Monday 25 June 2018

Todd And Pup - Review

Todd and pup?  Sounds like a foxy kind of place.  You know: tod = male fox.  With a baby fox on the side:=)  Okay, stop sniggering now.  Intrepid hubby and I ventured out on a beautiful autumn day recently to have lunch on the ‘other’ side of town. Todd & Pup is in a quiet residential area of Moorooka, which gives the cafe a serenely calm atmosphere. We sat out on the front deck area, with just enough sunshine to keep us warm. Service was prompt, friendly and efficient. The charming young lady took our orders with a smile, and brought our meals quickly.

friendly ladies who do a great job

Hubby chose the sweet potato and halloumi stack. He loved this dish. He said that though it didn’t look huge coming out, it was actually a substantial meal. It looked very pretty on the plate, too. The fried eggs had a sunny, runny yolk just the way he likes them; the pesto plus fresh basil leaves gave it a delicious zing, and the sweet potato and halloumi were generous pieces. His organic ginger beer was a winner too, if a little less gingery than he likes.

halloumi and sweet potato stack $18

I chose the G & T Benedict: gin cured salmon, with poached eggs, pickled cucumber with finger lime pearls, and hollandaise on rye. This was really tasty, with a combination of flavours that really popped. My slight quibble is that I found the salmon slices a bit too thick for my taste. The eggs were beautifully runny, and the hollandaise was luscious. My Peanut Butter and Choc freakshake was just that bit too big and oversweet for me, but I enjoyed the flavour combo. We shared a bowl of nicely salted chips with aioli. I found the aioli tangy, but a wee bit bitter. Mr P. said he didn’t, so clearly it depends on your palate. 

G & T Salmon Benedict $19

Look at those beautiful finger lime pearls!  They pop in your mouth.

chips with aioli $10

ginger beer $4

PB & Chocolate freakshake $8.50

A few weeks later, Mr P. and I met up with a friend here for lunch.  The Winter menu was currently in play.  We were pleasantly surprised when the waitress not only remembered us, she also remembered what we'd ordered.  Now that is a lovely way to start lunch.  I wasn't feeling all that well, so I kept away from freakshakes; instead I had an iced tea with rose and cardamom.  This really hit the spot, refreshing and not too heavy for my weak stomach.  Mr P. and Lady Shakespeare chose a milkshake each, strawberry of course for hubby.

strawberry milkshake $6

iced tea with rose and cardamom $6.50

caramel milkshake $6

Mr P. went for an Aussie burger this time; of course beetroot is involved.  This was a hefty number, with bacon, fried egg, lettuce, tomato, cheese, BBQ sauce and aioli on a brioche bun.  He loves lots of sauce and relish on his burgers so he was happy about this.  Sadly, he wasn't as impressed with this burger as he had been with his first visit's veggie stack.  He said it was fine, it had what you expected in an Aussie burger but it just didn't give him as much of a thrill.  

Aussie burger $19

the inside of hubby's burger

Lady S. went for the halloumi stack, which was in a new incarnation this time.  It looked very pretty on the plate with poached eggs and squares of halloumi on top.  But to be honest, we both thought it had looked prettier the first time round with the sweet potato on top, and eggs sunny side up.  There's just something about a stack:=)   

halloumi stack $18

I chose Breakfast Okonomiyaki, a Japanese pancake with pulled pork belly, edamame (soy beans), bonito flakes, pickled red cabbage, spring onions and Japanese mayo.  Oh, and an egg or two.  This was a nice, light dish that went down well on my tender stomach.  Perhaps a wee bit too much of the bonito flakes?  I just couldn't finish it as my tum was starting to say: "Enough."  Nothing wrong with the meal itself.  I was impressed that our waitress noticed I hadn't eaten a lot, and asked if all was okay.  It was, but my tum wasn't :=)

Okonomiyaki $18

This café cum coffee shop cum restaurant offers tasty food with a difference.  Service is very good, and the atmosphere homey and welcoming.  I'm sure we will venture over that side of town again to try more dishes.

splendid day to sit out on the deck

I love that this café is dog-friendly with water bowls and doggy icecream available. There were a few children with parents when we were there, so it felt like a warm and family-friendly place to be. All up, we had a very pleasant lunch (both times), in a quietly sunny area, with delicious and generous food.  N.B. They also do Friday and Saturday night $10 burger specials.

