On Tropical Steamytime – Cairns, Far North Queensland

8.58am, Thursday 1st December, Global Gossip internet spot, Abbott Street, Cairns, FNQ, Queensland, Australia

Folks, it’s good morning from Cairns where the heavens have just opened yet again and dropped a big bucketful of warm water on the town, and the sun is about to push through the storm clouds. The locals call this “the build up”. When each day the weather gets just a bit warmer, the residual moisture level in the air gets just that bit higher, the lightning starts to crackle about the place a bit more frequently, and this, folks, is the rainy season. Welcome to Steamytime.

Last night we had a top turnout at the Yorkeys Knob Motor Boat and Sport Fishing Club Yalumba dinner – about 100 people out on the deck above the marina for a seven-course tropical degustation. The backdrop of ‘The Knob’ itself shrouded in rain mist and purple storm cloud was quite spectacular, and the team outdid themselves on the night … their first-ever formal wine dinner. Highlight of the night for me was the ‘braised beef pie ‘ with slow-cooked rich ragu sandwiched between two butter pastry wafers – with the 2009 Scribbler Cabernet Shiraz.

To be truthful with you, I did sneak in early before the dinner and helped myself with our boys in FNQ – Ben & Rash – to another one of Stuart’s excellent specials: a half kilo of chilly cooked king prawns with dipping sauce and lemon wedges for all of $15. That was dinner for me more or less as I wanted to make sure I got around all the tables – including all the romantic twosomes. But what a great spot to be perched for dinner – at a high bench on the deck, literally out over the bow of a very flash marlin launch floating below, watching the storm move in on shore. You gotta love this job!

I’ve just caught up with some folks from the dinner last night over at the best coffee spot in Cairns – Bang Espresso – and it looks like they’re pretty keen to make it an annual event out at Yorkeys Knob, so with any luck we will be back to do it all again in May. That’s when we’re scheduled to be back up in Queensland – either side of the big Noosa Food and Wine Festival event that we’re doing on the 17th May with … I believe … Barossa icon and all-round good regional cooking superstar Maggie Beer

See ya for now … off to buy bananas and a paw paw for morning tea.

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