For anyone who has gone through the journey of having a back injury you will understand what an ordeal it can be; not just physically but emotionally as well. When I was in my early thirties, a couple of my spine’s intervertebral discs decided to give way while I was in the middle of performing a dental procedure on a dog. It was at a point where my veterinary career was progressing perfectly and I was just about to ask my bosses to buy in as a partner to the practice. I was one of their star employees who happily worked consecutive twelve hours shifts, overtime and after-hours with no complaints.
And then, thanks to my back, it all turned on it’s head. It took me eight grueling weeks to be able to return to work and even then it was only in a part-time capacity. It was over a year before I could go through a full day without severe pain. Chronic pain can often lead to depression and it took me a long time before I could say I felt mentally whole again. Fortunately those dark days are far behind me and my focus on health, nutrition and mobility forms part of every day of my life.
Given my history, I became very concerned this week when I had a sudden onset of back pain with a total inability to bend. I couldn’t even put on a pair of socks! After seeing a doctor, remedial massage therapist and physio along with downing some analgesics, I am relieved to find out it is hopefully just my ol’ faithful disc flaring up again with some muscle spasm to boot. I am hoping this is a better prognosis as I cannot afford to have an extended time off work again!
To assist my body in recovery, I have been nourishing myself with natural anti-inflammatory foods including fresh fish, leafy greens, beetroot, ginger and turmeric. Because the Boy isn’t keen on curry, I had to think hard about how to add turmeric into our daily meals. This inspired me to create a dairy free custard that is also fructose friendly and of course gluten free. It it naturally sweetened and easy to make in the Thermomix. If you don’t have a Thermomix, you can make on your stove top too.
- 2 free range eggs
- 1 vanilla pod, split open and scraped
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 45 grams of a natural sweetener of your preference such as maple syrup, rice malt syrup or coconut sugar
- 50 gm arrowroot or gluten free cornflour
- 400ml can organic coconut milk
- Add all ingredients into your Thermomix mixing bowl and cook for 7min | 90C | Speed 4.
- Once cooked, blend for 4 sec | Speed 6.
- Remove any remaining vanilla pod portions and serve immediately.
Like many Australians, I have a mixed racial background. My father was born in France and is proudly patriotic, consequently I grew up listening to endless stories about the food, culture and history of my ancestors. One thing he taught me from an early age was that each region of France has their own signature dishes or types of cuisine that they proclaim to be famous for.
Brittany, or Bretagne is a historic province in the north-west of France that is rich in culture. In contrast to a lot of France where the locals will drink wine daily, the traditional drink of Bretons is cider with Brittany being the second largest cider producing region in France. They are also recognised for their crêpes and galettes which traditionally replaced bread as basic food. These are made with buckwheat flour and thus are gluten free.
Breizh Original Crêperie is a new pop up restaurant located on Leonard Street in Victoria Park. The building is used for a number of different pop up events over the course of the week with Breizh securing the venue for Saturday and Sunday nights.
Run by two French brothers this dynamic team aims to provide traditional French Bretagne food with a bit of a modern twist. They utilise simple, locally sourced ingredients and make everything in house themselves.
Although their savoury crepes are made with gluten free buckwheat flour, they do prefer that any severely intolerant or coeliac customers notify them 48 hours in advance so they can ensure to take extra precautions with the kitchen environment to avoid any cross contamination.
For our invited feast to follow with the tradition of Bretagne, the Boy organised some ciders for us to bring along and enjoy with our meals. Not exactly the most fructose friendly beverage but they do say when in Rome…
We started our meal with a serve of the apero; an appetiser galette to share with parsley, roasted garlic and olive oil with gooey melted Emmental cheese.
The buckwheat added a subtle nutty flavour and the crepes had a surprisingly crisp texture.
For our main we opted for the weekly special galette. Breizh post their changing weekly specials up on their website every week and include a new galette and crepe to keep the menu dynamic and interesting.
Our savoury galette was made with dried wild morel mushrooms, chestnut mushrooms, fresh tarragon and parsley with a luxurious white wine cream sauce. Added to this was some melted Swiss cheese and sprinkles of toasted pine nuts. Again the outer most edge of my galette had a paper thin crispiness to it yet the centre was soft, gooey and rich in flavour. A taste sensation for sure.
For dessert we both chose a different type of crepe. These crepes can be made with either normal flour or buckwheat flour. For those wanting gluten free, ensure to inform your waiter on ordering that you want the buckwheat option.
One of the permanent items on the crepe menu is the salted caramel crepe. This was our favourite, despite its simplicity. It is made with homemade salted caramel sauce, and I recommend to go for the option of an added ice-cream scoop.
The weekly crepe special was also a winner and was topped with a cube of velvety strawberry parfait, drizzles of strawberry coulis and fresh whipped cream. This was a crepe for those with a strong sweet tooth. It was a warm night and we had to devour this treat quickly before the parfait turned into a puddle of pink syrup.
I have been informed that Briezh Original Crêperie are attempting to secure a more permanent location in Vic Park but at this stage it is not set in stone. In the meantime they are happy to be working out of Leonard Street and are spending their time focusing on producing quality crepes and galletes.
The little pop-up restaurant fills up quickly each week and I highly recommend heading to their website and pre-booking a table. Don’t forget to advise them in advance if you are gluten free too.Disclaimer: Chompchomp was an invited guest of Breizh. Given the fact that this restaurant is within five minutes’ walk from her front door, she will be sure to happily return as a full paying customer. Always happy to eat a piece of my heritage 😉 Breizh Original Crêperie Pop Up Event Every Saturday and Sunday night from 6pm to 9pm | 1 Leonard Street Victoria Park WA 6100 | breizhoriginal.com.au
There are some childhood food favourites of mine that die hard. My Mum is a talented baker and when we were kids she could effortlessly create a whole repertoire of delectable treats that never lasted long out of the oven. For school bake sales, her chocolate slice would always be the first to sell out and her melting moments were a textural delight. At Christmas time there were a number of cherished creations that would be guaranteed to fill our fridge and her pecan pie was one of those.
When I was approached by Belmont Forum to develop some recipes for Christmas I knew just had to have at least one symbolisation of my childhood and decided to adapt Mum’s recipe to be more gluten free friendly. There is nothing sugar free, vegan or paleo about these pecan pies but then I feel we all have to live a little at Christmas time. Even if it means hitting the gym a little harder in the New Year! 😉
- Readymade gluten free sweet shortcrust pastry
- 20 grams butter, unsalted, room temperature
- ¼ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1 egg, room temperature
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- ½ cup pecans, roughly chopped
- Defrost ready-made gluten free shortcrust pastry as per packet instructions.
- Preheat oven to 170C. Grease individual tartlet trays and one baking tray.
- Roll pastry 2mm thick between two sheets of baking paper.
- Place pastry into tartlet tins and trim edges to neaten. Using a star shaped pastry cutter cut the stars which will be used to top each of the pies.
- Weigh down the inside of the pies with baking weights or uncooked rice.
- Place pies and stars on the baking tray and bake in a pre-heated oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown. The stars will take slightly less time to cook, approx. 7-8 minutes.
- Leave oven on 170C.
- Ensure the butter is at room temperature. Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl on low speed with electric beaters for about 1 minute until mixture is light and creamy. Add egg and maple syrup, beat well. Add the chopped pecans.
- Pour the filling mixture into the prepared pastry pie shells.
- Bake for 5-10 minutes or until the filling is set.
- Place the pastry stars on the pies while they are warm and let them stand for 10 minutes before removing them from their tins.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
This is an original recipe by Chompchomp for part of the Twelve Days of Blogger’s Christmas at Belmont Forum. All ingredients to develop this recipe were funded for by Belmont Forum.
Chocolate is an addiction of mine that I’m certain I can blame on my genetics. Both Mum and Dad love their chocolate and I have been coerced into a number of chocolate binges with Mum over the years. I figure that there is no point fighting nature and assure myself that chocolate IS a nourishing super food after all. In fact, I am actually doing my body a favour giving it a daily dose. The best type of chocolate, in my humble opinion, is raw chocolate. sumptuous and silky, it has a melt in your mouth texture that will certainly have you going back for more.
On our last visit to the The Raw Kitchen in Fremantle, the Boy and I shared an uber-delicious raw peppermint slice. Unfortunately it was full of fructose and while I certainly enjoyed it at the time, the aftermath wasn’t pleasant. Wanting to relive the good parts of that moment without all the abdominal pain, I was inspired to create a fructose friendly raw peppermint slice. Whilst I realise that my version does not resemble The Raw Kitchen’s with respect to its symmetry and perfection, I can assure you they still taste just as good, if not better. Try them for yourself.
- 1 cup (100 grams) almond meal
- 4 tablespoons (85 grams) rice malt syrup (use more if you prefer it sweeter)
- 1 cup (100 grams) shredded coconut
- ½ cup (55 grams) raw extra virgin coconut oil, melted
- 4 tablespoons chia seeds
- 4 heaped tablespoons of raw cacao powder (use more if you prefer your chocolate rich)
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
- 1 pinch of Himalayan sea salt
- 1 large sized avocado (or 1 & ½ small)
- ¼ cup (85 grams) maple syrup
- ⅓ cup (75 grams) raw extra virgin coconut oil, melted
- 1 & ½ cup (150 grams) shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract depending on preference
- 1 pinch of Himalayan sea salt
- ¼ cup (30 grams) raw extra virgin coconut oil, melted
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- ¼ cup (30 grams) raw cacao powder
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of Himalayan sea salt
- Line a 20cmx20cm baking dish with foil.
- Mix the almond meal, rice malt syrup, coconut, melted coconut oil, chia seeds, cocoa and vanilla.
- Press the mix using the back of a spoon firmly into the tray, sprinkle with salt and place in the freezer to set for 5 – 10 minutes.
- Place all ingredients in high powered blender and blend until smooth. For those with a Thermomix place ingredients in mixing bowl and mix for 60 sec/Speed 5-9 increasing gradually. Scrape the sides of the bowl with the spatula and repeat. Smooth mixture into prepared dish and stick back into the freezer for another 10 minutes.