Our (first) lunch was courtesy of the owner - thank you!, but opinions remain my own.  Second lunch was paid by Mr P. :=) 

Ph: 07 3892 6691

398 Tarragindi Rd.,
Moorooka 4105

Tuesday 19 June 2018

Chelsea's Caramelised Red Onion And Cheese Scrolls

Bravely I am trying out another of Chelsea Winter's recipes from her book Everyday Delicious.  I say bravely, not because her recipes are bad, but because she tends to be a bit cheffy.  I think it must be the Masterchef effect, where she wants to be seen as more than just a home cook.  Anyway, we will see how this one goes.  I love a savoury scone/scroll, so let's hope this is a goodie.

cheesy, onion scroll

I've found in her recipes, including this one, that she underestimates prep. time mightily!  She says this will take 25 minutes prep., and 20 minutes cooking.  Well yes, the bake time was 20 minutes but the prep time was waaaay more than 25.  The onion jam alone took twice that, by the time you gather and chop and cook.  Anyway, just take note and be aware that it will take a bit of time to make these.

Serves: 8 - 12 scrolls


for the onion jam:

50g. butter

a good splash of olive oil - maybe 1 teaspoon

4 red onions, finely sliced or zapped in the processor

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

a large pinch of sea salt 

3 tbs (30g.) brown sugar

3 tbs (45mLs) balsamic vinegar

for the scroll dough:

2.5 cups (310g.) self-raising flour

1 tsp sea salt flakes

1 large egg, lightly beaten with a fork

3/4 cup (185mLs) of milk - you may need a bit more 

50g. butter, melted

2 cups (250g.) cheddar cheese, grated

1 cup (125g.) Parmesan, grated

olive oil to drizzle over


Melt the butter for the jam in a frypan over a medium-low heat

Add the olive oil and onions

Stir the onions for 10 minutes until they are starting to go soft

In goes the garlic; stir for a few minutes more

Now add the salt, sugar and vinegar

Give it a good stir and keep stirring for at least another 10 minutes - you want it to be thick and jammy

Add more salt if you like, and put it aside to cool down

Now make the dough:

Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl

Make a well in the centre and add the salt, egg, milk and butter

Fold it gently with a knife till just combined

Add a splash more milk if it looks too dry - I did

Tip it out onto a floured board and quickly and gently knead it till you have a smooth dough

Roll it, or pat out with your hands till you have a rectangle about 1 cm. thick

The cool onion jam goes over the top of the dough, to the edges

Sprinkle with all the cheddar and half the Parmesan

Roll the whole thing up carefully, so you end up with a log like a fat little baby

Seal the ends with milk, and cut into 2-3 cm. slices

Place them on a lined baking tray, cut side up (i.e. horizontally rather than vertically)

On goes the other half of Parmesan, with a drizzle of oil on each scroll

Bake for about 20 mins. at 190C/375F till golden and oozy

Serve warm, with a splash more olive oil on each if desired


I suggest making the onion jam on one day and the scrolls another, unless you have heaps of time - or maybe, just buy a really good quality onion jam

I used a small (U.S.) tablespoon for this as the balsamic is very strong

You may think the amount of cheese is excessive but believe me, it just seems to disappear in the baking, so don't scrimp

gather your ingredients for the onion jam 

peel and roughly chop the onions for the processor 

looking good with the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar

ingredients gathered

fold the dough gently together

spread the jam and sprinkle the cheeses

all rolled up like a fat wee baby

spread out on the tray for baking at 190C for 20 mins.

