Friday, August 27, 2010

Bye Bye Winter...Helloooo Spring!...Urbane Edge Article with one Half of our Design Team....Sell, Sell, Sell...More Exclusive Charcoal Project Peeks...Sweet Treats...Anatoly, The Rug Guru...Best Dukkah Recipe In The World...Dukkah Encrusted Lamb and Kiwi Cocktails..What More Could You Want on a Friday?..enjoy xx

Its almost official....

Spring is nearly here!

Whilst some of you may be dreading the warmer weather being just on our doorstep, we are all pretty happy about the change of season.

Spring brings with it the smell of Jasmine, BBQ's on a Sunday, Sundresses, Picnics and the obligatory...for some..Spring Clean.  We love everything about Spring, and look forward to introducing you to some absolutely amazing new pieces that we will be bringing in to the showroom.  We simply cant wait!  Plus, there will be a fresh new menu of gloriously healthy and tasty dishes to please the palate...and with all that seasonal fruit coming in, we have finished test driving some excellent new Cocktail Friday recipes...just part of the job criteria...someone's got to make sure they are delicious!

Urbane Edge
This week, our Cathie Venardos...One half of the design team here at Charcoal, was interviewed by the Big and Glossy Brisbane News.  Cathie gave an insight on her design style, art and furniture pieces purchased during her travels.  For those of you who don't live in Brisbane, and haven't seen the article, here's a peek for on the pic and it will enlarge if you are finding it hard to decipher.

Our Sale is Still Going Strong
With so many amazing discounts on selected stock, you are sure to find something perfect for your home.
Pop in over the weekend and step into a world of inspiration!

Serving Up More Inspiration...
Next week, we showcase our latest Exclusive Charcoal Interiors design's a sneak peek.  This home was completely reduced to a shell and has been transformed and updated into a beautiful space.  We look forward to sharing the Before and After images with you over the coming weeks...wait until you see the bathroom!
Lounge Living...more Photos next week.

Golden Day
Sometimes you just have one of those days, that are just 'Golden', because we had two wonderful surprises in one day this week.  The first was a delivery of Organic Belgian White Chocolate and Fresh Coffee from a client that we had helped style his apartment for sale....Then, mere minutes later, 3 bunches of beautiful Spring blooms were delivered for us....a thank you for all the girls hard work from an appreciative client and all-round great lady.  We felt just so spoilt and it was a fabulous day indeed.  
Here we are looking very chuffed with ourselves....

Cathie..Colette and Jen

Every Stylish Home Needs at Least One....
This week, as promised we bring to you our Host with the Most..Anatoly Frusin!  Anatoly is our Rug consultant here at Charcoal Interiors, and brings with him a wealth of knowledge on the beautiful handwoven rugs that we stock here in the showroom.  

Please click on the link below which will take you to a short video presentation by Anatoly, with a brief outline of some of the rugs we have instore.....enjoy!

'Drool-worthy Delights'
Fancy something tasty and super healthy for dinner or lunch? 
We feel we have excelled ourselves with this weeks recipe...braggers...

We do love a good Dukkah...there's nothing nicer than dipping some really fresh Turkish Bread into a quality Cold Pressed Olive Oil, and then dunking into a great Dukkah Mix.

With Egyptian origins, Dukkah is a spice blend of toasted nuts and seeds, and has become a international favorite over the past few years, thanks to its popularity first in Australian restaurants and then among home cooks and food blogs. The warm, aromatic mixture is addictive when served as a dip with bread and olive oil. We've also been sprinkling it on everything else lately – roasted vegetables, pasta, feta cheese, and even peaches, not to mention the wonderful crust it makes for meat and fish....speaking of which, heres a fab recipe for Dukkah Encrusted Lamb Chops.  You can use this recipe and method for any, chicken, or you can roll a vegetable like cauliflower into the mix and bake in the that's delicious too.  Dukkah is very versatile and so healthy too.  Dazzle your friends with the recipe below...they will think you have had lessons!
Dukkah Encrusted Lamb Chops

Dukkah is available in many stores nowadays.  Its not just a gourmet item anymore and you can find it by the packet on jar in most supermarkets.  Making your own is easy.  Pistachios are a lovely addition to a Dukkah mix and they give a pleasant sweetness.  Here are some ideas for your Dukkah mix below.  Grind up in a processor, or get into the traditional way with a Mortar and Pestle...really get your elbow into it, and then be sure to stop...take a rest...sip the Cocktail from the recipe below...pace yourself now...and begin again....

