Helsinki food adventures – part 1

Helsinki isn’t the most ‘touristy’ town, certainly a far cry from what we experienced in Tallinn and would later experience in Prague. Yet, we felt we saw (and ate) a lot during the few days we were there.

My food experiences started with a trip to the supermarket, Prisma. I love going to supermarkets for the first time in a new country. There’s always something different to try (and sometimes you find yourself shaking your head because you have no idea why anyone would want to eat whatever that strange looking thing is). In this case, it was mostly awe that I felt while walking around. So many products I’d never seen before, so many drinks I wanted to try. Not to mention we were pretty hungry; it’s definitely true – you shouldn’t shop while hungry!

My trip to this supermarket reminded me that we have so much growing to do in Australia!

A traditional platter of sorts…

Jess, my friend and tour guide, decided we should start our first day in Finland with some traditional fare. We had quite the spread: pickles (which you buy ‘fresh’ from vats in the vegetable section) with a sour cream and honey ‘dip’; bread cheese (a bit like haloumi in texture) with peach jam – usually this would have been cloudberries, but we couldn’t get any; and Karelian pies (a thin rye crust with a filling of rice) with egg butter (egg, salt, pepper, butter).

They aren’t combinations I’d have thought of back home, I love trying something new! My favourite was the Karelian pie, it was a little like eating an egg sandwich. The pies are also Jess’ favourite and many people obviously enjoy eating them for lunch because they were available with the ‘egg butter’ at most cafes.

Helsinki fun
Karelian pie with egg butter + pickle with sour cream and honey dip + buying pickles at Prisma
Reindeer games…

For dinner that same night, Jess’ husband Juho, cooked us something even more traditional – sauteed reindeer with mashed potato, lingonberries and a pickle for good measure. Juho informed us that Finnish cuisine didn’t tend to use a lot of spices or herbs in the dishes they ate most regularly, so this dish involved thinly sliced reindeer cooked in butter and seasoned simply with salt and pepper. The lingonberries were cooked with a bit of sugar. A note: lingonberries are very tart, even with the addition of sugar, so it does take some getting used to when you put it in your mouth.

Helsinki reindeer
Reindeer with mashed potato, lingonberry compote and a pickle.
It wouldn’t be a holiday without traditional pastries…

We tried a traditional Finnish ‘pastry’, korvapuusti – a cinnamon scroll of sorts. Korvapuusti translates to ‘slapped ears’ because of their shape. They were tasty at room temperature, but even better straight from the oven. Yum!

Helsinki and Korvapuusti
Korvapuusti + some funny little men I found on a walk.
Pour some sugar on me…

Jess had mentioned she wanted to take me to a ‘heavy metal bar’ with great cocktails and I was keen. You can’t say no to cocktails and a venue that didn’t play dance music. While our husbands went to the sauna, we took the opportunity to relax at Sling In bar + cafe; they have a cocktail list so big, it’s stored on a computer and you can search based on name, ingredient or style. Tucked away in what seemed like an odd location (inside a shopping centre), we each took ten minutes to decide on the cocktails we would try. I went with Jess’ recommendation – a blueberry cheese cake cocktail (with actual creamy cheese in it). It was divine and you wouldn’t know you were drinking anything alcoholic….is that good or bad? I don’t know. I guess if you’re in town, you should test it out for yourself.

Helsinki fun
The Sibelius Monument + magnificent blueberry cheesecake cocktail from SlingIn.


A little foraging…

One of my favourite outings was to the aptly nicknamed, Squirrel Island (Seurasaari). Not only did we get up close and personal with squirrels and tiny birds, we did some late season berry foraging, finding both blueberries and raspberries. I’d definitely recommend picking up some sunflower seeds and heading over to the island for a couple of hours. You can see one of the squirrels I fed here…so cute!

Foraging in Helsinki
Foraged late-season blueberries and raspberries. Delicious!

We also went to Michelin Starred restaurant, Chef & Sommelier, but that’s a story for another day.

We’ll likely head back to Finland again in the future – apparently it’s better during the summer months. I’d also like to see the Northern Lights in Lapland. Any recommendations for touristy attractions?

