Friday, April 27, 2012



It's starting to get a little chilly here in Brisbane...we love it!
Our herb garden has been restocked with Winter varieties and we all have been diligent with the upkeep so we can start creating some delicious soups!

Our edible garden in one of our huge Lipa Urns...blessed by our solid stone Buddha statue.

Herbs to plant now include Parsley, Sage, Thyme and Rosemary as these varieties will withstand the cold of winter well.  Frost is one of the biggest problems facing the herb garden, however in the warmer parts of Australia, such as here in Brisbane, we rarely have frosts to contend with and have included some mint, chives and basil in our garden.  The Thai Basil variety is very hardy and I find it replenishes itself once cut has a slight minty hint to the flavour and is perfect for soups and using in Asian style dishes as well as the staple Mediterranean fare.


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Not only are we in this months Australian House and Garden Mag. but also our gorgeous Bella Chandelier!

The Bella is just one of those chandeliers that, with its neutral tonings and sophisticated elegance slots into so many applications.  We just love it!  The Bella is currently available in the large size as pictured and we also have one last small in stock.
Phone us on 07 38526002 to secure your Bella, or to find out more info.



Last weekend we had a great trip to the city of Melbourne...the city of shopping, bars, restaurants and football if youre a guy :-)

One of the things we love about Melbourne is how the old is melded in perfectly with the new in respect to architecture.  There are some stunning old buildings in the Melbourne CBD.

We stayed at The Savoy on Little Collins.  Its a great Art Deco style hotel positioned close to the train station, clubs, restaurants, bars in the heart of Melbournes CBD.

As you know, we do love to recommend exceptional Australian Businesses of distinction and we found a worthy establishment on our travels in Melbourne.

The Saint and Rogue Public House and Kitchen is situated on Little Collins Street.  If you are looking for a place to drink and eat that really gets back to the grass roots of what a public house is all about, then the Saint and Rogue is the 'must do' destination.  The first night we stopped by for a drink and were pleasantly surprised by the cosy ambience...we grabbed a drink and settled into one of the many 'nooks'...people watched and just chilled, wishing we had discovered this place earlier on in the evening.

Impressed by nook drinkies we decided to head back the next night for dinner.  Up the staircase to the Dining Area and another very cosy and comfy nook booth for great service and a delicious 'pub' thinks that some of the pubs here in Brisbane could take a wait a minute...the whole book from the Saint and Rogue.  With all boxes ticked for service, ambience and food we retreated back into the brisk Melbourne Autumn air and began planning our next stay...and this time we will take some ring-ins with us.

For those who love to shop and for those who just love to people watch and stroll...then Chapel Street is the place to be.  This street is a 2 day day for one side and another for the next.  Designer stores interspersed with Antique and Second Hand clothing stores to give a retro and village feel, there really is something for everyone in the shopping department and then theres the array of quality eateries that just leave no 'want' snubbed.  

Pete the Greek and I spent most of our day trying to find a Greek restaurant we had discovered years before....we found it!...and settled in...

Met the kids later for a drink at the Irish Pub....more people watching and checking out who bought what.

Thank you Melbourne for looking after us...keeping us entertained, fed, watered and happy.


Now that its starting to get cooler we say goodbye to the swimming pool and hello to fireplaces/firepits, fluffy socks, long after dinner baths and soups, flans and hot chocolate.

I can now use the oven in the kitchen without looking like I have been standing fully clothed in a sauna for an hour after using it.  And so, the season to cook yummy eggy quiches and tarts  is back!

I wanted to share with you this great recipe for Asparagus, Gruyere and Leek Tart, one, because its easy and the family will think you are particularly clever and their very own Nigella, plus its delicious and should keep the whole family happy.  Serve it up with a fresh green salad and crusty bread.  I make my tarts the day before so all I need to do is heat up the oven when I get home and then 5 mins to throw together a salad...easy peasy...just as we like it!


(Recipe serves 6)


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 leek (white and light green parts only), halved and thinly sliced, then well washed
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 bunch (1 pound) asparagus, tough ends removed, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups half-and-half
  • Ground nutmeg
  • I use shortcrust pastry from the shops....because otherwise I wouldnt have the time to make it :-)  But if you are a clever, Super-mum type, you can make the pastry from scratch.  Just any plain shortcrust or pie crust is fine.
1 cups shredded Gruyere Cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in lowest position. In a large pan, melt butter over medium. Add leek and asparagus; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until asparagus is crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes; let cool.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, 1/2 teaspoon salt, teaspoon pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg. Place pie crust on a pie dish or square pie tray. Sprinkle with cheese; top with asparagus mixture. Pour egg mixture on top.
  3. Bake until center of quiche is just set, 50 to 60 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Cook's Note

To make sure the vegetables are distributed evenly, spread them in the crust before pouring in the egg mixture.



After our little sojourn at The Saint and Rogue and the imbibing of a cocktail or 3, I am now hooked on Bloody Marys.  I know we have done these way, way in the past on Style in The City blog, but I really feel that this classic fave, that is not just reserved for hangover cures, well deserved a second go...this time with a twist of difference!...this time with Horseradish to really give it some kick and also clears the sinuses nicely!

And so they say in the classics......bottoms up!



  • 2 oz. Vodka
  • 4 oz. Tomato Juice
  • 1/2 oz. fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 t freshly grated Horseradish or Creamy prepared Horseradish 
  • 2 pinches Celery Salt
  • 3 dashes Tabasco (or more to taste)
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire Sauce


garnish - There are a ton of variations.  Go with what you prefer...  Celery Stalk, Lemon Wedge, Lime Wedge, Pickled Green Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, Olives (add a little olive juice for a dirty Bloody Mary), Baby Carrots, Cocktail Onions...
1. Combine all the ingredients into a mixing glass.  Add ice and roll the mixing glass to combine ingredients.  This is not a shaken cocktail.
2. Strain into an ice filled glass and garnish.
We have so much to be thankful for.
Below is a wonderful posting on facebook via a friend of a friend that we just had to share with you.
Sometimes you really do need to sit and reflect on how amazing our lives our and how much there is to be grateful for.  We thank those who have been before us and made the ultimate sacrifices to give us the lives we live today in this beautiful country.

(Credit to Donna Bird for this amazing photograph taken at Cairns Dawn Service)

"As midnight approaches on the most important day for most Australians, the ANZAC spirit never rests. The sacrifice made by our comrades has afforded us all a lifestyle that we often take for granted…and must never be forgotten." 

"The significance of the Red Poppy as “a symbol of remembrance deriving from the fact that the poppy was the first plant to re-emerge from the churned up soil of soldiers’ graves during the First World War” proves that even in times of great sadness – the beauty of nature and the human spirit is our biggest hope for the future".

"Make a pact with yourself to support not only your friends and family, but also complete strangers with random acts of kindness and no expectation of thanks or reward…not just on one day, but throughout the year". (Anon)

Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead....bring on all good things!

Caths off to New you do....we look forward to bringing you pics and info on all her 

adventures in the coming weeks.

The Charcoal Team