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Showing posts from January, 2010

Berardo's bistro on the beach, Noosa

There's no going past the view at Berardo's bistro on the beach.  It jumps up and grabs you by the throat through a huge window that overlooks Noosa's beautiful bay.  I almost find it hard to concentrate on the food.

There are two Berardo's in Noosa, both in Hastings Street.  This one is on the beach front next to Bistro C and is reached via a walkway off Hastings Street or directly off the beach boardwalk.

We joined friends for a leisurely Sunday breakfast. It was lucky they were there early as a queue quickly developed for tables. It's obviously a popular joint.

Three of us chose the toasted tropical muesli with honey yoghurt and organic milk on the side. This was a healthy and very filling breakfast - almost a struggle to finish. I was tempted by the pancakes on the specials board but sanity and post Christmas pounds prevailed and the muesli did the job.

One companion chose the poached free range eggs with smoked salmon and hollandaise on a toasted english muff…

Elm Haus, Mt Glorious

I'm in training for a five day walk across Kangaroo Island in May so we decided to start small with a 5km walk at Mt Glorious.

The village of Mt Glorious is 35 km north-west of Brisbane on the D’Aguilar Range and surrounded by Brisbane Forest Park, so even the drive up is picturesque. As it is over 600m above sea level the daytime temperature is cooler than hot Brisbane in January. I've done it several times on the back of a motor bike - a great trip.

This time we were in a car because three of us were doing the walk. Afterwards we needed refreshments in the form of lunch and coffee, more coffee. We found Elm Haus which is a quirky cafe with lots of personality in its decor.

Unfortunately is now appears to be open only on weekends and public holidays and the food is very pared back to simple meals that have a long 'shelf life'. I'm talking pies, burgers and other heavy meals. No nice light salads or Devonshire teas here.

There's also a bit of a 'German&…

Sunshine Beach

This is my favourite photo from Sunshine Beach on the Sunshine Coast, just south of Noosa. What better way to spend Australia Day?

Search for the perfect cupcake - Spoon Deli, Paddington

I spied this cupcake in the cake cabinet at Spoon Deli, Paddington.  It looked interesting, as do many of their sweet treats, so I was tempted..... and then disappointed.

Straight from the cold cake cabinet it was old, cold and hard and cost $3.90. The cake was tough and the icing carved like lard. Even the choc button on the top had lost its flavour.

It's about time cafes learnt that if you can't supply a product in good condition, then don't offer it.  And please, please, take your old stock out, don't just sell it to unsuspecting customers.

Bottom line:  If you are wondering how old your choice of cake is just ask. I should have.

Spoon Deli, 107 Latrobe Terrace, Paddington.

Best Burgers - Babu Burger & Grill, Wilston

Burgers are a much under rated meal. For me, they are just the ticket when I need low fuss, filling food. And I’m not alone in burger love. Apart from the multi nationals, there are many burger shops around town catering to our needs, but where is the best?

The search for a great burger is another of my self imposed quests and I’m getting results. I’ve found candidates at Freestyle Tout, The Chelsea and Beastie Burgers. On my list is The Purple Gorilla (thanks Jodie) and Burger Urge (thanks Jen).

My partner has been raving about Babu Burger & Grill for some time.  It’s a small operation in Wilston Village at Wilston with tables both inside and outside.

Owner and chef Eyal earned the name Babu during his frequent travels to India. His cuisine originates from the north of Africa and works its way to the Mediterranean. There’s a strong and subtle mixture of spices and flavours from the region including dates, lamb, rosemary, cinnamon, garlic, cumin, traditional kofta and freshly cook…

Cup-a-cake, Chermside

Wandering through Westfield at Chermside on a particularly fruitless shopping trip, I stumbled on Cup-a-cake down in the food court near the David Jones end. Note to Westfield Chermside management - your mall music is too loud and just plain narsty.

Cup-a-cake is a  typical shopping centre set up with an open kiosk in the centre surrounded by tables.  You select your cupcakes from the display cabinet and coffee is brought over.

The display cabinet was filled with highly decorated cupcakes - check out the website and you can see many of them. We chose two - Strawberry Shortcake and a Mar Bar inspired creation.

Strawberry Shortcake is described on their website as - A scrumptiously light vanilla sponge with homemade strawberry preserve, more strawberries on top and fresh cream. Actually it wasn't a light sponge but more buttercake in texture but it did have a nice stash of jam inside.

