Monday, August 30, 2010

Moo Moo The Wine Bar + Grill

On Wednesday 28th July, a group of 20 Brisbane food bloggers / lovers met at Moo Moo for a truly wonderful 3 course meal with wines!

We were separated into 2 round tables of 10, which were located in side by side rooms. The decor was very bold and quite masculine, perfect fit-out for an elegant steak house, bar and grill. *another dining area, in the adjacent room to ours, I forgot to take pictures of our actual table...

The rooms are dimly lit, but it definitely adds to the overall atmosphere of the restaurant. Apologies for the dark photography! We had individual wait staff and a wine station within the room itself, how convenient! I was expecting one, maybe two glasses of wine with dinner, but they were very generous and we had our glasses topped up regularly throughout the meal.

Moo Moo graciously designed a 3 course set menu for us! Sarah (from I Ate Brisbane) and I excused ourselves to take some pictures of the restaurant before our entrees arrived!Busy busy chef's making out delicious feast!!

Oooh, looky looky! Moo Moo have a wall of glorious hanging Charcuterie, which would be making an appearance in our entree!!
Ah ha! Our tasting plates are being assembled, we rush back to our seats! More wine, and very shortly our entrees were brought out.
Definite highlights of this platter were the pork belly (of course!) as well as the tempura coated zucchini flower, which was stuffed with goats cheese and walnuts.
Onto the mains, I ordered the 300g dry aged sirloin, which was served with potato mash and gorgeous asparagus spears. The wait staff also came around with a variety of condiments for our steak. The "moo moo" was cooked medium rare (more rare than medium) and just to my liking. While not the best steak I've ever eaten, the sirloin did have a great flavour and I really enjoyed it paired with the horseradish and also their seeded mustard.

Unfortunately, my archaic camera ran out of juice before the dessert course! Ever the dessert fiend, this was my favourite of the night! Hot fudge sauce was poured over the luscious chocolate brownie by the wait staff, and the crunchy honeycomb pieces held such a great texture against the smoothness of the rest of the dish.

Such a fun night! After desserts, we all piled into the other room so we could chat with the neighbouring table of 10. The chef came and chatted with us while we ended the night with coffee's and the last of the wines.

The tardiness of this post means that the next Bloggers dinner has arrived, tonight! We are headed to The Gunshop Cafe in West End this evening for what is sure to be another memorable evening!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Oyama, Fortitude Valley

We really love sushi. I mean, it's like serious between us.. Jake, Sushi & I.. total BFF's. So naturally, when his birthday rolled around towards the end of June, his first choice was Sushi Train! However I made the subtle suggestion that *maybe* we should venture somewhere a little different for such an occasion, and he happily obliged. We are so crazy, instead of Sushi train, we went wild and booked into a Japanese restaurant instead. Woahhh, we live on the edge!

We headed over to Oyama on Wickham Terrace on Friday night and were seated in a lovely corner table with a good view of the restaurant. Oyama has 3 sections; a sushi bar with fresh sushi made to order, a Teppanyaki bar (so much fun!) and normal a la carte dining.

We ordered Yakitori as a starter, which is basically chicken peices on skewers. Super prompt service, however I felt slightly uncomfortable as the lovely staff seemed to linger / hover over our table. Almost immediately after we had finished the last skewer, they had whisked away our plates! Prompt service is normally welcome, however this just seemed a little abrupt.

We also both ordered tempura prawns and vegetables, which were absolutely delicious! Lightly battered, sooo crispy and hot! Jake ordered his with rice, and I decided on udon noodle soup. The noodles were perfectly slippery and the soup was perfect with the crispy tempura. We really enjoyed our meal, I just wish it hadn't felt so rushed!!

Afterwards, we headed over to the Mana Bar (aka Nerd Bar FTW!) for birthday cocktails and games! They have really delish cocktails, my fave was definitely the Mana Potion We played guitar hero and some punchy fighty game. Such a fun fun little club, we have been back a couple of times since, it's always a good time! *see random video game in background? weeee, fun!!

Lunch on Q

Recently, through the help of twitter and facebook, I was been lucky enough to come in contact with a group of fellow Brisbane food bloggers. These social networking sites get slammed quite frequently, but I hold nothing but fondness for them, as they provide a wonderful avenue to connect with like minded people and make some new friends.

I met up with a group of 5 other food lovers for lunch at Restaurant Two during Lunch on Q in June. For only $35, we enjoyed a two course meal with wine! Such a glorious treat, as Two is generally out of my price range for lunch.