Basic Ingredients
• Nuts – hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews, pine nuts, macadamia nuts
• Sesame seeds
• Coriander
• Cumin
Optional Additions
• Dried chickpeas
• Dried herbs – marjoram, mint, thyme
• Dried lemon zest
• Hot pepper – red pepper flakes, chili powder
• Pepper – freshly ground or whole peppercorns
• Salt
• Seeds – caraway, fennel, nigella
• Spices – cinnamon, clove, turmeric
• Sugar
Dukkah (Basic Recipe)
Makes 2 1/4 cups
1 cup nuts
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup coriander seeds
1/4 cup cumin seeds
1 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Toast nuts and seeds in separate batches. Let cool completely.
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse. The mixture may fine or coarse, depending on personal preference, but be sure it is dry and crumbly. Over-mixing will turn it into a paste. (Can also use a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.)
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 

Once you have your mix to your satisfaction and taste, drizzle a good quality olive oil over your lamb chops...rub in a quality rock salt and then coat in the Dukkah mix.  Heat your pan with oil and sear the chops on both sides for 2 - 3 minutes each.  Place the chops onto aluminium foil and seal for 15 minutes to rest the meat.
In the meantime...take your time here now...another sip of your drink...soo nice and relaxing isnt it?...and I do like that music in the background...bit of Angus and Julia Stone perhaps?...or a Katie Noonan track or, where were we?  Oh yes, the salad.  Now, whilst waiting on the resting of the meat, throw together a nice green salad...pop a side of plain yoghurt on your plate...shake up some lemon juice with a bit of salt, pepper, balsamic and olive oil and drizzle this over the salad.  Arrange the meat and salad on the plate with your chops...and Voila!...its a meal fit for the MasterChef judges.  Enjoy!

Happiness Comes in Many Forms...Puppies, Shoe Shopping, Sass and Bide and.....Cocktails!

Happy Friday to all.  Hope you have had a great one...Let's Celebrate with a...
Kiwi Fruit Cocktail...Fresh...Sparky...and oh, so delicious!..and guess what? deserve one...

The Friday Kiwi Cocktail

Its as Easy as Mix, Shake and Pour


2 shots of Gin
0.25 shots of Lemon Juice
0.5 shots of Sugar Syrup
1 whole peeled Kiwi


Peel and quarter the Kiwi, muddle with the Gin in the mixing tin, add the other ingredients, add lots of ice, shake and fine strain.


Serve in a Martini glass and garnish with a kiwi slice.

Thank you to all our wonderful customers and blog readers, facebook followers etc..for another amazing week here at Charcoal Interiors.  We just love being part of The Valley precinct and hope to see you in this part of the world one day soon.  Grab a coffee, and stroll the streets of James, Wandoo and Doggett and be sure to pop into the showroom at 18 Doggett St, Fortitude Valley...we would love to see you.  Mention the blog and we will give you an even bigger smile!...til next week...we are off to collect more goodies for you on Monday...another shopping excursion just for you.  Cant wait to share all our treasures.  Have a great weekend.
Cathie...Colette..and Jen..The Charcoal Girls xxx

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fashionista Heaven In Brisbane, Valentino, Paul Hunt, Maiocchi and the Valley Arts Precinct, Sale, Sale, Sale!...did we mention we are having a Sale?...Latest Andrew Martin Offerings, Rhubarb and Pear Crumble...the Lola Cocktail and more!...Happy Friday to one and all!

This week:  Fashionista Heaven!
Brisbane has been all 'abuzz' over the past couple of week with the opening of the Valentino Collection at Brisbane's Gallery of Modern Art..... the Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival.

We wanted to take the time to acknowledge our neighbours here in the Valley precinct, who made the cut at the Fashion Festival.
Congrats to Paul Hunt on a successful show...we now hear you are being touted as Brisbanes Alex Perry!

As mentioned last week, we hosted the photo shoot for the National Label 'Maiocchi'.  Maiocchi featured heavily at the Mercedes Fashion Festival also.  We simply dont know how creator, Dee has managed to juggle all of this whilst in the final stages of pregnancy.  Its all about passion for what you do.

We wanted to share with you, a couple of the completed photos, all ready for the new range promotion.
We are loving this one of Maiocchi model in our deliciously sumptuous Wing Back chair in rich velvet fabric.

Loving this jacket...and the backdrop...our Antique Asian Screen

You can discover more of our beautiful 'finds'on our website

There really is just so much talent here in the Valley...pop in to the showroom on the weekend for some inspiration and bargains, as our SALE is still going strong.  Grab a coffee at Campos on Wandoo and roam the precinct.  

