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Gourmet Escape and the WA Signature Dish Final 2015

Posted by  | Categories: Attractions, Featured, Food and Wine Festivals, Gascoyne Region, Margaret River, Regional WA, Travel, WA Signature Dish

This year’s Gourmet Escape was the hottest on record with temperatures soaring to 35°C on the Sunday. Fortunately the heat had no effect on the crowd levels and by the late morning the Gourmet Village was teeming with life. I was lucky enough to score front row seats to the first show on the main stage; the WA Signature Dish Final 2015 Cook-off.

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For those of you who haven’t been following my coverage of WA Signature Dish this year, it is an annual cooking competition for amateur chefs that promotes Western Australia’s beautiful and abundant local produce.

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From the Peel region: Harvey Beef eye fillet, bush tomato, native thyme and pepperberry with red wine jus. Source photo Buy West Eat Best

Entrants must create a recipe that best represents our “State on a plate” using one or more of the “hero ingredients” from either the Gascoyne, Kimberley, Swan Valley & Surrounds or Peel regions.

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From the Kimberley: Cone Bay barramundi and green mango and mizuna salad. Source photo Buy West Eat Best

I returned in an official capacity for 2015 to support the Gascoyne region and was so happy to see Jerolina Rankin progress to become the regional finalist. I met the lovely Jerolina last year on our trip up to the Gascoyne for the semi-finals and her passion and love for the region is endless.

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From Perth and Surrounds: lemon-myrtle marron laksa-inspired curry. Source photo Buy West Eat Best

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Source photo Buy West Eat Best

I was told by insider sources that the judge’s votes were a very close call with all dishes being of an excellent standard, successfully showcasing the wonderful produce of their respective regions.

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Winning DIsh: Gascoyne seafood broth with Shark Bay wild prawns. Source photo Buy West Eat Best

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Source photo Buy West Eat Best

After the excitement of the cook off, we headed over to the Buy West Eat Best stall to try some of the dishes ourselves. Sadly Jerolina’s dish had already sold out so we didn’t get to try it. Instead we ordered the dishes from the Kimberley and blogger Matt Cook’s dish from Perth.

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From the Kimberley: Cone Bay barramundi and green mango and mizuna salad.

We enjoyed both of the dishes and appreciated how hard the judges must have found picking a  winner.

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From Perth and Surrounds: lemon-myrtle marron laksa-inspired curry.

Historically my approach to attending the Gourmet Village has been to methodically visit every stall holder due to my well-known affliction with FOMO. It would be torture to see someone’s photo later that night on Instagram of a dish I didn’t get to eat! 😮

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But due to a recent heavy burden of work related stress I have been a bit off my game leaving me with minimal tolerance to stand in the direct sun. Consequently the Boy and I used a more targeted approach to a couple of gluten free friendly stalls individually taking turns to line up in the sun while the other reserved a patch of shade.

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Bib & Tucker: Charcoal roasted Blackwood Valley lamb shoulder (GF)

Both dishes at the Bib & Tucker stall were gluten free friendly and it was hard to pick a favourite as they were both prepared and presented well. The charcoal roasted Blackwood Valley lamb shoulder was melt-in-your-mouth tender and was served with a dollop of charred eggplant purée, a dukkah crisp and pomegranate seeds.

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Bib & Tucker: Raw tuna tostada (GF)

The other Bib & Tucker dish was a pair of raw tuna tostadas; diced tuna served on a crisp tortilla with fresh avocado, green apple, radish and lime.

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Genuinely Southern Forests: Avocado, lime and cream mousse (GF)

At the Genuinely Southern Forest stall they were promoting all the wonderful produce of the region. I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointment that they didn’t participate in the WA Signature Dish competition this year as their region has so much to offer. The gluten free option on their menu was smooth avocado, lime and cream mousse topped with candied macadamia crumble and a coulis made from rustleberries, boysenberries and raspberries.

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Voyager Estate: Ocean trout tataki (GF)

We made one more stop for a dish at Voyager Estate before heading upstairs to the air-conditioned Platinum Lounge. Their ocean trout tataki was heavenly, the fish was so silky and soft. It was served on a bed of Japanese mushrooms, pickled vegetables, edamame beans and miso soil.

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I was close to overheating by this point, which is odd for me as I usually tolerate the heat well. I put it down to my recent feeling of burn out. I thanked our lucky stars I had purchased tickets to access the Audi Leeuwin Platinum Lounge. We both entered the air-conditioned bliss with a simultaneous sigh of bliss.

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The Platinum Lounge costs $230 per person, and in addition to access into a cool sanctuary you have unlimited food provided in addition to two glasses of Leeuwin wine. The food was set out in various stations positioned around the upstairs venue, nearly all of which were totally gluten free. Of course the first place we hit up was the oyster bar. An endless serve of oysters, what more do I have to say? I think we nearly ate our tickets worth in oysters alone.

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The paella was filled with seafood and had a pleasant hit of spice which of course the Boy wasn’t too pleased about. He has delicate taste buds. I had cooled down under the blasting air con and was more than happy to polish off his spicy serve for him.

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The charcuterie was also entirely gluten free and the chef had gluten free crackers on offer however the crackers were placed on the bread platter and thus likely to be contaminated with bread crumbs.

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The cheese platter station was much savvier and the waiter kept the normal crackers and gluten free ones separate from each other. Seeing as I had already blown my dairy allowance out for the weekend I decided to push the boat out and share a serve of each with the Boy. There were four cheeses offered; Tarago River Jensen’s Red, a washed rind cow’s milk cheese from Victoria; Cantal Entre-Deux, an aged French cheese made from raw cow’s milk; Queso de Murcia Al Vino, a semi-hard goat’s cheese from Spain and some Stilton, a classic blue cheese from Nottinghamshire, England.

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By this point we were well and truly stuffed. We sat back contentedly and contemplated the long drive home as the chef lit up a BBQ and started cooked seafood. And yes, it was all gluten free. I pondered for a millisecond whether we fit any more food in before lining up for more food with my new found fellow Coeliac from Lunch with my bestie blog.

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I am so pleased that the WA Signature Dish competition has progressed to making it to the main stage at such a key foodie event. We are blessed to live in a State with such varied climates across the regions giving us an abundance of fresh produce that must leave other States envious. Once again I wish a massive congratulations to Jerolina and Chef Pete Manifis for winning and look forward to covering the competition again next year.

Chompchomp was the official blogger for the Gascoyne region for WA Signature Dish. She paid for access into the Audi Platinum Lounge in full. 

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High Tea at Pullman Bunker Bay Resort, Naturaliste

Posted by  | Categories: Accommodation, Attractions, Beach, Degustation/Fine dining, Featured, Hotels, Luxury, Margaret River, Modern Australian, Regional WA, Resorts, Restaurants

One thing I have learnt from the Boy is that I need to take more time out to relax. Relaxing does not come naturally to me and generally the only way I can do it is if I am forced. Last weekend we drove down to the South West to stay at Pullman Bunker Bay Resort, a five-star beach front resort only minutes’ drive from Dunsborough and Yallingup.

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The reason for our single night stay at Bunker Bay was to sample the resorts’s launch of their new High Tea. High Tea is available at Pullman Bunker Bay resort every day of the week until the 20th of December, and Executive Chef Grant Murray is more than happy to accommodate for guests like myself with dietary requirements.

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We sat out on the sunny deck overlooking the wonderful ocean view where we could see glimpses of majestic whales out in the bay. Regrettably I didn’t come prepared with a zoom lens to capture their beauty.

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Being able to enjoy gluten, the Boy’s high tea was plated separately to mine to avoid cross contamination and as our waitress brought over our tiers of food we both let out a sigh of pleasure. Each plate was an array of vibrant spring colour and neither of us could wait to tuck in!

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Gluten free high tea

Chef Murray enthusiastically spoke to us about his focus on utilising fresh, seasonal produce and wherever possible he will obtain his ingredients locally. All the pastries and baked items are made in their own kitchen, with our muffins and scones coming just out of the oven that morning.

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GF savoury course

My gluten free savoury course included a cucumber, tarragon and chicken sandwich made with compressed cucumber to give more flavour. The tomato salad contained tomatoes that were grown especially for the restaurant on a property only a few kilometres away. Nothing beats the taste of home-grown tomatoes.

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GF scone and muffin

There was no sensation of feeling like I was missing out on a gluten free diet, with my second tier of baked goods tasting just as good the Boy’s looked. My scone didn’t crumble apart like many gluten free versions and my muffin was still warm.

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Gluten free desert course

My final top tier of high tea was the prettiest of all, decorated in fresh edible flowers and plump blueberries. My mini tartlets were filled with juicy fresh Western Australian mango. The little meringues had all the layers of textures that a quality meringue must have; a powder poof crunchy shell with a sumptuous gooey centre. Perfection.

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“Normal” high tea with gluten ;)

The Boy’s standard high tea looked very similar to mine, except that of course it contained gluten. This is the second time he has joined me for high tea and whilst I doubt he will start swilling hot tea any time soon, I can be sure he will happily join me on my next one.

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The Boy’s savoury course

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The Boy’s scone and muffin

The Boy’s dessert course was just a pretty as my gluten free version, and included a selection of macarons, profiteroles and chocolate mousse cake.

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For our accommodation we stayed in a garden view studio villa. Our room was elegantly appointed with a comfortable, king sized bed and a fully equipped kitchenette. Not that we ever needed it to cook for ourselves!

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The bathroom was spacious and modern, complete with fluffy bathrobes and slippers along with luxury amenities for those who forgot their toiletries.

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Being such a brief stay, we decided to dine at the resort’s fine dining restaurant Other Side of the Moon for our evening meal. Our bubbly natured waitress was very knowledgeable with respect to what was gluten free and what could be adapted on the menu.

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Coffin Bay Oysters ($4 each)

We started off our evening with some natural oysters from Coffin Bay served with shallot vinegar.

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Local South West Signature Tasting Plate ($38 for 2, GFO)

For our entrée, we opted to share the local South West tasting plate for two. For those with less agreeable dining companions, this tasting plate was also available as a single serve for a lower cost. In the centre of the plate was a gluten free adapted serve of Geographe Bay squid fried with a spicy Asian herb salad and nahm jim dressing. We were advised to start in the middle of the plate and work our way out.

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Confit Baldivis rabbit (GF)

The second tasting was a Swiss brown mushroom filled with confit Baldivis rabbit on bacon and Jerusalem artichoke purée.

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Margaret River venison (GF)

We ended the tasting experience with some thin slices of Margaret River venison carpaccio and local pickled onions. Of course I left the onions for the Boy to gobble as I’m not good with the added fructose. A gluten free crouton with olive tapenade accompanied the small serve of venison.

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Duo of South West Beef ($46, GF)

The Boy ordered the duo of beef for his main course. A lightly pan-seared Harvey beef tenderloin accompanied a pot of beef cheek daube. A scoop of truffle mash and cute little heirloom carrots added in some vegetable goodness and was drizzled in a Capel Vale Cabernet Sauvignon jus.

We also ordered a side of fries which our waitress told us would be cooked in clean oil to avoid any gluten contamination. The Boy suggested that perhaps an order of fries on top of all the rest of the food we had eaten so far may be considered somewhat excessive. I was pleased to see our waitress was on the same page as me as she agreed that not only is there a second stomach for desserts, that there is in fact a specific “potato stomach” to fit in potatoes in all forms: be that fries, chips, wedges, whatever, wherever 😉

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Daily special: Duck ($30, GF)

For my main choice, I ordered the daily special of roasted duck breast. It was served on a bed of quinoa, parsnip purée, and locally grown golden beets.  The duck was delicately tender and soft, literally melting in my mouth without a hint of dryness.

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Daily special: Duck ($30, GF)

Whilst I had big ambitions of pushing the boat out for the evening and having both dessert and cheese, when it came to the crunch I sadly realised I only had room for one or the other. It was a hard choice as there were a decent selection of local and imported cheese on offer. I turned to the Boy for guidance. He had already spotted the Simmo’s ice cream menu with no less than ten flavours to choose from. It was decided. We would have dessert.

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Dessert daily special: Lemon scented toasted marshmallow cloud ($16 GFO)

The daily dessert special was light, refreshing and perfect to satisfy my sweet tooth. A lemon-scented toasted marshmallow cloud with fresh mango and lychee gel on lime granita had an interesting tango of sweet and citrus flavours. I reluctantly let the Boy taste a mouthful as he even more reluctantly let me sample his ice creams. He is generally very easy going with letting me eat off his plate, except when it is ice cream. He becomes very territorial of every mouthful!

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Room service breakfast with GF toast

The following morning we opted for a light room service breakfast before taking a stroll around the beautiful resort. There is a 24 hour room service menu offering lots of gluten free options including pizzas and other main meals for late night snacking. The beach is only a short walk from the villas, and is such a beautiful spot with the characteristic stunning white sands and clear blue water that the region is well known for.

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DSC_0839-1 40After a enjoyable walk along the beach, the Boy and I headed to the resort spa; Vie where we had booked a massage in the couples room along with a Pevonia signature facial. It has taken me some time to convert the Boy to enjoy spa treatments but each time he comes along he warms further to the concept.

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Sadly, our whirlwind weekend was coming to an end and prior to departing we took some time to relax in the bistro area of the resort where they have a tapas menu serving small plates that highlight on the local produce that is seasonally available. Again there were both gluten free and vegetarian options available.

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Photo: Roasted cauliflower ($14, GF, V)

Our vegetarian dish of roasted cauliflower was exceedingly addictive with charred grilled piquillo peppers, toasted macadamia and pomegranate. It came with creamy tahini for a tangy hit of extra flavour. I loved the presentation with lots of splashes of colour and fun.

