Tastebox Australia Takes The Hassle Out Of Cooking | Review

This week we decided to do something we don't normally do a lot of...

Italian Chicken & Tomato Risotto


Our "5 meals per week for 2" dinner box delivery

Yes, you heard correctly we've actually been cooking this week. I typically find cooking time consuming and stressful. No matter how hard I try my recipes never seem to turn out like the glossy, droolworthy images I find on Pinterest.

Tastebox comes with a number of fresh veggies. 

I'm a big procrastinator so I tend to plan out my week's meal on the spot as I'm walking down the grocery isle. Anyone else guilty of this? So, of course I forget some crucial ingredient and ruin the whole meal.

Luckily, this week we didn't have to go through any of that stress. Tastebox Australia came to our rescue! Tastebox does all of the work for you.

They plan, shop, measure and deliver delicious meals straight to your door for FREE. 

That's right all of your fresh, local produce is delivered directly to your door along with easy to follow 30 minute recipes for free! Recipe ingredients are broken into two categories: From the Pantry, and In The Box. The "From the Pantry" list is typically about 2-3 ingredients long and consist of things you will most likely already have in your pantry (olive oil, salt, etc).

Seasonings all labelled according to the recipe they correspond with. The amounts are also pre-measured for you. 

This is seriously a working mom's -or dad's, college students, or people who struggle in the kitchen like myself- dream! You don't have to think about anything when you get home. Just cook! No guilt- The meals are well balanced and nutritious. Tastebox prices start from $69. We went for the "5 Meals Per Week For Two" dinner box. It was only $99 dollars! Our weekly shop usually runs us around $150 and that's not including gas. Tastebox prices are extremely reasonable.

Check out the sensational dishes we've made with Tastebox Australia so far: 

Stir Fried Beef with Mint & Chilli 

Difficulty: Easy
Comments: Quick to make. You definitely need a large wok or skillet for this one. Makes a very decent size serve. Packed with delicious veggies! The Chilli added a nice bite. 

Seared Steak with Chimichurri & South American Salsa

Difficulty: Easy
Comments: Tender, juicy steak. Very fresh. Great summer dish! We had a lot of leftover salsa which we paired with pork sausages for lunch. 

Italian Chicken and Tomato Risotto

Difficulty: Easy
Comments: Easy to make & packed full of flavour! Our favourite Tastebox dish so far. Large serving, and very filling. The lemon juice & zest add a wonderful zing. 

To learn more about Tastebox Australia and/or order your own dinner box click - HERE

*AmeriAus was given a dinner box to review by Tastebox Australia. 

Weekend Lunching at Maleny Cheese Cafe

There's nothing like spending a quiet weekend in Maleny.

The views....boutique accommodation options... quaint restaurants...

Maleny is an hour and thirty minutes out of Brisbane- so it's far enough away to feel like you've actually gone somewhere without reaching the point where you're ready to strangle your road trip buddy! (kidding...)

Maleny may not be the most massive town in Queensland but that doesn't mean there isn't a lot to do there. 

Any local will tell you one MUST DO when you are in town is a visit to the Maleny Cheese Cafe. 

Maleny Cheese Boutique Cheeses opened it's doors in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland town of Maleny back in 2004. Maleny Cheese uses milk from exclusive, local fresh milk suppliers. You may not know this but the town of Maleny has a long history of dairy farming. Maleny has been a dairying region for 115 years! So, it's definitely the place to go for your dairy fix. 

Maleny Cheese was formed by two local families- The Bucher's, and The Simpson's. Markus Bucher, a Swiss Master Cheese Maker, noticed there was an opportunity to provide exceptional dairy products using the quality milk that was available to them in Maleny.

The Simpsons owned a third generation dairy farm. They supplied the first supply of milk for Maleny Cheese products.

