I received a curious gift in the mail recently consisting of a bottle of fig infused balsamic vinegar. Attached to the bottle like something straight out of Alice in Wonderland was a little card inviting me to the launch of the Fig’s new winter menu at the Naked Fig in Swanbourne. Having never been to any of the Fig’s before the Boy and I set out on a cold blustery night with no expectations or presumptions. We were openly greeted by Jamie, the Operations Manager on arrival and before long we had glasses of bubbles in hand to help set the jovial mood for the evening.
One of the most frustrating things about being a business owner is losing a good staff member. What makes it even harder is when not only are you sad to see them leave the business but you know you will also miss them as a friend. As a final bid farewell to one of our valued team members we all made the trek to the Swan Valley on a sunny Sunday to The Cheese Barrel. There was a great turn out and we all made ourselves comfortable in the downstairs area on the abundance of couches and cushions.
Located next door to Olive Farm Wines just off Great Northern Highway, The Cheese Barrel has a tremendous menu of cheese from all around the world. They have themed cheese boards such as “Blue Lovers Paradise” or “Soft Cheese Sensation” or alternatively you can order a regional board from Australia, France, Spain or Italy. For those more specific with their cheesy needs individual cheeses can be purchased in 100 gram portions.
The downside of having a destination wedding is that you have to prepare yourself that there will be some of your friends and family that you really want to be there but for whatever reason they will be unable to attend. The Boy and I understood this fact from the outset and were so incredibly grateful for all that were able to join us whilst remaining totally sympathetic to those who could not. One of my dearest friends Fran whom I have known since my early University days was one of those guests who unfortunately were unable to come. She only recently bought her own business and as a result of her dedication, hard work, blood, sweat and tears it was growing steadily at a rewarding rate. Upon our return to Perth, we were both keen to tally up a lunch date to share our stories and fill her in on my wedding details.
As most of my regular readers will be aware I recently married the love of my life in Phuket, Thailand where we had the most magical dream wedding I could have ever imagined. In the coming weeks I will soon be getting around to posting a review of the fabulous venue Andara coupled with some snap shots of our big day.
In order to make our wedding ceremony in Thailand a legally binding one back home in Australia, the Thai government required us to travel to Bangkok for an undetermined period of about 3-5 days prior to the wedding in Phuket to allow for translation of documents. After giving this much thought we agreed this was way too much hassle and decided to wait and get the legal stuff done once we returned to Perth. To make it more meaningful, we planned to do this on our anniversary, a date we have celebrated for nearly 15 years.
I am always a little torn having my homes in a number of places around our vast country. Having lived in Perth for most of my adult life it is obvious that this is the main place I love to call my home. However to add to this, my Mum lives in Adelaide and returning back there to the house I grew up in I get that familiar sensation like I am returning home. To complicate things further, my Dad has lived in Melbourne with my Step mum for nearly twenty years and in many ways staying with them also feels very homely! I often wonder when we eventually return back to London where the Boy and I lived for several years, would this feel like another home to me? How many places can one call home before it starts to get a bit over the top?
With only a few days to go before we fly out for our wedding in Thailand, I was feeling stressed and under the pump. I had taken the last week off work to finish of all the last-minute things however the more I got done the more I found I still had to do. Despite being so time-poor I needed some time out and openly welcomed a proposal for a quick catch up over breakfast from a close friend Tracy. She was soon to be joining us in Thailand and wanted to meet up before we left.
Last time we saw each other was during another breakfast date at Sayers Sister. Hustling for a car park in Northbridge was such a pain but our meals we enjoyed there were worth it. This time round to save time I chose somewhere more local that I had heard good things about on Foodie Craving’s blog; Gusto Food, South Perth.
As much as I love my hometown of Perth, its distance behind larger cities like Sydney and Melbourne can be reflected in a number of ways in the culinary world. We lack any widespread prevalence of gourmet food trucks, Latin American cuisine barely makes a mention, we often pay high prices for poor customer service and sometimes poor quality food and finally, up until very recently we have had very few small bars worth a visit that are open beyond bedtime.
But with the new licensing laws brought in things are a’changing for little Perth and more and more funky small bars are popping up around the city and its surrounds. I have followed Frisk Small Bar on social media for some months but with all the wedding preparations absorbing my every waking minute we have had very little time to go out and explore new bars such as these.
It was the weekend before Christmas and I had flown into Melbourne a day earlier than the Boy in order to attend to some “secret wedding business”. It was for my final dress fitting at Luci Di Bella and despite enduring a terrible flight with crying babies, vomiting toddlers and a delay on the tarmac for nearly an hour I remained hyped with excitement.
