I consider myself a Perth girl and love our city in so many ways but I wasn’t actually born here. I was born in Manly and my moved to Adelaide in my childhood years. I went on to spend most of my teenage years in Adelaide before moving to the other side of Australia on my own at the impressionable age of seventeen. Whilst my loyalties will always lie with Perth, I cannot deny that Adelaide holds a very sweet place in my heart and returning feels like coming home despite leaving so many years ago. One of the big attractions to return to Adelaide for is my Mum. Mum and I have always been best friends and being physically separated by thousands of kilometres makes our times together even more precious. After letting all the madness of Christmas die down, the Boy and I made a weekender trip to see her for the first time since our wedding. Being a total foodie herself, Mum had planned a busy weekend of feasting starting off with a hearty breakfast at a gorgeous restaurant called Bar 9.
As I looked at the forecast back home in Perth where it was predicted to hit 42°C I was thankful to be away for the weekend as Adelaide was blessed with the most perfect weather. Bar 9 was packed full and we had to wait around fifteen minutes for a table. It was bustling, noisy and full of life which is just the way I like to start my morning but I could see both the Boy and my step dad cringe a little at the decibels.
Bar 9 take their coffee quite seriously and purchase 5 Senses coffee roasted to order and then blended and aged on site. My short macchiato was richly flavoured with a complexity I wasn’t expecting and ending on a smooth aftertaste with hints of caramel. I was truly impressed by the quality of their coffee.
The menus were hidden inside Golden Books like they are back home at Mrs S and my menu was coincidentally inside one called “I love you, Mommy!”. Bless.
For a slim, tiny framed person my Mum can put away a decent amount of food despite retorts to the contrary. Sound familiar at all? I guess what they say about the apple falling from the tree has some merit. Mum ordered the charred asparagus spears on toast with poached eggs, slivered almonds and finely grated grana prado.
The Boy didn’t hold back and went straight for the ultimate decadence; creamy truffled mushroom ragu. Rich, meaty mushrooms were stewed into tender slippery morsels and drizzled with truffled honey.
My stepdad looked on with mild bemusement as I stopped the Boy mid-way through slicing into his poached eggs to catch the wonderful moment on camera. Being much more accustomed to such moments my Mum chuckled at my strangeness and explained to him what it was all about.
I ordered the house cured ocean trout with some initial regrets as I looked over at the Boys truffiliciousness. My jealousy was short lived as my dish provided more than just satisfaction from hunger relief. The gluten free bread came in small post-stamp sized pieces but this was made up for by providing three pieces. Each piece was adorned with vibrantly coloured trout which was as soft as velvet on the tongue.
My dish didn’t come with any eggs so not wanting to miss out I ordered one poached egg on the side. Once again I got the privilege off seeing it gently pop before oozing out golden perfection. Don’t you love how those simple things in life can often be some of the best?
You always know that the food is good when everyone across the table suddenly goes silent and for a brief few minutes we all sat in comfortable silence enjoying our breakfasts. Fueled and ready for a big day we rolled ourselves out of the restaurant, into the car and headed off for a day in the McLaren Vale wine region.Bar 9 96 Glen Osmond Road, Parkside SA 5063 | (08) 8373 1108 | bar9.com.au/wp Price: $$ (Breakfast $11-18) Food: 4/5 (polished breakfast grub with a slightly fancier twist) Service: 3.5/5 (quippy and quick) Ambience: 3/5 (noisy and action packed) Drinks: 4.5/5 (go even just for the coffee) Total: 15/20
I need to give you a word of warning before you commence reading this post. If you are even just half the chocoholic that I am, some of the following images may cause a rapid heart rate, salivation and excitement. Across Australia tomorrow Chocolateria San Churro officially launch their new winter menu and last week I kindly agreed to take a hit for the team and attend their preview evening.
San Churro is an Australian business first created in Melbourne in 2004 by founders Kelly Smith and Giro Maurici who were inspired whilst travelling by the traditional breakfast in Spain of thick hot chocolate and churros. The company has since grown to 37 stores across five states including eight cafes here in Perth; Northbridge, Vic Park, Subiaco, Fremantle, Mandurah, Hillarys, Rockingham and Leederville. Whilst churros are unfortunately not gluten free, I was enlightened to find there are still a number of chocolaty treats I can enjoy.
While we waited for the remaining guests to arrive we were given a “tapas” plate to share. I discovered a new taste sensation that I cannot WAIT to return to San Churros for. Dunk a macaron in drippalicious molten chocolate; it is all the colours of sickly sweet wrong yet it left me feeling like I could conquer the world. The Boy looked on in bemusement while I dripped chocolate everywhere. And I mean everywhere. It was on my elbows, my forehead and even my camera.
Our first course was the new cinnamon breakfast churros which are made fresh daily in the morning and fried to order. Whilst I obviously didn’t get to taste any of them, the Boy quite enjoyed his although he did say that it wouldn’t really be something he would eat for breakfast. He usually eats healthy salads and fruit.
My replacement for the churros was another macaron which was served very apologetically. I laughed. As if I would ever be disappointed with being given more macarons.