Self Guided Cheese Tasting Tour Platter
 Maleny Cheese is now under the direction of Markus and Sara Bucher and its grown substantially in the past 10 years. Along with providing cow milk products, Maleny Cheese also provides WATER BUFFALO and CAMEL products. All sourced from local farms! Maleny prides itself on being a local business and does it's part by supporting local businesses as much as possible. 

Cheese maker's salad
Maleny Cheese has a fantastic range of cheese & yoghurt - all available for sample. Head down with a group of your friends and embark on a Tasting Tour! The tours are designed to offer you a fun day out and give you the opportunity to try before you buy. 

Self Guided Tour 
Or if you are looking for something a bit more low key take an individual tasting tour! The Self Guided Tasting plate allows you to read all about the cheeses and other products as you sample them from the comfort of a cafe table. 

Droolworthy cheesy Three Cheese Tart- MUST TRY

After you've completed the tour why not enjoy a delicious lunch in the Maleny Cheese Cafe? They have a number of cheesy meals available as well as delicious milk shakes and yoghurt smoothies. That's your weekend sorted! 

For tour information, and booking CLICK HERE.

Maleny Cheese Cafe on Urbanspoon

*AmeriAus was the guest of Maleny Cheese Cafe. 

Celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver Opens New Jamie's Italian | Brisbane CBD


That's right the restaurant every foodie in Brisbane has been having hangry (hungry +angry) fits over has opened it's doors in the historic Rowes Arcade on Edward St.

The flow of hungry patrons has been strong & steady ever since it opened last week. In fact, word on the grapevine is that their dinner service is booked out until late December!

Buffalo Ricotta Ravioli

So if you want to be one of the first in Brisbane to try celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver's new restaurant I suggest you plan ahead for a long lunch break. Oh, and book your table NOW. Like right now...

Mushroom and Smoked Mozzarella Risotto 

As I mentioned before Jamie's Italian now calls Rowes Arcade home. The treasured heritage listed building dates back to the 1900s. Jamie's Italian is located across 2 levels and seats up to 240 guests.

The place is STUNNING. Featuring a large, decorative bar, Queensland inspired leadlight glass features, an awe inspiring custom made chandelier, deep raspberry pink leather work and brass fittings. It has a great blend of urban-rustic-chic.

Jamie's Italian Brisbane is the fifth Jamie's Italian in Australia. 

‘We hope that Brisbane patrons will revel in the modern twist on an historical design aesthetic and interactive dining experience where you can sit up at the antipasti bar and watch the chefs create items like the antipasti plank and salads. It’s the perfect spot for all occasions, whether you’re after a quick express pasta for lunch (starting from $12.50) or the complete experience. A first for Jamie’s Italian in Australia, the Brisbane restaurant’s prep kitchen is flanked by glass walls allowing diners a sneak peak at what’s happening in the kitchen.” says Karen Westfield (General Manager)

Baked Mushrooms

One thing that has our hearts fluttering is the pasta! You won't find any generic store bought pasta at Jamie's Italian. It's all FRESH FRESH FRESH. A set of beautiful Ferrari red pasta extruders will be situated in the middle of the restaurant for your viewing pleasure making 100s of kilos of fresh pasta each week!!!

In addition to regular al a carte Jamie's Italian Brisbane will offer set menus which will allow guests to enjoy the full Jamie's Italian experience.

The Famous Polenta Chips

Starting from $42, set menus offer a range of delicious options, including the restaurant’s most popular dish, Prawn Linguine as well as Jamie’s famous polenta chips and special tiramisu.

Jamie's Italian Brisbane is open 7 day a week for lunch & dinner.

Our Top Picks: 
Mushroom and Smoked Mozzarella Risotto, The Meat Antipasta Plank
& The Famous Polenta Chips

To make a booking, contact Jamie’s Italian on Telephone: 07 3144 3000

Jamie's Italian on Urbanspoon

*AmeriAus was the guest of COCOM Communications and Jamie's Italian. 

