Thursday, November 12, 2009

Chef Laurent launches his books

Remember the French Chef that my darling organized to cook a gourmet dinner for myself and five of my girlfriends? Well, he launched his cookbooks tonight with his wife at a book launch in Maroochydore, that I was very excited to get invited to.

Many of the foods which he has in his new books, include a few he cooked for me, were on fully laden tables. Suzy and I had a ball tasting camembert brioche, decadent chocolate cake, home made sorbets, white chocolate mousse, lemon tart, caesar salad, chicken and avocado wraps, just all good wholesome healthy food. Added in the demo of the Thermomix, and it was a great evening.

It was so cool to see Laurent, to buy a book and have him sign it, and see him enjoying the fruits of his labours. I love food, I love to cook, I love natural flavours, strong flavours......and seeing someone else taking that passion and interest to a whole new level was intoxicating.....

Monday, November 09, 2009

What a weekend

It's Monday morning and I'm very happy to just be moseying along at home. My chores are done. House is vacuumed, copious washing is almost all done and put away. I'm happy to be having a cup of tea and a piece of toast for morning tea, while I wonder where on earth my energy has gone....

We left Saturday morning, on schedule and dropped the kids off at Nanny's place. We drove onto Brisbane with Barbi's directions firmly clutched in my hand. They were my lifeline lol..... Pity I got the street name wrong though. We drove along a road, I still don't understand why we were on..... Actually that whole area of Brisbane confuses me. With one way streets and complexes taking up entire blocks, it's hard to get a grip of, for me anyway....

Finally with the help of a lady at a 7Eleven store, we found our way and checked into the Mantra Hotel. I loved this hotel. We will definitely stay here again. With a $250 per night price tag, it wasn't cheap, but worth every cent. Having paid for it months ago, always softens that blow too. The valet service, meant we didn't even have to park our car. A buffet breakfast was included for Sunday morning. We checked in, left our luggage and car in their capable hands and we headed to the Food and Wine Show, both really looking forward to a drink even though it was 10.30am!! We made our customary stop at Grinders, for the best coffee I've ever tasted. I went back three more times, and had a short black each time, just delicious, and I haven't drunk black coffee in years!

We walked around and started tasting wines, and I was surprised by a couple. I found a delicious Rose from Monahans Estate. It was a chardonnay/shiraz blend and had a lot more body and flavour than they normally do. We watched Matt Moran's show, which was fun as always, but some of his stories were a bit tired, as we'd hear them before. Might see someone else next year. Peter had to go and say hello to the people from Saddler's Creek Winery. He ended up signing up for a members' deal because he's been so impressed with the quality of their wines. We also ended up going to a dinner and tasting that evening with them as hosts. It was an expensive dinner at $140 a head. The function was at Era Bistro. The food was exceptional, actually if you peruse the menu, the foods we had are on the menu. I was happy to see that we didn't just get the mass produced stuff. I was sad that we'd eaten a late lunch, and I could only eat a small portion of the food. I was not at all hungry. In hindsight, we should have eaten lunch at the show much much earlier. The wines we tasted (comprised of 9 wines, which were glasses not tastings!!) were very very good. Having been drinking all day long, I was very very careful with the evening's offerings. I drank lots of water, and simply sipped at my wines. Had I even not been at the show all day, I wouldn't have been able to drink nine glasses lol.....I would have had fun trying though. Needless to say dear Bunny had to eat all my food too, and drink most of my wine as can imagine how he felt yesterday morning, while I felt very smug.

The hotel bed was very comfortable and large. Not large enough that I didn't hear the snoring though, thankfully by 1.30am Peter quietened down a bit, and I dozed on and off all night. In the morning we were thankful for a late check out. We had a breakfast which was just divine. I was hungry and looking forward to it. The pastries were delicious and the muesli was the best I'd ever eaten. I wish I could have tried the waffles, specialty breads and cooked hash browns as well... There was so much variety. It was nice sitting watching the world go by. Many of these venues along Grey St open directly onto the street, so the warm air comes in and you can really enjoy the outside while sitting inside. Even the Era Bistro was the same, very clever and combining the indoors with the outdoors - signature stuff of the area we live in.

I also bought a new fry pan, seeing as I killed my Scanpan one...... I hope we don't kill this one.... I also bought a Christmas pudding . I bought the rum and raisin one, absolutely delicious.

Sunday, after breakfast, we walked down along Southbank, and enjoyed the markets. I didn't buy anything, I wasn't really interested in anything, just happy to be out in the fresh air sans kids..... We spent some time in the museum, as we knew it would be cool. We left Brisbane, after lunch, and came home to pick up our kids, who were happy to see us.

I was in bed very early last night, just after 8.30pm!! Next year we'd like to go on the Friday. It's far too busy on the Saturday. We enjoy talking to the wine makers and they have more time to spend with you on the Friday. I think the food would be much better too. The meals we had from the Wild Oats Restaurant, was a little mass produced this year. I wanted to eat at 11am, and Peter said it was a bit early. We couldn't get near the place though until later in the afternoon, and this impacted on our evening meal...... The show is definitely becoming more popular each year though, as the number of people was huge.....


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