Thursday, December 1, 2011



Last weekend Pete the Greek and I took ourselves away for a couple of indulgent days up in Port Douglas, which for those 'out-of-towners', is in Norther Queensland Australia.  It's a tropical paradise and I can tell you that even with the temptation of whiling away the days swimming in the resort pool, whilst sipping umbrella drinks it was still very hard to drag ourselves away from the 5 teenagers, cooking, cleaning, ironing and washing etc......yeah right??

Ah...Port Douglas.  White sandy beaches that stretch for miles and miles....beautiful.

Port Douglas is only just over a 40 minute drive from Cairns, the capital.  The drive in itself is stunning as the road hugs the coastline for nearly the whole trip, and so you start feeling relaxed and on holidays straight away...theres nothing like the ocean to bring about instant serenity to body and mind.  And so, even though we were just missing the kids and the new non-housetrained puppy (Harry) and all the housework so very much, we still managed to wind down.

The Rising Sun Bar on the Esplanade at Port Douglas.  BEST cocktails and fish so fresh it almost flip flopped off the plate....yum!

Our first stop was Palm Cove, which had been highly recommended as a place to stop along the way for a drink and lunch.  It exceeded all expectations with its quaint esplanade lined with boutique hotels and restaurants with anything from a Burger at Petes Place, to fine dining by the ocean.  We are most definitely going back there to linger longer on our next trip up North.  We made friends at The Rising Sun Restaurant and Bar.  Our delightful waitress went out of her way to look after us.  We ended up with 2 'Mango Tango' Cocktails, and shared a plate of freshly caught local fish....gosh my mouth is watering just thinking about it.  See below Cocktail Friday recipe for the Mango Tango.

Pete the Greek about to hold my hand and set off on our quest to find 'that' beach house on the hill.

And so, once fed and watered it was off to Port Douglas, where we spent the weekend, swimming, eating and drinking and not in that particular order either.  When we did feel energetic however, we took ourselves off for walks along the beach, and it was then, that we found the most amazing house nestled on the hill in Port Douglas looking right over the ocean.

'The' House

The View.....'sigh'...

  I just HAD to find out more about this place.  I could see people out on the balcony having a beer....and darn it..I just wanted to be there too.  So, I did my research and found that this amazing home is called Villa Empat Puluh Dua (which I think stands for really, really opulent house overlooking the ocean).  And guess what?  Even more exciting is that its an executive retreat for holiday rental!....and only at $1250 per night (gulp).....

The Massage Cabana....every girl should have one...

Just one of the many bedrooms with views to take your breath away

Pool area with infinity design that hangs over the rainforest

Sandstone stairs leading up to the magnificent entrance and what is to be a stay of a lifetime.

Sleeps up to 14 people and this incredible home, besides having birds eye views of the ocean, 4 levels of Indonesian architect designed luxury, its own massage cabana, French imported furniture, personal meet and greet and spa indulgence package...its also got my all time favourite...the infinity pool, suspended over the rainforest.  A truly stunning and inspiring home dont you think?

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....AND THE WINNER IS..............??

Thank you to everyone who entered our 'Guess the Crystals on the Bella Chandelier' Competition.  We had loads of guesses with anything from 20 (that would make for quite a sparse look....) to 600!  In the end we met somewhere in the middle there with 289 and the winner is Kristy Sweeney, who was only a few crystals off of nailing it to the exact amount.  
Kristy wins a beautiful silver candlestick and also quality Danish flocked table runner by Villa Collections.  Congratulations Kristy and enjoy your prize, which we think will look amazing on the Christmas Table this year.


Our Charcoal Gourmet Provisions Pantry is going so well, and it must be because we are trying just about everything that comes its easier to promote the products....well someones got to do it!??

This week, instead of the usual recipe, we have decided to share our latest secret gourmet gem, that is now to become a kitchen stalwart with us girls....Moroccan Jam by Spice Girlz.  
This delicious combo of capsicum, garlic, chilli and spices is perfect as a dipping sauce, or mix it in with plain yoghurt as an accompaniment with meat...especially great with fish as I found out this week.  Smear it on chicken breast and marinade overnight for amazing flavour, or serve up to compliment your cheese platter.
Today we drizzled it over our open sandwiches at lunch time.  It was deeelish!...just had to share this pic with you.

Todays lunch....we do it pretty tough here :-)

We stock most Spice Girlz products here at our Provisions store, so you can either pop in and purchase, or we are happy to post to you.  



Well, as promised, here is the recipe for one of the most unforgettable cocktails I have ever had....The Mango Tango.  After a few of these, if the music is playing...whether it be jazz, classical, rock or will be doing the tango no matter what!  With mangoes being so prevalent at the moment and the quality here in Brisbane is outstanding, theres no excuse not to try making one.  Trust me...lovers of mango...will LOVE this cocktail. 

Our Mango Tango and Marguerita at Palm Cove

 As in the pic, the bartender decorated the glass very simply with a palm leaf and a fresh slice of lemon/lime...I liked the simplicity and have popped that one into the memory bank for our next night of cocktail entertaining.

This is a photo of our Palm Cove Cocktails...we shared between the every dependable and delicious frozen Marguerita, and the Mango Tango...the mango tango won the fave pic on this day anyway....
Here 'tis!...enjoy.

Makes 12

  • 6 mangoes, peeled, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups white rum
  • 1 1/2 cups vodka
  • 6 lemons, juiced
  • 1 cup sugar syrup (see note)
  • 6 cups crushed ice

Just blend everything together and serve in a martini, or low ball glass. close your eyes and imagine the lap, lap, lapping of the water on the shore.....zzzzzzzzzzz


Mae West

Until next week...stay tuned for all the goss on Caths trip to the Hunter Valley, and I am off to source more
 yummy treats from down South...Happy Weekend to all!

Cathie, Colette and Jen...The Charcoal Team xxx

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