Recipe | Fettuccine Alfredo with Duck Breast

We'd like to welcome our newest recipe contributor, Geoff Barker, to the AmeriAus family! Geoff has had the Brisbane Instagram community DROOLING for sometime now over his sensational creations. Lucky for us he recently created a Facebook page (Click Here) where he will share his foodie secrets with the world.  Here's a bit more about Geoff from Geoff, himself:

"I am a stay at home Dad that has a passion for food, cooking and photography. I have recently created my Facebook Page, Geoff's Kitchen, so I can impart some of my knowledge and experience to friends, family and those in the greater digital community that have similar interests. I am completely self taught and thoroughly enjoy spending as much time in the kitchen as possible honing my skills and developing new abilities."

Check out Geoff's delicious pasta recipe below:

Fettuccine Alfredo with Duck Breast

This meal is constructed in three parts:
1) Making fresh Pasta (you can substitute dried pasta, I recommend Barilla)
2) Cooking the Duck Breast
3) Making the Alfredo Sauce

Fresh Pasta Ingredients:
1 x cup of plain flour (Lighthouse do a specific pasta flour which is amazing), firmly packed, plus extra for dusting
2 x eggs lightly beaten
1 x pinch of salt

1) Sift flour & salt into a bowl and make a well in the centre
2) Add the lightly beaten eggs and stir to combine
3) Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, approximately 10 minutes
4) Form into a disc and cover with cling wrap for 20 minutes
(At this stage you can refrigerate for 24 hours or seal in a ziplock bag and freeze for up to 3 months)
5) Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into two parts, this will make the dough more manageable through the pasta machine. Flatten the first half into a rectangular shape and roll through the first setting of the pasta machine
6) Dust the top of the rolled pasta with flour, fold in half and repeat the process
7) Continue at this stage until your pasta dough is very smooth and elastic, dusting and folding after every roll
8) Change to the next setting on the pasta machine and roll the dough through once only, dusting both sides at the end, before moving onto the next setting
9) Continue in this manner until your pasta dough is at the thickness you require, dust the dough and cut into desire pasta. You can hang to dry the pasta, or refrigerate in an airtight container
10) Repeat process with 2nd half of pasta dough. The dough will keep for up to three days in the fridge once rolled and cut.

This quantity is perfect for two people with a small amount of leftovers.

To cook the pasta, bring a 3 litre pot of lightly salted water to the boil and cook pasta for 3 - 5 minutes until al dente. If using commercially made dried pasta, 9 - 11 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water for the Alfredo Sauce. Drain the pasta and lightly coat in olive oil.

Cooking the Duck Breast (medium rare):
If you have a kitchen blow torch, scorch the skin of the duck breast to assist in creating a crisp skin and rendering the fat, otherwise just continue with the steps below.

1) Heat a non-stick pan to a medium-high heat
2) Place the duck breast, skin down, onto the pan and leave to cook for 5 minutes
3) Turn the heat down to medium-low and leave for a further 5 minutes
4) Turn the duck breast over and leave to cook for a further 5 minutes
5) Remove duck breast from the heat and leave to rest whilst making the Alfredo Sauce

Alfredo Sauce: 
100 grams Butter
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
160 ml Heavy Cream
1/4 Cup reserved pasta water

1) Melt the butter over a low heat
2) Add the cooked pasta and toss to coat
3) Add the parmesan cheese, heavy cream and reserved pasta water and toss to combine

Slice the Duck Breast to desired thickness, plate your pasta and place the Duck Breast on top. Garnish with finely chopped parsley and a drizzle of Olive Oil.

For more recipes from Geoff's Kitchen check out his new Facebook page - HERE and don't forget to follow Geoff's Kitchen on Instagram - HERE

Mammoth Feast at Woolly Mammoth Ale House | Fortitude Valley

In the deep, dark shadows of Fortitude Valley lurks a magical venue unlike anything you've ever seen in Brisbane...

You'd be forgiven for thinking Woolly Mammoth was ...let's just say something it's definitely not. Woolly Mammoth Ale House is located on 633 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley - right next to the colourful nightclub Cloudland.

