Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Very Foodie Christmas

Wishing all my readers a very merry Christmas. Eat, drink and be buoyant in the ocean of wrapping paper!

As you can see from the photo my friends and family know me too well and quite a number of gifts revolved around food. I'm absolutely enamoured by all my gifts but the thing that really caught my attention was the box of Patrice Newell Garlic. So when you are next thinking about gifting something like an avocado slicer, maybe you could consider a gorgeous box of purple Australian garlic instead.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

European Gingerbread Amusement

Engrish is often associated native speakers of East Asian languages and provides me with hours of entertainment. But I've finally found this glorious example of European Engrish on the back of a colleague's gingerbread assortment and I thought I would share. Enjoy!
  • Delicious gingerbread cookies with a tinge of fig paste, orange skin and spices will send your taste buds into a blissful spin!

  • Exclusive chocolate cubes combining the flavour of fruit jelly, gingerbread and persipan. Their aroma will bring back into your mind the atmosphere of family reunion.

  • The mystery of fruity filling trapped in a soft and delicate gingerbread will tantalise everyone's pallet!

  • Traditional gingerbread combing sweet flavour of honey, cloves, ginger and cinnamon.

  • Exceptionally soft gingerbread with crispy sugar glazing dipped in delicate chocolate. Will just melt in your mouth!

  • Exceptionally soft gingerbreads with crispy sugar glazing, dipped in delicate milk chocolate. Will just melt in your mouth.

  • Cheerful, colourful and chocolateful - they taste just great!

  • Spicy gingerbread men cast in a chocolaty spell.

  • Honey-flavoured gingerbreads, great for afternoon tea!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Beautiful Girl

Spring is a glorious time of year in Brisbane. Shannon Plummer of Wet Nose Fotos has recently taken a number of photos of my beautiful baby girl, so click here for the sneak peak.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

La Camera

It was pouring rain when Sarah and I were heading off to the Malthouse Theatre to view Ganesh versus the Third Reich so we stopped in at La Camera, Southbank to escape. I must admit I was more than little sceptical about the quality of food especially when I spotted a poster in the establishment advertising yum cha but we decided to place an order. Sarah ordered the Gnocchi alla Posillipo, comprising of cream, napoli saurce, parmesan and topped with grilled mozzarella (pictured above).

After our big phat panini lunch I was seeking something more soothing and selected the Tortellini con Funghi Porcini. These are large tortellini filled with porcini mushrooms and ricotta, immersed in a creamy field mushroom ragu and finished with shredded grana padano. Admitted I felt the tortellini was under cooked but if you are a mushroom lover this was the dish was you. The ragu was just filled with generous chunks of mushrooms.

Though the offering was satisfactory, the wait staff were attentive and the interior clean, it was underwhelming compared to everything else we had experienced during our Melbourne sojourn. Though it's passable, La Camera was a little plain vanilla for my taste.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
Address: 2 Southgate, Southbank, VIC 3006.
Open: 7.30am - 11am (weekdays). 8.30am - 12pm (weekends).
Phone: (03) 9699 3600.
Price: Breakfast: $5.50 - $14.50. Entree: $5.90 - $24.90. Mains: $21.50 - $47.50.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Naked for Satan

After Sarah and I had lunch at Mandalay Bay we dropped into the studio of the mad millinery genius Richard Nylon, viewed the Tutankhamum Exhibition (which I might add was beautifully curated as there were a number of signage points and you could travel the entire circumference of each display. However I was a tad disappointed that there wasn't the opportunity to view the death mask, sarcophagus or board a fun park ride. Seriously, hear me out. As the initial entry started with a short film and a verbal introduction in a fully enclosed room, I was expecting to be startled by a faux crisis and shuffled into a little red cart ... but alas I was wrong.) and made the decision to board a tram back to the hotel and freshen up. But we made a minor miscalculation, so we spent the next hour cruising the inner city streets of Melbourne on a City Circle Tram, until we were back at Brunswick Street and entering the coppery light of Naked for Satan.

