Farmers markets are a big deal these days - I don't know how many there are now, but wherever you live, you can get to one that's within a 15 minute drive away. This weekend was the debut of the much anticipated Vic Park Farmers Market at John Macmillan Park (next to the Park Centre). This means I have a farmers market 5 minutes from my house, and I am stoked! It goes from 8am - 11am and had a whole bunch of stalls to choose from!Some of the things available were gozleme, bahn mi, waffles, crepes, bagels, paella, spiced rice pudding, raw foods, macarons, juices, chai tea, coffee, bread, fruit n veg, lamb, grassfed beef, milk and doggy treats! I got a small flat white from Jacqui Mac, which was $3.50 and thankfully I beat the line as just after I ordered, a queue started snaking it's way through the market! Jacqui Mac uses Bannister Downs milk, and only full cream - so no skinny lattes! It was a delicious coffee - my first for the day so I barely tasted it, it just went in and woke me up. Upon wandering around I saw that Dark Star coffee and Antz Inya Pantz had stalls there too, I love both their coffee so whichever stall you end up at, you'll be happy with what you get! Antz does cold brew which is sold in bottles and they're tasty, I've blogged about it before! Next stop was the Holy Bagel! S chose a bacon and onion bagel with jalapeno schmear - cream cheese with finely chopped chillies. It was delicious, though the bagel wasn't as chewy as I would have liked. Generous with the schmear, it was spicy and creamy. We shared it, eating it on your own would be fine but that would be all you needed! I wanted to try the baguette stall selling bahn mi, but by the time we got there they were sold out! We then tried the gozleme stall, and they were sold out too! DAMMIT! Hopefully that's just a one off, the market was really busy - so I'm guessing they just didn't know how much to make, and next time will be more prepared.One stall that was well stocked though, was BonPussy Chilli sauces! They have quite a range of sauces and I've had them recommended to me from chilli loving friends, so have bought a few before - they have an interesting sauce which has been fermented and is slightly alcoholic, as well as coconut, curry and scotch bonnet flavours. We bought the Sentsi sauce before, which is spicy and flavoured with curry. S LOVED it. This time we went for the Jerk sauce - we've been talking about making jerk chicken for ages, now we have a bottle to give us a leg up! Even our little foster cat likes them (she must be hungry after destroying everything on the table, as you can see.....).
But this first market showed loads of promise, I'm going to head down there next weekend as well and this time, get in quick!! An awesome aspect of this market is that it's organised by the Vic Park Primary P&C - so lots of the profits go toward funding their school. In a time of education cuts, going and buying a bacon and egg roll from the P&C stall is a fantastic win/win way of supporting a school and eating bacon at the same time. There are no losers here.
The comments that go with articles written on news websites are sometimes quite funny, other times horrifying, infuriating, and an exercise in stopping yourself correcting peoples grammar and spelling. I don't usually read them, because I normally feel all of the above when I read the mental diarrhoea some people choose to share on these sites. But the other day I did, and saw that there are still people thinking that Perth sucks. One person mentioned that Perth is a "cultural cul de sac" and it's full of redneck bogans and miners. I'm not sure if this person has ever actually looked for anything cultural to do, but if they did, they would find more to do than they could actually attend. Aside from culture, if you're hungry in Perth, you're sorted. This weekend hasn't included much culture for me, to be honest. But it has included a lot of eating. Also drinking. The first thing that got drunk was a pretty decent coffee from the new café on the block, Sixteen Ounces on Albany Hwy, Vic Park.
This new cafe is small, but busy. It serves a limited breakfast and lunch, as well as having a selection of baked treats on offer. They looked really nice, but I had loads of food at home so I just stopped in for a coffee and a sticky beak.