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Tallinn, just a boat ride away

I’ve been dying to go to Finland since I was about 15. Something about heavy metal bands, snow and the Northern Lights. Fortuitously, my friend Jess moved there five years ago for love and we’ve always talked about me visiting (read: I invited myself to her place!). That time had come when we decided to take the long route to the UK by way of Vietnam, Finland and Prague. I sent her messages every other day about everything under the sun I was so excited – I honestly wonder now how she didn’t just say, ‘hey, look ummmm I’ve changed my mind’.

Just one little snag, Jess had a big event on the same week we were in town, so she suggested we go to Estonia for a couple of days. She often goes there because it’s much cheaper than Helsinki for quite a few things and it’s just two hours on the ferry to get there. She was our saviour because she even booked our tickets and then bundled us into her car very early in the morning to drop us off at the ferry terminal. Saved us catching train then tram. Thanks Jess!

To give you an idea of what Estonia is like… think small Baltic country, with a population of only 1.3 million, once part of the Soviet Union.Think hearty meals heavy on the carbs, beer and and more beer. I did read that they are one of the top tech countries in Europe though! However, we stayed in Tallinn’s Old Town, the most ‘touristy’ part of the country.

It’s full of stunning historical buildings and cobbled streets. Every now and again as we walked around, I honestly felt like I’d been whisked back in time. The town makes the most of the historical feel, with plenty of medieval style pubs and restaurants offering tourists a chance to go back in time (some more so than others, with costumes and music). We even stayed in a refurbished 15th Century building as recommended by Jess  – Hotel St Olav. I felt like I was at Hogwarts as I walked through the common areas. I’m such a sucker for history and fantasy novels.

Tallinn, Estonia
Poppyseed kringle and a building in Tallinn

We did a lot of walking, racking up more than 15,000 steps each day as we wandered from building to building and cafe to cafe. We even went on a tour of a previously KGB-run hotel just outside the out town’s walls.

All that walking made me feel a lot less guilty about all the food I had put on my Estonia food to do list, which included mostly bread, pastries and meat.

My highlight was stumbling across a restaurant in the basement of a building. Looking it up later, it was on TripAdvisor with great reviews (particularly about the bread, which I totally understand!). I think the lady who owned the restaurant liked having someone who ate what she recommended and asked questions about the food. The food at Vanaema Juures Restoran was really simple fare, a bit heavy and there were definitely some very large portions, but it was the traditional food I was after and I genuinely enjoyed my meal. I felt like I was in a bomb shelter that had been kitted out with my grandmother’s belongings. And the bread! I’ve never tasted bread so delicious before and all I was told is that it’s ‘grandmother’s bread’. Of course, Google yielded nothing useful when I searched later that night. I made my feelings about the bread known and the plate was never empty on our table – that was both good and bad!

Vanaema Juures in Tallinn, Estonia
Traditional Estonian – Slow-cooked pork with roast potatoes, black pudding and cabbage stew + smoked meats and cheese
Traditional food in Tallinn, Estonia
Grandmother’s bread + Grandmother’s roast – braised beef tenderloin slices in mustard sauce, served with roast potatoes and pickles + Kama – a dish prepared from a mixture of rye, oat, barley and pea meal mixed with sour milk

We also tried one of Estonia’s traditional pastries, a kringel with poppy seeds. Crispy, not too sweet and a pleasure to eat at any time of the day.

Elk ham also popped up, so we had sandwiches one day with ‘raw’ elk ham (think prosciutto) and normal elk ham. You could tell it wasn’t pork, but we were looking for differences. If you didn’t know, you wouldn’t have noticed a difference I’d say.

Tallinn, Estonia
Elk ham sandwiches + a part of the wall surround Old Tallinn Town + traditional beers

Overall, we had a really nice time in Old Tallinn Town. I’d recommend stopping by for a couple of days if you’re in the area. We decided husband’s parents would love it too, so I hope we get to take them there one day.

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Vietnamese cooking class

As I always do before a trip, I scoured the internet for things to do while traveling. Of course, it just wouldn’t be a holiday for me if it didn’t involve cooking and eating. Luckily, I came across HCM Cooking Class for our time in Vietnam. They offer a full day cooking class (and a few other options) that included a look at their farm and involved cooking nine different dishes for $100USD – talk about bargain! Sounded like heaven to me. I convinced husband that it sounded great. He was a bit grumbly about the whole thing because he doesn’t enjoy cooking as much as I do (though, he does enjoy eating what I make). Once he agreed, I told him we were cooking nine different dishes. He felt like I’d left out a key element in my description of the class. As always when I choose activities he’s dubious about, by the end of the day, he was really enjoying himself and the delicious food.

