Friday, June 25, 2010

More of our stunning Queenslander Transformation...Red Accents...Capsicum Dip...and Celebrating Friday with the 'Ranga' Cocktail! Happy Friday Folks...

 That was the week that was....

 The week has just flown by, and what a week its been. Out with the old, and in with the new!  A new Prime Minister for the country....and a woman...AND a Redhead!  Thank you Julia for inspiring this weeks 'Accent on Red'.
Firstly on the subject of out with the old and in with the new.....more of our latest design project.
Last week, we looked at the amazing transformation of the dining room area, and today we take a look at the stunning lounge room.  Every care was taken in the consulatation process with our client.  The Dean Reilly artwork was a fabulous starting point, and melded with the new lighting, rug, drapery and furniture I think you will agree that this is the showcase room of the house now. Check out our Before and After pics....another Charcoal Interiors Design Project that we are proud to present to you....



 Passion...Blush...Cerise...Rouge...Scarlet...Pomegranate...the many shades of
Red is the color that often ignites strong feelings in designers and homeowners alike. There’s no doubt that the colour red can overwhelm a room if applied heavy-handedly.  We like to use red as a accent.
A deep, brooding collection of richly textured velvets, weaves and plains, with stunning accent backdrop by Andrew Martin

Two stunning chairs in fabric once again by Andrew Martin.  A great way to introduce red tonings to a room.

Here, the use of dramatic stripe wallpaper to completely transform the room and also create balance with the other furniture and artwork.

Now in season and plentiful...
The Capsicum
Delicious Capsicum Dip with a twist
Tasty and  packed with Vitamin C, the Capsicum is currently in season and there seems to be quite an over-abundance in the markets at the moment too.  What better way to use it than in a tasty dip.  This dip recipe is quick and easy and also great on the waistline as its low in fat, but not on flavour



225 g capsicum, (red), char-grilled   
100 g green olives in brine, pitted, drained   
3 tbs (s) capers, rinsed, drained   
2 tbs (s) canned tomato puree   
1 tbs (s) fresh lime juice, (or lemon juice)   
2 tbs (s) fresh parsley, chopped   


  • Combine capsicum, olives, capers, tomato puree, lime juice and parsley in bowl of food processor. Blend for about 10-15 seconds or until coarsely chopped. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Spoon mixture into a serving bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with raw vegetable sticks (such as zucchini, carrots, cucumber, celery or even whole cherry tomatoes).
HOW EASY IS THAT!?...Let me know what you think.

Happy, Happy Friday
In celebration for another Friday reached without too many dramas, we are kicking back this week with our latest cocktail invention....The Ranga! recognition of Julia Gillard, our countries most famous ranga.  This cocktail is red...and its deeeeelish!
So we raise our glasses and celebrate another Cocktail Friday together...heres the recipe..enjoy!
The 'Ranga' Cocktail
Ingredients for the 'Ranga' Cocktail
Per glass

- 35 ml (1 1/4 oz.) vodka
- 10 ml (1/3 oz. or 2 tsp.) Triple Sec
- 10 ml (1/3 oz. or 2 tsp.) cranberry juice
- 7 ml (1/4 oz. or 1 1/2 tsp.) lemon juice
  1. Pour all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with some ice;
  2. mix well; pour into a cocktail glass
  3. Garnish with a swirl of lemon rind 
 Cheers to all and wishing you a very Happy Weekend.  Enjoy...have fun...stay safe...until next week!
The Charcoal Girls....Colette, Cathie and Jen xxx

Friday, June 18, 2010

Before & After Pics of Our Latest Design Project...Words of Wisdom from the Best...Sand Crab Ravioli and our Cocktail Friday Offering...

Our Latest Design Project

Over the next few weeks, we will be showcasing our latest Design Project before and after pics with you.

I spoke with Colette Venardos...half of the Charcoal Design team, about this particular project, the clients, their vision, and how she and Cathie made it happen!

Colette, explain a bit about the history of this home, and the clients vision:
"Well, this was a beautiful old Queenslander dating back to the 1800's.  Just a magnificent home that really was in need of a bit of TLC.  Cathie and my first impression of the home interior, was 'Aussie Country' which was quite outdated, and definitely in need of a freshen up.  The interior just wasnt conducive with the magnificence of this beautiful home.  We consulted with the clients over many weeks, and their main instructions were to create a relaxed atmosphere with a touch of French sophistication. Being a busy family of 4, they wanted to feel like this was their home and a place where they could still kick off the shoes and feel welcomed.

Colette, can you give us a brief outline of the transformation process?:
"We started with a neutral palette, and built around that the custom made table in Reclaimed French Oak.  The chairs too, were custom made with removable off-white covers in a beautiful linen fabric.  A beautiful Vintage mirror sits above the Old Chinese Altar Table, perfect for displaying the family treasures.  The true feature of the whole room is the amazing Dean Reilly original painting 'Chyrsallid'.  It is a stunning addition to the room and complements the drapery, which has a lovely pearlised finish in cream, dusky pink and moss green.  We also had the curtain rods custom made for this room.  They are truly elegant and draw the eye out to the newly transformed courtyard.  We replaced the old fence and repainted the feature wall in a Porters Paints Limewash.  New pots were added and plants added to create a hedge effect.  Our clients love the ambient mood of candles, so we had some wall candelabras mounted.