They don't have EFTPOS so make sure you take cash, otherwise you'll be borrowing cash off your mates, or heading over the road to be slugged $2.50 to use the ATM. I had a skinny flat white, as usual and the guy at the counter was friendly and chatty. They use 5 Senses coffee and their house blend is Crompton Rd, but they have a single origin available as well, if you swing that way. I had the house blend and it met the descriptors perfectly. Chocolatey, with some burnt caramel, and smooth as a babies bottom. Slightly too milky at first but then the other flavours came in and took over. It was a small coffee, which they call regular, so that might annoy people, and it was $4 - so for what you get, compared to other places it's a bit more expensive, but you do get a really well made brew.
I don't know what used to be where Sixteen Ounces is now, but the interior is hipster cool and quirky. I love the fitout - the red light cords, the gorgeous tiles by the coffee machine, it's really simple yet eye catching. I can imagine spending time here during the day when you want to just hang out. I'll be interested to see how this place goes with the menu, it looked really simple when I looked at everyone elses food, which leaves little room for error. What makes it onto a simple plate has to be pretty great for people to be alright paying Perth prices for it.
Overall, my short stay in Sixteen Ounces was positive, and I'll def be back to check out their breakfast/lunch! They have pretty long opening hours (7:30am - 5:30pm Mon-Sat) so you've got every chance to get in there and have a look!
Part 2 of the weekend will need another post! I went to the very first Vic Park Farmers Market, followed by a faceburning experience at the Araluen Chilli Festival in Fremantle!
The new year brings in change for so many people, new gym memberships, juice detoxes and raw food diets. Restaurants are no different, however the change they bring to the table is in menu form. A new year means a fresh start and a couple of Vic Park eateries have bought some delicious variety to our evenings out!
Our old fave, The Precinct has a bangin new menu. I always thought the food there was a bit meh, we always went for the great wine and beer. Interesting concepts, but the flavours never really impressed me much. However they bought in a new menu this week and they have totally stepped it up a level. The staff were so enthusiastic about the new dishes, telling us which were their faves and telling us why they were so pumped about it. Their enthusiasm was infectious and we were getting excited to order!
We ordered the Wagyu fat potatoes (seen above) which are triple cooked and utterly DELICIOUS. They're boiled, then deep fried, then roasted in Wagyu fat and served with aioli. It is a delicious delicious sometimes food.
We also got the lamb ribs with walnut spiced yoghurt, roasted cauliflower with quark toasted almonds and herbs, and cured meat, pickled baby cucumber with crostini.
The lamb ribs were really tasty, rich and soft, and when paired with the walnut yoghurt gave a deliciously balanced bite. The yoghurt cuts through the fatty ribs and tastes amazing. They're not quite as good as Bread in Common, which are phenomenal, but they're only 5 minutes drive away and that's good enough for me!
The cured meat was a locally made pork and fennel sausage which was creamy, super tasty, and the fennel wasn't overpowering which I don't love. The crostini was cripsy, salted, garlicky and there was enough of it! We weren't big fans of the cucumber, but I think thats more of a personal taste thing, I'm just not into em, they taste like paddy melons.
The roasted cauli was a massive improvement on a dish that was quite similar on their old menu. We ordered it once, and the cauli was boiled, not roasted and just put under the grill for a sec and it was pretty boring. However this one was totally different. I love roasting cauliflower as it gives it such an amazing rich flavour and this time The Precinct got it right. Crunchy almonds, nutty roasted cauli and creamy quark made for a winning dish! This is something I would try and recreate at home for sure.
I didn't really feel like I could miss dessert... it's all shiny and new!! We were really full and so gluttony won over and I ordered the lightest sounding sweet on the menu, which was orange and vanilla pannacotta with rhubarb and strawberry. It comes out looking pretty as a picture and then the waitstaff pour over a rhubarb "soup". This tasted like a light, fresh and zingy sherbert - we both really enjoyed it! A perfect end to a delicious night!
The new menu is so much better than their previous offerings - if you went before and thought meh, then it's worth another try. If, like us, you went there for their awesome beer and wine offerings, but never really ate there, then go again. The service was great, but that may be partially because I'm in there so often they know who I am now... Not because I'm an alco though! They have free wifi and Toby's Estate coffee so I went in there over the school holidays to do some work... But during the school term, yeah I drink a lot of their wine...