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Photo: Fremantle octopus ($21, GFO)

Our second dish of Fremantle octopus was adapted to be gluten free by the omission of chorizo. It was paired with smoked yoghurt, local olives, edamame and grilled tomato. I have a tendency to be quite fussy with my octopus having be very spoilt in my time in Spain. It is far too common that it is not prepared well and the meat ends up being as chewy as an old sock. This octopus did not disappoint my critical opinions, each piece was deliciously tender and did not give my jaw a work out to chew. It was a perfect way to end our very short stay.

For much of the drive home to Perth, the Boy and I talked about making plans for when we could next return to stay at Bunker Bay. It is rare that we simultaneously relax together and despite such a short stay, this trip was a success. The resort has enough options to be able to stay there and not leave, but is located so close to the wineries and tourist sights for the Margaret River region such that if you don’t want to stay put you don’t have to. Suffice to say we have already booked our next trip 😉

High Tea at Pullman Bunker Bay Resort is available at the resort’s bistro until 20 December 2015. 

Cost is $37 per person with a Dilmah specialty tea, barista-made coffee or hot chocolate, or $45 per person to add a glass of sparkling wine. Kid’s Menu available for children up to 12 years. Bookings require 48 hours’ notice with pre-payment at the time of reservation. With advance notice, dietary requirement can be catered for. 

Disclaimer: Chompchomp was a guest of Pullman Bunker Bay resort and received her night accommodation and high tea for two at no cost. She paid in full for her dinner at Other Side of the Moon, for the tapas at Tapestry and for her Spa treatments at Vie.

Pullman Bunker Bay Resort, 42 Bunker Bay Road, Naturaliste WA | (08) 9756 9100 | Website

Other Side of the Moon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Layup Cafe, Northbridge

Posted by  | Categories: Breakfast/Brunch, Coffee, Featured, Perth, Restaurants

Birthdays are meant to be celebrated and it is an incredible surprise to me that this humble blog has just turned four. Four human years converted into food blog years must equate to at least a decade. That is definitely a cause to crack open the champagne. Writing this blog has certainly been a colourful journey of eating amazing food, but also has seen me cultivate wonderful, lasting friendships and interact with some very passionate Perth business people and chefs. I have loved every minute of it.
For me, this year has been all about time and its ability to slip through my fingers like sand. Admittedly I am my worst enemy and perpetually keep taking on more than I realistically have time for. To add to this dilemma, I spent a decent chunk of my year debilitated with back pain which terminated all physical activity in my life at the time. Thankfully my back troubles are becoming something of the past, and I am embracing life with a new found zest.
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Last Sunday I woke up quite early, hours before the Boy and the cats cared to be awoken and couldn’t get back to sleep. It was a stunning Spring morning so I snuck quietly out the front door and took my new bike for a spin around the river leaving the sleeping beauties snoring peacefully in a pile together. Upon returning home later I was chuffed to see the Boy up and about, ready to go out for breakfast. I was recently followed on Instagram by a new café called Layup Cafe that has just opened in Northbridge so we agreed to check it out.

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Guacamole & pica de gallo ($16, V, GFO) with added slow cooked egg ($4)

Layup’s menu had plenty of gluten free options with a number of interesting dishes that moved away from the comparatively boring egg benny and big breakfasts. We selected a few dishes to share, all gluten free adapted.
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The guacamole on toast came with smoked corn and pica de gallo and we elected to have it topped with optional slow cooked eggs. A few dollops of jalapeño custard decorated the side of the plate and this custard had just a gentle chili kick to it. Being a hater of all things spicy, the Boy didn’t trust my description of “very mild” and gave the custard a wide berth. He was determined to avoid tasting something too hot for his delicate palate.

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Sicilian anchovies, charred gluten free bread, slow cooked egg and shichimi togarashi ($8, GFO)

Sadly these efforts were in vain as I didn’t get to warn him in time about the shichimi togarashi that accompanied the Sicilian anchovies.
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After proudly thinking he dodged a bullet with the jalapeño custard, the Boy proceeded to dunk his charred gluten free bread in gooey slow cooked egg heaven before coating it liberally in the innocent looking red powder. He nearly choked in horror at the heat and proceeded to gulp gallons of water quickly.

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After the subtle tease of the jalapeño custard I was much more game and dunked my generously coated bread confidently. It was a wonderful, nostril clearing experience that had me going back for more. Combined with the salty fishiness of the anchovies this was a flavour combination I hadn’t tried before and would happily try again.

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Breakfast pannacotta ($15, V, GF)

Thankfully there was a cooling dish on the table to soothe the poor lad’s burning tongue. The breakfast pannacotta came on a bed of toasted gluten free muesli and goji berries topped with a strawberry compote and fresh berries.
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I love having two courses for breakfast. This was something my dear friend and business partner Chis and I started doing long ago and that habit has stuck. Making the decision for sweet or savoury is far too difficult to do first thing in the morning so my advice is having both is the best way to go.

Layup Cafe only opened this month and it looks like they are well on their way to fulfilling the high expectations of regular Perth breakfast punters. I loved their creative menu options and use of local produce and hope to return soon.

Layup Cafe
197-199 Brisbane Street, Northbridge WA 6003 | 0481 064 166 | Facebook
Layup Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Alphabet Soup Truffle Dinner, Canton Lounge Perth City

Posted by  | Categories: Degustation/Fine dining, Events, Featured, Perth, Restaurants

I love being part of unique dining experiences. I find the excitement of the unknown combined with the knowledge that it is a once off event makes the evening feel so special. Alphabet Soup Dining is a Perth-based pop-up restaurant run by chef Melissa Palinkas who is also the Executive Chef and part owner of Young George in East Fremantle. Melissa started Alphabet Soup because she wanted to offer a quirky degustation style meal where she could let her creativity run free. She holds a dinner event once monthly in locations all around Perth and has popped up in places like Milk’d in Maylands, Cutlery Draw in Manning, Frisk! Small Bar and 399 Bar in Northbridge and most recently at Canton Lounge in the City.

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I have wanted to attend an Alphabet Soup dinner for some time so when I saw that chef Melissa was holding a truffle themed dinner this was my immediate cue to book us in. I can never say no to truffle. Before booking I checked that the event could cater for gluten free and was happily assured that it wouldn’t be a problem.

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Reverse crayfish truffle sushi roll (GF)

The Alphabet Soup events are based around a six course meal and the menus are published online just a few days before the event. After being seated for the evening, we received a couple of rounds of “snacks” that were not on the menu as a surprise. Our first treat was a reverse crayfish truffle sushi roll using locally caught Mindarie cray. The cray meat was tender and sweet having been cooked sous vide with truffle in the bag to infuse a strong flavour.

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Truffle Miso lamb ribs (GF)

Our second surprise snack was a basket of miso lamb ribs, also cooked sous vide in a bag with truffle. The meat slid off the bones easily and the Boy and I sat speechless, both far too busy for words as we sucked and slurped each rib until it was clean.

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Sake cured ocean trout (GF)

Our next dish was a little theatrical; sake cured ocean trout with truffle with a yuzu and coconut salad. The portions of ocean trout were suspended on a miniature hanging line with pint-size pegs. Super cute.

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Pomelo mojito ($14)

The trout was matched with a pomelo mojito, made with Havana 7, pink grapefruit, lime and crème de menthe. It was an interesting experience having a meal matched with not just wines, but also a collection of cocktails.

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Truffle chicken karage (GF)

Who said eating gluten free meant you had to miss out? My truffle chicken karage was made using tapioca flour and tasted just like the real thing. Two crispy morsels were accompanied by some truffled Japanese mustard aioli topped with black sesames. This was finger licking good chicken that left no grease on my hands, my only gripe was that I was left wanting more.

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62 degree egg with broken truffle rice (GF)

My fried chicken yearning was quickly forgotten upon the arrival of the next dish; broken truffle sticky rice with a 62 degree egg. It is hard not to fall madly in love with the magical combination of slow cooked eggs and truffle, and thankfully there are a number of chefs in Perth that have caught onto this simple decadence.

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62 degree egg with broken truffle rice (GF)

It is guaranteed that this combination will never fail to make me swoon, those flavours are perfectly married in heaven. Poised with my camera in hand, my predictable squeal of delight emitted when the Boy cut into his yolk was met with his usual eye roll. I may be a little over the top with my love for yolk porn, especially after a few cocktails.

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Pork and truffle dumpling (GF)

For our next dish, we enjoyed a pork and truffle dumpling served in a richly flavoured dashi broth with fresh shiitake mushrooms. To finish the dish, shavings of fresh Manjimup truffle cascaded on the surface adding a stronger hit of truffiliciousness.

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I was to learn that the element of surprise is the norm for the Alphabet Soup dinners. Our next course was yet another secret item that was not found on the menu. I really love surprise dishes! A super tender, baby carrot was cooked in truffle dashi before being grilled and then served with an XO sauce ash.

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Carrot (GF)

Our final main course was the seared duck breast, cooked Chinese BBQ style with truffle mushrooms, edamame and of course, fresh truffle.

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Seared duck breast (GF)

The duck breast was crispy thin on the outside yet remained tender pink and buttery moist on the inside.

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Seared duck breast (GF)

To freshen up our palates ready for dessert, we were given a bite sized spoonful of mandarin and yuzu jelly. It was uplifting and refreshing, combining perfectly with my jazzed up G&T made with Bombay Sapphire, lemon and jasmine tea.

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Palate cleanser

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G&T: Bombay Sapphire, lemon, jasmine tea ($10)

Our dessert brought me back to my childhood when Mum and I would go to the Adelaide Central Markets to do our weekly food shopping. My reward for being the good daughter who would come along and help her mother would always be some sort of treat we shared before going home. Most weeks we would end up walking over to Adelaide’s Chinatown precinct and finding something delicious. These were the days I was oblivious to the fact gluten was killing me, and in my ignorance I would eagerly look forward to the times we would get ourselves a steam pork bun.

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Truffle and pear steam bun (GF)

For our final course with Alphabet Soup, the Chef made a special batch of gluten free truffle and pear steam buns just for me. The buns were made using potato, corn flour and rice flour giving an authentic doughy, but fluffy texture. We were given truffle honey and Anglaise sauce to drizzle lavishly over our buns. It was a perfect way to end our evening.

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Truffle and pear steam bun (GF)

We both thoroughly enjoyed our evening out with Alphabet Soup and will be watching out for her next event. There was all the right elements of entertainment, quirkiness and originality that I had hoped for with some extra surprises to boot. Chef Mel effortlessly catered for my dietary needs without making me feel like I missed out on any of the degustation experience. Thanks Melissa!

Alphabet Soup | www.alphabetsoupdining.com

Canton Bar | 532 Hay Street, Perth WA 6000 | (08) 9325 8887 | www.cantonbar.com.au

Canton Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Manuka Woodfire Kitchen, Fremantle

Posted by  | Categories: Featured, Modern Australian, Perth, Pizza, Restaurants, Wine Bar

I owe you, my dear readers a small apology. Many of you may have noticed that my recent posts on Chompchomp have been fewer and far between and are often written using content that dates further back than I would prefer. For this I am truly sorry. If the lack of reading has bothered you, I can assure you that the frustration is mutual. Whilst I hate to go on like a broken record and whinge incessantly, the reality is that my slipped disc in my back has made our dining experiences virtually non-existent. Needless to say, life goes on around me and consequently my list of new venues in Perth that I want to visit is growing at an alarming rate.

For the Boy and me, our times spent dining out together form a major part of our enjoyment and their absence leaves us both feeling depressed and disconnected. So, this weekend I necked back a couple of strong pain killers, splashed on some mascara and red lipstick and headed out for a lunch date with my love. I will not be beaten by pain! The Boy wanted to take my new wheels for a spin so we headed down to Fremantle to Chef Kenny McHardy’s new restaurant Manuka Woodfire Kitchen.

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Chef Kenny is one of those who will go above and beyond for us allergy-prone intolerants as I discovered recently on our decadent Truffle Kerfuffle weekend. When I heard that he had moved up to Perth with his family from Albany and opened a new restaurant I placed his venue at the top of my to-do list.

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Manuka Woodfire Kitchen is a cosy space with a warm and inviting atmosphere, a gluten free friendly menu and a short but well-chosen Western Australian wine list. We selected a bottle of Domaine Naturaliste 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon. It was rich in luscious berry and spice aromas making it perfectly matched to the stormy weather outside.

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Garlic and herb flat bread ($6, not GF)

The Boy filled himself up quickly with the wood fired garlic and herb bread while I appreciated having my own gluten free counterpart to enjoy. Manuka make their gluten free bread themselves and it tasted wonderfully fresh and fluffy.

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Gluten free house made garlic bread

Manuka’s menu features a number of uncomplicated share plates using fresh seasonal produce cooked to smoky heavenliness in their wood fire oven. It was hard to choose where to start so we agreed to let the chef decide while we sat back and relaxed.

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Wood roasted olives ($4, GF)

At $4 a serve there was nothing not to love about Manuka’s wood roasted olives. Served warm, the delicately flavoured olive flesh slid off the pits with a light squeeze of my teeth. It would have been an easy task to sit all afternoon with my wine in hand eating more of these olives while we watched the quirky world of Fremantle walk by.

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Chorizo sausage grilled over hot coals ($15, GF)

Our next dish was a plate of chorizo sausage that had been grilled over hot coals. The sausage had a gentle hint of spice and each slightly charred piece remained burst-in-the-mouth juicy.

