Jan 012011

At this time of year, leftovers are a source of anxiety.  I hate to waste food, but there are only so many ham sandwiches I can stomach in a short space of time!  One night this week I had ham to use, and leftover chilli.  The solution came to me in moments – crepes!

Crepes are a clever way to package and present leftovers as a new dish.  Growing up, my mum often made crepes when we had leftover spaghetti sauce – she’d stuff the crepes with sauce (and sometimes even leftover pasta), roll them up and grill some melted cheese on top.   I tried to ensure we had leftovers whenever we ate spaghetti, just so we could have crepes later in the week.

When it came to finding a recipe for crepes, who else would do but Julia Child?  She wrote the book on French food (literally!).  This recipe is adapted from her classic.  One thing worth noting, you need to plan ahead as the crepe mixture needs 2 hours resting time.

We ate our crepes stuffed with chilli, or stuffed with ham and grated pecorino cheese.  And the other beauty of crepes?  Instant dessert – several crepes were enjoyed drizzled with lemon juice and sprinkled with sugar.

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[recipe-show recipe=crepes]

Nov 042010

[singlepic id=150 w=500 h=333 mode=watermark float=center]I recently read this post and stored it away in my “to do” file.  And of course, I had to make felafel to enjoy with my labne.  For those not in the know (like me until I read this post) labne is a middle eastern cheese made with a yoghurt base.  It’s tangy and pairs exceptionally well with felafel.

This is a recipe for felafel, slightly adapted to my tastes, that I found whilst scouring the web.  I do feel like some crucial spice or ingredient was missing, so I welcome any suggestions for additions.

I love felafel and I think it’s a great example of how satisfying and tasty vegetarian food can be.  I think even raging carnivores might be able to appreciate a felafel wrap!

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[recipe-show recipe=felafel]

Oct 182010

[singlepic id=144 w=320 h=240 mode=watermark float=left] I was lucky enough to have a week long holiday in Cairns and surrounds with J and a few friends.  It was a lovely break, if a little short, and we managed to have some fantastic meals whilst away.

After we flew in on our first day, we borrowed PJ’s car (a friend who is currently living in Cairns) and took a road trip up to Port Douglas.  We hit a bit of traffic on the way up, and spent about half an hour stop-start on the highway.  Fortunately, we had JJJ and PJ’s mints to amuse us and stave off the hunger pains.  Port Douglas struck me as a lovely coastal town.  It is clearly targeted to tourists, and I felt it had a similar vibe to Noosa (which I also enjoy).  Being the foodies that we are, our main priority was to find a venue for lunch.  A quick stop at the tourist office and we had several recommendations – including Salsa Bar and Grill, Bistro 3 and Billy’s by the Sea.  However, after a perusal of the menus we weren’t quite sold, and then Harrisons caught our eye.

It had a cool vibe, a beautiful restaurant and best of all a menu du jour! 2 courses for $29.50, or 3 for $34.50?  Sold!

The boys both ordered the harissa spiced calamari with a salad of daikon and corinder with minted labna.  I acquired a few pieces, for quality control purposes of course.  The calamari was beautifully tender, and the salad was light and refreshing.

[singlepic id=148 w=320 h=240 mode=watermark float=left] I skipped straight to the main course, and I was glad I did because the serving was enormous!  I loved my risotto primavera, with spring vegetables (asparagus, fennel and peas) and truffle oil.  The fennel added a subtle depth of flavour to the dish, and the stock used was obviously lovingly prepared.  The boys were suitably impressed with their orders of crispy duck leg confit and fish of the day (salmon).

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Finally, dessert.  By this time I was feeling a little bit uncomfortable, but I pushed through the pain and managed to make room for Harrisons’ home made icecreams with glass biscuit and creme chantilly.  The flavour du jour was limoncello and delightfully tart.  It was very refreshing on a humid day, and paired nicely with a raspberry reduction.  One of my dining companions enjoyed the tarte du jour, which was lemon meringue, and again the lemon packed a real punch.

[singlepic id=146 w=320 h=240 mode=watermark float=left] Harrisons is doing traditional French/Italian style dishes with panache.  They are taking advantage of the region’s fabulous produce and creating food that sticks to your ribs and makes you want to come back for more.  The service is consistent, without being overbearing and the restaurant itself is beautiful.  If you’re in tropical North Queensland it is well worth setting aside a few hours for a long lunch.

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Harrisons Restaurant
22 Wharf St
Port Douglas, Queensland
P: 07 4099 4011
Web: http://www.harrisonsrestaurant.com.au/home.html

Apr 292010

Treacle is a cafe/restaurant that prides itself on using the freshest and most seasonal produce.  Executive Chefs and Owners Richard Gardner and Shenyia Laverack have put together a Modern Australian menu and have focused on using some of the excellent Queensland produce at their fingertips.

Breakfast is beautifully presented and the menu has a great variety of sweet, savory, gluten-free and vegetarian options.  The coffee was very good and the meal sizes are generous.  I enjoyed my breakfast but I think perhaps my dining companians made better selections.

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I ordered roasted field mushrooms on sourdough with grilled haloumi cheese and roasted tomato.  It was enjoyable, but I felt my mushrooms were a bit plain and I would have preferred if they had more flavour to them.

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One dining companion ordered herb-roasted potatoes, oven baked with baby roma tomatoes served with spinach and poached eggs and toast.  Her eggs were perfectly poached – breaking them open the yolk ran out onto the toast and potatoes.

My other companion dislikes eggs, so she ordered the zesty avocado on sourdough with bacon, roast tomato and rocket.  She opted to add haloumi as well.  The avocado was generously slathered on the toast and I think the addition of haloumi was inspired (but then, I think cheese makes nearly everything better).

On a separate occasion, I visited Treacle for lunch with J and friends who were visiting from Sydney.  The lunch menu seems to stay pretty constant year around, although they do have daily specials which seem to have a more seasonal focus.  I was hoping to have something reasonably light as we were going out for dinner the same night.  I ordered the Thai style rice fish cakes which are served with a side salad and dipping sauce.  The flavour of this dish was lovely, but I didn’t realise the cakes would be deep fried.  I think they might have been left in the a fryer a bit too long also, as they were a bit crispy for my liking.  I think I probably would have enjoyed this dish a bit more if there had been several smaller cakes, rather than two enormous ones.  However, overall I still enjoyed my meal, and ate with gusto.

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J ordered one of the specials – lamb ribs in crispy breadcrumbs with a sticky Asian dipping sauce.  Our server informed us that one of the secret ingrediants in the sauce is actually Coca Cola.  I am not a big ribs person (I find them too fatty), but J loved this dish.   I was impressed by the dish, particularly as it was something really different that I haven’t seen on a menu elsewhere.

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Overall I enjoyed my Treacle dining experience, and I will probably be back before too long – hopefully for a wine matching night they are having in May!  I’m always keen to support local businesses with sustainable practices when the owners are passionate about what they do.

Treacle is located at Grange and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner Tuesday-Saturday and breakfast and lunch on Sundays.

Shops 2-3 Days Rd
Ph: 3352 4144
Web: www.treaclecafe.com.au