Wednesday 29 March 2017

Medley Café & Restaurant - Review

My also-retired workmate Mr. L came by the other day to scoop me off to lunch by the river. He had discovered this wonderful little place, with lovely gardens and some public artworks along the river walk.  You can sit and sip something refreshing, and contemplate the universe while watching the City Cats and ferries glide by. What could be nicer on a crazily hot autumn day?  

interior (love that painting)

glass of Jansz $12 

I chose a refreshing glass of Tasmanian champers, while my old mate had a pot of green tea.  He is very conscious of his health and has far more willpower than I do :=) 

pot of tea $4

See my hands and phone reflected in the tea pot?  Hilarious.

salmon w/- mashed sweet potato $26 

This was a really flavoursome dish.  I loved the sweet potato mash, all smooth and yes sweet; the grilled asparagus was just tender enough and crunchy enough to be perfect; and the salmon was a delight.  There was crispy skin, and a beautifully tender middle, with a pat of herb butter on the side to add to the beautiful flavour combo.  So glad I picked this one!

Greek salad $12

Like I said, Mr. L was being very circumspect that day.  He chose an entrée-sized salad, which was fairly substantial and good value for $12.00.  It had the usual suspects: fetta, olives, cucumber and onion dressed with extra virgin olive oil.  No complaints there.  I would have loved to indulge in a dessert, or a cake from the display cabinet, but alas I was too full of delicious fish.  And you know Mr. L is too health-minded for such things :=)

The Pickings Verdict: a fine place to have lunch and watch the watery world go by.  Lunch was delicious, and we enjoyed a relaxing time out.

They are licensed, and do breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Take the kiddies as there is a kids' menu also.  It's worth taking a little time afterwards, and going for a stroll along the river path.  Check out the yachts moored nearby, the artworks, and beautiful, historical Yungaba, the old migrant hostel which is going to become luxury apartments.  Oh, and you can take a gander at Story Bridge which hangs in the sky.

an old ship's propeller near the restaurant - now an artwork

all sorts of boats are moored near Medley

Ph: 07 3162 4492
62 Wharf St.,
Kangaroo Point Q. 4169

Medley Cafe & Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Saturday 25 March 2017

Spicy Chicken Patties

As much as I love Annabel (Langbein that is, the Kiwi cook), I am not fully convinced about her recipes.  I have made a few of them in the past, and I seem to have some niggling doubts.  A chocolate cake that made too much batter for one pan, but not enough for two.  A quick blender mayo that just didn't turn out; maybe it was the Queensland humidity?

But I wanted to give her another go, so here I am trying her chicken patties recipe.  We will discover if it works out!  She always seems so friendly and warm on her shows. And how envious I am of her gorgeous cottage at Lake Wanaka, with her wonderful garden full of fresh produce.  Annabel, where's that dinner invitation?:=)  This recipe is from her book Simple Pleasures The Free Range Cook.  

Interestingly, the NZ tablespoon is the same as the US or UK one - i.e. 15 mLs rather than the Aussie one of 20 mLs.  I am often to be found searching out equivalent measurements for recipes as we have different measurements in Australia to just about any other country.  Are we contrary, or just deeply individual and quirky?    


1 kg. chicken mince

1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped

3 spring onions, finely sliced

zest of 3 limes or lemons

90 mLs of sweet chilli sauce - i.e. 6 Kiwi tbs or 4.5 Aussie tbs

2 egg whites or one whole egg

1/2 cup of coconut cream

salt and black pepper to taste - I used 1/2 tsp sea salt and 1 level tsp smoked salt flakes, and about 15 grinds of pepper

1-2 tbs oil for frying - I used olive but you can use any oil you prefer


Place all the ingredients, except the oil for frying, into a large mixing bowl

Mix together (hands are best), and shape into 10-12 patties

Put them in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up

Heat up the oil in a frying pan or on the BBQ

Brown the patties on each side for a few minutes, squishing them down as you go, till the patties are about 1 cm. thick

Now you can keep cooking in the pan till they are done - i.e. firm to the touch in the middle (you don't want raw chicken).  This should take about 3 more minutes on each side

Or place them on a lined baking tray and throw them in the oven at 185C for 8 minutes

There will be excess liquid once they are baked, so tip it off and put the patties on a wire rack over a tray to catch the drips

Eat them in a burger or with savoury rice or however you please


This is a very sloppy mixture; I donned my surgeon's gloves to form the patties

Annabel says this will make 8-10 patties; I didn't want huge ones so decided on a medium size

No fresh coriander was to be found so I used the lightly dried variety (I still used 1/4 cup 'cos we like the flavour)


ready to mix

patties made and heading to the fridge for 30 mins. 