As you can see by the 'After' pics, the girls have completely transformed this dining room into a stylish space in collaboration with the clients.  A combination of their wishes and vision and an experienced eye via our Design Team.

Stay tuned over the coming weeks for more images of this gorgeous home...the girls have worked their magic once again!

Words of Wisdom from one of the Most Qualified
Audrey Hepburn really was the quintessential Hollywood actress and epitomised everything that a true lady should be....stylish, graceful, a devout humanitarian with her work for UNICEF and most of all kind.  We just love this of our favourites and a true doctrine to live by.

For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.
.....Audrey Hepburn

Winter Looks we Love!
  Rustic Vintage chair found at a Garage Sale teamed with a sumptuously textured cushion and snuggly throw.  The perfect spot to sit and while away the hours on a cold winter day. 

Sand Crab Ravioli in a Creamy Dill Sauce 
For those of you who are clever enough to make your Ravioli from scratch...I say, snaps to you and a big pat on the back.  I am then also spared having to include the recipe on how to make the pasta and then the crab filling and blah...blah...  Girls like us here at Charcoal who just dont have the time and by the time we would be midnight!...say, buy the ravioli from a good gourmet shop or market and then add the rest as below...Takes about 10 minutes!

Put your water on the boil.
Once boiled.  Add your ravioli.  Cook until Al the meantime make your takes just a few minutes.
Add to a pan a dollop of butter and a bit of salt...heat until aromatic.  Once that divine smell kicks in...add a small container of cream...this recipe is for 2 people, however if its for 4, just double the quantities.  Add a couple of teaspoons of parmesan and gently simmer.  I like to throw in a few chilli flakes and some freshly chopped dill.  Simmer away until the sauce starts to thicken.
Drain the Ravioli.  I like to toss very gently in a quality olive oil so they stay nice and slippery.  Divide up onto your plate and then spoon your delicious cream sauce over the top....finish off with some freshly chopped dill and cracked pepper.  I like to serve up with a little bowl of steamed vegies.
Voila!....enjoy...its completely delicious and so very easy for all those busy girls out there.

Speaking of busy girls....pop your uggies up on the sofa...take a nice deep thankful for reaching another Friday...and CELEBRATE...with our Cocktail Friday...the fixer of all things broken...the mood lifter like none other!

This week, we introduce the Italian Lemon Drop...packed with zing and using Lemons which are in season at the moment, so they are at their best flavour-wise.  Plus!  Its that means this particular cocktail nutritionally is good for you right? If we are all in agreeance, lets raise our glasses to the wonders of Friday, Lemons..bless their little tarty hearts...and the Cocktail.  Cheers everyone!

The Italian Lemon Drop
1 oz Stolichnaya
1 oz Limoncello
¾ oz Cointreau
1 ¼ oz Sweet and Sour
Combine ingredients and shake well.
Serve in a martini glass.
Garnish with a lemon wedge.

Thank you to everyone for your feedback with the blog.  We are so happy that you are enjoying the read.  Hopefully its giving you a bit of inspiration and a smile.
Until next week....Cheers from the Charcoal Girls...Colette, Cathie and Jen xxx

Friday, June 11, 2010

Happy Birthday Lizzie...Cath's New Zealand Adventures...Potato & Rosemary Pizza and Cocktail Friday!

Hi everyone and welcome once again to the Style In The City weekly update.  Its been a busy old week here in the showroom, with lots of new arrivals, coupled with the departures of some of our most favourite pieces that have found a terrific home.  We had a lovely gentleman in the showroom today, who decided to surprise his wife....with a table!  He walked in, picked out one of our magnificent oak parquetry tables...we arranged delivery within the hour and his wife was truly surprised and delighted!  We had a bottle of French Champagne delivered for them also, just to cap off the perfect Friday for this lady.  We all want to do you clone a guy like that? 

Sitting back on reflection, and not beating our chests too loudly for fear of frightening people away....but we were wondering where in Brisbane you could get such quick service on a Friday?  We are very proud of our operation here...we girls can do ANYTHING!..expect slam a revolving door of course :-)

Our Design Guru Cathie had a very well earned break recently, holidaying at a gorgeous spot on New Zealands North Island.  The stunning Hawkes Bay.  She chose this region, along with a couple of close friends...Ali and Debbie.  It was a special trip to celebrate Alis birthday.  Their hosts, Black Barn Vineyard turned on a gastronomic treat, including some delectable wines.  The accommodation was chosen for its comfort and quality design.  Nothing was too much trouble for the staff, and the cottage was stylish and welcoming. Thanks for sharing your holiday snaps with us Cath...see Cocktail Friday Fan Pics below for more....

Cottage Living and Entry...Nice Fireplace...Take me there now please....

 The view from the front porch...just stunning!


