We rocked up obliviously late for lunch just as Food For Me was near their closing time hoping to grab a bite to eat. I still hadn’t twigged that they were about to shut and began to peruse the menu at which point the waiter politely informed me the kitchen was closed. Not perturbed in any way he kindly smiled and offered to reheat some of the food from the cabinet for us. After apologising profusely for our ignorance we accepted his offer.
I selected the spinach frittata with bacon, pine nuts and feta plus a beetroot and spinach salad. The frittata was light and set firmly without being chewy or unpleasant. The salad was obviously reaching the end of its life span but seeing as we had rudely barged our way in at the thirteenth hour I figured this to be expected at this time of day.
The Boy ordered one of his time old favourites; the beef lasagna. Thick with meaty sauce and gooey cheese the lasagna connoisseur gave it the big thumbs up. We both vowed to return when both the kitchen and the coffee machine were switched on and see what these guys could do.
A few weeks later I attended Rob Broadfield‘s sold out seminar on food writing at the Hyatt with Foodie Cravings and Perth Munchkin. Rob gave us some useful tips on how to write captivating restaurant reviews worthy enough to publish in the well-known West Australian Good Food Guide. The day also served to give him an opportunity to scope for new reviewers as each delegate had to submit an 80 word café or bar review. I found it amusing that basically we were all paying for the chance to have an interview!
It started off a stunning morning with clear blue skies and a crisp breeze so I chose to walk into the city. Halfway through the four-hour seminar I began to regret this decision as my stomach let out some clearly audible grumblings and my head started to spin. Talking about food wasn’t helping my situation much either. As soon as the seminar was over I met up with the Boy and headed straight to Food For Me, Victoria Park for lunch.
Serving locally roasted Essenza coffee, the beans are ground on demand and you can smell the aroma as soon as you walk into the café. The coffee is quite sweet and creamy without any strong bitterness or bite.
Although they do serve gluten free toast I wasn’t in the mood for bread and chose the zucchini and corn fritters. I didn’t expect such a huge meal and with half a brilliant green avocado, tossed salad and two poached eggs I was thankful I did walk earlier in the morning. All that bridal weight loss was returning back to my hips in a very fast fashion. The fritters were filled brim full of corn, each ear popping with freshness in my mouth.
My poached eggs were satisfyingly gloopy and I couldn’t stop myself from grabbing a quick yolk-porn shot. Heavenly. The preserved lemon, chilli and dill dressing had a sweet almost maple syrupy flavour to it and I had to resist licking the last of it off my empty plate before they were taken away.
The Boy nearly ordered himself a steak sandwich before he stopped himself and changed to a chicken burger instead. Juicy tenderloins were buried in the burger among some bacon, cheese and lettuce. Their breads are sourced from Barrett’s Bakery in Nedlands where they hand make all their bread without adding any additives. The burger bun was soft but resilient and despite the constant drip of mayonnaise and relish it retained its shape and body until the very end.
When we were up at the counter ordering our meals, our waiter talked up their gluten free brownies claiming them to be outrageously good. After finishing off the last of my fritters my curiosity got the better of me and I sidled back up to the counter to order one to share. Rich and moist, the brownie lived up to his hype and was laced with some tart raspberries to balance out the sweetness. There was no crumbliness common to gluten free slices and our spoons fought over the last mouthful.
Breakfast in Vic Park can often be a bit of hit and miss. Having visited Food For Me on a number of occasions now I can safely say they are on my list of hits. Loads of gluten free options, fresh mostly organic produce and friendly staff they really have got their recipe right. We will be returning for sure.Food For Me 877 Albany Highway, East Victoria Park, 6101 | (08) 9472 0333 | http://www.foodforme.com.au/ Price: $$ Food: 4/5 (loads of GF options, make sure you try their brownie!) Service: 4/5 (super positive friendly vibe) Ambience: 3/5 (try and nail a table outside in the sun) Drinks: 3.5/5 (creamy luscious coffee) Total: 15.5/20
One of the best ways to get a taste of the local street food in Thailand is to head to one of their night markets. Most towns in Phuket have their own markets held on specific days once or twice a week but the biggest night markets are the Phuket Town Night Markets (Talad Tai Rot to the locals). These markets are open on the weekends from 4pm until around 9pm. Unlike a lot of the smaller markets in Phuket, most of the ground surface at these markets is cemented meaning you don’t have to pick your way through the mud. My advice is to get there fairly early as it gets very busy from around 5pm as the sun sets and the weather cools.
