Friday, February 25, 2011


I miss the old fashioned glamour, intrigue and mystique of the Oscars.  I feel my age with the fact that I dont really know who this years Oscar hosts (being held this coming week in LA) are??  

When I think of the Oscars, I think of fashion and glamorous gowns flowing, handsome and stylish actors in Tuxedos, beautiful augmentation free actresses resplendant in their own beauty and not needing much more than a good 'up-do' to look completely stunning....oh how I wish life was just one long Mad Men series....

For me, the Oscars will always be Katharine Hepburn.  Hepburn holds the record for the most Best Actress Oscar wins with four out of 12 nominations. In 1999, she was ranked by the American Film Institute as the greatest female star in the history of American cinema.  I will never forget her final speech up on the Oscars stage.  

It was rumoured that she had succumbed to Parkinsons Disease in her later years because of the characteristic head shaking, but this was untrue and according to the lady herself "I inherited my shaking head from my grandfather Hepburn. I discovered that whisky helps stop the shaking. Problem is, if you're not careful, it stops the rest of you too. My head just shakes, but I promise you, it ain't gonna fall off!"
Hepburn started wearing long high-waisted pants before it was fashionable to do so.

  Playing strong independent women with minds of their own.
She was a woman of style with a lot of brassiness thrown in for balance.  We celebrate her for her strength and non-conformist character.  As in her own words....'If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun'. 

Enjoy our Oscars Party food and cocktail suggestions below in our weekly Cocktail Friday!  The best Blini with Salmon and Mascarpone to munch on with your friends whilst watching the Academy dramas unfold! Who will wear the most hideous dress this year?....and horror of horrors..who will wear the same dress!!??


Last weekend, we literally had items running out the door...and thats no exaggeration!  This weekend is set to be no different.  Please be sure to pop in and say hi...check out all the beautiful pieces that we have on offer at truly discounted prices.  That much admired piece could finally be yours!

 Castor Coffee Table

 The Beautiful 'Mona' Table

 The 'Enzo' Sofa...drastically reduced to sell

 Our stunning 'Lola' Sofa in sumptuous velvet fabric...must sell!

Louis Ghost Chair...selected items on sale now

The 'Boas' Loose Cover Sofa.  Drastic price reduction. Must Sell!

 Moroccan Lanterns....An eclectic mix of styles now on Sale!
 Reductions off all our Lighting range, including this beautiful example of new and old combined to craft a stunning chandelier.  Now on Sale!

Our 3 Piece Outdoor Setting Range now on Sale!

While not quite as high-pressure as a walk down the red carpet on Oscar night, a party in honor of the 82nd Academy Awards just won't be complete without the perfect hors d'oeuvres.
Get fancy with this super easy recipe.  The little pikelets can be whisked up in a flash and once done, the toppings only take about 10 minutes to put together.  Pop in the fridge and wait for the pseudo celebs to arrive!



Ingredients (serves 8)

  • 1/3 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 25g butter, melted
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
  • 100g smoked salmon, thickly sliced
  • fresh dill sprigs and lemon zest, to serve


  1. Sift flours and baking powder into a bowl. Gradually whisk in egg and buttermilk until smooth. Stir in butter.
  2. Spray a large frying pan with oil. Heat over medium-high heat. Using 2 teaspoons mixture per blini, cook 6 blini for 2 minutes each side or until browned. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat to make 24 blini.
  3. Combine mascarpone, lemon juice and chopped dill in a bowl. Place blini on a platter. Spread each with 1 teaspoon mascarpone mixture. Top with salmon and dill sprigs. Sprinkle with lemon zest. Serve.


Get your glam on this February 27th for the 83rd Annual Oscars night and imbibe in one this 1930's cocktail classic...the Side Car.  Pop your best vintage frock on...pinch your cheeks...relax and enjoy the festivities of the evening.  Grab a bunch of friends and create your own night of nights!

The Sidecar
1 measure Cointreau
1 measure brandy/cognac
1 measure lemon juice
Shake with ice and strain into sugar-rimmed cocktail (martini) glass and garnish with a strip of lemon rind.

Until next week.....enjoy your Oscars soiree...Here's fingers crossed that our super talented and ever young Jackie Weaver gets the statue for best actress for her role in Animal Kingdom.  If she wins...well you will hear me screaming with happiness!

And before we sign off the blog for the week, here's me being self indulgent again and another pic from the vineyard wedding of me and Pete the Greek...this one though just says...peace, tranquility and it!  Taken from the marquee looking over the vineyard in SA!

Friday, February 18, 2011


Last weekend for the first time ever, Charcoal Interiors closed its doors for the whole weekend.  And the reason?  The wedding of Jen to Pete the Greek down in South Australia.
A gorgeous day was had with a select group of friends and family celebrating love and friendship in the beautiful setting of Jens brothers and sister-in-laws vineyard.  The sun shone, champagne flowed and laughter filtered through the Fleurieu.