As your eyes adjust, one of the first thing you will spot is the main bar's steam punk inspired copper drums. These drums are infusing a number of flavoured vodka's onsite and fit into the bar's back story of a Russian immigrant bootlegging in the nude. Though Naked for Satan appears to be quite small, continue walk up the stairs to an expanse of tables, hidden nooks and wait staff serving you drinks and gorgeous pintxos. Pintxos cost no more than $2 each and it's the perfect concept or a bar as the bread fills you up and as you pay per tooth pick, it means no squabbling over the bill! I'm not sure how much Naked for Satan loses on dishonesty but each guest gets their own little shot glass to place their tooth picks and all you have to do is take them to the counter when you are done.

Though there are a number of vegetarian options, the Naked for Satan pintxos bar concept really suits those who like meat, cheese and carbs. As I like all of these things, drinkies and a touch of naughty, I'd be more than happy to return there. Hope you get naked soon!

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Address: 285 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, VIC 3065,
Open: Sunday - Tuesday: 12pm - 12am. Wednesday - Saturday: 12pm - 1am.
Phone: (03) 9416 2238
Price: Pintxos: $2 each.

Naked For Satan on Urbanspoon

Mandalay Bay

The funny about Australian capital cities is no matter which one you are in, there are always similar elements. For example the style of Brisbane Arcade is remarkably similar to the Strand (Sydney), Adelaide Arcade and Royal Arcade (Melbourne) and Brunswick Street in Melbourne has striking similar to Brisbane with its eclectic mixture of boutique fashion, bars and dining options. As Sarah and I ambled the full stretch of Brunswick Street, we decided it would be prudent to stop for lunch at Mandalay Bay.

The restaurant was basic but clean and we both quickly settled on bowls of steaming Pho. Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup which comprises of rice noodles, flavoursome clear stock, topped with a choice of beef or chicken and dish of mint, bean sprouts, chili etc. The photograph featured above is my bowl of Beef Pho and it came out piping hot and perfectly seasoned. The tender beef was sliced thinly and I enjoyed every mouthful of this ample dish, sprinkled liberally with bean sprouts. They were just gorgeous as they quickly absorbed the flavoursome soup.

This is Sarah's Chicken Pho and the meal are worth above and beyond the $10 a bowl, price point. I really enjoyed the experience and wished this little restaurant was located back in Brisbane's Brunswick Street.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Address: 183 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, VIC 3065,
Open: Monday - Sunday. 11:30am - 3pm. 5pm - 11pm.
Phone: (03) 9486 0880
Price: Entree: $4 - $9. Main: $9 - 19.

Pho 54 Mandalay Bay on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cumulus Inc

Miss Sarah and I recently completed a jam packed tour of Melbourne which included seeing Ganesh Versus the Third Reich, NGV Winter Masters: Vienna Art & Design, Tutankhamun, dropping into the studio of the mad but brilliant Milliner: Richard Nylon, exploring the Victoria Markets and of course visiting Cumulus Inc. Located on Flinders Lane, Cumulus Inc is a gorgeous, hive of activity offering patron's Andrew McConnell stylish cuisine.

We were lucky enough to be escorted to a seat over looking the kitchen and though I was thrilled with my bird's eye view. I was a little concerned that this might be a dead zone for service. But how wrong I was, as I was soon offered this gorgeous creamy mocha, all my menu questions were explained and when I was starting to look thirsty again, a waitress appeared and an order for green tea was placed.

This is a photograph of Miss Sarah's Cumulus Inc Breakfast which features a boiled egg, toast, a selection of preserves just bursting with fruit, yoghurt, organic orange juice and includes a tea or coffee. It was just brilliant stuff.

However I decided that I needed to order this gorgeous Smoked Salmon, Asparagus dish topped with a luxurious 65/65 egg. What's a 65/65 egg you ask? Well I had the same question and the waitress politely informed me that this was an egg slow poached in its shell. It was just an amazing result, much like the warm Madeleine's filled with Lemon Curd. Much to my delight Cumulus Inc will be releasing a cookbook on October 31 and you can order a signed one from the restaurant. So if you are in Melbourne, visit the gorgeous place, collect a biscuit and pick up a copy of the cook book so you too can relive all the magic! Oh come back Melbourne! You're so arty, your people are well dressed and CBD is full of attractive men in suits!

