Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Meaty Situation

During the working week my alarm sounds at 4:50am and in a bid to wake up I peruse the news bleary eyed. This morning stumbled across this article on News.com.au announcing that Dutch Scientists are less than a year away from beginning the first human trials of beef mince grown from 10,000 cattle stem cells. The product 'Vitro Meat' can be grown in 12 months and is designed to tackle the impending food shortage as the human population swells over the next three decades. Though the product would eliminate the need for animal slaughter, Scientists have admitted the product is not particular appetising as it is grey and has a similar texture to calamari.

So this has brought forth a number of philosophical questions and I would love to know everyone else's thoughts:

  • Should we be eating meat?
    Believe me I love nothing more than a well marbled, rare steak with some creamy mushroom sauce but we're constantly told a number of conflicting things. "Eat more red meat." "Your portion of red meat should only be the size of your palm." Consume red meat three to four times a week." "Consumption of meat is linked to Cancer." "If you skimp on meat you'll miss out on iron, iodine and vitamin B12." The list goes on and add on top of that all the ethical issues like the humane slaughter of animals and the impact on the planet. My view is human beings are designed to be omnivores so if you happy to continue to eat meat e.g. you don't have ethical or dietary dilemmas then you ought to include meat sparingly. I'm sure our starving caveman ancestors would approve.

  • Are we playing God?
    Maybe I've missed something I thought we getting back to basics, you know, brown peasant bread and attaching buzz words like organic to branding. Though I'm not terribly keen on the lifestyle choices of the stereotypical smelly hippy, I do like the idea of keeping poultry, growing an edible garden, recycling and composing. I also don't really like the idea of Vitro meat as I am not sure what kind of nutrition a bunch of stem cells will impart. I've held many corridor discussions over the last week and Carmen of Awesome brought up the point that apart from food tasting really good, we need it to live. If we can't decide what is the optimal diet for humanity, then how can we create Vitro meat? I know we love progress and we need to explore but honestly I'm not comfortable.

  • How old is your meat?
    When you clone an animal, the donor material carries a genetic age. Does this apply with stem cells? How will brand our meat? Will stem cell meat be able to sold as lamb, hogget and mutton?

  • Can we make it tasty?
    The article states, "even if the initial results do not taste quite the same as proper meat, scientists are convinced the public will soon get used to it." Get used it? I'm not really use I want to consume grey beef with the texture of calamari. But as foodies, it is our job to try to think of a way to make this thing palatable. All I could think was to solve the situation by making a pie or coating it in panko and deep frying (my solution to most of the world's problems). I would love to hear your thoughts on Vitro Meat and how you would sell it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Chelsea

The very hip Eliza of Gastronomy Gal calls them PIE: Partner In Eating. Though I don't have a regular companion PIE, I do have a range of wonderful PIEs to call upon and this particular morning I had arranged to meet the fabulous Kate and Mister Spensley at the Chelsea. The Chelsea is located in the Barracks complex and every time I step inside it reminds me of New York. This bistro offers moderately priced meals, seven days a week in a central location (parking is free for the first two hours and the complex is connected to Roma Street Train Station). The coffee pictured above is a skinny mocha. My coffee was a good size, the milk was glossy and coffee was sweet, smooth and without any bite.

Though there were a number of imaginative dishes on the breakfast menu such as Kedgeree - Smoked king fish, poached eggs, curried basmati rice, tomato, coriander and yoghurt. I decided to selected one of the specials which was an omelette with smokey chorizo, roast capsicum and onion. Though I enjoyed this dish immensely as the fluffy texture was contrasted by the wonderfully bold flavours, I am still pining for one of my old favourites - Poached pear on homemade gingerbread with honeyed ricotta and pistachio. I'm still holding hope that it will return to the menu, but I'm sure I will continue to visit this lovely venue.

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Address: 61 Petrie Terrace, Paddington QLD 4064.
Open: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, 7 days a week.
Phone: (07) 3367 1288.
Price: Breakfast: $5.50 - $17.50. Lunch: $9.50 - $23.50. Dinner: $23.50 - $38.50. Dessert: $12 - $14.50.