I got this recipe from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook, and she wrote about how hot it was in New York, and how good this salad was on those steaming days cooped up in the concrete jungle. Well I hate to be a bit samey but we had this for dinner when it was stinking hot, and, yes. It's cool, refreshing, and requires minimal effort. It also suits the raw eaters, and the vegetarians. With a little adaptation, it'll suit vegans too. Also the low carbers, this is for you. There's pretty much nothing wrong with this salad.Use a peeler or a mandolin to get the zucchinis thinly sliced, and like the original recipe says, when it comes to mixing this up - use your hands. The almond pesto that goes with this isn't the same consistency as basil pesto, which you can sometimes almost pour. I found that in order to get this pesto runnier, I had to add more olive oil than I was prepared to eat. It was quite a dry pesto, but once you get your hands into the salad to toss it, a couple of minutes later you have evenly distributed pesto on silky green zucchini ribbons.
The recipe I'm about to give you is hardly a recipe. One of the most important lessons I think anyone can learn when it comes to cooking is to constantly taste what you're making, and to add less than you think then add more later if you need it (because you can always add more but you can't take it away!). Pesto is such a great way to learn this skill as it's very forgiving! So what you'll get here is just what went into the pesto, the quantities are vague and totally up to you. But you MUST keep tasting!
Zucchini salad with almond pesto
Serves 3 (as a main), or 6 (as a side dish)
Based on recipe from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook
Handful of blanched almonds (lightly toasted on a hot pan until they get some colour)
Handful of spinach
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Parmesan cheese (grated - Use the fresh stuff not the pre grated, powdered stuff)
1 clove of garlic
1 large zucchini, sliced thinly with a mandolin or peeler (skin on)
1) Place all the ingredients in a food processor or stick blender, and pulse until you get the consistency you like. Add a tablespoon of water at a time if you want it a bit looser (or olive oil if you're feeling decadent). Make sure you keep tasting your pesto! Add more of what you like, less of what you don't like as much.
2) Place the zucchini in a large bowl and add a couple of tablespoons of the pesto - you will probably have too much pesto - never fear, it is gorgeous stirred through pasta! Use your hands to mix the pesto through, covering all the slices of zucchini.
3) Serve with grilled salmon or chicken for a light, healthy meal!
I didn't mean to buy this book at all... I was just browsing in the book shop, saw it and thought "I follow her on Twitter and Instagram, should have a look". No intention to buy at all. But then I looked through it and the recipes looked great. So I bought it. DAMMIT. I have so many books it's ridiculous. They're piling up.
But in an effort to save money on groceries we've gone back to meal planning for the week, so this fit in quite nicely with a new cook book. I planned on making 4 of her recipes for dinner in a week. Overkill I know, but I really need to justify all the books I've bought, and so I need to USE them.
This week I've made;
Rare roast beef with potato and radish salad
Yoghurt chicken curry bowl
Black bean tacos
The idea behind this book is that when you eat well 80% of the time, the other 20% isn't quite as crucial - so Gizzi aims at helping you choose quick, delicious and light midweek meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner), which then frees you up for weekend feasts, so there's a real range of recipes in there. I haven't yet cooked from the feasting section, so I'll update the post once I have!
Rare roast beef with potato salad was good - it's something that we like anyway so it wasn't a new combination for us. I made a few changes though, and they all still worked. I subbed the watercress for basil I picked from the garden, and yoghurt for the creme fraiche. The aromatic basil (which is MUCH stronger from your garden!) worked really well with the creamy dressing and tomatoes (which I added apple cider vinegar to, for a bit more of a kick). Another kinda big substitution was beef fillet for kangaroo. Kangaroo is well priced and super lean, as well as being a more environmentally friendly protein to eat as they are much better adapted to our harsh Australian environment and require less resources. I didn't take a picture (rookie mistake) but it comes out looking good.
