Monday 29 October 2018

Barolos Ristorante Italiano - Review

For some reason, I rarely eat in at Italian restaurants.  I guess it's because I'm thinking of pizza and pasta as takeaway meals.  But I was invited by Barolos recently to check out their new incarnation (sans pizza), and wow, I've been converted to dining in.  Mr P. and I headed off to a Friday lunch on a very hot day.  Barolos was a calm and cool haven.    

the front of the restaurant - with tree  

We were seated out on the glassed-in terrace where tables are well-spaced so you don't feel cramped, and the chairs are a good height.  (I don't know how many times I sit in cafés and restaurants feeling like a midget, head peering over the table.)  We were brought sparkling water, which was replenished regularly.  Service was polite and efficient without being effusive. 

We started with a Coke for Mr P. and a glass of NV Belstar Prosecco from Italy for me.  Nothing nicer than a glass of something cold and sparkly on a very hot day.  

As we didn't want to get too full, we tried smaller amounts of different dishes.  We shared a pane di casa with truffled butter, and a bruschetta con funghi - a bit of a mushroom fest you might say:=)  These were just delightful, and this is me the non-bread fan saying this.  The breads were soft and easy on the palate; no razor-sharp crusts, thank goodness.  The mushrooms and goat's cheese were full of flavour, creamy, buttery and very moreish.  As was the pane di casa, which held some of my fave tastes like the sweetly caramel garlic whip and smoked sea salt.  It had a real punch of flavour, and I was glad we had asked for a smaller portion, as I would have kept eating it given the chance.       

delicious breads

From the Primi Piatti menu, we chose calamari fritti and insalata caprese.  One of the owners made sure we knew that the basil was green rather than purple as "purple wasn't good enough today."  My calamari was tender and well-seasoned, if just the teensiest bit too salty for me.  It came with a fennel, rocket and orange salad which was refreshing and well-dressed.  Hubby loved his salad of tomatoes, basil and buffalo milk mozzarella.  He said it was wonderfully fresh and well coated with the dressing, though we both found the dressing a wee bit bland.  He also would have liked a few more basil leaves.  

tender and fragrant calamari

fresh and healthy salad

And we kept eating ... We shared a small serve of fried gnocchi, garnished with fried sage leaves.  It sat in a delicious puddle of pumpkin cream sauce, with some scattered goat's cheese.  The gnocchi had a crusty coating and a soft, pillowy, potatoey inside.  These were delicious, my friends.  I don't think I've ever had gnocchi that tasted so much of potato (and we loved it), and it was amazingly good.

fried gnocchi with pumpkin cream sauce

rigatoni with chicken in a tomato cream sauce

Now I am not usually a big pasta fan, but the rigatoni suited me to a T.  It was al dente, with lots of bite, which I adored.  Mr P. likes his pasta a little less bitey, silly man.  The chicken pieces were breast meat, tender and moist, nestled in the creamy tomato sauce, and finished off with parmesan shavings.  I loved this dish!  And I am also a woman who doesn't usually like tomato sauces, so there you have it.  I have been seduced to the wild side here at Barolos.  

panna cotta with toasted coconut gelato

I often try panna cotta just to be perverse 'cos I know it will be bad, and I want to see how bad.  But if I'm really really lucky, it may be fabulous.  And yes my friends this was super fabulous.  The best panna cotta I've ever had.  See those beautiful vanilla seeds, and the gorgeous gelato sitting on that beautiful plate?  I know it's hard to see here, but it was a beautiful, swirly, rounded plate, showing off this amazing dessert.  The panna cotta was sweet and wobbly, and the gelato gave it a wonderful counterpoint with its toasty bits of coconut.

By this time, hubby and I were full to the brim, and having to hare off to another appointment so we declined tea or coffee.  We had enjoyed a really delicious lunch, and will definitely dine again soon with a couple of friends.  So if you're after a beautifully-cooked meal with delicious flavours, in a calm and attractive setting, this is the place for you, my friends.  

