Fish on Parkyn

If you’re looking for quality seafood and a fine dining experience, don’t miss out on Fish on Parkyn, near the end of Parkyn Parade. It’s near the Yacht Club and where the fishing boats unload the freshest fish you’d ever want. It’s also across the street from a beautiful sandy beach and a lovely playground for children.

Fish on Parkyn

Parkyn Parade is a strip of land along the ocean and the river so finding water isn’t a difficult job. Once you’ve had your meal, you can walk off the extra calories on a level footpath along the ocean.

The Beach on Parkyn

The service at Fish on Parkyn is attentive, deferential and efficient. Our drinks were never empty, we were asked by not one but two people if the food was good and did we need anything. In a country where tips are not used to encourage good service, I was pleasantly surprised.

The quality of the food didn’t disappoint either. We began with a celebratory frozen lychee daiquirie which went down well on a hot day.

Frozen Lychee Daiquirie

Then we moved on to lychee oysters and oysters kilpatrick. Everyone counted the shells and all were gone.

Oysters Kilpatrick

oysterskilpatrick

With our emergency hunger taken care of, we tucked in to their famous BBQ seafood plate filled with 1/2 Moreton Bay Bug (a type of lobster that looks rather like a crab), prawns, oysters, salmon and chips.

BBQseafoodplatter2

BBQ Seafood Platter

Being one that’s always a bit different, I chose the eye filled with roasted kipfler potatoes, dutch carrots and braised mushrooms sitting atop of the most delicious sticky jus.

eye fillet steak dinner

The fish and chips were lightly battered and freshly cooked. Served with a sliver of lemon and homemade tomato relish, the fish was delicious and the chips were the plump hand cut variety.

Fish and Chips

Every time I dine at Fish on Parkyn I must have their Vietnamese Salad. I don’t think they would dare take this off the menu because everyone loves it. It’s filled with fresh bean sprouts, cucumber, coriander and fresh mint leaves, red onion, Asian fried onions and cashews and lightly coated with the most wonderful sweet and sour dressing filled with ginger. If you don’t get this salad, you’ll regret it.

Vietnamese Salad

Fish on Parkyn has been around since 2003 and is one of our favourite spots for a great meal. The restaurant seats 170 and can be separated for private functions. Open 7 days for lunch and dinner – closed Christmas and Boxing Day. Head chef Faizel Hiranil goes out of his way to ensure that his diners leave happy.

25 Parkyn Parade
Mooloolaba, QLD

Reservations (07) 5444-4711

A Tour of Maleny Dairies

My sister visited from New York with her 10 year old granddaughter Emma and we decided that a trip to Maleny Dairies would be a good thing for a 10-year old to see how milk is made – once it leaves the cow.  Emma loves animals of any sort from the creepy crawly variety to the big, soft and mooing sort.

We made the tour reservation and wouldn’t you know it, the sky was dark and the rain came down.  Not to worry, we’re from Maine and folks in the far northeast of the US are from hardy stock.  We need to be as the climate there is very harsh in the winter.

Millie at Maleny Dairy

The Hopper family own Maleny Dairies and they’re into their fourth generation.  When farmers near and far were getting out of the business because of the low prices the big supermarkets were willing to pay, the Hoppers decided to process their own milk.

It must have been a huge risk to build the infrastructure not knowing if the community would stand behind them but stand we did.  One reason of course is to keep local farmers viable and allow them to earn a decent income on their investment.  The best reason, for me at least, is the quality of the products.  Have you tried their Guernsey cream yet?  The first time I tried it was to create a recipe for the Dilmah High Tea Challenge this year and I won a silver medal.  I like to think the cream did the trick.

Their cows are Guernsey (originally from one of the Channel Islands) who produce a milk that is high in protein and butterfat.  The Hoppers have had Guernseys since 1948 because of the quality of the milk and cream.

Maleny Dairies

Arriving early we can see luscious green pastures with cows dotting the landscape high up in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast. Emma was eager to see the baby calves.  We were assured that there would be babies and we could feed them.

Bottling custard at Maleny Dairies

The tour began with information about the farm, the Hoppers and the animals.  After a few warnings about not stepping in poo and no running on concrete we were off to see the factory where the milk goes from the milk truck to the bottle.  Before the milk goes anywhere it’s tested to make sure there are no nasties that would affect the quality standards the Hoppers have set.

