Friday 31 May 2013

Posing outside Vanilla Zulu

Truly we did not deliberately match our colours-pure accident!

Interview with chef Mel

I posed a few questions to Mel about her journey from Africa to Australia to find out how she ended up here in our lovely Brisbane city.  Mel now runs Vanilla Zulu Culinary Adventures- a successful (and fun!) cooking school as I can attest.

Why and when did you come to Australia?
I arrived in gorgeous Australia on the 22nd February 2008, after two very long years of waiting for our visas to be approved!  We had had too many close calls in a very violent Africa so decided to bring our two gorgeous children to the most wonderful place on earth... Australia!

Why did you choose Brisbane or did it choose you?
I think Brisbane chose us. As a farm girl I love the laid back attitudes, the friendly people, the beautiful surrounds and the perfect climate.  In South Africa they refer to Brisbane as 'Durban without the Death!'.  Same climate as Durban but you're not as likely to get hijacked, killed or attacked.  It seems a world away now, living in constant fear like that.

How did you get started in the food world?
I have always grown up in very remote places as my father was a farmer when we immigrated to South Africa from Zimbabwe, so I spent a lot of time on my own growing up as a child.  My only source of entertainment was cooking and experimenting and using my family as very willing tasters for my creations.  There were no shopping malls where I grew up, some farms being 100's of kilometres from the smallest town.  My parents bought me my first recipe book as a four year old (which I still have) and my older brother would read the recipes out to me before I could read and I would cook.  The first thing I ever made was a loaf of brown bread...and I forgot the salt!  My parents still ate it, bless them!

Did you always have a passion for food?
Yes!!  I am always hungry so I am always thinking about the next meal.  It's my biggest passion in life apart from my two amazing sons.  I always get asked if I get tired of cooking. How could I?  There is always some other amazing recipe or ingredient to try!

When and why did you decide that a cooking school was the best way to showcase your food passions?
I started my first cooking school in Durban back in 2002 when 'hobby cooking' or 'domestic cuisine' was still  in its infancy.  I quit a perfectly good job and converted a granny flat into a cooking studio, my friends and my ex-boss thought I was crazy but I followed my passion and well, the rest is history!

What training did you have?
I did three years at ML Sultan Hotel School in Durban

What are your plans for the future?
I am planning to publish my first recipe book very soon, it's all typed up and tested, now I just need a few sponsors to help me complete it!  I would love my own cooking show, with a difference, watch this space...

So if anyone is interested in a fun cooking class and picking up hints and skills give Mel's culinary adventures a go.  She is a fun and informative teacher.  Check out her Facebook page for more info.

Interview with Mel from Vanilla Zulu

Today Mel kindly gave me some of her precious time to fill me in about her journey to becoming a stalwart of Wilston Village business life.  Go here for Mel's website.

Wednesday 29 May 2013

Turkey mince for dinner

Sorry. Not a good photo but it will be delish I assure you.  I often find beef mince too greasy and heavy and chicken mince lacks flavour so turkey is a great compromise. 

Tonight's dinner

Lots of mushies in tonight's dinner.  I know some people turn their noses up at regular old supermarket mushrooms but I  am of the persuasion that they are still damn fine to eat !  So in they go with my turkey mince hash. 

Tuesday 28 May 2013

Saturday 25 May 2013

Book launch at GOMA

Interesting book launch today. Can't wait to read this book about what happens to deceased artists' estates. 

Friday 24 May 2013

Old buildings

There are so many lovely old buildings in Ipswich. Lets hope they don't pull them all down like they do in brisbane
Zucchini fries.

Dinner in historic Ipswich

Venison pie was delicious.  Tasted just like beef and the pastry was so light and flaky.  I recommend Stumps hotel.

Thursday 23 May 2013

Choc chilli torte and white choc mousse.
Roast duck fat potatoes. Sooo good.
Roast quail with caramelised pears. I felt sorry for the little bird. But he tasted good.

Dinner at Eve's on the river

A lovely dinner out.  My cousin gave me a gift card for xmas so we decided to make use of it at last. At Eve's On The River.

Sunday 19 May 2013

Saturday 18 May 2013

afternoon tea

We had a fabulous arvo tea with our mate Pia today.   I made rosy lychee punch and smoked salmon rolls.   Oh and chocolate snaps with macadamias and cranberries.  Yum!

Friday 17 May 2013


Some much needed coffee at trendy James St Valley.  People watching is alot of fun here!

Wednesday 15 May 2013

Book launch

Hannah Kent was such a fabulous speaker and so interesting. Really enjoyed hearing her speak about the genesis of her book.

Monday 13 May 2013

sherry's mocktail

i have invented a new mocktail- sherry's rosy raspberry lychee surprise.   Hubby says it is delicious!