Rating: 4.5 out 5.
Address: 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, VIC 3000.
Open: Monday - Friday: 7am - 11pm. Saturday - Sunday 8am - 11pm.
Phone: (03) 9650 1445.
Price: Breakfast: $7 - $18. Entree: $6 - $26. Mains: $26 - $36. Dessert: $2.50 - $17.

Cumulus Inc. on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mullet and Co.

Renee of The Pantry Review always comments how how consistent I am with my blogging. But alas, I've lately been missing in action and I would like to extend the fluffy chick of apology (Nous) to my faithful readers. I have so much to tell you but I've been distracted by The Off the Cuff Festival, a Melbourne Sojourn, How to be a Man and the Oceania Tobacco Control Conference. I vow to get back to writing and I would like to start by giving you a poultry update.

Harriett, Rouge, Minuetto and Largo have now become gorgeous pullets and we expect to be setting the first eggs before Christmas. Though I was sad to see Souffle and Gertie go, I was really lucky to find a hobby farm home for my boys and they will now have a harem of gorgeous hens to attend to.

It's now spring time and another gorgeous batch of chicks have arrived. These chicks are a range of breeds that include Gold Laced Wyandotte (Churchill is pictured above left), Silkie (Mullet is pictured above right), Plymouth Rock and Light Sussex.

When we were deciding on breeds of chicken, my brother floated the idea of having a Silkie. I raised an eyebrow and said to him, "Dweeb, you know how everything can be mapped to circle theory? Far left and far right are the same. Elderly drivers attending the Caravan Camping and Touring Expo and teenage drivers attending Supanova are the same, shite drivers who drive the wrong way down, one way streets. However your chicken, doesn't fit on it. It's so stupid that you can't even tell the back from the front." "I've already named it," my brother replied. "What's that?" I asked. "Dandelion." I groaned as this request was coming from a 24 year old man. But still humoured him and Dandelion arrived. Sadly Dandelion didn't make it but for the brief time he was there, he made an impression and thus Mullet arrived. Mullet was actually named by a coworker, who jokingly referred to him as Moo-lay and thus the name stuck. It's hard not to love him, so for your viewing pleasure, here are some more photos for Mullet and Co.

The little chick to the left is a Light Sussex named Blanca and ever noisy Churchill in the background. Churchill is actually quite anti-social and rarely quiet. In fact this bird, even peeps in its sleep!

A final photo of Mullet and Co. Though you can't see him the other Light Sussex chick's name is Pippin.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Hakataya Noodle Shop

I've been carrying a hacking cough with me for a number of months so her Mothership delivered an ultimatum: see a Specialist or visit a Chinese Herbalist. Since I believe Specialists are a waste of time and space and am cynical enough to believe that my appointments are funding their next Mercedes Benz, I decided to take the latter choice. After the appointment, we stopped at Hakataya Noodle Shop for lunch and though it was the middle of the week and only 10:30am, there was still a line of customers eager to place their order.

Hakataya Noodle Shop offers no more than six menu options and is located in the row of shops opposite Landmark. The set up is mostly designed for take away but the few available tables are neat and clean. The image above is my brother's Miso Spicy Men with extra char siu pork. I recommend adding extra noodles for $1.80 and extra char siu as the pork has been slow cooked to melt in your mouth.

I wasn't feeling as adventurous as my brother so I ordered the signature Nagahama Ramen. This ramen is suspended in a flavoursome pork bone stock and oh my goodness it was amazing! The noodles were chewy, the char siu pork was melt in your mouth and your $10 even brought a free side order of takana (spicy Japanese Pickles). Though my Mother grumbled that offerings overseas were superior, I just loved my trip to Hakataya Noodle Shop and would be more than happy to travel to Sunnybank for another serving.

Rating: 3.5 out 5.
Address: Shop 27B, Sunnybank Plaza, Cnr Main and McCullough Street, Sunnybank, QLD 4109.
Open: Monday - Sunday, 9am - 8:50pm.
Phone: (07) 3344 1313
Price: Mains: $6.50 - $15.

