Friday, October 14, 2011

Coffee (prices) in Brisbane

I'm not particularly a snob or aficionado when it comes to coffee. I do drink soy, primarily because it doesn't make me feel sick, secondly because I like the taste (and I don't like the taste of milk), and also, it uses the processing of beans, rather than cows. But I do like and eat cheese and ice cream, and cream, with stuff (hello, everything goes with cream), so I'm not going to attempt a moral highground.

Anyway, in Brisbane, coffee and food is expensive compared to Melbourne, and when you are a soy drinker it's generally more so. To find a soy coffee for under $4 is a rarity, so, this post is one of a few that will tell you where I find coffees to be drinkable, good value, and such.

My #1 coffee in Brisbane right now, of the places my life takes me:

Cup 2 Go, coffee cart at Central station: $3.50 (takeaway only).
'no extra charge for soy, decaf or marshmallows!'

 They have a cute sign out the front. They use merlo beans, which are probably my favourite beans in Brisbane, and they use the red/original Vitasoy, which these days has added calcium, yay. Most importantly, I really like their coffee, which is $3.50 for a normal size, or for a large keep cup, which I have. If you get a large paper cup it's $3.75. (Did you know you can get a medium coffee in a giant keep cup? The blue ones, anyway, have an 8oz line. I often use that.)

They also have a cute guy behind the counter, at least on Mondays (ahem, just the one, not like at the Frisky Goat). And a lovely girl who seems to be there most days. The staff are all really good, they know what they're doing and they are always pleasant. And, they are open reasonable hours, like, til, 4 or something, I don't know, but I once tried to get coffee with a friend at about 3:30pm, and everywhere in the city was closing. Wt. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Leavain Bakery

I haven't actually been there yet, but this post is basically an ad for Leavain and their wonderful wonderful bread (and brownies). I really particularly enjoyed a spelt and walnut roll.

I've discovered Leavain through Jan Power's Farmers Markets in the city on Wednesdays. If you go there, you might see the Russian-seeming man that preaches something that sounds a bit like communism. I've also seen him at Central station.

Anyway, here's a link to a decent post on an interesting site - by someone that has actually been to Leavain. With a photo. :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Just discovered

Green & Black's, 85%.

Best chocolate ever.

(Someone told me something recently about the ownership of Green & Black's? something not good?)

Monday, August 15, 2011


Stanthorpe is home to the Big Apple.

 And dogs and cats, resident at wineries, cidery, cheese place, Jamworks, a lavender farm, a Bramble Patch, and such.

Most of these photos speak for themselves, I think, and maybe tell the story as well, of my weekend there a few weeks ago.

Sutton's cidery was the first place we went on a bright Saturday morning. Plenty of juices, apple brandy, as well as a dry and a semi sweet cider. I bought a bottle of semi sweet.
Those are real apples.

 My favourite thing I bought in the whole weekend might have been the wooden board I got at the cheese place. Actually I wasn't blown away by the cheeses generally, and thought them a bit on the steep side, but that's probably just me. I did quite like cheese no. 2, Pepato, and bought a chunk of that.
After cheesing, we went to this liqueurs place, Castle Glen, which had about a billion kinds of liqueurs. To be honest I was a bit put off by the outside of the place. Look at it.
Summit wines (they had a restaurant and a cat. I saw neither)
Summit also have a delicious merlot and an insane chocolate port 'Cocovino' that tastes incredibly like Cottee's chocolate topping (too much for my taste).
I really do want to recommend, though, that you go to Felsberg. For the food and the view, even if you're not into wine. The haloumi was beautiful. The burger looked great, and the pizza did too.. and I sTILL want that cake. (One of our party was still full from breakfast, and didn't want to spend too much money, so decided on cake for lunch. Worked out well for her!)

The wine is great though. We got 6 bottles between a few of us, and were given a free bonus bottle. We chose the Gewürtztraminer because it was wonderful :) and drank it with lunch.

LOOK at that Ganache. Yes, with a capital G.
We thought it was pretty cute that when Miss S picked up her fork and spoon there was a stencilled... space.