- Gently warm coconut oil until it is melted and combine with maple syrup. Stir well.
- Pour over chilled bottom layer and return to the freezer for about 15 minutes, or until the chocolate layer is hardened.
- Once set, remove from the tin and chop into little squares. Keep in a container in the fridge or freezer depending on preferences.
Belmont Forum‘s recipes cards of the 12 Days of Blogger’s Christmas. All ingredients were purchased and paid for by Belmont Forum. Belmont Forum had no influence on the content of this recipe.
Being a veterinarian makes me the only scientist in my direct family; my mother is a retired Jazz singer, my father is a fashion designer and even my sister will oil paint in her spare time. Whilst I do enjoy the freedom and creativity of the arts, my strongest loyalties will always lie with my furry patients and their owners.
This isn’t to say I don’t love and cherish my blog too and with Chompchomp turning three this month it has been so exciting to watch my readership steadily grow each year. I find it so touching to know that through my writing I can help others with food intolerances find the courage to dine out while still providing some entertainment to those who are not restricted in their diet. These days I find my inbox filling up with invitations and product trials at an alarmingly fast rate. Because of my long shifts and late hours, there are many events that I have to knock back and I need to ensure to only choose the ones that I think are relevant to me and my readers.
I recently attended the South Africa Roadshow held at the Burswood Convention Centre. South Africa has always been on my bucket list and I imagined this would be an event aimed at people in the travel media including journalists and bloggers. I soon found out that it was actually a night for travel agents to help them learn to pitch and sell different tours and resorts to their customers. Not really applicable to my blog at all.
While the Boy was keen to stay and enjoy all the free South African wine, I had come off the back of a long day with not much to eat and was hungry enough to eat my own arm. After asking the waitress three times if there was anything gluten free I quickly grew tired of waiting around for a reply and decided to leave. I had given the event organisers advance notice of my gluten free requirement but obviously this was to no avail.
Instead of returning home, the Boy agreed to stay for dinner but requested we go somewhere cheap. I have a history of blowing the budget at the Crown and with their flagship restaurants including Rockpool, Nobu and Bistro Guillaume it is an easy thing to do. I knew that their cheaper option Market & Co was in the Entertainment Book which would mean we would get a discount of up for $45 off our meal. I found a bunch of gluten free options on the menu with a few more dishes able to be adapted. We started with the salt and pepper cuttlefish with Asian coleslaw. It was fairly decent serve for the price, freshly fried and coated in thin gluten free batter. The coleslaw had seen better days and was not much more than a pile of tired looking cabbage.
The Boy ordered the lobster risotto. It was served on a bed of truffled corn purée and garnished with random blobs of salsa verde splashed across the plate like an accident. The risotto was laced with a generous amount of “lobster” meat which was really crayfish however this dish was somewhat ruined by the faint dishwater after-taste as if the rice had been cooked in a dirty pan.
I chose the grilled salmon which the chef adapted to be gluten free. It came with a shiitake mushroom risotto and an oddly placed squiggle of saffron beurre blanc on the side of the plate. Presentation was seemingly not the chef’s strong point for the evening but despite my dish’s appearance the mushroom risotto was creamy and tasted freshly made.
The only gluten free dessert option at Market & Co was a fruit salad which didn’t inspire me at all. Instead I managed to twist the Boy’s arm and convince him to head next door to Nobu for a night cap. On the walk over I reminded him of Nobu’s drop dead gorgeous gluten free chocolate fondant with its luscious eruption of gooey chocolate centre. I even dug up a photo on my phone to remind him.
I am pretty sure he wasn’t even listening to me, he just heard “green tea ice cream” and it was a done deal for him.
However after taking our seats at the bar in a brief moment of spontaneity, I ended up ordering us the other gluten free option on the menu; the salted caramel miso parfait. Topped with Tonka foam and white chocolate and garnished with caramelised popcorn, it appeared to me that my highly esteemed fondant had met its match.
The obvious solution to this conundrum is that now I am going to have to go back to Nobu again, order both the fondant AND the parfait and then compare them both to find out the real winner! 😉 I mean, chocolate fondant + salted caramel parfait + popcorn + champagne….does it actually get any better than that?Chompchomp was an invited guest of the South Africa Roadshow where she enjoyed a couple of glasses free wines and cheese. Sadly that was the extent of the freebies for the evening and the meal at Market & Co and Nobu was funded for by herself and the Boy. Not to worry as the Entertainment Card gave a neat little discount off the total bill making it a super cheap night. Market & Co Crown Promenade Perth, Great Eastern Highway, Burswood WA 6100 | (08) 9362 7551 | www.crownperth.com.au/restaurants/casual/market-co/about www.noburestaurants.com/perth
Since leaving the East coast as a fresh faced teenager to pursue a career in veterinary science, I quickly learnt to depend on only myself. While I already had an innate level of independence at that age, being separated from my parents by thousands of kilometres had a way of perfecting this skill. Nearly two decades have passed since then and I’m now at a point in my life now where I realise being fiercely self reliant isn’t always a good thing. Recognising that I need and am needed by my close family members seems much more relevant, especially given the distance that separates some of us. I haven’t lived in the same city as either of my parents since I departed long ago and can sometimes go for over twelve months before I cast eyes on their lovable faces. As we all get older, I am realising that I need to make more effort to spend quality time with each of them individually.
It has been years since Mum has come over to visit us in Perth and even longer since she came over with her other half, Jack. They both adore our South West region and requested that we take them down to “The Margaret’s River” as Mum loves to call it. No amount of convincing can get her to call it otherwise.
It is rare for us to be able to relax together so to celebrate this occasion I booked us in at Vasse Felix winery for a long lazy lunch. On our way to Vasse Felix we stopped off at Bettenay’s Margaret River Nougat Company.
Neither Mum nor Jack are big wine drinkers so the Boy and I tried to avoid boring them to pieces with winery after winery. Bettenay’s do have some wines on offer in addition to some luscious liqueurs and, of course, loads of nougat. Their nougat is all handcrafted with gorgeous flavours including cherry and coconut, and my favourite chocolate mint.
After each purchasing a bundle of nougat we headed off to one of Margaret River’s most popular caves; Lake Cave. It has been ages since the Boy and I have gone down into the caves yet every time we do we are reminded what a natural beauty it is.
Lake Cave has one of the only “suspended tables” in the world which weighs several tonnes and forms a breathtaking sight floating in the air casting its refection in the ripples of water below. This cave is one of the deepest in the region so be prepared to walk down and then back up a fair number of steep stairs. There are rest points along the way for those less fit and able.
There were enough stairs to work up anyone’s appetite and after the Caves we headed straight to Vasse Felix for lunch. It was a long weekend and I was grateful that I had pre-booked because every winery that we passed along the way looked packed with cars.
Vasse Felix have an à la carte menu or alternatively if you select dishes marked on the menu with a star you can enjoy three courses for a set price of $65.
There were a handful of gluten free options and one vegetarian dish for each course. Upon arrival our waitress brought out some fresh bread and cultured butter. There was no gluten free bread available so they kindly brought out some marinated olives for me to nibble on while my family hungrily feasted on the bread.
The marinated olives are sourced from a local olive farm called 34 Degrees South and were served warm. I loved how the olive flesh slithered off the pit easily and consequently I downed most of the bowl before I realised that I should probably share.
Mum and Jack both ordered the omelette for entrée. Cooked sous-vide with mirin, it was served with new season asparagus and locally foraged mushrooms. The egg was browned to a glowing caramel colour and garnished with chilli threads, tiny crumbles of popcorn and togarashi. Togarashi is a type of Japanese chilli pepper and thankfully it wasn’t too hot for my Mum’s palate. The omelette was a gluten free dish however to avoid all three of us having the same dish, I ordered the other gluten free option which was the quail.
I struggled somewhat get a good photo of my entrée due to the sun coming in at an angle on my deep bowled dish. Maybe I need to bring a reflector with me when I’m out dining? Is that too crazy? My quail breast was cooked sous-vide with a confit leg and served on a bed of quinoa, zucchini and olives. It was topped with what I first thought was shaved parmesan but soon found out was feta shaved in liquid nitrogen. It had an unexpected creaminess that dissolved on contact with my tongue. To enhance the delicateness of this light dish some caper puree added some punch into the flavours.
For his entrée, the Boy decided to pop his ramen cherry. Ramen hasn’t really taken off in Perth to the extent it has over in Sydney and therefore neither of us have tried it before. Using house made ramen noodles, this dish was given a South-west twist using Manjimup marron and local fresh water crustaceans. A soft gooey quail egg and some fried nori finished it off and as the aromas wafted to my side of the table I was so envious that I couldn’t even taste one mouthful. Damn you gluten!
For those of you who have yet to try Cone Bay barramundi, you really don’t know what you’re missing out on. These fish are farmed in unique environmental conditions in the north west of Australia that imparts a very clean, and sweet taste.
The fish came with a potato fondant and shards of translucent potato glass topped with luxurious drizzles of smoked oyster butter. It was nearly as good as truffle butter. Nearly I said! There was also a little bit of fructose naughtiness with locally foraged charred leeks and leek foam.
Mum and Jack both ordered the lamb shank for their main, such peas in a pod those two! The locally sourced lamb was cooked sous-vide over 48 hours making it uber-soft in texture however sadly it was served lukewarm. I offered to get the waitress to take it back to the kitchen but my Mum didn’t want to make a fuss. The lamb was accompanied with a black barley risotto and ratatouille made of smoked tomato petal, tomato fondue, picked red onion and eggplant purée.
Although the Boy predominantly will stick to his vegetarian diet at home, like me he can on occasions crave meat. Ordering himself the kangaroo loin today was one of these days.
The loin was served rare and was as lean can be without an ounce of detectable fat present. It was served with textures of beetroot, wattleseed crackers and oil made from dandelions foraged on the property.
Our mains were decent sized meals so after stuffing our faces with the addictive duck fat potatoes there was only a small amount of room left for dessert. We agreed to share a couple of petit fours plates between the four of us however the only gluten free element on the plate was the passionfruit macaron. There was only one macaron on each platter but the waitress was kind enough to put an extra one on there for me.