The Chelsea Bistro on Urbanspoon

Sunday, June 26, 2011


I'm winning like Charlie Sheen today but with less hookers and cocaine. I normally rush out and try to get my mits on the latest MasterChef Magazine, but not this issue. This issue comes with an old MasterChef Issue and I've been hoping to spot Issue 1 (it's the only one I don't have), but so far I have failed. However I caved when spotted this copy with a free Junior MasterChef Australia Cookbook. Hard cover goodness ...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Cockadoodle Cafe

Cockadoodle Cafe is a bubbly little cafe that has recently taken over the old Olivetto site. The staff a friendly, the space is full of light and has a family friendly feel with whirling rainbow spirals and lots and lots of chicken related nick nacks. Though this fetching establishment serves breakfast and lunch, seven days a week, I was looking for a coffee to wake me up before a session of improvised theatre.

Here is a photo of my skinny mocha. As you can see the milk is glossy and smooth and the froth does not dominate the glass. As much as I enjoy a Babyccino, life is too short and expensive to drink a bad coffee. This mocha had a nice balance of chocolate and espresso.

I came in for a coffee but the Cockadoodle Cafe has an irresistible selection of treats. Lemon Curd filled, Biscuits with an embossed star, Gingerbread and this Lemon Curd Tart are just some the sweet treats you will encounter on your trip. This Lemon Curd Tart doesn't have a lot of zing but the curd is beautifully light and this makes a brilliant foil to the crisp pastry. Happiness is infectious and catching a good dose of it here is a great way to start any morning.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Address: 5 Enoggera Terrace, Red Hill, QLD 4059.
Open: Breakfast and Lunch, 7 days a week.
Phone: (07) 3369 0610.
Price: Coffee from $4.

Cockadoodle Cafe on Urbanspoon

Brisbane Food Bloggers Picnic Part 2

By the time I arrived at the Brisbane Food Blogger Picnic I had already had breakfast with friends, ruffled through the Brisbane Arts Theatre Winter Wardrobe Sale, completed a dressage lesson, wandered the Powerhouse Market and perused the World Press Photo Exhibition, but I was still full of beans and excitement. I was going to meet a group of talented foodies who love to share their passion through the written word. As you can see there is no picnic quite like a food bloggers picnic, there was Beetroot Cheesecake with a Chocolate Brownie Crust, Picnic Loaf, Pumpkin, maple and cream cheese Whoopies, Chicken Katsu, Japanese Potato Salad, Dips, wine and baked goods of all shapes and sizes. I was in awe and my food commentary was confided to mmmm hmmm mmmmmm mmmrrrrr.

Rhubarb Custard Melting Moments

To truly appreciate food you have to know how to cook and Food Bloggers are no exception. With the upcoming Brisbane Food Bloggers Picnic I knew I had to plate up something unique, tasty and visually splendid so I turned to my book shelf. I settled on Rhubarb Custard Melting Moments from the Women's Weekly Cookies cookbook as there something so appealing about the bright red rhubarb custard nested between two golden discs. I started by stewing 3 large stems of chopped rhubarb with 3 tablespoons of sugar and three tablespoons of water on low heat until the rhubarb was pulpy. Try to avoid taste testing as you could quite easily polish off the stewed rhubarb at this stage.

I then placed 2 tablespoons of custard powder, 2 tablespoons caster sugar and 1 cup of milk in a saucepan. I stirred it until the mixture boiled and thickened. Once I was happy with the consistency I removed it from the heat and added 2/3 cup of stewed rhubarb and was disappointed with the colour.

Thankfully my red and pink food colour pastes came to the rescue and gave the custard the desired colour. Once the custard had cooled, I covered the bowl in cling wrap and placed it in the fridge to set.

I preheated to 160°C before whipping 500g softened butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 cup of sifted icing sugar until light and fluffy. I then sifted in 2 cups of custard powder and 2 cups of plain flour and combined.

Lightly grease a cookie sheet and roll rounded teaspoons of mixture into balls. Place then approximately 5cm apart and flatten slightly with a floured fork. Bake for 15 minutes and allow them to stand for at least 5 minutes.

Once they are cool, take two golden discs and sandwich them together with your rhubarb custard. If you pad your container, they travel quite well and are best enjoyed with a cup of tea. Yum!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ewwww Robert Pattinson!

A couple of days ago singing sensation Holly Throsby posted a tweet that left me giggling like a school girl. It seemed unbelievable that this could be truly printed onto a Fantales wrapper so I went on a fact finding missing to verify its existence (this meant rummaging through a whole packet of Fantales). Proof photographed above, ewww Robert Pattinson!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Jeremy's on Albert

It isn't uncommon for me to have a biscuit in my mouth as I am frantically running along somewhere. I will only stop when I've found someone suitable to shout at and a year ago I used to encounter the same gentleman before I entered class. He was an old world sort, sporting a three piece suit and an analytical expression. This gentleman is Mister Manning and it seemed too soon that he finished his course and departed back to Hong Kong. So when he recently returned to Brisbane, we caught up for dinner at Jeremy's on Albert. I really like Jeremy's for breakfast as it has a good selection, relaxed and occasionally offers live music. However it is a very different beast in the evening and is perhaps a little too stiff for my liking.