In the garden at Felsberg

At Tobin you learn a lot from a passionate winemaker. I think you appreciate the wine all the more for it. It's a bit of a boutique place, where the grapes are handpicked and the merlot is intense. The wines are named after grandchildren :) I bought a bottle of the Luella Plum Cabernet for cellaring (or cupboarding).

The Jamworks bear. (Jamworks: relishes, chutneys, jams, curds everywhere. They didn't have their Apple Butter out for tasting but I bought some anyway on recommendation from a veteran Stanthorpe foodie tourist.)

The Bramble Patch.

In the rain. It was very beautiful, especially after what I felt had been a hectic weekend really. Trying to get to everywhere before they closed. 

Below - Symphony Hill. I think they have wines there, too. Their sparkling chardonnay would certainly suggest so. They also had a great gewürztraminer.
Not sure I even got photos of the olive place (with the fudge place). By the way, this dog is not the dog from the top photo - the top photo's one was at the lavender farm, the bottom's is from Symphony Hill wines.

That box in the pic is half full compared to when I brought it home, by the way.

Stanthorpe is highly recommended.

P.S. Just saw a post from Deb on Smitten Kitchen about fruit butters - hers being peach butter - check it out, especially if you haven't met a fruit 'butter' before. I hadn't. (It has no butter, egg, or any opaque thing in it. More like a jam.) This peach butter looks rather good.
The thing about apple butter not having butter IN it is that you can have butter WITH it. Or, as I have yet to do, put it on a crepe with some icecream and fold the thing up. Mmm, would not mind some of that right now.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Calcium has two allotropes, says Wiki

I've been thinking more about a few things, including propaganda of various kinds, particularly since the other day - we were standing at the bus stop and I made a joke about how a particularly plump bird nearby (not sure what kind it was) looked good to eat. Then I remembered that one of the friends I was with was vegan, and said sorry.

And he laughed, and said why should I be sorry, and something about being sorry for me because I was going to get bowel cancer from having rotting meat sitting in my bowel for 6 days at a time; a remark that sounded extremely like something out of Skinny Bitch. I was - maybe unreasonably - gobsmacked. I gave a shocked laugh and said I get plenty of fibre, water and exercise, thankyou very much, and I can't believe you just said that.

That was the best I could do at the time. But he seemed so AGGRESSIVE in that moment, and it actually really freaked me out.

This got me thinking about some value things. On my friend's blog, he has a recent post about some things that bother him about other vegans, and some omnivores' attitudes towards veganism. In another post, he also mentions not wanting to kill and maltreat animals 'just so I can eat'.
I want to make it clear that I have no problem with veganism - there are many things about it that I admire.  And I hate the idea of 'factory farming'. But I take issue with the implication that people's eating is not important. I believe that whatever kind of diet you eat, and lifestyle you lead, somewhere high on the list of priorities should be health. Your own as well as the planet's and all the creatures on it. (And I mean HEALTH, not being skinny, which is popularly marketed as health.) And of course part of health is wellbeing, which doesn't come about by obsessing to the point of getting stressed and ranting at people.

Sometimes considering the ethics of eating, it occurs to me and other thinkers/writers that eating meat/animal products - and also eating plants - has shaped our evolution in some ways, such as the use vs. disuse of our appendix, the length of our intestines, and as the meat ads on TV say, something or other about the brain. But maybe if we are designed to eat meat, we need the nutrients we get from it, like B12 and heme iron? Of course it seems there are other ways of getting most things. For ages now, though, the dairy issue has fascinated me. Especially as more meat and dairy is consumed in countries where it hasn't previously been such a part of the culture.

And I am somewhat lactose intolerant, which has also contributed to investigations about this. (Ironic on a blog named as this is, I know.)

Anyway, I've read dairy propaganda and vegan propaganda. Everyone wants you to buy what they're selling. And it may be the academic in me, but when I see a reference from a journal called 'AnimaLife' or similar, it seems a little bit dubious. As is a reference from a meat or dairy association. And nearly all of them are, because if you've got a vested interest, you're going to do the research, aren't you, but you're also going to talk about the evidence that makes your point look good and the other irrelevant.

The cry goes round my mind, again and again, 'Are there no objective investigations into this?'

