chefs where they go for good cheap eats. Here's what they recommended.

Andrew Mirosch of Restaurant Lurleen's suggested Cam Ranh - Darra, C”est Bon -Woolloongabba and Bayside Seafood - Wellington Point.
Martin Duncan of Freestyle Tout recommended Cirque - New Farm,
Vespa - New Farm and Quench - Fortitude Valley.
David Pugh of Restaurant II likes Beastie Burgers - South Bank, Golden Barbeque - Fortitude Valley and Thynne Road Deli and Cafe - Morningside.

While Alastair McCloud of Bretts Wharf enjoys the Fishmonger’s Wife - East Brisbane, Kiss Fine Food -Coorparoo and Vanilla Pod- Ascot.
Thanks to all these chefs for sharing their favourite places. Catch the full story in Jetstar's March edition.

Do try it!

I recently had lunch at Restaurant II with the founder of Dilmah tea, Merrill J. Fernando, and his son Dilhan. Merrill is celebrating 21 yeas of his family tea with a limited edition leaf tea and a new range -The Exceptionals - with a selection of eight black and green teas. It will be available in major supermarkets across Australia.

The teas are labelled 'ethically produced and packed at origin by my family', words that carry a lot of weight in today's world. They are also single origin and unblended

We've only tried some of these so far but have been impressed by the freshness (all are foil sealed) and the beautiful scent of the tea. The flavours have been rich and satisfying.

The welcome drink at the lunch was a deliciously refreshing iced tea made from Valley of Kings Ceylon Pekoe, a regal tea served with ginger and mint.

The lunch also was an opportunity for Dilmah to explain the work of their MJF Charitable Foundation and Dilmah Conservation.

Restaurant II chef and…

New dining club

Restaurant & Catering Queensland with City News have launched a new dining club -Savour Brisbane Dinners. Their monthly events will encourage diners to discover new venues, enjoy the company of other like minded and passionate foodies and indulge in Brisbane’s food and wine scene. Savour Brisbane Dinners are held at a different venue each month for a fixed price with a carefully created menu including matched wines. The chef will talk about souring fresh ingredients, simple tips and tricks from the trade. There's also a newsletter which will keep you informed of the different locations, menus as well as special offers and the latest in food and wine news.

The March Savour Brisbane Dinner will be held at The Hutch Bistro, 2/ 75 Welsby Street, New Farm 6:30pm - 9:30pm *$85 per person.

April Savour Brisbane Dinner will be held at Sono, Portside Wharf, Hamilton, 6:30pm - 9:30pm
*$85 per person.

May Savour Brisbane Dinner will be held at Salon European Dining, …

Brisbane Times Good Food Guide

As one of the reviewers, I am confident in recommending the Brisbane Times Good Food Guide . It offers a comprehensive list of South East Queensland’ best restaurants listed in order of ranking, type of cuisine or location.

Good Food Guide judge Simon Thomsen says that Brisbane’s restaurant scene has been unaffected but the economic downturn and continues to grow with quite a number of newcomers entering the landscape.

“This is evident with both the standard and the number of entries having risen with more than 140 restaurants featured in the Good Food Guide 2009 edition,” said Simon.

I have to agree that the word around town is that many restaurants are very busy with no sign of a down turn. For those quieter days, there are plenty of special offers to draw the crowds in. Make sure you take advantage of them!

Hits top 1000!

For the first time since I started this blog in May last year, my monthly hits have passed 1000! Not bad for a short month!

So what caught your fancy this month?

Top ten pages
The Barracks, Petrie TerraceRaw talent calendarAustralian Regional Food GuideCheap eatsFox and HoundTomato magicMT BreweryCouture CupcakesHats off to Brisbane RestaurantsChocolate heaven - Monty's ChocolatesMost of you who visit live in Australia, although this blog has caught the attention of food lovers in the US, UK, Canada and Germany (+ plus lots of others). In Australia, most visitors come from the south east corner, though Sydney folk have been checking out what's happening here quite a bit, followed by Melbourne, Perth and Canberra - where are you Adelaide, Darwin and Hobart?

During February you browsed at least two pages a visit and spent, on average, 1.3o minutes on the site each time. 84 of you have visited my site more than 100 times (it's ok - I don't know who you are!)

Thanks for visit…