I arranged two minibuses to transport our wedding party of over 30 people to the markets. The trip took around 45 minutes one way from Kamala Beach. Once we arrived we set a time and meeting point and then split off into groups. As the Boy and I entered into the markets with Dad and my Stepmum, he had to duck down under the tarpaulin roof as he was too tall! Thai markets are not designed for 6 foot 3 Dutchmen!
The Phuket night markets have a vast array of new and second-hand clothes, wood carvings, toys, DVDs, souvenirs and more. There even is a “petshop” section selling live little rabbits and kittens; this was an area my step mum and I trotted past as quickly as possible. Despite trying not to look I couldn’t help but catch a glimpse of rows of small cages stacked on top of each other all jammed packed with poor little creatures. If only I could save them all!
The best part of these markets is the local street food. The four of us purposely bypassed all the trinkets, clothing and electronics to follow our noses to the heart of the aromas. The Boy was once again attracted to the fried insect stall. I cannot understand why he likes these snacks so much, I think part of his enjoyment is seeing the shock value he creates when everyone sees him munching on a big bug. However even when no one is watching I noticed he continued to happily crunch away whilst picking legs and wings out from between his teeth.
Meanwhile my attention was directed at the plethora of Thai desserts on offer. It was like an Eastern version of a candy store. I found it hard to decide what to try so I ended up trying a little of most things on offer provided I knew they were gluten free. Fortunately the vast majority of Thai dessert are made with gluten free flours such as mung bean flour and rice flour so I was spoilt for choice. Just a little tip, make sure you bring your Thai eating card with you to the markets so you can check with the vendors before purchasing anything.
After a few hours at the markets, we all regrouped and made the short journey up the scarp to Tunk Ka Cafe; a Thai restaurant recommended to me by a friend that lives in Phuket. The restaurant is located on top of Khao Rang Hill and gives practically 180 degree panoramic views across the city from their terraced open styled dining room. Although it is worth visiting just for the views, the food at Tunk Ka can hold its own. The menu is all Thai and is very extensive offering over 100 dishes.
Now seeing as I was on my wedding holiday I have to confess my usual dogged determination to photograph and review all the dishes on show was taken down a number of notches. It was the first night that we were lucky enough to be joined by all our wedding guests and my attention was much more focused on enjoying these precious moments with those I love dearly.
Thanks to my Thai eating card and some very obliging staff, a number of special order dishes were brought out for me specifically made gluten free and onion free. I was touched by the care and attention they gave me to ensure I had enough to eat. I highly recommend the soft shelled crab and the tamarind prawns. All our dishes contained ultra-fresh ingredients with all the elements of Thai food sweet, sour, salty and bitter balanced elegantly. A big thank you to my dear friend Carole for such a fabulous recommendation.Phuket Town Night Market (Talad Tai Rot) Opening Hours: Saturday & Sunday from 16:00 til 21:00
Location: Talad Tai Rot is located along Chao Fa West Road, Phuket’s main thoroughfare, one kilometre south of Central Festival shopping mall and is opposite Wat Naka, a Buddhist temple. Take a left at the first set of traffic lights. Tunk Ka Café Opening Hours: 10:30 – 22:30
Location: At the top of Rang Hill, Phuket Town
Anzac Day is the national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand where we cast our hearts and minds to those who have fought for our country at war. The day is a national public holiday and across the country there are numerous dawn services that are held attracting both the young and old in the wee hours of the morning. Anzac Day wouldn’t be complete without Anzac biscuits which history claims they were apparently made by soldier’s wives to send to them abroad. After spending the last three months with my days off being filled with wedding planning, it is such a treat to have these days returned to me to indulge in whatever activities I please. It has been a while since I have made any effort in the kitchen so with both the fur children supervising from their cat scratch post I scanned my pantry for some inspiration. With Anzac Day approaching us this week, I have attempted to adapt the classic Anzac biscuit recipe to create Coconut flour Paleo Anzac Biscuits that are dairy free, gluten free and fructose friendly yet still remain delicious!! Is it possible?
