Skip to main content

7 News Nibbles from this week’s Food News

No surprise that this week, with December just around the corner, it’s all about Christmas and how to do it without breaking into a sweat. There’s a post Christmas makeover, pre-Christmas festivities to enjoy, some goodies to drool over, a top new app from an icon of cooking, a picnic hamper to order, and a heads up for an Australia Day event you won’t want to miss.

Brent Farell

Makeover for Brent's

Long-time Toowong institution Brent's Restaurant will serve it's last modern French inspired meal on December 24 and close to re emerge as 85 Miskin Street, a more contemporary and slightly earthier, edgier diner.

Say goodbye to this look at Brent's

Formal dining with entree, main and dessert will be gone, replaced with an more guest determined menu which will travel around the globe for inspiration.

Owner Brent Farell says he will be capturing changing seasons on the plate, drawing from his garden at the rear for herbs, flowers, produce and honey from his native stingless bees.

Watch for the doors to open in late January, 2014.

Christmas lunch in a box

Cheat’s Xmas lunch

This year I am going out for Christmas lunch but if I wasn’t, I would seriously be considering this easy ‘cheat’s’ solution.

Online recipe and grocery delivery service HelloFresh is coming to the rescue with a Gourmet Christmas Box delivered directly to your door. It’s got all the gourmet ingredients and accompanying recipes you need to create a foolproof festive feast for the family, from entree to dessert, in less than two hours. (Maybe a bit longer if you are sipping champagne at the same time).

The menu includes chilli, lime and garlic barbecued prawns plus orange and brown sugar glazed ham, complemented with three delicious salads - cranberry and pistachio cous cous, grilled greens with almonds and pomegranate and smashed tarragon and chilli potato salad. Dessert is a traditional pudding with brandy butter and mince tarts, finished perfectly with fresh young cherries. There is also the option of a gourmet cheese board.

The Christmas Box is available for delivery between December 20 to 23 depending on location, with last orders by December 16.

Perfect for blue sky days

Anyone for a picnic?

The weather has been so beautiful lately the idea of grabbing a picnic and heading into the great outdoors is a no-brainer.

Two Brisbane picnic-lovers, Annabelle Chan and Amanda Love, have decided to celebrate their love of picnicking by establishing The Picnic Society specialising in a range of hampers filled with handmade and gourmet items all made with locally sourced ingredients.

Each picnic is specially personalised, freshly made on the day and includes all the necessary crockery, cutlery, glassware and custom napery packed into a market bag which can be kept for future picnics. Check their website for the menus which include Caramelised Onion and Moroccan Lamb with Spiced Yoghurt Dressing or silky Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Honey Crumble. Expect to pay between $120 and $140 for a basket for two people.

Cook’s Companion App

Drumroll… Stephanie Alexander has released a secret project she has been working on all year - a digital version of her classic book, The Cook's Companion. Stephanie’s kitchen bible is now revised and re-arranged into an app with convenient bundles such as Meat, Seafood and Pantry, with six more sections featuring 2,000 recipes, many with a food-on-plate photo. There’s also several how-to videos. Available for smartphones now with an iPad version coming soon. Find it at the App Store or Google Play.

Bite Australia Day

Everyone loves a barbie on Australia Day and this year you’ll be able to enjoy one of the biggest, the inaugural Great Australian Bites multicultural Australian BBQ from 5pm on Friday 24 January in South Bank’s cultural forecourt. You’ll be lining up for canapes from around the globe and finishing with two new signature Australia Day flavours developed by the favourite of ice cream lovers everywhere, LICK! Ice Cream.

Tickets are available until Sunday 19 January 2014 at

Free fun and festivities

Have yourself a merry pre-Christmas at the inaugural Upper Latrobe Christmas Community Day in Paddington on December on December 7 from 11am to 5pm. It’s a day free entertainment, prizes, face painting, a vintage and current fashion show, carollers, fundraising and gift giving for the Smith Family with Christmas trees for donating gifts to children, gold coin donation gift wrapping, Christmas entertainment and free chocolate tasting.

This week I’m liking – White Christmas, Rocky Road and Christmas Cake

When it comes to traditional Christmas treats such as White Christmas, Rocky Road and Christmas Cake, it's an obvious choice to go to someone who has been making it for years, 76 years to be precise. Even though they've obviously perfected their recipes, the chefs at the Shingle Inn love a challenge and have come up with their first gluten free Christmas cakes and puddings which they say, and I have to agree, taste every bit as good as the traditional range. The range includes White Christmas, Fruit Mince Tarts and Rocky Road.

Be warned - the White Christmas is more than a mouthful of sweet goodness. I think cutting this one into thirds would do most people. The Rocky Road I was happy to cut in halves.