I have found a couple of pieces with a pretty neutral tone, that also make it possible to feel you understand the principle of the thing, because attempting to Wiki calcium just makes me wish I'd kept doing chemistry past year 11. Anyway, thank goodness for LiveStrong. Have a look. And also the tone of a level-headed Singaporean vegan, whose thoughts on the issue (of calcium and bones) make sense and are beautifully written and, actually, who has just posted today on why some vegans are so angry, which I'm not writing on today, but have been thinking about.

Also, can anyone else put the science of this calcium-leaching issue into a clear light? Or got a reference that explains it slowly and clearly?

P.S. My attitude, from my mum, remains 'everything in moderation.'

P.P.S Phrased differently, from my dad: 'The best diet is a good vegetarian diet. Plus meat.'

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

winter comes to an end again

Not that I have anything seasonal to write about really.

Except I LOVE navel oranges in season.

This post, by the way, has no larger coherence. (Local coherence it has got. I know about this because of a doubly interesting talk I attended last year in a Research Methods class. But that is a tale for another time and place.)

Aaaand here is a goat.

My mum and dad came up to Brisbane, and we went to Childers for a visit. The dirt is red and amazing. It grows anything. (below see flowering.. peas?)
 SUPER anything.

They've got macadamias, bananas, avocadoes, pineapples, pawpaws, mangoes, vegetables all over the place, and beautiful oranges and mandarins and enormous lemons. But check out the carrot. We took another photo of one next to my head - think that's on Mum's camera - and it was quite a thing to behold.

In other news, I am reading P.G. Wodehouse, and not just because Stephen Fry has also read him. I recommend! It has also got me almost interested in cricket. (Ha, that just put off any friend of mine who is reading. I mean it though... ) It's great writing and thoroughly enjoyable. Not that I know what 'good writing' is. But that is far too philosophical a topic for this blog, because you and I aren't at a table with a cup of tea and something comforting that I would need to stave off the headache that this topic would bring on. (I stand by my belief that Harry Potter is well written. The end.)

In other other news, I finally tried Campos coffee. It's so attractively presented that I just knew it would be good coffee. Error. Did not particularly enjoy. I'd rather have something I made myself, with beans either from Merlo, Grinders, Oxfam or Frisky Goat. (Not Lavazza! Does not combine well with soy milk.)

Umm.... yep.  One of my friends went vegan for Lent and is now vegan. I went vegetarian for a few days because I was freaked out by both the amount of factory farmed meat in the house and the amount of time it spent out of the fridge, before spending twice as long in the fridge, before maybe being frozen for a week or several, then left out of the fridge for a day again to thaw, etc. before being fed to people. But the thing is, partly, I myself am by choice omnivorous (but I don't want meat every day, and generally not more than once a day), and more than that, I don't want to cook separate meals to the rest of the house. It just seems way antisocial. So I am back to sometimes vegetarian. And I buy free range eggs and don't use them all the time. And sometimes I cook vegetarian for the house. And it is grawesome.

Oh dear. This post has been a bit "Dear diary". Hope it's entertained you for a minute, anyway. I've had fun.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

soul bistro

I found this place at and walking in, didn't expect too much.

WIN (as they say)

Here's their website. Do yourself a favour, Brisbanites, head over there sometime soon. Great service, delicious food (bread, not on the menu, OMG) (and apple crumble sundae, [gf] sounds weird I know but is anything but)!!!! The decor is not amazing and to use the toilet you have to get the key and go over elsewhere, but you win some, you lose some, this is excellent value. And they have a $28 three-course meal.

If you're too lazy to click on the link, it's BYO, it's at 5/16 Baroona Rd Milton.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

couple of good things

So I've just finished a coursework masters... in linguistics, which I love.

Just wanted to share a couple of great things:

A friend's music

Friend of a friend's writing from what seems like another planet, but also not

Interactive version of my life for the last couple of years (though more writing in English recently)

It's Ride to Work Day on the 12th of October

Makings of pear and almond flan from Consuming Passions.