- 1 & ¾ cup almond meal
- 1 cup flaked almonds
- 1 cup dessicated coconut
- ⅓ cup coconut flour
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ½ cup coconut oil, softened
- ½ teaspoon bicarb soda
- 1 tablespoon water
- Preheat over to 130 degrees C.
- Combine the almond meal, flaked almonds, coconut and coconut flour in a large mixing bowl.
- Combine maple syrup and coconut oil in a small saucepan and heat very gently.
- Mix the bicarb and water together then add to the maple syrup mix, stir until mixed.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix thoroughly until combined. Add a small amount of water to help mixture stick together.
- Squeeze firmly into small balls to stick mixture together then flatten slightly and place on a baking try lined with baking paper.
- Bake for about 40 minutes until golden.
- Allow to cool on a rack before serving.
Adapted from the website The Healthy Chef by Theresa Cutter the author of The 80/20 Diet and 101 ways to lose weight.
I have to apologise to you my dear readers for my recent habit of taking you back and forth in a time machine of my life. This ping ponging through space will continue until I finally manage catch up on sharing all the wonderful food experiences from these past few months. I blame my horrendous blogging back log on our wedding. Although tremendous fun, wedding planning was very time consuming stuff and something just had to give.
Today I take you back to one of my most favourite times of the year: Christmas. Every few years the Boy and I take a return trip back home to Melbourne to spend this festive time with my family. Last year I tallied our trip up with my wedding dress fitting. Strategically I ensured the fitting was done first thing on my arrival so I could let loose for the rest of our stay and make an absolute glutton of myself. It was Christmas after all!
In the lead up to our wedding we were faced with a number of difficult family dramas. It really is true what they say; weddings bring out the best and the worst in people. These sad events meant we were unable to spend Christmas Day with my Mum and were thus allocated time with her on Christmas Eve instead. The Boy and I were trying so hard to save all our pennies for Thailand so we agreed that there was no need to spoil each other with Christmas presents. We decided that our gift to each other was to be our Christmas Eve dinner with dearest Mum. To make the most of this occasion I booked us a reservation at Rockpool Bar & Grill in the Melbourne Crown Casino.
Every year we go completely over the top lavishing gifts for each other so seeing as this meal was our only opportunity to do so we took the liberty to order a lot of food! We really should have remembered that Rockpool’s meal sizes are not exactly tiny as by the end of the night we could barely walk!
I ordered the sautéed white asparagus for my starter. The dish combined my two favourite obsessions for the year; shiitake mushrooms and slow cooked eggs. How could it ever get better than this? The gentle flavours of translucent Onsen style eggs and earthy ‘shrooms are fine for a breakfast dish but add in the sharp bite of melted parmesan cheese and this seemingly simple entrée became so much more exciting. Burnt butter was drizzled over it coating every part of my asparagus in salty deliciousness. At least for my first course I was sticking to my Meatless Monday vow!
The Boy ordered the warm salad of wood fired grilled quail with smoked tomatoes and black olives. The dark meat flaked off the bone without encouragement and his plate promptly filled with its juices as he continued to cut the bird apart.
Mum decided not to order an entrée and was happy to wait for her mains as her choice sounded quite substantial. She ordered the Redgate Farm partridge with roasted eschalots, peas and house cured pigs cheek. Partridge is a pale pink coloured meat and has very tender flesh with a light but gamy flavour. I didn’t get a great deal of adjectives from her describing her dish but I can assure you that her plate was clean by the end. My mum is a light eater so I think that is saying something!
Where I go a bit nutty for my mushrooms and my slow cooked eggs, the Boy goes nuts for mangoes. Fresh mangoes, grilled mangoes, mango daiquiris, mango ice-cream you name it, he will love it. The duck confit was served very simply with a grilled slice of mango and apple balsamic. The skin was thin with a slight crunch yet the meat was smooth like butter. Total dish envy!