Here's how to cut your Christmas cake into those nice neat slices -

  1. Use a very sharp, finely serrated knife
  2. Heat the knife in hot water before cutting
  3. Cut with a sawing action
  4. Clean and reheat the knife after cutting each slice

Less than a month to Christmas now - time to get organised folks!

Kerry Heaney

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post - just sharing food love.


  1. Anonymous9:42 am

    Hey, I link to The Cook's Companion is broken. :)

  2. Anonymous6:25 pm

    Hi Kerry, have you done a post on what's open Christmas Day this year? It's the first year I'm planning on putting my feet up :-)

  3. I'm working on a Christmas Day post but I'm thinking there won't be as many this year with penalty rates taking the bite.

  4. Thank you for spotting the broken link - fixed now. :)


Post a Comment

I love getting your comments - really makes my day! If you like this blog please follow by email or subscribe.

Popular posts from this blog

Brisbane's top 10 'chew with a view' restaurants and cafes

It's a beautiful day! Where can you go and dine in the warm sun with a view that you'll never want to leave?

Here are ten top places in and around Brisbane to while away a lunch hour or a whole afternoon when the weather is warm and the skies are blue .

River Quay, South Bank

South Bank’s River Quay precinct has plenty of opportunities to relax in the sunshine and just about any restaurant at River Quay will offer a great spot for a winter lunch with a large, grassed lawn rolling down to the river bank.  You can even lie in the sun if you so desire.

Stop for champagne, oysters and more at Cove Bar and Dining, enjoy French provincial food at Aquitaine Brasserie, take in the river view from a Balinese daybed while you tuck into the contemporary menu at The Jetty, feast on Italian cuisine at Popolo or sip a long drink on the riverside deck of Stokehouse Q where the menu draws on local produce combined with bold flavours from the Mediterranean.

River Quay is the spot for Sunday …

Thar she blows - how to hunt whales the friendly way

A grunt and a spurt of seawater rising into the air show the position of a mother humpback whale and her three-week-old calf.

I'm on purpose-designed whale watching boat and we have motored for an hour over the calm seas of the great sandy straits up the coastline of Fraser Island

Captain Phil tells the 50 or so people aboard that the tip of the island is where we will see the whales and he is right.

Our first mother and calf are a little shy at first, keeping the boat at a good distance but I can clearly see the much smaller calf swimming strongly beside its mother.

I'm fascinated by the large circles of calm water that float past us and Phil tells us these are whale footprints

"They break the water tension when they flick their tails to swim down resulting in the clear circles on the water,” Phil says.

Sailors used whale footprints to track whales back in the bad old days when whales were valued more for their blubber than their beauty.

Our next mother and calf are a l…

Lunch amongst the lavender in the Scenic Rim

It was time to brush the cobwebs off the motor bike over Easter and head out of Brisbane into the beautiful Scenic Rim.

We started down the highway towards Beenleigh in beautiful autumn sunshine and stopped for a coffee at The Outpost Cafe at Canungra.  This is a well known bikies hangout but don't expect too much in the way of chains and dreadlocks - it's more favoured by the middle aged bikie enjoying the freedom of the road second time round.

The road less travelled is always our favoured route for this type of outing and we back tracked through Rathdowney before reaching our destination for the day, Kooroomba Lavender Farm about 65 minutes from Brisbane in the Scenic Rim at Mt Alford near Boonah.

Autumn is not the premium time for viewing either the vineyard or the lavender but the view across the valley to the mountains was still outstanding.  The building has a New Zealand lodge feel to it with plenty of stone walls both inside and outside, complimented by timber and ex…

Ten top things to do in Noosa Heads

It doesn't matter how many times I head down the hill on Noosa Drive towards the ocean, I still get a little shiver of excitement every time. This very special part of the world has achieved international recognition for its unique environment and I am privileged to be able to dip my toes into it on a regular basis.

Here are ten of my favourite Noosa pastimes.

1. Although it’s always tempting to sleep in, I don't like to waste a moment of the day when I wake up in Noosa. The best way to start is in the coffee queue at Sails on Hastings Street and then a stroll along the winding boardwalk to the National Park, koala spotting along the way.

Depending on my mood and energy level, I continue the walk through the park to enjoy the beachside views. Some like to run it. You can pick up a coffee at the information hut in the national park as well.

2. After a bit of exercise there's nothing like a big breakie at Aromas and a spot of people watching. With t…

Lots to explore at Brisbane's South Bank

Four markets in one day - what a way to spend a Sunday!

We started at the organic markets at Downy Park, Windsor which was not such a good idea. Why? Well we took the dog and the place was full of puddles - he's a corgi with very low legs - it all ended up being very messy.

Also, these markets definitely finish up on their advertised closing time of 10.30am.  Call me slow or just plain lazy but I find it hard to get out and about early on a Sunday morning. We arrived primed for breakfast at 10am just as everyone was shutting up - they had even run out of bread for French toast!