Hakataya Noodle Shop on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The War on Consumer Stupidity

Now that I've neatly hopped over my first quarter of a century, I've got permission to be old. This means telling today's youth to speak in proper English and to cover up, grumbling about how unfortunate it is to be a useless sack of organs and becoming irrationally crotchety over small things. Keeping the latter in mind, I would like to declare war on consumer stupidity. Sure we like convenience and being an evil Marketing Overlord I snuggle filthy Capitalism close to my bosom every day, but can we stop and use some logic for once? Here are some of the worst offenders:
  • Avocado related Faff: Things that fall under this category include the annoying Brand Power Lady spruiked AvoFresh and the Avocado Slicer. Please stop, the Avocado comes naturally packaged, it's just as quick to prepare it with a knife, contains no hidden nasties and at the risk of sounding like a smelly hippy. In Australia alone, we throw away more than one million tonnes of plastic waste a year. Keep walking, don't look.

  • Milk Carton Holder: Having friends or trying to impress that special someone in your humble share house abode? Need to add that touch of depression era chic, well you need the Milk Carton Holder! But seriously, unless you are disabled, how difficult is it to pick up a carton?

  • Slicing Dicing Paraphernalia: Want to spend more time cleaning? Choose from any one of these: Garlic Zoom (yes you have to peel the cloves before you dice them), the Herb Mill or Pizza Scissors.

  • Eggcitement: Ensure those slippery little suckers don't get the better of you by using the Ez Cracker and then cooking them in the Egg Cuber!

  • Perfect Soldiers: It must have been a boring year when this tool won the 2005 British Invention Show Gold Medal.

  • Hot Dog Pop Up Toaster: Only in America.

  • Kiwi Guard: A unique way to protect and enjoy your single precious daily Kiwi fruit. It even comes with a colour coordinated spoon! Noice!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Taste Gallery

If you have spoken to me about Chinese Restaurants for anything length of time you will know that I bemoan how backwards they are. With such fierce competition, it's time to get a website, engage with your client base, rework the 80's menu and let go of the vinyl table cloths! So Taste Gallery in Sunnybank's Market Square complex is an aesthetically pleasing addition with its slick dark wood interior, transparent display kitchen and lavish menus. However could this be a case of all style and no substance?

The first dish to arrive was the spicy shredded pork with bamboo shoots. This was delicious and we decided to enjoy them on thin savoury pancakes. The dish is ample but the serving of pancakes were scarce, so I would recommend purchasing two serves. Unfortunately the staff forgot our second set of pancakes and when they were reminded, brought out steamed bread pockets. These steamed bread pockets are designed to house something more robust like a piece of slow cooked pork belly and when I queried the staff member they insisted this was the correct accompaniment.

With a transparent show kitchen, it seemed only fitting that we ordered some Xiaolongbao. These Shanghainese dumplings are delicious and I was especially impressed with how neatly they lifted from their lined baskets so you could fully appreciate the burst of soup enclosed.

We decided to finish our meal with Pork and Vegetable Wonton and unfortunately this was the most disappointing dish. The wonton were beautifully presented and I really enjoyed the seaweed but the soup had zero flavour. It was as though the kitchen had simply poured boiling water onto these dumplings and served it. This wouldn't surprise me as we felt the front of house staff had checked out for the day. There were staff getting changed at the front counter, another was sleeping at a table in clear view. I found the whole experience disappointing as the cost of the meal totalled $50, which is well above what you can expect in the area. Taste Gallery is gorgeous creature but my curiosity was satisfied after one visit.

Rating: 2 out of 5.
Address: Market Square Shopping Centre, Shop 20B/341 McCullough Street, Sunnybank, QLD 4109.
Open: Monday - Sunday. Breafast, Lunch and Dinner.
Phone: (07) 3423 8483

Taste Gallery on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Banana Bread

On Sunday, my brother and I simply decided the situation was untenable. We hopped into the car, drove to the local fruit shop, purchased a kilo of Lady Finger Bananas for $6 and scoffed the lot for lunch. It had been months since we had seen a banana so we relished our banana bender but luckily enough had the foresight to purchase some overripe Cavendish Bananas. So after some research I decided to trial this popular Banana Bread recipe from

Start by preheating the oven to 180°C, lining and lightly greasing a standard loaf tin. Then take a large mixing bowl and add 1/4 cup sifted plain flour, 1 3/4 cups sifted self raising flour, 2/3 cup brown sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.

