Skip to main content


Showing posts from August, 2012

Food dreams - Vietnam, Cambodia and the Mekong River with Alastair McLeod

Food dreams - Irish food festivals

With a name like mine it's hardly a surprise that I have Irish ancestry.

Travelling to Ireland to where the mountains of Mourne run down to the sea, the place my grandfather said our family originated, is still on my to do list.

I'm now adding one of these Irish festivals to the list. Ireland has a frenzy of food festivals set to entice and excite your taste buds this September and October. Highlights not to be missed include the Galway Oyster Festival, Arthurs Day, the Taste of West Cork Food Festival and the Savour Kilkenny Food Festival to name just a few.
Taste of West Cork Food Festival, 10th-16th September Something is brewing in the south of Ireland’s gourmet capital, the Taste of West Cork Food Festival. The main highlight of the festival is the much anticipated ‘Celtic Cook Off’ which showcases some of the best local produce and talent on offer from across the Celtic Isles. Watch chefs cook off against each other using only local produce plus one ‘wild card’ ingredien…

Chocolateria San Churro, South Bank

I thought I could smell chocolate at 20 yards but Chocolateria San Churro slipped under my safety net and established itself at South Bank a couple of weeks ago.

It certainly hasn't escaped the attention of other chocolate lovers though as my sneaky spies report that the place is always buzzing with customers.

San Churro puts a Spanish spin on chocolate with a menu of churros (Spanish doughnuts) and hot chocolate with Spanish inspired flavours  including chilli, hazelnut and mint.

According to their menu, the Spanish first discovered the Aztec secret of chocolate in 1528. Spanish monks sweetened and refined the bitter cocoa drink of the Aztecs to create hot chocolate as we know it today.

Part of a chain, the shop has that slick, formula driven front that fits together like a jigsaw, from the hot chocolate mixture to the macarons.

Eager to try, I sat down with friends to a plate of churros for one which seemed expensive at $7.95. They did taste great and the chocolate dipping sauce…

Australian Gourmet Traveller Awards 2013

Urbane’s Alejandro Cancino has been named Best New talent at the 2013 Australian Gourmet Traveller Awards.

Latest Tasty Bits from bmag

In this edition - Spring chef's table, Say cheese with the Brisbane Cheese Awards, Brisbane Club win, Bretts Wharf to close, Istanbul Nights at Ahmet's, South Bank.

Unfortunately and beyond my control, there is some incorrect information in the Bretts Wharf story.  Genny Neilson is not involved with Baguette and Genny tells me there was no current lease with the Brisbane City Council.

Click on the image below to expand

I went to Portrait of Spain and this is what I ate

Discover a taste of Spain at the Queensland Art Gallery's Portrait of Spain exhibition (on until November 4) at their food pop-up La Sala del Prado.

The lower level of the Gallery has been transformed with an exciting area designed to stimulate and sooth, feed and relax, inspire and innovate.

Looking around the expansive space, I'm torn on what to do first.  Should I take a seat in a photo booth and turn myself into a Spanish portrait or pick up a colouring pencil draw a Spanish still life on thick art paper?  Maybe I'll try my hand at drawing on the computer tablet or play a Spanish card game?

Hey, I'm a food writer, so I head to the cafe or 'la sala' and line up a selection of Spanish themed treats.  There's a reasonable choice including tapas and very generously sized tortilla wraps which could easily be shared between two.  While I'm tucking into lunch a talented musician is playing Spanish guitar music. It's on from 12.30 to 2.30pm daily.

  I …

Steamed, CBD

Dumpling fever has hit Brisbane's CBD with with opening of Steamed in the top end of Turbot Street.
Look for it hidden under the Roma Street overpass, but best to walk there as you'll be lucky to find a street park close by. 
Owners David Schindler (pictured above) and Kevin Xu have borrowed Kevin's mother from her own kitchen in north China to help make up to 5000 dumplings a day for hungry hoards of office workers.
They come in three types; Harbin- pork and chive, Lovabull – beef with various spices that lack English names, Zen - a vegetarian version named after Kevin's mother who is a zen Buddhist and Pork Clouds – light and fluffy pork buns.

Steamed has a very Asian street food feel and that's no accident. The counter is crowded with bamboo baskets filled with delicious dumplings from which you are served.  You can see the dumplings being made through cut outs into the kitchen so there's no doubt everything is extremely fresh.
When I visited David was supervisi…

Food dreams - Margaret River Gourmet Escape

If you are looking for a little encouragement to hop on a plane and explore the glorious Margaret River area, here it is- Margaret River Gourmet Escape from 22-25 November 2012.