I'm nuts about nuts, as you probably know. And I really have been after an almond and orange cake recently. Fingers crossed I'll be getting some today. Did you know that practically every recipe for flourless orange cake is the same one? It's in Claudia Roden's Middle Eastern Cookery book. I can just about remember it - 2 whole oranges, boiled for 2 hours, then cooled and mushed up in the food processor.. 250g caster sugar, 250g almonds, 1 tsp baking powder, 4 eggs or is it 6?. Pow!
Cooks for about an hour. That's how many times I've found this recipe.

Oh and one more thing. I stumbled on Frisky Goat Espresso yesterday after marvelling at my workmate's Frisky Goat paper cups for the last few months.
Coffee was nice, but I'm not a real snob. I enjoyed it all the more because of the attractive three manning the (kind of empty) deck... they, and the place, reminded me of home, though it was definitely Brisbane prices. They seemed to know what they were talking about, and they didn't laugh at me for soy, but instead chose a complementary coffee bean to match the flavour of the bean, as it were. AND they spelt my name right on the bottom of the cup. In arty handwriting.
All this being said, if you don't handle your caffeine well (and I thought I had increased my tolerance), go for small.

Monday, June 6, 2011


And I haven't even got any photos. But any reader of this blog would probably smile to know that in the last 5 days or so I have made 2 cakes and I smile to know that they are both eaten (except for the pieces that we took to a certain grandmother's house, that will probably be on top of the fridge next week, growing mouldier by the day).

And I have been wanting to make a pecan pie for AGES. seriously months. And we've got all the ingredients. But that seems too heavy and needs an occasion. Yes it would be fine for it to BE the occasion, but cakes are quicker when you're trying to cull 3000 words from a study AND add a conclusion and limitations/further research section.

It's not even really procrasti- anything. (Saw [title of show] a couple of nights ago which inspired the title for this post.) (Though blogging is a bit of a procrastinatory tool, as you know.) It's more just stress relief - it's nice to be able to chuck something together and then have wonderful smells in the house and people telling me things are delicious and making me tea to go with them. (WHERE IS MY TEA? haven't had any today.) But at the moment I don't really feel like cake. Or floury/bready things, actually.

Is it truly Monday? Feels like Sunday.

Yeah, this post doesn't really go anywhere. But tell you what, I have nearly finished a Master of Arts.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

choice of fat, bit of a rant (sorry about that)

I like butter. Do not misunderstand me. Toast, pastry, crumbles, pancakes. YES.

But I am a Mediterranean girl at heart. I live with/for olive oil.

At the moment one of the people I live with cooks everything with butter. The assumption seems to be that if it tastes good, it is therefore evil, bingeworthy and made with butter. I caramelised some onions for a barbeque - for which I made those salads in the last post - and butterer was impressed and asked how I did it: just with butter?

NAY!!!! Go the evoo!

Onions, potatoes, pumpkin, rosemary, roast garlic, leeks, chicken, oogggggmmm ogm uhgrnm. (this is a throatier --> more realistic version of om nom nom)
What got me started on this today was my appreciation of salad dressing with decent vinegar and good oil. (Which happens to be imported from Italy. This I would not buy, but said butter-lover does not seem to have food miles or food ethics of any kind, really, on the radar. Coles tinned tomatoes from Italy, mineral water and olive oil from Italy, it pains me on my moral highchair. But Italian balsamic-olive oil blend tastes better than the nail-polish remover Coles white wine vinegar!) And sourdough dipped in evoo, like they give you complimentary at Tutto Bene.

So, darling reader, you sexy thing (did you love the Doctor calling the Tardis lady Sexy or what!!???), this is what I plan to cook tonight.

Chicken thighs (found in fridge, highly ethically dubious, but I want to use them before they have a chance to be extremely old, cooked and left on the stove for 24 hours, and fed to us with butter) WITH
chestnuts, olive oil, potatoes, rosemary and garlic (whole cloves) chucked in the oven and roasted. Salt and pepper, bien sur. May have to cover at some point to keep moist.
And leafy green salad. Possibly with some warmed bread on the side to mop up any juices.

Get some free-range (organic, I dare you) chicken and do the same. Tomorrow if not today.

