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Showing posts from July, 2010

Barbecue prawns - Queensland style!

I came home from the Hilton Brisbane Masterclass with a kilo of the freshest Queensland tiger prawns. These have great colour and a sweet flavour when cooked.  They are recommended in seafood cocktails, salads or just plain.

My fave is prawn sangers made with fresh white bread, butter, lemon and a touch of pepper - delish.

This time I barbecued the prawns on skewers and served them on a bed of light green salad with some kipfler potatoes in mayo on the side.


Ambiwerra rocks again!

After 18 years Ambiwerra Festival's reputation as Brisbane's best food and music festival remains unchallenged.

This year Ambi offers a not to be missed line-up of indie rock, blues, folk and nu jazz with 15 acts on three stages, roving entertainment and street performers. Added to this live extravaganza is the choice of around 50 entrée-sized dishes from leading Brisbane restaurants and featuring the city's next generation of talented young chefs. 
I'm looking forward to trying the Gunshop Cafes' Queensland tasting plate - Granite Belt wild rabbit and pistachio terrine with Stanthorpe apple and thyme compote, Qld cheddar, Bunnyconnellen olives and Leavain sourdough.

Best of Masterclass, Hilton Atrium

The 2010 Hilton Brisbane Masterclass Weekend has been and gone and what a weekend it was.

Two Michelin star chef Michael Caines MBE wowed the guests with four fabulous dishes that showed why he is so highly respected. Michael finished the weekend by presenting a seven-course dinner of outstanding food that had guests on the edge of their seats.

Susur Lee was one of the early instigators of fusion food and within restaurants stretching from Canada, USA and across to Singapore.  He showed us a style of food that is rarely shown here that gave us a greater understanding of east meets west.

Masterclass applause!

What a fabulous weekend of foodie fun for all at the 2010 Brisbane Hilton Masterclass ( July 24 & 25).

Once again organiser Alison Alexander has trumped all with a spectacular line up of presenters. Best of all we all had a lot of fun including the presenters who got their rocks off to liven the crowd late on Sunday afternoon.

bmag July 20

Jimbaran, Bali

I've just spend the best part of the last hour working out how I could recreate the same relaxed tropical ambiance I'm experiencing back at home.

My conclusion - I've decided it would be much easier just to come back here to Jimbaran Puri Bali.

I'm staying in one of the resort's villas hidden behind a Balanese style gated entry and it's almost a small house.  There's the large edgeless pool with fountain and outdoor decking area complete with a gazebo for lounging.  Inside the air conditioned comfort there's a lounge room, dining room, bedroom and larger than I expected bathroom with a plunge bath and indoor and outdoor showers. And it's all so private with a big 'do not disturb' button so we can be as relaxed as we want to. It's a dream stay!

I can also see the advantages of the beachfront cottages which have direct access to Jimbaran Bay Beach.

The food here is very good with a wide selection of tropical fruits in the breakfast buffet…

The K2 Cocktail - qualia, Hamilton Island

There comes a time in everyone's life when you've got to make a decision on the important things - so I've decided this is my favourite cocktail.

I have sampled the tried and true, dabbled on the dark side with unusual combos and come to rest on this one which a barman whipped up during a recent visit to qualia on Hamilton Island.

10 days, 10 nuts

We really should be a bit more nutty. Nuts in general have been found to reduce the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes, plus can help manage blood cholesterol and weight.

They are a nutrient rich plant food. So, to reap the nutritious benefits and obtain the rewards, just remember to eat a handful of nuts every day.

There is such a thing as a free lunch - Wellington on a Plate, New Zealand

There is such a thing as a free lunch...for Australian travellers!

Positively Wellington Tousim have decided to hook any Australians who visit Wellington during the Visa Wellington On a Plate 2010 festival with a free lunch. And we're not talking a crusty sandwich or a lukewarm pie. We're talking a classy two course meal matched with a glass of wine from one of our neighbouring wine regions, along with an eye opening brew freshly roasted in New Zealand's coffee capital.

Adventures in Ubud, Bali

I feel like I'm in the middle of a rain forest.

The there's the constant whoosh of fast running water cascading over the rocks, the distant chatter of monkeys jumping through the trees and flocks of small, brightly coloured birds flying past.

Last night a sinuous green snake peering through our window when we returned from dinner certainly helped foster the jungle feeling.  We slept with the doors closed after that, not like the first night...

Canvas, Wooloongabba

The top end of Logan Road at Wooloongabba has really come of age.

The city council has finally completed road works in the area and the end result is a delightful precinct with a cosy ambiance. The quirky street lights have coloured 'shades' which I haven't seen before in Brisbane - well done!

But more importantly there's a new bar to investigate - Canvas.

Ubud, Bali

Gazing out bleary-eyed from my canopied bed, all I can see over the edge of the infinity plunge pool is verdant rain forest.

Around the corner, the remains of last night's Mi goreng and Balinese suckling pig sate plus a few bottles of Bintang, remind me that we arrived here last night hot and frustrated only to be soothed by Balinese charm and the sheer luxury of Ubud Hanging Gardens Resort's 38 private pool villas and suites, located in the steep rice terraces of Ubud.

