Tuesday, 12 February 2008


Brisbane Pod has just returned from two weeks in Bangkok. The two images here of the market scene are typical - browse the markets in air conditioned comfort or stroll the streets and alleys in brutal humidity. No matter what choice one makes the experience of both worlds in this teeming city in every aspect is unforgettable. Anything imported is ultra expensive. The import tax is 120%. Local product is of the cheap and cheerful kind but you find wonderful handcraft work of every description. It is surprising the number of luxury hotels in Bangkok and there are something like 21 more on the drawing boards. The city attracts comers from all corners of the world- Americans and Germans are by far the largest of the westerners. Without a doubt Bangkok is confronting in terms of wealth and poverty - glamour and grit - an experience that begs one to return.

Thursday, 13 December 2007



Tuesday, 10 July 2007



This post takes Brisbane Pod off the beaten track to London. The reason for this is an exhibition, "A Dream Deferred", taking place thereright now through 8 August at Haunch of Venison. Jamie Shovlin, is an artist of extraordinary talent. For readers of the baby boomer generation his ouvre is deja vu.

This new exhibition is an exploration of American history, politics and culture of the 1960's which has been fused with family history, taking as a framework his parents record collections of that time.

"A Dream Deferred", through paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculpture and filmed interviews with his parents is a mix of his family's history and with the history of real life events. In sum, "A Dream Deferred" presents a narrative of hope and disillusion.

Shovllin's title points to the ways in which the idealism of the 1960's has been alternately compromised, delayed and abandoned; suggesting that the American Dream has soured and given ground to darker forces.

It is a look back not in anger but in mouring for the promise of all things bright and beautiful which that generation dreamed.

A timely exhibition indeed!

Tuesday, 19 June 2007



At the risk of sounding rather like Noel Coward who claimed he was known as an English Delight in Turkey, Turkish Delight has had its affeciandos in England since it was introduced around the middle of the 19th Century. And, of course, us antipodean cousins are fans too. Interestingly enough, Turkish Delight is not well known in North America.

In its native lingo Turkish Delight is known as Lokam. And in this native setting it is served fresh and still slightly warm off the stove. Fresh Turkish Deight is like no other - brushed with sugar, the outer edges of the candy squares are tender and the insides yield to the bite and dissolve in your mouth with melting gooeyness.

Turkish Delight first appeared in Turkey in the late 18th Century. Considered the perfect accompaniment to Turkish coffee, Brisbane Sponge has found that Turkish Delight is even better with tea. When we find the perfect tea we are on the hunt for it will even be better.

Napoleon, Chuchill and Picasso all had an addiction to Turkish Delight. And it is the addictive confection to which Edmund Pevensie succumbs in C.S.Lewis's 1950 book, "The Lion, The Witch And the Wardrobe."

If making your own fresh Turkish Deight sounds all too difficult, seek out the Sultan brand - it is the best of the commercial offerings. Metling gooeyness it is not but it is not bad. Try some!

Thursday, 31 May 2007



The coming winter is herald by the appearance of the Cyclamen persicum cultivars. Our favourite colour is white flowers which are a perfect foil for the long petioled foliage - rich green leaves with amazing silvery grey patterns and marbling on the top surface of the leaves.

The Cyclamen genus is native to the Mediterranean countries and islands. By the 1600's the native plants were taken to Europe to grow as ornamental plants in royal gardens, particularly in France, Netherlands and Germany.

In the mid-19th century the breeding of the cultivars was seriously undertaken in England and the Netherlands. The result was cultivars with much larger flowers than their Mediterranean cousins.

White flowering Cyclamens in simple greyish terracotta pots will bring a spot of joy to wintery days in traditional or contemporary settings.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007



Brisbane Pod has been on the hunt for the perfect breakfast since the recent visit to the tea house. Lo and behold there was great excitement when T2 caught my eye in a French deli. I spied on the box that it was Sri Lankan - top marks for that in my book.

The charming French proprietor stepped in to inform me that the English Breakfast was excellent. How could I not but take his word for it. After all, the French virtually made tea drinking fashionable during the 17th and 18th centuries. $10.95 for 100g hardly seemed expensive after his recommendation.

Later, in a quiet moment, I found myself studying what was on the back of the box and wondering if it indeed had been such a great buy. Sadly, I was to be disappointed. It was a blended tea and very black in the cold light of day. Then the word "coppery" to describe the colour of the brew sent a warning bell ringing that suggested to me that this was, besides being blended, a low altitude tea.

The quest for an unblended high altitude breakfast tea containing compounds known as theaflavins and thearubigens which offer the same health benefits as those attributed to green tea will continue.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, 17 May 2007



Have you ever wondered what it might be like to go to Alice in Wonderland's tea party. A vist to the very pretty high societea tea house in Clayfield will truly satisfy your curiosity.

Brisbane Pod has visited high societea tea house in Wayne, New Jersey. It is quaint and Victorian dull. Both tea houses have an identical theme, tea house plus gift shop and prix fixe menu serving delicate, dainty and delicious food.

The tea house experience is one to be enjoyed at a relaxed pace. You wont find any hustle and bustle here. Beginning in both England and America in the late 1880's, the finer hotels began offering tea service in Tea Rooms. It was in these tea rooms that ladies would meet gentlemen for tea and conversation. Many of the tea rooms became cultural enclaves for their patrons.

high societea in Clayfield is definitely the domain of the girls, socialising with their friends, enjoying the pretty and dainty setting and eating just as dainty and delicious food. Oh, I am sure, the gossip is equally delicious!!!!!!