PS. Do I use too many brackets in my blogwriting? What do you think?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

last of the summer barbeques.. well autumn really.

Potato, lemon and green olive.
These salads took me ages a few weeks ago. The beetroot one was popular.
That mush is actually delicious couscous with figs, grapes, almonds... and stuff.
Tabbouleh :)

farewell summer?

Avocadoes are getting more expensive. And tomatoes are going out of season.

And as Clotilde says, the world doesn't really need another hommus recipe. But it's the internet. So you're getting one.

chickpeas! - dried. half a 375g bag (or 190g). soak for a while, all day or night.
bay leaf
onion, cut in half
COOK THE CHICKPEAS IN WATER WITH THE BAY LEAF AND ONION. tastes so much better than canned chickpeas.
then after a bjillion years (or a couple of hours) put the chickpeas in a food processor with a little bit of the cooking water. if you are like me, and you decide to cook chickpeas at 11pm, and then finish it in the morning, even better (the seasonings need adjusting when it's cooled) - just refrigerate the chickpeas and their water. together. in the pot you cooked them in. no need to dirty another pot.

so chickpeas and a few tablespoons of cooking water in the food processor WITH:
3+ cloves of garlic
cumin, ground - 1-2 tsp
couple of tablespoons tahini
juice of lemon - 1 lemon's worth, depending on size
salt (~1 tsp)
olive oil - you know, some. 1 - 3 tbsp? and drizzle some on top when you serve the hommus in a nice dish, because it deserves it. you can sprinkle some paprika on too if you want.

This is quite similar to Clotilde's recipe, but I stole it from Matthew Evans in the Good Weekend 'anyone can cook...' section before it became 'the weekend cook' and then ceased to exist, which was a shame because it was a real highlight. he wrote the nicest little blurbs. Then I made the recipe a few times, lost the recipe, and kept making it. So it's a bit more approximate than the original. Sometimes if you put the salt and the oil and the lemon juice and tahini all on top of each other it turns BLUE, which is insane. but that goes away.

You'll need to taste and adjust the seasonings when it's cooled. Most importantly, enjoy, and don't forget it's in the fridge, especially if you are the resident dip obsessee in your house and everyone else just doesn't think of eating it.

Nom, as they say these days.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

great minds...


Deb from Smitten Kitchen made an asparagus salad a lot like my zucchini salad, in principle and appearance, I think. Check it out.

I've got some stuff to come on a few salads, and hoummous, or hummus, or hommous, or hvmmvs. Isn't it weird how other languages have such a variety of spellings? and yet in English .. well, there's also a variety, but we tend to want to spell it the way we learned at school. It will always be colour, for me, and favourite, and don't try telling me the U is unnecessary. That's how I write down my national identity. And English is a mish mash of languages so its rules are stuffed anyway.


Monday, April 11, 2011

something to share

I don't know if you'd remember Consuming Passions. It was on tv years ago, in five-minute snippets, like Pingu, at 5:55 pm or some such time between half-hour shows. Ian Parmenter is the charmingest, daggiest man, with the coolest hair. At least he was then. I don't know what he's doing now.

A few years ago at home I discovered that we had a Consuming Passions cookbook. It has become one of my favourites, and nobody else has ever used it that I can tell. From it I have made homemade herb/ricotta ravioli with sage butter (DELICIOUS!!) and, a few times, a pear and almond flan, among other things. There isn't much in it that I don't want to make.

Check out the website. It's sort of devoid of pictures, and a bit out of date, but the recipes are great. He knows his stuff. And be sure to read the section 'About Consuming Passions'. :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

spontaneous late summer salad

It's really autumn. I know that.

But it was one of these mornings, you see, when we had a conversation about breakfast that for me just went the wrong way. I am pro-breakfast. Gets your brain working, starts your metabolism whirring, turns on the engine, so to speak.