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Roasted button mushrooms with crisp kale, garlic, rosemary and balsamic ($16, GF)

One of the standout dishes for me was the roasted button mushrooms, the mushrooms were so meaty and succulent. They were served with paper-thin, crispy kale leaves and dollops of garlic sour cream.

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Roasted baby beetroot with fresh ricotta and toasted hazelnuts ($14. GF)

Another fabulous vegetarian dish was the roasted baby beetroot. I could really taste the difference from cooking the beets in the wood fire oven, there was a subtle smokiness and just so much more flavour.  The toasted hazelnuts added some great crunch and texture.

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Wood roasted chicken pieces with miso sauce ($18, GF)

The Boy’s favourite dish was the wood roasted miso chicken. Each piping hot piece of chicken was torn apart easily by our eager fingers and we gobbled it down like we had only just sat down to eat.

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It was tempting to lick the remaining sticky miso sauce from the bowl as we both slurped sauce from our messy fingers. I guess we could have used a fork and knife to eat but when the chicken is this finger-licking good why bother?

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Slow cooked osso bucco with parmesan mash ($32, GF)

Just when we thought we were too full to fit in any more food, our waitress brought us one last dish to the table. And of course being good sports, we found room to fit in some dreamy tender slow cooked osso bucco. 😉 All my good table manners fell out the window as I sucked loudly on the shin bone ensuring to remove all traces of the rich bone marrow.

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Milk chocolate mousse with fresh strawberries and clotted cream ($9, GF)

Despite continuing to feebly protest about being too full, my rubber arm was easily twisted into sharing dessert. Look, my back may be injured but there is nothing wrong with my stomach!! Secretly you and I both know I ALWAYS have room for dessert. Our chocolate mousse was so light and airy leaving us with no problems polishing it off.

Manuka Woodfire Kitchen has only been open for three weeks and yet their team showed no signs of any teething problems that I have come to expect with newly opened establishments. The wait staff are friendly and passionate, the dishes are decently priced and the Chef’s use of fresh local ingredients cooked in a wood fire oven speaks for itself.

Manuka Woodfire Kitchen, Fremantle

134 High Street, Fremantle WA | (08) 9335 3527 | Facebook

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Hop to Hopscotch Bar, South Perth

Posted by  | Categories: Bars, Featured, Perth, Tapas Bar, Wine Bar

I am refusing to let this back pain rule my life. When I originally injured it ten years ago, the pain overwhelmed me and I was terrified that I would never get back to my previous level of activity. This time round I am better prepared for the ride and thankfully my pain has been easier to control. It was my mother-in-law’s birthday a few weeks ago and it was at a point that I was still maxed out on my pain killers and mostly housebound. I was determined not to be beaten by this fact and agreed to join them for a lunch outing to celebrate.

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To avoid having me seated in a car for too long, the Boy chose a local venue called Hopscotch Bar which is a new addition on Angelo Street in South Perth. This beautifully decked out bar is located in an old supermarket that remained vacant for some time after a storm blew its roof off last winter. I was glad to see they opted for a more modern and social way of dining with a small menu of share plates.

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Hand cut potatoes, aioli, ($9, GF, V)

My parents-in-law are always so accommodating and generally let me order for everybody so that I don’t miss out. I think the truth of it is they like being able to sit back, relax and not have to stress about trivial things like what to eat or drink. Neither of them have any food intolerances nor are they fussy so it is an easy job for me.

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Free range chicken wings, spicy sauce, slaw ($16, not GF)

We started with the free range chicken wings which I was originally told were gluten free provided I didn’t eat the sauce so the waitress ordered the sauce to be served on the side. After placing our order she came back and informed me that the chef wanted to advise that the oil may be contaminated with gluten as he had fried food with a flour coating prior to cooking the wings. This level of knowledge about gluten inspired great confidence in me. It is such a relief to know the chef already understands the basics of cross contamination when it comes to feeding a Coeliac.

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Duck liver pâté, spiced port Jelly, toast with GF crackers on the side for me ($12, GFO)

Many of the small plates were able to have gluten free crackers substituted for bread leaving us quite a few options to enjoy. The duck liver pâté was smooth, smearable and richly flavoured although the jar made it a little difficult to serve easily. I cannot say I’m a fan of the trend of serving food in jars. I always feel like it is a short cut way to serve things rather than making an effort to plate the food up.

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Jamon serrano, pickled cucumber, mustard ($15, GFO)

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Mushrooms, quinoa, kale, goats cheese ($16, GF, V)

One of the vegetarian dishes of quinoa tossed with kale, mushrooms and goats cheese was a more substantial size and reasonably priced. It appeared that they had run out of kale and substituted spinach instead. The mushrooms had a wonderful meatiness to them and I could have happily eaten this dish to myself. But then again I am a mushroom addict!

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Salmon fillet, jamon, cauliflower, asparagus ($36, GF)

The jamon-wrapped salmon fillets were served on a bed of cauliflower purée and topped with grilled asparagus and microherbs.  The crispy jamon gave a great textural contrast to the softly cooked fish and I was pleased to note the salmon was cooked to have a satisfying dark pink centre. I get cranky when my salmon is overcooked as I believe it ruins it.

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Earl Grey pannacotta, raspberry ($15, GFO)

Neither of the desserts on the menu were gluten free however the Earl Grey pannacotta could be easily adapted by the omission of the shortbread biscuit. It had the requisite wobbly movement and the hint of bergamot aromas were so uplifting.

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Sailor Jerry chocolate pudding, pistachio, vanilla ice cream ($15, not GF)

The Boy ordered the chocolate pudding to share based purely on the addition of vanilla ice cream. Ice cream really is his weakness. The “Sailor Jerry” chocolate pudding was irrelevant to him and he left it for his parents to enjoy instead. He can be easily pleased sometimes. Sometimes I said! 😉 

Angelo Street was in dire need of somewhere cool that took it beyond the realms of sandwich bars and brunch spots. I look forward to seeing how Hopscotch Bar fits into the scene and will definitely be returning.

Hopscotch Bar | 79 Angelo Street, South Perth WA | 0418 399 966 | Facebook

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Truffle Kerfuffle, Manijimup 2015

Posted by  | Categories: Attractions, Degustation/Fine dining, Events, Featured, Food and Wine Festivals, Regional WA, Southern Forests

A few years ago researchers at the University of Michigan discovered that people inherit their work ethic, or if it’s the case a lack of one, from their fathers not their mothers. This means that those who grow up with a hard-working, career focused dad will likely grow up to have similar attitudes. I am very grateful to have received Dad’s career orientated genes and it makes me so happy to see him proud of my achievements. There is however a slight downside to being so dedicated to our respective jobs, simply never having enough time in the day or in fact days in the week. It is far too easy to let the work-life balance slip off kilter and both Dad and I suffer from this.

Consequently it can be hard to pin down Dad and Tess for a weekend, especially as they live in Melbourne, but when we offered for their Christmas gift the lure of a full weekend eating truffles it was too good for them to refuse. We wanted to show them the full Truffle Kerfuffle experience so although it was a lot of eating I booked tickets for the Hunt and Harvest Dinner on the Friday, the Southern Forests Food Bowl Lunch on the Saturday and finally ending with Sophie Zalokar’s Truffle dinner at Foragers on the Saturday night. We booked our accommodation at one of Sophie’s beautiful chalets on the Foragers property in Pemberton.

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Truffle Kerfuffle, or TK as it is known affectionately by the locals, kicked off in style on the Friday night with the Gala Opening Hunt and Harvest dinner. I loved observing the wide range in interpretation of the evening’s dress code; with some guests donning full satin evening gowns while others were dressed for comfort in jeans and sneakers. Upon arrival we were handed a welcome cocktail to sip as we found our way to our pre-allocated tables.

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Gala Opening Hunt and Harvest dinner

For last year’s TK, I planned ahead and had organised to be seated near decent lighting for the dinner event so that my photography didn’t suffer. This year I totally forgot and my heart sunk a little when I glanced over and saw that our arranged seats were situated in one of the darkest parts of the marquee.

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Surprise entrée at the Hunt and Harvest; truffle croquettes (sadly not GF)

The Hunt and Harvest Dinner consisted of five courses matched with local wines with each course prepared by one of the weekend’s celebrity chefs. All the chefs remained very focused on utilising the local produce in the Southern Forest region, not just black truffles. As we eagerly waited for our first course, our waitress came over to the table with a big grin on her face. “The chef just whipped up a surprise dish for you all; it’s a truffle croquette!” Everyone reached in excitedly to sample the crispy delights, but alas I missed out because of course they weren’t gluten free. The Boy happily snuffled up my croquette for me.

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Redfin perch brandade, potato, truffle (GF, matched with Silkwood 2012 Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot)

The first official course was made by Matthew Evans from the TV series Gourmet Farmer. Matthew is a chef that shares TK’s food philosophy of eating local and seasonal. He prepared a smooth textured brandade using locally caught Redfin perch, potatoes and of course plenty of Manjimup truffle.

The second dish was by far the best of the night and yet sadly one that I failed to capture on camera. Pata Negra’s David Coomer is somewhat of a truffle expert and was one of the first Perth chefs to twig onto the bright idea of growing his own truffles. David’s marron dish was close to orgasmic and for that moment all four of us stopped talking mid-conversation to focus attentively on sucking and slurping every single last morsel of flavour from our marron shells. The marron flesh was cooked to the millisecond of perfection and was literally drowning in a decadent brown butter truffle vinaigrette topped with grated truffle. What astounded me the most with this dish was that David somehow managed to ooze aromatic truffiliciousness into every mouthful; even the enclosed meat in the marron’s legs and claws tasted like truffle. It was heaven.

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Buckwheat, Jerusalem artichokes, milk curd, apple, sprouted buckwheat, wood sorrel, and truffle (matched with Chestnut Grove 2014 Verdelho)

As the four of us glowed in the aftermath of marron ecstasy, Dad voiced his sympathy for the chef whose dish followed next as he imagined even a wonderful dish would be bland in comparison to that marron. Scott Bridger from Bib & Tucker and May Street Larder created his dish using local buckwheat and seasonal Jerusalem artichokes, topped with milk curd, fresh apple, sprouted buckwheat, wood sorrel and truffle.

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GF adapted version of Buckwheat, Jerusalem artichokes, milk curd, apple, sprouted buckwheat, wood sorrel, and truffle (matched with Chestnut Grove 2014 Verdelho)

I am guessing that he included some other gluten flours to be able to make the dough so fluffy, and thus my gluten free adapted version was made using a thin buckwheat crêpe. After indulging on copious rich truffle butter from the marron, I actually welcomed the lighter flavours.

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Pork, heirloom pumpkin, garlic and thyme pithivier, truffle (matched with Mountford 2014 Tangletoe Organic Cider)

Chef Kenny McHardy recently moved up to Perth from Albany and soon will be opening his new restaurant Manuka Woodfire Kitchen in Fremantle. He opted for a more hearty styled dish of a pork pithivier which is sort of a French equivalent of a meat pie but with a fluffy puff pastry. It was served with heirloom pumpkin and some local Tangletoe organic cider made at Mountford Wines in Pemberton.

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GF adapted pork dish: Pork rillettes, heirloom pumpkin, truffle (matched with Mountford 2014 Tangletoe Organic Cider)

Fluffy textures in gluten free pastry is a hard creation to prepare and Chef Kenny made the wise decision to not to ruin the dish with a lackluster gluten free pastry alternative. Instead, I received two buttery soft pork rillettes for my gluten free alternative. As many of my readers may recall, pork is not generally my first protein choice. But offer me pork lavished with luscious truffle and I can easily be swayed!

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Cold lemon soufflé, finger lime (GF, matched with Truffle Hill 2011 Cane Cut Riesling)

To finish off the evening, we enjoyed dessert made by Sophie Budd from Taste Budds Cooking Studio. Sophie bravely chose to made her dish truffle-less and used another culinary delicacy locally grown in the Southern Forests region; native finger limes. She prepared a smooth lemon souffle and topped it with adorable little pearls of Pemberton finger lime. I love how this fruit has been marketed as “citrus caviar”, it is such an appealing concept.

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We commenced our next morning at the Truffle & Wine Co to go on a truffle hunt. My stepmum Tess is a huge animal lover like I am, with a particular weakness for Labradors. We got to meet the truffle dog Scrappy, a black Lab whose gentle nature and large brown eyes won everyone’s hearts especially Tess’s.

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Not only is Scrappy trained to detect where truffles are growing under the ground, but she can also determine which truffles are ripe and therefore ready for harvest while leaving the immature truffles to continue to grow.

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Using specific head gestures Scrappy was able to indicate to her trainer if there was more than one truffle in a single location and if they were growing together in a cluster or spaced a distance apart. Such a clever dog!

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After a few cuddles with Scrappy, we returned to Fonty’s pool just in time for the Southern Forests Food Bowl Lunch. It was going to be a big day of non-stop eating so I had skipped breakfast in preparation and was ready with a very healthy appetite.

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Southern Forests Food Bowl Lunch

In a similar fashion to the dinner, our lunch was focused around showcasing some of the Southern Forest’s wonderful local produce with the black truffle taking centre stage. Each course was matched with local regional wines.

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Marron, tofu, cauliflower, miso, pear, truffle (GF, matched with Woodgate 2014 Pinot Gris)

Our entree was prepared by Aaron Carr, the Executive Chef at Vasse Felix in Margaret River who was awarded 2015 Chef of the Year in the WA Good Food Guide. Using the locally farmed Blue Ridge marron, he paired it with sweet pear, cauliflower and truffle.

