Friday, 27 December 2013

hmmmmm.... so it's been a while....... but I have been REALLY busy and stuff. Anyway, thats the plus of a quiet blog I guess ;)

So, I'm back on this thing. Fired up and rearing to go. I have been gifted a few lovely new cook books and a fancy schmancy Cuisinart icecream maker for Christmas, so lots to post about. Plus I have been pigging out recently so restaurant reviews lining up to be posted.


Friday, 2 August 2013

Meat Free August

We were in the supermarket a few weeks ago, picking up supplies to make the fish pie I have been craving for nearly a year. I had struggled to find smoked fish, for that all important British taste, but heard my local Coles stocked it.

Needles to say, the fish pie was lovely and I was astounded how cheap it was to buy a load of fish, in comparison to cuts of pork, beef and lamb. We declared we really should eat more fish but we went straight back to meat.

So, with the gluttonous aftermath of a Christmas in July, I decided to set ourselves a challenge to force us to get back into the habit of eating more fish and vegetables. As it was the last day of July I thought 'why not go meat free for August?!'

Day 1 we had pasta with peas, cream and smoked salmon (leftover from Christmas in July) with a little bit of white truffle oil. A classic and enough left for lunch the next day.

Day 2 and we had a night out to the theatre which meant grabbing dinner beforehand. Sushi was the perfect choice for a quick dinner with lots of fish options. We tried a new place and loved it.

But it can't be sushi and smoked salmon every day. I want to use this month to cook fish and seafood I have never cooked before and try lots of different recipes. Not forgetting entirely veggie meals. There are so many gorgeous vegetarian recipes I have marked down in my cook book collection, so now is the time.

Watch this space...

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Mom Dumpling House

Perth people LOVE to talk about food. So while I was meeting up with a friend over in Melbourne, at Chin Chin no less, we got to talking about dumplings in Perth. Well, more like the distinct lack of good dumplings Perth has to offer.

The dim sum is pretty fair over in Perth but what I am always looking for is straight up dumplings. I love them and every Chinese restaurant we go to, I always try one dumpling dish, usually xiǎo lóng bāo, and thus far I have been sorely disappointed.

So, during our animated conversation, my lovely friend offered up the answer to my dumpling prayers...Mom Dumpling House.

We hopped over the river one night and service was friendly straight away. It wasn't very busy, which concerned us a bit, but nice to not have to wait.

Ignoring the distinct lack of crowds, we focused on our priority. Dumplings! And there were a good few choices. But another dish caught out eye, the oxtongue salad. This may sound strange but the combination of the spicy sauce with the the cucumber, slivers of buttery cold tongue, topped with crunchy nuts is heavenly. The tongue is surprisingly tender and I would recommend this to anyone that wants to venture into the delights of offal.

And the dumplings? We chose the pan fried pork dumpling and the steamed chive, pork & shrimp dumpling, along with some vegetables to keep it extra healthy. They pretty much all came out together which meant we could enjoy them all at once allowing us to savour our favourites.

And there was much to savour. Aside from dim sum, most places in Perth serve up dumplings that are clearly from a freezer bag. The difference with Mom Dumpling House is that they taste as though they were made fresh, in the hands of an expert.

Try them and you will see what I mean ... and you will never go back to those freezer bag insults they call dumplings elsewhere!

Mom Dumpling House on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Ode to my bicycle

For years I lived in London, where bikes are everywhere you look. I thought they were beautiful but I was waaaay to chicken to even venture on the city 'Boris' bikes. But I secretly dreamed... then hopped on the nearest bus...or tube...or taxi.

When I moved to Perth I really struggled with the change in public transport standards. I don't drive (a car is more of a hindrance in London) so I was stuck out in the suburbs. A place where people drive 200 metres just to pick up a bottle of milk.

When we bought our new house, we discovered a cycle path metres from our house which takes me almost all the way to my office. So before we had even moved in I set out on a mission to find a bicycle.

With the gorgeous vintage bikes of Europe still spinning through my head, I knew a classic looking model was for me. I am not one for spandex, so a sport model was a definite no, no. Upon looking for my new bike, however, I was surprised by just how expensive bikes were here. As is often the case in Australia, particularly WA, something that was usually moderately priced in the UK was over three times the price here.