fry for a few mins. on each side

golden outsides

about to go into the oven after frying till golden  

draining off the excess liquid after baking

golden and delicious

Well, I have to say Annabel has come up trumps here.  These patties were very tasty and flavoursome; crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.  Mr P. smothered his in sweet chilli sauce and yoghurt and declared them fabulous.  Phew!  I was worried there as I thought they might be too bland and watery.  Annabel doesn't mention putting them on a wire rack to drain, but I think it is essential.  We all know how wet chicken mince can be.  Give these a go, folks!

my limey doodle 

Tuesday 21 March 2017

A - Z Guidebook: Vatican City

Yours truly standing in front of a damp St. Peter's Basilica   

What an utterly incredible place this is.  Hubby and I were gobsmacked when we finally got inside.  Several coachloads of tourists had turned up just before us, so they get priority entrance. We had to wait  2 hours!  That amazing spiral entranceway, the Sistine Chapel, the beautiful Gardens, the endless antiquities, the maps and globes - all spellbinding.  And it made us mad to be truthful, to realise that the Church owned all that knowledge and wealth and kept (keeps) it clasped tightly to their chests, while people have suffered for centuries in poverty and dismay. 

Another incredible thing here was that in a café outside the Vatican, Mr P. and I ran into an old work colleague of mine!  We had no idea she was in Italy at the exact same time as us.  And to think she had decided to go to the Vatican on the same day as! I really need to see this place again, as you just cannot take it all in, in one go.    

Here I am joining in again with Tiffin Fiona from Bite Sized Food Adventures on the monthly travel link.  Feel free to jump in with us. We are attacking the letter V this month.

TIFFIN - bite sized food adventures -

Friday 17 March 2017

Tapenade - Quick And Easy Home Made Dip

Well, you had better like olives - no, make that love olives if you are going to make and eat this.  I have to say I am not a huge fan of tapenade, but making it yourself adds a piquancy for sure.  I had a chunky version a while ago at a restaurant.  I liked that!  This recipe is smooth, but I think next time I will try leaving it with some chunky bits for texture.

To be honest, the only reason I made this was to go in the olive loaf I was baking.  I tried to buy some decent stuff at the shops, but no go.  Rather than use any old thing I thought now is the time to give this recipe a try.  One thing I can warn you about folks, is that when the jar says pitted olives, it means less pips not none.:=)  So watch out!  I had some supposedly pitted olives from a local deli, plus 2 different brands of jarred olives - they all seemed to have pips.  My poor old processor was being bombarded.

Recipe from


175g. (1 cup) Kalamata olives, pitted 

1 heaped tbs capers, rinsed and drained

3 anchovy fillets

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp lemon juice

ground black pepper to taste


Throw the olives in a food processor - (what? did you think I was going to do it in a mortar and pestle?  Do I look like someone's Italian grandma?- joking!)

Put the olives, capers and anchovies in the processor and blitz briefly till it starts to get smooth

Add the oil in slowly and steadily till it forms a paste

Pour in the lemon juice and blitz for a few seconds

Add pepper to taste

Eat that day or store in a container in the fridge for a few days 


Scrape down the processor every so often when blitzing

Add a clove of garlic if you desire

Some recipes suggest adding tuna?!?, or brandy or herbs - why not try them?

Whack in some sun-dried tomatoes for a change


chuck 'em in the blitzer

yep, looks like chocolate or something worse   

ready to go!

brown olive doodle 

Monday 13 March 2017

J's Atelier - Review

Am I alone in thinking this is not the best name for a Brisbane restaurant?  Hard to say, and hard to know what it means unless you've studied French.  And biggest problem is that it's not a French restaurant.  Apart from that minor linguistic quibble, hubby and I enjoyed our recent lunch here.  Lovely waitress, charming atmosphere - which is a bit surprising considering it is on a busy road, ensconced in some concrete shops - and tasty food.

from the deck looking out to the road and lots of trees  

The deck is surprisingly cosy and charming, with views out to the trees.  I bet that it is a very pleasant spot come the evening with less traffic, and lights glowing.  

mocha frappé $7

I had a frappé, thinking it would be a refreshing choice on a warm day.  You never quite know what you will get with these.  Some cafés just make them on ice, and some do the whole creamy thing which this was.  Not bad, and I did agree to the cream, so only myself to blame.  I mean that it was delicious, just a bit heavier than I should have had. Not their fault at all. But I would have liked a bit more coffee flavour.

blood orange soft drink $4.50

For a change, Mr P. had blood orange drink.  What? you say; no ginger beer?  Yep the earth has turned another day without imploding!

