The Food Junkie

Taste, texture & tales. Inside the mind of a chef.

Personal blog of The Food Junkie, Rebecca Clark. Discover stories of taste, texture and tales inside the mind of a chef that's travelled the globe in search of her next food hit. Bec sports a private cook book collection to rival the British Library and Harvard and shares her cooking wisdom with practical tips and humour. She's co-owner of Fish D'vine and The Rum Bar in Airlie Beach, Australia. An iconic award winning restaurant in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef.

I wouldn’t call it beaten just whipped up a little.

Hitting the road traveling must be my favourite way to explore, hunt and gather. To have the opportunity to take to the road with your house attached, complete with kitchen, is total freedom.

Farmers markets, artisan shops and delis, it is the oyster of foodie travel.

So, to the highways we hit.  To new experiences we go, who knows where the road will take us and what culinarily delights we shall find. There may be one slight glitch though? Just saying the word BBQ, let alone camping, with my half Dutch/ English man can generally result in rain and yes this has been the outcome. For the Australian terrain this is absolutely fantastic, if not so much for us! To see the grass turning greener and growing by the second, the creeks and rivers flowing, the wildlife and farm animals revelling in the crystal, nourishing drops from the sky and the sheer smell of rain, enlightening the rain forest experiences. For all of this we are truly grateful

The problem being is, we all know too well, rain and camping aren’t the best of friends. We do now know that the camper trailer is completely waterproof and extremely comfortable. We have also   been lucky enough to find some extraordinary restaurants and cafes allowing us, at times, to escape the rain. All in all, an amazing road trip BUT, couples, camping and rain can eventually lead to tension and we couldn’t let that happen. After a long discussion, a wise a decision was made to find some self-catering accommodation for a few nights. With heavy rain on the forecast, best decision any couple could make really. We certainly weren’t being beaten, like a thick batter, more whipped up light like a meringue.

Well what a light whipped up around the edges, silky, pristine meringue delight we found.

For a chef and fellow foodie traveller, a place to call home couldn’t be more suited. Perched in the Byron Bay hinterland is an old school, Old Possum Creek school to be exact. Closed in 1963 and some years later turned into a café. Now is has been renovated into the most gorgeous couple’s retreat with the café commercial kitchen still attached. Pure Food Junkie pleasure.  Beautifully decorated, attention to detail and a superb setting. All this with a commercial kitchen for our own pleasure. The delight of the old mixers, sour dough bread baskets and baking trays, the old pasta machine, are all to me beautiful pieces of art. It all adds to the beauty of this amazing property. A commercial kitchen, a place where I have spent more of my living hours than anywhere else, it feels so homely.

Back on the road and hopefully a clearing in the skies. The memories, foodie delights and feelings of this place will stay with me forever. Especially the cheeky guilty feelings of kitchen escapades with hair not tied back and slippers on.

   A commercial kitchen, true “Home sweet home”.


Pineapple aioli. Yet another wonderful taste of Queensland summer.

Yes, I have admitted that spelling and grammar is not my strong point, I did think though, writing recipes was. Well my excuse is we all make mistakes and in my market to table cooking class my recipe and fact sheets certainly proved this. So I would like to apologise for the big boo boo in the pineapple aioli recipe. Please discard and here is the correct recipe. Enjoy.

The tropical fruits of Queensland just have so much to over. Covering an array of sweet and savory dishes, even a meal in themselves. So many ideas to explore. Here is my take on a tropical aioli, so vibrant and packed with flavour, its uses are absolutely endless. Have a play whilst they are so ripe and in season.

Pineapple aioli

This is fantastic as a potato, or coleslaw salad dressing as it’s a bit runnier than your average aioli. One of my favourite is to generously coat roasted potatoes or chips in a blend of smoked paprika and smoked Cyprus salt, then have this aioli as a dipping sauce on the side, heaven. Smokey potato pineapple goodness. Today we apply the same seasoning to chicken. Also works on pork, prawns and fish. You can change pineapple to mango, not one too ripe. Add some curry powder or some fresh mint or chives. So many ways to play with a base mayonnaise. Explore!

Best to read the whole recipe before you start so the order makes sense.


  • 1 medium size onion (1 cup roughly chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 tbsp. fresh turmeric
  • ½ tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 cup finely diced fresh pineapple


  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon spoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon mirin
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup sunflower oil


  1. Place fresh finely diced pineapple in a sieve to drain or place on kitchen towel. Remove as much juice as possible. draining in the fridge, covered,  overnight works a treat. Set aside.
  2. Roughly chop onion and slice garlic. Sautee in olive oil till transparent. Add turmeric, stir and allow to cool.
  3. Now to make the mayonnaise. Place the egg yolks, mirin, rice wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and salt and pepper in deep jug or deep bowl. Using a stick blender or beater or hand whisk slowly add the sunflower oil. A food processor works really well too.  Continue to mix and add the oil till all combined.
  4. Place the cooked and cooled onion and turmeric mix and mayonnaise in a food processor or blender and blend till paste like. If mayonnaise has been made in a food processor just add the cooled onion and turmeric mix.
  5. Place mayonnaise in a bowl. Stir the well-drained pineapple in to the mayonnaise and ready to go. The turmeric colour with intensify as time goes on. Gloves when handling turmeric is a good idea.
  6. It’s also really delicious without the pineapple.
  7. Check seasoning.
  8. Makes approx. 2 cups


If the emulsion of the oil with the other ingredient’s splits, stop straight away. In a separate bowl place another egg yolk, ½ tsp mustard, ½ mirin and ½ teaspoon of rice wine vinegar. Slowly and whisking very well add the split mix slowly to recombine. If the end flavor is really intense add a bit more oil, very, very slowly and continue to whisk at all times. Any other problems, ask me.