We have amazing designers, galleries, fashion houses, restaurants and cafes, all at your disposal.  We are very proud to work amongst such a buzzy, creative atmosphere!

We just cant get enough of the new Andrew Martin Collections.  Their releases never fail to have a quirky, eclectic edge but at the same time always manage to be very useable in an interior scheme. 

Their new collection 'Spectator' hits the mark again. It features strong graphic design inspired by pop culture. From Steven Sprouse to posters for The Beatles and movie fan-zines; this is a fun, striking collection, which will definitely add some interest and energy to a room.

We are lucky enough to live in a country where we have access to a multitude of fresh produce.  Winter brings some great choices in seasonal fruit and vegetables.  We have been enjoying some delicious soups over the cold months thanks to Colette with her divine recipes (see recipes in our index, or send me a message and I can forward them on to you).  This week, we stumbled on a delectable recipe using seasonal Rhubarb and can also add Strawberries to this dish.  As is our way...we only feature recipes that we would cook ourselves, so you will find this dessert quick, easy and packed with flavour. 10 minutes to cant go wrong.  Its a nourishing, warming way to end the week.....enjoy!


Ingredients (serves 4)

  • Melted butter to grease
  • 3 (Buerre Bosc) pears peeled, cored and coarsley chopped
  • 1 bunch rhubarb washed, trimmed, coarsely chopped
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 160g butter
  • 150g Arnott's Granita biscuits, coarsely crushed
  • 25g (1/3) cup shredded coconut
  • Vanilla ice-cream or double cream to serve


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush four 250ml (1-cup) ovenproof ramekins with melted butter to grease. Place pear, rhubarb, orange juice, cinnamon and half the butter in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat for 6-8 minutes or until pear and rhubarb are just tender. Divide among the ramekins.
  2. Meanwhile, place the biscuit and coconut in a medium bowl. Use your fingertips to rub the remaining butter into the biscuit mixture until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the biscuit mixture over the pear mixture and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden. Serve with cream or vanilla ice-cream.
    Tip: A delicious addition to this recipe is seasonal strawberries..which are just so fresh right now.  Just halve the amount of pear and add strawberries in its place.
We really do have to stop meeting like this!
Welcome to another exciting edition of Cocktail Friday.
Well, the Kinks sang about her, and they have named a sofa after thing you know, they will be naming drink after her...and Voila!..they have. 
We are rather fond of our beautiful 'Lola' sofa that we have in the showroom...and its on Sale.

The 'Lola'.  Must Go To Good Home!

I was deeeeelighted to find that there is a cocktail recipe called The Lola!  What a great coincidence and another excuse to try something different. off we toddled to the Cru Bar to celebrate our 
1000th Blog View!
Thank you to everyone for your support of the blog.  We love to hear from you, and the feedback has been amazing.  We have heard from readers far and wide, and even had customers comment on our recipes and how much they enjoy the Cocktail Friday Phenomena!
It's all very encouraging and makes us feel good!
And, so here are a couple of happy snaps taken of the Lola Cocktail and other various concoctions downed last week.  We actually do work very hard and so  this is our little treat on a Friday....and the least we can do is encourage you to do the same.


The Recipe
1. Orange Juice - 3/4 oz.
2. Cream - 1/2 oz.
3. Rum - 1.75 oz.
4. Mandarine Napoleon - 3/4 oz.
5. Cream de Cacao - 3/4 oz.
Place all ingredients in a cocktail, heres the hard part..shake, shake, shake...and pour into a cocktail glass...........mmmmmmm....yummmm....

Another great week.  Wishing everyone a terrific Friday, and a happy and fun weekend.
Next week sneak peek:  Anatoly gives us a tour of the rugs in stock and some exciting news for one of our designers......its all on the blog and its all next Friday.

Cheers...from  the Charcoal Girls

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hamilton Apartment...The Final Unveil with Before & After pics, plus video...Get in Quick for our Sale!...We Shop in Melbourne for You!...Maiocchi Fashion Shoot - A Sneek Peak into the new range....Scrumptious Chicken Recipe and the Deeeelightfully light..Capiroska!

Hello and Happy Friday one and all.  We have had a great week, with a trip to Melbourne for the day...and all for you!  More info on that a bit further down the blog...but promised...
The Exclusive Unveiling of our latest Design Project at Hamilton!