The Maleny Dairies Truck

Everyone on the Sunshine Coast has seen a truck just like this parked outside a store.  You can find local stockists of Maleny Dairies products by using their store locator.

In the Mooovie Theatre at Maleny Dairies

We watched a little movie about Maleny Dairies in the Moooovie Theatre too.

milking Millie the cow at Maleny Dairies

Then we were off for the main attraction according to young Emma.  First we saw Millie the cow, gave her a brushing and learned how hand milking is done.  Notice the milk on the ground?  Yep, we all got squirted.

Calf feeding at Maleny Dairy

Feeding the calf was great fun according to Emma.  They like drinking milk – a lot.  So much so that when it’s all gone, they try to suckle your arm or your hand or anything else that’s close by.

Emma and the calf

Then we visited the chickens, saw the goats and had a tour of the milking room.  Milking was done for the morning but we learned how it was done.  It was very very clean in there and we all know what a mess cows can make.  I assume those shields are there so the cows won’t poo on the workers’ heads.  Just the thought of that AND getting up at 4:30am makes me appreciate what a tough job a dairy farm is.

goats

When we were there most of the goats were in the shed because they were just a few days away from giving birth.  We didn’t get too close because we didn’t want to upset them.   That was the end of the tour and then we got samples of their products.  On offer were chocolate milk, strawberry milk, yoghurt and custard.  We couldn’t say which was best because we liked it all.

very pregnant cow

I sure hope this cow had her calf within minutes of us leaving.  Poor thing looked so uncomfortable.  We were told she was hours away from having her baby.  Every woman on the tour understood her predicament!

Maleny Dairies has bbq facilities if you want a picnic at the farm.  Kids can run and play anywhere on the grass so it’s a lovely day out.  If you want to buy some of their products, they’ll even give you an ice block to get your purchases home safely.

Tours are only $9 per person and are offered twice a day, Monday through Saturday at 10:30am or 2:30pm. Booking is appreciated – 07.5494.2392.  It’s a wonderful experience for kids of all ages.  It can be a bit muddy so bring some gumboots.

Maleny Dairies provided the tour for us.

 

BigMouth Funnels

Robin Bristow
Robin Bristow and the Big Mouth Funnel

Just before last Christmas I met a man named Robin Bristow at a Christmas party for bloggers on the Sunshine Coast. He is a local architect in Noosa who’s originally from South Africa.  When he moved to Australia he first lived in Sydney before packing it all in and moving to the wonderful Noosa community.

When Robin heard I was a food blogger, he had something to show me.  He opened is briefcase and pulled out these pieces of plastic, hooked the ends together and said, “here’s your funnel.”

I loved it! Better still, there are more than one size. The small one is perfect for filling a pepper grinder — and we all know how it is to chase the peppercorns all over the kitchen bench when trying to refill it. I know I have on more than one occasion but no more.  I use the large one for jam or chutney with no mess running down the sides of the jars.

I went home and did some research on Robin and it turns out that his funnel design is a real winner in every sense of the word. Not only did I love the funnels and the way they store flat and take almost no room at all in the drawer, he was a winner in the Sydney Design Awards for 2012.  This year he’s a finalist for the 2013 Australian International Design Award.  If you don’t have a set of these funnels, you’re missing out.

The funnel idea came about because Robin is a fierce cook (chicken wings are his favourite, by the way) and he makes a lot of homemade jams and chutneys and was making a mess all over the counter top when bottling. He started by cutting an ice cream container top and liked it so much that manufacturing them seemed like the logical next step.  He sells the funnels through gift shops around Australia or through his website at www.bigmouthfunnels.com.

I love that Robin has stayed local in his manufacturing. A company in Noosa makes them so the funnels are designed and produced right here on the Sunshine Coast.  Supporting local suppliers keeps the money local.

Big Mouth Funnels

When Robin heard I was going to be on a panel at the Noosa Food and Wine Festival he wanted me to know that he’s going to be there too and sent along this poster.

Big Mouth Funnels at Noosa International Food and Wine Show

If you’re at the festival May 17-19 you’ll be able to meet Robin and see the funnels and decide if they are right for you.  The funnels are only $9.95 and they are perfect in the kitchen of anyone who likes to eat.

You can like Big Mouth Funnels on Facebook or visit www.bigmouthfunnels.com or visit Robin’s Robin Bristow Architecture and he’ll design you a winner of a home.