My friend who does not eat breakfast, because she thinks it will make her fat because she doesn't do any exercise (to which I say two things: 1, eating something - something small, an apple, a carrot, even! - will get you to start burning fat, and 2, just do some exercise, silly) likes to cook breakfast for other people. This weekend it was buttermilk pancakes. They were DELICIOUS. but feeling very obstinately pro-breaky, and also wanting to be use things up from the fridge to make space, and not knowing what to have with my pancake - I like to have fruit or yoghurt as opposed to lone syrup - I  dolloped on the buttery, sugary remains of the other night's crumble. In light of the "breakfast will make you fat" conversation I rebelliously polished off not only my sugariness but also my other breakfasting friend's pancake (she was full).

While my body didn't seem to mind, that delicious breakfast weighed heavily on the brain (and perhaps later the love handles). I am a girl. Sometimes I feel guilty about food. Leave me alone.

Meanwhile, it was lunchtime. I read the clock wrongly and thought it was 2pm. There was no lettuce in the fridge. But after a heavy breakfast I wanted a light lunch.

Zucchini salad: amazing!

You could bulk it up a little bit with a poached egg on top.

Serves 1 as a light lunch (or a nice side/entrée for 2-4)

1 zucchini, shaved with vegie peeler
shaved parmesan/romano/grana panado
small handful nuts of your choice - I used a mix of unsalted roasted hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds and pistachios
bit of fresh herb of some kind - I used parsley coz it was there
salt, pepper

dressing - makes or breaks the salad.
I just used the dressing in the fridge, as my non-breakfasty pro-cooking friend always makes some excellent dressing. This is what seems to be in the current one. This salad would be good with any decent dressing you like.

garlic clove, chopped
seedy mustard
red wine vinegar
olive oil

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Brisbane places

Ha! Cleaning out the computer, look what I found. It's old news, but might be relevant.

I realised this morning that I’ve done very little reviewing since arriving in Brisbane early this year. So, here are some of the places I’ve enjoyed hanging out or feel the need to talk about in Brisbane.

BarMerlo UQ.
Those auspicious blue signs of coolness ground the SSH with the wonderful smell of coffee combining with the slightly odd scent of tech-hub in the library foyer. I have been slightly obsessed with the place since coming to the University of Queensland. The coffee is consistent, the food good. None of it especially cheap, but the beef sandwich is excellent ($7) which I treat myself to occasionally. But I think I have at last had enough of this place. I still like it, but the coffee doesn’t seem quite so amazing anymore (it used to seem DELICIOUS). Maybe it’s just me… I want a new hangout. Apparently the business school has good coffee, and I’ve had recommendations for Genie’s coffee as well. Anyone?

Punjabi Palace
Overpriced and overrated. I can’t really tell you my opinion of the food, because after everything I’d heard my expectations were unrealistically high. But the décor of the place is pretty sweet. Pity it’s so far from uni! Still, I’ll go back eventually with different expectations.

Curry Connection
A loveable, local and quiet Indian place. If you order the right thing, it’s a highly enjoyable experience. Don’t get the entrees – they’re nothing special, but I do recommend the lamb Subzi – Kashmiri spices. It’s perfect if you go there and get one curry between two, with a naan/roti, maybe some raita and rice. Of course, the more people, the more curries you can have! This was just the right amount for us to leave without feeling like we were going to explode.

My Heart Garden
The local vegetarian/vegan eatery. Almost always empty, I don’t know how they’re still open, but I’m glad they are. The coffee is nice and the staff are friendly, always happy to see you. I wasn’t blown away by the Not Sausage Roll, but their Saturday morning breakfasts are AMAZING. Especially the buckwheat pancakes. And you can just tell that everything is made with love.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lorne and the Victorian floods

 Victoria flooded too. More than that though, because of all the water, there were about a billion times more mozzies and locusts than usual. SO MANY, especially inland.
We were at Lorne when it happened. They closed the Great Ocean Road, just after Lorne, luckily for us. Rockfall on the road made me glad later we hadn't been driving.

 We had a good rainy week. Maybe rainier than preferable, but still a good week.
Dog's not mine, by the way.
 This cockatoo was cheeky AS.
 Actually for my taste we went to too many nice restaurants. One or maybe two in a week is pretty special. Once or twice a month.. you know, spread it out over the year, instead of all times in one week. But anyway. It does take away any order anxiety you might have.
 Tree of red!

 River tea house. That's not me. Yet.
 At the end of the week, the sun came out.