When I booked, I received an email from Mr Tan to confirm and in closing he said we should ensure we arrive with ‘an empty belly’.

I gave Chef Tan the list of dishes we wanted to cook:

  • Beef wrap with Betel leaves (bo la lot)
  • Special pork spring rolls (cha gio)
  • Banh Mi Thit Nuong
  • Mango Salad with wth BBQ pork (goi xoai)
  • Crispy duck with tamarind sauce
  • Calamari with salt and pepper sauce
  • Stir fry chicken with chilli and lemongrass in special HCM dressing sauce on fresh rice noodle (bun ga)
  • Banana spring rolls with coconut ice cream (cha gio chuoi voi kem dua)

I picked a range of dishes that sounded interesting, but also dishes I knew I’d want to make at home.

We were picked up early in the morning and driven about one hour out of town – for those of you who have been to Ho Chi Minh, it was quite close to the Cu Chi Tunnels. We were shown around part of the farm (unfortunately it had been raining quite a bit so it was too messy and dangerous to visit the animals) and given loads of information about the fragrant herbs and other plants they were growing. We were then instructed to pick the herbs and plants we would later use for our dishes. It was really nice to be part of the process of getting the food from the garden to the plate. The freshness of so many of the ingredients is probably the main thing I love about Vietnamese cuisine. The more herbs the better!

Then we met the fascinating, and perhaps a little larger than life, Chef Tan. We found out over the course of the day that he qualified as a Doctor, then studied accounting and then became a chef, later buying the farm to start a cooking school. He also owns a restaurant in Melbourne called Love Pho. A man of many skills and many jokes.

First up, Chef Tan took us through the basics of making dressings, marinades, dipping sauces and stir-fry sauces. Surprisingly, the methods are really easy and can be applied to so many dishes! Then chopped, fried, rolled and ate the day away. Half way through the day we had a break and they provided hammocks for students to use. I didn’t use one but husband enjoyed a little kip.

The most surprising dish for me was the calamari dish, which actually turned out to be oyster mushrooms – the texture was so similar and for someone who doesn’t much like the taste, smell or texture of mushrooms, I was converted…for this dish only, anyway.

Here are the dishes we cooked (in some cases, husband did a way better job than I did, so I used his dishes for photos haha):

Time in the garden picking fresh herbs


Spring rolls before and after cooking


Growing oyster mushrooms


Bo la lot before and after cooking


Green mango salad with chicken


Banana spring rolls during preparation and once cooked


Tamarind stir fry sauce and finished stir fry with duck


Banh mi and preparing pickles for the banh mi


Calamari (mushrooms) and clay pot chicken


Bun during preparation and in the bowl




I really enjoyed this class and I’d recommend to anyone, regardless of their skill level.

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HCM Cooking Class

Review: Lunch at Creole Soul Kitchen, Spring Hill

Holy moly.

When I started writing this post about three months ago, Creole Soul Kitchen was still relatively new on the scene in Brisbane and it had only been open a few weeks by the time I’d eaten there six times! Mostly because I went with a different person every time – the old, ‘I want to go, but I can’t go with you today, let’s go next week!’ dealy.

Given I’d been so many times, I thought I should write about it because clearly I enjoy it.

I’ve never really had a lot of Creole food before. While there a plenty of burger joints in Brisbane, there aren’t a lot of Creole places to eat (feel free to send me recommendations!), so something authentic and delicious can be hard to come by. I’m also super keen to get over to Lousiana one day – beignets, po’boys, gumbo, Jambalaya…you get the idea! I’m sure there some nice cultural things to see too…………….

Creole Soul Kitchen has creole goodies like po’boys (lunch only, get on that!), gumbo, salads, pasta and pizza. They are also licensed, with some American beers on tap! Since I left Spring Hill, they have added beignets to the menu and other delicious things too.

Creole soul kitchen

It’s a small establishment, making the most of the deck they built out the front. There’s loads of memorabilia from the South on the walls and the back bar. It kind of gives you the feeling the owner my be a tad homesick, aside from giving the place a Southern vibe.

Can I also say, the chairs are comfortable!! So often you go to a new restaurant and the chairs are horrible to sit on, which makes for an uncomfortable meal.