The mars bar cupcake had a mini mars bar incorporated into the icing and a dense chocolate cake on …

Poets Cafe, Montville

My mother loves the view from Poets Cafe on the main range at Montville on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland as you can see all the way down to the sea through a small, heavily wooded section. It's a family tradition to lunch there for important locations such as her birthday and mothers day.

This day four of us headed up the highway for lunch on a beautiful Saturday morning. One of those days when the sky is amazingly blue and the trees and grass verdant green. The drive takes about an hour and a half to two from Brisbane and just half an hour from the Sunshine Coast.

As Poets Cafe is a popular spot I tried to book but the offer of either a 12 noon or 2pm sitting didn't work with our plans. So we winged it and ended  up with a great table anyhow.

The menu is not overly complicated but there is a good selection for a lunch.  Our choices included a thai beef salad, pumpkin fetta salad and a fancy chicken and avocado sandwich.  All were pleasing although there was way too much of t…

Buderim Ginger Cooking School

Take a culinary journey at the Ginger Flower & Food Festival at Buderim Ginger from Thursday 21 January by joining one of Michelin-starred chef, Erik Van Alphen’s cooking classes.

Erik’s line up for the Ginger Festival starts in France and travels to Italy, Spain and Greece. (see below for full class details.)

The Buderim Cooking School is located in a purpose built kitchen at the Buderim Ginger Factory at Yandina. The classes are completely hands-on and everyone gets a chance to chop, mix and roll each item on the menu. You work at individual work stations with plenty of equipment from which to pick.

After his initial demonstration Chef Erik watches everyone’s technique as you develop the skills required to produce the meal. Erik’s talent as a chef and wide experience adds an extra level of enjoyment to the class, just don’t try to pass on the butter. It’s a great way to learn new methods and stop bad habits (I’m cutting properly now Eric, promise!)

Each group prepares the entire…

Australian Native Finger limes- Chillingham Banana Cabana

If you haven't come across these little fingers of delight, you are in for a treat.  Australian Native Finger Limes are perfect in drinks like a gin and tonic, on oysters , over seafood dishes, in fruit salad or to heighten the flavour of paw paw.
They are easy to use. You simply break the fruit in half and then squeeze the little balls of lime out.  The fingers are about the size of your little finger.
Put them in any drink with bubbles (champagne works well) and they will go up and down in the glass  - very entertaining.
The finger limes I tried were from Chillingham Banana Cabana in Northern New South Wales, just outside Murwillumbah.  I was on what we called a 'Weed 'n Feed' motor bike tour of  the area.  We started from Brisbane and headed to Murwillumbah for lunch and then outside Lismore for the night.  On the way back we stopped in Nimbin.

Chillingham Bush Tucker only had green finger limes but there are many different varieties available and the colours rang…

New jazz club at Limes

The very cool Limes Rooftop Bar is a great place for a few drinks.  The lighting is fabulous and the outdoor ambience, although a lot lower than the roof top bars in Bangkok, is very relaxing.

Now there's a new Rooftop Jazz Club.  Every Thursday night from 7pm, Limes are offering discounted tapas, cocktails and wines with plenty of  live jazz atmosphere on the rooftop.  Admission is free and $5 pizzas available.

Bourbon Street Jump, one of Brisbane's newest, suavest, jazz trios, is kicking off the club on Thursday, January 14. Bourbon Street Jump combine old school jazz with cabaret like entertainment and a modern twist.

142 Constance St, Fortitude Valley p 3852 9000,

Search for the perfect cupcake - Chocolate Mud Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes for mum's birthday (Happy Birthday Maureen!) with a recipe from my Christmas present, The Cupcake Calendar.

They are super easy and delicious served with a dollop of cream or icecream. Raspberry sauce would work as well. They also keep well in the fridge for up to three days and I think they would cope if you froze them and then heated them individually because of the goey choc centre.

Note: Don't hesitate to take these cupcakes out when you think they could be ready (my oven is quick) even though they look uncooked. That gooey centre is to die for. I also dusted with icing sugar rather than cocoa powder as I was serving with raspberries.

Chocolate Mud Cupcakes
Makes 12
1 cup semi -sweet chocolate chips ( I used the best quality I could find)
300gm of unsalted butter
5 eggs
2/3 cup castor sugar
3/4 cup self raising flour
2 tbsp. good quality cocoa powder for dusting

Preheat the oven to 160C. Place 12 paper baking papers in a muffin pan.

