Food trends for 2016

Mixed media painting by Emma Crameri

What are your food predictions for the coming year?

Here are ours:

  1. Fast food places becoming more like restaurants to keep customers.
  2. Reinventing food from our childhood. Chocolate Works bringing back the polly waffle as The Great Aussie Waffle Log. 
  3. Craft artisan food and beverage tours. We love Bean Brewding coffee tours. Have you been on a tour that is about coffee and cheese matching?
  4. Seaweed as the new kale.
  5. Cuisines from the Scandinavia. Rotting fish, sustainably produced reindeer and lingonberry desserts. It’s not just about IKEA food anymore.
  6. The United Nations has dubbed 2016 as International Year of the Pulse. They are inexpensive and versatile. We love a good lentil curry.
  7. Fermented foods of all varieties. Our favourite brands were Peace, Love and Vegetables and Kitsna’s Kitchen. We hope the price of jars and crockpots and starters will come down in price.
  8. Smashed cucumber instead of avocado on toast.
  9. What about camel milk? Any takers?
  10. Small-batch hard liquor, such as gin, mescal and tequila.
  11. Selling sea water for cooking purposes.

Let’s hope we see the end of cronuts (a croissant-doughnut hybrid), cruffins (croissant crossed with a muffin) and freakshakes (oversized milkshakes, generally with doughnuts stuffed in them). So unhealthy.

For more restaurants and cafes tips in the South East of Queensland, please feel free to follow my recommendations on Yelp.


Gustoso has a new home

Gustoso has now moved to a new home.

Please join us over at the blog.

Let’s Fight for the reef

I volunteer for the Australian Marine Conservation Society who in partnership with WWF (who I used to work for) are currently involved in promoting awareness in their Fight for the Reef campaign.

The Queensland Government is fast-tracking mega port developments, dredging and dumping of millions of tonnes of seabed and rock, and encouraging a shipping superhighway.

The Australian Government is approving these developments, including the world’s biggest coal port at Abbot Point, 50 km from the Whitsunday Islands.

Fight for the Reef is working with the Australian community to protect the Reef and the $6 billion tourism industry and 60,000 jobs it supports.

It’s your Reef, but you’re going to have to fight for it.
Fight for the Reef

The Great Barrier Reef in Queensland is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

For  National Volunteer Week.

Taste test: Beet It! organic beetroot juice

I was intrigued to try Beet It – an organic beetroot juice. It comes in a 1 litre bottle or three types of shots – Organic, Sport and Ginger.

I tried the Beet It organic shot and boy did it pack a punch, but I liked it. I’m keen to try the organic beetroot juice straight up next.

Beetroots are packed with antioxidants and contain potassium, magnesium and iron as well as vitamins A, B6 and C, and folic acid.

Research has shown that beetroot can help reduce blood pressure as well as its associated risks such as heart attacks and strokes. This is because the high content of nitrates in beetroot produce a gas called nitric oxide in the blood which widens blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. A daily dose of 250ml of beetroot juice or 1 to 2 cooked beetroot (approx. 100g) can help dramatically reduce blood pressure and its associated risks.
Love Beetroot

The regular juice would be ideal to add to homemade fresh fruit juices such as Dr Emerson’s daily juice. 

Beet It is available from independent grocers and health food stores.

How we can eat our landscapes – by Pam Warhurst TED video

What should a community do with its unused land? Plant food, of course. With energy and humor, Pam Warhurst tells at the TEDSalon the story of how she and a growing team of volunteers came together to turn plots of unused land into communal vegetable gardens, and to change the narrative of food in their community.

Pam Warhurst cofounded Incredible Edible, an initiative in Todmorden, England dedicated to growing food locally by planting on unused land throughout the community.

For National Volunteer Week.

How to use a worm tower

Since abandoning our worm farm a few years ago (the weather was too hot in Brisbane), we decided to try a worm tower. This one is by Birdies Garden Products. The beauty of this method is the temperature is lower as the soil acts as a insulator.

When you first set up the tower, you may like to add a handful of composting worms and some pre-soaked coconut coir as bedding material.

You use it just like a compost bin but you leave out the big bits. We have a container on our bench top where we place some of our fruit and vegetable scraps and this then gets emptied into the worm farm which has a removable lid. Don’t forget worms do not like onions or citrus so keep these things out and put them in your normal compost bin. You can also add leaves, grass clippings, material from your garden, paper, small pieces of cardboard, and hair.

