• Moray Café is an institution in the New Farm area and has had a lick of paint quite recently.

    Breakfast at Moray Cafe

    Moray Café is an institution in the New Farm area and has had a lick of paint quite recently.

  • We had been trying to organise a get-together for much of the year, but something always got in the way. We were finally able to lock something in to sample Brisbane’s two hatted restaurant, Urbane.

    Urbane’s 8 course omnivore degustation

    We had been trying to organise a get-together for much of the year, but something always got in the way. We were finally able to lock something in to sample Brisbane’s two hatted restaurant, Urbane.

  • he upside to getting poked and prodded with needles all day (my left arm was covered in cotton ball, medical tape and bandaids) was that the SO was willing to take me anywhere for lunch to boost my sorry spirits. I took advantage of the situation to suggest visiting Chur Burger and didn’t even have to sell him the fact that their burgers are only AUD$10 each.

    Chur Burger in Fortitude Valley

    he upside to getting poked and prodded with needles all day (my left arm was covered in cotton ball, medical tape and bandaids) was that the SO was willing to take me anywhere for lunch to boost my sorry spirits. I took advantage of the situation to suggest visiting Chur Burger and didn’t even have to sell him the fact that their burgers are only AUD$10 each.

  • When a Japanese person recommends a Japanese eatery, you better sit up and pay attention – or at least I certainly did, especially since this was a recommendation for yakitori. And what’s not to love about little skewers of BBQed meats?

    Samurais Paradise on the Gold Coast

    When a Japanese person recommends a Japanese eatery, you better sit up and pay attention – or at least I certainly did, especially since this was a recommendation for yakitori. And what’s not to love about little skewers of BBQed meats?

  • Ribs & Burgers recently hit the James Street scene and hasn't stopped the tongues waggling since. Not to be left out, the SO and I trooped down to check them out for a weekend lunch.

    Ribs & Burgers on James Street

    Ribs & Burgers recently hit the James Street scene and hasn’t stopped the tongues waggling since. Not to be left out, the SO and I trooped down to check them out for a weekend lunch.

  • Malaya Corner has three locations in Brisbane, but we have only ever dropped into their city store - usually for a quick dinner when we have a craving for Asian to tide us over till the next appointment later in the evening.

    Malaya Corner in the city

    Malaya Corner has three locations in Brisbane, but we have only ever dropped into their city store – usually for a quick dinner when we have a craving for Asian to tide us over till the next appointment later in the evening.

Latest Posts
0

Breakfast at Moray Cafe

November and December are our busiest times of the year and perhaps that’s why at this time of year, time seems to disappear. I’m already wondering where all those days went, because it didn’t seem all that long ago we were celebrating the new year and looking forward to the year ahead.

In fact, if you think about it, there are only six more weekends to 2014. That means we only have the opportunity to grab 12 lazy breakfasts, sweltering summer lunches and leisurely dinners. It’s almost enough to give me a panic attack!

Although I haven’t put a dent in my list of new venues to visit, the SO and I decided to revisit an oldie but goodie, while waiting for our giant duvet to finish its wash cycle at the local laundromat in preparation for summer storage. Moray Café is an institution in the New Farm area and has had a lick of paint quite recently. With the refreshed vibe and raising temperatures, I had their healthy bircher muesli with chia and goji berry puree. This chilled breakfast came loaded with fresh seedless grapes, giant blueberries and in-season strawberries. This was thankfully not unnaturally sweet, making it a pleasure to dig into and savour.

Bircher Muesli with chia and goji berry puree

The SO on the other hand, had a go with their brekkie burrito and was stunned by how much food was piled on the serving board. Besides the burrito, Moray Café provided a generous serving of fresh salad greens with halved cherry tomatoes, all lightly tossed in a dressing.

Brekkie burrito

The generosity continued with the behemoth burrito stuffed with bacon, fried egg, fresh avocado, smashed hash cake, tomato relish and crisp spinach. The hash cake formed the bulk of the burrito and we found it too gluggy and almost paste-like. The SO ended up scooping out and leaving most of it on the board.

Despite the disappointment with the brekkie burrito, I wouldn’t go so far to say Moray Café has lost favour in our eyes. Not yet anyway.

1

My new relationship with food

Image by and some rights reserved by Jessica Merz (Flickr)

Image by and some rights reserved by Jessica Merz (Flickr)

Now that I’m pregnant, things have changed in our household, particularly in the food department.

There is a mammoth amount of information about what pregnant women should and should not eat and sifting through it is now a responsibility I’ve happily passed onto the SO, lest I sob uncontrollably from wretchedness at no longer being able to eat my favourite foods. The man decreed I was not allowed to try any soft cheeses at the Good Food and Wine Show last month, and I almost wept (but kudos to every winery who were very kind and still chatted with me after I declined samplings on account of bub). And it certainly doesn’t help that the moment you announce you’re pregnant, everyone’s inner Good Samaritan bursts forth with their sharing of experiences and learnings. The combination can be very daunting to first-time parents.