Pickings' Verdict: 9/10

function room

They also have a beautiful function room at the back of the restaurant, apparently an old office space, now a very attractive room.  I think you could have a fabulous time here with all your friends, making whoopee.

looking back into the attractive restaurant from the terrace seating 

red wine decanter

I couldn't resist taking a pic of this beautifully rounded wine decanter.  They have an extensive wine list here with many Italian offerings.  A variety of cocktails are also on offer.  

Thank you to Barolos for the kind hospitality.  (But all opinions remain my own.)

P.S.   Free 2 hour parking is available nearby, either on the street or across the road, and under the next door building.

Ph: 07 3371 5727
41 Sherwood Rd., Toowong 4066
Hours:  12-3pm; 6-11.30pm Mon-Sat

Barolos Ristorante Italiano Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday 22 October 2018

Cream-Cheesy Ginger And Lemon Tart

I had some mascarpone and cream cheese in the fridge recently, so I whipped up a tart.  Ooh, that sounds kinda kinky, doesn't it?:=)  I wanted to use some of the naked ginger I had lurking too.  Crikey, this is getting even kinkier.  But it wasn't a kinky tart, honestly.  I first made this with a shortcrust pastry base but Mr P. says he prefers a biscuit crumb version so here we are.  I really like the one that Nigella uses for her Nutella cheesecake, so I've adapted that.  Well, used hers pretty much, but without the nuts, and with added ginger.  The great thing about this tart is that everything is done in a processor - easy peasy lemon squeezy.    

delicious not kinky at all tart

Recipe by Sherry's Pickings:

Serves 8:


For the base:

250g. digestive biscuits or similar plain biscuit (I used McVitie's)

75g. soft (not melted) butter

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 tbs of Nutella or nut paste of your choice - I used Lindt paste

For the filling:

1 x 250g. tub of soft Philly cheese

1 x 250g. tub of mascarpone cheese

4 tbs (c. 50g.) icing sugar/powdered sugar

1-2 tsp of vanilla extract

zest and juice of 1 lemon   (my lemon gave me 45 mLs)

zest of 1 orange

zest of 1 lime

40g. naked/uncrystallised ginger, chopped very finely

30g. dark chocolate drops

For the topping:

2 pears, sliced thinly - or use a 410g. tin of pear slices if you can't get/be bothered with fresh ones

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 tbs brown sugar

2 tsp butter

2/3 of a Flake bar or 2 tbs grated chocolate



Break up the biscuits roughly, and throw them into a food processor 

Add the butter, ground ginger and nut paste and give it a good whizz

Now pulse till you have  clumps of damp, sandy stuff

Press into a 22 or 23cm. springform pan that you have lined on the bottom with baking paper

Whack it in the fridge while you make the filling


Spoon the cream cheese into your food processor (no need to wash it after making the base), and give it a quick whizz

Now add the mascarpone and icing sugar, and whizz together

Add the vanilla and the zests and pulse briefly

Stir in the ginger and the chocolate drops - do it in the processor bowl and save washing-up:=)

Spoon onto the base and level it out a bit

Refrigerate overnight

The next day, do the topping:

Toss the pear slices with the cardamom, ginger and brown sugar

Tip onto a lined baking tray

Dot the butter over the pear slices and bake at 180C for 12 minutes, then flip them over and bake for another 12 mins

Flip and bake longer if not tender

Let them cool completely on a wire rack

Place artistically over the top of the filling

Break up the Flake bar over it all, or sprinkle your grated choc over


Feel free to use a plain nut paste without chocolate if you wish

My tablespoon holds about 12g. of icing sugar.  If you're using a U.S. spoon, it holds about 8g., so use a couple more spoonfuls:=)

I ended up blitzing the ginger till almost a paste, but you can just chop very finely

Just FYI - the filling sets very softly, so you get a lovely, creamy result 

base ready to be refrigerated 

zap the filling and add the zests

level the filling over the biscuit base 

bake the pear slices at 180C

the next day, arrange the pear slices over the top and add the chocolate 

smooth and creamy and a wee bit spicy    

pear artwork by sherry's pickings     

Monday 15 October 2018

Potato Rösti - My Sister's Way

This post is brought to you courtesy of my sister.  I've managed to do my ankle in (not sure what's wrong) so I've been limping like a 100 year-old woman (who could not jump out of the window and disappear.)  I asked my sister if she could kindly whip up a blog post for me, so she made her famous potato rösti.  My nephew was extremely grateful that I asked her, as it meant he got to eat rösti for his dinner.