And so, its back into it this week with our BIGGEST Sale yet!  We are on the move and the new address will be revealed next week.

Until then we are run off our feet with our sale and marking down every single product in the showroom.  So that means all tables, chairs, pots, accessories, lighting, Asian cabinetry, altar tables and so much more are marked down to in some cases, ridiculous prices.  

Even our beloved 'Charlie' is up for sale!

We have quality Australian made sofas marked down to below cost price.  We have sold beautiful sofas from these ones on display, but we cant take them with us and they have to go. 

Empire Sofa. Australian Made. Was $9,975 Now $5,900 which is under cost price.

Our beautiful Enzo Sofa. Australian Made. Sumptuous Quality fabric. Was $10,500 Now $8,400

The Boas loose cover sofa.  A gorgeous sofa that would look amazing in a beach house or casual setting....classic elegance.  Was $3,500 now marked right down to $1,990.

Japanese chests have been reduced by up to 40%.  Our quality accessories are all marked down to sell.  So much stock needs to go, so please be sure to come in and grab a bargain.  That unique piece you have had your eye on for a while now, may just well be available and at a price that will surprise you.  But be quick!  We put the signs out this morning and already have been flat out keeping up with sales.  Next week, we will have all the details on our beautiful tables (or whats left of them...).  The discounts are substantial and the quality amazing.


Zucchini is packed with Vitamin C and just so good for you.  Its a great versatile vegetable, perfect in flans and quiches. You can even tempura the flowers.

Makes great fritters or just slice it up into fingers and bbq with a squeeze of lemon and tossing of salt and pepper.  Zucchini is in season at the moment, so its fresh and affordable.  The smaller the zucchini, the sweeter the flavour.  The big ones are perfect for stuffing.  Just cut the top off, hollow out the seeds and pulp and then pack with breadcrumbs, herbs, sundried tomatoes, chopped capsicum etc...also great with couscous. Wrap with foil and cook in a moderate oven, then slice. The possibilities are endless with zucchini.  Heres a really ease and tasty recipe for Chargrilled Zucchini and Ricotta Pizza.

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 1 large green zucchini, ends trimmed, sliced lengthways
  • 1 large yellow zucchini, ends trimmed, sliced lengthways
  • 1 tbs olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 1/3 quantity pizza dough (see related recipe)
  • 70g (1/4 cup) green olive tapenade
  • 100g (1 cup) grated mozzarella
  • 250g fresh ricotta, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup fresh rosemary sprigs


  1. Preheat oven to 240°C. Preheat a chargrill pan on high. Brush the zucchini with half the oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook one-quarter of the zucchini for 1-2 minutes each side or until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate. Repeat in 3 more batches with remaining zucchini.
  2. Brush a baking tray with oil. Roll out a dough portion on a lightly floured surface to a 25 x 35cm rectangle. Place on the prepared tray. Spread the tapenade evenly over the base. Sprinkle over the mozzarella. Arrange the zucchini slices, in a criss-cross pattern, over the base. Dot the ricotta randomly over the zucchini. Sprinkle with the rosemary and drizzle with the remaining oil. Season with pepper. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cut into wedges to serve.



The Caipirinha, designated the National Cocktail of Brazil, has simple ingredients: limes, Cachaca, superfine sugar and crushed ice. I've seen other fruits substituted, such as strawberries and cherries, but to me the real thing is a lime Caipirinha.  Aaaaahhhhh Lime...have we mentioned before how much we love lime??
This is actually one of the easiest cocktails to make, which can be a good thing and a bad thing at the same time...easy to make...easy to drink and away we go for another round!

You will need:
  • Cachaca
  • Limes
  • Superfine sugar
  • Crushed ice
  • A "lowball", "rocks" or "Old-Fashioned" glass
  • A pestle (from a mortar and pestle -- or something similar) for the muddling

  1. Cut the ends off of the lime and discard.
  2. Cut the lime in half lengthwise and cut out the white pith in the middle.
  3. Cut the lime in half, and cut one half of the lime into four wedges and place in the glass. If your lime is small, you will need to add more lime to the glass.
  4. Add one to three tablespoons of sugar. The amount of sugar depends on your personal taste as well as the size of the lime you are using.
  5. Use the pestle to "muddle" the limes and sugar together. Basically, you want to crush the limes so that they mix in well with the sugar. Be careful not to break the skin of the lime. When you've gotten all of the juice out of the lime, you're done.
  6. Pack crushed ice in the glass all the way to the top.
  7. Add cachaca all the way to the top of the glass. (It's really only about 2 oz.)
  8. Use a larger glass or bottom of a cocktail shaker and put it over the top of your drink. Pick up with two hands and shake very well for at least 15 seconds.
  9. Garnish with a wedge or slice of lime.
  10. Drink...and enjoy the best caipirinha!
HAPPY FRIDAY TO ALL...enjoy your weekend.  Its going to be a hot one here in Brisbane, so keep cool with a Caipirinha and come in for some COOL bargains.  We have some truly unique and stunningly beautiful pieces for your home.  Once they are gone...that's it.  In some cases you can own a piece of history for a song.  Please stop by over the weekend.  We are open Saturday and Sunday. Until next week! xx
Cathie, Colette and Jen (Mrs Venardos...hehe...)