The Boy was absolutely smitten by the bite size ice cream sandwich made with cinnamon ice cream. Many of us food bloggers claim to have a second stomach for dessert and whilst I was reasonably full, one macaron was not going to cut it even if it was one of my favourite flavours.
Consequently I ordered the gluten free dessert option to share with the Boy. I love abstract desserts, plates of multiple elements that you can mix and match on your tastebuds at your leisure. Fluffy portions of cardamom chiffon cake and silky chocolate cremeaux were paired with Jerusalem artichoke ice cream. Passionfruit caramel and gel added a tart sweetness with chocolate soil and dehydrated mouse contrasting with velvety cocoa bitterness. Heavenly to say the least. My claims for being full surpassed me as I competed with the Boy for every spoonful.
The weekend went by all too quickly, time honestly does fly when you’re having fun. There is no one in the world that can make me laugh the way my Mum can and I realise that I need to stop running the rat race of life and take time out to giggle with her more often.Disclaimer: Despite Mum and Jack insisting on trying to pay for everything, the Boy and I managed to sneak in paying our own way for lunch. Blame it on that independent streak of mine. I want to thank Mum, Jack and my beloved for sharing such a wondrous weekend away. Our times together are always cherished xxxx Bettenay’s Margaret River Nougat Co Corner of Tom Cullity Drive & Miamup Road, Cowaramup, WA 6284 | (08) 9755 5539 | www.margaretrivernougat.com.au Lake Cave Caves Road, Forest Grove WA 6284 | (08) 9757 7411 | www.margaretriver.com/operators/7706 Vasse Felix Corner of Tom Cullity Drive & Caves Road, Margaret River WA 6284 | (08) 9756 5050 | www.vassefelix.com.au
For people who eat out regularly the Entertainment Book is an essential annual purchase. It is a book containing hundreds of discounts available for many of the popular restaurants around your chosen capital city in Australia. The books can be purchased through many worthwhile charities and a proportion of the sale price goes to the charity who is selling it. This year we bought ours from the Cancer Council of WA. One of the things I love about the Book is that not only do we get discounts from many of our favourite restaurants but it also encourages us to check out ones we wouldn’t ordinarily visit. Having worked all weekend I felt the need to make the most of the final shreds of sunshine so I flipped through our copy to look for somewhere local that was open for lunch. The Dux café is on South Terrace in Como and have actually been in the area for over ten years. It is a cosy little restaurant that has a strong local following and hosts sell-out degustations and wine dinners on a regular basis.
Dux Café have a number of gluten free options and the chef is happy to adapt other options to make them gluten free. We started with the trio of dips with assorted breads and some gluten free toast on the side for me. The dips included a smooth hummus, a spicy capsicum dip and some olive oil with balsamic. I am guessing the absence of the third dip meant that it wasn’t gluten free.
I was in the mood for share food so we ordered the tasting plate which I was told has components that could be done gluten free. The “prawn duo” consisted of local tiger prawns simply grilled alongside some prawn croquettes that weren’t gluten free. It was served on a bed of fresh home grown herbs, mango, chilli and cherry tomatoes. It would have been good if the croquette was served on a different plate to avoid contamination of crumbs.
On the opposite side of the platter was a gluten free crispy squid salad with house cured streaky bacon and nam jim dressing. The squid was slightly chewy but when eaten in one mouthful along with the salad it packed a powerful punch of flavour. In the middle of the platter was a Persian feta and fig tart with caramelised shallots and basil. As this was obviously this was not gluten free so I left that for the Boy to enjoy while I tucked into the spicy squid salad.
Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to share all of the platter I also ordered the sautéed exotic mushrooms with creamy sherry vinegar sauce. I would normally order such a dish for breakfast but as many of you may know by now I’m a little nuts for my mushrooms. There were a whole array of different types of mushrooms in there and I was grateful I had gluten free bread on the side to soak up all the creamy naughtiness left in the bottom of the bowl.
We didn’t really NEED dessert but then that never really is the point of dessert is it? I loved the sound of the “Dux trinket tray” and was even more intrigued when our waiter confirmed it was gluten free.
Scattered across the plate were indeed a collection of sweet trinkets as described including triangles of soft white chocolate fudge, raspberry jubes, a large Dux Pedro truffle, thick chunks of honeycomb and some crystalline pistachio praline. Whilst definitely not for the diabetically inclined, this sugar hit had a wonderful balance of elements and fitted in well with our whole concept of sharing a variety of small nibbles for lunch.
Dux offer an alternate dining option for those looking for a relaxed café with a bit of finesse away from the Vic Park and South Perth café strips. Whilst the savoury dishes that we chose did not leave me spinning with excitement, our dessert was something quite interesting and definitely something I would be keen to return back for.Dux Restaurant 71 South Terrace, Como WA 6152 | (08) 9474 9000 | www.duxrestaurant.com.au Price: $$$ (Lunch menu $10-22, Entrée $18-20, Mains $33-39) Food: 6/10 (loved the trinkets and the creamy mushrooms) Service: 2.5/5 (initially attentive but became very slow, waited ages to order dessert) Ambience: 2.5/5 (has a tidy café feel) Drinks: N/A Total: 12/20
I have to come clean. I have been using the Eat Drink Perth festival as an excuse to justify eating out even more than usual. Given the frequency that I dine in restaurants is already quite high, you can imagine what a busy month it has been. It has given me a wonderful opportunity to fall in love with Perth City once again and discover even more fantastic venues to return back to. One of these little discoveries has been Muse Café. I was initially attracted to visit them after reading in the Eat Drink Perth program that they offer both gluten free and vegetarian options for their Saturday High Tea. When informing the Boy that I had booked us a lunch date, I glossed over the finer details as I suspected that the words “High Tea” would have had him running in the opposite direction. Instead I tried to focus on the fact that I had kindly found somewhere specifically vegetarian just for him! Such a good wife. 😉
The café is located in the Old Gaol building in the WA Museum which is one of the oldest buildings still standing in Western Australia. It was built in 1855 and 1856 by convicts but was only used as a gaol until 1886 after which it was closed and the prisoners were all moved to the Fremantle Gaol. It has been used as part of the WA Museum since 1891.
The back of the café opens out onto a leafy courtyard where you can relax and take in the atmosphere of the beautiful old buildings surrounding you. We were shown into a more cosy little room within the building that has been decorated for the purposes of intimate high tea parties.
There are a number of bubbles available to drink including Balgownie Sparkling Brut Yarra for $8 per glass or $35 for a bottle. For those with finer taste there is also Veuve Clicquot champagne by the bottle only. To cleanse the palate, we started off with some fresh watermelon and strawberry salad with mint syrup. Knowing I cannot eat watermelon due to its high fructose content the Boy happily finished mine off for me after I picked out all the strawberries.
Service was attentive but unobtrusive allowing us to sink back into the antique chairs and nibble our way through the first platter. It contained a mixture of gluten free items for me and vegetarian items for the Boy. I did note that everything was served on the same plate however I suffered no reactions to suggest there was any cross contamination. For those particularly sensitive I would suggest pre-requesting that your gluten free items be plated separately.
My gluten free options included two types of frittata; Jerusalem artichoke and spinach, and caramelised onion, goats cheese and thyme. I decided to wear the consequences of a little onion ingestion as there wasn’t much contained in them. The baby berry friand was my favourite with a perfect balance of tart and sweet. Other gluten free items included the fruit salad and the chocolate date torte which the Boy polished off both.
The Boy’s trio of vegetarian sandwiches included cucumber with Meander Valley butter and sea salt; egg, aioli and Swiss chard; and pickled carrot and goats cheese. He paired these finger sandwiches with two lemonade and date scones dolloped with double cream and jam. Despite never being a jam and scones type of guy he still enjoyed them. He even sipped on some cinnamon tea to wash them all down which amazed me as he very rarely drinks tea at all.
Our second platter had three different types of sweets on it. The gluten free passionfruit marshmallows were soft and fluffy making a subtle squelching noise when you bit into them that you only get from fresh mallow. The chocolate pomegranate cakes were also gluten free and were richly decadent with a slight hint of nutty flavour.
The lemon curd tarts were not gluten free being made from a shortbread casing lined with dark chocolate and filled with a tangy curd. Thankfully I was already quite full and it didn’t bother me too much that I couldn’t try them however the Boy ate both and delighted in rubbing it in how delicious he found them.
For the month of April as part of the Eat Drink Perth festivities, Muse café offer high tea every Saturday with two sittings at 11 am and 1 pm for $46 per person. There is a 15% surcharge for gluten free and vegetarian menus. Chompchomp paid in full for both hers and the Boy’s high tea however she did receive a complementary glass of bubbles 😉 Muse café can also offer pre-booked high tea for groups throughout the year. Muse Café Cnr Beaufort and Francis Street, Northbridge, WA 6003 | 0411 708 063 | museum.wa.gov.au/museums/perth/muse-cafe
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/
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.
After nearly sixteen years of togetherness, the Boy and I still manage to find ways to surprise each other. Gestures of love can be as small as grabbing an unrequested favourite snack at the local deli right through to spontaneous bouquets of flowers, presents and most excitingly degustations! The Boy has always claimed to not be a dessert person however over recent months I realise this is not actually the case. He certainly doesn’t like your more traditional stodgy cakes and puddings but he is more than happy to fight me spoon for spoon for something fancier and somewhat de-constructed.
For Valentine’s Day this year I thought I would take a punt and secretly book us a table at Rochelle Adonis for their sensuous aphrodisiac laced dessert degustation. Having already blogged about Rochelle Adonis several times, I didn’t want to ruin the mood of our romantic evening with a series of photo shoots and although I brought my camera with me I didn’t really take my photography seriously. Our evening turned out to be such a beautiful experience that despite the poor quality of my images I am happy to swallow my pride and share it with you. You may notice that the quality of photos deteriorates further more as the night goes on and my attention gets dragged away.