My saviour came in the form of Reid Cycles, an Australian cycle company that sells a whole range of bicycles at fabulous prices and they had the perfect vintage look I was after. Now the bikes aren't top of the range. They aren't going to be winning any races, but beauty contests?! Definitely!

I chose the Vintage Ladies 6 Speed, in red with special edition brown seat and handles. At the time there was no WA store, so I had it shipped over, which meant a little bit of self assembly, but nothing too taxing.

And the result? An everlasting love affair with my shiny new bike. Even the hardcore Lycra clad cyclists that wizz past me shout out "nice bike!", which always makes me smile. It may not be the most practical of bicycles but it brings a smile to my face everyday and even some passing strangers.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Beaver's Tail Social Club

This place is the cutest little cafe I have ever laid eyes on. Found via Urban Spoon and it just called out to be written about.

Looking for a nice breakfast place in St Kilda, there were a whole heap of suggestions, with established institutions like Galleon. But there was something about Beaver's Tail that caught my interest so we decided to take a gamble.

It's small, but that is the centre of its charm, along with the lovely couple who own and run the place. Every detail is gorgeous, eclectic with a bit of quirky fun. I would want to steal very item in the shop, if the owners weren't so darn lovely.

I have difficulties with caffeine, so I stuck the hot chocolate, which was hands down the best one I've ever had outside of Poland. As a reluctant caffeine abstainer, I always envy the effort that is put into elaborate, heavenly looking coffee, so I was very pleased that Beaver's Tail treat hot chocolate with just as much care and attention.

Mr Pham had a toastie that was lovely and just a little bit fancy. I was overjoyed to see one of my favourite breakfasts, often neglected by many establishment, of boiled egg and soldiers on the menu. To me a soft boiled egg and buttery toast to dip into it are one of life's greatest and simplest of pleasures. The eggs were perfect, which the chef very sweetly checked with me once I had cracked them open.

There is something very special about Beaver's Tail Social Club. It felt like having a lovely breakfast cooked for you by a very dear friend. But I think its most endearing quality was the feeling of a very warm welcome. Not thrown in your face by over zealous staff but from the sense of joy and happiness that resonated in everything, from the décor, the owners and the food.

Beaver's Tail Social Club on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Chin Chin

After crowd sourcing Melbourne restaurant recommendations on Facebook, one place came out on top... Chin Chin. So our first meal in Melbourne, it had to be.

Lucky for us, we were meeting with a Melbonite friend, who wisely headed there half an hour early to get us on the list. Thank goodness, because by the time we were seated there was a four hour wait. Four hours? The food was good, but not that good.

There is , however, a reason for the near hysteria this place has created. Firstly, it looks really cool inside. The interiors are as flash and funky as their website. The staff are extremely clued up on the food they are serving you, from how many dishes you should order, how to balance your choices and in depth information on each of the dishes that arrived at our table. And most importantly, the food is excellent.

Following expert advice, we ordered five dishes. Two entrées, a salad, a noodle dish and a larger meat dish. There was a mixture of Viet, Thai, Indian, Sir Lankan, Malaysian and Chinese influences to name a few. That might seem a bit muddled but it was mostly a beautiful flow of some of the finest aspects of Asian cuisine.

The highlights of the meal were definitely the pork 'roll ups' and the Crispy barramundi and green apple salad with caramelised pork, although a special mention must be given to the excellent (if a little tardy) cocktails that came up from the bar below.

The barramundi salad was simply mind blowing and the roll ups were fragrant, fresh and balanced. Although this place sets the tone of adventurous dinning I get the feeling it would be hard to resist ordering the same things again, when you know they are so darn good! And a return visit is definitely a must.

Chin Chin on Urbanspoon

Melbourne Day 1

Arrived in Melbourne this morning after a red eye from Perth, that I actually wished had been longer, and the first thing we did? ... Put on about five extra layers. It was so cold!

Dropped bags at hostel and headed to the sausage fest that is the Melbourne F1. And by sausage fest I mean both swarms of men AND free sausages. Or as Aussies call it a 'sausage sizzle'. Basically a sausage wrapped up in a piece of sliced loaf bread. Only on Australia.

Anyway, we looked at some pretty cars then hit the hay. After a much needed sleep we wandered around and checked out the neighbourhood, St Kilda, then headed into the city.

Dinner time!