I confess that my dedication to the Meatless Monday movements went out the window for my main dish. Rockpool source their seafood from sustainable sources and although this wasn’t a vegetarian dish, I felt at least I wasn’t contributing to the demise of our fish stocks. My grouper was seared and served with tomatoes, peppers, capers and delicious crispy Fratelli prosciutto.
A meal at Rockpool is never complete without some of their sides. The problem with this is that they are all so good it is hard to choose. As always we order too many and struggle to finish all three. My two favourites that I order everything are the sautéed mixed mushroom and more importantly the pumpkin and sweet potato. They are not to be missed I tell you!
Despite all of us protesting loudly to our fun and friendly waitress that we had no room for dessert she still discreetly left us the dessert menus on our table for perusal. Curiosity always kills the cat and none of us could resist a quick peek to see what was on offer. Before we could stop ourselves we had ordered not one dessert to share, not even two desserts to split amongst ourselves, but proceeded to greedily order one each! Mum and the Boy ordered the profiteroles. Crispy outer shells of Choux pastry were piped with homemade vanilla ice-cream topped with hardened chocolate and hazelnuts set on top. They bore some resemblance to a classier version of the movie cinemas Choc-Tops.
My only gluten free option other than ice cream was the crème caramel. Not a bad choice to be left with but I do like to have a selection of gluten free dessert options. Growing up in a household with a French father, crème caramel was a dessert that was made to perfection at home. Flawlessly set like a slice of heaven Perry’s rendition of it was a match for my family’s chefs!
It was creeping past midnight and we all needed to head home to allow our bodies to perform some serious digesting before we would be able to have any room for the following day’s festivities. Once again, reliable Rockpool left me filled to the brim with a beaming smile on my face; a successful fine dining experience without the pretension and fanfare.Rockpool Bar & Grill, Melbourne Crown Casino, 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank VIC 3006 | (03) 8648 1900 | www.rockpool.com Price: $$$$ (Entrees $19-30, Mains $23-115) Food: 5/5 (can I say perfection? This time round it was truly faultless) Service: 4/5 (impeccable and entertaining without being obtrusive) Ambience: 4/5 (relaxed but spacious with views right through the shining kitchen) Drinks: 4.5/5 (successful wine matching by the sommelier meant I could relax and enjoy the company) Total: 17.5/20
The downside of having a destination wedding is that you have to prepare yourself that there will be some of your friends and family that you really want to be there but for whatever reason they will be unable to attend. The Boy and I understood this fact from the outset and were so incredibly grateful for all that were able to join us whilst remaining totally sympathetic to those who could not. One of my dearest friends Fran whom I have known since my early University days was one of those guests who unfortunately were unable to come. She only recently bought her own business and as a result of her dedication, hard work, blood, sweat and tears it was growing steadily at a rewarding rate. Upon our return to Perth, we were both keen to tally up a lunch date to share our stories and fill her in on my wedding details.
I recently read a mouth-watering review on Foodie Cravings on a new restaurant opened up in North Perth called No 4 Blake Street. As Fran lived north of the River and was pushed for time; I thought it was the perfect half way point to meet up. Located on a quiet road off Fitzgerald Street this recently opened venue is open for breakfast and lunch all week and dinner from Tuesday through to Saturday. They have a decent range of gluten free options including gluten free bread and are happy to alter dishes to suit food allergies. They have even recently started offering evening degustation.
Fran ordered the Croque-Madame; a classic French snack of a toasted ham and cheese sandwich with a fried egg on top. Using Emmental Cheese and their house ham with a little béchamel sauce smeared in there these simple but delicious ingredients were made for each other.
I realise that I tend to be a bit of a mushroom addict and do have a bad habit of over ordering them for my breakfast but this time I simply couldn’t resist. Medallions of juicy sautéed mushrooms were piled generously high with baby spinach, feta and Pedro vinegar on no less than three slices of fresh toasted grainy gluten free bread. Now that I’m off the bridal diet I found it so liberating to eat every last morsel on my enormous plate without any guilt that my dress wouldn’t fit me! The mushrooms oozed with flavour and the spinach salad was carefully dressed to maximise taste without being overbearing.