I decided to order the Trio of Wild Mushroom Risotto and I must admit it quite confronting to be faced with a pool of oil. Though the mushrooms had the most gorgeous texture and the dish was pleasant, I find it difficult to fully appreciate a meal when it is poorly presented. We faced a similar presentation issue with Mister Manning's Liquorice Panna Cotta, Raspberry Tapioca and Mint Dessert. I've had a number of really wonderful experiences at Jeremy's so I am prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt and suggest that perhaps it was the chef's eyes had gone on a holiday?

Red Wine Poached Pear with honeyed walnuts and a mascarpone cream. Though I really love toffee and nuts, they were difficult to work through as we had a lot of catch up. The staff were attentive and I am just hopeful that this evening was just a minor hiccup in the usual performance.

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Address: 93 Albert Street, Brisbane, QLD 4000.
Open: Monday - Friday: 7am - 10pm. Saturday: 7am - 12pm. 5:30pm - 10pm.
Phone: (07) 3210 6529.
Price: Dinner: $21 - $38.

Jeremy's Espresso Bistro on Urbanspoon

Brisbane Winter Festival

Tania of Awesome likes to keep her finger on the pulse, so when she forwarded an email deal where I could get two tickets to the Brisbane Winter Festival for $33, I snapped up the deal. The Brisbane Winter Festival is being held in King George Square until June 26, 2011 and features an outdoor skating rink and a number of European foodstalls selling Glühwein, Bratwurst, Poffertjes, Langos, Goulash, Woodfired Pizza, Churros and much to my Mother's grumbles Organic Donuts (Donuts don't grow on trees she says). Unfortunately the quality of the outdoor rink isn't there due to Brisbane's climate which ensures at least an inch of water covers the ice at all times (so if you come unbalanced you will have to wander the city looking like you have lost control of your bladder), the rink is uneven and you have to keep your eye open for rampaging fluro seals. These fluro seals can be hired so you can include your small children in this event (read this as prams on ice). I would be pretty disappointed if I paid $20 to skate, $7 to hire the ice skates ... but I didn't so I rather enjoyed the novelty of it all.

My deal was made even better when I was presented with two mugs containing virgin Glühwein. Glühwein is an extremely sweet but delicious spiced red wine drink. My recommendation would be to skate in an indoor rink, unless you really want to skate under the night sky and to purchase a mug and watch everyone hug the side of the rink and fall over. Glühwein is even more delicious with a side of schadenfreude.

Shepherd's Pie

With the drop in temperature, the march of the comfort food begins. I normally use a David Herbert recipe but I was far away from my beloved bookshelf so I whipped out my iPhone and logged onto Taste.com.au to locate a recipe. Though this one is pretty similar to my tried and true recipe, I found it a little watery and I had to make a couple of alterations e.g I need to have peas. However the thing I did like about this recipe is that it included carrots and celery, which I will include in my future Shepherd's Pies. So what are you looking at in the picture above? 1 chopped brown onion, 1 carrot peeled and chopped, 2 celery sticks, trimmed and chopped, cooked until soft. Then I added 700g lamb mince, browned, broke up any lumps before combining 2 tablespoons of plain flour. After this had cooked, I added two cups of beef stock, 1 dried bay lead, 1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon tomato paste. I brought the mixture to the boil before simmering for 30 minutes.

While the mixture was simmering I peeled, diced five large Cream Delight Potatoes, boiled them until soft and mashed them with butter and milk. I don't know what it is in these potatoes but they are fantastic, I found myself digging into a couple of spoonfuls of mash. Nom nom nom! Anyhow this the dish, with the lamb mixture, a scattering of peas, mash and a dusting of cayenne pepper.

If you leave this Shepherd's Pie it does eventually set. But I prefer to my pie to be ready to rock the moment it comes out of the oven. Back to David Herbert with some minor modifications. :)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Twitter Time!

I am weak and have succumbed to peer pressure. I am now available on Twitter which means you can stay informed about what kind of PG adventures I'm having when I am not eating food. Ooh La La!