golden and tender

Our mum and dad used to make a version of latkes/rösti when we were kids.  Dad bought this fabulous kitchen gadget to grate the potatoes.  It was fire-engine red, plastic and had a handle that you turned manually once the chunks of potato went into the funnel of the machine.  Not sure which brand he bought, but it was like this Skyline one from India.

photo copyright Flipkart               


10 medium/large potatoes (about 2 kg/4.4 lb), grated coarsely

2 large eggs, beaten lightly

2 tbs plain flour

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 tbs Parmesan cheese, finely grated

1 tsp chicken stock powder

60 mLs olive oil

Salad and relish to serve


Grate the potatoes into a large mixing bowl

Add the 2 beaten eggs

Now whack in the rest of the ingredients

Give it a darn good stir together

Heat the oil in a large frypan

Form the potato mixture into patties or just throw in as one humungous pattie:=)

Cook on a medium heat for 15-20 minutes, then flip it/them over - (if you're making small patties, cook for about 10 mins. per side)

Cook on the flip side for another 15 minutes, or till tender

Serve with a salad and a relish


Don't worry about the size of the spuds too much!  It'll be all right in the end, and if it's not all right, it's not the end:) - as John Lennon may or may not have been the first to say

peel your potatoes

and grate those tuberous little suckers   

et voilà - grated potatoes

beat those babies

everything goes into the mixing bowl 

squish it down in your pan

flip it out when golden and tender

Sis said to say she is in the midst of kitchen renos at the moment, so only has an electric frypan to cook in.  Sadly the rösti stuck a bit.  No worries, mate:=)  Still tastes fab of course.  You can have a big slab as a main, or cut into smaller pieces as a side.  Goes well with chicken or beef.  Not that my vego sister would do that:=)  

serve with salad and relish

Thanks heaps sis for your help!  I'm still limping around, but hopefully the ankle will be a lot better soon.

sis and her newest granddaughter earlier this year

potatoey artwork by sherry's pickings

Monday 8 October 2018

Maple Mousse With A Twist

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!  I didn't realise till recently that Canadians celebrate on a different day to the U.S.  For some reason, it's the second Monday of October.  I did a bit of research, but I couldn't really fathom why this day.  Just kind of arbitrary and spontaneous it seems:-)  No Pilgrims or wild turkeys involved here.

I've made this mousse a couple of times before, but I decided it needed a bit of texture (as the MasterChef fellas always say).  I thought of praline - nah, too complicated for a Sunday morning (yes, I made it Sunday).  I thought of nuts, toasted pecans in fact, so that is what I made.  And here it is for your delectation, to celebrate Thanksgiving the Canadian way.

creamy and nutty!

Mousse recipe from the Toronto Sun; nutty topping by Sherry's Pickings:

Serves 4-6:


For the nuttiness:

100g. pecans

1 tbs maple syrup

big pinch of sea salt

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp (a small knob) butter

1/8 tsp vanilla extract

For the mousse:

1/2 cup (125 ml) maple syrup - use the real stuff, my friends

3 large egg yolks 

1 tsp (corn) cornflour - not the wheat one

1 Canadian Tbsp (15 ml) rum or 1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract

1 cup (250 ml) whipping cream


Tip the nuts into a small mixing bowl

Now add all the other nutty ingredients

Stir well and place on a lined baking tray 

Bake @ 180C for 8-9 mins; put aside to cool

Chop into small pieces, but leave a handful of larger bits for the top

Now for the mousse

Put the maple syrup, egg yolks and cornflour in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan which has a couple of inches of simmering water in it

Whisk these together in the bowl

Keep whisking gently until mixture becomes paler and thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon - about 6 mins

Remove from heat; chill over large bowl of iced water, whisking occasionally

Whisk in the rum or vanilla

Beat cream to firm peaks, and stir about a third of it into the maple mixture

Add about 2/3 of the nuts, and stir into the mousse

Spoon the remaining cream over the maple mixture and fold together gently till nicely mixed - don't go wild here

Spoon into small dishes or bowls

Sprinkle the rest of the toasted nuts on top of the dishes

Cover and refrigerate until set, about 6 hours - but even better the next day


A Canadian tablespoon is 14 mLs, but I think we can get away with using 15!

