Vanilla Pancakes with Passionfruit Caramel

Passionfruit is such a tropical fruit and it is a nostalgic trigger for me. Just the smell of this zingy fruit reminds me of my childhood spent living in Tropical North Queensland, playing on the beach, cooking with my Mum, fishing with my Dad, and exploring the Great Barrier Reef. Having just returned from a quick yet wonderful holiday to Fitzroy Island, I've been craving some more of that tropical vibe. While I'd love to be back up north sipping cocktails on the beach and snorkelling, I got my sweet, sweet tropical fix atop a fluffy pancake stack for breakfast this morning. 


Dad's Peanut Butter Bread with Chocolate IcingMy oh my, where will I start this party! I must first apologise for my hiatus. Besides my recent engagement to my wonderful partner of almost 7 years and a far too brief Easter getaway to the glorious Fitzroy Island, I've been battling the tides in a sea of textbooks and assignments as I begin my journey to become a teacher. But alas! The baking has not stopped, it has simply evolved into a little something I like to call procrastibaking... Another batch of warm cookies to eat while I study? Well, I say, what a fabulous idea!In another fabulous move, I am proud to announce that stylepot is a finalist in the Australian Writers' Centre Best Australian Blogs competition for 2014. To be selected as one of our nation's top five food blogs is amazing and, well, a bit surreal! As my wonderful readers know, this blog just started out as my electronic recipe file and, evidently, it has grown to influence so many people. stylepot has progressed from sharing recipes with family and friends, to sharing family recipes with all of you, my wonderful readers. So today, suitably, I share with you a family recipe that gave me much joy as a child - my Dad's Peanut Butter Bread.My parents are extraordinary, both wonderful cooks, and my brother and I have many fond memories of the years that my Dad spent as a stay-at-home Dad when we lived in Maryborough. I will never forget this loaf of Peanut Butter Bread that my Dad baked and bought along to our class 'Teddy Bear Picnic' in Grade 2. I thought it was the best thing ever, and I made sure that everybody knew that it was my Dad who had cooked it! To this day, I remember being such a proud, bossy little thing, and I'm positive that all of the Mums at that picnic were secretly jealous that Dad had baked something so delicious. (If they weren't green-eyed, they really should have been because those slices went like hotcakes!) I've since spruced Dad's peanut butter loaf up a bit by adding a rich chocolate icing because you can't go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate! Kids young and old are sure to enjoy this one.


Best ever chicken dumplings

stylepot has been my little hobby for almost two years now, and I'm just starting to share my family's favourite recipes. These dumplings are definitely a family fave and, to be honest, I haven't really enjoyed a better dumpling anywhere! The dumpling bar at Harrods was mind-blowing, and the dumplings at Yum Cha are awesome, but I'm yet to find a dumpling that stands up to these flavour-packed bags of goodness. I can't tell you that our family version is overly traditional, but it's packed full of ginger and garlic which makes it a winner in my book!


IZE Magazine has long been a great supporter of stylepot and a range of other Brisbane creatives. Editors Nicole and Madeline run the magazine so professionally and it's always great fun to create little food features to share with readers. The latest issue is out, with the theme of 'youth', and my recipes are somewhat grown-up adaptions of childhood favourites. Long-time readers might remember my recipe for milko ice-cream, it's definitely much loved. Fried drumsticks and peanut butter bread are childhood favourites of mine and you'll see them pop up on stylepot soon enough. But for now, it's all in IZE so be sure to have a read!

Don't forget to vote for stylepot in the 2013 Pedestrian.TV Ultrabook Blogster Awards! Click here and hit the 'like' button.


Orange & vanilla panna cotta

Did you know that an orange takes over 6 months to grow from blossom to ripe fruit? There's something so special about homegrown produce, and I think it's totally rockin' that my Nan grows and harvests tens of kilos of oranges in her own back yard every year. Nan's navel oranges are the sweetest out there, and her two orange trees are well established. I remember looking up at them with wonder as a kid, and my Mum remembers growing up with them. Sometimes, Nan reports a slower season than usual, but when she visits she always brings an extra suitcase full of navels for us to enjoy. So when Nan visited recently with plenty of oranges, I decided to make something special with them. Inspired by my Dad's awesome panna cotta making skills, I made this orange & vanilla panna cotta. It's luxurious, sweet and simple - perfect for the warm spring that is upon us.


Where to start, where to start! Winter flew past in the blink of an eye, and September has bought great news for stylepot. This little blog of mine is a finalist in the 2013 Pedestrian.TV Ultrabook Blogster Awards. Voting has commenced, so if you've been loving the content on stylepot, I would really appreciate your support! Voting is super easy, just follow this link and hit the like button.

My Baccus review has also been published on Gram, which is an awesome site that compiles noteworthy Brisbane bloggers' reviews every month. You can check it out here.

I've finally jumped on instagram, and it's a great way to keep up with stylepot and get some sneaky behind-the-scenes looks. You can follow me here, to stay up to date. I'd love to connect with you all!

Don't forget to vote in the Blogsters, and let your friends know! There is plenty more scrumptiousness coming soon.


The idea for jargaritas was born on a night out last year when some friends and I spotted people walking around with green drinks in jars. Somewhat disappointingly, it just turned out to be midori with lemonade, but the exciting idea of jargaritas stuck with us. So finally, in the middle of an unusually sunny and beautiful winter, I've made jargaritas! And since it was my birthday last week, I figured that there was no better time. My family had organised a huge barbecue, complete with open fires and plenty of laughs, and these zesty jargaritas topped off a weekend of spoils!