and baked! ready for eating warm

So yes these were delicious - hearty, and sweet and savoury all at once.  I snuck a bit of butter on one the next day too.  But honestly, I will probably just buy some onion jam next time!

onion artwork by sherryspickings

Wednesday 13 June 2018

Nigella's Quadruple Chocolate Loaf

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate and yes another chocolate!  Since we've just had Nigella on Aussie TV recently, I thought why not jump on the bandwagon and make one of her cakes?  I've been using her books for years, and Feast is one of my faves.  I think I've made nearly every recipe in this book, including most of the cakes.  All except this one, for some odd reason.  So here we go; let's see how it went.  (Yep, good!)     

ready to bake


For the cake batter:

200g. plain flour

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

50g. cocoa powder

275g. caster sugar

175g. butter, softened (not melted)

2 large eggs

1 tbs vanilla extract 

80mLs sour cream

125mLs boiling water

175g. dark (or milk) chocolate chips

For the syrup:

1 tsp cocoa powder

125mLs water

100g. caster sugar

25g. dark chocolate, chopped/shaved with a knife or veg. peeler


Grab your food processor and throw in the flour, bicarb, cocoa, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla and sour cream

Give it a good whiz till you have a smooth batter

Scrape down the sides and pour the boiling water down the funnel while you give it another whiz

Remove the lid and the blade, and stir in the choc chips

Pour the batter into a lined, large loaf tin - I used a paper loaf-tin liner, while Nigella says to use greased foil or just clingfilm

Place the loaf tin on the baking sheet that you have already put into the oven at 170C

Bake for about an hour

About 45-50 minutes into the bake, make your syrup

Put the cocoa, water and sugar into a small saucepan

Bring to the boil, and simmer for about 5 minutes

Test the cake with a skewer; don't worry if it's a wee bit damp

Put the tin on a cake rack, and joyfully pierce the loaf all over with the skewer

Now pour the lovely, reduced syrup over the holey cake

Let it get completely cool then take out of the tin

Throw the chocolate shards over the top, and cut into pretty slices


In Feast, Nigella uses clingfilm to line the tin, but the online recipe says to use greased alfoil.  Clingfilm is fine in the oven, apparently.  But tin liners are the easiest:=) 

I simmered the syrup for a couple of extra minutes so it was slightly thick

Nigella says to bring everything to room temp. but we have to be a bit careful in sunny QLD 'cos it is hot!  and you may end up with salmonella:=)

Her recipe states to use unsalted butter but I actually like the tang from salted butter - so there, my fine friends :=)

I didn't have any dark choc bars in the pantry, so I used a Flake bar - I know, lazy but still good:=)

My loaf tin is 23 x 12.5 x 6.5 cm. (9 x 5 x 2.5 inches)

gathered ingredients

everything except the choc chips goes into the food processor

yep, I want to eat it with a spoon too!

ready for the oven @170C for about an hour 

let the syrup simmer for about 5 mins. (or 6-7)

tip the chocolatey liquid all over your holey cake 

ready to eat:=)

artwork by sherryspickings

Thursday 7 June 2018

Than Nuong Vietnamese Restaurant And Bar - Review

Vietnam is quite the trendy place to visit these days, but since I'm not heading there in the foreseeable future, it was pleasant to have an invitation to dine here at Than Nuong (meaning Charcoal) recently.  I chivvied Mr P. and Princess Pia into coming with me, not that it took much persuasion.  Princess Pia has travelled there in recent times, so was happy to check this restaurant out.  Mr P. of course always loves a good nosh-up (plus he was the designated driver.)  


It was a chilly night, but there were a fair few diners regardless.  And even though it is on a busy road, the atmosphere was warm and inviting.  Menus were handed out, and water brought out promptly.  

loved the pretty lights on the tables

I can never go past a fairy light, and these were so pretty in the glass jar.

