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Showing posts from August, 2016

15 places where you’ll eat like a local in New York

It’s easy to be a tourist in New York, but how can a tourist get inside a local’s skin in just one day?

No problem if you are lucky enough to meet Big Apple’s Greeter of the Year, Ellen Gasnick. My request to eat New York as a local was no problem to Ellen who drew on her association with the James Beard Foundation, her life-long experience of New York, and love of food to craft a tour of her favourite dining spots.

Ellen has led over 540 people on 200 greets around the boroughs, and her smile never wavered over the four hours that we wandered her city.

Big Apple Greeters is a free service that visitors can book online. A greeter tour is like a friend showing you around their city, sharing their life experiences.

Here're the 15 top food places that Ellen showed me. Many offer free tastes but all are low-cost outlets where your tourist dollar will stretch a little further.

1.    Find the best value dumplings in Chinatown at Fried Dumpling, 106 Mosco Street, right next door to the C…

It's the hottest dining spot in Brisbane

Do you want to be a dragon hunter?

My armour is only sunscreen and insect repellent but I'm going dragon hunting.

I've no intention of catching a dragon, my goal is to make sure a dragon doesn't catch me because they eat people you know - it's pretty simple really.

Just call me Khaleesi, I mutter to myself as we walk in steaming heat down a tree-lined bath with crushed white coral crunching under our feet.  (The current Khaleesi is Daenerys Targaryen, known as Mother of Dragons, for non Game of Thrones tragics.)

We are looking for Komodo monitors, known as Komodo dragons.  This is largest living species of lizard growing up to three metres in length and weighing up to 70kg.  They are a member of the monitor lizard family and once lived all across Indonesia and Australia. Their bite is reputed to be vicious and their mouth full of foul bacteria and an anticoagulant. Did I mention they like their meat rare and preferably moving?

Here are the rules for dragon hunting -

1. No smoking  - that's the ciga…

You'll want seconds of this strawberry dessert

Succulent, bright red sweet strawberries are in season at the moment and there's no need to resist.

According to strawberry growers, eating eight strawberries a day will lower your blood pressure, improve memory and heart health.  Sounds like a triple bonus to me!

Straight from the kitchen of cooking maven Jocelyn Hancock, comes this recipe for a delicate strawberry roulade.

Jocelyn would only use strawberries from Queensland's southern country, in season of course, but you might have to cheat a little.

Strawberry Roulade
Serves 8
Set oven to 200c to start, then 160c to finish

You will need

1 swiss roll tin, lined and lightly greased (33 x 25cm) and allow 2cm overlap of paper

5gm melted butter for brushing paper-lined tray140gm room temp egg white (approx 5 egg whites)
275g caster sugar
47g flaked almonds

300ml cream
1 tsp vanilla paste
30g icing sugar + icing sugar for dusting
1 punnet strawberries quartered or 1 punnet blueberries
1 punnet raspberries


When only the best chocolate will do

I’ll take one mouthful of rich, velvety Belgian chocolate over a whole block of the supermarket stuff any day of the week so it didn’t take me long to beat a path to Couverture & Co at Red Hill.

Just a few doors away from super salad shop Botanica and Plum Tucker on Enoggerra Terrace, Couverture & Co is owned by Jessica Brookes (pictured above).

Jess says she’s always loved cooking and chocolate is her weakness.

“When I was little I would request a box of chocolates from the Easter bunny instead of the usual foil wrapped bunny, I’d then try to savour the box for as long as possible!’, she says.

“When I returned home to Brisbane after working as a journalist for a few years in Oman, I decided to follow my passion for chocolate. I approached Bittersweet and was lucky enough to get a job working in their kitchen and behind the counter at their Barracks shop.

“All of the skills I’ve learnt were taught to me by Bittersweet’s owner, Melissa Atkinson. Melissa in turn was taught by h…

This is the best apple pie you'll ever taste

There's nothing like a bit of good, old-fashioned home cooking, especially if you don't have to make it yourself! You'll find apple pie that rivals the best homemade effort and much more at David and Ros Sutton's coffee shop - The Shed Cafe.

Filled with antique tables complimented by touches of silver, the cafe is a perfect refreshment stop on entry to or exit from Stanthorpe.

"We offer fresh, seasonal fruit, sourced locally on the Granite Belt where ever possible, " says Ros Sutton. "And, where we can, we use organic. Of course, apples feature prominently on our menu - homemade apple pie, pancakes, chutney, butter, cider and juice, to name just a few."

What modest Ros won't tell you unless pressed, it that she is an award winning CWA cook. One taste of her apple pie will quickly indicate this is a cut above the norm - a well-textured pastry with just the right combination of crunch and soft buttery smoothness. Combined with an ample scoop of Sp…

How to make a good old fashioned rice pud with a twist

There's nothing like a bit of old-fashioned comfort food.

My grandmother used to make rice pudding and the sight of one coming out of the oven takes me straight back to my childhood.

I was delighted to discover this recipe and enjoy the pud at The Montague in London.  The recipe is from the Red Carnation Hotel group's founder and president Beatrice Tollman,who knows food and likes to pass on her recipes.  I have  her book, A Life in Food, which is a collection of her all-time favourite recipes.

The Montague Hotel is also a little like a rice pudding.  It's full of old world charm and a warm welcome that makes you feel at home.  The dining room is elegant but not pretentious and the staff do their very best to make guests comfortable.  Full of character is the best description of the rooms which answer every need to a high level.

There's a modern twist to the recipe which brings an old fashioned fave right up to date.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  Serve it wa…