Every course was careful created to enhance the love in the air using ingredients designed to tantalise the senses. We had our own private table out in the courtyard surrounded by fairy lights and scented candles. It felt like we were in our own little world and let all our cares and worries of the week wash away as we soaked up the romantic atmosphere.
Our first course started off with glasses of Mumm champagne paired with spoons of dreamy coloured spheres. Each sphere was flavoured differently and burst in the mouth to reveal three flavours; strawberry and slow gin, mango and triple sec, and clove, honey apple and whisky.
It felt like a boozy version of bubble tea which many of you know I absolutely love. In fact any food or drink that involves little burstable spheres excites me!
The second component to this course was hidden in two bright red envelopes. Inside each envelope was a square of paper thin Rochelle Adonis nougat and a pen with edible ink.
We wrote little love notes to each other and exchanged before eating them. The nougat was softly flavoured with clove and nutmeg.
As the sun set, we were left with only the flickering light of the candles and soft glow of the fairy lights so we inched our chairs closer together ready for the next course. It was titled “Orange flower honey, peach and almond”. As pretty as I would always expect from this team, this dish contained a soft crumbled base of malted almond crumbs, poached peach slivers, honey, cinnamon and ginger. It was finished with a smooth peach and cognac gel and garnished with shards of peach meringue.
The third course was one of my favourites; lovingtons. It was no problem for the chef to convert this gorgeousness to be gluten free and I was thankful for their efforts. A lovable heart-shaped lamington played centre stage for this dish and it was filled with yuzu curd and dipped in raspberry gel. It lay innocently on a raspberry “cloud” that contained a surprise of lychee parfait inside it. Mango puree and mandarin snow added sweet and citrusy notes to the dish. It was garnished with blueberries, lychee and raspberries. This had a serious wow factor!
To break the dessert degustation into two, our next course was a savoury course; cheese. Well cheese IS part of a proper dessert isn’t it? This was the only course that the gluten free option looked any different from the Boy’s. For everything else the chef managed to make our dishes appear the same. There was no missing out for me on this dego! The Boy received Fourme d’Ambert filled cannoli with a fig and salsa verd, whipped triple cream goats cheese infused with caraway and porcini with a beetroot sponge, and his favourite a gruyere stuffed zucchini flower.
The highlight of my gluten free cheese course was humbly described by our waitress as a gruyere cheese toasty. It was a small, wafer thin rectangle of gluten free bread topped with cheese that in all honesty initially made me think … “Really?”
That was until I bit into it.
How could something so thin and little still contain all the vital aspects of texture and flavour of a perfect cheese toasty? The outside was crunchy crisp, the inside oozed gooey, cheesy goodness and there was enough flavour to knock my socks off.
There were two other components on my cheese course. Creamy blobs of Cashel blue contrasted wondrously with the sweetness of fresh figs and salsa verd. The Lingot triple cream goats cheese was served deconstructed with gluten free quinoa croutons and golden baby beets.
To move our palates back to the realm of sweets we were provided with one of Rochelle’s signature styled sorbets. Everywhere we go recently we have been drinking Pimm’s cocktails laced with fresh fruit and it was a lovely coincidence to see it feature in the sorbet.
Perfectly light and nearly fizzy, the sorbet was made with strawberry and orange and coated with borage snow. Cleansed and refreshed we were ready for more dessert!
While waiting for our next course we couldn’t help ourselves from opening our salted caramels and devouring them. Unlike a lot of chewy hard caramels these were buttery soft and dissolved in the mouth. They were a perfect match with the Stella Bella Pink Muscat I had sneakily stashed in my handbag in case we drank our way through the provided champagne.
Our pre-dessert was made from blood plums, apricot and rosemary. A tart strap of blood plum “leather” and compote was paired with a creamy rosemary white chocolate mousse, green apple gel and apricot “fluff”. It was a gentle transition to take us to the last but not least course.
As our final dish arrived I was amazed that despite enjoying six courses of dessert, I was left just as satisfied as if it were a “normal” degustation. Each plate had brought with it a mini-journey for the senses and I was excited to see how it all would end. Regrettably for you dear readers, my mind was taken far away from focusing on obtaining you some beautiful photos, in fact it seemed far away from focus altogether! I was too lost in enjoying the emotions and happiness we both felt for each other and in the sheer enjoyment of this last scrumptious finale. The last dish was titled “Roses and red and violets are blue, once I had a shattered heart and now I’m with you.”
Using Valrhona’s 64% Ariguani chocolate the chef created an incredible “shattered mousse” adorned with rose petals. It was sided by a chunk of Rochelle Adonis’s signature chocolate cake blushed with brilliant coloured strawberry powder. Next to these delicacies sat a tear drop shaped ampoule that was filled with rose water. The idea was to shatter the ampoule over the dessert enhancing it with gentle flavour.
I have been told by others that have previously done a dessert degustation that it isn’t for the light hearted. However after sharing this experience with someone who claims to not even be into desserts I can safely say this is not the case. Our evening was one of the best nights out we have had in a long time and couldn’t have come at a better time for us.Happy Valentine’s to the best husband in the world. You are my best friend and my one true love. I love you and I love my life with you. Rochelle Adonis’s dessert degustation was $338 per couple and included a bottle of Mumm champagne. We would both like to extend a massive thank you to the whole team at Rochelle Adonis for making this one of our best Valentines to date; you have excelled yourselves once again. For more on Rochelle Adonis head over to my previous posts: High Tea at Rochelle Adonis October 2011 Returning to Rochelle Adonis for High Tea September 2012 Rochelle Adonis’s House Warming Party July 2013 Rochelle Adonis | (08) 9227 0007 | 2 St Albans Avenue, Highgate WA 6003 | rochelleadonis.com
I never anticipated that my blog would have any degree of measurable success. Blogging wasn’t something I planned to do, nor does creative writing or photography play any part in my real career. Despite being a complete self-confessed amateur I have relished in watching Chompchomp metamorphosize from an ugly duckling into something I’m proud of. Reflecting back on my first and comparatively horrendous post I can see the blog undergo constant improvement. When I recently researched to find out the Hottest 100 Food Blogs of Perth, I was blown away that my blog is at Number 5! I hope that I can remain motivated to keep it ever-evolving so that my readers stay entertained and keen to return back for more. I am always happy for feedback so let me know if you think there is something I could change or add to the blog to improve it.
Another more unexpected and even better aspect of being a blogger has been the friendships that I have made along the way. One of my closest blogging friends Michelle from Foodie Cravings had been trying for weeks on end to organise a catch up with me and after a couple of false starts we finally matched up our busy schedules. We were both happy to travel to Fremantle and agreed to meet at Bread In Common.
I had heard much about Bread in Common but didn’t expect to be greeted by the wonderful airy modern open space of which it comprises. Situated in a renovated old Fremantle warehouse, it has lots of natural light flooding through at an angle onto large communal tables and they have a sociable menu designed for sharing.
In continuing my attempts at keeping my alcohol consumption as close to zero as humanly possible for sixty days, I was relieved that Michelle was also happy to abstain. It isn’t often that there are fructose friendly juices on the menu and looking on their menu I was happy to see I had options. It made it a lot easier to skip the wine when one of the juices I love making at home is up for grabs; a combination of carrot, orange and ginger juice. It makes such a refreshing drink for a hot summer’s day.
I was dismayed to learn that they do not have any gluten free bread to offer. The manager made kind apologies and indicated coyly that it could be possible if only I bought him a new oven. I initially wondered why they couldn’t at least temporarily source some from other local Fremantle bakeries such as Abhi’s until I realised their philosophy is to make everything in house where possible. Avoiding cross contamination of flours in one open plan kitchen would be very difficult.
Michelle and I simultaneously chose the duck fat roasted potatoes as our first pick. My stepmother’s duck fat potatoes are yet to be rivalled and are consistently out of this world. Bread in Common’s version ended up coming in a fairly close second attaining all the right layers of textures; from crispy to chewy, ending in a super fluffy soft centre. They are served with rosemary, whole roasted garlic cloves and some ketchup. Each garlic clove squeezed out like toothpaste onto my plate sealing the deal that no vampires would come near me that evening. Nor would my husband for that matter!
Michelle’s dish choice was the pork belly which she raved about from her previous visit. Each piece was delicately gelatinous and sticky sweet. Topped with a sweet green tomato chutney and on a bed of crunchy, slippery greens it was far too easy to eat.
Our lunch date was the first time I had eaten out without the Boy in tow for a while and it was refreshing to be able to order some non-vegetarian dishes without getting a high browed look from him! My choice was a dish of succulent Fremantle octopus served on a bed of green olive tapenade with cubes of fresh watermelon. It was topped with the unexpected treat of tiny shavings of crunchy hard pork crackling. Whilst I was happy to indulge in the crackling, I left the watermelon for Michelle to enjoy as it is high in fructose. In turn she was happy to leave any octopus pieces with suckers intact as she found the whole look of them disturbing.
Michelle had forewarned me to save room for dessert as she recalls them being worth relishing. I was impressed; I rarely plan my meals with this level of strategy which probably explains why I often end up overeating. I was not prepared for the visually exquisite surprise that each of our desserts provided.
My banana dessert contained all kinds of my favourite sweet things; caramelised bananas, cubes of torched marshmallow and blobs of softer meringue alternated with smaller dots of tart lemon curd. With such a variety of textures and flavours this dish played the risk of being too busy but each element complemented the other well and was perfectly orchestrated music to my mouth. I wanted more and quietly plotted in my mind how to get back before the menu is changed.
Michelle’s dessert was even more spectacular than mine with scoops of peanut mousse and chocolate brownie ice cream laying on a bed of Oreo “soil”. Dollops of brilliant red raspberry gel spotted about the plate with some sort of raspberry crumble tumbled over the top. It looked totally divine but alas is not gluten free for those wondering.
As time ticked into the late afternoon I had to decline the offer of coffee and opted for a peppermint tea instead. The tea was fresh and uplifting without any of the unpleasant metallic aftertaste that poorer quality peppermint tea often has.