Main course was either Braised Channel Country Beef Cheeks, Red Vegetable Puree, Mushrooms and Onion Jam or Grilled Jacob’s Well Prawns, Asian Salad and Nam Jim.
I chose the beef cheeks, and boy was I glad I did! I had never tried cheeks before this, and for some obscure reason I had the idea that "cheeks" were referring to a part of the cows bottom, when (shock horror) they are LITERALLY the cows cheeks! Further reading and research later confirmed that I am not the only person to make this mistake... so yay for me I guess.

Anyway, if you ever get the chance to order beef cheeks, DO IT! They were so tender and just fell apart at the touch of the fork.
Heavenly beef products = hallelujah!
It should be noted, that beef cheeks run the risk of being incredibly tough if they aren't cooked slowly at the right temp. An amazing mains, and a testament to the talented chefs at Restaurant Two. The second highlight to this dish was the onion jam, which was thick and caramelised and I loved this flavour paired with the tender beef and juicy mushrooms.

For dessert, we had a choice of Mt Tamborine Rhubarb, Apple and Pear Crumble with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream or a selection of farmhouse Cheeses, Quince Paste and Biscuits. Being the sweet toothed, candy loving gal that I am, I chose the crumble for my second course. This was lovely, the crumble had a great texture and the warm fruits were beautifully offset by the delicate, smooth ice cream. So decadent for a mid-week lunch! I didn't manage to take any pictures of the meals as we were all enjoying the company and conversation... and the delicious food!

I have been so stupidly busy lately with uni, work, life, etc and have completely neglected eyecandycarousel, hence the incredibly belated post. Hmmm, only 10 weeks late... woops!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Le Tour de France – Bonjour from Stage 6!

Saturday, the 3rd of July marked the beginning of the 97th Annual Le Tour de France! The route changes each year, with the current tour beginning in Rotterdam, and concluding in Paris at the Champs-Elysees.

Barbara from Wino's and Foodies put a call out for bloggers interested in taking part in a group project. Her idea was to assign each person a stage of the Tour, for them to then research the destination city and choose a recipe from the area to prepare and write about.

It is with great pleasure and enthusiasm that I share my contribution to this project! Stage 5 was beautifully covered by Jeanne from World on a Plate.
I have been assigned Stage 6, which begins in Montargis, with the destination city of Gueugnon.

Gueugnon is a small country town located in the SaĆ“ne-et-Loire region in South Burgundy. With a population of only 8,300, Gueugnon is known for it’s iron and steel industry, as well as a strong farming culture devoted mainly to the breeding of Charolais Cattle.

Delving into the depths of this glorious French region, it became apparent that the town of Gueugnon does not boast any specific recipes of note. For this reason, I chose to look more at Burgundian cuisine in general. The classic recipes of Burgundy make use of local fresh produce and commonly include beef and red wine. The most famous recipe from the area has to be Boeuf Bourguignon, which consists of beef marinated in red wine and slow cooked with various vegetables. Such a glorious dish!! However I decided I wanted to try and find a dessert recipe from Burgundy to showcase here. I doubt I could master Boeuf Bourguignon on my first try, as I’m certainly no Julia Child, or Julie Powell for that matter!!

Anne and Kerry Guy from Wine-Tour France discuss some beautiful local recipes from the area, and paid mention to a classic Burgundian dessert called Pain d’Epices, a kind of sweet, honeyed gingerbread.

This recipe is said to originate from Marguerite of Flanders, the Duke of Burgundy’s wife, who had a particular fondness for honey cakes. Apparently, during the 1300’s, the Dukes of the region had control of the spice trades, and therefore had access to the gorgeous flavours of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger, etc. This enabled them to develop new recipes for the beloved honey cake, including these lovely new spices.

I followed this recipe, but modified it slightly.

• 2/3 cup honey
• 1/2 cup hot milk
• 1/2 cup butter, softened
• 2 cups self-rising flour
• 1/4 cup granulated sugar
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
• ½ teaspoon ground ginger
• ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
• ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
• ½ cap vanilla essence
• ½ cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
• 1 egg

Preheat an oven to 180 and butter baking pan.
In a small bowl, mix together the honey, hot milk, and the butter; set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
In a separate large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, dry spices, and nuts. Whisk the egg into the warm milk and honey mixture.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir together until the batter is thoroughly moistened throughout, add the vanilla.
Pour the batter into the buttered baking pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the cake tests done 1/2–inch from the centre.

The cake turned out beautifully, and was delicious with a lashing of cream and a drizzle of some lovely warmed honey. This kind of cake really benefits from a luscious syrup to pour over the top, as it is quite dry on its own. The flavour of the roasted hazelnuts paired with the magnificent spices make for a lovely, sticky cake!