My Dad and Stepmum’s apartment is very conveniently located just off Flinders Lane; meaning with a short skip and a jump you can find yourself submerged in one of Melbourne’s hottest spots for restaurants; PM24, MoVida, Chin Chin, Cumulus Inc, Coda, Ezard…need I go on?
Despite their close proximity, I have not had the fortune to visit many of these fine establishments as my family are also star entertainers. They are well known for throwing many fabulous dinner parties that often carry well on until the wee hours of the morning. As a result when I am in Melbourne, I rarely get the chance to check out the local eateries because there is too much good food to eat at home!
Adelaide holds a close place to my heart. I spent much of my impressionable teenage years there and much of that helped to culture the type of person I am today. The real joy of returning to Adelaide however is largely because it is the home town of my dearest Mother. I am a fiercely independent person much to the annoyance of those close to me; but I cannot deny that it would make my life so much better if I was able to spend more time with my Ma. She is my best friend, my confidant, my comforter and my inspiration. She is one of the best cooks, has a gifted touch in the garden and can always make me laugh until I cry. I love her so much!
I have been eyeing off some bananas in our fruit bowl that have been slowing ripening over the week from golden-yellow through to patchy dark black. As no one seems to be tucking into them any time soon, what better excuse than this to make some coconut flour banana bread. With the wedding only a few short weeks away I am trying hard to avoid any sugar or excessive carbs and to be honest anything too over-processed. I have long known the benefits of using coconut flour extend well beyond the fact that it is gluten free. It is high in fibre, protein and low in carbohydrates meaning it is the perfect ingredient to fluff up my banana bread!
In this recipe I have adapted it to remove any sugars so if you prefer your banana bread sweet, spoon some gooey jam over your hot slice or better still add some honey into the wet ingredients.
These gluten free potato cakes with smoked salmon make the perfect alternative to the traditional blinis. They take only minutes to prepare yet still taste fabulous.
- 3 Yukon gold potatoes (about 450 grams), peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, plus sprigs for garnish
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large egg white
- 120 grams smoked salmon
- 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
- Olive-oil, cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 230 degrees Celsius. Combine potatoes, chopped dill, salt, pepper, and egg white in a medium bowl, and stir to combine.
- Coat two baking sheets with olive-oil cooking spray. Form pancakes by dropping about 1 tablespoon mixture on tray for each and flattening into disks. Bake until golden brown on bottom, about 10 minutes, rotating trays once during cooking. Remove from oven, and turn pancakes over. Return to oven, and bake until brown on both sides, about 7 minutes more.
Have you ever cooked a whole beef eye fillet? If you have you will understand what little effort it takes to produce a sumptuous meal. For those who haven’t this prosciutto wrapped beef fillet with pesto will convert you. Just make sure you buy ethically sourced meat!
- 14 slices of prosciutto (about 120 gm)
- 1 jar of pesto (I used a complementary jar of Roza’s Dairy Free Pesto)
- ½ cup raw cashews, chopped finely
- 1.5 kg piece of beef eye fillet
- Fresh basil to serve
Note: the original recipe can be found on www.taste.com.au and used Wattle Valley Baby Spinach with Cashew and Parmesan Chunky Dip
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Preheat oven to 200°C. Place 7 prosciutto slices in a row, side-by-side and slightly overlapping, to create a rectangle. Repeat with the remaining prosciutto slices, slightly overlapping, at the long side of the first rectangle.
- 8 large eggs
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 teaspoons gluten free wasabi paste
- 2 teaspoons unseasoned rice-wine vinegar
- 2 large scallions (3 tablespoons), minced (I OMITTED THIS INGREDIENT TO MAKE IT FRUCTOSE FRIENDLY)
- Coarse salt
- Pea shoots or sprouts, for garnish
Prepare an ice-water bath. Place eggs in a medium saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover eggs by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil. Cover, and remove from heat. Let stand 13 minutes.
Drain, and transfer eggs to ice-water bath until cold. Peel eggs, and halve lengthwise.
Transfer yolks to a medium bowl, and mash with a fork until smooth. Stir in mayonnaise, wasabi, vinegar, and scallions. Season with salt. Pipe or spoon filling into whites.
Garnish with pea shoots or sprouts.