Our second course included smaller sample tastings of their two new milkshakes. I was glad that we didn’t get the full-sized serves as there was no way we could have got through it all. Our first milkshake was the iced salted caramel. Fresh milk and vanilla ice cream were mixed together with swirls of dulce de leche and topped with whipped cream and chocolate. These babies were gulped down in seconds.
The popularity of salted caramel means it is a flavour that has been done to death by many kitchens but the next milkshake flavour was something a bit more interesting; salted chocolate coconut. Made with milk chocolate, shredded salted coconut, coconut syrup and dark choc chips this taste sensation put any salted caramel to bed. Let’s hope this is the new trend for 2014 because it is a whole new level of addictive sweet saltiness.
Our third course was the new sundaes however neither of them were gluten free. Consequently they kindly made me an adapted version of the new salted caramel ice cream sundae. The normal version contains white chocolate ice cream with warm salted caramel fudge, melted milk chocolate and crusted chocolate malt balls. My sundae was adapted to be gluten free by changing the ice cream flavour to vanilla and replacing the malt balls with smashed chunks of salted caramel macarons. The warmed salted caramel and melted milk chocolate were still layered in there as they were gluten free. The alternate textures of smooth ice cream, macarons, gooey caramel and crunchy chocolate was out of this world. I was informed that this adaptation would cost extra due to the addition of the macarons.
Moving onto the fourth course we were introduced to the new addition to their cake cabinet; the “Chocolate Volcano”. This dessert was not gluten free meaning the Boy got a whole Volcano to himself however after being generously filled with San Churro’s churros, macarons, chocolate, sundaes and milk shakes he was getting close to being absolutely stuffed.
I cut into the centre of the pudding for him and our eyes widened as luscious chocolate lava erupted out of the centre and dribbled out onto his plate. The pudding was served warm and despite our fullness the Boy managed to get through at least half of it before lowering his fork and admitting defeat.
My gluten free cake was one that is already on their menu however I was told it is very popular and not just those who eat gluten free. Rich and decadent, even I couldn’t get through one solo as the serving size is quite large. The centre of the cake was very moist with a subtle almond flavour.
We were onto the final stretch at the fifth course and by this point I could hear a few groans coming from the other side of the table. We had well and truly out-chocolated ourselves leaving no room for our final course.
The Boy was served a mug of San Churro’s traditional Spanish hot chocolate. They import this drink from Spain were it is made to an authentic Spanish recipe. This is not a hot drink for the light hearted as it is basically a mug of thick, molten chocolate. It is also not gluten free so I left the Boy to attempt to devour it on his own. The new versions of this drink take it to an even higher level of indulgence than before using a choice of three toppings; marshmallows and chocolate syrup, crusted malt balls or choc biscuit crumble. The Boy ate a few spoonfuls meekly before giving up for good.
I received a milk coverture hot chocolate instead which was light and foamy along similar lines to the standard hot chocolate many of you know well. I managed a few more mouthfuls than the Boy did with his drink before also putting my cup down with a sigh. I had been beaten by chocolate. And it was good.Chocolateria’s new Winter Menu launches on Monday 31st March, 2014 across all stores. Chompchomp attended San Churro’s Winter Menu preview night as a guest. However having been to San Churro as a customer several times already, I can guarantee I will continue to love their chocolate just as much when I return and have to pay for it. Chocolateria San Churro Northbridge 132 James Street, Northbridge WA 6003 | (08) 9328 3363 | http://www.sanchurro.com/
It is safe to presume that most people have been invited to a party for birthdays, engagements, Christmas and the like. Even food festivals get their own launch party these days. Cake clubs happen around the world on a daily basis and I am going to a blogger’s celebration of pork belly this week.
But have you ever heard of a party thrown specifically for an apple? Yes, that’s right. A party for a piece of fruit.
Well neither had I and when I received an invitation to Jazz Apple’s Taste the Crunch cocktail event at Bistro Guillaume I cannot deny that my first instinct was to politely decline. You see, although apples are gluten free and therefore entirely safe for me to eat, they are also full of fructose. Whilst fructose definitely won’t kill me I do get some rather unpleasant after-effects from indulging in it. The Boy does not suffer from fructose malabsorption and was conversely quite excited at the opportunity to attend. We grow apples in our own suburban backyard on cute little dwarf apple trees and he is a passionate green thumb. He was keen to see what sort of apple gets its own party. Being a loyal wife I agreed to attend the apple party with him.
The Jazz apple is a relatively new variety of apple which experienced a sell-out season last year. This year they are looking at having the biggest bumper crop to date and their producers in WA wanted to celebrate in style. A number of Perth foodies were invited to join them for a night of apple enhanced food and beverages.
The entire restaurant at Bistro Guillaume was adorned in hundreds of fresh Jazz apples while a groovy two piece jazz band beebopped away loudly.
Knowing that I was going to eat apple I prepared myself by chowing down a handful of glucose tablets. Glucose can, to a degree, help my gut absorb some fructose however this is only to a point. The bartenders busily worked away make a variety of elegant apple cocktails of which the apple Martini was my favourite, of course! 😉
The kitchen staff churned out plate after plate of Jazz apple laced morsels such as pork belly, salmon tartare and duck with pea purée. Each delectable mouthful ended with the sweet aftertaste of Jazz apple. The chef even made some gluten free adapted, apple topped crème brûlée just for me!
