So while I’m not going to post pictures from my mum’s birthday, I am going to post other nice moments from this weekend. Mum’s dinner went perfectly. Good food, wine and cake was had by all at Daisy’s Place on Steve Irwin Way on the Sunshine Coast. Although the clientele demographic seemed a bit older than places Ben and I frequent, it was superb service, great food and they were completely accommodating of our arrangements for mum, like coming in early and decorating with roses, homemade Bunting and paper crowns and bringing out birthday cupcakes with candles (even though we ordered sweets off the menu as well).
In respect for mum, I didn’t take blog photos, but amazing vegetarian food was had, like mushroom risotto, Greek salad, warm cheesy breads, astoundingly good pesto and a fantastic cheese plate for two. My sister ordered “beetroot three ways” served with goats cheese and loved it. They also had a great looking vege curry that I would have ordered in a flash had it not palm sugar (ahhh sugar, you strike again).
it was expensive, but what you would expect for $25+ mains: excellent local produce, care, attention to detail, excellent vege options (in fact, a vege chef!), and a great international and local cheese and wine selection.
The next day was election day but we had all voted early because of mum’s birthday (four of us were outside of our electorate) so we went to Envy Cafe at Cottontree for breakfast. Envy says it’s healthy but to be honest, I don’t understand why, as although they do fresh juices and smoothies and have vegetarian options, they serve bacon, no vegan options beyond toast, and beer battered fries at lunch time. I really liked the food and the service had improved since I first went there early last year, but I just don’t get the “healthy” tag.
I had a Pride juice (celery, parsley, apple, spinach; can’t remember the price) with a spirulina boost ($1.50) and poached eggs on toast ($10). Ben had coffee and my sister had the corn fritters. My mum got sourdough toast with marmalade and dad got fruit toast.
The service was prompt and friendly. My eggs were cooked ok (whites still a bit too runny for my taste) served with plenty of toast. My sister thought the corn fritters were ok, but apparently lives near “The best corn fritters on earth” in Melbourne, so she might be spoiled for choice! The toast servings were generous for everyone’s meals.
Overall, we thought everything was nice, we didn’t have any mistakes or problems even though there were six of us. I was impressed by the speed and friendliness of service. Just don’t get the “healthy” tag! Don’t get it at all!
Ben and I finished off the weekend with a wander around Eden Gardens nursery at Carseldine, which is just amazing and reminded us why you can’t just go to Bunnings Warehouse for plants and pots! Such care and expertise was really lovely and, as old lady as I am about to sound, makes for a relaxing and sweet-smelling wander. Plus there was a cat in a box in the gift shop.
Then it was time to relax, reflect, smile at the pretty flowers and drink too much coffee at Pear.
So many Zzzzzs needed.
So I am yet to perfect corn fritters. The problem is me. I can never decide whether I want a lot of corn or a lot of batter. It’s a fine balance between hanging all your kernels together and having a frying pan full of loose corn (damn that corn, can’t it keep it in it’s pants?).
This is a recipe from the first cookbook I ever owned. I bought it on the first warehouse and sales shopping trip I went on with my mum. Some women had hired a bus and were going to all the discount factories in Melbourne. I think the cookbook was my first purchase on the whole trip. It was about $5 and water damaged, so I had to carefully pry apart each of the pages, some of which didn’t fare so well and needed healing. But I loved it and it went into my (sort of) glory box and there have been a few solid recipes I have turned to over the years- such as my first ever pasta sauce and my go-to carrot cake recipe that even impresses my lovely mother-in law- and, even now, I’m looking at some of the recipes and thinking “Hey, I’m gonna make that today”. Maybe I will even bother.
So this is the recipe I’ve been using for a while now. It’s reliable and the fritters don’t fall apart. They refrigerate nicely and eve freeze well. I love them with tomato sauce or tomato relish. You could serve them with anything though: salsa, kidney beans in a tomato sauce, chili, poached eggs, guacamole, the list of delishiousness doesn’t end. When I was vegan, I would veganise this with egg-replacer- the equivalent of two eggs. You could probably also use corn flour. Obviously, you’d use the non-dairy milk of your choice, but I use soy.
1 1/4 cup plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cumin (I use way more because I am addicted)
130g (4 1/4oz) can drained corn
130g (4 1/4oz) can creamed corn
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbls chopped fresh chives (I have never used these, as I never have chives on hand)
Oil, for shallow frying (these days, I use a spray)
Bon Appetit (sorry to be so corny).
So my sister and I had to have breakfast together at least once before I went back to work. She suggested Paw Paw, on Stanley Street in East Brisbane. The reviews were good, but couldn’t explain how much I was going to enjoy the meal.
It’s easy to find, although technically entry is off a side street of Stanley. It’s behind the Papaya restaurant and is run by the same people, whom we also discovered, run Thai cooking classes. We could sit anywhere and were served promptly by a friendly waitress with water. I know I’m in good hands when a place does an Iced Latte, not just an Iced Coffee. I don’t like the ice-cream and cream in Iced Coffees (ok, I DO like them, very much, but it often confuses wait-staff when you order it with soy milk!) so they’re good choices. I’ve been to café where they ONLY do Iced Coffees with some kind of dairy (one place said their pre-made Iced Coffee mix was made on ice cream and milk was added. Yuuuck) and if you just ask for the coming together of coffee and cold soy milk, you get looked at as if you came from another planet. Or Sydney.
So it was nice to have the waitress let me know that they definitely do coffee and cold milk and, like many places these days, call it an iced latte. Poifect. My sister ordered the corn fritters served with relish and chipotle sour cream and a long black. I ordered the avo sourdough with tomato and coriander salsa and, because the menu suggested it and I wanted a protein hit, two poached eggs ($12). Poached eggs are the other sign, for me, of a good breakfast menu. Poached egg enthusiasts, you know what I mean. I liked the table set up here: each table had a caddy with menus, thick napkins, sugars, S & P and cutlery. I like that “help yourself” mentality. It makes it easier on the wait staff so they’re not running around for small, yet important items and you get what you want with minimal fuss. The coffee came out quickly and were both good.
Our breakfasts would have been worth the wait, if we’d had to wait. Which we didn’t. We spend a few short minutes drinking our coffees and listening to the lady on the phone who had to leave quickly because her son had stuck a sunflower seed up his nose at day care. Then, it seemed, our food arrived.
My sister is a bit of a pancake and fritter connoisseur and cooks them regularly at home and said the corn fritters ($12.90), which were served with a healthy wedge of avocado, were perfect. I tried some with the tomato relish, and they were great. Avo toast is so easy to get right but so hard to elevate to a better place. This was yum. The bread was thick and, although the crust was super crunchy and hard to cut (perhaps a steak knife would have helped), the avo was ripe and the home made tomato, red onion and coriander salsa gave the whole thing a lovely freshness. For many cafes, avo toast is the only thing that is/could be a vegan option, and this wouldn’t disappoint. This is a vegan option worth leaving the suburb for. As I stated before, I ordered mine with two poached eggs, which were near perfect and delicious (I’m overly picky with my poached though. I love solid whites and runny yolks. If the white is undercooked AT ALL, I find it a bit revolting and pick it out. These did not disappoint). I was super full by the end of it, but not sickeningly so.
The sides they offered were great too. All the traditional ones, plus things like black beans. You could also get haloumi, which I might have to try with another avo toast another time. I’ll just have to come back to try the Californian breakfast burrito, the PB&J French toast and the mushrooms.
Click to enlarge and scroll through.
Oh yes, I will be back.