Friday, September 2, 2011



Ahhhh...Spring....picture that scene in The Sound of Music with Julie Andrews on top of the Mountain singing 'The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music', and that's how we feel this week.
I don't know what its like in your neck of the woods over the last couple of days, but here in Brisbane, Australia its been the perfect start to Spring, with crisp sunny mornings and dare I say, slightly balmy days.  We have a huge jasmine vine in our backyard and the scent wafting through is just I do love Spring!

The other thing we love about Spring and the oncoming warmer months is that with it comes new clothes shopping...and then of course they spring (no pun intended) fashion week on us and fill our heads with all the beautiful new season styles.  And so here's a bit of Spring Wardrobe inspiration for you below.


It's all well and good to love the fashion on the latest catwalk shows around the country lately, but is there anything that you would actually consider wearing yourself?  The big tip from the experts is to pick and choose the elements of the look that you love and then try to adapt that to what is appropriate for your age, body shape etc....  This seasons sheer maxi dress style may look great on the catwalk, but is it going to be appropriate for the height challenged such as myself, not to mention showing off legs that perhaps could do with about a thousand years of toning exercises!  So here are a few styles that are going to be really popular this season that are wearable and versatile....well I think so anyway.  I always welcome feedback, so please let me know what little fashion gems you have found and we do like discovering new and exciting local designers too.

Ladies, youre going to want to track down a cargo jacket or military-inspired vest sooner rather than later. Tough-looking top + flirty bottom = year-round outfit perfection.
Say hello to your new day-to-night bestie: Spring’s sleek ’70s-inspired jeans look cool again after almost a decade of skinny-jean world domination. Wear them with wedge heels and a tucked-in top to look long and lean.

 The gauzy stuff was all over the Fashion Week runways. Our advice for wearing this trend in real life? Steer clear of the X-rated looks that leave nothing to the imagination. Wear a totally solid top over something sheer so you’ve got a sexy, filmy layer peeking out underneath.

 Being a lover of all things BIG in accessories, I am loving this seasons 'must have'. There’s no easier (or more affordable!) way to update your look in a hurry—just slip on an armful of colorful plastic or wooden bangles.

 As seen in Fashion Week, orange and vibrant citrus hues are big for spring!  The hot new color makes updating last summer’s cobalt and aquamarine clothes a total cinch.

So, in a nutshell ladies, think 70's glam, bohemian comfort and bright sunny hues for Spring...I can feel another Julie Andrews moment coming on..........

Busy as little spring bees we have been this week.  Here's a little peek at whats been happening....

Here's Cath watching Rob ever so carefully hanging one of our beautiful Bella Chandeliers.  Robbie is Caths nephew and also our number one handyman.  He also got his drivers license this week, so we are all super proud of him....go Rob!

 First day of Spring and we got a beautiful Camelia each from the pretty and delicate and so Spring!

Another beautiful Charcoal Interiors Custom Made New Guinea Rosewood table heads off to its new home.

Why have a design story board when you can use space in our design area!  This week Colette and Cathie have been working on a very special project for a very special client who loved everything she saw.

....and all work and no play makes us....very thirsty :-)

So, it was off to the Emporium Hotel down the road for our own little Cocktail Party!

Jen with her Chilli Margarita....sooo good!

Colette with her Spring Margarita.

And here's Cath chomping at the bit for me to take the photo so she can tuck into her Chilli Margarita.
Here's cheers to a great week!



Being hit by true inspiration (or maybe it was just the warm fuzzies after a couple of these at the Emporium) we decided it would be fitting...and share the recipe for the Chilli Margaritas with you.


Wet the rim of 4 short glasses and dip in a mixture of 2 tablespoons coarse salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder. Fill a cocktail shaker two-thirds of the way with ice. Add 1 cup tequila, 1 cup pineapple juice, 1/2 cup fresh lime juice and 11/2 tablespoons agave nectar. Shake well, then strain into the glasses.

Make one of these for Dad, and insist he drink it while wearing the new jocks, socks and other assorted new clothes that he got for Fathers Day this Sunday.  He will be blissed out in no time.  This cocktail really is just delicious and so different with a tiny bit of spice to it....enjoy!  And Happy Fathers Day to all the Dads.


Treat Dad this Fathers Day lunch or dinner with this super easy Ravioli recipe that will have him thinking you are in preparations for Masterchef status!
Buerre Noisette just rolls off the tongue, but not as easily as Brown Butter, which is the loose translation.
To make things easy for us cooks we use fresh lasagne sheets for this one (available in the fridge section at markets and stores etc...).  I also recommend using Danish fetta because its got a lovely creamy texture and isnt about comfort food!  And, theres no meat in this dish, so its fine for Vegos and raging carnivores.

credit to Mortefot via flickr for this photo



300g ricotta cheese
150g Danish fetta cheese
2/3 cup finely grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
2 eggs
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1½ tsp finely chopped tarragon
Sea salt & cracked black pepper
375g pack fresh lasagne sheets

Beurre noisette
2½ tbsp pine nuts
80g butter
24 sage leaves
100g baby spinach leaves


Combine cheeses, 1 egg, zest and tarragon in mixing bowl. Season.

Cut pasta sheets into 32 rounds using cookie cutter.

Lay out 16 rounds and divide cheese mixture between them, leaving 2cm border around edges.

Whisk remaining egg with fork in small bowl. Brush edges of rounds with eggwash. Top with remaining rounds and press edges together to seal, removing air as you go.

Bring saucepan of salted water to boil. Cook ravioli for 3 mins. Drain, reserving 2 tbsp water.

Make beurre noisette Meanwhile, toast pine nuts in frying pan over medium-high heat for 2 mins, tossing regularly. Add butter to pan, cook for 2 mins until golden. Add sage leaves, continue to cook for 30 to 60 secs until sage is crisp and butter is golden brown. Stir through reserved pasta water.

Serve Divide spinach into bowls, top each with 4 ravioli and drizzle with beurre noisette. Season and sprinkle with grated parmesan.
We hope your Dad, husband or significant male in your life enjoys this dish as much as we did.
Happy Fathers Day!


A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty.  ~Author Unknown

Until next week....thanks for reading!  Be sure to let us know what you liked in the blog...and also we love to hear from you with favourite recipes a nutshell, we love feedback!

The Charcoal Team  xxx