It Just Has To Be Delicious

Archive for January, 2013

Naan bread

Yesterday I was chatting with my work colleagues who were drooling over the thought of a curry, and I mentioned that I cook my naans on the barbecue. When you think about it, it’s an ideal substitute to a tandoor, you can get it very hot, close the lid and cook the naans for a few minutes each side – they puff up really well.

This is the standard naan recipe – if you want to make it more interesting you can mix fresh coriander, into the dough, or fold some cheese in, stuff it with potato or spicy mince (keema), or cook off some minced garlic and mix that through.

Home made naans

Home made naans

Makes 6

yeast mix:

2 teaspoons dried yeast

2 teaspoons caster sugar

150ml lukewarm milk (use soy or rice milk for dairy free version)

Stir the above 3 ingredients together in a small a bowl and leave to froth and dissolve.

450g plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

half teaspoon salt (you can also use onion and garlic powder, but if you do this omit the salt)

150ml plain yoghurt (for dairy free version use a tablespoon of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons dairy free spread, or omit the yoghurt completely)

1 egg (lightly beaten)

2 tablespoons oil (vegetable oil is ideal – don’t use a strongly flavoured oil)

1. Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl – flour, baking powder, salt.

2. Add the wet ingredients – yeast mixture, egg, yoghurt, oil.

3. Mix together to form a ball of dough. Knead well.

4. Form into a ball, put a few drops of oil in a bowl and roll the dough in the oil, then wrap the bowl in cling film and leave in a warm place for an hour.

5. Knead the dough again and divide into 6 balls.

6. Roll the balls into naan shapes.

7. Cook on a very hot barbecue for a few minutes each side, or on the bars of a very hot oven. If you have a tandoor, of course, cook them in the tandoor. They should puff up nicely.

Sanook Thai Cafe, Greenwood

Sanook is a real find – authentic, tasty, inexpensive Thai food in a relatively local area.
Sanook Thai Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

It’s best to get an inside table if you can – we had an outside table, which wasn’t too bad, it was a lovely warm evening and no flies, but every so often due to the location of the cafe, a little whirlwind whipped up and blew things off the table.

Starters were chicken wings with chilli dipping sauce – again I forgot to photograph them before eating, so the portion size is much bigger than portrayed :

Chicken wings

Chicken wings

Main course was green curry prawns :

Green curry prawns

Green curry prawns

Larb chicken salad:

Larb chicken

Larb chicken

Steamed rice in the shape of a heart:

Steamed rice

Steamed rice

The whole meal was extremely tasty. The curry is the most authentic thai curry that I have tasted in ages, the larb was a delight with real thai basil, and the rice was perfectly cooked. This little cafe is open on Sundays too – I will definitely be going back – a lovely little feast for $54 – you can’t beat that.

FortySevenKirwanStreet Floreat

Always on the look out for new and interesting breakfast venues, I had heard a lot about FortySevenKirwanStreet and thought it was time to give it a try.

Fortysevenkirwanstreet Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

When I arrived it was buzzing with people – a few long tables, a group of cyclists outside on the grass having coffee, noisy, lively but not chaotic.

Like Sayers there is a delicious array of goodies on the counter – savoury tarts and sweet cakes, and many people were popping in for a takeaway.

All of the breakfast favourites were on the menu and I had a hard time choosing between a traditional Paddock breakfast and a crab, leek and artichoke omelette. In the end I chose the Paddock brekkie and a fresh orange juice.

The orange juice was lovely – faultless. The coffee was also delicious, no hint of bitterness, smooth and rich.

Paddock breakfast

Paddock breakfast

I liked the breakfast, but I thought that it could have delivered a bit more in flavour. The eggs were nice, but not as tasty as eggs at other cafes. The sausages were pale (but cooked) – maybe they had been microwaved? Okay sausages, but not the best. The bacon was lovely, the tomatoes sweet and flavoursome, and the mushrooms were good. The star of the dish was the potato rosti – perfectly cooked, really good texture and nice to mop up the egg with.

Will I go back to FortySevenKirwanStreet ? Well if I am in the area, I would dine there, but in my opinion there are at least 3 other cafes which offer a better breakfast – Sayers Sister, John Street Cafe and Sayers.

Wang’s Asian Cuisine Bentley (St. James)

Wang’s in Bentley used to be called Bentley Chinese Restaurant. In my opinion it is currently the best place in Perth to get cheap, authentic Malaysian food.

Wang's Asian Cuisine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

It is cosy and canteen style, but ideal for a good lunch, and has all the malaysian favourites on the menu. Fish head curry laksa seems to be a popular choice with the asian clientele, but my favourites are char kway teow and nasi lemak.

Loh Bak

Loh Bak

There’s nothing like loh bak to start – it’s a deep fried beancurd skin roll filled with minced pork, prawn and water chestnuts with a five spice flavour – very yummy – note that I started eating it before I remembered to take a photo.

Nasi Lemak

Nasi Lemak

This nasi lemak is very good – all restaurants have their own version on the classic, but this one contains chicken and fish with egg and cucumber, peanuts, anchovies and chilli sambal.

