Here is a photo diary of a recent visit to Co-Op Dining, East Perth.
Archive for November, 2013
In need of some brekkie/brunch on a Saturday morning, I decided to go to Gordon St Garage, having heard a lot of comments about this place. It is almost opposite Watertown, so if there’s no parking nearby, there’s always the Watertown car park.
It is a large place, quite quirky, with an emphasis on coffee and all the different ways that you can make it, and there is lots of coffee paraphernalia for sale. We had to wait about 15 minutes for a table.
The menu contained a lot of vegetarian options, and looking around it looked like the most popular items were the baked beans with poached eggs and the scrambled eggs with herbs and sourdough.
If you are looking for a traditional fry up, this is not the place for you, no sausages or bacon on the menu.
We went with the majority and ordered the beans and the scrambled eggs, accompanied by a coffee and a fresh orange juice.
So what was the verdict ? Both dishes were very nice, but could have done with some extra seasoning. There was no salt or pepper on the tables. The coffee was nice, but only came with one size option – a ‘large’ option would be good.
The beans were a nice mixture of haricot and kidney, with plenty of bread to mop up the sauce and egg. The scrambled eggs were tasty, the herbs and rocket added a nice dimension to it and it looked like a 4-egg portion, so quite substantial.
Would I come back ? Well yes, next time I am in Harbourtown I will plan a visit to Gordon St Garage as part of the trip, but I wouldn’t make the trek here especially for breakfast. It was nice, but it didn’t rock my world.
This is a nice way of making Nandos style chicken. In Australia we can’t get the mango and lime basting, so I make my own.
The chicken is better if marinated for 2 days, but you will still get some nice flavours after an hour of marination.
Buy enough chicken to feed your guests – you can buy it as portions, but I prefer to buy a whole free-range chicken and joint it, because it tastes nicer if the bones and skin are still intact.
Once you have your chicken jointed, place it in a large bowl. There are a few ways of making the marinade, you can use either fresh or tinned mangoes, or mango chutney. The quantities may vary depending on how sweet you like the result, but half a fresh mango, 2 tablespoons of mango chutney or half a tin of mangoes should be enough for one chicken. Then you will need the juice of 2-3 limes. If using fresh or tinned mangoes, chop them into small pieces and mash them a little with a fork. Start by adding the juice of a lime and taste it. If it tastes sweet, add the juice of another lime. It seems to sweeten up a bit during the marinating process so err on the side of slightly sour rather than slightly sweet. Now add a pinch of salt to the marinade and spread it over the chicken pieces. Cover the bowl with cling film and place it in the fridge, turn the pieces regularly – if you are marinating them for a few days, turn them twice a day to make sure they get a good coating.
On the day you are cooking, set the oven to 180 deg C. Take enough potatoes for your guests – I allow a large potato each and cut your potatoes into chip sized pieces. You can do wedges if you prefer. I leave the skin on because it tastes nice and I can’t be bothered to peel them. Toss the potatoes in a little olive oil and bake them in a baking tray – they will take around 40 – 50 minutes and the chicken will take about 40 minutes, so put the spuds in first, then after 10 minutes put the chicken in. I put my chicken and chips in trays lined with baking parchment or foil to save on washing up. Make sure that the chicken is nicely coated with the marinade.
If using spray oil for your chips – a word of caution – don’t spray it on your best non-stick pans. The aerosol in spray oil damages the Teflon coating. I found this out to my cost when I used it on two of my beautiful Circulon fry pans.
You can also use sweet potatoes, but they will not take as long as regular potatoes, so put them in at the same time as the chicken and cut them into large chips.
While the cooking is happening, make the chip salt by mixing the following:
1 tablespoon of onion powder (I ground up some dried onion flakes) do not use onion salt it is too salty
1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
1 teaspoon of ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon chilli depending on your spice tolerance
1/4 teaspoon of allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Mix the spices together – you can double up these quantities if you have a lot of chips.
When the chips are done sprinkle them with the spice mixture.
Serve the chicken and chips with buttered sweetcorn and peas.
This is a really easy recipe for a midweek dinner. You can even oven roast the veggies at the weekend and keep them in the fridge for a super quick result when you get home from work.
Approximately one cup of roasted vegetables
e.g. mushrooms, eggplant, carrot, sweet potato, capsicum, tomatoes, zucchini, red onion, chilli, garlic.
Handful of grated cheese e.g. cheddar, parmesan, a few crumbs of roquefort
Basil leaves (optional)
When you roast the veggies beforehand, put them in a nice big ovenproof pan or dish in nice bite size chunks. Drizzle them with olive oil and season with pepper. Mix well. Making sure that you have garlic and/or onion in the mix will add bags of flavour and a sliced chilli will add some heat. If you don’t have a sliced chilli crush a dried one over the top of the mixture. I usually roast mine at approx 180 deg C for about 30-40 minutes depending on the size and firmness of the veggies.
You need a deep frying pan that will not melt if you put it under the grill, so choose one with a heatproof handle. It doesn’t actually have to be a frying pan, just any wide pan that is able to be transferred from hob to oven.
Reheat the veggies in the pan with a little olive oil. While this is happening, lightly whisk the eggs and season with salt and pepper. You can also add a splash of worcester sauce, soy or tabasco for a little extra kick.
