Discovering the Burleigh Heads food scene

As a child, every year at Christmas my family made the journey down to Burleigh Heads to spend a week in the sun and surf. Burleigh quickly cemented it’s place in our hearts, with its laid back atmosphere, village feeling and beachside parklands. Burleigh wasn’t the tourist mecca of the Gold Coast, and that was just the way we liked it.

However, as the years go by, obviously development happens and places change. While Burleigh has been fortunate to retain its village feeling, it has seen a number of incredible restaurants and eateries open up, replacing long tired or empty shop fronts along James Street. As part of our longing to spend more time on the coast as part of our (soon to be)  new lifestyle, I shouted hubby and I tickets for a Gold Coast Food and Wine Tours tour of Burleigh Heads. We headed out last weekend to check out the latest offerings at Burleigh.

Our tour group had 10 people, including the guide, which was a great number for socialising and enabled us to have a group table where ever we went. I believe they cater for up to 20 people in a group, but there is a minimum to run (not sure what it is, probably depends on the tour). We met outside the Burleigh Heads Bowls Club (probably one of the best located bowls clubs in Australia) and started with a brief historical overview of the Burleigh area before we got down to business.

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Stop 1: Stones Throw Burleigh

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Stones Throw dishes up a surprising menu of breakfast, lunch and dinner eats. Run by brother and sister duo Cameron Chartres and Melanie Windsor, we were told that Cameron has spent the last 20 years working around the world, including training under Gordon Ramsay. The menu has bold, exotic flavours, and we sampled a Beef Rendang with crispy egg, currently available on their breakfast menu. I would normally have never chosen this as a breakfast dish, but I was so pleased as it was absolutely delicious! The menu changes every now and then, and has just undergone a small revamp so it’s a great time to get there and sample the offerings. Word on the street is that they are planning on offering picnic baskets soon, so you can pick up a basket of goodies and sit back and enjoy them while sitting on Burleigh Hill looking out over the surf.

Stop 2: Golosi Food Emporium

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Golosi is a foodie’s wonderland, located at the top of James Street. “Golosi”, which means glutton or greedy in Italian, is a food emporium showcasing some of the finest local and international products available. Their produce is ever-changing to reflect the latest and greatest tastes from around the world, and especially those sourced from the local region. This food emporium is bursting with every type of gourmet provision you could think of, from a cabinet stocked with cheese, salami, olives and savoury pastries, to walls lined with oils, vinegars, sauces, spreads, condiments and pastas. We were greeted on arrival with a glass of champagne, and there were two beautiful platters of gourmet goodies on the table for us to sample. Some of our favourites were the Bush Berry Jam and the Roasted Capsicum dip – we may have even purchased a little pot of the jam to take home.

Stop 3: Gelateria Dolce Follia

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Sixteen flavours of homemade gelato and sorbet grace the chilled cabinet of Gelateria Dolce Follia in Burleigh Heads. This award-winning hole-in-the-wall ice creamery uses only the freshest ingredients and no artificial flavours or preservatives. Favourites among the locals are the Honeycomb Chocolate Crunch, the Chocolate Nutella Cheesecake gelato and the Coconut Milk sorbet. We were able to sample as many flavours as we wanted, before settling on one to have a serving of. I couldn’t go past the award wining Coconut Milk sorbet – so refreshing and tasty!

Stop 4: The Pocket Burleigh

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The Pocket’s food is Mediterranean influenced, with an emphasis on ‘Good food, simply delicious’, free range and locally grown produce, with as much as possible coming from the owner’s own farm. Well appreciated by vegan, paleo and gluten-free patrons, The Pocket’s menu offers smoky babaganoush, creamy hummus and labaneh, soft toasted pockets, and the best falafel in town. We tried a mezzo plate, which had a selection of homemade dips, falafel balls, marinated roasted vegetables, fresh salad and pickles and was served with pocket breads. We also got to try their incredible homemade fresh lemonade, infused with rosewater and mint – some on the tour said they would come back just for the lemonade!