When speaking with the owner on the first day I went there, he was telling me that so many of the products they needed just weren’t available easily in Australia, so he resorted to making a few himself. For example, he makes the Andouille sausage he uses in his sandwiches, pizzas, gumbos etc. himself – the texture is a little like Chorizo, but the flavour is different. I love that he’s just not willing to compromise on the ingredients and flavours.

You can make your own pasta, with a range of sauces and other ingredients, which is awesome because sometimes the pasta dishes in some restaurants are a couple of ingredients off what you really feel like.

I’m actually dying to head back to Creole Soul Kitchen because I haven’t even tried half the menu. I’m no longer working in Spring Hill, so that does pose a problem, but I think I’ll get there for drinks on a Friday night soon.

creole soul kitchen

As for what I have tried. I’ve been a staunch po’ boy eater, particularly the Soul Burger, which is insanely filling and really tasty. It reminds me of something I’ve eaten before, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. That’s probably why I’ve had it more than once. It’s a fairly simple burger with meat pattie, salads, sauce and cheese on one of their soft long rolls. I’m a bit fussy about bread and their bread does it for me! I also enjoyed the Andouille sausage po’ boy, but I’ve never been a huge fan of tomato sauce on a sandwich.

If you do go to check it out, you must get some waffle fries. They have a range of sauces, but what you need to get is the garlic butter. The chips are deep fried and then finished off in a pan with garlic butter. The first time we had them, that’s how the owner described them to us and that’s exactly how they tasted. Holy moly.

Writing all this is making me crazy hungry, can someone please go back with me soon?!

The details
Creole Soul Kitchen
448 Boundary St, Spring Hill
Opening hours: Mon, 11-3 | Tues-Fri, 11-11 | Sat, 5-11


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31 Degrees of separation

Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick loves chocolate.

After spending some time in France in her younger years, she realised she could never go back to Australia without access to the pastries, chocolates and breads she had tried in Paris (and I can relate!).

When she got back to Australia, she did what any sane sweet lover would do, she studied to become a pastry chef so she could replicate the sweets she tasted and experienced during her travels. After qualifying, Kaitlyn worked with cakes for over a year before melting under the desire to focus on her true love – chocolate.

She started 31 Degrees at the end of 2013, making use of South Brisbane commercial kitchens at Wandering Cooks to whip up delicious chocolate treats. After a Pozible campaign and many months of waiting for the construction phase to be over, she has finally moved into a permanent base – a store on Eden Lane in Woolloongabba.

31 degrees staff

Kaitlyn’s focus is on European-style chocolates, made with premium, locally sourced ingredients. Her most popular treats involve raspberry, passionfruit, coffee and the salted caramel bars, and heavenly honeycomb. Her Decadence Bar is a stunner – moist coconut, homemade caramel, coated in a high-quality chocolate. I can liken it to a gourmet Bounty Bar, but that description would do the quality product Kaitlyn produces no justice.

My husband (it’s weird calling him that) and I stopped by the new store the day before our wedding. Kaitlyn had planned an opening weekend on 22 and 23 July and even though it was a busy time for me, I wanted chocolate! I had contributed a small amount to her Pozible campaign months earlier, so I’ve always kept an eye on what’s happening in the world of 31 Degrees.

The store is small (to be honest, it doesn’t need to be big because we’re only there for one thing really – chocolate!), but Kaitlyn has made the most of it with a window into her workspace, so we can see her and her staff creating the delicate confections we were going to eat. Her cabinet was choccas (like what I did there?) and it was a tough task to decide on the chocolates we would get. Aside from the cabinet, more substantial options were also available for purchase, like chocolate bark, honeycomb and rocky road. She also has a killer hot chocolate on offer and probably spent more time at her coffee machine than in the kitchen the whole weekend, as she had free samples on offer.

31 degrees christmas tree, hot chocolate, cabinet

For the opening weekend, she created an entire Christmas tree out of chocolate. It was difficult not to just break a bit off and eat it right there. I missed out on her smash cake the following day, but I heard it was a success.

Oddly, I bumped into Kaitlyn the following week at Wandering Cooks and asked her what the next stage was. And, boy does she have plenty of plans! I won’t divulge them here, but I think you should keep an eye on the 31 Degrees Instagram and Facebook to stay up-to-date with the sweet sweet changes and additions over the coming months.