Despite being quite full, I really wanted to check out more of their food and enquired which of the desserts were gluten free. Unfortunately I was informed there were none suitable! What a shame, I was so impressed with their ability to cater for me up until this point. Us gluten free peeps love sweet too. The waiter did feel bad for me and said he would head to the kitchen as see what they could find. He returned fairly promptly with a selection of three chocolates: Cointreau, Elderberry and Pear. If this didn’t happen to be my second breakfast for the day I would feel left a little sad on missing out but thankfully these luxurious bites were about all my stomach had room for.
No 4 Blake Street is definitely a place I have to come back and check out again, hopefully next time round there will even be some desserts so we can do their dego!No 4 Blake Street 4 Blake St North Perth, 6006 WA | (08) 9444 6678 | http://www.no4blakestreet.com.au/ Price: $$ (Breakfast/Lunch $7-26, Dinner $70: 3 courses, $90: 5 courses, High Tea $42-62) Food: 3.5/5 (only had one dish so hard to assess plus there were no GF desserts) Service: 4.5/5 (friendly, warm and welcoming) Ambience: 4/5 (surprisingly funky and suave for a suburban joint) Drinks: 3.5/5 (I didn’t end up ordering a coffee as I had already had three that morning; another excuse to return) Total: 15.5/20
As most of my regular readers will be aware I recently married the love of my life in Phuket, Thailand where we had the most magical dream wedding I could have ever imagined. In the coming weeks I will soon be getting around to posting a review of the fabulous venue Andara coupled with some snap shots of our big day.
In order to make our wedding ceremony in Thailand a legally binding one back home in Australia, the Thai government required us to travel to Bangkok for an undetermined period of about 3-5 days prior to the wedding in Phuket to allow for translation of documents. After giving this much thought we agreed this was way too much hassle and decided to wait and get the legal stuff done once we returned to Perth. To make it more meaningful, we planned to do this on our anniversary, a date we have celebrated for nearly 15 years.
Although we reinforced to our friends and family that this was to be a casual affair I still needed to have an outfit fit for a bride. I imagined finding myself something totally opposite to a bridal gown, something short, something funky and something dark coloured. With this in mind I hit the shops the weekend before with the ever so patient Boy in tow. After trawling all of the department stores to no avail I could feel my anxiety building. As an off-chance I decide to drag the Boy down to the other end of the mall to the Enex100 building to look in Lisa Ho. To my (and the Boy’s) relief I found the perfect dress…..but it was ivory and girlie; the complete opposite of funky and black! At least it was short!
Standing right on Greenhouse’s doorstep feeling thirsty, famished but totally satisfied it didn’t take much convincing to get the Boy to agree to stop in for a late lunch with the promise of beers. Commencing with some super fresh rock oysters to freshen our palates along with some Westwinds Cutlass Gin I allowed the feelings of relief that my mission was accomplished wash over me.
After chatting with our waitress I was pleased to see there were a lot of options for those on a gluten and fructose free diet. She relayed her conversation with the chef that he was more than happy to alter dishes that contained onion and much of the dishes on the menu were already naturally gluten free. I chose the marron with kipfler potatoes, native citrus and green olives. The delicate marron flesh flaked out of its shell easily and was so tender soft. I haven’t had marron cooked this beautifully in a long time. The salad had lots of crunchy finely sliced fennel and radish through it giving a fabulous texture contrast to the buttery marron.
The Boy chose the rare seared emu but instead of coming with “grains” the chef kindly altered it to come with a gluten free version of quinoa and lentils so I could try some. Fresh herbs and sliced green grapes were tossed through this dish adding some sweetness and depth of flavour. The emu was a dark plum red colour and had a milder flavour than I expected. Being a very lean meat it was a wise idea to serve this rare as it remained juicy and succulent.
Sitting enjoying a relaxing meal together without having one hundred and one things to do felt like a new experience to us. In the lead up to the wedding we had both been so flat out. We were so grateful to have this time with just the two of us sipping our drinks, gazing out the window with nothing to do and nowhere else to be. To prolong the experience we order a dessert to share. Unlike the mains there was only one dessert choice that was gluten free. This was the watermelon foam with berry salad and almond milk jelly. Those of you who are fructose malabsorbers know very well that we have to be a little careful with melons however I figured that I could just try to avoid most of the foam and eat the fruit.