Princess Pia had a nice glass of Heirloom Coonawarra Cabernet $12

Princess Pia was very taken with this red wine.  She loved it, and said it was delicious.  Yep, I tried a sip even though not a red wine drinker - pretty darn tasty.  Hubby enjoyed his soft drink (bringing back the childhood memories.)

sarsaparilla for Mr P.

I had a glass of La Maschera Rosé ($8).  Oops, no photo.  It went well with the food, as it is a light wine, and doesn't clash with the spicy flavours of the food.   

veg. spring rolls $9.20 for 4

Mr P. was very enamoured of these rolls.  He said they were the best he'd ever had.  Very fresh and zingy with the herbs and the chilli sauce.  Crispy, golden casing and a tasty filling.  I had a bite and liked them too; perhaps not as much as he did, but they were good.

soft-shell crab $11.70

This was a delicious plate of crispy, deep fried, tempura-battered crab.  Silly me, I hadn't realised how large this entrée plate would be.  Neither Princess Pia nor Mr P. eat crab so I had to eat it all by myself!  I think the Princess was a wee bit horrified about eating it shells and all, especially the legs:=).  She bravely tried a bit - "without legs."  This dish had great flavours and textures, and was a generous size - great value for money.    

Hoi An Pho $18.80

Both the P's chose pho for their mains.  Hubby had the house special in a medium size (still gigantic), while the Princess had a medium-sized rare beef pho ($17.60).  She loved it!  Well, they both did.  The Princess said it tasted as good, if not better than the ones she had had in Vietnam.  Mr P. being a pho virgin, thought it was fabulous.  His dish had beef brisket and the shredded beef.  It may not have been very photogenic (he said), but it tasted "gorgeous, tender and spicy."  They loved the spicy scent of star anise.  The owner told us that the beef broth is cooked for eight hours, giving it a wonderful depth of flavour. 

pho accompaniments

Mr P. said the broth had such depth of flavour, that when you added the herbs and sprouts and the sauce, "it just exploded in your mouth.  And you couldn't stop eating."

lemongrass chicken with vermicelli noodles $22.40 

You can choose vermicelli noodles or rice or rice paper with your mains.  I chose the fine noodles, which come out like an incredibly thin pancake.  The peanuts and fresh herbs added a lovely bit of texture and zingy flavour to this dish.  

with chilli sauce accompaniment

I enjoyed adding a fair whack of the chilli sauce to my chicken.  This dish was a leetle bit bland for my tastes, but very tender.  I found it just a bit limp, sadly.  I was expecting a crisp coating on the chicken, but that's my misconception really.

a sampler of desserts to share

Not sure what these desserts were.  Clearly there is red dragonfruit, which was pretty and refreshing.  The tart on the left had a condensed milk and passionfruit filling I think, which I really liked.  The pastry crust was very hard, and not easy to cut with our spoons.  The soil/crumb had a wonderful taste, though I'm not sure what it was - pistachio maybe?  The latticed pie on the right had a raspberry and perhaps coconut filling.  We all enjoyed a sweet treat after our mains.  

We had an enjoyable (and tasty) night courtesy of the friendly owner, who sat and chatted to us about life and restaurants and Vietnam.

The Pickings' Verdict: 8.5/10

Great flavours, friendly service, good atmosphere, generous servings.

(Sherry's Pickings was invited to try out this restaurant.  All opinions remain my own.)

come inside folks

Open till late Tuesday to Sunday.  They also do deliveries via Uber Eats and Deliveroo.

Ph: 07 3036 2630

Shop 5/159 Logan Rd., Woolloongabba 4102

Than Nuong Charcoal Vietnamese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Friday 1 June 2018

In My Kitchen - June 2018

Well June, you came hurtling down the calendar mighty fast, didn't you?  Winter is calling, and it's finally getting a bit cool here in sunny Brisbane.  Glorious weather, sunny days, bright blue skies and crisp nights head our way.  Or you can get rainy skies, like today (as I write).  Either way, it's nice to enjoy cooler temperatures, and a humidity level under 70% :=) 

artwork by sherry's pickings 

So here we go again, folks.  I'll just get the housekeeping out of the way first.  As you know, there has been a change to Data Protection laws in the EU, which started on 25 May.  So if you have a blog or website that is read by anyone in the EU, you have to comply with their rules.  My blog (and yours) now has to have a new warning/notification come up about cookies and so on.  And depending on where you are in the world, you will see this, or not.  Hilariously, I got an email from Google telling me they had put up the notice for me - except I can't see it 'cos I'm not in the EU.  I had to ask an English friend to check it for me.  Yep Aok.