Stop 5: Finders Keepers Bar

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With our stomachs stuffed full, we had one more stop on the tour. Finders Keepers Bar is a unique cocktail bar and restaurant, and we were treated to a cocktail making demonstration and a delicious chocolate dessert. When you arrive at Finders Keepers you settle in to a welcoming and relaxed environment, inspired by French provincial and coastal styles, and enjoy share plate dining from their ever-changing menu. Their quality ingredients are carefully sourced and respected, many from local businesses. The experienced bar professionals at Finders Keepers craft classic-inspired cocktails, as well as twists on contemporary favourites. They were mouth-wateringly good and we couldn’t help but stay here for a bit after the tour finished to sample a second cocktail!

Places we visited:
Stones Throw Burleigh
Golosi Food Emporium
Gelateria Dolce Follia
The Pocket Burleigh
Finders Keepers Bar

Honourable mentions:
We didn’t get to try these places, but our guide highly recommended we come back for a visit!
Justin Lane Pizza & Pasta Rooftop Bar
Zelotti Restaurant
Zullaz Bar and Eatery
Harvest Moon Burleigh
Harry’s Steak Bistro
Jimmy Wah’s

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New discoveries lately

Hey y’all! Life – it gets busy, doesn’t it? Well I’ve been out and about and spending time online and have a few new discoveries I wanted to share with you!

Enjoy xx

Globe West

I’ve started furniture dreaming lately, making plans for all the new pieces I am going to want to buy once we move into our home. I’ve found some great new companies, and fallen in love with some old favourites again too. While I love the furniture in Coco Republic, unfortunately my budget doesn’t stretch to the $13,000 dining tables. Globe West have some similar products at a better price point, so I’ve been doing some window shopping. How gorgeous is this Midnight Blue sofa!

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Flour & Bloom

I don’t know about you, but I’m a huge fan of supporting our local entrepreneurs. The concept of daily bunches of flowers has taken off over the last year and it’s so great to see small businesses popping up and delivering something new and creative. I’ve been a fan of Poco Posy and Poppy Rose for sometime, but another that I’ve recently discovered is Flour & Bloom. Their point of difference is that twice a week they offer a donut or cupcake with their flowers! I was lucky enough to receive a beautiful bunch from my husband this week. (P.S – if you’re in Sydney or Melbourne, check out my cousin’s business – Daily Blooms!)

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The Malty Grain

On the topic of local entrepreneurs, hubby and I decided to try out The Malty Grain recently. Opened in the first half of 2016, The Malty Grain is a beer house that has been created by the team behind the acclaimed Beard and Brau Farmhouse Brewery. Malty Grain’s main focus is food and beer done well and by all accounts it has nailed the concept. Tuck into a great menu of tapas-style eats such as chicken wings, Spanish tortillas, croquettes and charcuterie with morsels sourced from local providores, and quaff some of the exceptional craft beer and cider on offer.

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ASOS

It’s been a while since I checked out ASOS and I don’t know why, but I jumped online the other day to check it out. Low and behold, they’re having their 70% off final clearance sale! It must be fate. I quickly snapped up four new dresses for the summer (free shipping and they were here in two days!) and am loving them. Sale still on, check it out!

The Winter bucket list

The winter bucket list

It’s that time of the year again, when Brisbane descends into darkness and we drag out our thermals in preparation for sub-arctic temperatures. I swear, I’m not exaggerating. Yes, yes, it might get colder in some of the southern states, but hear me out. For 11 months of the year, we Brisbanites are accustomed to balmy days ranging from 25 to 35 degrees. So for 1 month when we drop to 15 to 20 degree days, we may as well be below zero.

This year, I’m making the most of the month of cold weather and have put together a mini-bucket list! There are so many great things on in Brisbane, and there are a few things that are better suited to the cold weather that I’m so excited to get into.