But to add insult to injury, I did an early glucose tolerance test (GTT) and the results indicate I am diabetic or have gestational diabetes. Combined with the never-ending food rules during pregnancy, my relationship with food has had to find a new equilibrium and a couple of things have had to go out the window.

What I am sacrificing

  • Raw foods (goodbye sushi and sashimi)
  • Processed meat, including paté
  • Ready-to-eat chilled peeled prawns and crab
  • Soft and semi-soft cheeses (cries)
  • Alcohol (which I’m not fussed about)
  • Soft drink, diet and non-diet (which I’m also not fussed about)
  • Any type of candy, dessert (cakes, cookies, tarts, etc)

What I will have in limited quantities

I’m allowing myself limited quantities of caffeine in the form of a cup of coffee (white, no sugar) or tea (weak black or green) max three times a week or so.

I also have to be stricter about swapping out white carbs for more complex carbohydrates. The kitchen is being swapped out of white jasmine rice for other grains, such as quinoa, brown and basmati rice (lower GI). We already only eat multigrain breads, but have gone further to try Burgen’s Soylin bread which has one of the lowest carb ratings we’ve seen on shelves. I’m also cutting back on noodles, which is a toughie as I love all noodles.

Fruit juices are also getting swapped out for veg juices to help increase my daily vegetable intake. I’m not 100% convinced I’ll learn to enjoy a 100% veg juice and am still mixing it with some fruit to keep it palatable.

My current snacks are dry roasted mixed nuts (no salt), hardboiled eggs, whole fruit and veg sticks with homemade hummus or tzatziki. I thankfully don’t have much of a sweet tooth, so forgoing the sweet treats at morning and afternoon tea isn’t an issue.

So what now?

My colleague has very kindly loaned me her glucose monitor and thus far, I have been able to keep my post-meal glucose levels within range most of the time (below 6.7mmol/l 2 hours after meals). Treating it as a giant experiment keeps it interesting and I’m learning so much more about my body. For example, a breakfast of 2 slices of toast with a spread of margarine and Vegemite and an apple with a little crunchy peanut butter causes my blood glucose to soar up to 6.8mmol/l. If I have 2 slices of toast with half an avocado and Vegemite instead, my blood glucose is only 6.0mmol/l and I feel just as full.

This is a huge learning experience – nothing like my month as a vegetarian. I just hope everything will go back to normal after the baby is born.

Tags: ,
2

Urbane’s 8 course omnivore degustation

Life has been a hectic string of activities for FoodMeUpScotty, Feed Me Now Brisbane and myself. We had been trying to organise a get-together for much of the year, but something always got in the way. When we caught up again at Eat Drink Blog, we promised we’d have dinner and as luck would have it, we were able to lock something in to sample Brisbane’s two hatted restaurant, Urbane.

Seeing as the restaurant came with many positive reviews (many from FoodMeUpScotty) and it has already been awarded two hats by the Australian Good Food and Travel Guide, we arrived buzzing with anticipation at having an amazing night. Urbane offers a 5 or 8 course degustation menu, with an omnivore or vegan option – an rarity I was both delighted and intrigued to learn as Chef Alejandro Cancino is apparently a vegan. We opted to splurge on the 8 course omnivore degustation, giving us the opportunity to savour the same menu and simply concentrate on the conversation.

If we had any doubts the night was going to be amazing, Chef Alejandro Cancino and the Urbane team made sure to dispel them and they definitely did not disappoint. We did have to wait a couple of minutes to be seated, but everything from the attentive service to the intricate plating was stunning, making it one of the best nights out.

Urbane - 8 course degustation dinner

Kombucha

The first item off the rank was the kombucha, a fermented tea. This one was made of pineapple and chai, and made for a far more pleasant sweet beverage than previous kombuchas I’ve sampled. The tiny glass glasses were accompanied by fluffy white hand towels infused with lemon myrtle, which were so inviting, Feed Me Now Brisbane and I desperately wanted to smoother our faces into them.

Urbane - 8 course degustation dinner

Potato

The degustation menu really doesn’t lend itself to much in the description department – these paper thin strips were simply listed as ‘Potato’. What they failed to convey was that these sesame seed potato crisps were possibly the best version of potato chips I have ever had. These were incredibly moreish to nibble on without being so salty you’re gasping for water.

Urbane - 8 course degustation dinner

Avocado, Quinoa

The black quinoa crisp was not much bigger than a stick of Wiggley’s chewing gum, and served as the platter for tiny fresh pale green cubes of avocado and dots of red chilli capsicum. An interesting little number, though the capsicum flavour was strong and lingered awhile.