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Marron, tofu, cauliflower, miso, pear, truffle (GF, matched with Woodgate 2014 Pinot Gris)

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Marron, tofu, cauliflower, miso, pear, truffle (GF, matched with Woodgate 2014 Pinot Gris)

For the main course Chef Luke Burgess slow cooked some finger licking beef short ribs. The short ribs were served shared style in the centre table with each guest receiving their own plate of smoked quince and kohl rabi salad to pair with the tender beef.

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Beef short ribs, smoked quince, kohl rabi, juniper, truffle (GF, matched with Timeless Hill 2012 Petit Verdot)

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Beef short ribs, smoked quince, kohl rabi, juniper, truffle (GF, matched with Timeless Hill 2012 Petit Verdot)

The meal was rounded off nicely with dessert by Tom Randolph from No. 4 Blake Street. Savoury and sweet flavours were married with a truffle and Jerusalem artichoke custard topped with chocolate consommé and shards of salted chocolate.

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Truffle and Jerusalem artichoke custard, chocolate consommé, salted chocolate (GF, matched with Chestnut Grove Liqueur Verdelho)

After Saturday’s lunch we opted to head home from TK early as I was still suffering from my stupid back injury and needed some time out with my feet up to ease the pain. We had the Foragers Truffle Kerfuffle Seasonal Dinner that evening and I wanted to be able to last the distance. Foragers Field Kitchen holds sell-out seasonal dinners most Saturday nights which consist of a set menu served in a shared style. They have a BYO license.

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Foragers Truffle Kerfuffle Seasonal Dinner

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White bean and parmesan soup with truffle cream (GF)

Sophie Zalokar is a passionate advocate for the Southern Forest region and sources quality local produce to use in her kitchen as much as possible. Her cooking style is best described as authentic country cooking and nearly everything she prepares is made from scratch. For our first course, we started with a white bean and parmesan soup topped with truffle cream and fresh chervil. It was a crisp, cold night out and this shot of warmth was just what I needed.

"wood-roasted Jerusalem artichokes" "sprout hearts" "toasted buckwheat" "truffle" "labna" "hazelnuts" "foragers field kitchen" "pemberton" "sophie zalokar" "foragers" "foragers truffle dinner" "foragers seasonal dinner" "perth restaurant reviews" "perth restaurants" "perth gluten free" "perth fructose friendly" "perth food reviews" "restaurants perth" "food photos" "perth food blog" "food blog" "travel blog" "perth" "perth travel blog" "chompchomp" "gluten free" "fructose friendly" "low fodmap diet" "fructose malabsorption" "gluten free cooking" "raw food cooking" "gluten free recipes" "fructose friendly recipes" "gluten free raw food" "fructose friendly raw food" "coeliacs" "coeliac disease" "southern forest" "pemberton" "manjimup" "south west australia" "black truffle" "truffle festival" "truffle kerfuffle" "perigold truffle" "food festival" "food event" "perth food festival" "wine festival" "west australia food festival" "southern forest food council" "hunt and harvest" "manjimup truffles" "wine and truffle co" "truffle hill" "fontys pool" "truffle kerfuffle 2015"

Wood-roasted Jerusalem artichokes and sprout hearts, toasted buckwheat, truffle, labna and hazelnuts (GF)

For our second course we enjoyed some wood-roasted Jerusalem artichokes and sprout hearts. I haven’t tried them wood roasted before, it seems to be more popular to served them pureed rather than whole. They have a distinct but subtle sweetness to them which I have since learnt is due to the fructose content, something to note if you have fructose malabsoprtion. Toasted buckwheat and hazelnuts added a wonderful textural element to the dish. Some labna, or fresh yoghurt cheese, was made from Bannister Downs milk and of course everything was lavished with plenty of fresh truffle.

"cider braised rabbit" "celeriac cream" "porcini juice" "truffle" "sprout leaves" "foragers field kitchen" "pemberton" "sophie zalokar" "foragers" "foragers truffle dinner" "foragers seasonal dinner" "perth restaurant reviews" "perth restaurants" "perth gluten free" "perth fructose friendly" "perth food reviews" "restaurants perth" "food photos" "perth food blog" "food blog" "travel blog" "perth" "perth travel blog" "chompchomp" "gluten free" "fructose friendly" "low fodmap diet" "fructose malabsorption" "gluten free cooking" "raw food cooking" "gluten free recipes" "fructose friendly recipes" "gluten free raw food" "fructose friendly raw food" "coeliacs" "coeliac disease" "southern forest" "pemberton" "manjimup" "south west australia" "black truffle" "truffle festival" "truffle kerfuffle" "perigold truffle" "food festival" "food event" "perth food festival" "wine festival" "west australia food festival" "southern forest food council" "hunt and harvest" "manjimup truffles" "wine and truffle co" "truffle hill" "fontys pool" "truffle kerfuffle 2015"

Cider braised rabbit, celeriac cream, porcini juice, truffle and sprout leaves (GF)

Whilst I’m certainly not a chef, it seems to me that rabbit can be a very temperamental meat to prepare. I often find it to be dry and tough unless it is served in some sort of slow cooked stew. Forager’s cider braised rabbit was none of those things and was so delicately tender and moist. It was served with celeriac cream, porcini juice, fresh truffle and Brussels sprout leaves.

honey custard" "persimmon" "pumpkin seed salad" "ginger biscuit" "foragers field kitchen" "pemberton" "sophie zalokar" "foragers" "foragers truffle dinner" "foragers seasonal dinner" "perth restaurant reviews" "perth restaurants" "perth gluten free" "perth fructose friendly" "perth food reviews" "restaurants perth" "food photos" "perth food blog" "food blog" "travel blog" "perth" "perth travel blog" "chompchomp" "gluten free" "fructose friendly" "low fodmap diet" "fructose malabsorption" "gluten free cooking" "raw food cooking" "gluten free recipes" "fructose friendly recipes" "gluten free raw food" "fructose friendly raw food" "coeliacs" "coeliac disease" "southern forest" "pemberton" "manjimup" "south west australia" "black truffle" "truffle festival" "truffle kerfuffle" "perigold truffle" "food festival" "food event" "perth food festival" "wine festival" "west australia food festival" "southern forest food council" "hunt and harvest" "manjimup truffles" "wine and truffle co" "truffle hill" "fontys pool" "truffle kerfuffle 2015"

Honey custard, persimmon and pumpkin seed salad, ginger biscuit (GF adapted)

I was thankful that our dessert was lovely and light as we had been solidly eating for most of the day. The smooth honey custard sat gently in my overly full belly and the persimmon and pumpkin seed salad was a refreshing way to finish a perfect meal.

We were yet to explore much of the Truffle Kerfuffle Farmers Market so we headed back on the Sunday morning as fresh as daisies to check it out.

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Southern Forest potatoes

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Kent Street Deli’s Eton Mess

There was an abundance of local food and wine to try with a smaller selection of hot food stalls to purchase more substantial meals. What sparked the Boy’s attention the most were the truffle inoculated trees available for sale and although we don’t have a property in Manjimup he showed great interest in getting one. Dad being the always generous man stopped in at the stall and bought one for his only son-in-law.

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Lady Marmalade’s meringues (GF)

After the previous day’s feasting we were happy for a light lunch and while Dad and Tess wandered the Market tasting wines the Boy and I sat on the grass and ate some heartwarming market food. We had filled our bags with purchases of local produce to bring home including fresh truffles, local potatoes and an enormous spaghetti squash.

That evening back in our chalet, we had the most simple but exquisite meal of mashed potato with truffle butter and fresh truffle. It was as heavenly as all the other dishes we devoured over the three days, except of course for David Coomer’s marron. Now THAT was a one in a lifetime moment. It is always sad moment when TK is over, but the four of us are already counting down the days until next year’s truffle feasting. It looks like it might be an annual event for Dad and Tess too now!

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The biggest mound of truffle mash

Truffle Kerfuffle is held on the last weekend of June every year at Fonty’s Pool in Manjimup. Refer to their website www.trufflekerfuffle.com.au for more details 

Disclaimer: Chompchomp purchased the tickets to the Hunt and Harvest dinner, Food Bowl lunch, Truffle Hunts and Winter Seasonal Dinner at Foragers at her own expense. She was grateful to receive a media pack with free passes, wine glasses and transportation to events for all her family from Offshoot Creative. 

Pata Negra | 26 Stirling Highway, Nedlands WA 6009 | (08) 9389 5517 | www.patanegra.com.au

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Bib & Tucker |18 Leighton Beach Boulevard, North Fremantle WA 6159 | (08) 9433 2147 | www.bibandtucker.net.au

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May Street Larder | Shop 23, 155 Canning Highway, East Fremantle WA 6158 | www.maystreetlarder.com.au

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Manuka Woodfire Kitchen | Shop 6/7,128-134 High Street, Fremantle, Western Australia 6160 | Facebook

Sophie Budd, Taste Budds Cooking Studio

Vasse Felix | Corner of Tom Cullity Drive & Caves Road, Margaret River WA 6284 | (08) 9756 5050 | www.vassefelix.com.au

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No 4 | 4 Blake St, North Perth, 6006 WA | (08) 9444 6678 | www.no4blakestreet.com.au

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Foragers | Lot 1 Roberts Road, Pemberton WAZ 6260 | (08) 9776 1580 | www.foragers.com.au

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Colonial Brewing | Osmington Road, Margaret River WA 6285 | (08) 9758 8177 | www.colonialbrewingco.com.au

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Kent Street Deli | Unit 3/1 Kent Road, Rockingham WA 6168 | (08) 9528 5335 | www.kentstreetdeli.com.au

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Lady Marmalade | Donnybrook, WA | 0417 415 073 | Facebook

Creamy truffle cauliflower soup - dairy free, gluten free, vegan

Posted by  | Categories: Blender Recipes, Degustation/Fine dining, Featured, Recipes, Southern Forests, Vegan, Vegetarian

Recovery from a disc injury can be a roller-coaster ride of good days and bad days. After an optimistic fortnight of steady improvement, I was faced with a horrid day of crippling pain and depression. I forced myself through the morning’s torture in the hope that it would ease as the day progressed but the short drive to work was enough to push me over the edge. I am normally an energetic and bubbly person and I hate that I’m reduced to a crumpled heap on the floor of our staff room. To add to the pain, I feel racked with the guilt of leaving my colleagues with all my work for the afternoon. I battled through a couple of consults before pathetically limping back to my car for the dreaded drive home. Pain has a way of warping your perspective on life and I can sense how short tempered and grumpy I am but with every moment hurting I cannot stop myself.

Upon arriving home I drugged and heat-packed the hell out of that wretched spine of mine before laying back in bed with a glass wine in hand. Before long I was smothered in cats and started to appreciate that tommorow would be a brand new day. With new-found gratitude I reminded myself to be thankful I still have many wonderful things in my life; I have my sanity, my internal health, a loving husband and two of the most handsome cats in the world.

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One of my treasured winter creature comforts in Perth is our locally grown fresh black truffles. I go absolutely bonkers for these little black fungi and our winter is filled with back to back truffle dinner events. This season has already kicked off and yet I’m in no good shape to sit down for a lazy degustation. So, in an act of kindness the Boy suggested that instead of going to the truffle, get the truffle brought to me. My first creation of the season is this luscious creamy truffle cauliflower soup. This is a vegan cauliflower soup that is also gluten free and dairy free, and rich in flavour and umami deliciousness.

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Creamy truffle cauliflower soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Dairy free, gluten free, vegan, fructose friendly
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Serves 2
 
Ingredients
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 30 grams Nuttelex or preferred dairy free, vegan spread
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable stock concentrate (from Thermomix EDC, if you are not using a Thermomix, use 1 stock cube. Ensure it is onion and gluten free)
  • 40 grams fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • 40 grams raw blanched almonds, soaked for 1-2 hours and drained
  • 250 grams cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 200 grams potato, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon savoury yeast
  • 600 grams filtered water, room temperature
  • 10-20 grams of fresh black truffle, depending on preference
  • salt and pepper to taste
For garnishing:
  • 100 grams cauliflower florets, broken into small florets
  • ½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sliced almonds
  • 10 grams fresh black truffle
Instructions
Roasted cauliflower for garnishing
  1. Preheat oven to 200C.
  2. Toss 100 grams of small cauliflower florets in olive oil season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 20-25 mins until browned. Reserve for garnishing the soup
Creamy truffle cauliflower soup
  1. Place garlic clove in the mixing bowl and chop for 5 sec | Speed 5 MC. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.
  2. Add 30 grams Nuttelex and saute for 2 mins | 100C | Speed 1.
  3. Add vegetable stock concentrate, potato, shiitake mushrooms, cauliflower, drained almonds, savoury yeast, water and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 20 min | 100C | Speed 1. Put the simmer basket on top instead of the MC
  4. Blend for 1 minute | Speed 9, gradually increasing from Speed 1-9 until a smooth consistency is achieved.
  5. Shave 10-20 grams of fresh truffle into the mixing bowl ensuring to leave enough to garnish. Mix for 20 seconds | Speed 3.
  6. Serve immediately and garnish with roasted cauliflower, sliced almonds and fresh black truffle
For those without a Thermomix:
  1. Finely chop garlic clove. Saute with 30 grams Nuttelex in a medium sized saucepan on medium heat.
  2. Add vegetable stock concentrate, potato, shiitake mushrooms, cauliflower, drained almonds, savoury yeast and water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15-20 min or until vegetables are soft . Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Blend using a stick blender until a smooth consistency is achieved.
  4. Shave 10-20 grams of fresh truffle into the mixing bowl ensuring to leave enough to garnish. Stir to mix through
  5. Serve immediately and garnish with roasted cauliflower, sliced almonds and fresh black truffle

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Dairy Free Cinnamon Turmeric Custard (gluten free, fructose friendly, FODMAP friendly, dairy free custard)

Posted by  | Categories: Blender Recipes, Desserts, Featured, Recipes, Vegetarian

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.

