Friday, May 25, 2012


Well, its been a very busy and eventful few weeks...hence the lack of blogging.

Cath has been away in New York for play and also business.  She had a few weeks to really immerse herself in the town, and we are all super jealous of her Saks on Fifth Avenue tales...Tiffanys shopping excursions....Soho sojourning and just so much more.

Here's a few snippets from her trip, but there are loads more pics which we will be featuring in upcoming blogs.

Well hellllooooo New York!  Here's Cath outside the iconic Stock Exchange Building on Broad Street in the Financial District.

One thing which really surprised Cath was how the balance of old and new side by side in this huge cityscape complimented eachother so well.  

The Stock Exchange building was finished in April 1903 at a cost of $4 million dollars....can you even imagine how much this piece of real estate would be worth on todays market?

Shopping in Soho, Cath was blown away by the beautiful shop displays and attention to detail.
This chandelier caught her eye in particular.

A perfect day on the Hudson and a viewing of the Statue of Liberty.

The Bergdorf Goodman Dining Room...a very swank place to sit, dine with views of Central Park and also named as one of the top 50 places to 'celebrity spot' with the likes of  Kate Moss, Salma Hayek, Jennifer Lopez and Shakira amongst the many well-knowns to frequent the restaurant and popular upmarket and sophisticated store.

Strolling the streets of Soho with the locals.  Cath spotted Woody Harrelson, Kevin Bacon and wife Kyra Sedgwick.

More of Caths New York and LA travels in upcoming weeks.  She has certainly come back completely energised (which is scary really considering her usual high octane energy levels!)...and inspired for!  We are excited about her ideas and cant wait to share them in the coming months.

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I dont think there is anywhere in Australia today that isn't experiencing a cold snap.  
Cold days always have us daydreaming of the perfect fireplace.
Here's one that we just love and had to share....

Close your eyes and imagine you're here....with a hot glass of mulled wine (see recipe below in Cocktail Friday section)....

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Todays chilly weather inspires us this week with a hearty and rustic pasta recipe.  Roasting your tomatoes really puts the 'kick' into the flavours and each little bud just bursts with goodness and zingy taste.  To also spice this recipe up a bit you can season your chicken.  We like to use Greek seasoning available from the supermarkets or stir in a bit of pesto sauce if you need extra flavour.  This is such an easy recipe for two.  Just double the ingredients for when unexpected visitors pop by.  Serve with a nice Pinot Noir, or hearty Shiraz.

Ingredients (serves 2)

1 x Chicken Breast with skin off.
  • 250g punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 200g spaghetti pasta
  • 100g baby spinach leaves, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon basil pesto
  • 60g feta cheese, crumbled
  • shaved parmesan cheese, to serve


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Place tomatoes in a roasting pan. Combine vinegar and sugar in a small jug, stirring until sugar has almost dissolved. Pour over tomatoes. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes or until tomatoes are tender.  Pan fry chicken breast until cooked through...slice into strips and put aside.
  2. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water, following packet directions, until tender. Drain and return to pan. Add spinach, pesto, chicken and feta and toss gently over low heat until just combined. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Divide pasta between bowls. Spoon over roast tomatoes and any juice. Top with parmesan. Serve with a crusty loaf of bread and lashings of butter!




Don't knock it til you've tried it....Mulled Wine is absolutely divine...

Traditionally a Christmas style drink, we don't like to type-cast here, and because we miss out on all the 'traditional cold' drinks and foods due to our sweltering Christmas Days today's chilliness has us hankering for a mulled wine.  Frequenting the Adelaide Hills lately we have found that its not unusual to find Mulled Wine on the menu of any good country restaurant or bar...and they sure do have a great selection of those!  I haven't found anywhere here in Brisbane yet who does a Mulled Wine...mind you I haven't been looking too hard because I know I can easily make my own...but that's for another day and another bar....ah...someones got to do it....  ps..if you can recommend anywhere local that does an exceptional Mulled Wine we want to know...

For now, here's our Mulled Wine recipe...enjoy by your fireplace (if you have one...lucky, lucky you...) or outdoor the very least halogen heater with your slippers and nanna rug...either way...just enjoy!


Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 3 cups (750ml) red wine
  • 1 cup (250ml) cognac or brandy
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted whole black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 40g sultanas
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced


  1. Combine ingredients and 1 cup water in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve, reserving orange slices. Pour wine into serving glasses. Top with orange slices. Serve.




Friday, May 11, 2012


Well, its Mothers Day coming up this Sunday and we are all booked in for a full on day.  Colette is having a special breakfast at home, then its off for an early dinner with family.
My husband and daughter are cooking me breakfast, then we are off to a picnic up the mountain...then its back down the mountain for a lovely Mexican feast....Yay!  No cooking for the whole day...I can hardly wait!

Cath is now in New York and living it up in the Big Apple after a lovely stay over in LA!  Theres been visits to Saks On Fifth...World Trade Centre Site and much, much more.  We are so looking forward to her getting back with all the news of her adventures.