Although the amount of food provided was very generous I had to hold back somewhat as I knew if I got too carried away I was in for some serious fructose overload! At the end of the night on our way out we were given a show bag containing a six-pack of Jazz apples. I planned to take them into my work colleagues the following day to test them out.
Before heading home the Boy and I dropped into Rockpool for a quick bite to eat. It was easy getting a table and the waitstaff were very quick and attentive. I ordered my favourite of steak tartare however I was informed that the fat chips are cooked in the same oil as gluten containing foods so they are regrettably not gluten free. The Boy was more than happy to oblige by eating them for me. The steak tartare was reliably amazing; I have ordered this umpteen times and never been disappointed. Soft, nearly creamy in texture I got to enjoy every meaty mouthful to myself.
The Boy ordered the marron which was served with lightly poached plum, fennel purée, olives and a mint gel. His dish was nearly sweet enough to pass off as dessert and although I was happy with my carnivorous choice I did look on in envy.
No visit to Rockpool is complete without an order of their wonderful sides and I noticed a new one had appeared on the menu that I hadn’t seen before. It was described as wood fired grilled creamed corn with chipotle chilli butter and Manchego cheese. To be honest, all I needed to see was the mention of Manchego cheese and I was sold. Add in the flavour profiles of subtle smoke and spicy chipotle and it effectively turned this simple dish of creamed corn into a taste sensation.
On our way through the lobby to catch a taxi home we accidentally walked past the lobby lounge bar where there was a cake stand full of macarons on the counter. It stopped me dead in my tracks. Before I knew it I had bought one of every flavour as the Boy rolled his eyes at me. What a good man, he knows never to come between his wife and a macaron.
The next day at work I took in the Jazz apples and got the following verdict from my apple munching colleagues:“It reaches every taste-bud in my mouth and makes them go pop-pop-pop.” “It’s a party in my mouth” “It has a good balance between tart and sweet and the skin is as much a part of the apple eating experience as the flesh”
Love my work mates…thanks guys! 😉Chompchomp attended Bistro Guillaume as a guest of Jazz Apple. We paid for our meal at Rockpool in full. Bistro Guillaume Crown Perth, Great Eastern Highway, Burswood | (08) 9362 7551 | www.bistroguillaumeperth.com.au www.rockpool.com/rockpool-bar-and-grill-perth www.crownperth.com.au/bars/bars/lobby-lounge/about
There are many reasons why eating a raw diet can be both healthier for you, kinder to animals and help save our ailing planet but it does take a lot of commitment and time to prepare many of the dishes. Whilst I enjoy making everything from scratch I am also very time poor. I am greatly appreciative when I find more talented people out there to do the more laborious and technically challenging components of raw cooking. I was recently contacted by Chris from Raw by Chris to collaborate and create some raw dishes that are not just gluten free but also fructose friendly. She was generous enough to deliver me a bag of raw goodies containing an assortment of different raw foods; some ready to eat and others as core ingredients to utilise with my own raw food preparation. I was inspired to utilise each ingredient to its full potential and the first creation I made was this very addictive raw vanilla coconut pudding.
- 2 ½ cups young coconut meat (approx. 4 young coconuts)
- 1 cup of coconut water
- 1 tablespoon of organic vanilla extract
- Seeds scraped from ½ vanilla bean
- Dash sea salt
- 2 tablespoons Coconut butter from Raw by Chris
- Maple syrup to taste (I used 3 teaspoons) ** See note below
- Four Berries Super Food Jam from Raw by Chris for garnishing
- Mix coconut meat, coconut water, vanilla extract, vanilla bean seeds, salt and coconut butter in your OmniBlend or similar high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Add maple syrup (or agave) to taste.
- Serve with Four berries Super food jam or fresh berries.
Many of you may have twigged on that I’m a fan of raw food. Whilst I do not eat strictly raw I am always looking for ways to incorporate it more into my weekly diet at home. I am inspired by those take both veganism and raw food more seriously. Recently when I was out for breakfast at Harvest Espresso I tried a raw macaron made by Raw by Chris and fell in love on the spot.
A sugar free, dairy free, raw, living macaron! After devouring it eagerly I was prompted to contact Chris directly. I was interested to see if she wanted an help to formulate some fructose friendly raw sweets. Most raw food desserts are sweetened naturally with dried fruits which is a big no-no for us fructose malabsorbers. Imagine how happy I was not only was she enthusiastic about the concept, she also wanted me to be her guinea pig…..receive free raw food samples that are both gluten free and fructose friendly? How could I refuse such an offer?
Raw by Chris offer “Raw baskets” for purchase filled with a number of raw food goodies and delivered straight to your front door. The baskets cost $60. My basket of fructose friendly goodies contained the following:
● Coconut vanilla chia pudding with seasonal fresh fruit
● Dessert FM friendly cheesecake
● Four berries superfood jam
● Coconut butter
● Raw vegetable stock powder
● Bread crisps
● Marinated mushroom spread
I started eating my way through the ready-made food first before thinking more creatively how to devour the rest. The coconut vanilla chia pudding was a huge serve with enough in there for two greedy people or more modest servings for 3-4. Buried in the pudding were large chunks of fructose friendly fruits including orange and tart raspberries. There were subtle hints of spices and a gentle, natural tasting sweetness without being bland or flavourless. It was very filling.