duck Maryland salad $24

I chose this salad.  (see my previous note on it being a warm day). Delicious duck, slightly crunchy grilled peaches, kale (sadly for me; regular readers know that I believe kale is the devil's work, and should only be fed to cows), fetta, spinach and walnuts.  I love duck so this was a perfectly fine meal for me on another warm Brissie sun-filled day.  Some of the duck pieces were a bit chewy, but mostly tender and tasty.  And I couldn't really taste the truffle in the dressing.   

mushroom miso cream spaghetti $18

Mr P. loves pasta, so this was a no-brainer for him.  The only thing he didn't love was that the pasta was a wee bit too al dente.  I tried it and I had to agree; just a bit too crunchy:=)  The truffle flavour was very mild (I had to remind hubby that it had truffle oil; I don't think he knew).  He said there were heaps of mushrooms - yes a good thing, but the sauce was a bit too sweet for him.

bowl of chips with aioli $6


There were no chips as a side on the menu, but we noticed that the kids' meals had them, so we asked if we could have a bowl.  They happily agreed and brought it with aioli without our having to ask. Very good aioli too; lovely garlic flavour which is not always the case in other eating places.  The chips were crunchy and very moreish.  

The Pickings' Verdict: tasty food, great service, nice atmosphere. We will be back, especially for those wonderful looking pastries. (We just wished they would turn down - or off!- the somewhat jarring music).

inside the café

You can get breakfast, lunch and dinner here, including a 5 course degustation menu for $75.  They are licensed, though I saw no sign of this at lunchtime.  Take the kids if you like, as there is a separate menu for them.  Don' t forget the dessert menu, and the daily Japanese pastries made in-house by the pastry chef.  Or is that pastries made by the Japanese chef?:=)   

Open Tues-Sun

Ph: 07 3856 5656
6/100 Days Rd., Grange 
QLD 4051

J's Atelier Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Thursday 9 March 2017

Aussie Olive Cake

I've had this recipe lurking in my files for quite some time, needing to be baked.  And now I have.  Not sure where it came from; perhaps an old Delicious magazine? Anyway, they call it Provençal Olive Cake, but hey, we're not in Provence, and I used good old Aussie olive oil and olives and wine!  It's just a big old muffin mixture really, slapped into one big loaf tin.

Such a shame my olive tree didn't provide me with any olives this year.  After lots of Spring rain, the tree was covered in blossom and I had high hopes for the harvest.  But the weather Gods had other plans, and a hail storm in December either knocked down or bruised my precious fruit.  I checked the remaining ones on the tree a few weeks ago, but sadly they were all pitted and bruised and no good for pickling.  Next year maybe...

full of the tangy taste of olives!

Makes 1 large loaf


300g. plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

4 eggs, lightly beaten

140 mLs olive oil

160 mLs white wine

2 tbs black olive tapenade

200g. Gruyère, grated

40g. small black olives, pitted and chopped

50g. leg ham. chopped

ground black pepper to taste - I used about 10 turns of the mill

1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)


Sift the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl

Make a well in the middle; add the eggs, olive oil and wine

Stir in gently with a wooden spoon till just combined - it doesn't matter if you can see a bit of flour here and there

Fold in all the other ingredients - gently!  Don't overmix

Spoon the mixture into a lightly greased loaf tin, lined with baking paper on the bottom

Bake at 180C for an hour or till a cake skewer comes out clean from the middle 

Let it rest in the tin for 5 minutes then flip it out onto a wire rack

Serve warm or at room temp; great the next day slathered in butter


Be adventurous here:  try green olive tapenade and green olives

I didn't have Gruyère so I used 100g. of Jarlsberg and 100g. of extra sharp Vintage

Buy a good quality tapenade or make your own; I made some for this loaf.  Recipe coming up next week on the blog

ingredients gathered  

eggs olive oil and wine go into the flour 

gently fold in the other ingredients  

spoon into a greased and lined loaf tin   

looking very edible after an hour in the oven @ 180C   

cool on a wire rack

cheesy and tangy and lots of olive flavour 

my olive branch doodle 

Sunday 5 March 2017

In My Kitchen - March 2017

Yay!  It's finally Autumn; happy days.  It may even have rained a few drops overnight. Sooo looking forward to some cooler days after weeks (months?) of endless sunshine and heat.  Nope, no global warming here (sarcasm; sorry the symbol is too hard-teehee. I mean really - have you heard of the percontation point?).

another retro cookbook from my niece at Xmas 

These old-timey-wimey (Dr. Who anyone?)  cookbooks are the bomb!  Full of great hints, and lots of handy info plus great retro recipes.  Love 'em!

further proof of my addiction to smoked salt :=)

I love love love smoked salt!  It makes me think of bonfires and cold, sharp Winter days, and childhood.  I grew up in some darn cold mountains, unlike my present life in sunny, humid Queensland.  So it's nice to be reminded of them.  And this company is based in the Northern Rivers area of NSW - my fave place!