Our dessert was delightfully light and incredibly refreshing; the perfect way to end a meal without feeling like you have stuffed yourself full. I do confess though as we left the restaurant I realised that it might have been a bit too much fructose for my belly and quickly dashed into the chemist to grab some glucose tablets. Glucose can counteract the fructose in fruit and reduce symptoms. It doesn’t work with onions unfortunately as the fructose contained in these is the starch form. If you want to know more about fructose malabsorption check out here for more.
It has been couple of years since we last visited Greenhouse and I still remain a huge fan. Their menus are always interesting, they use seasonal produce and source it locally were possible and are forever accommodating for us more difficult customers without compromising the taste of our meals.Greenhouse 100 St Georges Terrace, Perth 6000 WA | (08) 9481 8333 | http://www.greenhouseperth.com/ Price: $$ Food: 4.5/5 (I was spoilt for choice, ultra fresh ingredients and made to order) Service: 3.5/5 (we arrived for a late lunch so service was a little slow) Ambience: 4.5/5 (you love it or you hate it; recycled and reused with a quirky feel) Drinks: 4.5/5 (fabulous wine and cocktail list, Westwind gins too!) Total: 17/20
It was the day after attending our dear friend’s wedding banquet at the Fairmont Hotel in Singapore. Knowing that avoiding gluten at a Chinese banquet would be literally impossible I made the choice to eat gluten that night so I wouldn’t miss out on any of the gorgeous delicacies served to us all. I had psyched myself up for this event for months and was fully prepared to deal with the onslaught of symptoms that would ensue in the following days.
When I got up that morning it was hard to distinguish what were the after-effects of eating gluten and what were due to the alcohol excesses. The tell-tale spots of eczema were only baby fledglings at this stage and for a change had not appeared on my face…yet. As a gesture of their gratitude to us for coming to all the way to Singapore to share the happiness on their big day, our friends and their parents invited us to join them and their family for lunch at Pow Sing Restaurant; a place famous for its Hainanese Chicken Rice along.
Since my arrival in Singapore I have been dying to try this classic favourite especially as I know it is one of the main hawker’s foods that is easy to do gluten free. Hainanese chicken originates from China and it is found in Singaporean, Malaysian and Thai cuisines and many Singaporeans consider this to be their national dish. The whole chicken is delicately poached in a broth of pork and chicken stock which is infused with ginger. This stock is then used along with rendered chicken fat to prepare the rice resulting in an extremely flavourful dish.
Pow Sing’s Hainanese chicken did not disappoint. The chickens were plump, soft and very succulent; the meat nearly dissolved in your mouth it was so tender. The rice looked innocent enough but as soon as I served myself some I could smell its fragrant aroma. Each rice grain was coated in the tasty oily broth giving it a full body of flavour. To accompany our chicken; my friend parents proceeded to order a long list of Nyonya favourites for us to try. I could feel myself getting caught up in the fun of it all and figured seeing as I felt rotten from the night before eating a little bit more gluten was hardly going to make that much more of a difference provided I was careful and didn’t go overboard.
The sweet crunchy honey bean pods served with the delicate, musty, slightly earthy flavoured straw mushrooms were a refreshing dish after the oiliness of the chicken. Straw mushrooms have been used in Chinese cuisine for over two thousand years and are so named because they’re grown on straw that’s been used in a rice paddy.
The crispy Nyonya squid was another flavour bomb. The squid are coated in a batter containing coconut and then deep-fried giving them a very crunchy texture. They are then stir-fried in chilli and garlic and then dipped in a tangy sweet and sour hot sauce before serving. This was quite unlike any fried squid I have had before and I could have easy demolished the plate but I held myself back knowing the batter would probably contain flour. One taste was all I allowed myself….pace yourself girl!
The ngog hiang is a Nyonya style of spring roll. Meaning “five flavours” in Hokkien, it was initially brought to Singapore from the Fujian province in China. The original five flavours were prawn, pork rolls, pork liver, egg and pork sausage. These days they are made with all sorts of different meats which are usually combined with water chestnuts, other vegetables and then seasoned with five-spice powder. The outer layer is made with bean curd skin. For preparation they are steamed first followed by a short time in the deep fryer. Absolutely delicious but not for those with heart disease as I’m sure too many of these tasty morsels would clog the arteries!