The festival line up of Heston Blumenthal and René Redzepi also includes acclaimed Australian chefs Neil Perry, Tetsuya Wakuda and Peter Gilmore collaborating on a menu to honour Heston.

The Gourmet Village will feature global talent, local food and wine experts including 2 Michelin star chef Sat Bains.

Matt Moran and Matt Stone will have sand between their toes for beachside dining, international star AA Gill and George Calombaris share their culinary expertise at a Leeuwin Estate dinner; while Master of Wine Lisa Perotti-Brown and Nick Stock discuss wine in the Gourmet Traveller WINE Theatre.

The heart of the festival is a Gourmet Village open over the weekend and set in Leeuwin Estate. The featured chefs, plus 20 other Australian food and wine stars, will appear across the weekend in locally themed demonst…

Let them eat cake - Big Cake Bake

If you love baking cakes here's the best excuse you'll ever have for dusting off the pans and browsing through your recipes.

Get your mitts dirty for the Red Cross Big Cake Bake during August. 

Register at and Red Cross will send you out all the info you need.  You can hold a morning or afternoon tea, cake sale or cake baking competition.  Thing about all the opportunities to not only bake cakes, but eat them too!

You can get with the strength and hold an event on August 27 or just do it any time in August.  They are not fussy!

Donations raised from Big Cake Bake will support the everyday work of Red Cross, including programs and services to help some of the most vulnerable people in Australia and overseas.

Don't have a fave recipe?  Here's one I am going to make for K2 who always orders Orange and Almond Cake when we have a cafe treat.

Orange and Almond Cake with Orange Cardamom Sauce
3 oranges
9 eggs
560g almond meal
375g white sugar…

Double Shot, New Farm

It's a joyful moment when I see the words 'everything baked in house' on the menu as I did at Double Shot Espresso Bar.

Tucked away in the sleepy end of city-slick New Farm, Double Shot is the creation of Ross Skinner and Michael De Laurence who have earned their stripes in hospitality working in cafes up the coast from Sydney to Brisbane.

The cold cabinet brims full of delectable goodies including tarts and giant sambos and the menu has a few twists to liven up even a jaded lunch palate.

Make your own sardine sandwiches with sardines still in the tin certainly appealed to me and I loved the way they arrived on a large board surrounded by bright red tomatoes, fresh rocket, mayo and a tasty chutney.  All I had to do was assemble my perfect open sandwich and dive in.

K2 was restrained and just ordered a sweet treat.  It turned out to be so full of rich goodness I actually got to share some of the creamy caramel pecan pie - delicious - with caramel just the way I like it.

I …

Eat Drink Blog 3 in Adelaide

Food bloggers will converge on Adelaide for Eat Drink Blog 3 (EDB3) on Sunday 4 November.

EDB3 follows EDB2, held in Sydney in 2011, and the inaugural conference, held in Melbourne in 2010.

I attended EDB2 in Sydney and it was a fabulous event full of great ideas and wonderful networking opportunities. The South Australian food scene will add another layer of adventure for food bloggers.

Amanda McInerney, co-chair of the EDB3 organising committee and publisher of Adelaide food blog, Lambs Ears and Honey, says, "We're excited to be hosting Eat Drink Blog 3 in Adelaide. It's a wonderful opportunity to showcase South Australian food and wine producers to the Australian food blogging community."

Up to 80 food bloggers from around Australia are expected to attend the conference on Sunday 4th November at the iconic Adelaide Central Market. The weekend will also include a half-day of pre-conference activities on Saturday 3rd November, including trips to South Australian winer…

Food dreams - Groovin’ on Peruvian

With a swag of global restaurant awards and praise by leading chefs and travel guides, Peru is fast becoming one of the world’s top foodie destinations, with Lima as its gastronomic capital.

With influences from the Incas, Asia, Europe and elsewhere, there is a food revolution happening in Peru and it seems that international visitors are flocking to Lima to experience it.

In September last year the Wall Street Journal said that Peruvian food is “the next big thing” on the lips of chefs worldwide, Frommers named Lima as the “top food and drink destination” for 2012 and The Huffington Post has predicted that a Peruvian ceviche dish “is set to become the dish of 2012.” Internationally renowned chef Ferran Adria of El Bulli has pronounced that “the future of gastronomy is being cooked up in Peru,” and The Food Channel suggest that “Groovin’ on Peruvian” is one of the top 10 trends for 2012.

Why is this all happening? Many say that it is Peru’s most famous chef Gaston Acurio leading …