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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!

Cover-4

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.

Dairy Free Cinnamon Turmeric Custard (gluten free, fructose friendly, FODMAP friendly, dairy free custard)
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4 serves
 
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients into your Thermomix mixing bowl and cook for 7min | 90C | Speed 4.
  2. Once cooked, blend for 4 sec | Speed 6.
  3. Remove any remaining vanilla pod portions and serve immediately.

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Shadow Wine Bar and Dining Room, Alex Hotel, Northbridge

Posted by  | Categories: Bars, European, Featured, Hotels, Perth, Restaurants, Wine Bar

At the very tail end of my annual leave I received a spontaneous call from one of my dearest friends and business partner Chris to join her on a lunch date. She was freed of the responsibility of her little offspring for the afternoon and wanted to make the most of it. She wasn’t fussy where we went and let me choose the venue. With so many new bars popping up around town it is hard to keep up despite being a food blogger. One bar that has sparked my interest is Shadow Wine Bar located in the new Alex Hotel. Moving away from the current trend of tight spaces and walk-ins, Shadow Wine Bar fills a large space with dramatic black and white interiors, massively high ceilings and an industrial warehouse-gone-chic feel.

I tend to avoid making an early judgement on the fluidity of service for new venues like this, not only are the staff new but everything is new and everyone deserves time to land on their feet. So I excused our waiter’s error in telling me all the pasta dishes were gluten free along with a dish with a rye crumb. It was even easier to forgive him quickly when the rest of our service was accompanied with smiles and attentiveness.

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Potato crisp, crab, lemon aioli $6 each, GF

We started with the potato crisp topped with fresh crab and a lemon aioli. These morsels were a mouthful of flavour however the potato didn’t hold up to the weight of its toppings and became a little soggy in the middle.

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Pan fried haloumi, pink grapefruit, watercress, balsamic $19, GF

The pan-fried haloumi was a squeaky treat matched beautifully with slightly sweet, slightly sour pink grapefruit and peppery fresh watercress. A simple collection of ingredients that balanced elegantly.

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Veal carpaccio, rocket, parmesan, truffle mustard dressing $22, GF

The veal carpaccio was the winner of the day. Nearly translucent slices of veal were marbled with spider thin strands of white fat and tore apart like tissue paper across the plate. Truffle mustard drizzled generously on top gave a subtle hint of truffiliciousness.

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Crispy pork jowl, roasted cauliflower, pomegranate, sauce agrodulce $36, GF

Shadow Bar’s crispy pork jowl is a must for pork lovers. The crackling was browned to a tooth-chipping, crunchable texture while the underlying unctuous goodness melted in the mouth without any lingering aftertaste.

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Crispy pork jowl, roasted cauliflower, pomegranate, sauce agrodulce $36, GF

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Pear tart tartin (not GF)

A meal with Chris is never complete without sweets. In fact, over nearly two decades of friendship I cannot recall ever eating with her and not ingesting something saccariferous. Not that I am complaining because I am no different. After a round of giggles from us both trying to pronounce “tart tartin” properly in French, Chris ordered the pear tart tartin. It was served with tonka bean ice cream which had a similar flavour to vanilla with a hint of caramel.

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Poached rhubarb, meringue, mascarpone GF

The only gluten free dessert option was the poached rhubarb served with a scoop of mascarpone and shards of meringue. Whilst my dessert certainly looked the part, I found its flavours to be underwhelming with the creaminess and tartness unbalanced due to a distinct lack of sweetness. It almost felt like there was a missing ingredient.

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Poached rhubarb, meringue, mascarpone GF

Our lunch experience at Shadow Wine Bar left me undecided on my opinion so the following day I brought the Boy back there for lunch for a second chance. Our waitress was much more clued on about what was gluten free and sailed me through the menu without hesitation. Sadly only a handful of the small plates could be adapted and despite being a hotel there was no gluten free bread available.

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Jamon Iberico $25, GF

We started with the jamon iberico which was served with fresh bread on the side for the Boy and some very tasty pickles. Like the carpaccio, the meat was high quality and similarly soft and flavourful.

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Fish of the day $42, GF

The fish of the day was two fillets of pan-fried King George Whiting with a puttanesca sauce made with olives, eggplant, zucchini and capsicum. I picked out the fructose loaded onions easily. As the Boy devoured his share he wondered why I had any reservations about this venue as he had only experienced winning dishes.

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Braised lamb neck ragu, polenta, gremolata $34, GF

Our next dish was the braised lamb neck ragu and this cemented his positive opinion on Shadow. Served on a bed of soft polenta, the lamb was delicately textured, moist and rich and we both savoured each mouthful.

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Cheeses: Manchego, Brillat Savarin, Bleu d’Auvergine

In contrast to Chris, the Boy doesn’t have a sweet tooth except for his weakness for ice cream. I was happy to settle for some cheese instead especially as I had seen two of my favourites of all time on the menu; namely Manchego and Brillat Savarin. These are two very different cheeses but are both ground-shakingly amazing. The cheeses were served at the perfect temperature to maximise their flavour but sadly there were no gluten free crackers or bread to accompany. I am hoping this is just one small oversight that they plan to resolve.

I am glad I returned back to Shadow Wine Bar as I can now appreciate it has oodles of potential. Housed in an impressive space, with a short to the point menu and serving wines by the glass or carafe Shadow Wine Bar proves that our little city Perth is finally growing up. I am hoping that they will progress to becoming a little more gluten free friendly so that people like me can enjoy more of their European styled menu.

Shadow Wine Bar

214 William Street, Northbridge WA | (08) 6430 4010 | www.shadowwinebar.com.au

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Truffle Masterclass with Kiren Mainwaring at Co-Op Dining

Posted by  | Categories: Attractions, Featured, Food and Wine Festivals, Perth, Southern Forests, Travel

Excitement is mounting as the truffle season is about to kick off for the winter. This year West Australia is in for a bumper crop as our conditions have been close to perfect for maximum yield and quality. For those of you who have yet to fall in love with this mysterious black “fruit of a fungus” you are truly missing out. For gourmands around the globe it is highly sought after and has earned the name “black gold” due to it high price. This high value is enhanced by the fact it grows very seasonally and has a short shelf life due to losing its aroma and flavour very quickly.

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Every year there is an annual food and wine festival called Truffle Kerfuffle that is held in Manjimup, in the heart of the Southern Forests truffle growing region in WA. The three day festival allows national and international tourists to live it up for a weekend of luxurious truffle excesses. This year’s festival will run over the last weekend of June from the 26th to the 28th of June and tickets to the events are selling out quick.

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Last years TK Hunt and Harvest Dinner: Southern forests beetroot carpaccio with truffled kohlrabi remoulade and truffled walnut dressing by Michelle Forbes of The Trustee (GF)

Many of our state’s top chefs will be attending the event helping promote what an incredible region the Southern Forests has become, not just for their truffles, but for other sought after produce including chestnuts, buckwheat, finger limes, marron, cherries, cheeses and fine wines.

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In the lead up to Truffle Kerfuffle I recently attended a preview event truffle masterclass with Chef Kiren Mainwaring from Co-Op Dining. Kiren and I share similar passions when it comes to food and wherever possible he sources his ingredients locally and seasonally. He has always taken such individualised care for my dietary needs, even at big events where it must be such a hassle to make one dish to order.

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Being a small group we were taken behind the scenes into the kitchen of Co-Op Dining to get a true chef’s table experience. Not a bad way to spend my rainy Wednesday afternoon indeed!

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Kiren talked us through a couple of methods that can be used to preserve truffles as their potency starts to diminish significantly after just four days. Having said that, working in the kitchen of a fine dining establishment means that he is spoilt with the luxury of not needing to preserve his truffles and uses them fresh for the duration of the season.

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For those that have dined at Co-op, I imagine you would have already gone goo-goo gaa-gaa over Kiren’s slow cooked egg yolk. He cooks the yolk at 55°C for 45 minutes to yield a yolk that is technically cooked but with the consistency as if it is raw. It makes for a perfect blogger’s yolk porn shot which even in the tight constraints of someone else’s’ kitchen, I simply couldn’t resist.

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The yolk snuggled on a bed of broccoli puree surrounded by crispy puffed basmati and buckwheat. This gave the ultimate play on textures with the egg’s creamy silkiness contrasting with the crunchy grains. Generous shavings of fresh black truffle gave this dish an extra depth that rocketed it into absolute heaven.

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Our second dish showcased more ingredients from the Southern Forests region that are also seasonal to this time of year. Pemberton grown Jerusalem artichokes formed the base of the dish featuring both as a puree, and also cubed and fried in smoked pork fat for that added oomph of umami flavour. Roast chestnuts signal the beginning of winter for me and added a wondrous nutty element to this dish.

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It was finished off with shaved parmesan, crisp onion skins and grated fresh truffle. For this dish Kiren grated the truffle finely as he wanted the truffle flavour to evenly disperse throughout the dish.

It is only three weeks to go until Truffle Kerfuffle and this year I am so excited to be taking my Dad and stepmum along with us. Living in Melbourne, they have never explored outside of Perth and I am nervously proud of what we are soon to show them. They are both well-travelled foodies who have spent much of their careers as fashion designers hitting up the hottest places in the trendiest cities around the world. Hopefully I can impress them!

Truffle Kerfuffle runs from the 26th to the 28th of June 2015. Tickets for the festival and associated events can be purchased from their website at www.trufflekerfuffle.com.au

Check out my comprehensive post from last year’s TK at www.chompchomp.com.au/2014/07/southern-forests-truffle-kerfuffle-truffle-festival-2014

Disclaimer: Chompchomp was an invited guest of Truffle Kerfuffle and Offshoot Creative

Westend Pumphouse, Hobart

Posted by  | Categories: Bars, Featured, Hobart, Tasmania, Travel, Wine Bar

There were many things that I discovered about Tasmania on our first trip; their weather is unpredictable, their folk are super friendly, their landscape is breathtaking and their food is more than just good, it is brilliant. We were hard pressed to find somewhere that wasn’t fabulous and what I loved most of all was their locally farmed oysters. I became a crazed fool insisting on eating oysters at every opportunity and I struggled to go for more than a a day without fulfilling my addiction.

We were house-siting in the North Hobart area which is a just a stone’s throw away from the CBD. This conveniently allowed me to hit up some of the best places in town without much effort. One cold midweek evening I knocked off for the day from my locum job at the Hobart Cat Clinic and joined the Boy for a brisk walk into town to the Westend Pumphouse. The Pumphouse is a relatively new venue that recently debuted in The Financial Review’s Top Restaurants of Australia.

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Natural oysters ($28 doz)

The restaurant is housed in an impressive open plan industrial space with massive high ceilings, exposed wooden roof beams and a crackling hot open fire in the centre. Our waiter helped us negotiate the wine list to settle on a luscious bottle of local red while he talked us through their menu. Most of their menu focuses on using locally sourced produce which of course won my heart in a second. We started with some natural local oysters,. Plump, creamy and slightly sweet I still have wistful dreams about these beauties.

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Charred octopus, dried olive, lemon & potato ($18. GF)

The octopus was also locally caught and was served charred with Pink eye potatoes, tangy bitter lemon puree and dried olives. This was such a refreshing dish and it matched well with the succulent oysters.

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1.4kg dry aged sirloin, pinkeye potatoes, white anchovy and cultured butter ($75, GF)

Neither of us are really great pork eaters and we happily we settled for the dry aged sirloin; a massive 1.4 kilograms of beef cooked on the bone for maximum flavour and then chopped up into bite sized pieces for more elegant eating. Each cube of tender beef was lavishly drizzled in a toothsome, rich white anchovy sauce. In an attempt to balance out this high protein feast, we also received a small serve of local Pink eye potatoes tossed in cultured butter. It was the perfect nourishment for the unexpected cold windy weather.

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Molasses parfait, smoked apple, blueberries ($15, GFO)

Along with oysters, local blueberries became another Hobart daily addiction for me meaning the added novelty of smoked blueberries made this dessert quite interesting. Because my stomach doesn’t tolerate high fructose apple I spent a fair few minutes trying to unsuccessfully separate the apple from the blueberries before giving in and letting the Boy eat the rest of the fruit while I tucked into the silky parfait. 😉

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Westend Pumphouse is a funky, modern eatery with a casual vibe serving simple local produce. I could have easily seen myself relaxing many a Sunday session there if I was a Hobart resident. They offer a changing menu and have a dynamic team that obviously love what they do, and do it well.

Westend Pumphouse 105 Murray Street, Hobart TAS | (03) 6234 7339 | www.pumphouse.com.au

The Westend Pumphouse on Urbanspoon

May Street Larder, East Fremantle

Posted by  | Categories: Breakfast/Brunch, Coffee, Featured, Perth, Raw Food, Restaurants

After graduating from high school I left Adelaide and moved across to Perth to study for my dream career in Vet Science. Being only seventeen at the time, my worldly possessions consisted of a suitcase of clothes, some hand-me-down pots and pans, a hand written note book with all of Mum’s family recipes and my stereo tape deck. I couldn’t imagine why I would need or want anything more; music and food were enough to keep me happy.

It was fortunate that I was so easily satisfied because for the next six years I got to experience what it is like to live below the poverty line on Austudy, Australia’s government funded student income. It is easy to learn to go without when you barely have enough income to eat and pay your rent, and it forces you to become much more resourceful.