Well, last week we showcased the Sunroom of this amazing Art Deco residence in Hamilton, Brisbane.  This week we have video of Cathie showing us through the fully completed apartment, plus 'Before...and After' pictures, so you can really gauge just how much thought and effort has gone into completely transforming this space.
First's Cathie with her tour.....excuse my very amateurish production..oh..and the Chandelier is not on fire!..just looks that way due to the strobing :-)

Just Click On The Video Link Below

Some before pics of the space.....

....and the finished work...

Beautiful artwork...gorgeous lighting..a sumptuous mixture of textures, antique and modern pieces now give this apartment a luxurious environ, reminiscent of the Manhattan Style our client loves so much.

We have had a terrific week, with a successful expedition to the Melbourne Trade Show. We also dropped in on a few of our wonderful suppliers whilst down South and picked out some stunning pieces...Gosh, we are so excited!  Cant wait for it all to be delivered!  Stay tuned for our new arrivals...boy did we have fun shopping for you!

Trade Show Shopping...Decisions..Decisions??....

Strolling along the Yarra...on a gorgeous winters day...more decisions to, which restaurant to choose??

More self sacrifice....lunch at 'Brasserie' restaurant on the Yarra.
Check out our Cocktail Friday recipe...with pics below
Charcoal having ....a...
 That's right!....Sale starts this Saturday.  After our buying trip on Monday, we need to make room for the new arrivals.  So, that means that we have considerable savings to be had on Sofas, Tables, Urns, Accessories, Dining and Occasional Chairs and so much more! 

Maiocchi Fashion Shoot

On Sunday morning we hosted another Fashion Shoot for Dee Maiocchi and her gorgeous range of clothing.  Here is a little sneek peak, and we will have the formal pics for you shortly.  Dee loves to use our stunning showroom as the backdrop for her creations.  

Thanks again to Mark Turner Photography high fashion to sophisticated Interior Design shoots...he really does know his stuff.

Friday Recipe

Feeling a little overwhelmed after such a big week, our bellies were looking for something light, flavoursome and this week, we tried this super simple recipe that is fresh and delicious.  

This recipe is super simple and serves 4

Mint and Garlic Chicken with Crunchy Salad

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 4 small (about 170g each) chicken breast fillets, each cut into 2 thin fillets
  • 2 tbs roughly chopped mint leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 1/2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 baby cos, leaves separated, finely shredded
  • 1/2 punnet (about 80g) snow pea sprouts, roughly chopped
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tbs white wine vinegar


  1. Place the chicken, mint, chilli and 1/2 tbs of oil in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat chicken.
  2. Place a large non-stick frypan over high heat. When hot, add the chicken in batches. Cook for 2 minutes on one side and 1 minute on the other or until cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile: toss the shredded lettuce, snow pea sprouts, and spring onion in a large bowl with the vinegar, remianing tbs of oil, salt and pepper. 

  4. Divide the salad and chicken among plates and serve immediately.

    It's That Time Again....Cocktail Friday!!

 Ahhhh...Yes...Cocktails really DO equal Paradise according to us!  We have a super simple Cocktail recipe for you this Friday, but its just packed with'll love it!
We imbibed in a few of these on our Melbourne trip...Cath has the recipe below...
The Lime Capiroska!

A great way to end an exhausting day of Power Shopping!

We are off to Cru Bar this afternoon to celebrate our 1000th Blog view!
Thank you to everyone for their support.  We have had a great response to the Blog.  A lot of love goes into bringing it to you every Friday and its a collaborative effort from us all.

Wishing you a great Charcoal Girls...

Cathie, Colette and Jen....with Charlie....xx

Friday, August 6, 2010

Taaa Daaa!..The Hamilton Apartment Unveil...Our Latest Project...Milton Cater Rugs..Introducing Anatoly...Sale, Sale, Sale!...Low Fat Tapas...Mushrooms Anyone??...Ch..Ch...Ch..Ch..Cherry Bombs for Everyone!

Finally, this week we can reveal the first stage of our gorgeous Art Deco Apartment project at Hamilton in sunny Brisbane Australia.
Last week, we presented the before images of this apartment that just had so much potential, but desperately needed a complete freshen up.  The design team here at Charcoal went into this particular project with the specific goal to nuture the uniqueness of the building with its classic Art Deco lines and features.  The rooms were painted and the old timber trimmings were kept, but modernised and highlighted in a colour that worked well with the tones on the walls.  Sophistication was the theme, with the addition of an eclectic mix of Antique and modern furniture and a fabulous balance of textures.  We introduced new lighting, a gorgeous feature mirror and eye-catching art from the ever talented Dean Reilly.
Today, we feature the sunroom, with its views to the Brisbane River.  
Cathie now has a home for the new man in her life...'Charlie'.  Set in stone, this amazing piece creates a dramatically imposing feature in this room.  With the addition of quality shutters, handwoven rug by Milton Cater, French influenced dining setting and unique accessories you would have to admit that this is a room you would have to tear yourself away from every day.  