The dessert was a fructose friendly raw cheesecake of which I had already been a tester for an earlier prototype. Incredibly it had an almost cheesy taste to it despite it being totally vegan. The berry cheese layer was thick and smooth with the pistachio nutty layer and textured coconut giving some alternate textures without overpowering the luscious cheesy taste.
I liked how there was a combination of dishes that are ready to eat in addition to items that encourage you to create your own masterpieces in the kitchen. The marinated mushroom spread was good enough to eat on its own but I resisted and smeared it generously onto the raw bread crisps. Paired with some fresh tomato, avocado, basil from the garden and a dash of sea salt these tasty snacks were snuffled up at record speed.
Before flying out for our holiday to Vietnam, I was dreaming of coconuts so the night before we flew out I made us different type of raw vanilla coconut pudding without using chia. I used the Raw by Chris Coconut Butter in addition to the Four Berries Superfood Jam which was made from a mix of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, goji berries, chia seeds, banana and spices.
You can find the easy recipe for my raw vanilla coconut pudding here. Its gluten free, dairy free and fructose friendly. And it’s delicious.
Whilst I understand my opinion is a little biased as I’m already a fan of Chris’s work, I love how her raw bundle of goodies included a variety of sweet and savoury things, in addition to some useful items you can use in your own food preparations. The bundle makes a great gift but in all honesty if I get one again it won’t make it back out of my kitchen!Disclaimer: I received the Raw Basket from Raw by Chris for free. Despite all these raw delights costing me nothing I would happily have paid for them and look forward to checking out another different round of treats from Raw by Chris in the future. See her website for more or head over to her beautiful blog Tales of a Kitchen.
This year I am very excited to be selected as one of the four official bloggers for Perth’s biggest food festival Eat Drink Perth. For the whole month of April there will be foodie events to suit everyone’s budgets and tastes held right across our fabulous City. The festival will climax at the end with Taste of Perth occurring in the first week of May. Taste is an international restaurant festival that is held in 18 cities around the world and this year is the first time it comes to Perth.
Eat Drink Perth 2014 will include a number of events that focus on providing gluten free and fructose friendly options leaving me spoilt for choice, here’s a Taste of what’s to come!
1. Fervor @ GreenhouseSunday 6th April, Greenhouse Perth, 100 St Georges Terrace $225 | Bookings essential | 6 pm | www.fervor.com.au
I love being part of something more exclusive and look forward to heading to Greenhouse for their degustation event by Fervor. This intimate event will cater for just 30 guests and is held at one of my favourite spots in Perth. We will get to sample some of the incredible native food that our state has to offer all matched with wines from our Southwest region.
2. Yum Cha in the ParkSaturday 12th April, Northbridge Piazza Free entry | 11 am-4 pm | visitperthcity.com
The fabulous Chinese tradition of yum cha is something of an institution in many Chinese restaurants in Northbridge every Sunday. Friends and family laugh and share dishes of dumplings, pork buns and even chicken feet. Entering its third year, Yum Cha in the Park returns for a day of entertainment including lion dances, live music and of course lots of traditional little dishes. There will even be a chicken feet eating competition to win flights to China with China Airways.
3. Food Truck RumbleSaturday 13th April, Perth Cultural Centre Free entry | 11 am-8 pm | Facebook | Twitter
The Food Truck movement has finally hit with full force in Perth and many of these trucks offer gluten free friendly options. Having already become addicted to both Marcelita’s Empanadas and Delish Ice’s sweet treats I am hanging out to see what else will be on offer at the Food Truck Rumble.
4. Pizza Date Night with Paul MacNishWednesday 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30th April, Northbridge Piazza Free | Food Demo 7.3 0pm, Movie 8.30 pm | visitperthcity.com
Get over hump day with a mid-week movie night. Arrive early to watch Perth personality Paul MacNish cook up some delicious dishes for the audience to try. There will also be fresh wood fired pizzas to buy before you get yourself getting comfy for the movie screening which starts at 8.30pm. Food is catered for by CNR Kitchen who are well known for their healthy menu focusing on paleo, raw, vegan and gluten free options.
5. Perth Home GrownSunday 6, 13, 20 & 27 April, Forrest Place, Murray Street Free entry | 11 am-4 pm | visitperthcity.com
I am a huge advocate of local and organic produce sourced from farmers markets. Perth Home Grown Markets offer a weekly changing variety of stalls focusing on wholesome goodness, sustainable options and eco-friendly living. There will be cooking demonstrations and activities including an Easter Egg hunt on Easter Day. Most importantly there will be plenty of ready to eat food options to provide you will the sustenance to carry all your goods back to the car!
6. High Tea at Muse CaféSaturday 5, 12, 19 & 26th April, Western Australian Museum, James Street, Northbridge $46 per person | 11 am & 1 pm | Book on 9221 4110
Held in the beautiful heritage listed Western Australian Museum building and offering both vegetarian and gluten free options. I am going to try and convince the Boy to do his first High Tea with me…wish me luck!