Friday, February 4, 2011


With Valentines Day just around the corner, love is most definitely in the air.  Although my single friends call the Valentines Day phenomena 'Singles Awareness Day', regardless of whether you are single or bonded at the hip, its always nice to celebrate love in all its different forms. This week we have made a list of our latest 'love' items.  Some are attainable right now, and others are on the 'Bucket List'...regardless, its nice to dream and draw inspiration from beautiful things, places and styles.

Light Up Your Life

With our latest arrival.  This stunning Chandelier is available whilst stocks last.  What a focal point to add drama to a dining room!  We are loving this!

Create a Beguiling Mix of Form and Function with.....
Our stunning Iron Based Dining Table.  This gorgeous piece will not last!

Whats new in colour??
Our friends at Porters Paints are always surprising and delighting with the emergence of new and exciting colour options.  The design team are particularly in love with Porters newest shade...Donkey Grey.  Such a subtle tone, yet completely classic and usable.  Here it has been masterfully merged with Porters Macaroon and Milk. Love it, Love it, Love it!


When a girl starts dreaming about the ultimate holiday destination, the first thought that comes to mind is luxury, shopping, food and hello! spa!  This hotel in the home of luxury and indulgence, Dubai, hits the spot in more ways than one. 

Madinat Jumeirah Al Qasr Hotel

 As part of the Madinat Jumeirah complex in Dubai, the Al Qasr Hotel is located on Jumeirah Beach and offers elevated views over the Arabian Gulf. 


The hotel is surrounded by water and is accessible from the other two hotels in the complex by waterway. Each of the 292 guest rooms and suites offer private balconies and sumptuous Arabian d├ęcor and fabrics.

This stunning accommodation includes shopping until you are dropping, nine restaurants and bars and most importantly a rooftop bar area offering spectacular views of the ocean, pool and gardens. 

And for the grand total of $1600 per night, this place is definitely going on the Bucket List.  Dubai is just one of those exotic, mysterious places that you have to visit at least once.



This week, we take advantage of the hot weather and have created something cool and refreshing, yet relaxing and all cocktails should be.  Whilst daydreaming of our next sojourn in Dubai, we were inspired to make one of these little pieces of Friday cocktail heaven.  The Peach Princess....enjoy!

2 oz Absolut® peach vodka
1/2 oz peach schnapps
4 oz orange juice

Fill glass with ice. Pour ingredients over ice, insert straw and enjoy! For a sweeter drink, substibute Original Sunny Delight for Orange Juice.

Serve in: A tall Cocktail Glass that matches the height of your heels :-)


Avocado is in season at the moment and dont we just love it!  Jen and Pete the Greek have it every morning smashed on toast with a bit of lemon and pepper.  Others enjoy it as a topper over an egg on toast with a slice of proscuitto and haloumi.  Great in salads and hey...even mashed up and on your face...there is a lot to be said for the Avocado.  Once a luxury food in Australia, it is now eaten in most households.  A great source of 'good' fats and packed with Vitamins.  The Avocado gets the thumbs up from us.  
This salad is so easy and super healthy.  Its actually not a very light salad, and so works well as a meal in itself rather than having it on the side as an accompaniment.  And in this hot weather that we are experiencing right now, its the perfect way to end the day.


Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 150g small green beans, trimmed
  • 150g small butter beans, trimmed
  • 800g kipfler potatoes, scrubbed
  • 100g sliced pancetta
  • 2 avocados, halved, stones removed, peeled, sliced
  • 1/3 cup whole-egg mayonnaise
  • 1 large lime, rind finely grated, juiced
  • 1/3 cup dill sprigs


  1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil over high heat.Add
     green beans and butter beans. Cook for 3 minutes or until bright green and tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a colander and refresh under cold water. Pat dry with paper towel. Return water to the boil.
  2. Add potatoes to saucepan and cook for 12 minutes or until just tender. Drain and set aside to cool slightly. Cut in half lengthways.
  3. Preheat grill on high heat. Place pancetta on a baking tray and grill for 5 minutes or until crisp. Drain on paper towel. Tear into small pieces.
  4. Arrange beans, potatoes, pancetta and avocado on a platter. Combine mayonnaise, lime rind and 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice in a bowl. Pour dressing over salad. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle over dill. Serve with pan-fried, grilled or barbecued fish.

      And so, the end of another week.....dont forget we are open Saturday and Sunday.  Giving thanks this week that everyone was safe from Cyclone Yasi, and our hearts go out to those who lost property and had their businesses etc...affected.  It certainly does feel like poor old Queensland has copped a battering this Summer.  Now on to bigger and better things!
Wishing you a safe and happy weekend!