Howard Hillman describes the cooking of Burgundy as relatively uncomplicated, as it relies mainly on the high quality of the local ingredients for which the Burgundy countryside is famous. This sums up much of the French cuisine, such a strong focus on local, fresh quality produce.

It was an absolute pleasure to be apart of this project, and a huge thank you goes to Barbara for facilitating the entire idea! I now have a lovely sticky cake and a divine smelling kitchen to show for it!

I hope you now enjoy the next stage of Le Tour, to be covered by Eliza from Gastronomy Gal. Visit her blog to learn more!

Au Revior from Moi!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Brisbane's blessed with brownies

I've already blogged about my adoration of the Jan Powers markets. Taking a break from the Uni computer labs to wander the markets stalls and peruse all the yummy goods has become one of my favourite mid-week activities!

I now feel I need to devote a post to my favourite stallholder - Dello Mano!
On my first visit I was amazed at how generous their staff are with samples and are so friendly and chatty! I ended up buying a classic brownie and I swear to blog I almost melted with happiness! THE.MOST.AMAZING.BROWNIE.EVER.
They have gorgeous flavours, including classic belgian chocolate, espresso walnut, honey caramelised macadamia, coconut & lime, ginger & orange and gluten free classic.
I favour the classic brownie and especially love the large chunks of chocolate in the base. These go beautifully with a cappucino or chai latte, and I have been known to crumble them into my Quickoats... but I think that's just me.

The owners of Dello Mano are always a pleasure to speak with and it's delightful to see two people who are passionate about what they do, and they do it so well!
Visit their website, visit the markets, visit them in Newstead - but you MUST try these brownies, they are pure chocolate love... in my opinion :)

Buffalo wings won't you come out tonight..

I blame my husband. Three months travelling around the USA lead to many many meals of Buffalo wings, blue cheese dressing and celery sticks. As a result, I have regular cravings for them and am always looking for that authentic spicy buffalo sauce and thick, creamy blue cheese dressing. I've made my own many many times, with great success, but sometimes you just want to eat out!
Blue Smoke BBQ at New Farm was the most exciting restaurant find for my husband and I since he moved over here! They smoke their own ribs, and make delicious wings with varying degrees of spiciness. Apparently they have just finished a refurb, and we are both dying for another visit!

On our way home last week we both had a craving for wings, but knew Blue Smoke was still closed. We decided to try The Fox at South Brisbane, as I heard they changed their menu to a more American BBQ / Smokehouse style. MLH ordered 10 wings, Nuclear style and I ordered 10 in Traditional. Apparently their "mild" sauce is not actually buffalo sauce, but it's a smoky BBQ flavour. I looked longingly at the homemade Pumpkin Pie, but as I wasn't actually all that hungry I decided it could wait until next visit!
I have to say, Blue Smoke need not worry about any fierce competition in the wings department. The Traditional sauce was a lot spicier than I was expecting, and the wing portions were small. I also found the blue cheese dressing to be a little watered down.

I enjoyed the wings, but couldn't help comparing them to Blue Smoke! I hear they are open for business again this week - Hooray!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

King of Kings

My dear friend from Perth is visiting this week, and I spent a glorious Wednesday afternoon with her in the Valley. We lunched at King of Kings, and then wandered and gossipped and shopped. I am in conflict over where to get the best Yum Cha in Brisbane.

This was my first visit to King of Kings. I had heard both rave and mediocre reviews, and so was curious to see how it would measure up.
We chose prawn dumplings, chive pork and prawn dumplings (above), BBQ pork buns, steamed crap dumplings (below) and sesame balls with red bean paste.

My favourite dish was the BBQ pork buns, although I can never say no to these! The ones at King of Kings were smaller than I'm used to, but they serve you 3 instead of 2. The filling was lovely, and not too sweet and the buns were gorgeously soft. We also chose the mango pancakes for dessert, however I took one bite and couldn't finish it! They were much larger than I have seen elsewhere, and as a result they were filled with far too much cream and not enough of the mango.
I think my favourite Yum Cha is still Landmark at Sunnybank, but I also really enjoy China City Seafood and also Beijing House, both on the Queen St Mall. Beijing House is great on weekends, all plates are $3.80!
I meant to take photos of all the dishes, but by the time I realised, we had eaten most of them. I am still new to this food blogging world!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Little Hong Kong, Sunnybank

I had a lovely, quiet day today but wanted to go out to eat, so MLH and I braved the chilly, windy weather this evening to have dinner at Market Square!
We walked past all the restaurants before deciding on Little Hong Kong, in the middle of the centre.

