Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rice Paper Rolls and Beef Pies

Vegetarian Rice Paper Rolls
Do you ever go to a cafe or take away that just seems to have an odd, non-complementary selection of foods? I looove these vegetarian rice paper rolls from Stockman's Pies, not far from where I work. I have them a LOT. Their usual offering is only pork or chicken, but if I ring ahead they will make vegetarian ones for me and charge less for meatless.

The thing that is a little odd is they have a fabulous selection of rice paper rolls, chicken and beef pho and all things Vietnamese, but also a huge range of blokey meat pies.  And, they're well known for both. Add to that a cabinet of lamingtons, tarts, cakes and other sweet treats and I think we have Brisbane's most bizarre mix of specialty items in one shop.

They're still awesome rice paper rolls.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Nectar of the Gods

I really don't know what the deal is with that trucker hat

Meet my friend Tim. Tim likes Nandos. A lot. A lot, lot. He calls it "The Nectar of the Gods". So  when we catch up, we go to Nandos. I like Nandos, not the point I would elevate it to the gods, but their vegie burger and is nice and so are their chips. I'm also good with their spicy level, I find it acceptable.

I'm usually really good with spicy stuff, I can have the hottest of the hot and be OK, so a little harmless cob of corn should have been easy. This was hot. And I don't just mean a little hot, I mean burning my lips, tongue, inside of my mouth and down my throat hot with a burn that lingered for hours.

Was still nice though.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Peasantly Suprised

Photo from Peasant website

I absolutely LOOOVE tapas, but I've never yet left with the feeling that I've had value for money. I guess I compare it to yum cha, where the dishes range from $3-$6, so you can lots of variety and really enjoy the experience.

I'd heard a lot about Peasant at The Barracks. My foodie cousin Tehana raved about it and so did lots of reviews, so I was  pretty curious about it - how good could tapas really be?

My bestie Amelia was over from Dublin and she's always wanting to try new places when she's in town, so it seemed like an opportune time. Her poor hubby David caught a nasty case of gastro on the flight over, so what started out as double date ended up with just her and I on a girl's night.

Oh this place is divine!! Love the communal seating, and although it was chilly outside, it was warm inside and just dark enough to be cosy but light enough to still be able to see each other and your food. The thing that amazed me were the mix of people in there. 7pm on a Friday night and there were some super hot Gen Ys at the bar, loved up young couples in the booths, fellow Gen Xs, middle aged having a dinner party and young families with babies. Babies! It was the most bizarre mix of demographic I'd ever seen in a restaurant and yet no one batted an eyelid and it just seemed to fit?

The whole place was painted with fabulous murals, with an open kitchen giving just enough clang and clutter for that perfect atmosphere.  I've never been to Spain - is this what it's like over there? Cause I'm loving it.

The tapas dishes were $12 - $18 each...not loving that.  We started with 3. Well, I started with 3...with all the intentions of ordering more once I'd wolfed that down. I never imagined that 3 tapas dishes between 2 people would be nearly enough...especially if one of them was me.

We had:

Warm salad of cauliflower, greens, pine nuts, saffron and raisins.

Um...I can't remember what this was, I think it had sweet potato, but it was delicious!!

And chickpea & potato empanadas served with mint & cumin yoghurt

So, so good and surprisingly filling.  Didn't need anything else. Not even dessert. Sooo fabulous! Peasantly surprised ;-p. Am a tapas convert.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Asos Addiction

I'm officially addicted to Asos. The Australian dollar is so good at the moment, it's cheaper for me to buy online from the UK and have it shipped over here, than for me to go down to Queen Street Mall and pick something up from Myer.  Insane right?

This is my latest purchase, a silk stripe dress from Warehouse (apparently Kate Middleton likes this "High Street" brand, so I'm in good company with the Duchess).

It's got kind of a 70s feel about it. I'm loving's my new favourite dress. Until my next shipment...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Egg Bistro Brekkie

I'm not a morning person. I stumble out of bed and blindly claw my way to the kettle for a coffee before I coherent to anyone, and anyone is coherent to me. So, as much as I LOVE going out to breakfast, I HATE getting up early to get there.

You see my dilemma?

So, all the reviews I've been reading about Egg Bistro have been, "awesome breakfast, get there early on the weekends or line up." So I did. The ridiculously early time of 8am. And it was already busy and there were a lot of tables reserved. But as luck would have it that we got a table just as someone was leaving.

Nice atmosphere, buzzing with families and friends, the clanging of cups and cutlery and the sound of steam from the coffee machine. Nice wait staff, nice decor. PERFECT coffee. Tick!