For those of you who are looking for Mothers Day ideas that are easy to organise and cost effective, heres some suggestions that will make the difference between you getting toasted sandwiches for the next year or so, and beef wellington!  As I say to my kind to those who prepare your food....

.....MAKE MUMS DAY....

1. How about grabbing a bottle of bubbles and heading to the local park with picnic blanket in tow...pop Mum under the shade of a tree and take an hour or so to have a chat and re-connect.  Tell her how much you love and appreciate her.

2. If you have greenery in your garden, then you have all that's required for a funky bouquet.  Mix together ferns, herbs, reed strands, (the ever present mock orange)...and tie it all together with a bright bow.  She will just love it!

3.  Make her some vouchers that she can redeem to have her car cleaned, floor mopped, meal cooked etc...

4.  How about a home facial for Mum?  You can set up your very own Beauty Salon at home.  Just grab a cleanser, scrub, mask and finish off with a soothing massage using her favourite moisturiser.  Light some candles and get the Enya CD out...burn some essential fact can you come to my house afterwards and treat me too??

5.  Sounds boring and a bit un-inventive but housework is the bane of most poor Mums.  Send her out for a coffee with Dad or a friend, and then get stuck into the housework...a clean floor and bathroom can make all the difference to Mum and she will absolutely...positively love you even more for it...if thats at all possible!

....and lastly, how about one of our handpicked gourmet Gift Baskets for Mum!  For under $60 you get a basket of bubbles, gourmet treats, candles and more!...we can even create one especially for Mum with items of your choice.  All in a lovely basket and also comes with a is all done!






We love to have our inspiring pics in a book and also out in front of home we have a big board full of dreamy holiday destinations, restaurant business cards that we want to try, inspiring designs etc...and today I saw my Inspiration Board organised and pretty...and integrated beautifully into the rest of the space.

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Did you know that not only are we an Interior Design business with amazing and unique retail from around the world, we also stock hand made authentic rugs by Milton Cater? you do.

Rugs are the perfect way to bring warmth to your interior space.  We have traditional hand made vegetable dyed rugs in all styles, shapes and sizes...stunning rugs available for you to view here in the showroom....and the beauty of having In House Designers here at your disposal means you will be guided by an experienced eye and many years in the design trade...which inevitably means you will be absolutely and completely thrilled with your choice!

New Shipment Has Just Arrived!
Phone Cathie, Jen or Colette on 07 38526002 for more details.


ooooh....ooooooo....ME....ME!!...pick ME!

Mum can forget the diet this Sunday...its going to be a carb lovers extravaganza of a day!
Pancakes for breakfast, Fish and Chips by the sea for lunch and Pasta for Dinner...made by you of course!  Let there be no talk of 'cant'...or 'wont' cook...this recipe is pretty much fool-proof.


What you need to make it....
2 and a half tbsps of olive oil
1 garlic clove chopped
600grams of quality pork and fennel sausages (or similar gourmet types) with casings removed
1 tsp of fresh oregano leaves or dried if you havent any fresh
125ml of sweet italian sparkling wine..e.g moscato
500g of rigatoni
1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
5 tbsps mascarpone
1 cup grated parmesan

The easy part....
In a heavy-based saucepan add the oil and garlic, and brown a little over a low heat.
Add the sausage meat and cook out until all the water has evaporated.  Add the fresh oregano and the wine, and reduce for about 4 - 5 minutes, or until you have a thick consistency.  Set aside.
In a large pot, bring salted water to the boil and cook rigatoni for 8 - 10 minutes or until al dente.  Drain rigatoni, then add sausage mixture and combine well.  Add the parsley and mascarpone, and mix again until creamy and sticky.  Season with salt and white pepper.
Serve with parmesan and eat immediately (oh alrighty then...if you insist)

Crusty loaf of bread is a wonderful accompaniment and a fresh green salad if you feel like really getting into the swing of this cooking business!



For a real treat, why not make Mum a cocktail for sipping whilst she has her feet up watching you do the housework or wash her car?
The Mumma Sass Cocktail is by far the top pick in Cocktails that will really make mums day....this is a delicious treat and hey!...hand-slap to you!...remember now..this is for Mum!  I suppose you could make two and join her once all the chores are done.

What you will need....
  • 3 oz Folonari Pink Pinot Grigio
  • 1 oz Peach Schnapps
  • splash of cranberry juice
  • fresh raspberry for garnishing
Shake, Shake, Shake.....How to Make...
  1. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  2. Shake well.
  3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  4. Garnish with a fresh raspberry

And so...the end of another week for most of you...however we will still be here manning the fort on be sure to pop in and grab a beautiful gift for Mum...she will love you for it even more!

Love to all the Mums, the Auntys, the Grans, the Step Mums, the God Mums...and all those in between who help to make the world a better place for being a caring woman.

"The Charcoal Team"