7. Gluten free cooking with Rebecca KerrFriday 4th April, City of Perth Library, Level 1, 140 William Street, Perth Free entry | 1-2 pm | Register
Rebecca Kerr will be presenting a free event at the City of Perth Library on gluten free cooking. I am always keen to learn more about how to eat healthier and live gluten free. She will be preparing some delicious creations for all attendees to sample.
8. Progressive Dinner TourHosted by Two Feet & A Heartbeat, every Monday and Tuesday in April Meet at Perth Town Hall | $150 per person | 6.30 pm | twofeet.com
In Perth City we have so many fabulous fine dining options so why not visit three in one night? The progressive dinner tours will have you at different venues for each course covering a total of three restaurants in one evening. Dietary requirements can be accommodated with advance notice.
9. International Great Waiters RaceSunday 27th April, 2-8 pm, Claisebrook Cover, East Perth Free entry | www.perthwaitersrace.com
Make sure you head down to Claisebrook Cove for some action packed free entertainment at the International Great Waiters Race. This is the first year Perth is participating in this international event that first started in Paris in 1904. The visualisation of apron clad men and women sprinting around the river with trays of beverages in hand sounds like it shouldn’t be missed. Meanwhile you are free to wander at a more sedate pace through the gourmet village enjoying the food and entertainment on offer. There will also be a helicopter golf ball drop competition with the first prize winner receiving a car!
10. Taste of Perth 20142-4 May, Langley Park General entry $32 pre-purchase | www.tasteofperth.com.au
For the big finale closing event for Eat Drink Perth, Taste of Perth will bring together our most talented, acclaimed and esteemed restaurants into one location at Langley Park overlooking the Swan River. The star studded line-up will include Nobu, Greenhouse, Silks, Print Hall, Lalla Rookh, Bistro Guillaume and El Publico. All my favourites!!
We really have to consider ourselves lucky living here in Perth. Not only do we have the Swan Valley, a fabulous wine region only half an hour’s drive from the CBD, but for those willing to do a weekender trip we also have Margaret River. In November every year this relaxed little town becomes a buzz with life for the three day food festival; Gourmet Escape. Last year the Boy and I attended in full feasting force visiting the Gourmet Village on both days in addition to attending a few fabulous satellite events. We ate uncontrollably all weekend long and our repeated episodes of over-indulgence stretched our stomachs to near-bursting capacity. After just a few hours of not eating, our saggy baggy internal gizzards would start to gurgle and unbelievably we would get hungry again. On our last night before returning to Perth, we rolled our giant sized bodies down to the main strip to find ourselves more food. Our noses lead us to Morries Anytime.
I started off with looking at Morries Anytime’s cocktail menu. Their mixologist Billy Phillips was recently awarded “highly commended” for the Mixologist Award in the 2013 AHA Awards. Earlier that day at the Food for Thought sessions at Voyager Estate I had thoroughly enjoyed his Billy’s Punch and now I was keen to try more of his beverages. It had been quite a hot day and I needed something non-alcohol to start. This being quite a rarity for me I was thrilled to see a variety of interesting mocktails available. I chose the Green Guy; a jar of cold Green tea with added cucumber, rosemary and lime. I gulped it down eagerly and felt its icy freshness hit the back of my palate and slowly cool me down from the inside. My second drink was a Tart Gin Cooler. It contained a long pour of Tanqueray gin split with a freshly squeezed grapefruit and topped with a splash of Peychauds bitters tonic & fresh basil. It was as strong as rocket fuel and made up for my earlier sobriety.
Morrie’s menu facilitates shared style dining which suited us fine as we just wanted to pick and nibble the night away together. Our first choice was the treacle cured salmon. Melt-in-your-mouth thin slices of brightly coloured salmon had just a delicate hint of caramel sweetness. It was coupled alongside a grilled fennel and pear salad with orange vinaigrette.
For nearly a whole year previously the Boy refused to eat oysters after eating a bad one and I’m so relieved that he has finally put those memories behind him and got back in the oyster saddle. Morries oysters came with a perfect sized dollop of gin and cucumber sorbet. We necked back these fresh, slurpalicious beauties much quicker than we really should have. Gluttony dies hard.
Relishing in the freshness of the seafood we ordered the fresh prawn meat salad served with crispy baby cos lettuce, sweet corn, radish and a thick lemon dressing. After eating quite a lot of heavy food all day these dishes sat so light in our overextended stomachs. The only problem was we kept ordering more.
For the days preceding our trip I was convinced that my iron level were plummeting again as that familiar tiredness, cold chills and achiness had started to return. Whilst I don’t eat red meat often, when my body craves it I listen and consequently ordered myself the porterhouse steak.
The steak was served with a luscious scoop of horseradish crème fraiche on a creamy potato terrine with asparagus and vine ripened tomatoes. That’s my dose of iron for the day, check. As a backup, I wrote myself a reminder in my calendar to take more iron tablets in the following week.
The Boy has also recognised my need for iron as I’m normally a very energetic person and the iron deficiency version of me becomes very quiet and sleepy. Thankfully he kept his lectures on the need to eat a plant based diet to himself that evening and ordered himself the raw zucchini pasta and a rocket salad.