Phew, now that's out of the way, let's look at some new bits and bobs in my kitchen:

just a few goodies

For some reason, it's really hard to get caperberries these days at the supermarket, so I ordered them from an online provisions store.  Plus a couple of other delicious goodies, as you can see.  I just can't stop opening the fridge and sneaking a caperberry or two.

little red jug

This cute little jug was a gift from my cousin.  She knows how I love a jug.  Oops, please ignore the dust.  

some more olive oil to keep me going 

I love to have different kinds of olive oil in my pantry, so here we have hojiblanca, which means white leaf.  This is a Spanish cultivar, which has aromas of cut grass and artichokes, apparently.  I haven't opened it yet, so I can't confirm one way or the other.

my Gromit tea towel

Any Wallace and Gromit fans out there?  I am, so I had to get this cute tea towel.  Oh, and of course Gromit himself.  He is actually much bigger than this photo suggests.  He is currently acting as The Kitchen God, overseeing my culinary efforts.  You know, that Chinese/Vietnamese domestic god who protects the hearth and family.  Though Gromit is not of the pertinent ethnicity, his doggy protection is most welcome:=)

have a guess?

Yes you're right.  These are paper loaf tin liners.  I was so happy to find these in a local appliance store.  I have a thing about lining baking tins, so this is a relief.  Just butter the tin, and pop this in!

Martin Boyd Pottery ramekins, filled with lemon cream 

For those not familiar with the Boyd name - they were a well-known Australian family of artists, sculptors and potters, though Martin was actually a writer.  Apparently these ramekins were very popular in the 1950s, when nearly a million were made.  They come in a huge range of beautiful colours.  I love the design, and the way the interior colours are different to the exteriors.  I have been going a bit crazy making lemon creams, and chocolate pots in these little beauties.

our new one burner hotplate, with the grill pan in the background 

I know, this is kind of weird to show you, but we are so pleased with it.  I really don't like frying, and I hate to have grease flying about the kitchen, so we bought this!  Mr P. takes it out to the deck and happily cooks away on his grill pan.  Et voilà, you throw away the brown paper with all the grease on it.

That's it for this month from me.  Happily waiting to hear from you, my friends.  By the by, I have decided to change the end date for IMK this month.  I know, I know, I'd only just changed it last month.  But - as the Millennials say - epic fail :=)  We actually had less participants, even with more time.  Now the end date is 5pm on the 13th of the month.  Subject to change at a later date - tee hee.

Once again, here are your options for adding your lovely IMK posts.  Oops, a wee bit more housekeeping.  Inlinkz, the linking tool I use for IMK has updated recently.  So in order to add your posts (i.e. if you prefer that I do it), I must have your email address.  Inlinkz demands one!  I used to be able to leave it blank, but no more.  I am happy to do this for you, but just let me know and leave your email address too.

1. Adding via the link button at the bottom of this post.  Instructions can be found on the sidebar of this page, under Add your IMK link
2. Comment on this post, providing a link to your post so I can add it to the linky list below
3. Email me:, with your link or any queries about the link process

Ed: Still having problems with my blog and comments and the link-up folks.  Sorry about that.  It seems the only way you can see all the links (and be able to open them) is to hit on the line below where it says "an inlinkz link-up."   This brings up all the links.  Hopefully I can fix this all up soon.  Very frustrating atm!  Cheers sherry

    An InLinkz Link-up

Sherrys Pickings