Of course they have a giant Woolly Mammoth ! 

Woolly Mammoth may be the new kid on the block but much like the prehistoric beast it's named after, we predict it's footprint will be massive. As I said earlier Woolly Mammoth is unlike anything you've seen before here in Brisbane. Woolly Mammoth is a multi-purpose, experimental space which is broken down into three main components. Those components are: The Ale House, The Garden Bar, and Mane Stage.

The Garden Bar is a little oasis from the pumping Valley scene. Play a game of indoor bocce or giant jenga on the lovely green astro-turf. The Garden bar is extremely flexible and has the capacity to cater to any type of function. This space can hold up to 200 people!

Consider Mane Stage your new live music haven in the Valley. This space boasts a state of the art PA system and in house production equipment. Mane Stage has hosted a number of national tours, and club nights.

Last but not least, the Ale House- this is where we spent the majority of our time on our first visit to Woolly Mammoth. On this occasion we were lucky enough to snag a seat at the Feasting Table and Craft Beer Appreciation Class hosted by one of Australia's leading beer writers, Matt Kirkegaard or Good Beer Matt. The Ale House is located on the ground floor and showcases Woolly Mammoth's craft beer experience. They have around 30 craft beers on tap! The area features 14 foot shuffleboard tables and can easily handle 10-600 guests.

During our class we got to delve into the world of Craft Beer. A world that is becoming increasingly popular here in Australia. We enjoyed a variety of different craft beers while road testing the feasting menu.

Good Beer Matt really helped open our minds to the different styles of craft beer that are available. When you find a style of beer you like - for instance I drink a lot of lagers - you tend to stick to that and refuse anything else. Instead of declaring a drink is disgusting we learned to appreciate it for what it was, regardless of how we thought a beer should taste.


Chicken drummettes 

Some of our highlights from the grazing menu were the Beef Short Ribs in Stout Jus, and the Pork Knuckle.

The biggest Pork Knuckle I've ever seen...

The Short ribs are some of the best we've ever eaten. They were incredibly tender- the meat fell off the bone easily!

Beef Short Rib in Stout Jus

Woolly Mammoth are serving up good, hearty, mammoth sized meals. The Feasting menu is available for groups of 10 or more.

Woolly Mammoth Website

Woolly Mammoth Alehouse on Urbanspoon

*AmeriAus was the guest of The Press Garage and Woolly Mammoth Ale House. All opinions expressed are our own. 

Not Your Typical "Pub Grub" : Wattle Hotel | Upper Coomera

Before you begin reading this review I'm going to need you to do one very important thing: 

Rib fillet with slow roasted garlic field mushrooms, steamed broccoli, zuchinni, beans and duchess potatoes 

Drop any preconceived notions you have about The Wattle Hotel. This is NOT The Lost City with a new look...The Wattle Hotel is a brand spankin' new hotel with an entirely different vision. Got it? 


Now, let me introduce you to The Wattle Hotel... 

The Redcape Hotel Group, the company behind some of Australia’s leading hotels and taverns, opened the doors of The Wattle Hotel less than a month ago and they are determined to provide customers with a quality hotel experience unlike anything the Gold Coast has seen before. How do they hope to achieve this? 

Well, first they are ditching frozen meals for quality, locally sourced, fresh produce. Chef Jonathan Wood has big plans for The Wattle Hotel. Wood has more than 31 years of experience under his Chef hat and he is on a mission to provide diners with authentic, local produce. 

“We aren’t reinventing the wheel with the menu,” Jonathan says. “We’re not interested in creating a complex or confusing menu. Our approach is simple and honest: take the dishes we know people love, and make them the very best they can be, using fresh, quality ingredients. "

The Rib Fillet was sensational. It was large and so tender I could have cut it with a spoon. 