Each “pasta” ribbon was long and spaghetti-like just how we both like it and I quickly nabbed a big forkful before he could fight me off. The zucchini was coated liberally in a creamy nut truffle sauce and mixed in with fresh raw peas and herbs. My inner truffle addict relished in that wondrous unique flavour.
Morries Anytime is a must on your next visit to Margaret River. They have options to suit all dietary requirements including gluten free, vegetarian and vegan dishes. I was really keen to return to try their breakfast menu on the next day but we ran out of time and had to get back to Perth for work. Morries have placed as finalists in both the AHA Awards and the Gold Plate Awards in 2013 and scored an appearance in the latest West Australian Good Food Guide. And rightfully so, we will definitely make a repeat visit next time we are down south.Morries Anytime Shop 2, 149 Bussell Highway, Margaret River WA 6285 | (08) 9758 8280 | www.morries.com.au Price: $$$ (Tapas $7-15, Mains $32-38) Food: 3.8/5 (right on the money with share dishes, local ingredients) Service: 3.8/5 (relaxed and casual, no pretension) Ambience: 3.2/5 (dark and moody at night, hard for food photography!) Drinks: 4/5 (go for the rocket fuelled cocktails) Total: 15.2/20
The Gluten Free & Healthy Living Expo held at the Perth Convention Centre over this weekend was a feast for the gluten intolerant with numerous free tastings of all sorts including biscuits, cakes, beer, raw foods, popcorn and gourmet condiments. Four separate stage areas provided both captivating entertainment and educational sessions making it easy for us to stay for most of the day. Having been to many food festivals it was such a nice change to not have to ask if anything was gluten free! Make sure you go to the expo on an empty stomach because there was so much free food on offer you will be glad you have the room. Better still you can do what we did and make the most of all the discounts on products and buy extras to take home and eat later! For the hungry punters with larger appetites there were also more substantial dishes for purchase. We both had a busy and fun day out and look forward to seeing what is on offer next year!
Here are my top ten highlights of this fantastic day out.
1. The aroma from Tasty Bites
The luscious cooking aroma from the Tasty Bites stall hits you as soon as you walk in the entrance. Throughout the day they were cooking a variety of tastings using their Asian and Indian ready meal packs. For example they made a very moreish omelette using the Mumbai Mushrooms pack which literally vanished in seconds. Later in the day we sampled a san choy bow that was equally scrumptious. Both dishes contained small amounts of onion so for those with fructose malabsorption you should be careful on intake depending on tolerance.
2. All the cakes at Well & Good
The Well & Good stall was very popular and we had to fight our way to the front to see what the fuss was about. And once we did we realised why. Nearly every type of their cake mix had been baked for free sampling with chunks of carrot cake, chocolate mud cake, jam rolls and other delights. All were soft and spongy. All were moist and delicious. They even do a dairy free, gluten free custard mix. Neither of us could help ourselves and we made the most of their special offer buying the Chia, Linseed and Sunflower Bread mix, the Chocolate Mud Cake mix and the All Purpose Cake mix for a total of $15.
3. Everything at Hot Pot Popcorn
It is true; I am an incurable popcorn addict and have already been well acquainted with the Perth based poppers Hot Pot Popcorn. Make sure you try their caramel and sweet chilli flavours, but be prepare to eat the whole bag because you will not be able to stop at one handful. They had an expo special of three bags for $15 so of course we bought three!
4. The beautiful smiles at Slendier slim
In our household we are regular eaters of the brand konjac pasta called Slim Pasta and we use it as a replacement for noodles and rice in order to minimise calories and maximise our fibre intake. Slendier Slim were kindly giving away free recipes and packets of pasta to all expo attendees.
5. The entertainment at the Stage Sessions
We attended a number of the stage sessions and I loved the variety and scope provided. We saw the Master Chefs Michael Weldon and Courtney Roulston cooking up a storm, listened to seminars on Coeliac disease by Dr Jason Tye-Din and the low FODMAP diet by nutritionist Lindsay Peacock. We ended our day watching Kim McCosker cook up some family favourites using just 4 Ingredients.
6. It tasted like real bread at Strange Grains Bakery
This was the first I had heard of this Leederville based company called Strange Grains Bakery. They make all their own breads on site and none of them contain soy flour which is great for me as I react to this flour in breads. Their breads are light and fluffy on the inside with a great chewy crust. Even my cat Rollie approved as he snuck onto the bench, ate through the plastic and devoured a big hole in the middle of the loaf! So naughty!
7. The sauce even Rob Brodfield loves at Sayaka’s Kitchen
The team from Sakaya’s Kitchen were enthusiastically cooking up a storm and were very passionate about their product. Their gluten free Teriyaki sauce is made with an authentic 100 year old family recipe and its flavour profile goes well beyond any complexity I have tasted in teriyaki before. Apparently it even gets the tick of approval from Rob Broadfield! Bottles of it sold like hot cakes and you can be sure one made its way into our busting bags.
