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Showing posts from May, 2010

Top blogs for May

May was another busy month on E,d+bK with visitation up 20 percent. Thank you!

Don't forget that this week is Queensland Week - great lunch deals are available at some fabulous restaurants for
Lunch on Q

The same three restaurants that dominated the poll in April also took out the highest score in May.  You are fascinated with -
MundoChurrasco – a new Brazilian barbecue carvery restaurant opened at Bardon, Brisbane.
Embassy XO – an Asian style restaurant opened at SunshineBeach on the SunshineCoast.
Eurovida -  a new, modern Australian-style café/restaurant in down town Paddington.

Also high on your list were my comments on
Brisbane's Best food - a list of restaurants compiled by me and other foodies
Search for the perfect cupcake
Foodie dinners - a round up of the latest food and wine orientated dinners on offer.

Darling Downs degustation at Bretts Wharf, Hamilton

The Darling Downs and the Gatton area in particular are a wonderful source of fresh produce for not only Brisbane, but the whole of Australia.

The rich soils of area result in amazing produce including award winning organic vegetables produced by Rob Bauer and Trudy Townson and Bauer Organics.

A champion of local produce, Bretts Wharf Executive Chef Alastair McLeod has been holding a series of produce dinners showcasing local products from the Sunshine Coast and Granite Belt.  This time it was the Darling Downs turn.

"When you consider the contents of the average shopping trolley has travelled over 70,000 km - that's two Jessica Watson trips - consideration for whence our produce comes has to be a factor," Alastair said.

Alastair’s menu was reflective of the cooler weather and along with Rob Bauer’s organic vegetables from Gatton it featured Ken Orange’s Banyard Quail from Pittsworth and Mark Ladner’s Gooralie Pork from Goondiwindi


- Starter V8 Juice with black cabbag…

Lunch on Q

Lunch on Q invites diners to enjoy a two course lunch with Queensland's mouth-watering produce expertly matched with a glass of Queensland wine at just $35pp and is the perfect way to celebrate Queensland Week.

Lunch on Q runs from Monday 31 May - Sunday 13 June and bookings should be made direct with the restaurant of your choice

Restaurants may offer Lunch on Q at varying times within the dates or may decide to extend the promotion – check the details with each restaurant’s listing.

More information can be found at

The list of restaurants participating this year includes:

Barolo Modern Mediterranean
Freestyle Tout Emporium
Freestyle Tout West End
Harveys Bistro
Hilton Brisbane Atrium Restaurant
Restaurant Manx
Restaurant Misho's
Restaurant Rapide
Restaurant Two
Seasalt at Armstrong's
Three Bistro
Two Small Rooms

Feast on Q - May 2010

Here's a link to the latest Feast on Q - a Queensland food and wine newsletter I edit.

This month's highlights -

·    Lunch on Q
·    Brisbane Cheese Awards
·    A Taste of Coolum
·    Learn to cook seafood by the sea
·    Christmas comes early at Spicers Hidden Vale
·    River city views whet your appetite
·    Surf’s up!
·    2010 Queensland Grands Vins selection
·    Product watch
·    In season
·    What’s on

Home grown capers

Did you know that, until now, all capers have been imported into Australia?

Well they've bitten the bullet down in South Australia and produced a  new range of Australian capers grown by the aptly named, Australian Caper Company.

Grower Jonathon Trewartha describes his capers as environmentally sustainable, hand picked fresh, firm, fruity, organic and packed full of antioxidants and natural health benefits.

They are grown with minimal water on the dry, rocky slopes of the Murray River.  They pick the unopened buds of the caper plant at first light during the hottest months of the year. Any they miss at the bud stage then get picked as berries!

The flavour is a little different from the imported caperberries I've tried.  A slight sweetness  is an interesting contrast to the crunchy saltiness.

The Australian Caper Company is seeking growers who want todiversify their income stream, have 1 to 3ML of water, 1 to 3 hectares and existing infrastructure.

Find these capers at Blac…

Line up for the Regent!

I love the drama of the old Regent Theatre.  It should be a Brisbane icon and how developers have got their hands on it over heritage I really don't understand.  I thought we had laws to protect our important stuff. Obviously not.
Don't let the Regent become a 'foyer to nowhere'! Line up for the Regent this Saturday, May 29, from 11 - 12 at Reddacliffe Place (it's the bridge end of Queen Street).

Show the government and the council that the Regent must stay as an entertainment venue, open and able to be properly used by the people of Brisbane.
Check out the Facebook group page. Show the government that you're serious.

