Thursday 27 June 2013

Newspaper article

The local paper took my photo last week for this article. It was a freezing morning on our back deck and took ages.  When I said to the photographer that it must be fun doing his job and meeting lots of interesting people he rather glumly said "no"!!

Wednesday 26 June 2013

Baked rice for dinner

We are having baked rice for dinner. I am using Josef Chromy verjus from Tassie to flavour it. It is really the best one I have tried. Sorry Maggie Beer!

Saturday 22 June 2013

Delicious dinner at Ouzeri

We had a lovely dinner at Ouzeri in West End last night. We had tried to go to the local pub but it was full of happy British and Irish Lions supporters- some in kilts. Sadly they had no room for us!   So we took a drive to West End and stumbled upon Ouzeri. There was a table for 20 set up next to our wee table in the corner but fortunately we are quick eaters - plus they were keen for us to free up the table- so we were in and out in an hour.  We were very pleasantly surprised; this was not the usual stodgy unimaginative Greek food you can come across so often.  We had an eggplant dip which was tiny and well flavoured dices of the vegetable with thin and delicious pieces of pita bread.  Mr Pickings had moussaka which he said was excellent and the potatoes were beautifully flavoured. I had calamari and succulent small pieces of octopus with a garlicky cucumber dip and Greek salad. The place was packed and had a fantastic atmosphere; and prices are very reasonable. As Mr Pickings said- it reminded him of the Plaka in Athens in a good way!  Hop along readers!

Ouzeri on Urbanspoon

Friday 21 June 2013

Photo for the local paper

Today I had my photo taken (and re taken) for the local paper.  Not my fave experience I must say:)   And it was a freezing morning out on the back deck.  It is Winter Solstice after all and Mother Nature wanted us to know it.  A cheeky butcherbird decided to join us and sat on the rail the entire time.

Monday 17 June 2013

me at the dilmah high tea challenge Brisbane

here is the link to the official page of the Dilmah High Tea Challenge held in Brisbane on friday 14 june 2013.   this is the photo of me taken by their photographer (she made us all look good!), and of my tea challenge setting.

Saturday 15 June 2013

Delicious cup of tea

Had a lovely cup of tea today with MayKing tea. 

Tea ceremony at scrumptious reads

Making tea with May King at scrumptious reads in the Valley.     

What a fabulous time we had with May King enjoying her truly delightful tea ceremony.   She is a very calming soul;  even my 20 year old nephew said he found it relaxing and enjoyable.  The sun was streaming in the windows at Scrumptious Reads- very pleasant on a cool Brisbane day- giving it all a relaxed and calming ambience.  We tried several different teas with May King, including my favourite Relaxing Night which had a wonderful aroma of roses  (one of my fave flavours in anything).   We sat with May King for about 2 hours just soaking up the sun and the atmosphere and the teas!  I highly recommend going to one of her delightful tea ceremonies if you get the chance.  Check out her Facebook page under Mayking Tea.

Friday 14 June 2013

Beautiful wooden tea box

Won this lovely box of tea along with my bronze medal. 

My Setting at Dilmah High Tea Challenge

Setting up the table for the Tea competition  

Bronze medal winner me!

So stoked to win a bronze medal today!
What an amazing day it was.   We had an early start- there by 7.30am- to set up our tables and tea settings. 6 nervous State finalists sat around in the green room waiting to be called in front of the 3 international judges including Dilhan Fernando the son of the Dilmah tea company founder.  I was finalist no. 5 so by the time it got to me I was a nervous wreck!  We then had to present our high tea and explain our theme and recipes, including our rationale and sustainability information.   I made a rosy punch using Dilmah Rose and French Vanilla tea, and also made smoked salmon crepes served with their Ranwatte single region tea.  The 3 judges were very kind, and said they found my presentation "homey" which I hope was a compliment.  It was a huge day and I went home in the afternoon thoroughly elated and exhausted.  My sister had come up from the coast to be my assistant, which was a blessing.   Not sure if I will do it again next year but they said it gets into your blood and you become addicted to it.   We will see!