The Three Amigos...Cathie, Ali and Debbie

This weeks recipe is a favourite of ours.  So easy to make and completely delicious.  Perfect for vegetarians too and all the ingredients are seasonal.
We bring you....The Potato and Rosemary Pizza!
You dont have to make your own base for this one either.  We use pita bread, or a quality bought base from the shops.  This pizza is great on its own, or serve it as a side dish with soup.  Its really yummy and you can add other ingredients to it as well.  For example...sundried tomatoes, olives, pepperoni or capsicum.  For a rustically professional  presentation, top with some cherry tomatoes.  Keep in mind with pizza, less is more is the recipe for success.

  • 1 basic pizza dough base
  • 300g (10½oz) medium-sized potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4tbsp olive oil
  • 200g (7oz) mozzarella cheese, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced or chopped
  • 5-6 small rosemary sprigs
Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7. Put the potato slices in a large saucepan of lightly salted boiling water and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until just cooked through. Drain really well. Tip into a wide shallow dish and drizzle over the olive oil to coat the slices evenly.
Roll out the pizza dough to a 30cm x 20cm (12in x 8in) rectangle and place on a baking sheet.
Scatter half the cheese over the pizza base, then arrange the potato mixture on top.
Scatter over the remaining cheese, garlic and rosemary sprigs, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the pizza base is golden and the potatoes are starting to brown. Remove from the oven and serve.


Queen Elizabeth II actually turned 84 on the 21st of April, but we celebrate her birthday this weekend..and her gift to us!?...a delightfully...frightfully...fabulous day off on Monday.  So please raise your glasses in celebration of the long weekend...and of course our most anticipated and much loved...Cocktail Friday!  Even the Queens getting in on the act this week.


The Queens Swizzle!

What a colourful offering we have for you this week.  And all in the name of Lizzie...the Queens Swizzle.  Its very refreshing and a great way to start off the long weekend
How to Make a Queens Swizzle

3 oz  Rum
.75 oz Lime Juice
.5 oz Simple Syrup
3 Heavy Dashes
Angostura Bitters
Fresh Mint
Add ingredients and shell of the lime you just juiced into a tall glass.  Fill the glass with crushed ice and swizzle until the glass frosts over.  Garnish with a large sprig of mint.  Serve with a straw.

Fan Pics
Thanks to Debbie and Ali for this great Cocktail Friday Pic taken on the recent New Zealand trip with Cathie.  You girls look like you were having a lovely relaxing time...we salute you!

Signing off for another week...wishing you all the best.  Have a happy and safe long weekend.
The Charcoal Girls...Jen, Cathie and Colette xxx

Friday, June 4, 2010

Looks we Love!....Winter Warming Chicken and Curry Rolls...Plus! Limes and Our Cocktail du Jour...The Gimlet!

Well, to be honest, this week has been a bit crazy.  Cath has been away in New Zealand, carrying out important research on the food and wine industry over there... ;-)   Colette and I have had a week of fun with new arrivals, design jobs and more.  We just fell in love with this table (above).  Its our new favourite for sure.

Speaking of favourites!  Try out this super easy recipe....yes..another super easy one.  This week I made these amazingly moorish chicken and vegetable rolls.  I added a bit of curry powder to the recipe for a little extra 'zing'.  Great on a side plate with soup!  Very easy Winter food.  Try it and let me know what you think.

Healthy...and Moorish Chicken Vegetable Rolls


  • 1 cup (70g) fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs
  • 500g chicken breast mince
  • 1 egg, plus 1 extra lightly beaten egg
  • 1 zucchini, finely grated
  • 1 carrot, finely grated
  • 1/2 onion, grated
  • 1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 4 sheets frozen puff pastry, just thawed
  • 1 tbs sesame seeds
  • Tomato or sweet chilli or sauce, to serve


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and line 2 baking sheets with baking paper.
  2. Process crumbs, chicken and unbeaten egg in a food processor until well combined. Place in a bowl, mix well with vegetables and herbs, then season.

  3. Place 1 pastry sheet on a floured surface and halve. Spoon an eighth of the mixture length ways along centre of each piece. Fold 1 edge of pastry over and tuck in beside filling, then fold over other side to make a roll, pressing down lightly to seal. Repeat with remaining pastry and filling. Cut rolls into 3cm pieces and cut two small incisions into each roll to prevent splitting. Place on baking sheets, cover and chill for 30 minutes. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the rolls are lightly browned and cooked through. Serve with sauce on the side.  For fans of the curry flavour, I add a teaspoon of Keens Curry Powder or similar to the mix...Gosh its yummy!

    In Season?....Limes.

    Lovely...Limes...In season now.  Packed with Vitamin C and just perfect in Thai recipes.
    or....The Gimlet! guessed it!  Hang on to your beanies folks...Its Cocktail Friday again...

    Drink du Jour – Gimlet

    Gimlet Cocktail

  4. 2 oz gin
  5. 2 oz bottled lime juice
  6. 1 tsp sugar
Stir extremely well with ice.  Strain into a pre-chilled sugar rimmed cocktail glass.
I prefer the vodka gimlet; just substitute vodka for the gin.

And as the day winds down, and the weekend draws nearer...its goodbye from us....The Charcoal Girls...Cathie, Colette and Jen xxx