Urbane - 8 course degustation dinner

Tomato, Green Strawberry

We couldn’t help but be intrigued by this tarty refreshing number as our waiter described the techniques involved in bringing this one together. The tomato was skinned and dehydrated under heat lamp, so although it lacked a ‘skin’, the dehydration process created a skin-like texture to encase the juicy insides. Its companions were pickled radish that seemed quite traditionally Japanese and green strawberry in tomato water.

Urbane - 8 course degustation dinner

Smoked Corn

The smoked corn could’ve almost been labelled a dessert. What looked like a soil texture was really super cold smoked corn ‘soil’ granules. The play on texture and temperature made it a delightfully childlike experience and I wouldn’t mind having a large tub of it sitting in my freezer.

Urbane - 8 course degustation dinner

Tofu, Kombu

While the tofu in kombu sauce looked the least imaginative of all the courses – it resembled many a Japanese chilled tofu dish, I still enjoyed it. The kombu sauce was thick with umami flavour and the tofu was silky.

Not pictured was the macadamia bread with smoked sea salt butter. Presented in a warmed stone bowl and cupped in the folds of a crisply starched white napkin, the quartered bread was fresh and lacked the yeastiness many breads tend to contribute to a bloaty tummy. Feed Me Now Brisbane and I each had 1.5 slices of the bread, slathered in copious lashings of the smoked sea salt butter – this was the way bread should always be made.

Urbane - 8 course degustation dinner

Carrot

FoodMeUpScotty was particularly excited about the Carrot dish, as he had had it before and quite enjoyed this little number. This dish incorporated a carrot foam and a thick creamy (though I doubt there was any actual cream in it) soup beneath a delicately balanced covering of finely sliced carrot discs. This was not my favourite dish, but the technique needed to bring this one together is to be admired.

Urbane - 8 course degustation dinner

Watercress, Sugarsnap, Smoked Tapioca

The water cress purée with white asparagus, tapioca cream and onion petals was one of the highlight dishes for me. How on earth did they turn water cress into such a thick savoury purée that had all three of us licking our plates clean (note: if you ever wish to invite any of us to dinner, be prepared for plate licking. It’s a compliment.)

Urbane - 8 course degustation dinner

Quinoa, Cucumber, Apple

The quinoa delicately cupped by a cucumber stack didn’t really hold up on its own – the salty toasted buckwheat with cubed sweet apple brought everything together, while the bottom swirled the citrus milk.

Urbane - 8 course degustation dinner

Octopus, Jerusalem Artichoke, Finger Lime

I love all my seafood, but octopus can be a tough one to get right. Often in unskilled hands, octopus flesh transforms into rubber bands and is chewier than old boots. Thankfully Urbane have this down pat. Unlike the octopus I love Gerard’s Bistro, their octopus has a crunchy exterior that encases the plump octopus flesh within and the textural difference continues in the Jerusalem artichoke preparation and the squid ink with finger lime that burst like fairy bubbles in your mouth.

Urbane - 8 course degustation dinner

Sweetbread, Charred Leek, Onion

Feed Me Now Brisbane had some hesitation with this dish, after her first encounter with sweetbreads at Café Arlette. Texture was her issue, but one she needn’t have had. Duck tongue combined with charred baby leeks and onion turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable dish, which none of the dreaded squishiness.

Urbane - 8 course degustation dinner

Wagyu, Oyster, Tendon

Quite honestly, my well-done wagyu cap steak really should’ve been classed as a medium well-done. Now I am thrilled they left a little pink in the centre, but I know had the SO been looking over my shoulder, he would’ve arched an eyebrow and subtly hinted I should consider sending it back. None the less, this was the most stunningly satisfying dish that had me licking the plate to savour every last drop of the thick oyster sauce. Sure, it might have looked the most ordinary on the plate, but trust me when I say it capped off the mains quite beautifully and left me aching to start the dessert courses.

Urbane - 8 course degustation dinner

Local Pink Lady Apple

The Local Pink Lady Apple was a pre-dessert course. Now I have never heard of a pre-dessert course, but I totally love the idea. Pink lady apples were done in several ways, including a subtle sorbet and dehydrated skin. The apple was complimented with a lemongrass and ginger reduction

Urbane - 8 course degustation dinner

Mandarin, Honeycomb, Basil

This Mandarin grapefruit parfait with honeycomb was my favourite dessert course of the evening. Served with bush basil for a twist on the sweet citrus flavour, the parfait included honeycomb was made with honey from Urbane’s rooftop hive.

Urbane - 8 course degustation dinner

Chocolate, Lemon Myrtle, Hazelnut

For some reason, I mentally compared this dessert to the chocolate one we had at the Foraging Quail, but they were nothing alike… besides the fact they had a chocolate soil element. Urbane’s chocolate course had very subtle flavours, just the hint of lemon myrtle and hazelnuts to balance everything and avoid a sugar overload. In fact, I was quite surprised by the little burst of saltiness in my last spoonful.