Dilmah high tea challenge- rosy punch

Today I was a contestant in the Dilmah high tea challenge.   Happily readers,  I won a bronze!   I am really chuffed.   And guess what!   that medal is really heavy.   I proudly wore it home. 
Here is my rosy punch recipe:

Rosy Punch:
2 Dilmah Rose with French Vanilla tea bags
500ml boiling water
One cup sugar
350ml sparkling water
125ml lychee syrup  -(from a tin of lychees) 
add juice and zest of 1 lime
½ North Queensland vanilla bean
Lychees and raspberries-  use fresh Queensland lychees if available, and fresh raspberries when in season;  otherwise use frozen raspberries and tinned lychees.

Boil water;  add the tea bags and steep for 20 minutes
Cool it to luke warm then drop in the ½ vanilla bean
Add half the steeped liquid  (250ml) to a small saucepan with the cup of sugar
Bring to a simmer whilst stirring constantly till sugar is dissolved, and then simmer for 5 minutes
Allow to cool
Pour rose tea syrup (minus the vanilla bean) into a jug then add- the sparkling water, lychee syrup, the other cup of cooled rose tea and the lime juice and zest.
Stir and add as many lychees and raspberries as you desire!
This is a very sweet drink and the judges suggested adding lime or lemon juice, or even ginger.
I think some champagne would add a fabulous zing to it!

Friday 7 June 2013


A big stack of crepes just out of the pan. 

crepe recipe

Basic crepe recipe:


1 cup plain flour – organic if possible
1 teaspoon white sugar
¼ tsp salt-  (I used Daintree Vanilla salt with lime zest)
½ tsp ground Tasmanian mountain pepper berry
You can also add 1 tbs of finely chopped chives to the batter if desired or any other herb you fancy

3 eggs
1 cup buttermilk and 1 cup milk or use 2 cups milk if preferred
2 tbs butter-melted  (the easiest way to measure it is to take a big nob of butter, melt it in a saucepan then measure it out when melted and use any remaining butter for the crepe pan).


Sift together the flour, sugar, salt and pepper in a large bowl
In a blender place the eggs and milk and whizz till a smooth batter but not frothy-  this  can also be done with a handwhisk or a stab blender or electric handbeaters.
Beat your flour mix into the egg/milk mix and beat till well combined and smooth- it may be necessary to put the batter through the sifter to get out any remaining lumps but don’t worry too much- they seem to disappear during cooking.
Add the melted butter and give it all a good beating once again.

Now in your lightly buttered crepe pan  (I used a 20cm one but you could make them a bit bigger) and on a medium high heat :  
Add a small ladleful (about 2-3 tbs) of the batter, swirl around the pan to get it as thin as possible.  Cook for a few minutes till golden then flip over and cook for about a minute more on the other side.
Keep going till all the batter is gone.
Serve with whatever you fancy;  I use a cream cheese and smoked salmon filling..

Crepe making

Today I have been making French crepes for the Dilmah High tea competition.  I love my new French pan!   Recipe to come later.

Wednesday 5 June 2013

monty's chocolates Brisbane CBD

I spoke to Steve from Monty's Chocolates today about his fabulous chocolate shop(s).  The original store is in Paddington and he has expanded to Spring Hill and the CBD.  If you love really good chocolate this is the place to come.   I tried a cup of the insanely good hot chocolate made with couverture chocolate;  oh boy!  It was so good and I can taste it now.  Silky smooth and deliciously decadent. I also tried a beautiful geranium truffle which is still reverberating on my tastebuds.  As Steve said- when you go away you will still be thinking about that taste -and he was so right.
Steve said his aim is to provide best quality products with fantastic flavour and excellent service.  Two lovely older ladies were in the shop today and they couldn't resist telling me how bloody wonderful they thought the hot chocolate was.   To die for as one of the ladies said!
All in all well worth a trip into one of the stores to check out the gorgeous truffles, drinks etc.

Monty's interior

Inside Monty's

Monty's chocolate shop

Omg.  This hot choc is fantastic. Good enough to bathe in!

Tuesday 4 June 2013

De Buyer iron pan

Today I have been seasoning my new De Buyer crepe pan.  Such a good price and apparently the French love using them.  I have rinsed it and heated up a small amount of oil till smoking point then wiped out with kitchen paper. Now all ready to make delish crepes!

Saturday 1 June 2013

Black pearl epicure

Had a fun time this morning at Black Pearl.   I could spend a lot of time and money here.

Salted caramel ice cream

This easy peasy ice cream is so delicious and only needs a whisk and bowl.  Check out nigella's website for this and her no churn coffee ice cream.  So yum!