  1. Watch an ice-hockey game. The USA v Canada Ice Hockey Classic visited Brisbane last year and I so wanted to go but it just didn’t work out. This year they’re back and I got my hand on some free tickets so hubby and I are off to check it out!
  2. Visit Winter festival. Every year King George Square is transformed into a winter wonderland with ice-skating, mulled wine and snowfall! I don’t know if I’ll make it to the skating, but I think I can make time for a little visit during my lunchbreak one day.
  3. Read Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. Snuggling inside on a cold or rainy day with a book is a favourite pastime. I love the TV show Outlander and have heard that the books are even better, so this is the next book on my list. Plus, I don’t know how long I can wait to find out what else is going to happen in the TV shows!
  4. Drink hot chocolate. One of my favourite things last year was visiting some of the new chocolate cafes that were opening, and I can’t wait to do that again this year! Italian hot chocolate, cold hot chocolate, chocolate fondue – there are so many great options to try.
  5. Visit the beach on a crisp, cold but sunny day. There’s something about visiting the beach rugged up in a jumper that I love. I don’t want to become a hermit this winter, so a walk along a beach sounds perfect.
  6. Get the garden summer ready. Boring, I know, but we’re starting to think about selling our house and that means the house needs dressing!
  7. Visit somewhere that actually is cold. We’ve got a trip to Melbourne booked, which we often do during the winter. This reminds me that Brisbane is definitely not that cold, and we really do live in a great place!

I’d love to hear your winter bucket lists – how do you make the best of the cold months?

 

Lancome gift with purchase

Freebies – who doesn’t love them!

I’ve been wanting to buy Lancome’s La Vie Est Belle perfume for ages now, but couldn’t justify the spend with a drawer full of perfumes. However, this month I got my $20 Myer rewards voucher and on the same day got an email about Lancome’s gift with purchase offer for this month (which included a beauty bag designed by my favourite artist, Kerrie Hess) – don’t tell me that wasn’t fate?!

So, off I toddled on my lunch break to see what I could find. And isn’t it beautiful!

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I picked up the 50ml perfume for $139 and got the gift with purchase (which is supposedly worth $200). It includes:

  • Bi-Facil Eye makeup remover 125ml (full size!)
  • Génifique Concentrate 7ml
  • Génifique Day Cream 15ml
  • Génifique Eye Cream 5ml
  • La vie est belle L’eau de toilette florale 1.2ml
  • Rouge in Love lipstick
  • Kerrie Hess for Lancome pocket mirror
  • Kerrie Hess for Lancome makeup bag

The Myer I visited was also offering bookings for an eye makeup consultation once the gift with purchase promotion is done, so I’m booked in to go back in a few weeks and see what’s on offer – maybe some more samples to try?! The gift with purchase is available until May 25.

On the perfume – my all time favourite is Miss Dior, but it’s quite pricey and I can’t bring myself to buy it just yet. This La vie est belle is one I’ve been eyeing off for a while as a good alternative to Miss Dior, and I am so glad I bought it! It’s beautiful, classic and not obtrusive. Everyone at the office commented on how nice it smelt, but that it wasn’t overpowering, which is great – don’t want to stink the office out! I’d definitely recommend it as a ladylike floral scent to be remembered.

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Recipe: Bliss balls

I love bliss balls and have tried many different recipes over the years. There really are so many different combinations out there, you could try a different one every week! I like to go for recipes that are simple, and have little sugar in them. Often a base ingredient is desiccated coconut, and I don’t like to eat too many when that’s the case. I came across this super simple 4 ingredient recipe on Kayla Itsines and found it to be quick, easy and tasty!

Bliss balls

Ingredients:

  • 10 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 100g raw almonds
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1-2 tbsp water, if needed

Method:

  1. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Place the dates and almonds in a food processor and process until well combined.
  3. Add the peanut butter and cacao and blend again until a dough begins to form. If the mix looks and feels a bit dry add a little water. The mix should feel a little sticky.
  4. Using your hands, roll tablespoonfuls of the mixture into snack sized balls.
  5. Place the balls on the prepared tray and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.
  6. Store the Peanut Butter Bliss Balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

How quick and simple is that! I found that the mix made me about 12 balls. I didn’t need to use any water, and this was probably the first bliss ball mix that really did hold together well on its own without the need for extra water! The taste is a perfect peanutty blend with a touch of chocolate. Enjoy!