We’ve had no problems with our worm farm, but if it is starting to smell add a handful of lime to neautralise the food scraps.

The tower itself sits in one of our raised vegetable beds and is slightly higher then the soil and edge of the bed. It’s just less then my hand wide with lots of holes at the bottom to allow the composting worms to move freely between the garden bed and the compost. Worm poo (what is left after the worms have digested the material) is a rich source of nutrients and an excellent fertiliser for your vegetable plants.

After the compost has decomposed enough you can top it up or move it to a new location in the vegetable bed to spread the nutrients around. We would recommend moving the worm tower every six months to a new spot. The benefit of placing it in the bed is that the plants are receiving nutrients right at the root zone.

Worm towers are an easy way to keep a worm farm in a hot or cold location.

Thank you to Birdies Garden Products for providing us with the worm tower.

A lazy dog’s day

I’ve been meaning to post a new photo of our wonderful dog, Dash, to show you how much healthier she is looking from when we first got her. She’s a dachshund kelpie cross. Her favourite activity is still chasing lizards in the backyard. Fortunately there are plenty of hidey holes for them and they get out of the way quick enough. She’s also still eating a raw diet from Jenny at The Complete Pet Company. If only our dinner was so easy!

Matt planted a white sapote next to the other one near the stump. Talking of which, after 5 years the ugly stump is really starting to break down. Matt has been putting the grass clippings in the centre and it heats up nicely making a sort of compost pile. Matt kicked it and one of the sides came away. The ants absolutely love the stump and it’s almost hidden by native grasses.

We cleared the vegetable beds and found some sweet potatoes we weren’t expecting. We’re regretting ever putting mint in, as it has overtaken the top bed. All four beds have sunk and really need a top up.

We bought some open-pollinated broccoli, cauliflower and kale and from Edible Landscapes Nursery, Northey Street City Farm. However, they are too small to plant out just yet so we’ll keep them protected from the elements for a few weeks.

Taste test: Australian Daintree tea by The Tea Centre

The Tea Centre sells two loose leaf teas that are made from Australian tea – Australian Daintree and Australian Sencha.

We decided to taste test the Australian Daintree. It’s a pleasant mild tea which has an earthy taste. Although it is a black tea it brews to a redy brown shade.

The tea can be taken with or without milk, or used to make iced tea. Some chefs even use it as an additive for smoking their fish and meat!

The tea is grown on the Cubbagudta (means rainy place) plantation, which is located in Northern Queensland, just north of Port Douglas. The tea is grown along the fringes of the Daintree rainforest. I was pleased to hear that the plantation does not use pesticides and so the tea contains no pesticide residues or tannic acid.

The plantation is a family owned and operated business and features in the AUSBUY guide as 100% Australian.

Don’t forget to add your tea leaves to compost as they make a great fertilizer.

A great every day tea that’s Aussie made.

Australian Daintree loose leaf tea
The Tea Centre

Fruit growers in the Cobram area

SPC Ardmona are no longer buying Australian fruit, People are ripping out their canning variety stonefruit trees as we speak because nobody will buy their fruit.

SPC Ardmona specialises in large fruit packing and owns and operates a canning factory in Shepparton, Victoria.  The company is currently owned by Coca-Cola Amatil.  SPC Ardmona carries the SPC, Goulburn Valley, Ardmona, IXL, and Taylors brands.

Please read labels are look for companies that are genuinely  “Made in Australia”.

Restaurant review: Arriba Grill

Arriba Grill

Arriba Grill is a great concept. The Lutwyche shop features a black and white cartoon style mural over one wall, and everything is clean and brand new looking.

Arriba Grill menu card

You fill out a menu card (as above) with your selections for a freshly made organic burrito. All the meat selections are marinated in chilli, so I ended up changing mine to black beans. Matt had the chicken with pinto beans, mild tomato salsa, and lettuce, cheese and guacamole as extras. I had the black beans burrito with mild corn salsa, lime rice and lettuce.

Arriba Grill burrito

The coriander gives it a nice flavour. My burrito was filling as it was packed with rice. The price is right at around $10 depending on extras.

A healthy way to enjoy Mexican cuisine.

Arriba Grill Lutwyche
Shop 1, 554 Lutwyche Road
Ph: 07 3357 7072
Open Lunch and Dinner, 7 days

Arriba Grill Lutwyche on Urbanspoon