The menu at The Wattle Hotel features Grass Fed Angus from Darling Downs, fish from sustainable sources, and RSPCA approved chicken. They source their veggies and dairy products from local sources as much as possible. On your visit you'll probably notice a lush, green wall of herbs. Yes! They even grow their herbs on site. 

Specials board and wall of herbs

“We are also using a lot of native herbs and spices,” Jonathan says. “The Native Bush Pepper, which we dry ourselves and use on our Salt and Pepper Calamari, is a fantastic spice and it really adds a depth of flavour.”

The braised angus beef sauce in a rich napoli sauce with fresh herbs. This was just an entree! You definitely get great value for money at Wattle. 

One thing that really has our foodie hearts fluttering is their in house smokers. All of their bacon, ham, salmon, etc is smoked on site using CANADIAN APPLE WOOD CHIPS. The Wattle Hotel is one of the only places you will find Canadian Apple Smoked meats. 

Fresh & well prepared poached prawn rice paper rolls

Wattle Hotel is a family friendly hotel. They still have a pokies and sports room but they are 'out of sight out of mind' ! Seriously, they are tucked away in a corner, you won't even notice them. The Wattle Hotel is a slice of paradise for moms. 

The Grilled Marinated Chicken Breast Burger with apple wood smoked bacon is a MUST TRY. This is one of the biggest burger we've come across. We could only eat half! 

The nightclub area of the Lost City has been vanquished and replaced with a fantastic new play area for the kids. While your kids are playing you can enjoy a coffee and a Gluten free cake in a quiet room while keeping an eye on them from a monitor. You can see them, but you can't hear them (Good right?!) 

The new kitchen is more than capable of catering to large groups and functions. So, if you are still in search a great place to get together with family and friends during the holidays we highly recommend The Wattle Hotel. 

Wattle Hotel on Urbanspoon

*AmeriAus was the guest of Ruby PR and The Wattle Hotel. All opinions expressed are our own. 

A Slice of Americano at Mighty Mighty | Fortitude Valley

The food at Mighty Mighty in Fortitude Valley is MIGHTY GOOD.  (sorry I had to)

Smoked Beef Brisket

Let me backtrack... I decided to stop avoiding American themed restaurants in Brisbane. Mainly because they are become soooo popular. Seriously, it's an American invasion.

Stuffed jalapenos wrapped in belly bacon

I had originally decided to avoid them because as you know I'm American...more specifically I'm from the Deep South (Mississippi).

Pork Ribs

The majority of the Brisbane/American restaurants specialize in Southern cuisine (Carolina Kitchen, Mighty Mighty, South Side Diner, etc).

Well, Southern food is ALL I ate for 18 years of my life.  So I knew I would be extremely fussy when it came to Southern food. 

Popcorn Shrimp

I'll be honest I assumed the majority of it would be OVERPRICED, nasty imitations. Don't get me wrong it's still very pricey for American food but that's to be expected. A business would go broke, here in Australia, if they started charging American prices for everything.

Ridiculously hot wings

I had to get over the fact that I would be paying 20+ dollars for things I could get for $5 in the US.

My first introduction into Brisbane-American cuisine was Mighty Mighty and I was pleasantly surprised. 

Cheddar Cornbread

Mighty Mighty specializes in Smokehouse and BBQ cuisine. The place is a carnivore's paradise! When the meal was placed in front of me I instantly felt as if I was transported to Memphis and was sitting in BB King's Blues Club having a feast.

The meals are massive which makes the prices not so bad when you consider just how much you are getting. Everything was drowned in cheese and BBQ sauce (as it should be) !

Don't expect any fancy-schmancy presentation either. Just a plate full of tender, juicy meat. Southern food isn't known to be the most aesthetically appealing of cuisines. It's all about good, hearty, soul warming meals and that's exactly what you get at Mighty Mighty.

Sausage links, chips, and slaw

If you are in search of a slice of Americano in Brisbane check out Mighty Mighty... It definitely feels like home.

Mighty Mighty on Urbanspoon