Browsing articles in "Food News"

Peppers serves up MasterChef magic at Palm Cove

By nicky  //  Food News  //  No Comments
Savour the Tropical North Queensland flavour of what beautiful Palm Cove has to offer through the talented eyes of a true MasterChef champion. Surrounded by the delightful ambience of Peppers Beach Club & Spa, indulge in superb cuisine at Lime and Peppers Restaurant prepared by MasterChef Series 2 winner Adam Liaw. Celebrating the exclusive partnership formed between Peppers and MasterChef, the resort will hold the Taste of MasterChef Event on September 24 from 6.30pm, destined to be the holiday haven's essential culinary event of the year. For $150 per person, discover the sublime creations of Adam Liaw in collaboration with Lime and Pepper's Executive Chef Jira Chantra, during a sensational five-course degustation dinner bursting with fresh tropical produce with an Asian twist. Each course will be made even more memorable when complimented by matching wines and served around the splendour of the Peppers Beach Club & Spa's lagoon pool. To complete the MasterChef inspired evening, Adam Liaw will personally introduce you to the ingredients and cooking method of the dishes so budding chefs can gather some expert culinary tips to try out at home. Take the opportunity to stay awhile and explore the region's beauty from the reef to the rainforest, with a range of stylish accommodation available at Peppers Beach Club & Spa set in the heart of the charming holiday village of Palm Cove, just 20 minutes from Cairns Airport. The resort overlooks a stunning palm-fringed beach and on-site facilities include the Salt Spa, lagoon pools with a swim-up bar, tennis court, gymnasium and boutique shopping. To book for the Taste of MasterChef Event, RSVP by Monday, September 19, to Stacey Leigh on 07 4059 9200 or at For accommodation options or more information about Peppers Beach Club & Spa, call 07 4059 9200 or visit

Linga Longa Opens in Edge Hill

Many local diners have fond memories of Naked Nut. After its recent sale, this restaurant has been reborn by a restaurateur from South Africa as Linga Longa... love at first bite. We were fortunate to attend their soft opening this week, and were treated to a veritable parade of delicious food with generous portions, but the highlight of the restaurant, was the spectacular service. The staff are well trained and naturally amiable, even in the stress and confusion of opening night. It was such a pleasure to be around people who generally love owning and running a restaurant! Some people always worry when they see a restaurant identify its cuisine as international, but after hearing the life story of the restaurant owner the eclectic menu is a logical choice. Here's what we had for dinner at Linga Longa Restaurant:

Moule Mariniere

Our entree is one of Belgium's most famous national dishes comprising mussels cooked with a white wine cream sauce. We've never been fortunate enough to savour this dish in Belgium, but the entree was delicious. The portion was generous, and the sauce was delicate, subtle and oh so French! I was impressed that every one of my mussels was debearded. I am often annoyed that restaurants do not pay enough attention this quick and easy but essential job. I was also impressed that for an entree serve, there were a lot of mussels!

Avocado & Prawns

Our 2nd entree was somewhat reminiscent of those cheeky prawn cocktails from the 80's! It was great to see the new season avocados make an appearance on the menu, and the dish was finished with a delicious mango sauce.

Duck a l'Orange

If you've never had duck a l'orange you must try this. It is very hard for both Kaj and I to resist any French duck dish, and this one is a winner! The sauce is decadent and hedonistic, a rich orgiastic assault on the taste buds. The duck is perched beautifully upon a well-cooked Swiss-style rösti. It was a lovely accompaniment, and gives this French classic some international flair.

Duck & Porcini Linguini

This main dish was on the specials options, and we chose it out of curiosity. Never before have I seen duck in a pasta dish, but since I love duck, this was an easy decision. The flavours were well matched, and the pasta was perfectly cooked. Perhaps my only criticism of this dish is that it was a tad short on the delectible sauce. I would have loved just a bit more, but then, I always do.

Chocolate Praline Tart

The dessert is something I can't wait to try to cook at home, as I think it will bring me untold popularity amongst my friends. It really is a stroke of genius actually, combining praline and rich dark chocolate mousse. My perfect happy ending. Linga Longa is open now. Licenced, and BYO. I can't wait to hear what you think.

Gourmet Traveller Likes Cairns Breakfasts

Gourmet Traveller magazine has published a 2 part list outlining their best breakfast choices around Australia and a couple of FNQ regions are lucky enough to be on the list. Here's the best Cairns breakfast dishes, according to Gourmet Traveller:

#3 Mud crab omelette, Nu Nu

Steamed North Queensland mud crab meat juiced up with a slick of ginger caramel and softly enveloped in a fluffy omelette, served with a tangle of watercress that’s been dressed with an ajad redolent of kaffir lime leaf, mandarin peel and coriander root. Could it get any better? But of course. At the table, they pour on a warming broth of chicken stock, white pepper and fresh ginger. Ocean views are strictly optional.