Whilst I cannot deny I was somewhat disappointed I didn’t actually eat bread at Bread in Common, there were plenty of other gluten free options on the menu to fill up on. The desserts were particularly mind-blowing it’s worth returning back just for them.Bread in Common 43 Pakenham Street, Fremantle WA 6160 | (08) 9336 1032 | www.breadincommon.com.au Price: $$$ (Share plates $12-28) Food: 4/5 (creative concepts using fresh, local produce) Service: 4/5 (quick, efficient and well conversed with the menu) Ambience: 3.5/5 (noisy but buzzing, communal tables) Drinks: 3/5 (interesting but small wine list but of course didn’t get to try any!) Total: 14.5/20
I hate making promises that cannot be kept and I frown upon those that do. Come New Year’s Day when I am surrounded by friends and family making pledges to be healthy, eat less, drink less, exercise more and all that jazz I usually remain mum. That is until this year. After my mini-burn out in November that ended in me having to take a week off work, I reluctantly returned to the grindstone still exhausted but somewhat more functional. My drinking habits had escalated to compensate which only served to make me even more tired. Our New Year’s Eve was supposed to be a quiet one at our local The Precinct but with such fabulous food and atmosphere, we both got a little carried away. The night ended with me staying up well after the Boy had gone to bed, dancing alone in the kitchen with the cats. Yes, I really am a crazy cat lady.
Feeling sad and sorry for ourselves on New Year’s Day, the Boy and I agreed we would attempt to do a 60 day healthy promise to our bodies which involved drinking no alcohol, eating a plant based diet, fasting for two days a week and taking up weekly yoga with a private instructor.
Could we do it?
A vast part of our time together is spent eating out and the thought of regularly doing this without a drink in hand sounded a bit foreign to me. But people have a way of surprising themselves and lo and behold, we have nearly reached the end of our first month with close to a 100% success rate if you can exclude the small amount of wine we drank on our weekend with Mum in Adelaide. I mean, when you are at a winery you cannot NOT drink, can you?
Over recent weeks I have found myself searching for more vegetarian focused restaurants to visit. Just because we are not drinking alcohol it doesn’t mean we give up our regular nights out. To me that is just madness. The first healthy place on my list was The Raw Kitchen. These guys have recently packed up and moved locations to a bigger and most definitely better venue.
Their new digs have a yoga studio, a shop and a much more comprehensive menu including some cooked food plus the signature raw dishes. Everything is both dairy and gluten free without a piece of meat in sight. We each started our meal with a freshly blended smoothie. Since getting my own Omniblend blender at home, smoothies are a regular treat for us. I no longer crave eggs on toast after a long run; I lust after some sort of insanely swamp-like smoothie. Most of The Raw Kitchen’s smoothies contained agave syrup which is not suitable for us fructose malabsorbers as it is high in fructose however they are happy to omit this on request.
I chose the Minty Moment which contained fresh mint, cacao, vanilla bean, ice and almond milk with the agave syrup omitted. Unfortunately I believe the agave was an essential ingredient for this drink as a sweetener and it was not the easiest to drink without it. The Boy’s Summer Green with organic spinach, cucumber, mango, mint, lemon, dates was much tastier but I only dared to take a miniature sip as both mango and dates are high in fructose and would leave me with a significant tummy ache.
For our late lunch, we each picked two dishes and shared the lot between us. Our waitress organised for the meals to be brought out staggered to give us time to relax and enjoy each one. We started off with some roasted chats (not raw obviously) dusted with fennel seeds. They came with a lemon wedge to squeeze over them. Browned to a chewy, near crunchy colour we gobbled these up in snippety snap record time.
To accompany our only cooked dish we ordered their farmers market superfood salad. At a quick glance it didn’t look like anything very special but as I delved deeper into the piles of coloured leaves I could literally feel my liver detoxifying by the second. In addition to the multitude of greens, there was some seaweed, goji berries, pickled ginger and sprouts and everything was tossed thoroughly with a garlic ginger tahini dressing.
Our next two dishes were more interesting. The first one was something that we have already tried on our previous visit to The Raw Kitchen; raw nachos. I tried my hardest to encourage the Boy to order a dish we hadn’t already eaten but with no success. He can be pretty easy going most of the time but when he has definitively made up his mind for something he will not budge.
The nachos were made with raw, dehydrated, hand cut corn chips, walnut “beans”, fresh tomato salsa, guacamole and cashew “sour cream”. It was hard to believe this meal contained no dairy as the sour cream tasted like the real McCoy. There was a lot of onion in the salsa which I had to slowly and deliberately pick out piece by piece. Next time I will have to try and remember to ask for it without.
Being massive sushi fans we were keen to see how the raw sushi would turn out. The cooked sushi rice was replaced with cashew cauliflower “rice” and rolled up in seaweed with enoki mushrooms, avocado, pumpkin, sprouts, wasabi mayo and ponzu. Marinated shiitake mushrooms were served on a bed of carrot and cabbage on the side. Incredibly this flavour-packed sushi tasted pretty close to normal sushi except the texture of the “rice” was a little chunkier.
Eating raw, vegetarian, grain free food always leaves me feeling so light even if I eat a fair amount. I simply don’t get any of that uncomfortable bloating that overeating normal food usually gives me. This meant we both had plenty of room for dessert and whilst a lot of raw desserts contain dried fruit and thus fructose, I was willing to risk it with my glucose tablets ready in hand. After much discussion we both picked our own desserts only to be informed that all but one of the cakes had sold out in addition to all of their raw ice cream and most of their smaller sweets.
All that they had left were the hazelnut torte and a couple of small sweets including the peppermint slice. We ordered one of each. It didn’t end up being such a bad decision after all as each choice was delectable in its own right. The Hazelnut torte was richly chocolaty with a light foamy mousse texture that once again tasted so dairy-ish.
The peppermint slice had a hint of coconut in it and ended with a refreshingly cool minty aftertaste. Despite the pure decadent appearance of the torte, the peppermint slice was the winner by a long shot. The Boy actually had to physically stop me from over indulging at the counter as I nearly bought a stack to go home with. He reminded me that although they were gluten and dairy free, it was doubtful they were fructose free and I would regret my excesses the following day. I hate it when he is right!
My consolation prize was a visit to their shop where we spend a little wad of cash on some books and little snacks. I even found one of Pana Chocolate’s flavours that isn’t sweetened with agave syrup; the Sour Cherry and Vanilla. For those lovers of raw chocolate, Pana Chocolates are worth a try. So buttery smooth, it melts in your mouth like no standard chocolate could.
Raw Food is making more and more of an emergence into mainstream eating cultures. Whilst some may consider it a bit of a fad, and some may take it to the extreme, we enjoy incorporating it into our own diet within reason. As The Raw Kitchen can prove; raw food can be much more than just a pile of boring salads and soaked nuts and if you haven’t experienced it I highly recommend a visit.The Raw Kitchen 181A High Street, Fremantle | (08) 9433 4647 | www.therawkitchen.com.au Price: $$ Food: 4/5 (being kind to your body never tasted so good. A food allergic’s dream) Service: 3/5 (they know their menu well, shame about so many items having run out) Ambience: 3.5/5 (open, well lit and funky) Drinks: 3/5 (smoothie galore – unless you have fructose malabsorption) Total: 13.5/20
My past experience of Korean food has been limited to the typical BBQ style restaurants that have been spotted around Perth for years. As most of these places heavily marinate their meats in soy based sauces I have avoided them because I presumed my gluten free options would be limited. When I received an invitation from Head Chef Leo to dine at his new Korean restaurant The Gaya Applecross, I came very close to dismissing this offer as a waste of my time. Luckily before doing so, I had a quick look at their menu and was blown away to see not only were there many gluten free options but over 80% of the menu was in fact gluten free!
The Gaya Applecross is tucked away in a cluster of restaurants on Kearns Crescent off Riseley Street in Ardross. We visited them on a week night and arrived to find the higgledy piggledy parking area packed to the brim. I would dread to see how busy it looks on the weekend. There was a surprising hive of activity about and on a brief glance into some of the other restaurants I noticed that they all looked relatively full of customers. The Gaya is BYO which allowed us to bring one of the many bottles of wine we recently splurged on during our recent two Margaret River trips. We chose a 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot from Clairault Winery as I figured its medium bodied flavour and subtle oak would be a fair match to the very beef orientated menu.
Before ordering we were given a complementary serve of rice pancake. I noticed that other tables around me also received this complementary dish so this freebie is standard for all customers. With a thin crisp exterior and a chewy soft centre these triangular nibbles were a perfect teaser for what was to come next.
After ordering a succession of starter dishes, our food soon began coming out one by one and was always presented with a warming smile. The salmon gravlax was an interesting fusion of Korean and European ingredients. Leo informed me they marinate the fish for at least 48 hours in a mixture of gin and plum juice. Topped with tobiko-laced mayo and capers and nestled between spoonfuls of wakame each mouthful was extremely rich in flavour.
Being gluten free, it is not often that I get to enjoy arancini balls. The standard varieties of these Italian canapés are generally crumbed in wheat flour meaning it’s off the menu for me. Of the few I have had gluten free; it seems that it is hard to achieve the classic hard crunchy shell coupled with a creamy cheesy risotto centre. For these arancini, Chef Leo mastered getting the all-important textures right despite restricting himself to only using gluten free flours. I loved the unusual mix of Italian and Korean flavours of basil pesto risotto rice, pan-fried kimchi and dollops of sweet berry sauce. If we hadn’t already ordered so much food I could have eaten a couple more.
Luckily I didn’t because I had already gotten a little carried away and ordered a LOT of the gluten free starters already. In my defence, I am not used to visiting Asian restaurants and being so spoilt for choice. The next starter we tried was the beef cream roll which was another Westernised version of a Korean cold beef roll salad. Thinly sliced, marinated beef was wrapped carefully around spears of asparagus, capsicum, cucumber, enoki mushrooms and cream cheese and topped with crisp garlic chips.
Japchae is a traditional Korean street food made of sweet potato noodles stir fired in sesame oil with various vegetables and sometimes also beef. The Gaya presented this dish a little differently by wrapping the noodles along with beef, carrot and mushroom in rice paper and then re-frying them to make them into some sort of fat dumpling.