Foodie bits from bmag

The not so secret seven.... top chefs cook for Variety

It's a line up that would make many foodies weep with an-ti-cip-ation - the not so secret seven hot chefs who are headlining the 2010 Variety of Chefs Dinner.

There's Ben O'Donoghue from the soon to be opened South Bank Surf Club, David Pugh from Restaurant II,  Russell Armstrong from Barolo, Shane Bailey from Berado's of Noosa, Kim Machin from Urban and PJ McMillan from Harvey's.

On Saturday, June 5, they'll take  up the centre stage at the Brisbane Convention Centre to prepare a three course dinner with wines matched by sommelier Peter Marchant from Mezzanine. There's even a singer, Ricki-Lee and an eight piece band to dance the night away with. 

The $250 a head night raises funds for Variety Queensland, an organisation that suports special children's needs. This year's event will assist The Preston James Fund which buys life-support equipment for children suffering lung injuries.

Here's the menu

Queensland prawn, pink grapefruit, shav…

Coconut Grove Bar & Bistro, Sunshine Beach, Sunshine Coast.

I was driving home to Brisbane from yet another wonderful weekend at Sunshine Beach on the Sunshine Coast and what was I day dreaming about?

Not the outstanding coastal scenery on the walk to Alexandra Bay, the beautiful autumn swim (which is brave because I'm a Queenslander) or the smooth, well rounded coffee I'd had that morning.  Instead it was a small pat of house-made butter and a freshly baked baguette from the previous night. It's evidence that sometimes the smallest things are the best.

The house baked bread of the day at Coconut Grove Bar and Bistro, upstairs in Duke Street, Sunshine Beach, varies but it's always served with Joseph EVO and house made butter churned from Eumundi cream and salted with Murray River Salt.  The sweetness of the butter combined with the crisp, golden bread was an unexpected pleasure that lingered.

This was my second visit to Coconut Grove with way too many years in between.  I first darkened their door just after Leonie Palmer Fish…

Peasant, The Barracks, Petrie Terrace

There's nothing that attracts my attention more that a restaurateur who doesn't like food bloggers. So when I opened the paper on Wednesday and read that the two owners of Peasant at The Barracks were not blogger fans I was hooked, especially since I was booked to dine there that night.

Would I blog or not?  I put the question out to the Twitterverse and the reactions were mixed, ranging from don't tell them you're a blogger to wear a t-shirt with your blog address on the front. The overwhelming response was 'name and shame'.

Interestingly, others ventured opinions that these restaurateurs were among many who just were not up to date with the new style 'word of mouth' of blogging.

And when I saw some of the comments on the restaurant posted on various food sites I was not surprised that the owners were a little wary of the internet. Quite a few diners were less than impressed by the front of house or wait staff. Somewhat challenging statements to rest…

Party for a purpose

Throughout MS Awareness Week, you can join millions of people from across the globe in hosting dinner parties to raise money for multiple sclerosis.

From May 26, MS Global Dinner Party hosts will organise cocktail parties, dinners, movie nights and other gatherings to collect donations.

Money raised will help fund vital support services for people living with MS, awareness programs and research projects to help find a cure.

Hosts can be as creative as they like and organise everything from a fancy dress party to a games night or simple barbecue with friends. Registering on the MS Global Dinner Party website is easy and fundraising is a breeze with a personalised party page where guests can make direction donations.

MS Queensland chief executive officer Trevor Farrell said the MS Global Dinner Party initiative was a simple and fun way of making a difference in the lives of thousands of people.

“We are encouraging people to host a party, big or small, and raise money to directly h…

Be my guest - Three favourite food memories from Mei Yen Chua

'Be my guest' is a regular Thursday series on E,d+bK. Here Brisbane author and foodie Mei Yen Chua shares three favourite food memories.

Mei Yen publishes Brisbane’s Budget Bites, an independent cheap eats guide to Brisbane. When she’s not out eating and researching, she works as a freelance indexer, proofreader and editor. She is interested in ethnic communities in Brisbane and loves introducing people to new and obscure food and anticipates publishing other food-related publications in the near future.

My most memorable meal

What is it about memorable meals? I thought this was an easy one when Kerry first asked the question. But when I pondered a little longer two more experiences kept popping up and wouldn’t go away. I realised that I’ve had several memorable meals in my life.

There have been so many pleasurable meals – all unique and memorable in their own right but three stand out. My very first memorable meal comes from a traditional Indian wedding. I think I might have …

Mercure picks their top Queensland wines

Not before time, a major hotel group is taking the local wine industry seriously with the launch of another Mercure 2010 “Grands Vins Mercure”, a wine list dedicated to showcasing Queensland wines.