Char Kway Teow

Char Kway Teow

A very good char kway teow, with prawns, chicken and fish slices – the perfect lunch to keep you going.

Curry laksa

Curry laksa

A nice authentic laksa with chicken, fishball and prawn, good mixture of noodles (rice and egg noodles).

Wang’s is a long way to travel for me (45 minutes), but I think it is worth it for the quality and authenticity. I recommend that you try it.

Gluten free, dairy free recipes

Wow, I am really happy right now. Earlier this week I ordered some books called ‘Cut out the crap’. They arrived today and are full of wonderful recipes. With my huge list of intolerances, it was a pleasant surprise to see that I can make approx 95% of the recipes, and they all look so appealing. It is so hard to find good gluten free and dairy free treats and desserts, but there is an excellent basic cake recipe, and also a recipe for cherry bakewells that I can’t wait to try.

I also ordered the kids book, and have found that it is full of appealing recipes that will help me to make suitable packed lunches for myself.

If anybody else is interested in reading these books, they can be purchased online from the Cut out the Crap website – they are written by a lady called Collette White. Collette has also answered some of my queries via e-mail – she is an absolute inspiration.

Thank you Collette!

Amazing books

Amazing books

Sayers Sister

I have heard a lot about Sayers Sister, so decided to give it a try for Sunday breakfast. It is in Northbridge at the Bulwer St end of Lake St. I haven’t been to this area before and was quite surprised to stumble across some other places that I have heard of such as Tarts and The Dizzy Witch.

Sayers Sister was the only of these restaurants with a queue, so we persevered and queued up. The restaurant is not quite as chaotic as Sayers in Leederville, the whole layout is better, and the staff allocate tables, so it is a much fairer system.

We were seated at the long  central communal table, which has lots of sweet treats in the middle that you can graze on while you are waiting – you just put your payment in the little jars on the table. I think it’s nice that you can do this in Perth – you wouldn’t be able to get away with it in London – those coin jars would disappear on the first day!

I chose the potato rosti with bacon, poached eggs, rocket, spinach, parmesan and bramley apple/thyme chutney.

Every mouthful was delicious and I thoroughly enjoyed it. You could really taste the quality of the ingredients.

Potato rosti with eggs and bacon

Potato rosti with eggs and bacon

I also had a white peach and passion fruit lemonade to accompany it.

My companion had a coffee – which was really delicious and smooth with a caramel richness. He also had a full breakfast which was equally enjoyable – lots of nice quality ingredients, and a lovely cumin mousse/sorbet on the beans which was unusual and tasty. It consisted of home made beans, crusty bread, eggs, bacon, bubble and squeak, mushroom and pesto.

Sayers Sister full breakfast

Sayers Sister full breakfast

Sayers Sister also has a very attractive selection of home made cakes – if I were not on my January diet, I would have tried one (or two).

I will definitely be returning to Sayers Sister. I think it is slightly better than Sayers, but they are both good quality restaurants that I will always be happy to dine in.

Indian Mixed Vegetables

This is my general recipe for indian mixed vegetables – it is basically an aloo gobi (potato and cauliflower) recipe which you can adapt to suit your taste and to suit whatever you have in the cupboard.

It helps if you have green masala paste and dhania/jeera spice mix already made up, but don’t worry if not – you can adapt the recipe for a one-off version, but if you find that you are making it regularly, I would advise making up a batch of each to save time.

See my page on home made indian food for instructions on dhania/jeera and green masala.

Aloo gobi

Aloo gobi

Here is the recipe for my aloo gobi, but feel free to change the vegetable content (carrots, broccoli, swede, spinach, capsicum, butter beans etc) – I would recommend always having potato and onion in it, but you can use sweet potato if you prefer. If you like a good variety of veg, you can make it with frozen diced mixed vegetables too.

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

2-4 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium to large onion – chop half of it finely and the other half quite chunky

1 -2 potatoes (or sweet potatoes) diced

half a cauliflower cut into bite sized pieces

2 ripe tomatoes chopped (skin them too if you are fussy)

2-3 large mushrooms sliced

1 tablespoon of dhania jeera mix (alternatively use a heaped half tablespoon of ground coriander and a heaped quarter tablespoon of ground cumin)

half a tablespoon of ground turmeric

2 teaspoons of green masala (alternatively grate a green chilli, 2cm ginger and 2 cloves garlic)

1-2 teaspoons sugar

half to one teaspoon salt (depending on taste)

a handful of frozen peas

a handful of fresh chopped coriander

Method:

1. Prepare all of the veg.

2. The amount of oil you need can vary depending in how many veggies you have and how watery they are – if you are not using tomatoes or mushrooms, add a little extra oil. Heat the oil in a large pan (use a huge saucepan or wok, but make sure it has a lid).