For the THIRD time this month, I had haloumi. It was haloumi on soft polenta with marinated mushrooms and wilted spinach. So simple yet so delicious. Graham had a big breakfast and his hash brown looked sooo delicious, I had to have some. (Graham hates the concept of sharing food, BTW, but he's veeery good, and veery patient).

When the waiter came to clear the table, he said (in a very sexy French accent) "Enjoyed it, yes? You must have, I saw you taking it off his plate."


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ekka 2011!

August in Brisbane signals EKKA TIME! A time honoured tradition in Brissie, the Brisbane Exhibition is held for 2 weeks every year and affectionately known as "The Ekka". It started in 1876 and was more an agricultural show to showcase the latest industrial innovations but has evolved over the year and now has rides, attractions, deep fried, artery clogging food and overpriced showbags.

But we love it.

I went on the "Techno Jump" Ride with Josh
Josh and I have been going since he was about 7. He loves the rides, I hate them, but I love seeing his face and the excitement he has when he's on them. I promised to go on one ride with him and the "Techno Jump" seemed the lease likely to make me throw up. I didn't throw up, but I did scream the whole time.

This year we decided to go on "People's Day". The public holiday always on the second Wednesday of the Ekka. It was packed. It's the first time I've been on People's Day, normally we just go on the weekend. 80,000 people went that day, and it felt like they were all sitting on top of us. Some times, we were so crammed in we couldn't move forward or backward for a few minutes. We just sat there. Regardless, it was still fun.

These are the strawberry sundaes. They're another Ekka institution and an Ekka tradition for us. They're made from layers of vanilla ice cream, fresh strawberries (in the middle), strawberry ice cream, and topped with fresh cream and a strawberry on top! They're made to raise funds for the Prince Charles Hospital Foundation and each year they sell about 145,000 of them. We lined up for 25 minutes for one...totally worth it.

Another year another Ekka over. Love it.

On the way home...

Saw this just outside the house. Spring is around the corner. Happy face.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

More haloumi please

Second haloumi dish of the weekend. Haloumi salad with rocket and spinach greens with red onion at the Story Bridge Hotel. Delicious!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Crosstown Eating House

I don't know if it's good PR or just the buzz generated by patrons, but I've seen The Crosstown Eating House in the papers a lot lately and I was pretty keen to try.

I actually thought this place was more of a supper club, but I may have just read that from a journo that ate there during supper, I can't remember, I know the kitchen is open until midnight Thursday to Saturday, which is unusual for Brisbane, but I was still pretty surprised when we were in the Woolloongabba Antiques Precinct and it was open for lunch.

Fab atmosphere inside, decor wasn't out of the ordinary, but it was buzzing inside, the staff were happy and welcoming and the menu looked nice (a little pricey for the area I thought, but it does seem to be getting exy around there).

It was just after 12pm so we weren't hugely hungry, so the G and I (actually, just me) decided we'd share 2 starters. There were only 2 vegetarian choices on the menu so that wasn't difficult.

We had the pan fried haloumi with beetroot, quinoa, lemon and almond starter and the spiced eggplant, tomato, yoghurt, flatbread and roast lemon.  Both were delicious!  The haloumi was rubbery and squeaky and warm. The quinoa, lemon and almond salad it was on was served cold, which was kind of weird, but the beetroot was nice and fresh and definitely didn't come out of a tin.

The spiced eggplant was divine, even Graham loved it and he doesn't even like eggplant. It was served with just the right amount of flatbread, with a grilled lemon slice to drizzle.

Afterwards you can sit on the chair outside and look contented and this.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Breakfast with the Bestie

I seem to be spending loads of time in Ascot lately. They've started the brilliant Eagle Farm Markets at the Racecourse, which have divine fresh fruit and vegies, deli lines and flowers, and I go to my Hypoxi appointments there.

This particular morning I met my bestie Cheree at Gio's on Racecourse Rd. She'd gone to the Matilda Markets earlier in the morning with another friend who had just had a baby. The Matilda Markets are a very sweet, but very baby oriented market selling handmade children's wares. They thought I wouldn't be interested. They were right.

But breakfast...I'm interested. This was a corn fritter with poached eggs, wilted baby spinach and hollandaise sauce. Divine. Service was sooo slow, and sometimes non-existent, but the owner was apologetic and obviously had had a few complaints that morning, so I understand when you're let down by your staff.

Sometimes when I do things with Cheree, I wonder how many times we've done this before. How many times have we had breakfast? How many times have we met in some bizarre part of town to try a new cafe? Cheree's been my BFF since we were 13. We're 35 now. We went to school together. Uni together. We lived together and we've been through loads together. Especially breakfasts. And we just added another one to the tally. It's nice, right?