Recipe with much thanks from www.marthastewart.com/food
Christmas is the time of year when the distance that separates me from my family feels the longest. December is our busiest month at work so I can only return back home for the silly season once every few years. This year I had booked our flights well in advance to avoid the last-minute price blow outs; flights across the continent triple in price around this time of year as people arrange to visit their family and friends.
Because we would not be in Perth to join the Boy’s family for Christmas Day, we agreed to celebrate our family lunch the weekend before our departure in a casual pool party affair at our house. However, in the lead up to flying out my work pressures were at boiling point so in order to avoid having a mental breakdown I opted for simple fresh dishes that were bound to please the Boy’s very hungry family!
I am quite an unconventional bride. At the time we got engaged; the Boy and I had already been together for over ten years and bought both a house and a business. It’s not that either of us is against marriage, it just wasn’t a priority for us at the time. After getting engaged I have found the whole process of planning for a wedding very gradual as I am not one of those girls that have all the details of their big day planned out in their heads before their respective other has even popped the question.
It was the day my Bestie was to fly out to Vietnam for three weeks to finish her yoga teacher training course and we were both feeling the guilt of neglecting our friendship. Not because either of us meant to avoid each other by any means, we just had so much going on individually in our own lives that time got the better of us and before we knew it; her departure day had arrived.
Our last visit to Singapore was during a stopover ten years ago en route to London where we lived for a number of years. We had spent our last few weeks in Perth burning all the candles at every end bidding our friends farewell and by the time we arrived in Singapore we were left feeling like a clump of melted wax. We were young and comparatively naïve and got easily caught up in the flurry of hotel booked tours and commercialised tourist traps.
Fast forward to the present and we are now both savvy travellers; we know what we enjoy and more importantly how to find it. Consequently I was super excited to be returning to Singapore to attend a close friend’s wedding armed with a multitude of eating recommendations from all my fellow blogging friends.
Since opening earlier this year, Brookfield Place has quickly become something of a food haven in the centre of the CBD. With a plethora of bars, restaurants and cafes all in one complex it’s a wonder those who work in the city ever want to leave! From fine dining at The Trustee, Asian fusion at The Apple Daily and sweet treats at Theobroma Chocolate Lounge there is sure to be something for everyone.
Grill’d burgers have been around since 2004 and have grown from humble beginnings of a single Hawthorn store in Victoria to now being found across Australia in 50 stores. To coincide with their opening in Brookfield Place, they kindly invited a number of Perth bloggers to come and try the burgers for themselves.
Eat Drink Blog 2012: Part One | Part Two | Part Three
It was an early start the following morning after the Eat Drink Blog conference dinner at the Hilton Adelaide with many of us nursing hangovers from all the excesses of food and drink. The organising committee had planned things well with baristers on the ready handing out freshly brewed coffee to bleary eyed delegates. A massive breakfast spread was provided by Red Door Bakery and The Yoghurt Shop and included a moist gluten free frittata for me to enjoy.
The lecture content over the day provided me with many useful take home tips ranging from food photography, food styling, ethics, working with PRs, SEO and some legal advice. As many of my fellow bloggers have already posted extensive wrap ups of the lecture content, in order to prevent saturating the web with repeat content I suggest you head over to the Eat Drink Blog website for the links.
Many of you may know I grew up in Adelaide, the City of Churches. At the young and impressionable age of seventeen I left my family and friends behind in order to head west to study veterinary science. Although initially moving to the opposite side of our great continent was not easy, Perth has given me amazing opportunities, plenty of sunshine and most importantly has found me the love of my life.
In my earlier years in Perth I remained in close contact with very few of my school companions. In fact in all honesty, until the creation of Facebook I only stayed in touch with just one school friend; Lenni. Despite our homes being geographically separated by thousands of kilometres, over the years we have always managed to see each other at least once every twelve months or so.
Eat Drink Blog 2012: Part One | Part Two | Part Three
After spending the afternoon with Dianne Jacob at her food writing workshop, I whizzed back to my Mum’s house, whipped on a frock and headed back out to the Eat Drink Blog Conference dinner at the Hilton Adelaide. I was joined by the rest of the WA “Team”; Ai-Ling from Food Endeavours of the Blue Apocalypse, Michelle from Foodie Cravings and Moni from Gastromony along with some interstate blogging friends.
The Hilton’s Executive Chef Dennis Leslie themed the evening based on a South American fiesta with the idea of making the meal “fun”. It was set out on the terraced pool deck in the open air up high amongst the sky scrapers (well, they are more like just tall buildings in Adelaide!). It was a warm and humid night and the deck was lit up like a Christmas tree with fairy lights.