Many of you may know my penchant for tamarind dishes; I love the sweet and sour aspect of these dishes much better than the horrific sickly Australian take on sweet and sour. The asam pedas is basically a fish curry made with tamarind paste and various vegetables. Ours contained okra, tomatoes and eggplants. It had a fair bit of kick to the heat and I noticed the Boy politely avoiding serving himself seconds as the rest of us dipped in for more.
Otak otak are a type of fish cake made from fresh mackerel meat pounded and marinated with ground chilli, lemon grass, ginger, turmeric and coconut milk. The end result is something that looks more like fish paste than the traditional fish cakes I’m accustomed to in Thailand. This fragrant paste is then wrapped in banana leaves and gently steamed or cooked over hot charcoals. The banana leaves trap in the moisture and flavour making it into a mouth-watering, custardy sweet treat.
The crispy Nyonya Tauhu is made from egg tofu and deep-fried to exact point to have a crispy thin exterior yet a velvety moist interior. The egg tofu is made by filtering whole beaten eggs into the soy milk before the tofu is set. It is a paler yellow colour and has a silken soft texture and milder flavour. These little creamy logs were to be dipped into the accompanying sweet black sauce and nearly seemed like a dessert than savoury course.
We finished our feast with a recommendation from the Bride; a chendol. Like all Asian desserts this came laden with all the sugar in all the land! The basic ingredients of this sticky drink included coconut milk, green jelly made from rice flour and Pandan flavouring, shaved ice and sugar. Ours was enhanced with layers of presumably highly artificial colourings and flavourings. At the bottom of my glass were red beans and grass jelly. The beans were a welcome relief from all the sugar!
Giddy with the sugar combined with my gluten induced haziness I felt like I was intoxicated all over again. Despite knowing the next week was going to be rough on the body, I walked away feeling satisfied that I had made the most of my gluten onslaught by eating wonderful dishes that ordinarily I would avoid. Most of all, not only did I get to appreciate how insanely delicious Hainanese Chicken rice is I tried it from a location that many consider to be the best in Singapore!Pow Sing Restaurant 65 Serangoon Garden Way, Singapore 217970 | +65 6282 7972 | http://www.powsing.com/index.html Price: $$ Food: 9/10 (ok now bear in mind this is coming from a naïve Westerner, but all dishes were brilliant) Service: 4/5 (speedy, no fuss) Ambience: 3.5/5 (hustling and bustling; this place remained packed) Total: 16.5/20
After such a magical time away in Thailand for our wedding, coming back to the humdrum reality of house work, cooking and cleaning felt like a kick in the face. To make matters worse, our maxed out cards and empty bank accounts meant we both had to return promptly back to work and start earning some cash. After a week of living like millionaires at Andara with a maid and a personal chef, the idea of returning to boring home cooked food sounded as tempting as eating my own arm.
The day before we both went back to work we begrudgingly headed off to our local greengrocer Scutti’s for our weekly food shop. It was the first time in nearly three weeks that we had to do such a chore and as we parked the car we were both looked longingly at each other for a solution. The idea of a temporary escape by delaying the shopping and heading over the road to a café for lunch sounded promising. Shoving my shopping list deep into my handbag we strolled over to Halo Espresso.
After all the rich food we ate on our stopover in Singapore my stomach was in dire need of something healthy and light. With this in mind I opted for a spinach salad with chicken served with avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts and gluten free bread and the Boy ordered a steak sandwich. As I handed over a fifty dollar note for our two meals and one coffee I was surprised that it wasn’t enough and rummaged in my bag for some extra change. I hoped the meals would be worth the reasonably high prices.
As we took our seats near the front window I noticed a big A-frame sign out the front saying “Best Coffee in WA”. I have to be honest as there is no way that I have tried every place in WA worth trying to know if this is actually is the best coffee however I can agree that it is extremely good and injected a much needed boost into my downer of a day. Unfortunately Halo’s food does not match up to their wonderful coffee. My spinach salad was dripping in copious amounts of dressing, oil coating each and every glistening spinach leaf and to add to the unctuous burden, my toast tasted like it had been laden thick with butter before it was toasted. The additional of some dry chicken in no way improved the dish either as it was flavourless. My only consolation was all the oil made the overcooked chicken more palatable.
