New Year’s Resolution | Cooking

It’s no secret around my house and throughout my family that, despite my affinity for food, I’m a terrible cook. In 23 years I’ve managed to amass the skills to make myself an omelette in the morning, prep some overnight oats and that’s about it.

So, for my New Years resolution, I’ve decided to develop that practical skill that is sorely lacking in my life. I’m much too dependant on my boyfriend who does all of our home-made cooking but not anymore! I’ve gathered a wish list of cookbooks that I hope will boost be along my journey to culinary independence.

Community: Salad Recipies from Arthur Street Kitchen by Hetty McKinnon

My new repertoire of delicious food will obviously have to include a fair spread of hearty salads. Community collects recipes from McKinnon’s cult  Arthur Street Cafe that, from my quick flick through, from my quick flick through seem relatively simple and do-able. I mean, how hard can a salad be right? This is no 63-degree egg.

The Broadsheet Sydney Cookbook by Broadsheet

I will never be able to make anything from this book. I knew this. You know this. And Broadsheet probably know this. However, as a collection of recipes for some of the best dishes in Sydney’s eclectic and upmarket dining scene it will, at the very least, serve as some intense and aesthetically-pleasing inspiration.

Alimentari by Linda Malcolm

Alimentari compiles “attainable” Italian-Middle Eastern inspired dishes from the menus ofMalcolm’s two Melbourne cafes by the same name. We’re talking salads, soups and sandwiches. Some must-have stuff.

Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi

Vegetarian dishes! What cooking skill set is complete without an offering of vegetarian dishes? For no explicable reason, and without ever being or considering being vegetarian, Plenty More has been on my wishlist for a long time as a must-have introduction to hearty, filling and delicious vegetarian meals.

Nopi: The Cookbook by Ramael Scully and Yotam Ottolenghi

Again, I will never develop the skills to actually produce anything from this book but it’s inspiring and nice to look at. Written in collaboration with Nopi head chef Ramael Scully, this intimidating guide to the recipes of the Soho restaurant, covers everything from starters and sides, fish, meat and vegetable mains, puddings, brunch, condiments and even cocktails.

Secret Recipes by Dominique Ansel

Like vegetarian meals, pastries are a must in covering all of my fictive culinary bases and what better way to learn than from Ansel, the Paris-rained pastry chef credited with the creation of the cult/fad dessert-hybrid, the Cronut. I’m being unrealistically ambitious. I know I’m being unrealistically ambitious.

Tokyo Cult Recipies by Maori Murota

My boyfriend and I are both nuts for Japanese food and this pocket encyclopaedia contains recipes for everything from miso, sushi, soba noodles, bentos, sushi, fried rice, Japanese tapas, desserts, cakes and sweets, plus  the key basic cooking techniques and step-by-step guides for making rice, dashi, miso and sushi.

Image via The Food Dept. 

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The Windsor Larder | Windsor

I’m a sucker for a cute cafe. Give me a cute cafe and a chic rooftop bar and I will bury a body for you, no questions asked.

But all jokes aside, The Windsor Larder has been on my “Cute cafes to hit up before I die” list since the list itself was written and this weekend I finally got to tick it off.

Tucked before a corner store in the middle-way suburb of Windsor, it’s not exactly easy to find but if you can ignore your GPS find your way in, it’s well worth any struggle.

This super cute space is decked out with mismatched vintage knickknacks, from the furniture to the produce table in the centre of the cafe to the small shelving that serves as a  mini grocer, offering a selection of preserves and other take-home goodies. This place is mismatched chic at its finest.

For my maiden voyage, I chose the Brioche french toast with poached pear, while my mum (the perfect brunch companion) opted for the classic avocado on toast.

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Not only were both delicious but the avocado on toast was super generous for a dish that seems to be shrinking lately.

And there’s plenty I didn’t get to try that I’ll definitely be back for!  There’s the pumpkin and blue cheese arancini that’s the size of my palm, the homemade chicken pate (yum! and it’s only $5!) and those take-home granola jars that I’m hoping are just as delicious are they are ridiculously pretty.