3. When the oil is hot add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds – fry until they pop and crackle.

4. Now add everything else except the peas and coriander. I find it easier to stir the spices and masala paste into the oil, then add the veggies. You won’t coat them all in spice to start with, leave them to reduce a bit and stir occasionally. Put the lid on throughout the cooking. If the veggies seem to be sticking a bit you can add a splash of water to help steam them, but don’t add too much water.

5. The veggies will take approx 30 minutes depending on how many hard veg you have. Stir them every 5 minutes and test them with a knife. When nearly done, add the frozen peas and coriander and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

6. Serve as a veggie curry on it’s own, or as a side dish, or in Indian bread with yoghurt. Add fresh shopped chilli if you like it hotter. If it’s too hot, add a little extra sugar and stir it in well.

Stir fried black bean beef

I made this dish after being totally inspired by the black bean beef dish served by Peach Garden at Singapore’s Changi airport (terminal 1). This simple dish was possibly the best meal at an airport that I have ever tasted, and I came home ready to make my own version.

Beef in black bean sauce

Beef in black bean sauce

I added mushrooms to my version and used both red and green capsicum peppers. It wasn’t quite as perfect as the Peach Garden version, but it was definitely very very tasty and I will be making it again. The dish is very quick to make once that you have your prep done, so get everything ready first, make sure your rice is nearly ready, and then create your lovely beef dish. I have tried to keep the salt to a minimum because the light soy and the black bean sauce will have salt in them already – but please taste before serving and adjust the seasoning.

This recipe serves two with lots of nice sauce:

Approx 250 – 300g of good rump steak trimmed and cut into thin strips (I bought a 350g pack, but trimmed all of the fat off)

Half a tablespoon of cornflour

1 tablespoon of shao xing rice wine (widely available in asian shops, but you can substitute with sherry)

1 tablespoon of light soy sauce

Half a large red capsicum

Half a large green capsicum

One medium onion

2-3 large brown mushrooms

2 garlic cloves

4cm root ginger grated

4 tablespoons black bean sauce

2 teaspoons sugar (preferably brown)

80mls chicken stock (try to use low salt variety)

Half a teaspoon of sesame oil

1. Mix together the cornflour, shao xing rice wine and light soy sauce in a bowl. Marinate the beef in this mixture for at least 10 minutes, but up to half an hour if you are organised.

2. Cut the onion and capsicums into bite sized chunks. Slice the mushrooms.

3. Make the sauce by mixing the stock, sesame oil, black bean sauce and sugar.

4. Fry the beef quickly in a few tablespoons of peanut or sunflower oil to brown it – just a few minutes. Remove the beef and keep it nearby on a plate.

5. Now put the onion, garlic, and ginger in the pan and stir fry for a few minutes. Add the capsisums and mushrooms and continue to stir fry over a fairly high heat for another 4-5 minutes.

6. Now add the sauce and the beef to the pan and stir fry for a further 3 minutes to heat through. Season to taste.

7. Serve with boiled or fried rice. You can garnish the beef with sliced spring onions if you like.

Mends Street Cafe

The Mends Street Cafe always seems to be busy when I go next door to La Galette de France. I even saw Manu Feildel in there once when the Good Food show was on at the Convention Centre.

Today I went to La Galette de France for a last coffee and almond croissant before the New Year diet starts and was disappointed to find it closed. I decided to go next door to Mends Street cafe for something brekkie-ish.

The area around Mends Street is very nice – it’s a little bit of a cafe strip with a quaint nearby arcade, and the South Perth foreshore at the bottom of the street, and the Transperth ferry jetty close by. It is usually a very good photo opportunity and today was no exception – a lovely sunny New Years Day.

South Perth foreshore

South Perth foreshore

Mends Street Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I chose a soy chai latte and a plate of blueberry pancakes. My companion chose a full brekkie and a flat white.

The waitress brought the wrong drinks to the table, and when we said that we had not ordered cappuccinos, she looked at us as if we must be in the wrong. Eventually the correct drinks were served.

The coffee was a little bitter (which usually means that the beans are not fresh), but I was pleased to see my chai latte served in a glass with a handle. Nothing annoys me more than hot coffee served in a glass with no handle. You then have to wrestle with the glass and a napkin to avoid burned fingers – in my opinion glasses are for cold drinks (unless they have a handle).

Chai latte

Chai latte

I did have to send the chai latte back though – it was incredibly weak and tasted like hot milk. I didn’t get any kind of apology – the waitress just said that the chai they use is a very weak one…. hmm…. why not use more of it then ? or use a stronger version?

Blueberry pancakes

Blueberry pancakes

The pancakes were nice – I could have had cream, but as I am minimising my dairy intake, I chose syrup alone. Nice, but not wow. I know when food is delicious when I already start planning my next trip to the restaurant, whereas today, I was just reinforcing my disappointment that next door’s cafe was closed.

My companion’s full brekkie was underwhelming too – the eggs were nice, but one was a bit hard, the fried potatoes were a nice touch, but the bacon and sausages were average and the whole dish underseasoned.

Will I rush back to Mends Street cafe ? Not really – there are way better cafes in Perth – it’s time that Mends Street picked up their game.

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