Many years have passed since then and reflecting back I struggle to comprehend how on Earth I made ends meet on such a small amount of money. I am so grateful that through all my years of perseverance, sacrifice and hard work it has finally paid off. Whilst I can hardly call myself a “rich bitch”, I am enjoying a level of luxury that I wouldn’t have even dreamed of having in my student days.

The Boy has developed a similar appreciation for the finer things in life having originally also come from humble beginnings. He has recognised my last couple of years have been tough ones and so he decided to spoil me for my 40th birthday with a brand new AMG A45. After driving a 1999 Honda Civic for the past ten years now I feel like I’m in a fantasy land. I never thought I could be in love with something with no heartbeat but who am I kidding, I’m completely smitten. She is fast, has a satisfying loud sporty engine and comes complete with personalised plates.

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Of course I now want to get behind the wheel at every given opportunity and our occasional weekend lunch dates generally involve a Sunday drive paired with a pit stop somewhere decent for food. In keeping with this concept we headed down to East Fremantle to check out May Street Larder, a new café from the creators of Bib & Tucker. Knowing Bib & Tucker’s food well I was anticipating good things.

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Banana fig smoothie

As we waited for our table in the standing area, the barista called out to us to see if we wanted any coffees. We had been up quite late the night before and a hit of caffeine was just what I needed.

The Boy isn’t a coffee drinker which is something I will never quite understand. To each their own I guess. Once we were seated at our table he ordered himself a banana fig smoothie instead. It was not overly sweet and quite creamy, and he didn’t utter a single word until it was all gone.

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Zucchini, lupin and lemon fritters (GF, $21)

I was keen to try the zucchini, lupin and lemon fritters. Lupins are a Western Australian grown product and were one of the main hero ingredients for last year’s WA Signature Dish. They are high in protein and fibre making them very filling.

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My lupin fritters were topped with smashed avocado, savoury granola and a couple of poached eggs. The eggs were cooked magically with the fluffy whites encasing liquid gold yolks. We were seated on a communal table and I received a couple of bemused looks as I furiously photographed to capture ever second of my egg porn moment.

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Pulled pork sandwich ($21)

The lack of sleep was giving the Boy a small dose of indecisiveness over the menu until he saw a waiter with a pulled pork sandwich scoot past to a nearby table and then his choice was crystal clear. The pork shoulder was slow cooked to a near melting point and was ever so moist and flavoursome. The chipotle aioli wasn’t too intense for his sensitive tastebuds and he informed me he liked that it had a subtle sweetness to it. His sandwich also came with some May Street Larder house pickles along with very moreish deep fried sweet potato crisps.

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Sadly this was a rare day where my appetite lacked its usual gusto due to a persistent hangover. Additionally my dish of lupin and zucchini fritters was so filling it left me no room for any sweets. I was so disappointed and consoled myself by wandering over to the counter to at least have a peek. What a shame! There were heaps of desserts for people like me; gluten free, vegan and raw options so I would have been spoilt for choice. Basically this simply means I will just have to come back again another day!

May Street Larder

Shop 23, 155 Canning Highway, East Fremantle WA 6158 | www.maystreetlarder.com.au

May Street Larder on Urbanspoon

A Spanish Siesta after Pinchos, Leederville

Posted by  | Categories: Bars, Featured, Perth, Restaurants, Tapas Bar, Wine Bar

“Take me back to Barcelona!” These are words that escape my mouth on more than one occasion. My love affair with Spain first developed back in the 90’s when the Boy and I went backpacking around Europe together for the summer. We were uninhibited by shackles of any debt or responsibility and traveled nearly six months roaming from city to city without any real plan. We stayed in hostels and I successfully survived living out of a backpack with only two pairs of shoes to choose from. I laugh at this fact when I think of how I travel now; with suitcases the weight of bricks complete with multiple pairs of shoes, boots, jackets, dresses, running gear, party outfits, lap tops and camera equipment. My how time can change people!

More recently I traveled alone to Barcelona on conference and despite being ten years between visits, I slipped back into my hedonistic state within the first day. Simply I ate, and I ate and I ate. There wasn’t a single meal that didn’t excite me and my only regret was not bringing the Boy with me.

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House made Sangria $19/caraffe

People in Barcelona don’t eat three square meals like us Aussies tend to prefer, and more curiously they eat at the strangest times of day with most restaurants not opening their doors until 9 pm at night. During the day for those who want a snack, there are a multitude of “pintxos” bars serving a variety of small bites of tapas with a wooden stick skewered in the middle of it. At the end of your meal, the waitress would count your sticks to determine your bill.

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Pintxos have started to take off in Perth with a couple of options around town. It is somewhat comforting to know I don’t have to travel too far to get a little piece of Barcelona. I was recently invited to dine at Pinchos in Leederville for a bloggers lunch.

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Pintxo Chorizo con miel sausage, honey, cheese ($2 each, GF)

Run by the same team behind Jus Burgers, Pinchos takes that concept of all day bites to the Spanish level, with a multitude of morsels to fill your hungry belly. They have a separate food intolerances menu making ordering very easy.

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Boquerones y pulpo ($9, GF)

We ordered a bunch of my favourites including boquerones y pulpo; white anchovies and octopus served with ribbons of zucchini, chilli and grapes. The octopus was not as tender as that in Spain but then I have set very high standards for myself. I loved the addition of sweet grapes. The Boy added even more sweetness to his by drizzling the honey from the chorizo pintxos on top.

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De la Casa (House salad) ($8, GF)

Another Spanish thing I adore is manchego cheese. This aged hard sheep cheese has a very characteristic flavour and I ate it by the truckload in Barcelona. The De la Casa salad, or house salad, is made with thin slices of manchego tossed with iceberg lettuce and a sherry vinaigrette. A simple but addictive dish that I could easily eat every day.

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Embutidos: A Taste of Four for one ($16, GF)

We wanted to try a few of Pincho’s cured meats but I was mindful that there were a number of other dishes I was desperate to order. We agreed to compromise and order a “taste of four for one”. Our plate included Jamon Serrano, Morcon, Chistorra and Fuet Anise.

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Our favourite two on the meat plate were the Jamon Serrano and the Chistorra. Chistorra is a traditional sausage from the Basque region made from minced pork and flavoured with garlic, salt and paprika.

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Bienmesabe fish and stuffed squid ($10, GFA)

Both of the two daily specials were able to be adapted gluten free so we chose the Bienmesabe fish with stuffed squid. Served in two components, the fish was delicately tender and infused with gentle spices on a bed of roasted cherry tomatoes and capsicum.

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Bienmesabe fish and stuffed squid ($10, GFA)

The stuffed squid were particularly delicious, stuffed with a sweet fig paste and drizzled in caramelised balsamic. My only gripe was I was left wanting more.

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Tortilla de Bacalao y Patata ($9, GF)

A Spanish tapas feast is never complete without a slice of tortilla. In Spain a tortilla is not a form of flatbread, but instead comprises of a thick omelette with chunks of potato and other ingredients cooked through. They are generally gluten free and an easy quick snack for a Coeliac on the go. Pincho’s tortilla is served with some salad and made a substantial meal on its own.

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Pintxo de Chocolate ($3, GF)

We were far too full for dessert but as always I was left with the need to end with something sweet on my palate. We ordered a couple of chocolate and sherry fig truffle to finish. They were soft and melted in the mouth leaving a creamy sensation to roll over my tongue for a lingering moment.

Disclaimer: Chompchomp dined as a guest of Pinchos. Her opinions and photos are her own and she will not be influenced by the fact her meal was at no cost. In a desperation for a little bit of Barcelona without the cost of an airfare, she has already returned in cognito and found the quality of the food and service to be consistent.

Pinchos

749 Newcastle Street, Leederville WA 6007 | (08) 9228 3008 | pinchos.me

Pinchos on Urbanspoon

Unexpected paradise found at Saffire Freycinet, Tasmania

Posted by  | Categories: Degustation/Fine dining, Featured, Luxury, Resorts, Restaurants, Tasmania, Travel

I recently traveled to Tasmania on a two-week working holiday to help out at a colleague’s cat-only veterinary clinic. The Australia Day long weekend was conveniently embedded in the middle of my trip and so the Boy flew over on the Friday to join me. I was getting paid holiday pay from my work in addition to my locum wage from the cat clinic so I decided to splurge and booked us two nights accommodation at the luxury resort Saffire Freycinet on the east coast of Tasmania.

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Saffire Freycinet is a two and a half hour drive north of Hobart through some very picturesque landscapes. The road is windy and undulating making it slow going but is enjoyable to do at a leisurely pace. The Freycinet peninsula is a stunning part of Tasmania with much of this area now turned into a National Park to preserve its natural beauty. The landscape is made of massive eroded mountains of granite known as The Hazards, Mt Graham and Mt Freycinet. These mountains are thought to be over 400 million years old and are home to many native wildlife creatures.

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The climate is some of the mildest in Tasmania with temperatures often much warmer than the rest of the island. We left the torrential rain, wind and cold temperatures behind us in Hobart to enjoy some much needed sunshine and clear skies.

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Green peas, green asparagus, Southern calamari, pea juice, fermented wombok cabbage (GF)

Saffire offer all-inclusive rates at their ultra-private location where we found our every whim catered for. We originally booked a Luxury Suite but were upgraded on arrival to a Signature Suite which contained all the features of the Luxury Suites but with the addition of a larger living space, a relaxing deck lounge and a bathroom overlooking Great Oyster Bay.

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It is a wise plan to arrive at Saffire with an empty stomach as all the meals are included; expect a three course breakfast and lunch followed by a seven course degustation for dinner every day. Yes, you heard me, a dego every day. It was hard going. 😉

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Palate Restaurant

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The Boy’s Saffire Eggs Benedict: poached free range eggs, black pudding, crisp pancetta, sautéed mushrooms, Hollandaise sauce, English muffin (not GF)

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Eggs Cocotte baked free range eggs, slow cooked vine ripened tomatoes, spiced eggplant, Elgaar farm organic haloumi, yoghurt, lemon (GF)

Lunch and breakfast is served in Palate restaurant which offers stunning views of the Hazards. It was such a treat to head there early for dinner and watch the sun slowly set over the mountains.

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Sashimi of yellow tail king fish, sea scallop, sushi rice, pickled ginger, sesame roasted nori, wasabi, native finger lime

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Fragrant poached chicken, slow cooked abalone, mango, salted cucumber, lotus root, pomelo fruit, coriander, mint, peanuts and a hint of chilli

The menu for each evening’s degustation is changed daily with the chef focusing strongly on using local and seasonal produce.

Cutting Pyengar cheddar at dinner

Cutting Pyengana cheddar at dinner

A bottomless minibar and alcoholic beverages from a selected list also came at no extra charge. I swear we both gained a number of kilograms in our three day stay. My dietary requirements were very well attended to right down to the lovely touch of gluten free afternoon tea being delivered to our room each day.

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The staff form a very well-polished team as the number of guests at the resort is quite small allowing for very individualised and personal treatment to everyone. It is easy to see they all really loved their jobs and there wasn’t a single staff member who didn’t gush over their love for the region.

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Lunch included some healthy options

There are a number of activities to do at the resort with many of them inclusive at no extra charge; such as archery, escorted hikes, oyster farm tours and more. There are also a number of signature experiences, however these came at an additional cost.

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One evening we chose to go on the signature Sunset Cruise on one of Saffire’s own boats. Our captain negotiated us through a few rough seas to find us a quiet cove where he cracked out the Tasmanian sparkling wine to share around along with oysters and smoked salmon. He also had a pre-packed separate collection of gluten free snacks for me to enjoy.

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Our favourite activity was the oyster farm tour. The Boy and I donned some funky waders and walked out into the water to see up close how oysters are grown.

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Our guide showed us expertly how to shuck an oyster and then proceeded to shuck a bunch of them plucked straight from the sea. It doesn’t get much fresher than that!

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For those wanting to burn off some of your increased calorie intake, there are numerous hikes to do either escorted or alone through the mountains.

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Saffire also have an open-range Tasmanian Devil enclosure where we got to see the resident group of devils feed and interact with other.

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These devils originally formed part of a breeding colony and have since retired to live out their days in the luxury of Saffire’s massive natural enclosure.

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It was a sad moment checking out of our room at Saffire as this is a place that I never wanted to leave. Every single moment felt like total luxury although I dare say we ate way too much food!

Our Saffire package included daily breakfast, lunch and dinner, a very well stocked complimentary mini bar and a selection of alcoholic beverages. Our room had free Wi-Fi internet access and we were given a credit of $150 for the Spa. Our luxury suite cost $1800 per night, and we were upgraded to a Signature suite $2100 at no cost.

Saffire Freycinet | 2352 Coles Bay Road, Coles Bay, Tasmania 7215 | www.saffire-freycinet.com.au

Palate on Urbanspoon

Taste of Perth 2015 Sneak Preview and Ticket Giveaway

Posted by  | Categories: Attractions, Degustation/Fine dining, Events, Featured, Food and Wine Festivals, Perth, Restaurants

For those of you that missed out on experiencing the glorious feast at Taste of Perth last year, my best advice for you is not to miss out again. Taste Festivals are one of the world’s greatest restaurant festivals and are held in a number of locations all around the world including Paris, London, Sydney and Moscow.

Taste of Perth made its début last year attracting over 16,000 hungry punters over the three days. This year’s Taste festival will be held from the 15th to the 17th of May at Langley Park and it looks like 2015 is shaping up to be even better than last year.

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Photo courtesy of Jessica Wyld

At Taste of Perth, you will be able to create your own designer degustation as many of Perth’s top restaurants will be participating in the event. The 2015 line-up will include some of my favourite venues such as Lalla Rookh, Bistro Guillaume, Bib & Tucker, Nobu, Next Door at No4, Print Hall, El Público and more.