Food Styling, Food Photography and Food Tales Workshop

The Queensland Library’s Writer’s Center Food Tales program is presenting a workshop at the Maleny Community Center on the 11th of May at 9:45am through 2:30pm.  Learn how to craft and share your inner foodie via photography, food styling, writing, blogging and graphic design.  And yes, that’s me on the right.  I didn’t go prepared for a poster shoot. (pretty obvious, really) but I’m still really keen to share my love of writing and blogging with you.

It’s only $75 and you get Chris’s outstanding photographic ability in styling and shooting food.  Peter Brettell the head chef at Wild Rocket in Montville will be preparing all the food for the photography AND you’ll get it for lunch and I’ll be talking about what it’s like to be a full time food blogger who loves to tell stories.  We’ll also be hearing from graphic artist Julie Fiedler who’ll show us some of the tricks of her trade.

Food Tales Poster

I hope you’ll come!

Jake and Elle Do Minyama Proud on My Kitchen Rules

Jake and ElleUnless you’ve been living under a television rock, you’re aware that the cooking duo Jake and Elle from the Sunshine Coast were in the My Kitchen Rules finals.  I watched their first episode and it was fun.

The night of their taping, the entire street was lit up with movie lights and the canal was lit up as well.    The MKR team arrived at dawn and they didn’t finish cleaning up and leaving before 2am.  Talk about a long day!

How do I know that?  I live 2 doors down from their parents where their episode was taped.  All the neighbourhood was pulling for Jake and Ellie.  She might be listed as Elle but we all know her as Ellie.

jakeandellie

The family travels around the world frequently so the two have eaten food from some of the fanciest places in the world and their mother Josie is a fantastic cook.  They definitely learned their love of cooking from her.

When they applied for My Kitchen Rules, nobody was surprised that they’d be selected.  They both have a great personality and are friendly to everyone they meet.

In their real lives, Ellie studies business and law at QUT and Jake studies performance and dance when his body isn’t giving him issues.  While Jake is quite flamboyant, Ellie is quietly competitive.  I really expected them to win My Kitchen Rules for 2013 but second place isn’t too bad.  It was a heroic effort.

For their third course they served a lobster stack on semolina crackers.  I have no idea  how it tasted but it was gorgeous on the plate.

Jake and Elle's First Course

For their fourth course, they served a confit duck with Jerusalem artichoke puree and balsamic sauce.

Jake and Elle's Confit Duck

And for the final course, the brother and sister team chose strawberry and amaretto semifreddo

Jake and Elle's Dessert

And with all that, they didn’t win.  The contest was really close I thought so coming in second is still a great outcome.  Fingers crossed that they’ll be back again for all-stars or something better.

 

 

Mooloolaba – a Very Friendly Part of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast

When we were looking for a new place to live, I fell in love with Mooloolaba on our first visit. We began looking in Queensland starting out at Tweeds Head and drove north to Noosa and then decided we wanted a second look at Mooloolaba. We stayed at the Coco Mooloolaba Apartments and when the managers were so friendly and accomodating I decided I could fit in well here. They told us where we could get great food, what not to miss in the area, where to shop and really made us feel welcome.

Mooloolaba, Queensland

If you think that’s common, we’ve traveled a lot around the world and our experience at this hotel was different. We took of for a leisurely stroll along the esplanade and were surprised by how many people said hello. Even now, after living in the area for quite a while, it still feels like being on holiday to stroll along the waterfront, have a coffee or an ice cream and then come back to work.

Mooloolaba Beach

The day we moved into our home in Minyama, you can imagine how tired we were.  We’d traveled from New Zealand with a dog and 2 cats and “stuff” and we were exhausted.  We looked a fright but decided to stop in at a local restaurant and hoped we wouldn’t get kicked out.  It was just around the corner from where we live and it was early so we figured we wouldn’t offend anyone by looking the way we did.

Imagine our surprise when the owner met us at the door and introduced herself and said we looked fine for an early dinner and she could relate to our moving experience. Once we’d ordered she came back to our table and spent a long time telling us where to shop, a good doctor, what hair salon I should use, where the library was, where the council offices were to register the pets – the list goes on and on.  This was from a woman running a busy restaurant!

Picnic Spot in Mooloolaba

The next morning before the moving vans had arrived we’d met our new neighbours and their dogs.  We haven’t had one unpleasant experience in the Mooloolaba, Cotton Tree, Alexandra Headlands & Minyama area.

When you plan your next Queensland holiday, don’t skip Mooloolaba!