Thanks for bringing a little part of Europe to Brisbane, Kaitlyn.

The details:
31 Degrees Custom Chocolates
4 Hubert St, Woolloongabba QLD 4102
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 8am – 5pm | Sunday, 8am – 2pm
Phone: 07 3160 8834

Let me know what you try when you go!

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Christmas sausage rolls

We had a Christmas in July feast last month – because getting married the following weekend wasn’t challenging enough!

We decided to try and keep it fairly traditional, but because I’ve never really experienced a winter Christmas in a traditional English-style setting before, I had to do a lot of Googling to find some dishes that we felt would be traditional enough.

I noticed during my search that a lot of websites had sausage rolls in their list of traditional Christmas fare. I was quite surprised, because obviously sausage rolls here in Australia are pretty casual and are usually served with a couple of beers (or at children’s parties!).

We decided that sausage rolls would be fairly easy to make and cook, so they went on the list. Later, when searching for good recipes, I couldn’t find anything particularly ‘Christmassy’, so I came up with my own – turkey, Camembert and cranberry. I sort of forgot to get more photos than I did, sorry!

Sausage roll mix and testing


  • 1kg turkey mince
  • 1 large onion, finely diced (I buzzed mine up actually)
  • Half a small jar of cranberry jelly
  • 1 Camembert, chopped up
  • 6 sheets of puff pastry
  • Liberal sprinkling of garlic powder (I think about half a teaspoon)
  • Salt and pepper to taste



  1. Pull your puff pastry out of the freezer.
  2. Put everything in a bowl, but keep half the cranberry jelly to the side.
  3. Give everything a good mix.
  4. Add the other half of the jelly, but don’t mix it in completely, you’re after little ‘chunks’ throughout the mixture.
  5. By this point, your pastry should be pliable enough that it won’t break. Divide up the mixture into six.
  6. Put one sixth of the mixture on the pastry in a sausage shape and roll it up. I use the plastic that the pastry comes on to assist with this process (bit like a sushi mat). I use a little water on the edge of the pastry to seal it.
  7. Repeat 5 more times. I should say at this point that if you want to make smaller sausage rolls, just put less mixture in the pastry.
  8. Wrap up the rolls and pop them in the freezer until you need them. This will help keep the shape of the rolls when you cut them later.
  9. When you plan on using them, pull the rolls out of the freezer about 20-30 minutes prior to cooking. Don’t let it defrost too much or they will be a pain to cut.
  10. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.
  11. Using a sharp knife, cut the sausage rolls  into 8-6 slices (just keep in mind that the narrower they are, the more likely they will fall during the cooking process).
  12. At this point you can put a bit of eggwash on the top and sprinkle some herbs or seeds on top for decorative purposes.
  13. Pop them in the oven and cook until the pastry is golden.

Note: I like to test the mixture before committing to pastry, so I cook a little patty after I’ve mixed all the ingredients together.

I think they were well-received because there weren’t any left over at the end (though, I may have eaten a few myself). I’ll be making these again!

What’s your favourite sausage roll recipe?

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Review: Little Red Dumpling, Sunnybank

If you are a regular reader, you will know that I love love love Sunnybank for its cheap and vast array of amazing Asian delights. I have been busy eating my way around Market Square, Sunnybank Plaza and surrounding areas to provide a ‘go-to-guide’ for you all, though when I went to Little Red Dumpling the other night I felt it needed a post of its own!Untitled design (18)

Little Red Dumpling is situated in Pinelands Shopping Centre, and like a lot of the surrounding restaurants, its very small and very busy. When I mentioned to Karis that I was keen to check it out she instantly recalled a time she went there and also enjoyed herself.

After a small debacle of finding a car park (my pro tip: always plan ahead when parking in Sunnybank), and walking in the freezing cold windy weather, we were greeted by the friendliest of hosts and directed straight to a table. The drinks menu was 10 times the size of the food menu, so we spent more time wondering which jam jar concoction we would have with our dinner. Note: there are far more drinks on the actual menu than the website menu! I settled for a Cinderella jar, which was a citrus and soda water mixture. My friend had a lychee spritzer. Both were really simple, but tasty, though we could have done with them before our spicy ribs arrived – the lack of drink left my non-spicy-food-tolerating companion flailing her arms about trying to deal with the chilli. Nonetheless, it was hilarious, and she got her drink soon enough.