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Photo courtesy of Jessica Wyld

To give an insight into what to expect this year at Taste, I was invited to attend “Taste on Tour”; a fun-filled roving dinner where I joined a small group of bloggers to visit three of the participating restaurants and sample some dishes on the Taste of Perth ’15 menu.

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Pork Belly Taco (GF)

Our first venue for the evening was El Público in Highgate. El Público will have four dishes on offer at Taste, and I am happy to say all of them will be gluten free!

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Pork Belly Taco (GF)

We started off with tasting the pork belly taco served with charred pineapple, salsa picante and chicharon. The taco was topped with shreds of pork crackling giving it a wonderful play on textures with a lot of depth of flavour.

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Street Corn (GF)

The braised street corn dish will be a filling option for vegetarians and was served with cream, fresh cheese chill and lime.

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Lamb Ribs (GF)

For those festival goers needing something a bit meaty, El Público will also be serving their uber soft twice cooked lamb ribs with sesame, cucumber & lime.

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Fried crickets (image from Chompchomp’s Taste of Perth 14)

After it’s sell out popularity last year, El Público will be bringing back their icon dish called “Flavours of Mexico”. This dish consists of a serve of their renowned fried crickets alongside two shots of village mescal.

Photo courtesy of the Food Pornographer, thefoodpornographer.com

Photo courtesy of The Food Pornographer: thefoodpornographer.com

Our next stop was Lalla Rookh in the CBD and to everyone’s surprise and delight a tram pulls up in front of El Público to transport us to our next destination!! We piled into the tram filled with giggles while our tram driver proceeded to get some pop music cranking loudly. So much fun!

Before long we arrived at Lalla Rookh, my favourite Italian restaurant in Perth. I love how Head Chef Joel Valvasori has a strong focus on using West Australian produce and am grateful that he will always effortlessly cater for me despite my dietary requirements meaning I never feel like I miss out.

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Braised Lamb Shank (GF)

Lalla will be serving their braised lamb shank as their icon dish for Taste this year. This dish is available by pre-order from the restaurant and has a level of cult popularity amongst the regulars.

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Organic polenta and parmigiana, Nonna’s style (GF)

It will be served with organic polenta made in a more traditional way with a texture that is almost like a light bread. Perfect for dunking in all that luscious, sweet lamby sauce.

After nearly exploding with full stomachs, we were greeted by our chirpy tram driver out the front of Lalla Rookh to transport us onwards to our final Taste on Tour location; Next Door @ No4 in North Perth. Despite protests from many of us of being way too full to be able eat anymore, it never ceases to amaze me how food bloggers can continue to push the boat out and keep eating!

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Croquettes- Taleggio, Broccolini – smoked lardo, hazelnut marmalade (not GF)

No 4 Blake Street’s Head Chef Tom Randolph is passionate about using seasonal and local produce and will source many of his ingredients directly from the small-scale producers themselves.

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No4 Risotto (GF)

The two gluten free options on No4’s Taste of Perth menu this year will be their signature No4 risotto and a 45 day dry aged beef.  The risotto is a vegetarian option made with cauliflower, cocoa and topped with burnt rice crisps.

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45 Day Dry Aged Beef (GF)

The organic grass-fed beef was tender enough to cut with a fork and was served with a fried egg, crispy kale and sprinkling of dukkha.

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Valrhona Chocolate Garden (not GF)

No4 will also return one of their sell out dishes to the menu this year; their Valrhona Chocolate Garden. This pot of chocolate decadence contains salted caramel, chunks of chewy peanut dacquoise and sandalwood rocks but is sadly not gluten free due to the chocolate soil.

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My GF adapted Valhrona Chocolate Garden (no chocolate soil)

I think the chef may have seen a jealous glint in my eye as I watched everyone’s eyes roll in ecstasy devouring their Gardens. Before long I was presented with a gluten free adapted version, sans soil but topped with shards of salted caramel chocolate instead. Thank you chef!

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Photo courtesy of Jessica Wyld

I will be giving away TWO double passes to Taste of Perth on my Facebook page over the next week valued $72 each.

To enter simply tell me which is your favourite restaurant attending Taste of Perth this year and why they are your favourite. You can write your answer in the comments section below or alternatively head to my Facebook Page.

 The winners will be selected by the Boy and will be based on the most interesting and original answers.

Entries close Sunday 10th May 2015. This competition is open to residents of Australia only.

Disclaimer: Chompchomp attended Taste on Tour as a guest of Taste Festivals and 3am Thoughts.

el PÚBLICO | 511 Beaufort Street, Highgate WA 6003 | 0418 187 708 | www.elpublico.com.au

el PÚBLICO on Urbanspoon

Lalla Rookh Bar and Eating House | Lower Ground, 77 St Georges Terrace, Perth WA 6000 | (08) 9325 7077 | www.lallarookh.com.au

Lalla Rookh Bar & Eating House on Urbanspoon

Next Door @ No 4 | 4 Blake St, North Perth, 6006 WA | (08) 9444 6678 | www.no4blakestreet.com.au

Next Door @ No4 on Urbanspoon

My Top Ten Highlights from the Coles Gluten Free & Healthy Living Expo 2015

Posted by  | Categories: Attractions, Events, Featured, Food and Wine Festivals, Perth

This year is my second year as the official blogger for the Gluten Free and Healthy Living Expo. The expo was held this weekend over two days at the Perth Convention Centre and received a fantastic turn out on both days. The stallholders have caught on to the concept that people love free stuff and at nearly every exhibit there was something to try. I strongly recommend arriving at the expo with an empty stomach! For those who make the mistake of having breakfast beforehand, there are some great discounts so you can fill up your show bag and enjoy them later on.

It makes such a pleasurable experience to attend a food expo and to not have to worry about cross contamination with gluten! 2015 brought a number of newcomers to the expo to join all the gluten free fun and I was pleased to see there were also a number of new FODMAP friendly products available.

Here are my top ten highlights for 2015. For my full album of photos head to my Facebook page.

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1. Lupin Foods – www.lupinfoods.com.au

After my involvement with last year’s WA Signature Dish I am no stranger to Lupin Foods. It was used by Rhiannon Birch as one of the hero ingredients for her winning dish of Dorper lamb with a lupin and za’tar crust.

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Rhiannon Birch from Lupin Foods

Lupin Foods is a proud Western Australian company founded in 2012 and have grown to a high level of popularity in a short space of time. Lupin is not only gluten free but high in protein and dietary fibre in addition to being very easily digestible.

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They had a couple of different options to taste at their stall including sweet apricot balls and a variant of hummus made with lupin instead of chickpeas. They were also the proud winners of the Expo’s best Display Award for this year.

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Lupin Foods Pomegranate and lupin salad

My favourite sample was their pomegranate and lupin salad which was made to be like a couscous salad. It is the first gluten free “couscous” I have had that isn’t gluggy and had a wonderful fluffy texture. I made sure to go home with a bag of Lupin Flakes to make this dish for myself at home.

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2. Turban Chopsticks – www.turbanchopsticks.com.au

Turban Chopsticks are another Western Australia company that drew the crowds at the show. With a constant stream of hot food pouring out of their tiny makeshift kitchen it was hard to walk past the stall without drooling.

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Photo courtesy of Turban Chopsticks

Turban Chopsticks are a family business who have helped simplify meal preparations for busy people with food intolerances. Their meal kits make it so easy to conjure up dinner without too much effort but still with maximum flavour. Their tropical Thai coconut rice was highly addictive and I cannot wait to make some more.

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Dr Sue Shepherd

3. Sue Shepherd – shepherdworks.com.au

I was very excited to see Dr Sue Shepherd lecturing this year. Dr Shepherd is an Advanced Accredited Practicing Dietician and Advanced Accredited Nutritionist and is recognised as one of the world’s leading dietician in the areas of Coeliac Disease and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

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She is one of the pioneers in researching and understanding the low FODMAP diet which in turn has helped so many sufferers of IBS around the world. She gave talks on the FODMAP diet and on Coeliac Disease versus IBS to a full audience. There wasn’t a spare seat in the house.

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Kez’s Kitchen Gluten Free Cereal Bites Low in Fructose

4. The huge range of new fructose friendly products that are available!

Many of you will be familiar with Kez’s Kitchen gluten free products. They make a range of gourmet gluten free biscuits sold in major supermarkets however most of them contain dried fruit making them not suitable for those on a low FODMAP diet. They have now brought out a product called “Cereal Bites” that is low in fructose and has received the FODMAP Friendly logo to prove it.

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Kez’s Kitchen Free & Naked Gluten Free Choc Mud Bar (note this isn’t FF)

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Another new product I discovered was Rick Grant’s Seasoning Mixes. Rick has brought out a range of gluten free, onion free, and garlic free seasoning mixes to please both Coeliac and FODMAP bellies. I bought myself all four to try; Tempura Batter mix, Wedges Seasoning mix, Chicken Seasoning mix and Fish Seasoning mix.  I will let you all know how I go!

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Rick Grant giving a cooking demonstration

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Well & Good

5. Well & Good stand – www.wellandgood.com.au

The Well & Good stand are strong performers at the expo every year with a guaranteed chance at sampling most of their premixes all freshly baked.

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There is often queues of children lining up for their free cupcakes and I cannot help but smile that these food intolerant kids can finally get a chance to do what some take for granted.

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Well & Good Rye-less Rye bread

A new Well & Good product I hadn’t seen before was Rye-less Rye bread. It has the added goodness of spirulina and sunflower seeds and had a wonderful texture and flavour.

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Well & Good Carrot Cake

6. Vintage Style Cakes & Cookies – www.vintageglutenfree.com.au

I may be a little biased in my love for Vintage Style Cakes & Cookies as they are a regular attendee at our local Vic Park Farmers Markets. The company was only established last year and has since hit cult levels of popularity for some Perth residents. My favourites include their carrot cake, lemon slice and the jelly cakes. I will often confuse my in-laws when I bring some of these cakes along to family lunches as they don’t believe me that they are gluten free!

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Vintage Style Cakes & Cookies

7. Solomon’s Cafe – solomonscafe.com.au

Solomon’s Café is based in Mount Lawley on Beaufort Street and serve delicious gluten free, dairy free, organic meals made from scratch in their kitchen. The Boy and I ate a meal at Solomon’s earlier last year where I got to enjoy gluten free gnocchi and healthy raw zucchini noodles. At the Expo they offered some meals for hungry punters.

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Buckwheat wrap and juice from Solomon’s Cafe

We tried their buckwheat tuna wraps made with cashew cheese and salad. I washed mine down with a carrot and ginger juice adapted to be fructose friendly by the omission of apple.

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8. Coles Supermarkets

Being the main sponsors for the Expo the Coles stand was a buzzing hive of activity. In addition to a having a mini-store selling all their Coles-branded gluten free products there were a couple of stands offering free sampling.

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There was also a main stage with Master Chefs Michael Weldon and Courtney Roulston performing cooking shows held throughout the day. They also engaged in some popular interactive cupcake decorating classes for the children.

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9. Barilla – www.barilla.net.au

Barilla only launched their gluten free pasta range last year and are slowly rolling out to selected stores across the state. I was lucky enough to be sent samples to try and made vegan truffle mac and cheese and creamy vegan mushroom pasta.

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I have been busting to refill my pantry with more Barilla pasta as it is the closest to “normal” pasta that I have tasted since going gluten free. I have been told that the Barilla gluten free range is now stocked in Woolworths and it will not be long before they will start appearing in Coles too so look out for them on the shelves!

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10. Delish Ice – delishice.com.au

Our final pit stop at the Expo was for a cooling ice-pop from Delish Ice.  This is one of my favourite food trucks in Perth; the girls are always uber-cool, dressed impeccably suave, never stop smiling and pump out some seriously delicious flavours. They always have something in their freezer that will be gluten free and fructose friendly and are more than happy for me to taste test before I buy.

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Delish Ice

Disclaimer: Chompchomp attended the Coles Gluten Free & Healthy Living Expo 2015 as the official blogger and received a free double pass to attend the event. This year’s event was held as part of the Eat Drink Perth Festival

Hobart Twilight Markets, Tasmania

Posted by  | Categories: Attractions, Hobart, Markets, Travel

It is my dream to be a cat vet, not just any ordinary vet, but one that just deals with cats. So when a locum job came up at the Hobart Cat Clinic I jumped at the opportunity. Not only would I get a fortnight of feline exclusivity, but I would get to visit one of the most beautiful parts of our country; Tasmania. For the first week I was solo as the Boy was only flying over for the second week. As is often the case when I’m on my own, I find myself gravitating toward food as my comfort. To my delight I found out that Hobart loves night markets too.

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Hobart Twilight Markets runs fortnightly from October through to March every year in the coastal suburb of Sandy Bay. Fortunately for me this was directly on route home from work and so I thought I would just drop in and check it out. Along with most of Hobart it seemed. Parking was a challenge and after driving around for nearly half an hour I manage to find a somewhat legal park on a verge.

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Finding gluten free options wasn’t exactly easy as there were large queues at every food stall and I had to line up just to be able to ask as there weren’t any indications made on their chalkboard menus. Needless to say what I did try was worth the wait. Hobart Oyster House’s freshly shucked oysters were out of this world and came in a number of size options. A simple dash of Tabasco and a squeeze of lemon and I was in heaven.

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After slurping my way through a half dozen oysters, I checked out what the Vietnamese stall from Chikko Café had to offer. They were serving a number of fresh Banh Mi which were selling like hot cakes in addition to some prawn rice paper rolls. They were happy to serve my rolls without the hoisin sauce and replaced it with a gluten free sweet chilli sauce instead.