#18 French toast, baked pear and raspberry coulis, Perrotta’s at the Gallery

Sweet but not too sweet, Perotta’s crisp-edged French toast made with brioche is served with a baked half pear, a generous splodge of King Island vanilla bean yoghurt and a caramel-rich raspberry coulis. It’s a good-looking breakfast that warrants artistic praise from its Cairns Regional Gallery neighbours.
  • Have you been to Perotta's at the Gallery? We would have chosen their Carazzo Toasted Sandwich. Tell us what you have had there.

#20 Steak and potatoes, Reef House

Sometimes you just need a steak. And sometimes that time is in the morning. Chow down here on a Morganbury sirloin from the Atherton Tablelands, a grilled tomato, and buttery sautéed kipfler potatoes and garlic.
  • Have you been to Reef House Restaurant? Let us know your favourite dish on their menu.
...and if you'd like the read the whole list of best breakfast dishes from all over Australia you read part 1, and part 2. This list was originally published in the October 2010 edition of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

New Website Launched

By nicky  //  Food News  //  1 Comment
We have been working diligently behind the scenes for months on our new Cairns Dining website. Not only does it have a spunky new look, but we've also done a major rework of the database, for speed of searching and to clean out the old data. We have some grand plans in adding providores and producers soon too, so the website will serve as a Cairns foodie central, as well as a spot to find out about restaurants. As well as many other people I'm craving an iPhone version, so that too is high on the agenda. I would love to hear your thoughts on the new site, and of course any feedback on how we could improve it further.

Off the Eaten Track

Anyone unlucky enough to be at home last Saturday night would have caught a number of Far North Queensland producers showcased on the new Channel 7 series, Off the Eaten Track. Off the Eaten Track – a collaboration between the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI) and Tourism Queensland, to air on Channel 7 in the lead up to Christmas. The series promotes Queensland’s finest regional produce, boutique wine and passionate primary producers. Hosted by Alastair McLeod of Ready, Steady, Cook fame, and executive chef at Bretts Wharf restaurant, Hamilton and Tank restaurant in central Brisbane, the series explores the diversity and abundance of Queensland produce.

Episode 1 - Tropical North Queensland

In this episode, Alastair takes in the sights at the Tastes of Burdekin Festival, enjoys sumptuous tropical seafood, savours the coffee and dairy products of the Atherton Tablelands, and finally explores the fruits of the tropics (including the achacha, an exciting new imported fruit). A couple of our much-beloved local producers are also featured on the 1st episode too, including: The four part series Off the Eaten Track can be viewed on Channel 7 on Saturdays, at 7pm – check out for more information.

Ochre Restaurant Wins Signature Dish

Taste Paradise ran a signature dish competition during the frivolous Cairns Festival celebrations, and after a lengthy voting period the top chefs in the public vote battled it our at Farmgate Markets to decide the Signature Dish of Far North Queensland. Chef Craig Squire of Ochre Restaurant took won the contest for his spectacular tempura bugs, papaya salad, with sweet chilli lemon myrtle dipping sauce dish. According to Taste Paradise, this dish was chosen for its innovative use of local ingredients that is the essence of Tropical North Queensland.

Recipe Ingredients

  • 8 pieces of green bug meat
  • 8 fresh lemongrass skewers
  • Red Ochre sweet chilli lemon myrtle dipping sauce (buy at Ochre Restaurant)
  • Tempura batter
  • oil for deep fryingSalad
  • 1 small green papaya, peeled, cut into long matchsticks
  • 50g green beans cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 40g unsalted roasted macadamias
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 10g mint, chopped
  • 10g coriander, choppedDressing
  • 2 fresh small whole green chillies, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 60ml fresh lime juice
  • 60g palm sugar- grated
  • 60ml fish sauce
  • 30 ml Rainforest Bounty ‘Jeowbong’
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Recipe Method

  1. Cut lemongrass sticks on an angle at the point where the stem starts to branch.
  2. Skewer two pieces of bug meat onto each stick of lemongrass.
  3. Prepare batter according to instructions.
  4. Heat oil to 180C.
  5. Dip bug skewers in batter and fry to golden and cooked through.
  6. Mix salad with dressing.
  7. Assemble papaya salad on plate, place skewers across, and serve with dipping sauce.

Tropical Cuisine Recipe Book Launched

By nicky  //  Food News  //  No Comments
This excellent book fills a significant gap in the reference shelves of any cook..” from the Foreword by Stephanie Alexander. We agree with Stephanie! Tropical Cuisine was officially launched in Cairns at the Tanks Arts Centre yesterday to a large crowd of gourmet foodies, primary producers, providores and retailers all interested in Clare Richard's first recipe book, Tropical Cuisine. The book is a significant publication featuring more than 250 recipes, and is peppered with Alison George's gorgeous food photography. Alison is from Catseye Photography, and her photos bring the dishes to life with precision focus and rustic styling. Our favourite part of this book is the reference section of tropical produce, and the ingredient profiles. This book will make an excellent Christmas gift for any food lover, especially those who are lucky enough to live in the tropics. You can purchase the book directly from Clare's website for $59.95 (+$4.95 postage) or from one of the local retail outlets. Have you made anything from the book? We'd love to know your food experiences with Tropical Cuisine.