Knuckle Sandwiches

A good sandwich is hard to tackle. It takes time to make and skill to eat, and even with said skill being applied, it's still messy! I cooked these sangas a little while ago when I was on the hunt for 'the perfect sandwich'. (I've seen a few doozies around the place since!) But with such a name, who could resist a knuckle sandwich? With flakey melt-in-your-mouth pieces of pork knuckle, creamy yet zingy garlic aioli and a punchy tomato and onion relish, this is one hell of a sanga.


Having opened in October, 2012, Bacchus truly radiates that sophisticated-yet-casual Southbank charm. Bacchus is luxurious, modern and chic, but with LA-based interior designer, Tracey Beckmann, behind the look and feel of the place, the result is hardly surprising but very impressive. The dark, polished wood and gleaming gold provide a sort of Parisian feel inside. Step outside, and onto the open poolside to which pops of colour come from cushions and small furnishings. I imagine that this space fills easily with gentlemen wearing Ray-Bans and women draped in colourful kaftans, all enjoying an array of sophisticated share plates, and drinks from the extensive beverages list.

With word of Bacchus’ fine cocktails in mind it was easy to feel overwhelmed by each quality option, so the waiter suggested the Aurum Tea for two - a mix of vodka, Havana Club 3 Anos, cointreau, tequila and passionfruit tea, served with Coca-cola. We were told it’s the Bacchus take on a Long Island Iced Tea, and what a refreshing take it was! The zingy yet subtle chilled passionfruit tea made the Aurum Tea perfect to enjoy as the sun peeked between rolling clouds and we waited for our food, which soon arrived.

On paper, the menu seems full of simple dishes, though they are anything but. Each dish has a solid foundation, with surprising quirks that make them memorable. Take, for example, the grilled chorizo with romesco, a dish that turned my mind’s eye on it’s head. The char-grilled chorizo, accompanied by a quenelle of velvety mashed potato, marries wonderfully with the neatly piped globes of smooth, smokey, flavoursome romesco sauce (of which they provide just enough). 

In speaking of just enough, the meatballs with capers, garlic and parmesan were well balanced. The combination of three strong, salty flavours worked well thanks to the tomato sauce atop those little meatballs. Along with the fries, these meatballs provided an intermission, of sorts, between two total stand-out dishes that represent typical Brisbane dining at it's best; that is innovative and produce-focused meals. 

Our final dish reminded me that good food means that you've enjoyed a dish so much that you wish you'd ordered two of it and you sit back contemplating whether to order another serve. Introducing, the lamb chips with gribiche mayonnaise. They were too intriguing to resist, almost too good to share, and definitely left me wanting more. But, lamb chips? I had to ask too, so let me explain. Lamb chips are sticks of slow-cooked lamb, encased in crispy golden shells which are accompanied by a tangy gribiche mayonnaise. I was briefly reminded of eating fish fingers with tartare sauce as a kid, but it's fair to say that lamb chips are far superior and definitely more age-appropriate. 

Bacchus' innovative yet simple style is reflected throughout each aspect of the restaurant and injected into the menu, and this place is sure to grow more and more comfortable in its ever-developing skin that is Southbank.

Cnr Grey & Glenleg Streets
Southbank, Queensland

Note: Ell & guest were hosted by Bacchus for this experience.


Balsamic Strawberry Teacake

I love going strawberry picking. It's probably my favourite thing to do in winter. Driving out to the farm on a crisp morning, we encounter typical country driving, fog and beautiful fresh air. In a weird way, I love the anticipation as a car approaches and we stick as far left as possible, wondering whether the road will be wide enough for both of us. (It always is.) The farm sheds are visible from way back, and we pull in, park and collect our baskets. This farm has a strict 'No Eating' policy, with signs everywhere, but that doesn't seem to phase anyone - including us. I usually leave with about 3kg of berries, and they don't last very long. Some are cooked, some are preserved, and most some are eaten. There is nothing better than a fresh strawberry in winter.


At the moment, I'm eating at least 2 oranges a day. They're in season, they're fresh and they fight away all the winter nasties (as my Nan would say). I love winter for vitamin-rich produce like oranges and crisp apples and, of course, because it's baking season! It's not unknown for me to start baking at 9pm some nights, but 11pm was a new low. I'd purchased this cute enamel baking dish and I was just itching to test it out! So, when I couldn't sleep, I raided the pantry like a maniac, discovering pistachios, oats, dried apricots and shredded coconut. They're perfect winter ingredients and I figured that I may as well start on tomorrow's breakfast. So I threw everything in the tray, added some cubes of butter and drizzled over some honey. I left the tray in the oven, turned it on when I woke up and soon enjoyed a warm, easy breakfast. 


Ell's CMBs

I love making marshmallow. It's messy, sweet, fun and sticky. Making S'mores has been on the agenda for a while now, but since I live in an apartment and am unable to toast the marshmallow over an open fire, I decided to create my own version of the American classic. Introducing, my CMBs, alternatively (and lengthily) known as my very own choc-marshmallow-biccies. The CMB is reminiscent of the classic Aussie Wagon Wheel, less the jam, and differs from the cinnamon-spiced graham cracker of a S'more in that the CMB is held together by a wonderfully toasty brown sugar biscuit. I had the best fun creating my CMBs, though I must caution that one is never enough.