Freeze the egg whites for another day for pavlova, meringue, sorbet and so on

stir the nuts with the other ingredients

bake your nuts @ 180C for 8-9 mins 

deliciously nutty

Happy Thanksgiving Canada!

Canadian Moosey artwork by Sherry's Pickings

Sunday 7 October 2018

Butcher Baker Bangalow - Review

If you know anything about me folks, you know I love the Northern Rivers area of New South Wales.  And I'm rather fond of Bangalow, a sweet little village only 15 kilometres from Byron Bay.  It's become extremely trendy over the last few years, with lots of big city visitors stomping around in their expensive sunglasses and designer jeans.  Oh for the good old days, when you could zip into the local hardware store on the main street, and buy a pair of shiny blue gumboots!

Mr P. and I often stop in to have a wander around, say hi to our friends who run the art gallery, and grab a bite to eat.  We noticed on one of our recent trips down, that an old fave had morphed into Butcher Baker.  Heading to Ballina, we stopped here for some lunch on our way down last month.  

gotta love that sense of humour 

Mr P. had booked a table, so we got a nice little one set between large windows, with a view up the entire café to the front door.  Staff were friendly and helpful, and settled us down with menus and water.  We were seated next to the kiddies' table, so had fun watching some young ones drawing and playing. 

the usual set-up

Strange how we've all come to accept that cutlery and napkins are kept in a tub on the table!  Never mind, the staff made us feel welcome, even with the plastic ivy and ferns :=)

strawberry thickshake $8.50 and Super Fuel $9.50   

I went a bit all out there, and didn't have a coffee!  Instead I chose a Super Fuel smoothie, which has banana, dates, bee pollen, psyllium husks et al.  Yep I know what you're thinking: has she gone mad or been replaced with an alien?  The gal who hates banana and dates?!  I confess I have never been a consistent creature, so there's no explanation for it.  This drink was not bad; quite filling and tasted pretty good.  Hubby had his usual strawberry thickshake.  We were both surprised that it seemed to be made on a commercial syrup, rather than frozen fruit (seeing as how this place looks to be alternative and kinda healthy.)

warm chicken salad $22

Yep, another healthy choice for me.  What is the world coming to?:=)  From the Large Plates on the menu, I had grilled chicken, smoked beetroot, roast pumpkin, lettuce with honey turmeric dressing.  The dressing was tangy and bright.  Quibbles? - the chicken was in tiny strips which made it hard to get any real flavour from it.  I did expect big chunks, to be honest.  The salad was fresh and tasty, but there wasn't as much flavour from the pumpkin or beetroot as I expected.  I like food that has a real punch, especially when the menu says it has been smoked or roasted.

Mr P. had a peanut saté veg. burger $20 

Here he is helpfully showing off the pan-fried lentil veggie peanut pattie.  Looks a bit odd, but he loved it.  He said it was crunchy and flavourful with great texture.  Plenty of the tasty ("tastes real" said Mr P.) shoestring fries with the burger.  Thank goodness the waitress suggested we didn't need extra fries.  Loved the enamel dish that the burger arrived in.  Cute as heck.  Mr P. said the leafy bits of lettuce were hard to handle, and kept falling out of his bun.       

lots of sweet goodies here 

How good were we?  We didn't indulge in their enticing, sweet treats, some of which are vegan as you can see.  