Baked Eggs with Prosciutto

A couple of weeks ago, I submitted what I hope will be final assignment for my Masters. Three years studying part time, on top of working is tough and to celebrate my new found freedom Miss Sarah and I had brunch before going horse riding. I decided to make Baked Eggs with Prosciutto using this Taste.com.au recipe. I preheated oven to 180°C fan-forced and chopped up six slices of prosciutto, 1/4 cup of semi-dried tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of fresh basil, crumbled 50g feta and grated 1/4 cup of parmesan. I then mixed the ingredients.

I then lightly greased four 3/4 cup ramekins, before adding some of the mixture to the base, cracked two eggs in each and then sprinkling the remaining mixture on top.

Place the ramekins on a tray and bake for 15 minutes or until the eggs have set. Serve with toast and a hot cup of tea. Yum!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Qwerk Espresso

Sometimes in our haste we miss the best things in life, so this morning I made a snap decision to stop and check out Qwerk Espresso. Qwerk Espresso is a brand new cafe in Wilston and is open for coffee, breakfast and lunch, seven days a week between 7am and 2pm. The cafe has a lovely eclectic collection of furniture and when you venture inside, it's welcoming with its honey wood panel floor. Though my intention was to stop for a Hot Chocolate, my eyes soon spotted a couple of small stands bearing exquisite morels and I knew I just had to have one.

I decided to settle for a gorgeous Pear Tart and it came served with creamy tangy lemon yoghurt on an Eco Vision plate (these plates are made from the leaf sheaths of the Areca Palm and therefore completely biodegradable) . This yoghurt is made on site and just like the Pear and Hazelnut Tart is exquisite. The pastry was crisp and light, the pear moist and singing with caramel notes that can only come from love and care. The team obviously loves their new cafe and I think you ought to also stop and check it out.


Since I wrote this review, my little brother and I have been back for breakfast and here are some photographs of the breakfast we enjoyed. Gorgeous ripe avocadoes on toast with a dask of balsamic and spicy home made baked beans with sausage for a savoury kick.

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Address: 45 Kedron Brook Road, Cnr of York Street, Wilson, QLD 4051.
Open: 7 Days a week. 7am - 2pm.
Phone: N/A.
Price: Coffee from $3.50.

Qwerk Espresso on Urbanspoon

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Discipline = 0

I should have known better than to open a packet of Almond M&Ms on the way home from from a gym session as I have zero discipline when it comes to nuts and chocolate. My brother and I just wolfed down these moreish delights in the space of 15 minutes and they have now gained a place in my favourite snack foods which currently includes roast broadbeans and Bhuja. These are all worthy snacks, just don't open any of them on the way home from the gym.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Brisbane Food Bloggers Picnic Part 1

The gorgeous Renee of Pantry Review fame is coordinating a Brisbane Bloggers Picnic on Saturday, June 25 in New Farm Park. So if you are a Brisbane Food Blogger then get your RSVP into Renee as soon as possible. I look forward to seeing you all there!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Ode to the Oreo

Produced since 1912 by Nabiso, the Oreo is a biscuit comprising of cream sandwiched by two dense chocolate discs. It is universally loved and at one stage held the record for the post with the most 'likes' on Facebook before rapper Lil Wayne came along and crushed the Oreo's dream. To celebrate the Oreo's valiant attempt, I want to look into the mythos around this biscuit:

  • Rumour has it is that Carnivals across the United States of America offer deep fried Oreos. At the time I couldn't understand it as the biscuit is already crisp and consider burnt cocoa as one of the worst tastes in the world. But it would seem that I am wrong as one blogger described the experience: "The Oreo loses it's hard crunchy texture and becomes a warm chocolately cake delight. The creamy center melts and creates an inner glaze."

  • In 2007 Domino's offer an unforgiving public the Oreo Pizza. This comprised of a thin pizza base, icing and Oreo crumbs. I have tried to improve the concept in my head but any attempt always ends up with me removing the pizza component ... which defeats the purpose of an Oreo Pizza. To me the Oreo Pizza is like that mythical product, 'Toast on a Stick.' It's really hard to improve on the original, so just shut up and eat your Oreo.

  • To successfully conquer the Chinese market, Oreos reduced the among of sugar and introduced the Oreo Wafer. Australian Oreos come from China and as a result I'm left wondering if Oreos look and taste any different in the United States of America. Drop me a line if you have the answer.

  • Oreos come a variety of flavours and styles. Check them out of the Oreo wiki page.

That concludes my fact finding mission on Oreos and I think I'll have one for morning tea to increase today's world wide consumption of Oreos to twenty million, five hundred thousand and one biscuits.