Photo from the book - it comes out looking pretty much the same!
The yoghurt chicken curry bowl was great - it smelled amaaaazing when it was cooking, the whole house was filled with the delicious aroma of curry. I can't say anything about how it was to cook, as I handballed that one over to the boyfriend. The mango salsa on top was a really nice, fresh touch and made a really well rounded complete dish. Served with brown rice this was a healthy dinner with minimal fuss. I'll make it again for sure, might change a thing or 2 just to see how it goes and for interests sake but it's a keeper. One pot wonder!
The black bean tacos were great! These are really really similar to a recipe I LOVE from Ottolenghis cookbook Plenty, the vegetarian quesadillas, and these are just as good. I soaked the onions in water, drained them and them soaked them in apple cider vinegar until everything else was ready - this really takes the harsh onion taste out and rather gives them a pickled flavour, so delicious when put against the creamy avocado and beany hummus. What made this stand out for me though, was using dried black beans. Dried beans are slightly more work but they have a much better flavour. They needed soaking for hours and then boiling for about half an hour - but man, they taste so much better. Really worth giving it a try! Make sure you get a good hot sauce too, as the tacos need the extra kick.
I can't really say that I've made the granola or the rhubarb parfait, because I only glanced at the recipe and then took off to the shops to buy whatever looked good. I winged the granola and used rice bran oil with a good shlug of maple syrup and put it in the oven until the kitchen smelled of toasted grains. I paired blueberries with the juice of 2 oranges (got that straight from the recipe!), vanilla and another shlug of maple syrup made a very simple compote. It's a great idea, and I've made a whole bunch of them for breakfasts on the run! I can really only thank the book for the idea/inspiration as I didn't follow the recipe at all - but seeing how easy it is to make my own cereal, and having the freedom to choose what went in it, is a great thing.I feel like there is way more to explore in this book, I haven't even gone into the puddings or weekend feasts yet - so I'm really looking forward to it! I do know that Bri from Eat Meets West has made the Vietnamese iced coffee cheesecake, and you can find that post here. I don't know if it was simply the return to home cooked, healthy food after an indulgent xmas, or it was these recipes and what they had in them but I felt so much better after eating them. My body was thanking me! Having only scratched the surface with the book, I can't wait to get stuck in and try more!
Did you even know these guys did breakfast!? We didn't, but then when wandering down the Vic Park strip wondering where to go for breakfast, we saw That Little Mexican Place was open. Huh?? They give you free coffee too? We figured it was worth a look!
I'm not surprised there was no one in there... It's pretty dark n dingy, and the greasy chef was pretty grumpy. There was one other couple in there, quietly sat in the corner. It did feel pretty weird. But I needed coffee, so whatevs.
The menu looked interesting, and we couldn't help but notice the BUCKET of hot sauces they have. AWESOME. Free coffee and hot sauce? Yes please!
They bought the free filter coffee out and poured us 2 mugs of the black stuff, and gave us a little jug of milk on the side. It smelled awesome, but the big surprise was that it was spiced with cinnamon, cloves and piloncillo, an unrefined sugar that tastes like brown sugar/molasses. It was really good and I can imagine that being a lifesaver on a cold day! You can have as much as you like as well which is a bonus!
I chose the Chilaquiles, which are totopos (fried tortilla strips) simmered in salsa verde with scrambled eggs, jalapenos and jack cheese, with refried beans on the side. I came served with fresh salsa on top and a wedge of lime. I enjoyed my breakfast, there was some nice contrasting flavours and textures, and unlike most places in Perth, they weren't shy with the chilli! I thought my eggs were a bit overdone though, however all in all I really enjoyed it and would order it again.
S had the huevos motulenos - house made corn tortillas, black beans, sauted peas, diced bacon, and eggs (any style) with salsa sriracha. While he enjoyed his meal, we both agreed it was a bit lack lustre, something we could easily have done at home and looked a bit like something a uni student would make when they had nothing left in the fridge. The tortilla was a bit token with all the food heaped on it. It wasn't bad at all, but it was a bit plain - however it just meant that S had a vehicle for testing out all the hot sauces. He regretted one or two of them...