In a …

New diner in Bris city - Vapiano

If you don't know where Albert Lane is in Brisbane's inner city, you will soon.

Albert Lane is a clever rework of laneway space in Albert Street butting onto the the T&G Building. It's sort of opposite the goods entry to the Myer Centre carpark. Wander down the Albert Street mall between Queen and Elizabeth streets and you'll find it.

It's now home to an Australian first - Vapiano, part of a chain with 65 locations worldwide. There are another 100 stores in development in the US, Europe and the Middle East.

There are a few quirky things about Vapiano which makes it stand out from the average. The fit out includes a large olive tree and a herb garden which provides fresh herbs for each table - you can snip pieces of basil for your pasta - it's a noice touch.

Pasta and pizzas are made to order, right in front of you.  The chef asks how much chilli, how much salt etc so you can adjust the seasonings to your taste. The pasta is made on premise, fresh, daily.


Eateries at Sydney Airport

I’m very dubious about the concept of good food at an airport. Usually I find it is poor quality, overpriced and the surrounds are unappealing.

So it’s with a large grain of salt that I’m blogging this list of eateries at Sydney Airport.  Having spent more time than I care to remember in airport lounges waiting for delayed flights I think it’s worth a punt. At worst at least you’ll know what you’ll find, maybe even some of it will surprise you!  I’m told there are some newbies. Please note – I have not visited these eateries so let me know the best and the worst…

There are 20 eateries before Customs and plenty of eateries after Customs where you can find a meal ahead of a long journey. For those looking for an alternative to airline food, there is also an array of ‘grab & go’ options to take on board.

For what it’s worth – here’s an airport that’s actually worth visiting - Koh Samui, Thailand.

Sydney Airport  - before Customs …
Danks Street Depot – One of Sydney’s dining and drinkin…

Sweet Treat - Dark Chocolate Espresso Ice Cream Balls

Gotta love a recipe that combines two of my personal faves - coffee and chocolate!  I've tried Merlo's espresso ice cream and it truly has a great espresso flavour, along with a eye-opening kick. It's not for those who want to head off to the land of nod.

You can find the ice cream at Merlo's bowen hills torrefazione: 10 Thompson Street, Bowen Hills; fortitude valley torrefazione: 104 McLachlan St, Fortitude Valley; southport torrefazione: Ferry Rd Markets, The Brickworks Centre, 107 Ferry Rd, Southport;  and springfield torrefazione: Orion Springfield Town Centre, One Main Street, Springfield Lakes.

I'd suggest combining these ice cream balls with a good dose of your fave choc/coffee liqueur, either poured over if you serve them in a bowl or on the side if you are sharing with a few.

Merlo Dark Chocolate Espresso Ice Cream Balls

1 ltr Merlo Espresso Ice Cream
400 gms 70% dark …

Search for the best brekkie - 2009 highlights

The search for the best brekkie came about after a few disappointing breakfasts. It’s disappointing when you are eating out if you can cook a better breakfast at home, unless you just going for the convenience factor and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Outstanding breakfasts have something extra, something unexpected that puts a smile on your face and a happy feeling in your tummy.

I’m down on brekkies where the eggs are tasteless and the toast ordinary. If it's overly sweet or leaves a nasty oily film in my mouth afterwards when I should just be remembering how delicious the meal tasted, I am not happy. If the chef has to use that much sugar and oil to make taste good, dine somewhere else.

Another pet hate is pre buttered toast on the side – I like to do that myself thanks. And if you’re doing it to hide cheap marg, give up now because it tastes different (narsty).

To give a good comparison, I tried to stick to a standard brekkie of two eggs and bacon. Sometimes I got bored (…

Turkish Delight Cheesecake

Sometimes you've just got to do it and Turkish Delight Cheesecake is one of those things.

I had been wanting to try this since @mismelaniejayne mentioned it as her dinner party finale. She bought it from Jocelyn's Provisions in James Street. It's just around the back of James Street with an entry off Doggett Street and plenty of parking for Jocelyn's customers.

My first opportunity to try the cake for a dessert was number one son's birthday.  He is a turkish delight fiend but I didn't know the cheesecake came decorated with real rose petals - a not very boyish touch! However his ever loving sister said he would 'just have to suck it up' and convinced me to buy the cake.  She didn't have to try hard....

I loved the combo of choc crumb base with the creamy, pretty pink filling laced with big jewels of turkish delight and a generous swirl of raspberry jam.  We didn't eat the rose petals but I bet you could. (I'd much rather save my calories for…