Despite their reasonable size they were still easy to eat and really tasty. This was one of my favourite starters.
After the excitement of the previous starters, the fish jijimi was probably my least favourite entrée. This dish consisted of fillets of cod lightly battered in glutinous rice flour and served with soy mayo. The fish was light and fluffy but the dish lack the punchy originality that was present in all our previous offerings.
I was nearly at full capacity by this point having shared no less than six starters and half a bottle of wine. I could have easily got away with squeezing in a shared main and dessert with the Boy but he had a keen appetite and insisted on ordering his own main. While agonising over our choices, we were given another complementary little dish as a palate cleanser. The items on this dish are changed regularly to keep it interesting so don’t expect to be served the same as me if you visit. We received some spicy tomato, pickled cabbage with apple and a ball of grated cooked sweet potato.
There weren’t any vegetarian main options for the Boy to choose from and as he isn’t a totally strict vegetarian he opted for the “36 Pork”. Rather than serving a pork crackling-encrusted style of porky dish that features on so many menus both Asian and Western; the Gaya do things a little different. The whole pork belly is marinated for 12 hours before being cooked sous-vide for a further 24 hours. The end result is near translucent, delicate pork flesh that is as soft as jelly. It was paired with sweet potato puree, glazed apple and smears of fermented soy bean paste. I hadn’t tried soy bean paste before however I have since learnt that it is one of the most commonly used condiments in authentic Korean cuisine.
The dish was topped with roasted garlic chips and a Korean chive salad. Korean chives are shorter and thicker than those found in Western dishes and are added to many Korean dishes for their claimed health properties. Traditional Korean herbal medicine will use chives for strengthening liver function, improving circulation, relieving back pain and treating colds and other ailments. Leo explained that he includes the chives in his dishes in order to provide his customers with these health benefits.
I ordered the “TTeokgalbi”, a dish taken from the Korean Royal court cuisine that is centred on beef rib patties. The meat from beef spare ribs is minced and marinated before being grilled on the hot plate. It was served with a variety of different yet interesting elements including some chewy, cinnamon dusted rice cakes that somewhat reminded me of the honey puffs we used to buy from the Greek stall as a child in the Adelaide Centre Markets.
Other elements in my TTeokgalbi included a scoop of smooth, creamy yoghurt potato salad and some rubbery pickled oyster mushrooms. The pickled mushrooms were stuffed with cucumber and capsicum and I nearly mistook them for some sort of dumpling. They had a strong sour taste that wasn’t entirely unpleasant and balanced the sweet and spicy elements nicely. The whole unusual creation was topped with a sunny side up fried egg. All the different components in my dish certainly kept me amused however I did feel the beef didn’t taste any more remarkable than any other well-made patty I’ve had.
On the home straight and truly stretched at the seams we had another look at the menu to order one dessert each. This really was gluttony in its extreme. All the dessert options were gluten free so we were free to share each other’s selections. I ordered the “Gaya Ho-Tuck” which was an elegant version of a type of pancake sold by street food vendors in Korea.
These small round nuggets are stuffed with brown sugar, sunflower seeds, peanuts and pine nuts and then deep fried. Before serving they are dusted with cinnamon and more sugar and torched to caramelise the surface to a near black colour. Soft and fluffy on the outside yet chewy, nearly gooey on the inside these were right up my alley and got snuffled up pretty quickly.
I had already fallen in love with the look of the “Red Misu” thanks to a number of fellow blogger’s beautiful photos so I encouraged the Boy to order himself this instead of his usual ice cream. This curious little dish is Chef Leo’s take on tiramisu with a neat little Korean twist. The sponge was still deeply seeped in Baileys and coffee as one would expect for a tiramisu but there was the surprise element of added red bean paste. The dessert was carefully presented in a miniature pot complete with chocolate soil and pebbles. Some may say this dish was simply too adorable to eat but its cuteness didn’t stop either of us further stuffing our faces despite our bulging waistlines.
I am always suspicious to make a conclusion about a restaurant on the basis of a free meal as the chef knows in advance he is under scrutiny. However looking around the fairly busy dining room I could see plenty of happy customers enjoying their paid experience.
The Gaya offers something a bit different to your standard sizzling Korean restaurant with softly spoken, efficient service, oodles of gluten free options and creative, carefully presented food. Add to that it’s BYO licence and you can be sure I will be bringing my friends back here for a satisfying but inexpensive night out.The Gaya Applecross Shop 3 & 4, 3 Kearns Crescent, Ardross WA | (08) 9364 8887 | www.the-gaya.com Chompchomp dined as a guest of The Gaya Applecross. As it is too difficult to be 100% subjective with a complementary meal I will refrain from giving a review or score and this is purely just a documentation of my experience.
The second day of Eat Drink Blog 4, the Australian Food Blogger’s Conference for this year consisted of three different activities; Mastering French Pastries with Emmanuel Mollois, Unearth the Mystery of Mushrooms and finally the Cocktail and Cuisine Matching Masterclass at The Classroom, North Perth. I was excited to get my first choice of the Cocktail Class along with number of my close blogging friends.
Everyone knows about the concept of wine and food pairing. A seamless match of these two elements can take your culinary journey to great heights and many fine dining degustation menus are designed to offer this. More recently beer lovers have jumped on the pairing band wagon and some establishments now offer dishes with matched beers too.
But have you ever consider matching cocktails with food? Cocktails can bring an additional element of texture that makes wine feel comparatively one-dimensional. They allow a more tactile experience to expand on the palate and create a totally different type of adventure.
I am always inspired by people who love their craft. Classroom’s bar manager Andrew Bennet and Chef Daniel Sterpini talked passionately to us about the development of their Cocktail and Cuisine Masterclasses from its humble beginnings in their own homes to the sell-out events they hold today. Their cocktail choice for us was their signature drink; a liquid nitrogen Espresso Martini served with an Asteroid Rocher dessert which was sadly not gluten free.
Their Espresso martini consists of three layers. The first layer contains their own house made blend based around a fresh shot of Dark Star coffee which is pulled to order to maintain its crema and aroma. Added to this is some vanilla vodka, dark chocolate liqueur, Italian coffee liqueur and some Pedro Ximenez sherry to give you a “kick on the back palate”.
The second layer is created by adding liquid nitrogen to the top of the drink which subsequently freezes the crema of the coffee like a crème brûlée giving it a frozen edge.
The final layer is created to remind you of a tiramisu; the martini is topped with a swirl of house made sherry and mascarpone foam and then dusted with coverture chocolate.
The Asteroid Rocher dessert contained numerous elements all of which looked delicious. Popping candy, gold dust, malted honeycomb, Persian fairy floss, fresh blueberries and banana foam surrounded the “asteroid” making it an eye catching dish. I looked on in envy as everyone chowed down until my gluten free adapted version was given to me, sans asteroid and popping candy. I had been spoilt rotten with so many gluten free options over the weekend that I was hardly going to complain but I cannot deny my replacement didn’t look nearly as amazing. Hopefully when Classroom next offers a Cocktail matching Masterclass they will have one that is totally gluten free friendly? I await with bated breath!The Classroom 356 Charles Street, North Perth WA 6006 | (08) 9444 7729 | www.theclassroom.com.au
I have to admit I am one of those people that tend to get a bit starry eyed with fancy restaurants that get into the big halls of fame. I am always hinting to the Boy that the holiday of my lifetime would be one where we travel around the world business class eating at the top ten restaurants in the San Pelligrino World’s Best. Focusing more locally than globally, the West Australian Good Food Guide is a highly esteemed annual publication where top restaurants around the state can be awarded one, two or three stars.
For the awards this year, there were five Perth venues and four regional venues that received a two star rating. This award is considered to identify “the best of the best: that small band of restaurateurs who are at the very apex of professional cooking and service”. As yet no Western Australian restaurant has ever achieved a three star rating.
In the weeks preceding our recent trip down to Margaret River I booked a table at Wills Domain, the winner of two stars in addition to the best WA regional restaurant of the year. I wanted fancy and was certain this would fit the bill perfectly.
The restaurant faces out onto the winery boasting 180 degree views of the sweeping vineyards. It had been a very wet weekend and we were blessed with some of the first rays of sunshine we had seen for days. A nippy breeze remained in the air to remind us that summer was still a few weeks away. We started off at Wills Domain’s cellar door to try a few of their wines and walked away appreciating why they hold a number of accolades for their collection. Suffice to say we didn’t walk away empty handed, in fact we had to pick up a full case on the way out!
Once seated at our table, we asked for some spice roasted almonds and marinated olives to be brought out while we perused the menu. I had forced the Boy to go on a short but rather hilly jog earlier in the morning and both our tummies were rumbling as loud as the thunderstorm the night before. The nuts were roasted with smoked paprika, cumin, coriander seeds and honey and packed a decent punch of flavour.
We both ordered the gin cured trout for entrée. Many of you may know about my gin obsession so for me this was a logical choice. Bright colours of locally grown heirloom beetroots, nasturtium flowers and pickles wound elegantly around the plate like a Spring garden bed. I found the “prawn crackers” quite curious. They were actually made from trout skins that are dried and puffed. You could even see the tiny little scales in them. They dissolved on the tongue satisfyingly.
After a considerable wait for our next dish whilst surrounded by very vocal young babies, our mains finally arrived. I was craving beef which is unusual for me so I ordered the Wagyu brisket despite getting a low brow from my dear husband.
I haven’t had red meat in some time, not necessarily because I don’t want it but more so because the Boy no longer eats it and we usually share our food! Three solid chunks of Ningaloo Wagyu brisket were served plank style with fresh kale, parsnip puree and fresh orange.
This was a very simple dish with each element done perfectly but I couldn’t help but feel that this was a very safe menu choice and lacked the creativity and imagination I would have expected for a two starred restaurant. The meat shredded with no effort under my fork and oozed that characteristic smooth, buttery flavour that one can only expect from Wagyu.