I’ll race you back to The Windsor Larder and we’ll both find it at 3b/229 Lutwyche Rd, Windsor (which is not where your GPS says it is). They’re serving up the good stuff every day from 6:30am.

Facebook: The Windsor Larder
Instagram: The.Windsor.Larder

 

Sixteen Antlers | Brisbane CBD

Several weeks ago, I attended the media launch of Brisbane’s newest rooftop bar gig: Sixteen Antlers.

It’s a terribly-kept secret that I’m a complete sucker for a rooftop bar – where “rooftop bar” could mean anything that finds itself serving alcohol on the top of any building. I will happily call your friend’s rooftop my new favourite rooftop bar if the alcohol is good, the decor is trendy and the views are 10/10.

Perched on the top of the Pullman hotel – the sixteenth floor, to be exact – Sixteen Antlers offers panoramic views in the heart of the CBD, including a unique close-up of City Hall’s clock tower. The bar itself lovingly embraces a whimsical forest theme with a lush feature wall and plenty of greenery hanging over the icy-blue bar. No space is wasted here, silvery supports reach into the roof like metallic trees.

The food, too, follows the whimsy of the space. Simple, but deliciously juicy, soft-shell crab sliders share menu space with tiny Panna Cottas potted in glass jars like miniature edible gardens.

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It’s delicious and decadent and, in my opinion, just what was lacking in the heart of the CBD.

Notably, all the wines of the Sixteen Antlers menu are the same price  – so no more selling yourself short and skimping on flavour in favour of that cheaper glass!

You’ll find Sixteen Antler on the corner of Ann & Roma streetThey’re open Tuesday and Wednesday from 3pm plus Thursday – Saturday from 2pm. 

Facebook: Sixteen Antlers
Instagram:  Sixteen_Antlers

The Sugar Market | Fortitude Valley

Today, Brisbane welcomed its first dedicated dessert festival with open arms, filling a Fortitude Valley laneway with sugary goodness. The Sugar Market was filled to the brim with cupcakes, brownies, doughnuts, cronuts, popsicles and more, and I spent the day there helping out and eating myself silly.

Here’s what I got my hands on:

Sizzling Chocolate and Almond Brownie | Southside Bistro

Southside’s infamous sizzling brownie comes with butterscotch ice cream, macadamia pralines and chocolate fudge sauce.  It’s melt-in-your-mouth good and one of those beautiful things in the world that truly lives out to its hype.

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Caffe Latte popsicle | Queen of Pops

These things are so good I grabbed myself two throughout the day! Delicious real coffee, frozen in creamy popsicle form. It was the perfect kick-off to what turned out to be an enormous – and enormously hot – day.

Frose | The Whickham

You can never go wrong with delicious frozen rose, especially on a day when I’m nursing some chronic sunburn that I’m yet to realise the full, heated, extent of. The Instagram-friendly sprinkle of gorgeous edible flowers is just the icing on the frozen, boozy cake.

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Lamington  | Reid Street Kitchen

These things are huuuuuuuuuge! And I mean huge, huge. Huge, squishy delicious, traditional lamingtons. They also come in passionfruit and salted caramel flavours, all of which are as delicious as they are enormous.

The Sugar Market was just a one-off event for now but fingers crossed it finds its way back to us again.

King Arthur Cafe | Fortitude Valley

So, today, I finally made it back to King Arthur Cafe and this time I was even focused enough to tear myself away from the sparse interior and gorgeous baked goods to remember to take a photo or two! It’s a modern day miracle.

I love King Arthur Cafe. I love the beautiful, tubular upstairs interior; I love the tiny repurposed jars of sugar on every table; I love the delicious baked goods that they force you to walk past as you leave, and I love the food.

Well before you yell it at me from across the playground, yes I very well would marry it, seeing as I love it so much if it wasn’t for one, small tiny thing. King Arthur Cafe commit, what I consider to be, the cardinal breakfast sin: only one piece of toast with your two poached eggs. It has never made sense to me and it never well. Eggs and bread (for those of us still blessed by a healthy relationship with gluten) go hand in hand. One egg = one piece of toast. Two eggs = two pieces of toast. It’s just how the world has always been and without our diligent adherence to that basic breakfast equation, the very structures of our society begin to crumble around us.