When the vegetables are warm through, pour the egg mixture over the top and stir it in. Turn the heat down and wait for it to set omelette style.
When almost set, tear the basil and scatter over, then sprinkle the cheese over the top and melt the cheese by placing the pan under the grill.
Slice into wedges and serve – this serves two comfortably or three for a lighter meal.
Goes nice with beans, tomatoes or salad.
Nice refreshing salad idea: Rocket, pine nuts, lemon juice, thinly sliced pear, parmesan shavings – season with salt and cracked pepper.
This weekend my friend Paul asked if I had any vegetarian pasta recipes. There are lots of options here and pasta recipes are quite easy to make up as you go along.
I am not going to give quantities because it depends how many people you are serving, your preferred pasta to sauce ratio and also how greedy you are.
Sauces tend to be cream based, oil based, stock based or tomato based. I tend not to use cheese in the sauce, but to add it at the end and melt it into the sauce and pasta mixture otherwise I find that cheese makes the sauce go gloopy.
One recipe that I particularly like is this:
Fry up some chopped onion, garlic, a chilli (if you like some heat) and then add a medley of mushrooms. Now add a healthy dollop of green pesto and some cream or creme fraiche (if you are dairy free you can use soy alternatives or maybe coconut cream). Heat through and stir in the pasta.
You can use any vegetables that you like as long as you a) chop them small enough to cook them in time and b) cook them in order of hardness. You can also use quorn and vegetarian substitutes. If you eat fish you can add prawns, crab and anchovies.
Here are some ideas for vegetable content:
Onions, garlic, chilli, tomatoes, carrot, zucchini, capsicum, sweet potato, corn, broccolini, cauliflower florets (or puree), eggplant, button squash, spinach (just wilted), fennel, peas, avocado, shredded cabbage, asparagus.
I also like to add condiments such as:
Sun dried tomatoes, Peppadew peppers, pesto (red or green), chilli paste, olives, capers, marinated artichokes.
You can also include:
Cooked legumes such as lentils and beans. Pine nuts, almonds, parsley, basil, sage, dill, watercress, or any other herbs/leaves that you like.
For the liquid base use tinned chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, passata, stock, oil, butter, cream, yoghurt, or creme fraiche. You can add lemon, lime or tamarind to give a slightly acidic taste, or you can add honey or sugar if you prefer a sweeter taste.
Cheese toppings: Parmesan, mozzarella, roquefort, ricotta, goats cheese, feta, cheddar.
Choose a pasta that will go nicely with your sauce – if your sauce is quite fluid, choose something like penne or spirals that will become nicely coated with the sauce.
I also like to make veggie pasta bake in the winter months. I cook my pasta and veggies and sauce till almost done, then I mix them together in an ovenproof dish, sprinkle cheese over the top and finish the dish off in the oven. There are various good pasta bake sauces at the supermarket if you don’t have time to make a sauce.
I hope that these ideas have inspired you – try to keep it simple, just a few good quality ingredients and you will have the best pasta dish ever.
There are a few ways of making creme brulee. You can either make it the classic way by baking a rich custard in a bain marie, or you can cheat a little. I am going to give you both recipes.
Classic Creme Brulee
420ml double cream
1 vanilla pod
5 egg yolks (save the whites for making meringue or pavlova)
50g caster sugar
brown sugar for the topping
Heat the oven to 180 deg c. Grease four ramekins and place them in a deep baking tray.
Boil the kettle.
Heat the cream and milk in a saucepan.
Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and place the pod and seeds in the milk/cream mixture.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar with an electric whisk until pale and creamy.
When the cream is almost boiling, remove it from the heat.
Whisk the egg yolks/sugar while pouring the hot cream into the mixture then sieve it to remove any vanilla seeds.
If you have a helper, you can get them to whisk while you pour the hot cream mixture through a sieve into the egg mixture – this avoids the separate sieving step.
Pour the hot cream/egg mixture into the ramekins.
Fill the baking tray with very hot / boiling water so that it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Place another baking tray or some foil over the tops of the ramekins to loosely cover them.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until almost set but still wobbly in the middle.
Chill in the fridge.
Cover each ramekin with brown sugar and either grill or blowtorch until the sugar is caramelised.
Serve with fresh fruit.
For variations, put fruit, nutella, syrup, honey or jam at the bottom of each ramekin before pouring the custard over. You can also make the topping more interesting by adding chocolate powder, grated chocolate, marshmallow pieces, cinnamon or nutmeg to the sugar.
The quantities are a bit vague because it depends on how big your dish is.
Mixture of fruit e.g. tinned peaches, raspberries, apricots, pineapple, strawberries
2 tubs of creme fraiche or marscapone
Ratafia or Amaretti biscuits
Arrange the fruit at the bottom of a large pie dish (if using tinned fruit, drain most of the juice off).
Cover the fruit with the amaretti or ratafia biscuits.
Cover the biscuits and fruit completely with the creme fraiche or marscapone. You may also use double cream or whisk together a mixture of cream and creme fraiche/marscapone.
Chill for at least an hour.
Cover the cream layer with a fairly generous layer of brown sugar.
Place under the grill or blowtorch it until the sugar caramelises.
Let me know which recipe you prefer ! xx