Overall, our experience at That Little Mexican Place was alright, the food was decent and there were other things on the menu I'd like to try. The coffee was a highlight, and when I mentioned it on Twitter, loads of other people agreed! They really need to work on the ambience though, the grumpy old chef who served us at the end wasn't really who you'd expect to be the face of the restaurant...
I'd say though, it's worth giving it a try! There are some pretty basic menu options as well as something a bit different for the more adventurous.
Perth is changing. A lot of people compare it to Melbourne, say we're getting closer to being like Melbourne or say we're trying too hard and why be Melbourne? At the end of the day, things in the food n wine industry are changing. We're getting new areas, hip little precincts and trendy streets - it seems in these areas, something new is popping up every week.
But what's the best for you? Which area do you love the most? I'm going to ask you some questions, and judging by the results, I'm going to go out and explore YOUR Perth. What's so good about your area? Where are the hidden gems?
I'm also interested in hearing about what you guys think are the problems in Perth, what don't you like? How have you gotten around it? Perth's too expensive? What do you do for free or on the cheap?
TELL ME ALL THE THINGS!
None of the boxes below are compulsory, just write what you know!
NOTE: The best of is a separate section with its own SUBMIT button, and the worst of has its own SUBMIT button...
Can't wait to hear your thoughts about Perth!
You may have noticed a deluge of blogs covering the Mosman Park 16 seater restaurant Fuku Omakase and Teppanyaki - well here is another one! It appears on a big PR push they have invited a whole bunch of bloggers out to see what they're doing, and if we liked what we saw/ate then we would obviously write up a blog post and let everyone know what we thought! So here is the ubiquitous disclaimer - I did not pay for my meal there, they invited me, I accepted. So that's that out of the way.
Fuku specialises in omakase (small dishes chosen for you by the chef) and teppanyaki (chefs cook and prepare food in front of you) and has 3 menus, good ($75), better ($135) and best ($220). They also have wine and sake matching that you can opt into as well, which I think we got, as the sake was flowing freely! We also got the "Better" menu.
Have a look at some of the food you can expect...
The food was nice, I quite enjoyed it. The service was good, however they had an issue with their heater, and being in the dead of winter, we were FREEZING in there. So that was an issue, perhaps outta their control but at the same time, it did affect our experience, and the couple across from us left early because they weren't prepared to freeze anymore.
One major issue I had though, was that we had told them previously my partner had a seafood allergy - no shellfish please. They confirmed this to us before we started and the first course had an oyster substituted with something else. Good. However the rest of the meal was not the same. He was served crab, scallop, and prawn. I said to him that he needs to let them know after the first time it happened, but he felt like he was being a pain in the arse considering the meal was free and he didn't want to make a fuss. We discussed it for a bit and he decided that he was going to find out the extent of his allergy that night. I did NOT agree but that was what he wanted. Turns out, it's not that bad, maybe the sickness that followed that big feed of crab that time was a one off? Unsure really, but they served him shellfish after confirming with us that he couldn't have it. I thought that was a bit shit. I'm sure they would have been very apologetic and they dealt with another couple who were just fussy eaters very well, and so I have no idea why they didn't get it right for S.
To sum it up... it wasn't terrible, most of the food was great, and what I didn't really like was more personal taste rather than something done badly. However I feel that it's pretty expensive, though it's certainly an experience. Would I go back? Maybe. If it was a friends/families birthday and they wanted it there then sure, I'd make the most of it. Would I choose to take friends and family there? No. It took a really long time, and the experience wasn't memorable enough for me to warrant the cost. I also don't really love some seafood and that's a big part of what they do.
Make up your own mind about it, it's a beautiful place, the presentation is great, it's an experience and they have a tonne of different sake. I did enjoy my night, but probably wouldn't head back soon...
