Seven food things you need to know this week

Here's my latest top seven from Brisbane's food scene-

  • Do you like it hot and spicy?
  • Feeling royal
  • Pod up
  • Ed+bK is hot!
  • Have you tried Achacha?
  • Noosa Food & Wine on sale
  • New Asian at Indro

Do you like it hot and spicy?

It’s time to unleash your inner ginger addict and head to the Ginger Flower & Food Festival on the Sunshine Coast at Yandina from 17 to 19 January.  It’s the 18th festival at the Ginger Factory and this year’s headlining acts include some of the Sunshine Coast’s most popular chefs. Along with two-hatted chef Cameron Matthews from Spicers Clovelly will be talks from Claire Levander , design experts and even the local ‘Dokko’ Indigenous community hosting bush tracking and boomerang classes.

Go for the food, go for the flowers or go to learn lots about the marvels of ginger. Admission to the park, gardens and all festival presentations is free. Take the Yandina exit (215) off the Bruce Highway and follow the signs to the Ginger Factory.

Feeling royal

Ed+bK is hoping to feel a little bit royal when sailing from Sydney to Brisbane next month on Cunard’s flagship Queen Mary 2

I’m a bit in awe of the Queen’s stats – she’s the world’s largest, longest, tallest, widest and most expensive ocean liner ever built and the most famous and fastest passenger ship in operation today.  At 345m long, if stood on her stern Queen Mary 2 would fall just three metres shy of Uluru and would be about 40m taller than the tip of Sydney Tower. Capable of carrying 2600 passengers and 1250 crew, Queen Mary 2 is a floating town just smaller than the NSW south coast town of Merimbula (pop 4000), almost double the size of WA’s Exmouth (pop 2000), larger than the SA town of Coober Pedy (estimated pop 3500) and the Victorian town of Daylesford (pop 3460) and more than three times the size of Queensland’s Burrum Heads in Hervey Bay (pop 1224).

Phew! Makes me tired just thinking about it

Pod up

Brisbane-based and family-owned Elixir Coffee have introduced Elixir Coffee Pods which are Nespresso machine compatible. Yay!

The pods are available in Elixir Coffee’s most popular and decadent blends - Espresso and Velluto (I like Velluto) and can be enjoyed for up to 12 months with the same freshness as the day the pod was made. Find them online at or in-store at Elixir Coffee HQ, Stafford.  $8.40 (12 pods per package – equalling to 70 cents per pod).

Ed+bK is hot!

Well known travel blogger Annabel Candy  of Get in the Hot Spot   has announced her Australian Travel Bloggers Hot Listed in 2014. Very pleased to be included – thank you Annabel.

Have you tried Achacha?

What's an Achacha? They look like a loquat but the flesh is much more juicy with shades of lychee and the flavour is slightly sweet and refreshing with a low sugar content.

There’s even talk after New Year that the Achacha thirst quencher, made from the skins, is a very good antidote to a holiday season hangover. Thermomix fans will be pleased to know they can remove the pulp from the seed using the in reverse at speed 4 for 45 seconds. This makes it easy to use the pulp in sorbets, salads, cocktails, salad dressings, desserts and conserves.

Grown chemical free, with the use of biodynamic methods, the fruit has a long shelf life when kept in a closed container at room temperature.

Ready for Noosa Food & Wine?

Tickets have gone on sale for the Noosa International Food & Wine Festival from May 15 – 18. This year’s Festival, again directed by founder Jim Berardo, will host over 250 chefs, foodies and wine makers including International names Franck-Elie Laloum (Shanghai), Alvin Leung (Hong Kong), Neil Perry AM (Sydney), Julien Royer (Singapore) and David Thompson (Bangkok). Also very nice to see Bruno Loubet,  who was a Brisbane culinary star for a couple of years, making the trek from London where his restaurants are going gangbusters.

Australia’s own Shane Delia, Guy Grossi, Peter Kuruvita, Andrew McConnell, Giovanni Pilu, Brent Savage and Ryan Squires will also join the line up under the Festival’s new Executive Chef Timothy Montgomery.  Expect Iconic wine industry names Aaron Brasher, Peter Forrestal, Ken Gargett, Tony Harper, Tony Love, Bernadette O’Shea, Peter Scudamore-Smith MW and Tyson Steltzer to also feature in the 2014 program.

Highlights of the 2014 Festival include an opening ‘Foodie Fandango’ concert with the Queensland Virtuosi orchestra, a Sixties Beach Party on Noosa Main Beach with a retro BBQ, not one but two Qantas Seafood Feasts with Neil Perry, a Westpac Platinum Lounge and a national Best Home Cooked Dish competition.

Ticketing packages start from $40 to Weekend Gold Passes for $330 with a 10% discount on most events before April 1. 

New Asian option at Indro

Following the trend of shopping centres becoming dining destinations, one of Brisbane’s popular pan-Asian restaurants, FantAsia, has opened in Indooroopilly Shopping Centre in the food court on level 1. FantAsia draws from nine different Asian cuisines with a focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients and has a range of preservative free and low GI dishes.

All dishes on the menu are made on site daily. Signature dishes such as Tokyo Beef, Bangkok Noodle Salad and Hanoi Spicy Beef Noodle Soup are all rich with fresh herbs and spices and contain no processed foods or preservatives, which has led to the brand being backed by health food advocate Graham Park.

I tried some of FantAsia's dishes last year and they passed my family's taste test.

Kerry Heaney