The 2010 Queensland Grands Vins selection is available at Mercure hotels in Brisbane, Townsville and Cairns, giving visitors a true taste of the Sunshine State. The wine list is changed twice yearly.

Wines come from a number of boutique wineries in the Stanthorpe region, recognised as Queensland’s premier wine area, as well as from emerging wine regions such as South Burnett, the Darling Downs and the Gold Coast Hinterlands.

Reflecting Queensland wineries’ experimentation with grape varieties and styles, the list includes varietals such as sylvaner and verdelho amongst the whites, along with more traditional chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and semillon selections. The reds include straight tempranillo and cabernet franc wines as well as merlot, shiraz and cabernet sauvignon.

Accor Regional Gen…

Search for the perfect cupcake - Cocolat

I think I've found it - the perfect cupcake.

But, and there's always a but, I'd really need to try it again, and again, and again. And that won't be happening anytime soon as the cupcake was  in Adelaide.

Maybe it was escaping from every day life or just surviving the walk from the very sleezy end of Hindley Street (make sure you put the emphasis on the 'Hi' or they'll know you are a tourist according to our taxi driver), that made the cupcake taste so sweet, so deliciously moist and chocolatey, with icing that rolled around in your mouth and shouted 'eat me'!

It was a tip off in Tiger Tales, the inflight magazine for Tiger Airlines, that sent me to their door. We had wandered down Hindley Street, past the male strip shows and red curtained doors to Rundle Mall.  The Mall is identical to every other Mall in Australia and, perhaps,  now the western world.

Thankfully, just after the mall, we discovered a great food precinct with lots of interesting r…

La dolce vita in Brisbane's Mall

Brisbane is really taking Italian week to heart this year with an Italian twist to Jan Power's city Farmer's Market on Wednesday (May 26, 10am-6pm)at Reddacliff Place (the Bridge End of Queen Street).

Jan says she researched farmers markets in Italy and all over Europe before she launched the concept in Brisbane.

“Italian farmers markets from small villages to the big cities, like Venice or Florence, are a delight to the senses!”

Many of Jan’s farmers and providores are Italian, adding personality and delicious tastes to her markets.

It seems they'll have everything from pasta making to assembling antipasti. It's also the place to purchase fresh pasta and sauces, cheeses, salamis and sausages, pesto, fruit and vegetables, breads, olive oils, coffee and even Italian wine.

Here's a quick and easy Italian dinner or lunch from the market -

Start with an antipasto platter of olives, sundried tomatoes and stuffed peppers served with crusty Italian bread or a pasta cours…

Kangaroo Island highlights

A wild and spectacular coastline, untouched wilderness, a poignant history and a remarkable sense of isolation are the images and memories I've brought back from my five day walking tour on Kangaroo Island with Park Trek.

Our group of seven with two guides ranged in age from 16 to 82 years,  with a grandmother and her grand daughter at the top and bottom.  It was wonderful to see these two walking the trails and inspiring to have an 82-year-old hard on your heels most of the time.

Here are the  photographic highlights.

Don't forget to follow the link below to see the rest of the photos!

Get lucky at Campos

Not that sorta 'lucky', silly - coffee lucky!

Campos has planted five 'lucky beans' on the bottom of branded cups at Campos stockists throughout Queensland and expects all beans to be in the public arena by mid June.

Business co-owners John Ronchi and Eugene Phua said the lucky beans could be found at any café brewing the brand’s famous coffee from Coffs Harbour to Noosa.

“Everyone knows of Campos’ popularity in Brisbane, thanks to being recognised by The News York Times, but our presence expands far beyond the walls of our flagship Wandoo St café,” Mr Phuai said.

“You don’t have to be in the CBD to enjoy a quality drop; our coffee is stocked in 50 coffee shops around rural, regional and metro South-East Queensland so you’re never too far from a Campos coffee.”

Regional wholesalers include Hard Coffee at Noosa, Stanthorpe’s Olga & Agnes, Refuelled at Wellington Point, Byron Fresh and Beach Stone at Coffs Harbour.

The five winners of the Lucky Bean Promotion will re…

Maggie Beer's new soups

Soup is sometimes just what I crave on a cold night. Warming and comforting, it fills the spot without weighing you down.

My favourite varieties are pumpkin, beef + vegetable, pea and ham and a fish soup which I haven't made for a while. My partner thinks the idea of fish soup 'is just wrong' and I'm struggling to find a way to present it that doesn't look like soup - suggestions?

Anyway I was more than pleased when asked to trial Maggie Beer's new soup range.  Sometimes I want it but I just haven't got the energy to go through the proper process and I've yet to find a soup in a can or a packet that doesn't taste as though it came from one.