 

Recipe: Mix up muesli bars

Hey y’all! Another snack time favourite for you today! These home made muesli bars are super easy and allow you to use whatever you have in your cupboard! I read a recipe in a magazine but ended up completely changing it because I didn’t quite have the right things. But I think this mix up works great – give it a go!

Muesli bars

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup sweetener (honey, rice malt syrup, maple syrup etc)
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 2 cups muesli mix (seeds, oats, grains etc)
  • coconut oil

Method:

  1. In a medium sized saucepan over low heat, combine the peanut butter, sweetener of your choice, mixed spice, cinnamon and ginger. Mix together until smooth and liquid.
  2. Take off the heat and stir through the muesli mix.
  3. Place mix in a baking dish lined with baking paper. Press down firmly with hands to compact together.
  4. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the top with coconut oil to help hold it all together.
  5. Refrigerate for a few hours until solid before slicing. Store in the fridge.

I’ve listed the ingredients to best describe what I used. Instead of peanut butter, I had half a cup left of a natural peanut butter/cacao mix that I used up – this gave it a chocolately taste, so you could try adding a teaspoon of cacao if you’d like. For my sweetener, I had half a cup left of a coconut nectar spread that I wanted to use up – I used this plus an extra dash of honey for extra stickyness. Fresh ginger in my house is hard to come by – we’re lazy – so I used a scoop of minced ginger we keep in a jar in the fridge. And for the muesli mix: I received a bag of Sunsol 10+ muesli with oats, sunflower seeds, pepitas, goji berries, blueberries, amaranth and chia seed in a sample box I get each month, so used two cups of this. Can you see that you really can use anything in your pantry and fridge!!

I’d love to hear what combinations you come up with!

Recipe: Sweet potato brownies

Hello again! After indulging over the Christmas/New Year period, I was looking for some yummy treats that were a little kinder to the waist line. Some days I love to just trawl through blogs and websites looking for yummy things to cook. You might recall I posted recently about a Superfood Bread that I found at Deliciously Ella, and there was a second recipe there that I was keen to try: Sweet Potato Brownies. I’ve tried beetroot chocolate cake before, and it was pretty good, so I was keen to see what sweet potato brownies would be like. Let’s just say you won’t be disappointed, and everyone who I have shared them with are stunned to hear that they are 50% sweet potato! It gives them a subtle sweetness and results in a fudge like slice, with the taste of a brownie.

Sweet potato brownie

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium to large sweet potatoes (600g)
  • 2/3 of a cup of ground almonds (80g)
  • 1/2 a cup of buckwheat or brown rice flour (100g)
  • 14 medjool dates
  • 4 tablespoons of raw cacao
  • 3 tablespoons of pure maple syrup
  • a pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C, then peel the sweet potatoes. Cut them into chunks and place into a steamer for about twenty minutes, until they become really soft.
  2. Once they are perfectly soft and beginning to fall apart remove them and add them to a food processor with the pitted dates, blitzing until a smooth mixture.
  3. Put the remaining ingredients into a bowl, before mixing in the sweet potato date combination. Stir well.
  4. Place into a lined baking dish and cook for about twenty minutes, until you can pierce the brownie cake with a fork bringing it out dry.
  5. Remove the tray and allow it to cool for about ten minutes – this is really important as it needs this time to stick together!
  6. Remove the brownies from the tray, leaving it another few minutes before cutting them into squares – then dig in and enjoy!
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My finished product!

I prefer to eat these cold, so once they were done I put them straight into the fridge. I found the texture and flavour seemed more fudge brownie like when cold. Hubby has really enjoyed eating them with a scoop of ice cream too! The third batch I made (these have been very popular, I’ve made them a lot this past month!) I cut up and put into a freezer container and froze. I take one or two pieces with me to work and they defrost beautifully, so a great option to make and store for kids lunches!

Now while these are called brownies, they are not like your regular cake type brownies. They really are a soft, fudge type slice – I think that’s the best way to describe them. When eaten cold, I really can’t even taste the sweet potato, although I did notice the flavour more when at room temperature – try both ways and see what you prefer best! It’s also good to know that if you stick to the recipe as above, they’re gluten free!

Give them a go, trust me, they’ll become a new favourite!!