As soon as I saw the glistening birds hanging from their hooks, I knew what I wanted - Roasted duck with greens and egg noodles!

MLH ordered the BBQ Pork with steamed vegetables, rice and plum sauce, and we also ordered some spring rolls. I didn't try his pork, or the spring rolls because I was too busy with my mountain of egg noodles. He said the pork was nice, but it didn't really taste like plum sauce. The spring rolls were very crispy and looked lovely and freshly cooked.

Our meals came out within 5 minutes, which was impressive as the restaurant was completely full! Wait staff were helpful and the prices are excellent for the size of the meals. Our bill was about $26 for 2 mains and an entree.
Ahh hooks of delicious crispy meats - this is my ultimate food porn :P

I love love love Market Square, it's always busy and fun and I never feel like I'm actually in Brisbane. Next visit I will be heading to Little Singapore. It was PACKED full of people and as we walked past, the sight and smell of everyone's meals was incredible!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Lazy Saturday

The last 2 weeks at uni have been so crazy! I had 2 assignments due yesterday and have been leaving early and coming home late to get them finished.

I cannot express how wonderful it was to wake up of my own accord this morning, rather than to the lovely latin dance number I have set as my alarm. Despite the overcast weather, I went for a mid morning walk to get some fresh air and exercise.

My local block of shops is pretty lame.. They have a foodstore, post office, chemist etc.. but the building is kind of run-down and old. Since I've lived in the area, the Fruit and Veg shop has changed owners about 3 times, and the last owner had debt collectors after them, and were only operating for about 2 weeks.

When a friendly looking family bought the shop a couple of months ago, I was so worried they would go out of business too.
On my walk today I went inside to have a browse, and I am TOTALLY in love with their store!!! I am so proud to have such a gorgeously decorated and beautifully stocked fruit shop in my suburb!

The women who run the store are so friendly and chatty, and they have outfitted the shop with trinkets, and stocked fresh yogurts, honey, sauces and cheeses. I was sorry I only took loose change with me, but bought some amazingly fragrant basil to bring home. I will definitely be making more regular visits, so impressed!
Next time, I will ask to snap some photos for my blog!

For lunch today I made my low-carb favourite, and used the gorgeous basil aswell. Deli ham and cheese rolls :) So cute with the fresh basil! Yum :)
Sitting back with my laptop, watching Food Safari on YouTube and perusing my favourite blogs.. I sooo needed this!

Heading out to dinner tonight with MLH. Still undecided as to where we will go.. I feel like sushi train, or maybe ribs, or um... something awesome?
Rest assured, there will be photos!

Cat on a cold carport roof

Today just started out strange... It's not that anything particularly odd happened, actually it was a completely uninteresting day... even so I literally felt 2 steps behind myself. What does that even mean?

I have this weirdly OCD morning routine which goes something like this -
Wake up (always too early). 15 minutes of stretches. Make breakfast and coffee (always 2 cups, as one is never enough with breakfast). Read blogs, check email, FB, twitter etc on my laptop which finishing breakfast. Shower. Stand infront of my closet from anywhere between 2 - 20 minutes while deciding what to wear. Check handbag for essentials / check weather for umbrella, scarf, etc. Leave house.

Honestly, to conclude this day with the appropriate level of weirdness - there is absolutely no point to this post WHATSOEVER.

The only thing I can attribute this to is the fact that as I was leaving the house... there was a cat on our carport roof. Staring at me.
Cat. Staring. There isn't usually a cat. But today... staring.

Yeah... definitely OCD.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Jan Powers Markets, CBD

Gorgeous Brisbane weather and delicious sweets from the CBD markets today = perfection!

I skipped lunch and had desserts instead!

First stop: Louey's. His market stall has two cabinets with mini cakes and tarts. So so so adorable. I chose the rasperry white chocolate tart and the caramel tart. LOVED the raspberry! Shortbread shell, raspberry mousse, white chocolate ganache, topped with a tangy raspberry coulis-type topping. The caramel was also lovely, topped with white chocolate.

Also sampled a vanilla and chocolate custard canolli from the awesome guys at the olive stand. One end has vanilla custard, the other chocolate, and the inside of the pastry is coated with crackly dark chocolate. So good! I asked the boys if they make the traditional ricotta canolli's, and they said they make them to order only. Picking mine up next Wednesday! Thanks guys :)

Chocolate end. Yum :) They advised me to eat the vanilla side first... because the chocolate is so much better! I loved both, but tend to agree :)

Lastly, a slice of dark chocolate and raspberry cake on a hazelnut crust. Oh my god...this was SO great. Now my only problem will be resisting the urge to visit this stall every week!
Today was so deliciously indulgent and I felt very justified venturing out into the cold tonight for my walk with MLH!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Asian Grocery - Win!