Walking Sunshine Beach

I'm going to share one of my favourite places.

I've been visiting the Sunshine Coast for about 30 years but I've  recently been spending more time at Sunshine Beach. If you know Noosa, it's just one beach south.

Floraditas, Wellington, New Zealand

Sometimes when I walk through a restaurant door my inner foodie leaps with joy. Immediately there's a sense that this place might be a star with food that will be remembered long after the meal.

Floraditas is one of these. It's quirky décor gives a sense of the personality of the owners and their attention to detail. The service is flawless and the food divine.

Comfort at my table, Milton, Brisbane

Funked up nana is the best way to describe this gem of a coffee shop in Milton.

It's a favourite with locals including men-in-suits from the high rise offices close by who say it's just like visiting mum.

Maggie's Kitchen

Meeting Maggie Beer today was one of my culinary highlights. I love her warm and generous personality and I love the way it translates into her food.

It's food that's full of flavour, enhanced by good cooking and judicious use of herbs and spices, just the way I like it.

Tonic, Fortitude Valley

Tonic is a funky, small hole in the wall, no frills type of coffee shop in Hynes Street, just behind the new Leighton HQ development.

The decor is minimal with graffiti decoration on the walls and tables. The seats are small stools, one step up from milk crates.

It offers a small selection of food, such as wraps, toasties and coffee which is good!

bmag July 6

Depot, Emporium Bar Bistro, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.

A breakfast meeting is always an early start to the day but the bonus is trying some different flavours. I chose Depot's Sonoma wood roasted spelt muesli with fresh figs and greekyoghurt, pictured left.

But those are strawberries in the photo, not figs, I hear you say!  Yes, and that's what I thought when the waitress served my breakfast without comment.

The Boat Shed, Cotton Tree, Sunshine Coast

Gazing over the sun filled blue water of the mouth of the Maroochy River to  Mt Coolum and beyond from the comfort of The Boat Shed restaurant is what the Sunshine Coast is all about.

Next to us two men are fly fishing and catching the occasional fish. On the other bank families and children are playing in the sand. More than the odd, good-sized fish is being reeled in while pelicans settle on the sand banks waiting for their chance.

Marlborough Sound photo highlights

Rain couldn't stop our intrepid crew heading out from Picton onto New Zealand's Marlborough Sound last Saturday.

Wine, food and outdoor adventure are all key attractions here. Our first task was to explore some of the 40 winery cellar doors, which include the well known Cloudy Bay - more on that later

Our Saturday destination was a section of the 71 km Queen Charlotte Track and lunch at Furneaux Lodge. Cougar Line Cruises were the brave crew who took us out on their boat into the Sound. Despite the ominous weather, it wasn't too bad on the water. Once on land we all decided to walk to the lodge and I'm glad we did. We managed to fit in a tramp to a waterfall as well.  Only got lost twice!

Togninis, Spring Hill, Brisbane

Mark and NarelleTognini have been friends of mine for about 15 years and I have been writing a newsletter for them for around the same length of time.

I've watched them grow their food empire from a small store at Milton to the present three outlets - Tognini'sCafeDeli at Milton, Tognini'sCafeWineBar at the State Library and the newly relaunched Tognini'sTrattoria at Spring Hill.

Top June Blogs

Thanks again for visiting my blog - even more of you in June!

The top five restaurants for June were -

Echinda Magic - new cafe at Mt Gravatt Lookout
Moo Moo at the Port Office  - not much of the old Siggi's remains
Eurovida - new cafe on Given Terrace, Paddington.
Peasant - Spanish restaurant at The Barracks, Petrie Terrace
South Bank Surf Club - the newest kid on the block - opened by Ben O'Donaghue

And my favourite image from the month - this view taken from a motor bike ride to Mount Tamborine.

Salt, Rosalie, Brisbane

Cold weather caused an appetite explosion last night and we headed down to an old favourite, Salt in Rosalie, for dessert.

It was also an opportunity to catch up with number one son who is the night manager. Congratulations Xander!

Our deliberations on the dessert menu were noted and a tasting plate was suggested and eagerly accepted.  When it arrived you should have heard the envy from the table next door - wow it looked good.

The George in Rye, East Sussex, England

Here's a bit of unashamed nepotism!  Heads up to all living in, near or planning to visit Rye, England.  Get yourself down toThe George in Rye, 98 High Street, Rye, East Sussex, and check out the food young Australian Head Chef Paul Gordon is churning out.

Before heading OS late last year Paul worked at qualia on Hamilton Island and most recently the popular Sardine Tin in Little Grey Street at South Bank plus a host of other Queensland establishments.

Newly appointed Head Chef at The George in Rye, he's made his mark with a fabulous new menu with some quirky accents including whole grain mustard ice cream and bloody mary sorbet (not together). However, the dessert queen in me is hanging out to try Strawberry parfait, basil sorbet, balsamic marshmallows.

Paul's menu is fresh, seasonal and sourced from the local farms around Rye, Sussex and Kent. Much of the fish and seafood is freshly caught by the trawlers of Rye Bay. The bar offers a large range of wine by the glass,…