Nevertheless, I can never tear myself away from King Arthur.

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This time I went with the cinnamon french toast and it did not disappoint. A whole, juicy poached pear jostled for space with fried pineapple, fresh strawberries and vanilla mascarpone.

And there were two pieces of toast! Hazar! Consider that cardinal sin banished from the breakfast kingdom… for now.

Conveniently, you’ll find these guys at 164c Arthur St, Fortitude Valley. They’re open 7 days a week from 7am 

Facebook: King Arthur Cafe
Instagram: Kingarthurcafe

Up on Constance | Fortitude Valley

On Thursday night my partner and I were lucky enough to score ourselves a ticket to Up on Constance and Tryp Hotel’s second birthday celebrations and boy are we glad we did. Up on Constance used the occasion to debut their latest functions package, including signature cocktails and miniature treats.

At this point, it’s important to note that I do this almost every single time I go out without fail: I will have a glass of wine, almost always red, and declare it to be the best glass of red I have ever had. After Googling the following week I will track down a bottle only to find that it’s not exactly the drop that my fuzzy, booze-addled brain thought it was. So, maybe, in this case, a bit of mystery is the best thing for both of us and that particular glass will have to be the one that got away.

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But let’s get on to the food! we’re talking piles of enormous fresh oysters dripping with vinaigrette, stacks of battered prawns with sweet chilli sauce, palm-sized bowls of fried chicken with slaw and spicy mayo, and some of the best crispy pork belly sliders I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.

We were also treated to a taste test of some of Up on Constance’s latest signature cocktails. One particular concoction with absinthe, tequila, pineapple juice and maraschino cherry, should leave you hating yourself and your life choices but is sweet, kind and regret-free. But the Espresso Dreams was the real deal-sealer: your standard espresso martini garnished with freshly shaved white chocolate. It’s delicious, decadent and totally worth the elevator ride.

Head down the laneway at 20 Constance Sreet, Fortitude Valley and ride the elevator to Up on Constance. They’re open Thursday – Sunday ’till late. 

Facebook: Up on Constance
Instagram: Up on Constance

Abode Cafe | Taringa

Winter is well and truly here, and along with it comes that deep-down, pit-of-your-stomach, core-of-your-very-self type of craving for a breakfast that warms you from your head to your toes.

Small in stature but big in homemade might, Taringa’s Abode Cafe has you covered.

Framed by rows of delicious homemade chutneys and sweet jams, Abode’s hearty brekkies are the things of your deepest, darkest winter cravings and your childhood, farmhouse daydreams combined,

Serving up a rotating seasonal menu, Abode has a focus on fresh, ethical produce and homemade goodies. With dishes like “Nanna’s Eggs” (scrambled eggs with bacon, onion and roasted tomatoes) and the classic mince on toast, accompanied by their homemade chilli jam, breakfast at Abode is like starting the day in the warmth of the romantic farmhouse kitchen I wish I grew up in.

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A cold pressed juice and a smoothie went down a treat with my feelings of green-eyed childhood envy; plus Abode is serving Brisbane’s own boutique roast, Black Sheep Coffee, every day of the week, for a dash of local pride to bring us all back down to earth.

Find a spot in the sun on their patio and feel your fingers defrost from the 20-degree Brisbane winter or cosy up inside on a table for two. Either way, if it’s a warm and hearty winter breakfast you’re after Abode, has your heart and your tummy well and truly covered.

And because floral offerings are always of the utmost importance, here’s some of Abode’s “flowery goodness” to really bring out that farmhouse vibe:

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If you’re ready to warm up with a hunt through the suburbs, you’ll find Abode Cafe at 30 Hillsdon Road, Taringa. They’re open 7 days a week for breakfast and lunch, with the kitchen closing at 2pm each day.

Facebook: Abode Cafe
Instagram: Abode Cafe