I love that the raw food movement that is taking off with such a high velocity in Perth. However whilst all Rawsome’s stunning sweets are gluten free there were no fructose friendly sweets on offer. After already sampling some food containing onion from Tasty Bites I didn’t want to push my limits and reluctantly missed out. The non-intolerant Boy happily took a hit for the team and tried a sample of their Carawmel slice. It was a total hit and as a result he insisted that they scored a spot on our highlight list. Next year I’ll bring my glucose tablets to the expo so I can try them with him.
The team from Simply Paella were cooking up a storm with a number of Spanish dishes for purchase including gazpacho, meatballs and paella. The meatballs at $5 were a hit and had already sold out by lunchtime. I was lucky enough to get the last serve and it felt like Christmas being able to eat them as meatballs are so rarely made gluten free. They were so tender soft and flavoursome and you would have never guessed I had already been eating all morning as I demolished them in a heartbeat. The Boy’s paella wasn’t as tasty and for $10 per small serve he would have liked more seafood than just one calamari ring.
10. Finding a beer even I enjoyed at O’Brien Beer
Please don’t judge me but I hate beer. This dislike is greatly biased by the fact that I cannot drink most of it as it is not gluten free however it is a great source of disappointment for my beer swilling husband. We stopped at the O’Brien Beer stall and I was pressured to at least try one so on recommendation I tried their Pale Ale. It actually wasn’t THAT bad! It tasted like sparkling fruit juice with a slight but not unpleasant taint of beer. This description of mine did get a few one brow raises and exposed my naivety to beer drinking but I actually liked it enough to drink the whole sample which is a first. I may even consider buying myself a whole one next time I’m down at The Precinct. My first beer, what a concept!Coles Gluten Free & Healthy Living Expo 2014 Pavilion 3, Level 1 at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, Mount Bay Road, Perth Saturday and Sunday March 15th & 16th from 9.30am to 4.00pm Admission: Adults $14, Concession (aged, health, student) $10, Coeliac WA members $7, Children under 16 with a parent or guardian FREE
My friends often joke about an aspect of my personality referred to as the “all or nothing”. According to them, I have a habit of applying this methodology to most of my life. I eat all the cakes or no cakes. I order all the cheese or no cheese. I buy four dresses after a year of buying none. You get the drift. So when the Boy suggested we do a predominately vegetarian, no alcohol detox diet after the New Year, I took the whole idea very seriously and proceeded to book us into a number of vegetarian restaurants around Perth. Just because we were being healthy didn’t mean we had to stop eating out did it? We visited The Raw Kitchen and Solomon’s Café in addition to doing a three day juice cleanse with Au Naturale.
I can tell you that going vego is no longer a boring diet of carrot sticks and hummus; in fact it makes quite the flavoursome lifestyle change. Towards the tail end of our detox we booked lunch at Heavenly Plate online with a Dimmi special which offered a 50% discount off the total bill. Heavenly Plate is a quaint little restaurant positioned on the busy part of Canning Highway just after the bridge in Applecross. As we entered we walked past their menu board and the Boy asked me “Are you SURE this is all vegetarian here? It says chicken and pork on the menu?”
Upon further reading of their menu, I confirmed to the Boy that everything was in fact ALL vegetarian and that the “pork” and “chicken” are made from tofu and other vegetable products. Prior to our visit I had perused over their website and seen that they make some very spectacular looking cakes in house. So before placing our ordering I walked over to check out their cake cabinet and make our selection. There were a number of beautifully decorated cakes on display but unfortunately the waitress informed me that although they were all vegan not a single one was gluten free. I couldn’t hide my disappointment from my crestfallen face.
We started off with a couple of small bites while I pondered on what to do about my cake dilemma as I had totally geared myself up for a sweet feast. Our first dish was the crispy yam rolls, paired with fresh mint and strawberries these rolls were an interesting yet addictive starter. They were made from soft rolls of sweet potato and yam wrapped in vermicelli noodles and subsequently deep fried which turned the noodles into a fine crunchy net encasing the super soft “meat” inside.
None of the remaining starters on their lunch menu were gluten free so we ordered a serve of scrambled “vegan eggs” made from tofu and coloured with turmeric. They looked eerily like real egg and left the same texture in the mouth. The taste was slightly different to egg but certainly didn’t taste overwhelmingly like tofu either. I could see myself successfully tricking a few meat eating friends with this dish!
The Boy ordered the Japanese burger with wedges. His burger was made with a marinated teriyaki “steak” in between two patties of Japanese rice and finished with fresh lettuce, tomato and cucumber.
This dish couldn’t be made gluten free so I didn’t get to taste it but he did say that it was very similar to eating a real meat burger except for the rice bun. He started to scheme how he could fool his carnivorous mates into coming back to Heavenly Plate and eating all these tofu dishes unknowingly. He is a man who loves a good practical joke.
With my cake dismay lingering in my mind, I had to have something sweet for my main. Our waitress told me that both the cinnamon French toast and the pancakes could be made gluten free. I settled on the French toast.
It was a good choice. Those two slices of sweet buttered French toast gave me just the sugar hit I was looking for. The gluten free bread didn’t crumble apart or dissolve like many can do with the rigours of Frenching. Each piece was dusted lightly in cinnamon sugar just like my mum used to do and was served with maple syrup and mixed berry compote. Some extra compote was served on the side so that the toast didn’t go too soggy on the plate. A thoughtful touch.