What did we eat?

We had the best lamb ribs I have ever tasted – it was advertised as lamb and cumin (classically awesome combination). The lamb was succulent and fell off the bone, it was a dry spice rub added to the meat after cooking, so it was full of flavour, but unfortunately for my friend, after eating so much (and loving it) it had the lagged spicy affect, (see above for her reaction).

We also had vegetarian spring rolls, which were perfect- no complaints there. Pan-fried pork dumplings which were just as tasty, and as good as the ones I had earlier this year in Hong Kong (I’m working on that blog post- bear with me!).

Lastly, one of my favourite things ever – xiao long bao, which is a soup dumpling. If you have never tried these before, hit me up for some recommendations to go for the best in Brisbane because you NEED these dumplings in your life. They are a bit tricky to eat as you have to be careful picking them up to extract the soup before eating the dumpling. Sometimes, restaurants even have instructions on how to eat them! These xiao long bao were great, but I wish they were served with dipping sauce.

The best part of all this? It cost us $40 and we were both full!

The details:

Little Red Dumpling
Shop 19, Pinelands Plaza
663 Beenleigh Rd, Sunnybank Hills
Qld 4109

Where is your favourite dumpling place? Do you have a favourite dumpling like me?

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Review: Ambrosia & Co, Bulimba

When you’re a hop, skip and a jump from Oxford Street in Bulimba (or as I call it, east Brisbane’s foodie haven), and you’re a foodie- you get really excited when a new place opens.

This one in particular I have been anticipating the opening for a while. As I was observing the construction, I noticed it was going to be somewhere I would enjoy, the open bright decor is very inviting, and when I went inside I felt relaxed. There are cute little sail boats on the tables that you raise the sail on when you are ready to place an order!

As you probably already know, I’m a huge fan of Greek food, so having a Mediterranean Restaurant open so close to home is fantastic. Even more so, when the food is great!

So what did we eat? To start we shared Pumpkin sumac spiced yoghurt and pita, it was light and full of flavour (I was also stoked that my pita bread we made at our Greek Feast was spot on!). We scraped the plate clean!

Untitled design (17)

Then we had Saganaki cheese, fig and current glyko – one of my all time favourites! Saganaki is like a oozy version of fried halloumi, but oh so much better! This salty, oozy cheese was served with a currant syrup which cut through the saltiness, to give it balance. I could have eaten two!

Untitled design (16)


Next, was Lamb and Pistachio Kofta garlic and yoghurt dip, basil puree and flat bread. I really enjoyed this, the flavours matched well, the meatballs were juicy and we were left wanting more!

To share as a main, we ordered the meat paella – personally I would ordered the seafood, but my date is allergic to shellfish! It was still incredibly tasty, moist and full of flavour. I find getting everything perfect can be really hard to achieve in a paella, so this was love in a bowl.

Untitled design (15)

To drink, we shared the rose sangria, it was fruity, fresh and very tasty, the perfect accompaniment for our meal!

I’m already planning my next dinner there, although I just looked at their breakfast menu and it sounds pretty good too! So many places to eat, not enough meals!

The details:
Ambrosia & Co.
Shop 5, 180 Oxford Street Bulimba
Ph 3395 6333

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End of an era…a very short one

So, Mel and I no longer work in the same office!

While it’s great to go on to other things, it’s still sad that we can’t do lunch during the week or make random tarte tatins in our lunch breaks…or have bake-offs!

But, that won’t stop us from talking food. In fact, just this morning we had a whole conversation via text about future cooking endeavours and sticky date pudding (and how much I wanted some). It’s like we’re still sort of in the same building.

We caught up for brunch at Seven South in Yeronga and we’re busy planning a potential Christmas in July….before I get married, cause I love a challenge.

Speaking of challenges,  I have other news to share (because not everyone knows yet) – I’m heading to the UK in September…to live. It could be one year, it could be two. I think James’ mum would be upset if I said it was any more than that, but you just can’t ever tell where the universe will send you.

That doesn’t mean this blog disappears, it just adds a whole new dimension. Living so close to so many countries means I’ll get to travel more and try more food. I mean, last time I checked it was $200AUD to travel from the UK to Italy. Leaving from here is significantly more, even with a good flight deal. I’m really excited and scared at the same time – living outside your comfort zone is a challenge and I think it just has to be done. Not to mention, the UK is just going from strength to strength in the food scene. Plus, I am totally going to River Cottage!!

