Monday, December 26, 2011

Ho Ho Ho Berry Christmas!

December in the southern hemisphere is in the summer.

Stone fruits, being the fruity flavour of the season, commonly end up in our holiday period dessert dishes.

A friend's Christmas BBQ saw us arrive with a plate of custard tarts topped with these colourful season’s offerings.

Like snowflakes, each piece was different thanks to the puff pastry taking whatever shape it pleased in the baking process. But no worries, they were charmingly rustic and tasted fine. Silky custard dotted with vanilla, whipped cream, roasted almond slices, raspberries and blueberries topped these crispy puffs of pastry and then subjected to a small blizzard of icing sugar.

The cherries did not make it onto the tiny mountains of whipped cream (cue satisfied borborygmi).

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Cooking in Coogee

Coogee beach with its jetty and ample parkland at Woodman Point in the John Graham Reserve is one of the most beautiful spots in Perth, we think.

The pristine stretch of sandy beach, the clear aquamarine of the sea, the verdant park dotted with BBQ pits… Subhanallah!

There were plenty of people about- resting under the shade, snorkelling, scuba diving, fishing, swimming, BBQ-ing, you name it!

A distinctly meaty aroma permeated the air, from the many pre-Christmas BBQ’s. Some even brought their own BBQ’s- there was even lamb on a portable automated spit!

We brought lamb skewers and lamb ribs. Diced lamb was marinated in yoghurt, rosemary, cumin and coriander powder, salt and pepper and skewered with red and green capsicum. We cheated and bought pre-marinated lamb ribs from the Carousel halal butcher.

Our friends brought tandoori chicken and liver and sausages (which we unfortunately could not stay to eat)...but we did try their delicious biryani rice, potato salad, fresh salad and dessert of homemade “rum balls without the rum, so just balls.”

Happy holidays to all!

Saturday Strawberry Scrumptiousness

On Saturdays, our fridge tends to be a little bare. This time, there was a lonely little box of strawberries in the freezer.

Having just watched Jamie Oliver and his little gals whip up some pancakes using his one-one-one recipe (1 cup of flour: 1 egg: 1 cup of milk), we too wanted pancakes! Strawberry pancakes!

Dollops of yoghurt, roasted pecans and honey or maple syrup completed the dish.

The strawberry goodness did not end there.

No, there were also glasses of strawberry smoothies (creamy soy milk and a scoop of mango macadamia ice cream for the Mrs, low fat milk, yoghurt and ice cream for the Mr)!

We enjoyed these as well as the beautiful sunny morning (Perth weather has been lovely this past week), cartoons on TV and the fact that it’s a four day weekend. Yay!

Then it was time to do the groceries.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Rockin' Moroccan

We recently had a taste of Moroccan/Middle Eastern food, music and belly dancing at Freo’s Kaza Blanca. We started with a tapas plate and a platter of dips with bread (including a crispy deep fried bread). The mains looked enormous so we ordered two tagines between the four of us- Lamb Afrah, a lamb tagine with prunes and almonds, and Lamb Tagjin Royal, lamb with asparagus and artichokes.

The lamb was meltingly tender.

The prunes in the lamb Afrah made the otherwise heavy dish a pleasure to tuck into.

You can’t miss the place, with its kaleidoscope of colours from the Middle Eastern style chandeliers, paintings and ornate pieces of cloth strung across the ceiling. 

Loud music and gyrating bellies (of the bellydancers and some happy customers) fill the atmosphere. 

The staff had on harem pants and a variety of sensible shoes (none of which were curly and pointy toed).

We only just managed to fit in dessert, which consisted of Muhallebiah, a rich pudding with a layer of subsolid rose water and warm semolina cake with ice cream. 

Thick Turkish coffee kept us awake for the drive home.

Walking out of the restaurant into the bustling South Terrace, at least one of us wished they were in elasticated harem pants.

Kaza Blanca Grill on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dementia Defence?

Some years ago, I was introduced to the theory of the memory preserving effects of curcummin (turmeric), an ingredient of curry. Incidence and prevalence of Alzheimer’s is lower in the aging populations of East Asia compared to their western counterparts.

This theory plus the fact that curry is bloody delicious (ok well, more so the latter but we won’t dismiss the potential for mental acuity in our decrepit days) make curries a frequent fare in our household.

Our idea of spicing up ‘date night’ is D’tandoor in South Perth.

Complimentary - pappadums and raita for regulars :)

The spread consisted of biryani rice, garlic naan, palak paneer (cheese and spinach in creamy curry), lamb vindaloo and mango lassi. Entertainment consisted of eavesdropping on the next table’s discussion on Indians’ choice of cutlery (they locked in ‘chopsticks’). But they were a really lovely bunch!

Sitting outside on the balcony, we took our time enjoying the food and the breeze from the river, only about 300 metres away. Bliss.

“You’re welcome, we’ll definitely come again!”

D'Tandoor on Urbanspoon

Pack a Piece of Peking Please!

We love dinners that can yield leftovers that can be used in the following day’s packed lunch.

In the heat of the summer, lunch is usually some sort of sandwich.

One sandwich filling that always leaves work colleagues green with envy is duck.

This time, it’s Luv-a-Duck’s Peking Roast Duck Legs with stir fried veggies and creamy mashed potatoes flavoured with roasted garlic. (Luv-a-Duck is accredited by ICCV, The Islamic Coordinating Council Victoria).

Easily found at Woolies and Coles.

Easily reheated for a quick dinner.

This time we tried using our slow cooker, with whole garlic chucked in for addition to the mashed potatoes and gravy.  Just before serving, we used the juices left in the slow cooker to make the gravy by adding vegetable stock, plain flour and the slow cooked garlic. The sugarsnap peas only needed a little olive oil and salt. Potatoes were boiled then mashed along with some garlic, olive oil, olive butter, sesame oil, salt and pepper. Salad consisted of baby spinach, grape tomatoes, pieces of roasted almonds with a dressing of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Throw all the above on plates and voila, an elegant dinner!

The in-laws seemed pretty impressed.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Turkish Delights

Turkish Kitchen on Albany Highway in Victoria Park makes absolutely delicious bread in their wood fire oven.

What better way to eat fresh bread than to mop up a mixture of lamb, cheese and tomatoes on a sizzling hot plate with it. That’s exactly what we did. We also had some meat lovers’ pizza with a touch of BBQ sauce… we love the use of Turkish bread as a base; crisp on the outside and pillowy on the inside!

It’s a no fuss environment.

There’s not much in the way of décor. There’s a slightly broken TV, but we find ourselves spending much of our time just watching the big men behind the counter and their nanna churn out plate after plate of steaming food.

Turkish, Iranian, Bosnian…. And that’s just types of bread on offer.

The clientele is like United Nations passing through.

There is a musollah behind the café which also does Friday prayers.

If dining in is not your thing, takeaway kebab with extra bread seems to be popular.

Contrary to the title of this post, sweets are not their forte. But their bread is another type of Turkish delight altogether.

Turkish Kitchen on Urbanspoon