The Boy ordered the line caught snapper served with mussels, cuttlefish, fennel and nettles. His fish was also tenderlicious and flakable using only the freshest ingredients and served with a relaxed level of simplicity. We ordered a couple of sides to accompany our mains; roasted pumpkin with seeds and pomegranate and the radicchio and baby cos with buttermilk dressing.
Now as I have told you before, the bar has been set for the most amazing roast pumpkin in all the land by Rockpool. I have now eaten their version of this side dish at more than one Rockpool location, and, on half a dozen occasions. It never fails to woo me every time. If you are going to make a basic dish like this, then make sure you make it really really well! Wills Domain is first place I can confidently say serves roasted pumpkin that is AS GOOD AS ROCKPOOL’S!
Yes, I called it!
There was another fairly extended delay until our plates were cleared and another again before our smiley waitress finally brought the dessert menus out for us. Not quite the polished service I was expecting. As is often the case I couldn’t decide between cheese and sweets so the Boy and I agreed to share one of each. However, in a rare moment of contradiction, we found that we couldn’t agree on which cheese. Accustomed to usually ordering them all, it is a difficult task picking just one! We solved things the old fashioned way and flipped a coin. To my delight I won and selected the Vigneron cheese, or “winemaker’s cheese”.
This cheese is sourced from Woodside Cheese Wrights in South Australia and was created to “showcase the vine leaves and wines” from their vineyards in McLaren Vale. The young cheeses are wrapped in specially selected vine leaves and then washed in white wine. The end result is a fairly complex tasting cheese with a pleasant sweet, slightly earthy flavour ending with a nutty after-taste.
The Boy’s choice of dessert to share was the bitter sweet chocolate slab served with coconut ice cream, passionfruit gel and fresh fruit. The full gluteny version also has a macadamia crumb but the chef was happy to serve the crumb in a little bowl on the side so the Boy could enjoy this component without me.
Overall, our meal at Wills Domain was very enjoyable however I cannot deny I walked away a little disappointed. We have been fortunate enough to dine at a decent number of starred restaurants around Australia and I expected their service to be as polished as their food. Whilst our wait staff were dynamic and friendly, there was long waits between courses, empty plates remained on tables for prolonged times, and even though I made my booking a few weeks in advance, we were seated down the end of the balcony between two families with young children rather than in the body of the restaurant. If I hadn’t built up my expectations due to their rating, we would have actually had a fabulous day and will have to go back again to see if this was a once off.Wills Domain Lot 341 Brash Road (Corner of Abbey Farm Road & Brash Road), Yallingup WA | (08) 9755 2327 | www.willsdomain.com.au Price: $$$ (Entrees $19-21, Mains $29-39) Food: 4/5 (simple, executed precisely without fanfare or extravagance) Service: 3/5 (friendly but inattentive & slow) Ambience: 3.5/5 (placed between two noisy families it was hard to appreciate potential) Drinks: 4.5/5 (the wines are superb, our fav was the 2009 Reserve Bitza) Total: 15/20
We all have our own addictions and vices. Things we simply cannot live without, things we cannot control ourselves around and things that make our life complete. Chocolate is one of these things for me. Whenever it is in the house it haunts my every waking thought until I know it has all been eaten. I can eat it in the early hours of the morning for breakfast, I can eat it before and after a run, in fact I’m sure I could find anytime of the day to eat it. I struggle to stop at just one piece and on many occasions have made myself sick by bingeing on it. Despite being a mad chocoholic, over the years I have grown to fine-tune my palate to chocolate in a similar fashion as to wine.
I first became introduced to the bean to bar concept at Gabriel Chocolate in Margaret River last year. Prior to this visit I was naïve to this concept and had little appreciation for the difference that region and climate can have on the flavour of chocolate. Gabriel has a wide range of chocolate from a variety of plantations around the world and it was fascinating to taste all the different types. Additionally by sourcing single origin beans, producers can make sure that their product supports ethical farming processes and allows the farmers to get an honest price for their hard work.
Matale chocolate is a newcomer onto the artisan chocolate scene and I was recently contacted by their producers Thibault and Eloi to sample some of their gluten free, fructose friendly and dairy free chocolate. How could I refuse such an offer? I was sent two luscious bars of chocolate to try.
The first bar was made with 68% cocoa and the beans are sourced from the certified organic Somia plantation in Madagascar. Smooth and surprisingly silky for a dark chocolate; there was no bitterness or sickly sweetness and it ended with a very clean and fresh citrusy finish.
The second bar was made using beans from the organically grown Malekula Plantation in Vanuatu. It was a darker chocolate containing 72% cocoa yet it still lacked that sharp bitter taste you can find in mass-produced dark chocolate. The flavour of this chocolate was a bit more complex than the Somia chocolate with distinct coffee notes and hints of spice.
The Boy and I sat down on the floor in the sun room to taste these chocolates, relishing in our attempts at describing the layers of flavours whilst enjoying their velvetiness. Twenty minutes later we realised we had devoured both bars in one sitting. I guess that says it all.Disclaimer: Chompchomp received both Matale Chocolate bars complimentary from Thibault and Eloi. They offered them to me without any obligation to write a blog post be it either negative or positive. I truly found each bar delightful enough to binge on regardless whether it was free or not and wouldn’t hesitate to order more.
Some of you may think I’m a bit insane throwing myself head first into the Mushroom Mania celebrations every year but I can assure you I am not the only one. In addition to a number of bloggers from around the country, there are many local chefs and food producers that join in the mushroomy celebrations. Last week I introduced you to Cris from Perth City Farm who is totally mad for his mushrooms, nurturing them carefully from spores to fruit with tenderness and loving care. And it shows; his mushrooms are packed full of flavour and were so meaty I swear they nearly tasted like chicken. For the second post in my Mushroom Mania series this year, I wanted to take it beyond just eating one or two mushrooms dishes. I wanted to find a talented chef who was willing to make me a whole mushroom themed degustation. I approached Chef Scott O’Sullivan from the award-winning Red Cabbage Food and Wine in South Perth to see if he was keen. It turns out that he and his wife are big mushroom fans and he jumped at the opportunity to join in the fun!
On arrival we were greeted warmly by Hazel O’Sullivan and shown to our table where our own personal mushroom menus were laid out ready for us. As my eyes gazed over each delicious looking course I knew we were in for a special treat. To start us off for the night, thickly sliced and toasted gluten free sour dough with olives and truffled honey were brought to the table. There was also some fresh brioche for the boy to eat that wasn’t gluten free. The sour dough was soft with a lovely slightly sour after taste and it soaked up the truffled honey thirstily.
The truffle honey was, as I’m sure any of you who have tried it before, totally exquisite and was further enhanced by the addition of some fragrant fresh thyme. I was glad I brought my glucose tablets to counter act the fructose content in the honey so I could enjoy it liberally with minimal consequences. To be honest…even if I had forgotten those glucose tablets, I would have happily endured the suffering anyway. The honey was THAT good.
Our second course arrived under a large glass dome filled with smoke. I love theatrics when I’m out dining; it makes the whole experience so much more of a show and brings some of the magic that happens in the kitchen out to us at the table.
The richly earthy flavours of fresh smoked shiitake and chanterelle mushrooms were the ideal amuse bouche for the commencement of this mushroom journey. The gluten free croutons were crunchy without being overly hard and left a sumptuous lingering buttery flavour in my mouth.
Our next course of duck lasagne and seared scallops were a creative play on textures. Pig’s ear mushrooms were dehydrated to dry them out and then deep fried so that they had the consistency of potato crisps. Combined with the velvety soft scallops and duck this was truly a wondrous dish. Being truffle season here in Western Australia, I was so pleased to see these fabulous fungi made a recurrent feature across our evening meal with some truffle jus drizzled romantically over this dish. Sorry you don’t get a visual on this one folks!
I love it when food is synonymous with art and as our evening progressed I began to understand that Chef Scott shares a similar passion. Each dish was presented in a precise and methodical manner with every component so carefully planned and prepared. The marron and salmon pastrami matched well with the stronger flavours of the shimeji and shiitake mushrooms. There were crisp fried nuggets of sunchoke, dollops of carrot purée and mushroom ketchup along with lashings of sticky sweet soy caramel.
Most excitingly, my truffle obsession was fuelled furthermore with generous shavings of fresh Manjimup truffle falling across my plate like millionaire’s snowflakes.
Like many, I am a macaron addict. These little morsels are as good a pick-me-up for me as a block of chocolate and the very thought of eating them always makes me all girlie and excitable. Over the years I have tried all sorts of macaron flavours as they are such a versatile little treat with the incredible capacity to contain a wide variety of flavours. However I have never eaten a MUSHROOM macaron before so I was so impressed with this course. A gorgeous little cep mushroom macaron sat perched on a parsnip stalk laying on bed of olive and white chocolate snow with a scoop of parsnip ice cream. Too cute!
For our final main course those distinctly flavoured little chanterelle mushrooms featured alongside succulent venison and creamy cubes of foie gras. On a bed of celeriac puree and scattered with pistachios and fresh cherries, the sweet and sour aspects of this dish complemented the venison magically. Buried in amongst all the treasure was a cherry “bomb”. Cherry puree and cherry vinegar encased in a thin film made from a seaweed gelling agent exploded with a POW in my mouth releasing so much flavour my eyes nearly watered. Incredible!
Our next course is one of my favourite parts of a degustation; the cheese course. This cheese course was like no other I have tried before. Expecting some slivers of cheese, crackers and slices of fruit I fascinated to see that Chef Scott put just as much creative thought into this course as he had the rest of the meal. A smear of subtly sweet pumpkin puree was sprinkled with crumbled Irish Cashel Blue cheese and Lancashire cheddar. Instead of some comparatively boring slices of pear there was a scoop of soft pear sorbet.
As our degustation started to draw to a close I reflected back on what we had eaten so far and was surprised with the modest size of dishes. This is a degustation for the hungry; they are quite generous with portion sizes considering we had nine courses to get through yet I wasn’t feeling excessively overindulged. I was chuffed to see that two of the nine courses were desserts and I recall the desserts at Red Cabbage being very memorable. Our first dessert course was called apple, quince and rhubarb. This relatively messy looking dish interestingly gave a different sensation with each mouthful by alternating with textures, temperatures, sweetness, creaminess and tarty sourness.