The Boy’s steak sandwich was a bit better than my choice however in no way impressed him considering the price. The cheese was half melted and half hard, the steak very thin and dry and his side salad had no dressing at all! Instead of giving us one last hurrah before heading back to work, we were left somewhat unsatisfied and with a lighter wallet than expected. I would probably only go back there again for the coffee.Halo Espresso 82 Angelo Street, South Perth 6151 WA | (08) 9367 4444 Price: $$ Food: 2/5 (disappointing considering the calibre of the coffee) Service: 2.5/5 (quick but not very welcoming or friendly) Ambience: 2/5 (very noisy dining room, we could barely hear each other and it was half full) Drinks: 4.5/5 (great coffee) Total: 11/20
After nearly two years of preparations and a lot of blood, sweat and tears here we are……finally in Thailand for our wedding week extravaganza! With my insane desire for attention to detail, we had arrived 4 days prior to our wedding guests to finish off all our last minute preparations. There were welcome presents to arrange for each of our guests, gifts for the parents, cake testing, hair and make-up trials and so much more! For the final touches to our wedding welcome gifts we headed into Phuket’s largest shopping centre Central Festival.
I was trying so hard to be super adherent to my dietary requirements as I didn’t want any last minute facial eczema to ruin my bridal beauty preparations. Sushi is always a good option for me in these circumstances provided I stick to simple options. With this in mind we stopped at Sukishi Japanese Restaurant for a bite to eat. I didn’t have any gluten free soy with me and hoped the sashimi would be fresh enough not to need any.
After weeks and week of being subjective to Slim Pasta, the Boy was rebelling against any form of weight loss and got back in to the Thai rhythm of things ordering himself a strawberry daiquiri. Despite not having a girlie bone in his body he certainly loves his pink drinks! I opted for some Japanese Green tea knowing that coffee in this place would be bound to disappoint. The tea was refreshing and uplifting and perfectly calorie free.
The menu was more like an encyclopaedia and it took us some time to look through all of its pages. It contained a combination of Japanese sushi and sashimi with more Korean style BBQ meats. Normally when we eat out we love ordering unusual things but with only a few days to go I didn’t want to risk any sort of reaction. I stuck with a simple, but enormous serve of sashimi. The prices were dirt cheap compared to Perth with the whole “boat” costing us about 350 Baht (about $11 Aussie dollars). Bear in mind that this restaurant was in the middle of a touristy shopping centre so I’m sure it was considered pricey by Phuket standards meaning you could get such a meal even cheaper elsewhere.
To fill the Boy up we ordered a couple of plates of sushi rolls in the hope that there wouldn’t be any gluten. To increase my chances of this I showed our waitress my Thai eating card with information regarding my allergies written in their language. She nodded her head at our menu choices assuring me they were suitable. Unfortunately however for both dishes the rolls contained seafood extender sticks in them and I didn’t want to take any chances as these are generally not gluten free.
After a few annoying attempts at poking the offending ingredient out with a chopstick I eventually gave up and left them for the Boy to eat for himself. Not such a bad thing as it stopped me stuffing me face right before the wedding anyway! The rolls were freshly made and the fish was delicate and soft. Next visit I will be more prepared and bring my own gluten free soy which by the way, I suggest you bring with you from Australia as it is hard to find in Thailand. I usually bring a bottle with me whenever I travel in Asian countries.
My apologies for the poorer quality iPhone photos in this review. Lugging dear “Gordon” (my Nikon SLR) with me shopping all day was not my cup of tea.Sukishi 3rd Floor, Central Festival Phuket, 74-75 Moo 5 Vichitsongkram Rd., Amphur Muang, Phuket 83000 Price: $ Food: 6.5/10 (not bad for a shopping centre sushi joint!) Service: 2.5/5 (meals were slow to come out but were made fresh to order) Ambience: 2.5/5 (tables are set up like booths so although big and busy you still have privacy) Total: 11.5/20