The menu has Large Plates which includes fish, lamb and pork in various guises, as well as a beef, bacon and cheese burger.  (And my salad.)  You can also eat from the Tapas menu, which has bread and dips, potato latkes, mushrooms, brussels sprouts, Spanish meatballs and assorted dishes.  There are various organic drinks, and cold pressed juices, along with tea, coffee, shakes and wine.  Don't forget wine!  Also locally-brewed beers, and some less local wines from France, Tasmania and so on.   Oops, nearly forgot to mention the hot sandwiches like tuna melts, B&E roll et al.  And the cocktails.  And the kiddies' menu.

long, narrow building with horizontal boards ceiling  

I love these old shops in country towns.  They're often long and narrow, sometimes with pressed metal ceilings.  I think this part of the building may have been the residence, with the shop at the front.  All in all, we had a pleasant stopover for lunch, with tasty and healthy food.  The staff were welcoming, and there was a lovely, family-friendly atmosphere.  Oh, and did I mention they were the AGFG Readers' Choice Winner for 2018?

love the pressed metal ceiling

Opening hours: Sun-thurs 7-4/Fri and Sat 7-5.30

Ph: 02 6687 2088
13 Byron St., Bangalow NSW 2479

Butcher Baker Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Monday 1 October 2018

In My Kitchen - October 2018

I'm getting started on this post early as we are going away for a few days; Again!? - as some people might say.  We are heading to Toowoomba, the city up the Range, which holds the Carnival of Flowers each Spring.  The gardens are being kept alive with bore and tank water, as we are in the midst of a bad drought out west.

Mr P. and I have been to Tasmania this month, so I have a few goodies to show you.  Tasmania has such pristine waters, and is unspoiled for much of it.  The produce is great, as are the baked goods and other delicious things to eat.  They also have a few breweries and distilleries, so you can indulge in wonderful, local brews when there.  Our friends who were in Tassie at the same time, came home with a suitcase rolling with several bottles of local gin and whiskey:=)

Here in my kitchen:

Lindt cocoa powder and hazelnut paste

We went out to the airport last month, dropping off a niece, so I thought I'd duck into the DFO to grab these.  Delicious and nutty hazelnut paste with way more nuts than the usual brand.  It actually is quite different, and takes a bit of getting used to; not so sweet, and not so moreish, but healthier perhaps?

lavender lollies

Not everyone likes their lollies tasting like Granny's drawers (get it?  get it?), but I really love these.  We visited the lavender farm at Bridestowe in northern Tasmania.  While the flowers were not blooming, and it rained gently, we still enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate overlooking the blooms to come.

delicious nuts

These are prize-winning, lightly salted Tassie nuts.  Sooo fresh and light and nothing like the ancient stuff you buy in the shops.


These were ... interesting.  I wouldn't choose them again, but they were okay.  The cashews were soft in texture, so with the soft chocolate coating, they became an exercise in sucking rather than chewing.  Perhaps a toffee or brittle coating would be better?

housemade onion jam

One of our fave cafés in Hobart is Jackman & McRoss, where the bread and pastries are fabulous.  Cold climates always have better baked goods, don't you find?  This is their house-made onion jam, great on all sorts of dishes.

Tassie sea salts

I have a big collection of salts of varying flavours, so I couldn't resist adding these to it.  Can't wait to try the beetroot and radish one!

Tassie olive oil

I bought this at the Launceston Farmers' Market, which was a really fab market.  They had a lot of different produce to the kinds we get up here in Brisbane.  Well, not surprising as we are in a sub-tropical climate, whilst they are in a temperate one.

yep, it's a gravy boat

Our friends The Barrel-Makers (not their real name or occupation) decided it would be fun to buy me this at the Salamanca Market in Hobart.  Yep I think you're right; this has to be the weirdest, most crazy thing you've ever seen.  Those are seagulls believe it or not.  And yes it really is that wonky in shape.  But thanks Miss M; it's great!

Feel free to join in IMK this month everybody with your own wonky, weird stuff.  I would love to have you here.  (Linky finishes on the 13th of the month at 5pm, FYI).  

Here are the options for adding your IMK posts.  In order for me to add your posts (i.e. if you prefer that I do it), I must have your email address.  Inlinkz now 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


    An InLinkz Link-up


Sherrys Pickings