You cannot go wrong serving me a dessert that is based on chocolate. It is (one) of my true Achilles heels and I struggle to avoid binging on it if it is in the cupboard at home. For our final course in this evening of excellence we were served a soft cube of chocolate mousse surrounded by chocolate and coffee “rocks” and accompanied a velvety scoop of brown butter ice cream. This was such a wonderful way to end our evening.
The service to our table for the whole night was absolutely seamless with Hazel providing me with some excellent wine matching recommendations. Having visited Red Cabbage a number of times some year ago, I was impressed to see how this restaurant has grown and matured to have their own signature style of artistic food that I expect from other top venues in Perth such as Restaurant Amuse. Their passion for quality and service shines through and we both look forward to returning again in the near future.This restaurant was reviewed as part of Mushroom Mania month which is happening all across Australia during July 2013. Head to the Power of Mushrooms website for loads of mouth-watering mushroom recipes plus if you write your own review on a mushroom dish you could win one of 40 $100 restaurant vouchers! Disclosure: Chompchomp dined at Perth City Farm with compliments of the Australian Mushroom Growers Association. Red Cabbage Food + Wine 49/15 Labouchere Road, South Perth WA 6151 | (08) 9367 5744 | http://redcabbagefoodandwine.com.au/
I have a tendency to often bite off more than I can chew. This habit applies not only to my constant overeating but to many other aspects in my life. Working under pressure seems to bring out the best in me however this can sometimes lead to being in the position where there is so much to do that it’s almost overwhelming. Being a persistent and determined person I always seem to get through it all, often with success which only serves to drive me to do it all again. Earlier this year the rambunctious Amanda from Chew Town told me all about her project of The Sweet Swap over an oversized second breakfast at Miss Kitty’s Saloon. It sounded like such a great idea to me. The best way to describe The Sweet Swap is it’s kind of like a food bloggers Kris Cringle but not at Christmas and the presents are all edible.
The basic idea is this: make three batches of some sort of sweet treat that could survive a journey through Australia Post. Send a batch to each of your three nominated bloggers. Wait for your anonymous parcel to arrive from a different blogger. All proceeds go towards The Child Fund charity.
Now I’m not a fancy chef. My recipes have never been the main focus of my blog but more an expression of my interest in food while to meet all my intolerance criteria without sacrificing flavour. So here’s my offering. You won’t be able to stop at just one: Gluten Free Raspberry and Almond Chocolate Kisses.
- 460 g milk or dark chocolate chips
- 2-3 teaspoon coconut oil
- ½ cup almond butter
- 1 tablespoon powdered/confectioner ‘s sugar
- ¼ cup of raspberry jam
- Line a mini muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.
- Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, saucepan or microwave. Once it’s melted down, add coconut oil to thin out. Add more, if needed.
- Add about 1 teaspoon of melted chocolate to the bottom of each paper cup. Tilt the liners so the chocolate evenly coats the bottom and slightly up the sides. Another option is to take a pastry brush or even a small knife to spread the chocolate.
- Place the cupcake tin in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to let set.
- Meanwhile, mix together almond butter and powdered sugar – this makes it less sticky and easier to handle. Place almond butter mixture in the fridge for 10 minutes.
- Once both timers have gone off, roll [in your hands] about ½ teaspoon of the almond butter mixture and place in the centre of each chocolate cup. Place tin back in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
- Remove and add ¼ teaspoon of jam on top of the peanut butter.
- With the remaining chocolate, cover each cup until covered. Top with sea salt – optional.
- Place muffin tin back into the freezer, last time I promise, for about 20 minutes.
- These can be left out at room temperature or in the fridge.
I am a very enthusiastic person and whilst most of you are well aware of my passion towards food, not all of you may know me for my devotion to my career. Nearly fifteen years have past since my graduation yet my love for being a vet grows even more as time goes on. I thrive on sharing this zeal with other like-minded colleagues. Fortunately our team of vets is filled with similar fanaticism and this creates a strong bond amongst many of us. One of our long-term employees Elaine started her career journey with us as a student many years ago and it has been a wonderful experience watching her skills and knowledge develop. It was only natural that through this mentoring process the two of us would become close friends and we have both joined each other’s wedding celebrations. It had been months since we had a chance to be able to catch up socially and agreed to meet at Gordon Street Garage, West Perth for breakfast on our day off. I have been curious to check out this hipster joint knowing it is owned by the same legends that run Duende; one of my favourite tapas bars in Perth.
Based in a building that did indeed once operate as an auto electric garage, the place is flooded with lots of natural light during the day and decorated with a lot of the furniture and fixtures made from recycled materials from the original garage. They take their coffee very seriously and roast their own single origin sourced beans on site. And it shows; their coffee is damn good; not too bitter with subtle fruity flavours. I dream of the day I can work closer to this joint so I can drink their brew more often! Maybe more on this later 😉
Elaine ordered the hot smoked salmon served with fresh corn, cucumber, sour cream on a toasted focaccia. All the ingredients were obviously fresh; some of the little corn kernels were still stuck together in rows to prove they had just been scrapped off the cob itself. The trout was delicately flavoured and balanced well with the sweet acidity of the cherry tomatoes and creamy dressing.
Whilst the Boy has embraced a vegetarian lifestyle with gusto, I have to admit I’m yet to come on board 100%. My food intolerance issues mean that I struggle with iron deficiency anaemia and my symptoms wax and wane along with my haemoglobin counts. Consequently whilst not being a hard core carnivore, I am reluctant to give up meat altogether as I feel I should be obtaining my iron from more than just plant and tablet sources!
The Gordon Street Garage’s vegetarian breakfast looked too good to miss. More of those cute little rows of corn kernels featured alongside ooey-gooey poached eggs, herbed fetta, fresh avocado, roasted tomato and basil potatoes. Once again each element of my dish oozed freshness and tasted like it was plucked straight out of someone’s veggie patch.
We both had the day off and had nowhere to be in a hurry so our thoughts turned to the very conspicuous cake cabinet that we had ogled on our way in. We walked back over to the cabinet with our waitress where she gave us a lengthy lowdown on all the colourful Alice-In-Wonderland-esque delights that are all made on the premises.
Gluten free dessert options were limited but I was fairly happy with my choice of a coconut and pineapple pannacotta. Creamy and uber coconutty this tropical breath of sweet deliciousness seemed like the perfect way to end my brunch. In a moment of thoughtfulness I asked our server to box up one of each flavour of their macarons to take home to share with the Boy.
Elaine couldn’t go past “The Gateau”; a peanut butter and chocolate slice that our waitress claimed was out of this world. It was very rich but Elaine impressively slowly but surely managed to eat the whole lot as I watched on enviously.
By comparison my pannacotta was devoured in a couple of mouthfuls and as Elaine savoured her decadence I gazed at my box of macarons; raspberry, orange, pistachio and lemon flavours. As we chatted away she eventually successfully demolished her gateau and I looked down into my macaron box…..it was empty, I had eaten all four!
A few weeks later it was my last night with my dear husband before I flew solo to Barcelona for a conference. I have never travelled overseas without him and the thought of being apart left us both feeling torn between grumpy and sad. After such a glowing experience for my brunch I dragged him out on a cold weeknight back to Gordon Street Garage. The evening vibe was totally different to the sunlight-flooded experience I had previously but it still maintained the charm. The acoustics allowed music and conversation to melt into one meaning and we had to lean in close to hear each other.
In contrast to their very gluten friendly lunch menu I was disappointed to discover the only two dishes that could be adapted were the beef cheeks and the steak. Bad luck if you are Coeliac and don’t want to eat cow. I enquired if any vegetarian dishes could be adapted to be gluten free and was informed that although this could be done for me it would result in leaving out key elements that would greatly affect flavour.
So beef cheeks it was. I could see the Boy’s newly turned vegetarian eyebrows lift. I retorted that although I could clearly see the many benefits of his recently found way of life, I had to eat something! The beef cheeks tore apart beautifully and whilst this was a simple dish it was beautifully complemented with fresh greens and powerfully tasty wood fired mushrooms.
There were a number of vegetarian options and the Boy chose a couscous salad with sumac pumpkin, coriander and mint dressed with a lemony yoghurt dressing. The couscous was actually Israeli couscous which are more like pasta balls and are much bigger than regular couscous. It was a fair size for an entrée but wasn’t enough to fill his long legs so we ordered some olives and frites to accompany our meals.
Throughout our evening we found it increasingly difficult to get any waiters’ attention and spotted them on a number of occasions standing around in groups chatting casually amongst themselves. Although our food orders came out of the kitchen quickly, this was not the case with our drinks and ordering each round was painfully slow. This was somewhat worsened as some waiters would clear our empty glasses away without pausing to ask if we wanted another.
After a wait we eventually placed our dessert order for the only gluten free dessert available; crème catalane. This is Spanish variation of crème brûlée. It had a bit of tang to it and was just as creamy as the pannacotta I enjoyed at my breakfast.
After my first glowing visit to Gordon Street Garage I was left feeling a little stumped why they get such a mixed bag of reviews out there. Now having returned back for dinner it makes more sense. The food is simple and fresh however the menu is designed to get the food out quick and without alterations. The lack of options for gluten free dishes for dinner service was somewhat disappointing and I would love to see this change in the future along with their slow inattentive service.
Gordon Street Garage16 Gordon Street, West Perth WA 6005 | 08 9322 8050 | http://www.gsgarage.com.au/ Price: $$$ (Breakfast $12-24, Lunch $15-20, Dinner $17-35) Food: 4/5 (love the use of fresh local produce, some more accommodation for us intolerants would be greatly appreciated) Service: 2/5 (maybe just an off night, but save chitter chatter until the end of your shift) Ambience: 4/5 (if you love noise and atmosphere this place has an awesome buzz) Drinks: 4/5 (great wine list, lots of interesting options by the glass) Total: 14/20