Suzanne Quintner Wows Club Relish

This week The Edge Cafe hosted its monthly Club Relish night where they introduce food producers who feature in their gourmet store. Suzanne Quintner and Missy Moo Sweets proved too interesting, and August's Club Relish was held over 2 (big) nights. 60 foodies were treated to an array of dishes using both of the featured producers.

Suzanne Quintner

Suzanne's foods bring the famous flavours of Morocco and Northern Africa to the Australian table by using local produce to create harissa, preserved lemons, and a range of chutneys, dips, sauces and condiments. She is especially esteemed to be supplying Gordon Ramsay's new Melbourne restaurant Maze with Harissa. It is is featured featured on Maze's menu as an accompaniment to Soft Shell Crab.
Harissa Spiced Whiting

Harissa Spiced Whiting

Missy Moo Sweets

Kristie Horn of Missy Moo Sweets is a bit of a market junkie, and is commonly seen at Rusty's Market, Port Douglas Market, or at Farmgate. She is famous for being our only local cupcake-focussed business, a trend that is blossoming around the world. She also supplies a number of cafes with her sweet treats, most notably The Edge Cafe.


Join Club Relish

Membership to Club Relish is free, just drop into The Edge Cafe and ask to join. They even treat you to a free cup of coffee upon joining! Club Relish is also very hip in having their own Facebook page. Have you attended a Club Relish event? What did you think of it?

Taste Paradise 2010

By nicky  //  Food News  //  1 Comment
Taste Paradise is the sparkly new brand promoting Far North Queensland produce. For some time debate has raged how best to encourage locals to purchase local produce, so the Taste Paradise brand was born to guide us in the right direction. It is anticipated local food will carry the logo in the near future, so look out for this colourful conglomerate. To kick off the new brand in true FNQ style, Taste Paradise is hosting 18 events as part of Cairns Festival. That mammoth effort will be keeping organiser Nola Craig incredibly busy over the next coming weeks, but a huge congratulations should be extended to Nola for her success in securing both Ben O'Donoghue and Marion Grasby to take part in the Festival. Two events stand out as ones not to be missed!

Ben O'Donoghue Celebrity Chef Dinner

Date: Sunday, 22 August 2010 Time: Drinks @ 5:30pm, Dinner from 6:00pm Venue: The Sebel Reef House & Spa, Palm Cove Price: $149/person Ben O’Donoghue joins Philip Mitchell and his team to create a delicious Taste Paradise tropical 4-course Celebrity Chef Dinner at the Sebel Reef House & Spa as the sun goes down at Palm Cove beach. The menu will consist of local produce sourced by Ben and Phil. Jacobs Creek reserve wines will accompany each course with sparkling wine on arrival. Proudly sponsored by Pernod Richard. Call Sebel Reef House & Spa for bookings on (07) 4055 3633.

Taste Paradise Cooking Theatre with Marion Grasby

Date: Saturday, 28 August 2010 Time: 10:00am - 4:00pm Venue: Farmgate Markets, The Pier Price: Free Marion Grasby  joins our own regional celebrity chefs at The Pier’s centre stage where they will cook their favourite recipes using tropical food ingredients. Six cooking demonstration sessions will take place throughout the day on the hour. Join Marion and our local celebrity chefs; Nick Holloway (NuNu), Jimmy Shu (Hanuman) Jason Chuck (Eden House), David Bres (Oliver's) & Leon Walker (Wink).

Nunu Chef Appetite for Excellence Finalist

We are delighted that chef Nick Holloway of Nu Nu Restaurant in Palm Cove has been named a finalist in the 2010 Young Restaurateur National Finalists list of the Electrolux Appetite for Excellence. Luke is a co-owner of Nu Nu Restaurant with business partner, Jason Rowbottom. According to their website, the Electrolux Appetite for Excellence is a national restaurant awards program judged by some of Australia’s most successful chefs, restaurateurs, and industry leaders. Their  mission is to inspire, educate and nurture the emerging talent who are the future of our industry by providing money can’t buy education, opportunities, and experiences. These young people will ultimately be responsible for sustaining and hopefully improving upon Australia’s reputation as one of the world’s leading food and wine destinations. Nick Holloway & co-owner Jason Rowbottom opened Nu Nu Restaurant 6 years ago on the gorgeous esplanade strip in Palm Cove. It has received numerous accolades, most notably the 2008 Gourmet Traveller Regional Restaurant of the Year. The team love Nu Nu for its consistently high-quality fine-dining fare and for being dedicated to using local, seasonal produce. Unlike the similarly quality restaurants across Australia Nu Nu remains true to its tropical home; relaxed, understated and deliciously tropical. Have you been to Nu Nu Restaurant? Please leave a comment about your dining experience. Good luck Nick! We hope you win.