Make a well in the center and 1/2 cup skim milk, two whisked eggs, 50g of cooled melted butter and combine.

Mash and add two medium bananas and a generous handful of walnuts to the mixture.

Your mixture should then look like this. Place this rather grotesque mixture, into your lined pan and bake in the oven for 50 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Allow your Banana Bread to cool, before removing and enjoying it. Banana Bread is an amazing one bowl wonder that tastes even better the next day!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Pourboy Espresso

My phone's screen clearly stated 5:20am. Surely it was wrong? Maybe it was using a Daylight Savings Feature? No it was definitely 5:20am, my alarm was set to 4:15am by mistake and I was late! Luckily Adrenaline kicked it and I managed to get ready in 10 minutes, drove like a hoon, parked and arrived in the central business district by 6:10am to set up for Daffodil Day. Huzzah! After volunteer at the Central Plaza 1 stand for a couple of hours, the team were starving so we decided to venture to Pourboy Espresso for a hot breakfast.

The Pourboy Espresso team are friendly and responsive and we were quickly show to a table. Perhaps sensing the urgency they asked if they could take a drink order and the majority of the table asked for a hot chocolate. The hot chocolate is balanced, the milk is creamy and has the glossy appearance that only comes from a careful hand.

The table ordered a number of glorious dishes, but apart from being really tasty, the poached eggs were all perfect. Above is the Jamon Serrano, poached egg, slow roasted tomato on Pane.

The Croque Madame is a grilled sandwich that originated in France. Here is Pourboy Espresso's version with Gruyere, shaved bangalow ham, poached egg and djionaisse.

Here is my Mushroom Duxelle with buffalo ricotta served on Pane. Plenty of taste and the perfect breakfast to warm me up after a morning on standing outside.

Though we were comfortably full I couldn't leave without one of the house made chocolate brioche. Inside the beautiful seal, there were swirled of nut enriched chocolate. It was an extremely naughty morning tea and I enjoyed every morsel. Pourboy Espresso lived up to the hype and I enjoyed the experience so much that it made me wish I was back working in town.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Address: 26 Wharf Street, Brisbane, QLD 4000.
Open: Monday - Friday. 6am - 4pm.
Phone: (07) 3172 1141
Price: Breakfast: $3.50 - $14. Lunch: $8 - 15. Coffee: $3.50 - $4.50

PourBoy Espresso on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 22, 2011

Cranberry and Pistachio Biscotti

I'm a harden biscotti addict so when I spotted this recipe on I knew I had to try it, but I've made a few tweaks along the way which I thought I would share with you. First beat together two eggs, 1 cup of caster sugar and the finely grated rind from 1 lemon.

Then combine 1 2/3 cup of plain flour and 1 teaspoon of baking powder until you have just formed a dough. Then mix through 1 cup of raw shelled pistachio and 1/2 a cup of chopped dried cranberries.

Divide the dough into two smooth even logs and rest on a greased lined baking tray. Place the tray into a preheated 160°C oven for 30 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and cool for 20 minutes before slicing them in 5mm pieces with a serrated knife. Reduce the oven to 120°C and place the slices in a single layer on 3 lined baking trays. Bake for 20 minutes or until crisp.

Cool on the tray and then store in an air tight container and hide from your family!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Beef Stroganoff

I've been making this Beef Stroganoff recipe for some time and it is amazing as it is flexible (you can easily increase the beef to 800g and double the quantities of swiss brown mushrooms), freezes and reheats well. So begin the process, mix two tablespoons sweet paprika, 100g plain flour and 1 teaspoon of salt in a large bowl and then coat 500g - 800g of sliced beef.

In a deep fry pan, brown the beef in batches and set aside. In the same pan, saute 200 - 400g swiss brown mushrooms, add three finely diced eschalots and cook until caramelised.

Add 1/2 cup of brandy, 2 tablespoon worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoon tomato paste, 1 cup of beef stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in 1 cup creme fraiche and the beef.

Serve your delicious beef stroganoff on a bed of Parsley and Black Pepper Fettuccine or if you are lazy like me, steamed rice.