Just the best bits from this week's food and travel news

Food and travel highlights - new Brisbane High Charitea, easier to keep in the news loop, get a six pack in the Cook Islands, bush taste on Fraser, dinner in Japan, top Tassie food fest and mash it up!

Spring launches High ChariTEA

Enjoy an afternoon of gourmet goodies, gossip and goodwill with the launch of High ChariTEA at Spring on June 9 which is a win/win for everyone.

Every Sunday from 2pm – 5pm, book in for tea with a side of philanthropy and help to donate important funds to charity.  For $55 per person, you’ll be treated to a range of delicious pastries, scones with preserves and cream, finger sandwiches, as well as a Mimosa and unlimited tea or coffee - see the photo above. $10 from each ticket will go to Spring’s featured charity, including Hear and Say (June 9), Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea (June 16), The Benevolent Society (June 23) and Autism Queensland (June 30).   Check www.spring.com.au for upcoming featured charities.  Bookings are essential, so contact Spring to secure your High ChariTEA sitting. Ph. 3229 0460.

Stand up for a six pack

This doesn’t look like fun to me at all but evidently it’s very popular with those seeking serenity, sun and a six pack on a holiday in the Cook Islands.

I would expect it’s also very popular with people watching from the shore line.  Perhaps this is what every food writer should be aiming for but personally I will take the serenity and sun and leave the six pack work for my gym at home.

Australia's first and only accredited SUP Yoga instructor Charlotte Piho is the guide for these Cook Islands week-long Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Yoga Retreats. Charlotte, a Cook Islander now living in Sydney, opened her own SUP school in Rose Bay in October 2012.  Her school, Workout on Water, has proved so successful – attracting celebrity devotees and NRL football teams for recovery training – Charlotte has abandoned a finance career and five years of study towards a law degree to concentrate on her paddleboard training business.  

“I still can’t believe how many people I get coming to do yoga on boards – these classes are 90 per cent of my lessons now,” says Charlotte, who is also an internationally certified yoga teacher (YTT).  “Yoga on Water unites the benefits of both yoga and paddleboarding – providing a truly amazing workout where all elements are connected to one’s true self.”

Retreats are scheduled on Rarotonga July 20-26, August 17-23 and September 7-13, and packaged by Coral Seas. www.coralseas.com.au/travel-deals/cooks-yoga-retreats/

Taste of Fraser

Taste the fabulous Fraser region with a meal at Kingfisher Bay Resort's Seabelle restaurant which is showcasing locally caught seafood and Australian bush tucker natives in the latest winter menu.

While Seabelle's traditional bush flavour profiles remain, Executive Chef Brett Libbis, Sous Chef Toby Van Den Born and their team have experimented with native meats, bush flavours like lemon myrtle, bush tomato, pepper berry and wattle seeds and ingredients like cherry and labna to create a menu that both suits the season and pleases the tastebuds.

Chef Van Den Born says the rise and rise of reality cooking shows has created intense interest in cooking and 'plating up' and diners are not afraid to seeking out unusual products or flavours with an edge – like bush tucker - in place of traditional herbs.

The restaurant's bush foods are sourced from the resort's gardens and herb farm in season and from bush tucker pioneers like Vic Cherikoff – who was involved with the restaurant when it first developed its bush tucker groove and the resort also runs a Bush Tucker Talk and Taste to gently introduce international guests to bush tucker flavours and backgrounds.

Seabelle winter entrees, which start from $14, include salt and bush pepper calamari and crocodile with flash-fried Persian feta, watermelon salad and pepper berry aioli; char-grilled bush-spiced kangaroo with crisp leaves, beetroot paint and labna; and seared Hervey Bay scallops with sweet corn puree, prosciutto dust, macadamia nut and crisp parmesan.

More on Seabelle, Kingfisher Bay



Get in the loop

NewsLoop is a news aggregation app that offers a large source of local news, online magazines and blogs, including  Eat, drink and be Kerry,  coupled with international content from over 400 local and international publishers across 30 different news and lifestyle categories.

The app allows readers to discover, personalise, curate, and share interesting articles via email, SMS, and through their own social networks.  Find it for free on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

Developed by SingTel Group Digital L!fe,  NewsLoop is now available on the Google Play Store for Android smartphone  users.

For more information visit www.getNewsLoop.com

Dine in Northern Japan

No plane ticket here but you can take a seat at Saké Restaurant & Bar’s Journey Through Northern Japan dinner inspired by the Hokkaido and Tohuku regions of northern Japan from  6.30pm Thursday, 13 June. 

You’ll enjoy a five-course menu with matching sake handpicked by Group Sommelier Miriam Gibson. The selection will include renowned Kirinzan sake from the Niigata prefecture known for its purity and refinement, a result of the plentiful water and snow found in the region. It’s a stunning new addition to the already extensive sake lists at Saké Restaurant & Bar.

Overseen by Saké Executive Chef Shaun Presland and Head Chef Shinichi Maeda the Brisbane dinner menu includes exciting northern specialties such as young konbu soup, lightly seared venison slice with sansho plum dressing, various seafood dishes including grilled salmon, squid and salmon caviar, and finished off with a Hokkaido style cheese cake. Spaces are very limited and cost is $149 per person.  Book at reservations@sakerestaurant.com.au

Taste it at the top

Going for 19 years and on my bucket list, Tastings at the Top at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge in Tasmania is renowned as one of the country’s best food and wine experiences.

From degustation dinners, cooking demonstrations and fresh produce markets to wine and cheese tastings and decadent spa treatments at the famous Waldheim Alpine Spa, Tastings at the Top has got it all.

This year’s event from June 22-24 will be hosted by Peter Bourne (‘The Wine Man’) who has an intimate knowledge of Tasmanian produce. A special ‘Tastings at the Top’ package includes three nights’ accommodation at Cradle Mountain Lodge plus much more and costs $1695 per person twin share. Visit www.cradlemountainlodge.com.au for full details.

Maybe next year for me!

This week I’m liking – Masha

It must be my Irish genes but I have a slight addiction to mashed potato and it’s regularly on the menu.

There have been disputes in my house about correct potato mashing technique and appropriate inclusions but everyone likes my potato mash when I use the Masha! It is also great for pumpkin but I tried it on chick peas and that was not a success.  The instructions say you can use it to make a creamy guacamole or rub butter into flour for a cake mix. 

It looks a bit like a stick mixer and is very easy to clean, either in the sink or dishwasher.  I prefer it over manual versions every time for its smooth texture and easy use. 

You can find it at www.prepstore.com.au  for $69.95. 

Mine was a gift from Prepstore.

Kerry Heaney