Hamilton Apartment Sunroom



Cath kicking back in the transformed Sunroom with 'Charlie'

.....Milton Cater Handwoven Rugs....

In keeping with our doctrinal essence of uniqueness and quality, we are proud to stock  Milton Cater Handwoven Rugs here at the showroom.
Milton Cater specialise in Antique and Old Handwoven Traditional Rugs.
We are fortunate to have consultant Anatoly Frusin from Milton Cater consulting at our Doggett Street showroom every Thursday.

Anatoly, born in Tadzhikistan brings with him a wealth of knowledge of the Milton Cater product gleaned from a natural connection through his home land, backed up by mentoring from Milton Cater himself.

Anatoly is quite an all-rounder with a background in Theatre and Acting.  He enjoys cooking and we are already impressed with his warm and welcoming personality.  Please feel free to call into the showroom on a Thursday, or give Anatoly a call on 3852 6002 to discuss the rug range.  He will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

In the coming weeks, Anatoly will be giving us an education into the fascinating history of some of the rugs we have currently in this gorgeous Antique Heriz rug from North West Persia...stay tuned

Everybody loves a Sale!...and we are having one like no other.  The girls have been busy with purchasing new stock for the showroom and we need the space by the end of September.  Our sale starts next weekend....There will be plenty of treasures to be unearthed...and the savings will be considerable.

Tapas Please!!

This is the final week for our Healthy Tapas Recipes.  We hope you have enjoyed them as much as we have!

Vegetarian Friendly Portobello Mushroom with Mediterranean Stuffing

This flavor-packed mushroom can be served as a first-course dish or as a perfect-size tapas dish. It’s packed with fiber, antioxidant-rich vegetables, and immunity-boosting spices. This recipe is less fattening than a traditional hors d’oeuvre, but if you're worried about calories, cut the mushrooms in half for more figure-friendly portions.


  • 4 (4-inch) portobello caps (about 3/4 pound)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 cups (1/4-inch) cubed French bread, toasted
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) feta cheese, crumbled
  • 3 tablespoons low-fat balsamic vinaigrette, divided
  • 4 teaspoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cups mixed salad greens


Preheat oven to 350°.
Remove stems from mushrooms, and finely chop stems to measure 1/4 cup. Discard remaining stems. Combine 1/4 cup chopped stems, onion, and next 6 ingredients (through garlic).
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat; coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion mixture to pan; cook 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Combine onion mixture and bread in a large bowl, tossing to combine. Slowly add broth to bread mixture, tossing to coat. Add feta; toss gently.
Remove brown gills from the undersides of mushroom caps using a spoon; discard gills. Place mushrooms, stem side up, on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Brush mushrooms evenly with 1 tablespoon vinaigrette. Sprinkle Parmesan and black pepper evenly over mushrooms; top each with 1/2 cup bread mixture. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.
Combine remaining 2 tablespoons vinaigrette and greens, tossing gently. Place 1 cup greens on each of 4 plates; top each serving with 1 mushroom.

 Happy Friday everyone...and what would a Friday here at Charcoal be without the Friday Cocktail to finish off a busy week.  This Friday we are off to Cru Bar in The Valley for a few 'Cherry Bombs'....we like them because they sound sexy...and darned it...after a just start feeling soooo good!
Here's the recipe, so that you can create a little bit of fun atmosphere at home, and just treat yourself to a bit of fun with the Cocktail Friday experience.  Dont forget to send in your Cocktail photos...we will publish them on the Friday blog!

The Ch..Ch..Ch...Ch...Cherry Bomb!


  • 0.5 floz vodka
  • 0.5 floz Midori
  • 0.5 floz Disaronno
  • 0.5 floz amaretto
  • Fresh lemon sour mix and cranberry juice to top

Method: How to make a cherry bomb

1. Fill a tumbler with ice.
2. Add the vodka, Midori, Disaronno and amaretto, then top with cranberry juice and fresh lemon sour mix.
3. Swirl and serve. 

....Goodbye to another Friday!  We are open over the weekend, and then off to Melbourne for Monday...back into it on just never stops!  Be sure to come in and say hi over the weekend.  We would love to see you!

The Charcoal Team.....Cathie, Colette...and introducing Jen!..she finally came out from under the table.