Taste of Queensland

Taste of Queensland Mango cheesecake

As promised, here is the mango cheesecake that I made at the Great Australian Bites festival, cooking demonstration on Australia day. Its a delicious, light, taste of Queensland summer.

Mango madness.

100g Anzac cookies
50g macadamia nuts
50g desiccated coconut
1/4 cup coconut oil

2x 250g block Philadelphia cream cheese
300ml thicken cream
2 cup diced fresh mango
1-2 tbsp lime juice
1/2 cup caster sugar
2tsp powered gelatine
4tbsp boiling water
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Line a 23cm spring form tin base with plastic glad wrap.
Place broken Anzac cookies, coconut, macadamia nuts and coconut oil in a food processor and blend to combine. Place the biscuit mix into the plastic lined cake tin and press into the base. Using your hand press till flat and right up to the sides, completely cover the round base. This recipe only gives a case crust, if you want to go up the sides of the tin double the base mix. Place in the fridge to set.
In the meantime in a deep mixing bowl place the cream cheese, breaking into bits as you go, thickened cream, 1 tbsp lime juice, (you can add more at the end, just taste the mix to check your required sweetness) and caster sugar. Place on low speed  and start to mix the filling. Add 1 cup of the chopped mango, vanilla bean paste and beat till well combined. You may have a few small lumps, don’t stress.
Dissolve the gelatine in boiling water and through a fine sieve add to the mix whilst still mixing. Place the other cup of diced mango evenly into the base of the cake tin and pour over the cream cheese mix.
Refrigerate till set, 3-4 hours, overnight if you can wait that long perfect.

I like to make 1 1/2 quantities of the biscuit bake and make a centre circle on the top of the cheesecake (see pic’s) and finish with slices of mango.
Other fruits can be used strawberries, peaches, pineapple, cantaloupe, blue berries and the list goes on.
Play around with the biscuit base, try different cookies, chocolate chips and other nuts. Just do a fridge test with a small amount of the base mix to check it sets, different ingredients may need a bit more coconut oil to set.

It's all in our own backyard.

Wherever I roam, from a city, to a foreign country or a drive in the countryside, the search for foodie experiences never leaves me. The hunting through farmers markets, supermarkets, road side stalls and artisan county food outlets is truly a favourite hobby and I wish to see them all. Always prepared to try anything and I usually do, this infatuation has lead me to many culinary experiences and bucket list ticks. Problem is, the list never ends, it just keeps growing. So many amazing chefs, producers and passionate foodies out there, the culinary global world just keeps giving.

This ever-growing foodie array has also been on a whirlwind spiral in my own back yard. After a recent trip overseas, this epiphany became ever so true. Traveling around Australia I am always blown away. Inspired and delighted to see that our offerings are as good and often better. The produce in our own Whitsunday back yard is now punching well above its weight.

Arriving in this amazing paradise around 16 years ago, the food scene unless you hit the oceans and waterways didn’t really do it for me. The old Island traders offered some foreign goodies but otherwise Bilo supermarket was the only place. Great for basics but not really my kinda hunting ground. During these times, my holidays and travels were hunting escapades to gather all that wasn’t on offer at home. Every time, the last minute trying to shove as much possible into the suitcase and then generally paying for excess luggage as my need for these amazing ingredients was, well just to…needy.

                                                        Wow how things have changed.

Today we have pretty much all that one could desire, right here, in our own back yard. Amazing butcher, who goes the extra step. Seafood suppliers who source out the best with an ever-changing range. Local fruit and vegetables supplier who is always buying and supporting the local growers and bringing in new delights to tickle my fancy. The east Asian countries being very well represented with the local markets and speciality stores. The fantastic Great Australian food festival, held here every year. Pop up food trucks with ever so tasty delights. Local farmers changing  there crops with the food trends. Oh, my how we have grown.

                                                        For this I wish to say thank you.

Thank you for making the Whitsundays a place I can truly call home and be proud of our ever-evolving foodie scene. The new and existing restaurants showcasing their chef’s talents and giving us more options to try. Our amazing Saturday foreshore market, just forever giving.

The cooking classes I’ve been holding for over a year now, I hope will help to put us on that culinary map and the joy they give me is, well priceless. 

Yes, the Whitsunday’s offers so many options to tick off those bucket list boxes, let's show the world they can add something else to their list.

                                                 Visiting a truly amazing foodie destination