At half price this was a definitely a lunch worth eating however I cannot deny I was disappointed in the number of gluten free options especially the lack of even just one cake. There are a few interesting creations on the menu in addition to a few dishes that will surprise your meat eating friends into enjoying eating vegan. Wonders never cease!Heavenly Plate 2/899 Canning Highway, Applecross WA 6153 | (08) 9316 8818 | www.heavenlyplate.com.au Price: $$ (Entrée $7-13, Main $13-22) Food: 3/5 (101 ways to eat tofu without knowing it’s tofu) Service: 3/5 (a little slow to start but unobtrusive and friendly) Ambience: 3/5 (has a quaint French provincial style) Drinks: 2/5 (fruit drinks tasted a little artificial) Total: 11/20
For the first few years as a university student I lived just out of Fremantle and since then it has always felt like the stomping ground of my youth. Back in those days I was a bit quirky and leftfield meaning that I fitted in quite well with the other interesting types you could find walking through Freo’s old streets. Returning there brings back many memories of what was literally a life time ago for me. In those years gone by, the popular Little Creatures Brewery didn’t even exist and its predecessor was a massive crocodile farm of all things! You could pay to go in and have a look and I remember going through there with my Dad and finding the whole thing rather disturbing yet oddly fascinating.
I don’t often manage to encourage the Boy to come with me to Fremantle. It’s a shame because I love so much about it but with the horrendous parking and no similar fond memories of his own I can understand his reluctance. And more to the point, living in the Vic Park area it’s not like we don’t have plenty of our own more local options. It had been a long time since we had visited Little Creatures Brewery and after a three day juice fast I wasn’t sure if I had made the right choice going there for my first day of real food.
I asked our waitress what was available to order gluten free and was given their gluten free menu with a variety of red crosses and scribbles added to indicate what I could eat. All pizzas and desserts were crossed out so we picked a couple of nibbles to share. Whilst nothing on the menu really excited me, share plates are a good excuse to be able to order multiple dishes so I was happy with that.
My happiness was short-lived. I never realised just how average the food at Little Creatures had become. Our beetroot salad came out minutes after placing our order. The beetroot was watery and flavourless like it had come out of a can.
Service was impressively quick despite the entire dining hall being packed to the brim and before long more of our plates came out. For the chickpea falafels, I requested for the pita bread to be served on the side to avoid gluten contamination. The side salad still had onion despite my request for its omission as it is high in fructose and I react if I eat it. The falafels were dry and similarly without much taste however once lavishly covered with the minted yoghurt they were edible. It was unfortunate that we only got a teeny bowl of the yoghurt as each falafel really needed to be smothered in the stuff.
The grilled prawn skewers were the absolutely low light of the meal and I left most of them for the Boy to eat. Even he was reluctant to do so and that is unusual as prawns are about the only animal protein he will still eat happily. Hard and chewy with the flavour of dirty dishwater even the romesco sauce did nothing to save these poor critters.
The grilled haloumi was the only dish we enjoyed. It is hard to get this squeaky dish wrong. The cheese was grilled to a lovely caramelised colour and served with fresh parsley and a lemon wedge. I was thankful we saved the best until last.
There were no gluten free desserts on the menu and I was in some ways relieved because I didn’t think I could get through more of their tasteless food. Instead I took us off in the direction of the Fremantle Markets in search of some macarons. We needed an instant injection of deliciousness to make up for all that unpleasant food. Maison Saint-Honoré never fails to disappoint me with a good old mac-attack hit. Their macarons have not only aced all those vital layers of textures but also had the more difficult and intricate complexity of flavours.
Diverging away from my usual choices I picked honeycomb, their flavour of the month and coconut, The Boy chose my old favourite salted caramel and a raspberry. We savoured them slowly as we walked through the bustle of the Fremantle Markets before making our way back to the car. At least our outing ended on a good note.
Upon reflection of my photos of Little Creatures’ gluten free menu on our way home I noticed that to make the prawn skewers gluten free, the romesco sauce was crossed out yet our gluten free version had it included. Had they changed the ingredients to make it gluten free and therefore served it to me or was it an error? Given my reaction that afternoon my guess is the former although I’m certain that the poor standard of food is bound to have caused a reaction in many people without gluten issues.Little Creatures Brewery 40 Mews Road, Fremantle WA 6160 | (08) 9430 5555 | www.littlecreatures.com.au Price: $$ (Small plates $8-12, Big plates $12-29) Food: 2/5 (cheap food for the beer drinking masses) Service: 3.5/5 (no fuss efficiency, attentive and energetic) Ambience: 3.5/5 (perfect for a Sunday sesh, great views with a buzzing Freo vibe ) Drinks: 3/5 (hard to judge unless you drink beer, short wine list has some drinkable options) Total: 12/20 www.maisonsainthonore.com Price: $ (Macarons $1.50 each, other French pastries available) Food: 9/10 (now that is what I’m talking about!) Service: 9/10 (being half French I’m a little biased but who doesn’t love a French accent?) Total: 18/20