Urbane - 8 course degustation dinner

Native Fruit Infusion, Mint Chocolate

The native fruit infusion was a Davidson plum tea. The last time I had tasted anything with Davidson plum was Kelly Kwong’s pork buns with Davidson plum sauce and I didn’t enjoy the strong incredibly sour flavour (the chilli version on the other hand was far more palatable).

I’m afraid Urbane have not been able to change my mind about this ingredient. The potent sour tea knocked my tastebuds around and I was unfortunately declared the loser after several attempts to sip it. Much of it was left in the cup and I had to soothe my bruised foodie ego with the handmade chocolate mint, served on a plump pillow of green which we were allowed to pinch for a surprising minty flavour boost.

Urbane on Urbanspoon

1

Eat Drink Blog 2014

I debated about whether I should write this post, because I am in the unique position to have had a foot in both the organisers’ and attendees’ camp at this year’s Eat Drink Blog conference. I made the very hard decision to pull out of the organising committee after a bout of health issues and was later given the privilege to come as an attendee. It was a very generous gesture on the part of the comm, who all welcomed me with open arms, and it just goes to show what awesome people they are.

But the experience is worth being chronicled and inevitably compared to previous years’, so here goes.

The Venue

Eat Drink Blog 2014

This year’s conference was held at Wandering Cooks, Brisbane’s first incubator for food entrepreneurs, such as market stall holders, caterers and gourmet food vans. While it wasn’t as fancy as EDB Adelaide or as hippy as EDB Perth, Director Angela Hirst has created an amazing space that was perfect for showcasing what can be possible when you pursue your passion at whatever stage in your life.

The committee definitely made the right call to hold it in September – the weather was perfect and we got a touch of delicious warm Queensland sunshine during the breaks. While the Weather Man forecasted showers, the skies only blessed us with the faintest of spits during lunch, so big thumbs up to the comm on that decision.

Eat Drink Blog 2014

My sole gripe was that sitting in the back row meant the passing street traffic made it difficult to hear the presentations if the roller doors weren’t down and the volume of the speakers turned up higher.

 

The Program and Speakers

There were a couple of similarities in the topics between this year’s conference and previous years’.

The highlights for me were the chefs’ panel, which comprised of Philip Johnson (E’cco), Brent Farrell (85 Miskin St), Tony Percuoco (Tartufo) and Josh Okron (Prive 249), Claire Davie of Melbourne Gastonome‘s presentation on ACCC guidelines and Brenda Fawdon (Mondo Organics)’s presentation on Ethical Food.

Then there was the post-lunch activity. All the bloggers were asked to get in a line according to how long they had been blogging – the objective being that everyone would get the opportunity to meet other bloggers who started the same time as you. Anthony the MC gave the arbitrary 10 year blogger as the oldest, but as it turned out, I was the OLDEST blogger at 13 years. The next closest bloggers had been blogging for 11 years.

The Sponsors

Where would the conference be without the sponsors’ generosity? Kudos to the businesses and organisations for taking a chance and working with the committee to bring together some amazing treats for attendees.

My favorites in the goodie bags:

  • Dreamfarm’s Mini Supoon (this product has now become my go-to spoon for getting the last dregs at the bottom of jars.
  • A trio pack from Roza’s Gourmet Sauces: the sweet mustard is divine
  • Go Natural (the bar is still my favourite)

Eat Drink Blog 2014

Eat Drink Blog 2014
Other sponsor favorites:

Eat Drink Blog 2014

Eat Drink Blog 2014

Eat Drink Blog 2014
Unfortunately one of the biggest difficulties for this year’s committee was securing financial sponsorship to help with some of the running costs of the event. Perhaps it was due to the wide range of other food related events happening in Brisbane around the same time or the focus on the G20 in November. Whatever the reason, this has been the first time a committee had to request for donations from attendees. Now the question about whether the conference should become a paid event has never been more pertinent – She Cooks She Gardens has a very succinct blogpost on the issue and these might be some considerations for next year’s committee.

 

The Conference ‘Dinner’

This is the first time I’ve attended an EDB dinner function that 127 Bar and Bistro for a stellar canapé dinner (and apparently mind-blowing dessert surprise, which I missed out on).

 

The Sunday Activity

There were three Sunday activities to choose from, but as I’m off alcohol on doctor’s orders, I only had two options available to me and the comm allocated me to the Bee One Third session at Gerard’s Bistro. Read more about that session here.

3

Something big this way comes

Things have been a little quiet on this blog. I won’t apologise for the lack of updates, because we have something huge to announce and have been waiting for everything to settle. But now it’s time to let you in on the secret.

BabyAnnouncement2014

Tags:
Page 1 of 6812345...102030...Last »