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The vegetarian stall Makan Lagi had a number of international dishes available including some gluten free inari filled with vegetarian contents.

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My favourite snack of the evening was Pav-Lova’s amazing single serve Pavlovas. All gluten free friendly with flavours like brown sugar and lime, lemon and coconut and espresso it was very hard to choose which one to try. Times like these I really miss the Boy as I know his presence means I can order two! I eventually settled for the brown sugar and lime.

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It had all the right elements of pavlova textures, an air-light crisp shell with a centre of softer mallow. The crystallised lime gave a mouthwatering tang to cut through all the sweetness. I didn’t think I would finish it all, but before I knew it the whole pav was gone.

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Satisfied with a full belly I found my way back to the car to return to my house sit companion, Ozi the Cornish Rex. He is such a lovely old man who loves the simple things in life, sunshine, cuddles and smoked salmon 😉

 

Hobart Twilight Markets | Facebook

17 Sandy Beach Road, Sandy Bay, Tasmania 7005

Every second Friday from 4 pm to 8 pm, October to March.

Competition: Coles Gluten Free & Healthy Living Expo 2015

Posted by  | Categories: Attractions, Events, Featured, Food and Wine Festivals, Perth

This year is my second year to be chosen as the official blogger for the Coles Gluten Free Food & Healthy Living Expo for Perth. For many individuals, the diagnosis of Coeliac Disease or gluten intolerance can be very overwhelming. Not only do you have to learn in detail what you can and cannot eat, but additionally you have to scrutinise every meal that you don’t prepare yourself for fear of it being cross contaminated with gluten. It only takes a tiny crumb of gluten to set off a Coeliac’s symptoms with simple things like shared toasters and cutting boards being common culprits.

Although I found sticking to an exclusively gluten free diet challenging at first, once I started to feel my health and energy levels return I realised that this diagnosis was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. My anaemia resolved, my skin rashes healed and my mind never felt more clear.

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Master Chefs Michael Weldon and Courtney Roulston

Being strictly gluten free, it is a rare luxury to be able to attend a food expo where I can eat everything safely. This year Perth’s annual Gluten Free Food & Healthy Living Expo is held on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd of March 2015 at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre and everything at the event is 100% gluten free.

The expo will be even bigger and better than last year with over 50 exhibitors including some new comers such as locally based Vintage Style Cakes & Cookies, Delish Ice and Solomon’s Café.

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Rawsome’s Carawmel slice

There will be twelve seminars given over the two days and I am most looking forward to listening to Sue Shepherd. A Coeliac sufferer herself, Dr Shepherd is one of Australia’s leading expert dieticians. She will give two talks; “The FODMAP Diet” and “Coeliac Disease vs IBS: The Importance of the Correct Diagnosis”.

There will also be some lively cooking sessions from ex-Masterchef finalists Michael Weldon and Courtney Roulston who return to the Expo again this year. There will also be some cooking demonstrations with Laila Gampfer from Rawsome, Rick Grant and Latasha Menon from Latasha’s Kitchen.

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For those who haven’t attended a Gluten Free Expo before, check out my top ten favourites post from last year’s Gluten Free Expo here.

For your chance to WIN a free double pass to the Coles Gluten Free Food & Healthy Living Expo plus a massive hamper filled with goodies from exhibitors at the show, share with us who your favourite exhibitor at the show will be and why in the comments section below. Good luck! 

The lucky winner of this competition will receive:

  • ● A double pass to the Gluten Free & Healthy Living Expo 2015
  • ● Plus a hamper containing gifts from exhibitors at the show:
    • ● Lupin Foods
      • ● 2 x 480g bags of Lupin Flake
    • ● Orgran
      • ● 3 x Orgran Pasta packs
    • ● Leda Nutrition
      • ● 1 x Gojos, 1 x Choculence, 1 x Minton, 1 x Rumballs, 1 x Multipack – Strawberry, 1 x Multipack –TripleBerry, 1 x Multipack –Apple, 1 x Dunkies, 1 x Choc Chip 250g,1 x Arrowroot, 1 x Gingernut, 1 x Golden Crunch
    • ● Loni’s Allergy Free
      • ● 1 x Loni’s Allergy Free Cookbook
    • ● Rawsome
      • ● 2 x Carawmel Slice, 2 x Choc Mint Slice, 2 x Rawkus bites, 2 x Raffa Jaffa, 2 x Lovebite Slice
    • ● Barilla
      • ● 1x box of Barilla Gluten Free Penne, 1x box of Barilla Gluten Free Elbows, 1x box of Barilla Gluten Free Spaghetti, 1x jar of Arrabbiata sauce (gluten free)
      • ● 1x Barilla vintage pasta tin, 1x Barilla apron

Competition Terms and Conditions

Competition is open to all Chompchomp readers who have an Australian postal address. The winner will be chosen by myself and the Boy based on the most interesting and creative answer written in the comments section below. Entries close 5.00pm Wednesday 18th March 2015. 

THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED!

Coles Gluten Free Food & Healthy Living Expo

Saturday 21 & Sunday 22 March, Perth Convention Centre, 21 Mounts Bay Rd, Perth | 9.30am-4pm

Pre purchase tickets: Adult $12+booking fee, Coeliac WA members $5 www.glutenfreeinwa.com.au

Lake House, Daylesford

Posted by  | Categories: Accommodation, Degustation/Fine dining, Featured, Hotels, Luxury, Melbourne, Regional Victoria, Restaurants, Travel

Not everyone marries their best friend and I am so grateful that I was blessed with the opportunity to be one of those lucky ones. Whilst our life is by no means perfect, for the major things we are invariably on the same page. Where we want to live. Our love for animals. Our passion for fine food. Particular black truffles and chocolate. Our core values. And, our love for staying at luxury lodges and hotels! 😉

For our Christmas present to each other we chose to forgo buying each other materialistic stuff, I mean who really needs stuff? We both work and play hard, sometimes too much so, such that our best gift to each other is just spending quality time together. I was once again reminded that I married my soul mate when he agreed without hesitation to go stay at the Lake House in Daylesford for a couple of nights squeezed in between our family Christmas in Melbourne and a friend’s wedding on New Year.

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We booked a Luxury Package for two nights in a waterfront suite. Our package included breakfast and dinner for both nights and some spa treatments to enjoy together.

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Our room overlooked the lagoon and the shores of Lake Daylesford and facilitated complete relaxation with a very comfortable king sized bed, sofa and armchairs. There were a pair of sunbeds out on our deck however the weather was scorching hot and no sane person would have basked in that heat.

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There was a bottle of chilled complimentary champagne ready for us on arrival. The minibar was stocked with a small number of locally sourced drinks and nibbles, Salus Spa’s own sparkling mineral water and a Nespresso coffee machine. Unlike some of the Luxury Lodges of Australia, the minibar was not included as part of our stay. Considering the price was comparative with other Lodges, it would have been a nice touch if it was.

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The bathroom was spacious with a dual shower, double spa bath and heated bathroom floors. There was a modest sized flat screen television, an iPod docking station to play our tunes and free in room Wi-Fi access.

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Every evening between 6 pm to 8.30 pm cocktails are served in the Argyle Library along with some complementary canapés. I was hoping that the canapés would keep coming for as long as we ordered drinks however we quickly learnt that you get one round of delicious canapés and then that is it.

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I am guessing they expect you to move through into the restaurant at that point. Nobody ever seems to understand that our appetites are not those of normal people!

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After enjoying a round of nibbles and a few more rounds of Campari spritzers, we headed out for a walk around the Lake before returning to our suite for dinner. There are two Lakes to walk around each taking less than half an hour on a shaded and pretty path.

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Our package included an in-room supper for two on the first evening with two glasses of house wine. We weren’t expecting such a feast to arrive and this seemed to make up for the feeling of wanting more of those canapés earlier on.

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Everything was adapted to be gluten free including gluten free bread and crackers. There was creamy pea soup, an antipasto platter, a cheese platter and plate of fresh fruit.

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Breakfast is included for both mornings of our stay and consisted of a continental buffet in addition to a choice of a main dish from their a la carte menu.

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The buffet had an array of freshly baked pastries, sliced meats and cheeses with a few gluten free and vegetarian options.

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For my main dish I ordered the house baked beans with goats cheese, wilted spinach and poached eggs on gluten free toast.

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The beans had wonderful depth of flavour but sadly the gluten free toast let the dish down being quite tasteless and crumbly in texture.

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We had minimal plans for our weekend, in fact I was hoping to do very little other than relax but as is always the case with us we cannot help but do a little exploring. The Daylesford Sunday Market operates each Sunday from 8 am to 3 pm and contains a wide range of stalls selling all sorts of antique bric-a-brac, locally grown produce, clothing and crafts. We already had suitcase filled with loot from Christmas so I made do with purchasing a refreshing beetroot, carrot and ginger juice. Oh, and I bought a book about cats :-)

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lavenad 590

We also visited Lavandula, a Swiss Italian lavender farm. It was a melting 40 degrees Celsius and we lingered only long enough to smell the fragrant flowers, scull a lavender lemonade in the shade and then retreat back to our air-conditioned car.

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Canapes in the Library

For our second evening at Lake House, our package included an eight course degustation with matched wines in the restaurant. We started the evening off again in the Library with some canapés before taking a seat by one of the large windows to watch the reflections of the setting sun across the Lake.

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Our degustation took us on a journey using local seasonal food some of which is harvested from their own gardens. This is a restaurant that has repeatedly earned two hats and as our dishes started to roll out I began to see why.

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Veal tartare, mojama, bonito, nori (GF)

Our amuse bouche consisted of a mouthful of veal tartare and mojama which is a salt cured tuna. This was served with some bonito aioli on a nori crisp so light it dissolved on the tongue like a wafer.

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Veal tartare, mojama, bonito, nori (GF)

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Spanner crab, white fish sashimi, green gazpacho, jalapeno, lime mint

Our second course of spanner crab and white fish sashimi had a Nobu-esque twist with the addition of jalapenos and an elegant dollop of green gazpacho. Some tapioca pearls on the side added another element of texture.

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Bug agnolotti, house kimchi

The next course was a pasta dish which meant I received something different in replacement. The Boy’s pasta was a bug agnolotti, which are similar to ravioli. It was served with house made kimchi butter emulsion and crisp shallots.

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Mixed tempura, house kimchi (GF)

My gluten free alternative was some mixed tempura served with the kimchi. I was so chuffed that they could do the tempura gluten free as this is so commonly off the menu for me. It was crispy and light and the kimchi had a decent kick to it.

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Skipton smoked eel in pancetta, new season beets

The next dish was inspired by Chef Alla’s Russian heritage and we were told that a variation of this dish is always on the menu. Smoked eel is considered a delicacy and features in many Russian dishes.

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The eel was sourced from the Victoria based Skipton eel factory. Wrapped in pancetta the smoked eel was paired with some locally grown organic beets and served alongside a toothsome mustard crème fraiche. This was one of my favourite dishes of the evening.

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Tempura quail in nori, wasabi, umeboshi, pickle (GF)

The next dish was some addictive little morsels of tempura quail wrapped in nori.

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Tempura quail in nori, wasabi, umeboshi, pickle (GF)

They were accompanied by dollops of umeboshi puree, coriander puree, wasabi mayonnaise and the cutest coriander flowers.

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Pasture fed beef cheek, cuttlefish, chilli, tagaroshi, shoots and leaves (GF)

Our final main dish was locally sourced pasture fed beef; cooked carefully and slowly such that it had the consistency of melting butter. The hearty flavours of the beef had an added surprise of some chilli and togarashi for an interesting kick.

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Playtime (GF)

Pre-dessert consisted of a platter named “Playtime”. This consisted of a number of little palate cleansers including a strawberry compote with white chocolate sorbet and strawberry granita, a “plum shot” and blackcurrant marshmallow lollipops.

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A Summer Ramble

For our final course, the Boy and I had different dishes as mine had to be adapted to be gluten free. The Boy’s “Summer Ramble” was a garden of gorgeous components and I was gutted there was no more natural light for a stunning photo.  His dish had pistachio sponge, almond praline, almond milk pannacotta, honey ice cream, almond tuille chocolate bark berries AND honey comb….all on one plate. It looked heavenly and despite all the different elements it didn’t taste over complicated or flamboyant.

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Peanut butter parfait (GF)

I could have nearly developed a case of food envy if it wasn’t for my rich peanut butter parfait. It was topped with sesame ganache, peanut praline and sesame ice cream. A perfectly balanced blob of lemon curd added a hint of acidity and a black sesame tuille gave it some crunch and texture.

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We had such a relaxing stay at Lake House in Daylesford giving the perfect amount of “us” time that we needed together. Having stayed in a number of Luxury Lodges around Australia now, I would have liked to have seen a bit more luxury in our rooms to justify the room price and feel that in these sort of “never want to leave” styled lodges a complementary minibar can encourage you to really enjoy your accommodation more.

We found the Spa to be of a high quality and actually went back for a second massage in the couple’s room. The restaurant is well deserved of its Good Food Guide Hats and is worth a visit even without a stay in the Lodge. Their wine list is enough to impress my father which is saying something and I heart how they focus on local and seasonal produce.

Disclaimer: Chompchomp and the Boy paid in full for a Lake House Luxury Package for $1200/night. This package included two night accommodation in a Waterfront Suite, light supper for the first evening and a degustation with matched wine on the second night, a full breakfast each morning and a massage and facial at Salus Spa.

Lake House

4 King Street, Daylesford, Victoria 3460 | www.lakehouse.com.au

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