Why do I love grocery shopping so much? I wonder if other foodie type people enjoy this as much as me. My lovely husband (who I shall affectionately refer to as MLH) occasionally does the weekly shop, and becomes similar to a truck with no brakes. He is on a mission from the moment he grabs the trolley, and seriously, old ladies stay clear! He just really despises the whole event.

For me, it's like a stroll through the park. I am completely unaware of other shoppers, unless standing next to someone in an aisle, when I will more than likely strike up a random conversation about mayonnaise or something.
I absolutely love the process and it really leads me to better understand the whole hunter / gatherer concept!

Anyway, I spend alot of time in the city and find myself quite often browsing the Asian supermarkets around town. Today I went into Formosa Asian Market on Mary St.

These places fascinate me because all the food looks delicious and I can't read any of it, so my imagination really goes into overdrive! What is in those lovely frozen buns?! Make your own Dim Sum - Yes please!

These look like mooncakes, but I don't know. And also there are these sesame covered glutinous rice cake thingies that look yummy. What fun!

CANDY!!!!!! It's all so pretty and seems so much brighter and kookier than the regular candy... but again, this could just be simply because I can't read the labels and make up my own instead.. hehe.

They have peanut mochi! Om nom nom! I love anything with peanuts or red bean! So good.

Blogs and books

I seem to read food and fashion blogs more than I read actual books of late. Having said that, I am always in the middle of at least 2 books. I think the positive thing here is that I love love LOVE to read!

While on my afternoon stroll, I paid a visit to one of my favourite places in the ciy, Archives Fine Books on Charlotte St.

This store is great, the whole place is packed from floor to ceiling! It's quite large, with a great back section that houses my favourites - cookbooks and travel writing. They also have a really great Sci-fi / Fantasy section!!

Yay, knowledge!

Gah, I really love this place. I can EASILY spend 2 hours here without a second thought. I ended up with a lovely looking travel novel by the Author who wrote Under the Tuscan Sun (great movie!!).

Being the dreary, overcast day that it was, my next move was naturally over to Zaraffas for a Cappucino and the first 2 chapters!

Loving the book... but it's doing absolutely nothing to stop those pesky travel urges!

My pretty city

It's nearing the end of semester for Uni, so naturally I'm reaching catastrophic levels of procrastination!

In between studying at QUT Gardens Point, I took some time out for a relaxing stroll through the city. Sooo good to clear my head!

I love Gardens Point campus because it's right next to the Botanic Gardens. It was overcast and cold today, but a walk through the gardens seemed to suit my mood perfectly.

So random, I hadn't ever seen this statue before. Also I didn't realise how many fitness groups there are in the gardens around lunch time! It almost made me want to break into a run or start doing jumping jacks or something... almost.

Another discovery today was the Tea Room in Old Government House. They have the CUTEST mini cupcakes, for only $1 each and some pretty pretty tea's. Definitely making a visit for High Tea with the girls from uni after exams!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Finally I popped my blog cherry!

I made a blog!

After months of browsing through many many MANY local, interstate and international food, fashion and travel blogs I have decided to make my own.

To be honest, I'm not entirely sure what direction to take this. I have become absolutely fascinated with the food blogosphere recently, and they have opened my eyes to new restaurants and recipes both locally and abroad! I would like to contribute in some way to this weird and wonderful world!

I think the first step to making sure I keep this blog enjoyable and sustainable is to invest in a new camera. I need a new phone, so I will probably make do with that until I can afford an actual camera.

Reflecting on the numerous blogs I read weekly, I have started to wonder -
a) how will I afford to visit enough places to make my blog interesting? I fear I will run out of money in the hope of creating something people will want to read and something I will enjoy posting.
b) actually there is no b), I'm pretty much just concerned with the cash-flow problems at this point...

Meh! That's laters problem!

What I really want to document and share are things that give me joy, pleasure and are beautiful and meaningful to me.
I often spend an afternoon after uni classes walking through different parts of the CBD, Southbank, West End, Paddington etc, just exploring the area, shops, cafes and restaurants and watching people.

There are so many great things about Brisbane, I just want to share my thoughts with others and capture each wonderful experience!

Here's to food, fashion, travel and good times!