local Scenic Rim olive oi; and mugs from our mate Brooke  

Mr P. and I headed to the Scenic Rim recently for a country drive and stopped to have a cool drink at Poppi's.  They had some local olive oil on the shelves, which I had to buy. Very grassy and spicy; quite delicious.  We also visited our mate Brooke at the Red Door Studio last month, and grabbed another couple of her lovely mugs. These are from the Ocean Shores range.

a gift from our Tassie mate 

Our mate The Piano Teacher gave us this wee gift on her recent trip up from the depths of Tasmania.  Thanks Miss TPT!

and thanks to our mates Lord N and Lady J for these 

Lord N and Lady J came by with gifts in hand.  A huge bunch of fresh herbs from their garden (sorry, forgot the photo), and these: a huge bag of cinnamon and these lovely pieces of cinnamon or maybe cassia? bark.  Looks like they are straight off the tree:=) And I mean that in a good way. 

gorgeous visiting niece with sweet Josie 

The niece came along one night for dinner (almost in our kitchen), bringing the sweet Josie with her.  Josie adored hubby on sight and was desperate to reach him.  Naughty gal jumped onto the table to get to his lap.  (the dog not the niece).

food? food?  what about me?

And last but not least, we have a magpie outside the kitchen.  Mr/s. Magpie comes along each afternoon begging for food.  S/he likes fresh meat, as do all the other birds around the place.  Even the ones I thought only ate seeds.  S/he does a little song as payment.

Join in with Liz from Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things in the monthly wander through some global kitchens.  You will always find something new and interesting, I promise.

Wednesday 1 March 2017

Spanish Tortilla And John Olsen

Potatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil and eggs.  That pretty much sums up a Spanish tortilla. Somehow the parts make up a very delicious whole.  I have been perusing the John Olsen A Recipe for Art book again, and found his instructions for this dish.  It says to take diced potatoes and onions (no garlic, no quantities) and cook in olive oil till soft. Then you crack 8 eggs, and add the eggs and potato mixture to a clean pan and cook till brown on the bottom.  Then you stick it in the grill to get brown on top too.  Plenty of room for interpretation there you could say:=)

I have sometimes used a recipe for tortilla from Bon Appetit magazine (no, I don't separate the eggs and whisk the whites separately as they do), but over time I have worked out my own way to make this.  And it is pretty darn tasty.  So here is my version of tortilla; still a wee bit laborious so get hubby to chop the potatoes and onions like I do.  Yep, sure, you can borrow him.


Serves 6-8:


1 kg. potatoes, diced into bite-sized chunks

500 mLs. (2 cups) extra virgin olive oil

2 large red onions (500g. approx.), finely chopped 

3 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped or minced

8 large eggs

salt and pepper to taste


Tip the potato chunks into a large frypan

Pour in the olive oil over the veg.

Warm up the pan on medium heat

Cover with a lid, reduce to medium-low and cook for 20 mins.

Now add the onions and garlic and cook for another 18 mins.

Let it cool for 5 mins. then tip the mixture into a colander which has been placed over a large bowl; you want to keep the oil!

While the veg. mixture is cooling, whisk 8 eggs in a large bowl

Tip the potatoes etc. into the eggs and stir in gently

Season with salt and pepper to taste

Grab an oven-proof skillet (large) and pour in 2.5 tbs of the reserved oil

Heat it up for a couple of minutes, swirl the oil around the pan, then add the potato/egg mixture

Cook for about 8 mins. till the bottom is nicely browned

Place the whole thing into a 180C oven and bake for about 25 minutes till browned and set - it will puff up so make sure your skillet is big enough

Take it out of the oven and let it cool for a minute or 2 

Cut into big wedges and serve with a green salad

Equally delicious cold the next day, and makes great picnic food


I used a mix of oils; mostly olive oil but a bit of peanut oil added in

I heated up a baking tray, then put the skillet on that in the oven as I was worried it might spill.  Came close:=)

Don't worry that the onion will look a nasty, virulent shade of blue-green the next day; no worries, fine to eat, just close your eyes

Use the reserved oil over the next couple of weeks; it will add a great taste to savoury dishes

peeled and diced 

ready for the pan 

oil starting to bubble

deliciously soft

golden brown and crunchy on top  

tasty my dears

John Olsen says he lived in Spain in the late 1950s on $14 a week! I don't think you'd get by for half a day on that now.  I just have to tell you how I first came across tortilla. When I was a wee young thing at Monash University I studied Spanish with a wonderful lady from Argentina.  She invited the class over to her house one night where we all indulged in some Spanish dishes and wine.  I may just have turned 18 so yes legal:=) There I tried this dish for the first time and fell in love.  I haven't made it often, but it is always a hit. And I still have the recipe booklet she gave us after all these years.