Mel isn’t missing out though, she has her own travel plans and I’ve told her she needs to come and visit, so we can eat up a storm!


Where have we been?

Now, if you’ve been wondering why a blog that started up less than a year ago has already dropped off in terms of content, it’s because we’re both all over the shop! I work fulltime, I manage and do the marketing for an event that’s coming up next week actually (History Alive), I’m planning a wedding that’s coming up at the end of July, doing a few other things for various people and I’m trying to get some sleep. Mel also has her hands full, she started a uni degree this year on top of her fulltime job. We’re crazy because we knew all of this was coming up when we started this blog. It’s not going to disappear anytime soon though!

Please don’t give up on us, we’re still here!

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Pictured above: White chocolate mud cake, fresh raspberry buttercream layers, sourcream and whitechocolate ganache, topped with sourcream and milk/dark chocolate ganache, fresh raspberries and chocolated coated strawberries; condensed milk and raspberry brownies; cherry and chai tartlet.

Yassou! A Greek feast!

Have you ever been so full that you’re really uncomfortable, no matter how you’re sitting/standing/laying, but you just want to keep eating?

That was us a couple of weeks back. (Side note: Honestly, I started writing this post the day after we cooked up a huge Greek feast to celebrate Greek Orthodox Easter. Life has gotten in the way since and I’m just getting to this now.)

We’d been planning our Greek feast for a few weeks (in fact, I was using it as a procrastination source when I should have been doing other things – at home, not at work, don’t worry Caroline!). Mel is a Greek food fiend and after we’d done the Chinese New Year feast a while back, she decided we had to do a Greek Easter feast.


We wanted to do the usual things – pita and dips, slow-cooked lamb, Greek salad (actually called a ‘village salad’ in Greece for obvious reasons), lemon potatoes and Mel’s all time favourite, Kourabiethes (you know those crescent shaped, icing sugar covered shortbread biscuits). We also wanted to do a few things we’d never made/eaten before, so aside from what I’ve already mentioned, we made Flaounes (Easter cheese pies), Kolokythokeftedes (zucchini and feta patties), rice-stuffed tomatoes, Galaktoboureko (a semolina custard ‘slice’) and Tsoureki (Easter bread).

Our colleague Maria lent us a cook book that was written by an Orthodox church group, in the eighties I would say. We had a couple of issues with correct amounts – on more than one occaison the amount of flour they suggested was either too much or WAY too little. Our top notch troubleshooting skills definitely came into play.

We made most things from scratch and some didn’t turn out quite the way I hoped they would. Actually thinking back on it, my projects were the ones that didn’t work out the most. I tried to make a Greek Easter bread (the Tsoureki). It was an odd way to make a bread for me, and I think I managed to kill the yeast in the process, which resulted in the dough not rising at all. Was pretty disappointing, but there was so much food no one noticed.

We did a team effort on the Galaktoboureko, but we left it until last. That was a terrible idea, because there just wasn’t enough time for it to set. It tasted great, but it looked like it hit a lot of branches on the ugly tree when he dished it up.

The zucchini and feta patties were delicious, but there wasn’t really much of a binding agent and unless the pan was hot enough the patties didn’t really stick together. There was a lot of really tasty zucchini and feta mush left over. Thankfully, I managed to make enough good looking ones for people to eat and assume I’d actually done a great job ;).


We did three dips, tzatziki (of course), tirokaferi (a feta dip with a bit of chilli) and a skordalia (think garlic mashed potato). All three turned out very well and were eaten with homemade pita (made by Mel, not me!).

Of all the things we made, the Flaounes were the most surprising! I’ve never made anything like them and if I was choosing something to make from a Greek cook book, I’d probably have overlooked them.  They were essentially a bread square with a savoury filling – a kilo of haloumi mixed with sultanas, parmesan, semolina, sugar, fresh yeast, eggs and a few more things. Given neither of had had these before, it was really just the blind leading the blind. The recipe produced a absolutely ginormous batch and we made people go home with the many that didn’t get eaten (because there was so much other food). Maria said we did a pretty good job, but I did wonder if she was just being nice (haha)…


Overall, we had a great night and we hope our guests did too! Thanks to Maria for her cook books and emotional support!

We’re thinking about a Spanish Feast next, any dish recommendations?

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