Maggie's soups have that individual flavour that's all to do with good ingredients and proper cooking processes rather than mass production.

I tried two of the four varieties - Pumpkin and Verjuice with Mascarpone and Tomato, Saffron and Verjuice.

As a fan of Maggie's verjuice it wasn't hard to l…

Tasty bits - bmag April 13

Hilton Brisbane Masterclass Weekend 24 & 25 July

Bookings have opened for the next Hilton Brisbane Masterclass Weekend.

Chocolate, cocktails, pastry, pork from head to tail,  blending spices and Queensland seafood are just a few of the subjects that will be covered in the inspiring program that makes up this year's Masterclass.

Held over the weekend of July 24 and 25, this is the event that first brought world famous chefs Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Nancy Silverton and Gordon Ramsay to Australia.

This year the leading overseas chefs are Michael Caines from the UK who has two Michelin stars for his restaurant Gidleigh Park in Devon and Susur Lee from Toronto, names as one of the top ten chefs of the millennium alongside Pierre Gagnaire and Ferran Adria. Baker Peter Reinhart from the USA will join Masterclass to demonstrate the intricacy of handling sourdough.

Each day offers six hours of sipping and supping with some of the best chefs and winemakers.  You can do one or two days, depending on your stamina. See the full program.


Paniyiri Cooking Program

Spanakorizo. Kourabiethes. Loukoumathes.

You may have difficulty pronouncing them, but that’s not a problem when it comes to eating them!

Queensland’s signature celebration of all things Greek, the famous Paniyiri Festival will this year celebrate with the biggest ever Paniyiri Greek Cooking Program yet, featuring My Kitchen Rules culinary bombshells Tanya and Gen, and winners Shadi and Veronica.

Upstairs in The Greek Club during Paniyiri the secrets behind Greek gastronomy will be revealed, with free sweet and savory demonstrations all day Saturday May 22 & Sunday May 23.

On Saturday May 22 at 3pm at Paniyiri, Brisbane My Kitchen Rules contestants Tanya and Gen will be Keeping Traditions Alive as they demonstrate how to cook Yemista (or for those non-Greeks, Stuffed Tomatoes and Capsicums). Then, it’s over to My Kitchen Rules winners Shadi and Veronica to cook up a Greek storm on Sunday May 23 at 2pm using ingredients of the Mediterranean and bringing them together in Greek Cuisi…

Be my guest - Sally Lynch of Taste Trekkers remembers mushrooms

This is another installment in E,d+bK's Thursday series "Be my guest - my most memorable meal".

Today's guest is Sally Lynch, a passionate cook, a dedicated cooking teacher, a kooky tour guide and a food fanatic.  Sally moved to Brisbane from Melbourne in 2002 for a year and she is still here! She has run restaurants, cafes and wholesale food manufacturing businesses and has been able to travel the world while doing it. She now follows her passion for amazing and exotic ingredients, kitchen gadgetry and sharing her food discoveries from around the world with others. Taste Trekkers is an ecletic mix of all these things.

Sally travels back in time to her first memorable meal.

The Great Memorable Mushroom Meal

Memorable meals are varied and are not just about the food but the smells, the people, the place, the time in your life, the temperature, the tan (ok – maybe not the tan, but when I picture myself back eating these meals I always have a hot tan!) and of course…

Fairy Cakes at Togninis

It was too early in the morning but I just couldn't resist this oversized cupcake at Tognini's Trattoria in Spring Hill.

It's a regular buttercake with a very decadent white chocolate cream filling and a dop of raspberry jam to make the angel wings. The cream on the side is totally unnecessary.

Bottom line: Matched with a strong coffee, this would make a great afternoon tea sugar hit.

Tognini's Trattoria
Spring Hill Marketplace, Cnr Turbot & Boundary Streets, Spring Hill p3831 5300

Jonathon M Patisserie, Coolum, Sunshine Coast

I was driving back from Noosa to have afternoon tea with my mum.

Driving down the scenic coast road past Perigian and Marcus Beaches, I was lucky to discover this delightful patisserie, smack on the main road in the heart of Coolum Beach.

Jonathon M Patisserie is located in a strip shopping centre on the David Low Way, opposite the beach. As I was taking the afternoon treats, it was a real find.

The biggest problem here was chosing which treats to take home.  I solved it by buying a selection of the peit fours for us to sample.

According to the sign on the wall, all the goods are baked fresh daily on the premises using quality local  organic produce, and they certainly tasted that way.  The individual treats were full of flavour and a party in your mouth.

Bottom line:  I'll be returning here for more.

Jonathon M Patisserie
Element On Coolum, David Low Way
Coolum Beach. p 5446 5820