However, this market was just the first on our list. Next, we drove to South Bank Parklands to explore the Young Designers Market and the Granite Belt Flavours Market - both on the same day.

Several designer/clothes/jewellery purchases later, K2 subdued his inner male and agreed to look for the Granite Belt Flavours market which was not in its usual spot.  On the way, we walked through the regular South Ba…

A night of firsts at Urbane

It was a night of firsts - my first duck tongue and my first lamb sweetbreads.

I've always avoided offal, scarred by an unfortunate experience as a child when my mother tried to make me eat liver, but as Ubane owner Andrew Buchanan said, best to try it first cooked by a great chef - so I did.

Seated at a long table we were there to experience the new Urbane menu under Alejandro Cancino. He looks like he's just out of short pants, but this chef has a list of restaurants and awards on his resume that demand attention.

Passionate about fine dining, Argentinian-born Alejandro has spent the last 10 years working with some of the best chefs in the world, naming the great chef and innovator Andoni Luis Aduriz at Mugaritz in Spain, Luca Fantin at Bulgari Tokyo and Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons in England as his mentors. In Australia, he calls Dan Hunter at the Royal Mail in Victoria his local guide, having worked together at Mugaritz.

Last April Alejandro was Stagie…

North Stradbroke Island - 10 top things to do

One of the largest sand islands in the world, the relaxed bliss of North Stradbroke Island is only an hour's drive from Brisbane.

The trip from the mainland to the island takes 45 minutes by barge, which also takes your car or 25 minutes by fast water taxi but it's more of a journey into a different realm where it's hard to work up the energy to get stressed about anything.

When there's plenty of beach to roam, friendly folk to chat with, incredible vistas around every corner and comfortable accommodation and food, life seems pretty sweet.

Apart from swimming at any of the beaches, here are my top 10 things to do on Straddie. What are yours? Please leave your Straddie tips in the comments section at the end.

1. Start your Straddie sojourn at the Island Fruit Barn on the main drag in Dunwich where you can pick up all your holiday supplies.  There's a surprisingly good range of deli items from the essential to the unusual, high-quality fruit and good cake and coffee…

10 top tips for Bunya Mountains weekend

With a long weekend looming we clocked off early on Friday to head to the Bunya Mountains, home to the world's largest stand of bunya trees and more nature and wildlife than your eyes can absorb.

It's about 150km from Brisbane, and as we prefer to travel in daylight hours on the motorbike, a 2 pm departure was planned.  Unfortunately, with a few stops along the way to meet up with group members, road works and a speeding fine (you know who you are) from a friendly copper, it was dark and raining when we hit the last 30 minutes of the ride and a dirt/gravel stretch. The boys were not happy, and it was a slow procession to our accommodation.

Our group of four couples was staying in two side-by-side cottages in the small village in the middle of the national park.  There is also a camping ground in the same spot and a couple of others close by. Despite popular opinion, I like to camp and have camped here before, but on a motorbike, it's easier to stay in accommodation.


Have you been to Queensland’s favourite café?

Once you’ve eaten at Indulge in Bundaberg, it comes as no surprise that this small cafe has been voted as Queensland’s favourite.

Now taking the title for two years in a row as People’s Choice in the Brisbane Times Good Food Awards, Indulge is a showcase for the Bundaberg region’s fabulous produce.

Established by passionate food lovers Amanda and Larry Hinds, this café has been the catalyst that has propelled local farmers into the spotlight as premium primary producers.

Amanda is adamant that it’s the rich red tomatoes, the full-flavoured potatoes, the crisp capsicums, luscious eggplants and the vibrant ginger, that make all the different to the meals she dishes up to eager crowds.

As Amanda says, there’s something very special about knowing where your food comes from and who grew it.

I clearly remember my first meal at Indulge. It was scrambled eggs dusted with thinly sliced truffle and anointed with duck ham. My first taste of duck ham, I was fascinated with the flavour and eager …

Next Door Kitchen and Bar, South Bank, Brisbane.

The line up of restaurants at South Bank just keeps getting better with Next Door Kitchen and Bar as the latest addition in Little Stanley Street.

Styled on speakeasy establishments of the 1920s, Next Door has positioned itself as a cocktail bar with an emphasis on shared dining. The fit out is glamorous fit-out with smooth timber, vintage décor and mirror detailing.

Harun Gencerler, a member of the family which runs Ahmet's Turkish Restaurant right next door, has opened Next Door Kitchen as his first solo venture.

Head Chef Dean Brewer has selected a range of shared plates which tie in with the 1920s theme.

“Our menu consists of larger shared plates such as whisky beef cheeks, with creamed blue cheese polenta and smaller dishes including fresh oysters, with gin and cracked pepper vinaigrette,” Deans says.

We started the night with a fresh baguette and a combo of Pepe Saya Butter and house made sardine butter.  I loved both but I needed more bread to enjoy all the butter.

Our sha…