Have you noticed a whole lotta posts going up in the last few weeks about peoples opinion on whether or not you disclose when you get free shit? Where it's written? If you're posting with integrity? I know. Little miss/mister high n mighty ranty pants saying that people can't get free shit n be honest about it. I get free shit sometimes. It's cool. You might hear about it.Cept when it's not, then you probably won't hear about it.That's my disclosure statement. I'm a food blogger, let's not forget that. We write about stuff we love. We love food, and eating, and cooking. The operative word there being LOVE. I write about the stuff that floats my boat. I'll say it again, I'm a food blogger - let's not take this too seriously alright guys? We're not playing for cattle stations. I'm not in the business (you'd have to be making money for that and shit, bloggers get free stuff but it doesn't pay the bills) of bagging people out and publishing it. What's the point? It's like bullying - telling everyone how crap something is because *insert snarky sarcastic tone here* you know better and it's not up to your discerning standard. You make yourself feel better because you're better than they are. That's how it sounds when I read a scathing review about somewhere. Who the fuck are you anyway? Unless its Jay Rayner, and then it's quite funny.I usually check in when I go places, and if it was terrible, I'll likely tweet saying I had a crap feed. That's it. I won't spend ages sitting there describing the poor evening. Or I'll say nothing. There will be no hype, no net presence from me - you get nothing - if the evening was bad.What I WILL spend time on, is when I had a great experience. I love to let everyone know about local Perth spots that are worth going to. It's so much more positive to read about peoples experience when they enjoyed it. Create hype, support the places you love! Just don't be a dick about it.Can't we all live by that rule? Can we just treat reviews like puppies? Ignore the bad behaviour and praise the good stuff. Who cares if the meal I had was free or not. If it was good you'll hear about it.Disclosure done.
Tis the season for cocktails and parties!! When you look at cocktail recipes, many of them call for sugar, or simple syrup. It's just equal parts sugar and water boiled down to make a syrup you can use to quickly sweeten cocktails without having to deal with sugar having to be dissolved. The added bonus is that you can flavour them so you can add more complex flavours into your drink.
I made these for my sister last year for Christmas, in 3 flavours - strawberry, orange and peach. They're ludicrously easy and cheap to make, and look gorgeous as a gift! All you have to do is make sure you have air tight, sterilised (either put through a hot cycle on your dishwasher, or washed in hot soapy water and left to dry WITHOUT you touching the cap or the rim!) bottles, and a fine sieve.
My bottles (I got them from a home brewing shop for about $3AUD each) were quite small and held about 250ml each so I used about double that amount of water, and free poured a healthy amount of sugar in that looked like about half to me - you can obviously be a lot more accurate! This is the first step to any sugar syrup, must be done before you add any fruit to the pan - you'll see how I made each flavour below.
I used all the peaches we had in the house as they were looking a bit worse for wear and I didn't really want to eat them - so I used about 5 of them! Put them whole in the pan making sure they were mostly submerged. If they're not just pop in every now and again to move them around in the water. I used a fork to smoosh them up to extract as much flavour as I could.
I topped a big punnet of strawberries that were on special and put them whole into the water. You'll notice after a while the strawberries will lose their colour. Once this has happened, take them out and continue to reduce the syrup until you're happy with the amount.
I zested 2 oranges and then juiced them, and added it to the water. This was then boiled down until it was reduced by about half.
Its important that you store these in the fridge - as they do contain a lot of fruit and sugar. The plain version can be kept any old place, but fruity ones, in the fridge! You can see there is some separation in the peach syrup - just make sure you give it a good shake before you use it!
These can also be used to give Greek yoghurt an edge when serving it with cakes or on your muesli in the morning, or added to soda water to make your own cordial. How delicious would it be to drizzle some orange syrup over a chocolate cake fresh from the oven? The sky is the limit with these sweet compact flavour bombs!
I'd love to know what else you can use these for aside from cocktails!