No Mayo Slaw

wpid-20150519_124021.jpg

My partner doesn’t like mayonnaise so sometimes when I’m cooking for him and the family I have to get a little bit creative on the side dishes I create to keep everyone happy (I’m sure all families have this issue of different tastebuds). So when I had some left over cabbage in the fridge and a craving for coleslaw to be part of the dinner ritual that night (knowing full well I couldn’t put in a whole egg creamy mayonnaise into the dish), I decided to put my favourite dressing that I usually put on my salads through the slaw to see if the combination would work together. This as you can guess, turned out to be a huge success with the family and so I thought I would share this very easy but yummy No Mayo Slaw!

Makes: 4 medium sized side dish portions

Ingredients:

Slaw:

  • 200gm Red Cabbage
  • 200gm White Cabbage

Dressing:

  • 1TBSP Olive Oil
  • 1tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1tsp Dijon Mustard

Method:

  1. Finely slice red and white cabbage and place in a large bowl
  2. In a small conical bowl, measure out olive oil, white wine vinegar and Dijon mustard and with a small whisk combine ingredients until emulsified
  3. Add dressing onto cabbage and with your hands mix until combined
  4. Serve immediately
  5. Enjoy!
Advertisements

Portuguese Inspired Lemon and Herb Marinade

wpid-2015-05-19-11.52.09.jpg.jpeg

I created this marinade when I was thinking of what I wanted for dinner and couldn’t decide between a lemon and herb chicken breast or something with a little kick of chilli. My inspiration was obviously from Nandos famous Portuguese chicken (although my version tastes different to the bottles you can buy but the spirit is there).

The thing that I love about this marinade is that once you have made it, you can put it on chicken, pork, fish or even add a little bit of it in a stir fry of vegetables while cooking!

I like to serve the chicken with my “Easy Peas Bean Salad” and “No Mayo Slaw” 🙂

Makes: approximately 300ml of marinade

Ingredients:

Meat:

  • 2 large chicken breasts

Marinade:

  • 50ml lemon juice
  • 1tsp lemon zest
  • 30gm fresh coriander
  • 10gm fresh basil leaves
  • 10gm fresh parsley
  • 1/2tsp ground cumin
  • 1tsp dried oregano
  • 50ml chicken stock
  • 40ml olive oil
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1 medium garlic clove
  • 1 red chilli

Method:

Make Marinade:

  1. Wash fresh herbs
  2. Scrape roots of coriander clean of thin whispy bits and roughly chop
  3. Remove leaves from the stems of the basil and parley and roughly chop
  4. Remove the skin of the garlic and roughly chop
  5. Zest and juice lemon
  6. Remove stalk of chilli and roughly chop (you can deseed the chilli as well if you don’t like your food to be too hot)
  7. Measure out and place all marinade ingredients above into a food processor and blend until combined

Marinate and Cook:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees
  2. Place chicken breasts on 2 separate pieces of alfoil
  3. Pour over marinade and massage into meat
  4. Bring edges of the alfoil up towards the centre to create a parcel so the juices and marinade don’t escape while cooking
  5. Place the 2 chicken parcels in an oven proof dish
  6. Marinate chicken for at least an hour
  7. Once marinated, cook in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until the chicken breast is firm and springy to touch.
  8. Let chicken rest of 5 minutes
  9. Serve and enjoy!

The Legacy – Cooking with Memories

wpid-rnk_wdiogrhm7vw28yxbrowoiyv1u8_rtesztsriyjkbj6nvml4m1al7hqtusgnxo_3c9huqmb_f2saut3prjhy1zkrxq8y_tmftj7t0mdmjdmkcvoplczxqiww443-h332-nc.jpeg.jpeg

What do you want your legacy to be?

What do you want people to remember about you after you’ve gone?

When I think about a person in particular that have influenced my love of food from an early age, I think about my grandfather who was a baker on Norfolk Island. Every time my brother and I went to stay at my grandparents place after school, I could always smell the aroma of freshly baked goods as we came up the drive way and into the doors of the house. I didn’t notice it then but now I see that the array of things he could make was incredible and the skill that he made them really confirmed why his food was not only loved by the family but the community as well. The crust on his pies, tarts and sausage rolls are always melt in your mouth and the fillings are always perfectly balanced and full of flavour!

Now as an adult, I have taken on the ideals that cooking represents love to me and I know when I create a meal from a family cookbook (from any side of the family) that its not just a dish that I am serving, it is a little piece of my memories and upbringing on a plate.

So when my grandparents started talking about what their legacy would be when they do unfortunately pass away one day, I immediately knew what I wanted from my grandfather to remember him by, his prized recipes that bring back so many happy childhood memories from me. Being the foodie that I am, there wasn’t a question in my mind that having the recipes meant more to me than words or trinkets could ever emotionally deliver.

Being who I am, I think that the recipes are the perfect way to kept the legacy of my grandfather alive as its something I can use. It won’t be sit on the shelves collecting dust and when I do make the beautiful cakes and tarts, I will remember sitting with my grandfather while he baked and watching with amazement as my senses went into over drive the amazing smells that were wafting around the house.

Coming from a family that love food, I take these legacy on with great pride and can’t wait to practice these amazing recipes so that I can now bring joy to my family as much as my grandfather has.

How will your family and friends remember you?

Will it be about the joy that you’ve created through your talents and will you inspire the next generation to show love through what they can create as well?

For me, I certainly hope I can achieve this!

wpid-ap4rfarpnwaigvslh1dikmexwzxrklkqm2ubfnv80mfdyvb4ct9cq77pxbh4p8fmqnduxxfphmaetzr0jzjxurfb4u1pb8qmwdrr7p5kfm96-1byvbdny3zjwpqw427-h344-nc.jpeg.jpeg

Behind the Counter with Dave Duff at JACS Restaurant in Applecross

wpid-20150429_105900.jpg

As a Foodie, I know that I personally love to go out to eat and because I live in Perth I am spoilt for choice with so many beautiful options to choose from. So when I get an amazing dish that captures the senses and puts a strong hold on my tastes buds, I automatically want to meet the person with the vision to create such amazing dishes and grill them for details on how they came to create the perfect dish.

This was the case with Dave Duff and the team at JACS Restaurant in Applecross. My partner and I went to the restaurant on a recommendation from one of my partners clients and now I can safely say that from that night onwards, JACS is now our ever reliable, never disappointing place to go for a local date night.

This week on Behind the Counter, I had the privilege and rare opportunity to sit down with Dave Duff, the Head Chef and Part Owner at JACS to talk about what makes him such a fabulous Chef. I was setting up my things for the interview,  when Dave and I got chatting. What I found is that he is a kind, relaxed and very hard working man with a straight shooting edge to his personality and has a world of knowledge for his culinary years.

wpid-20150429_110605.jpg

So how did Dave become who he is today?

Well growing up in Mundaring, Dave left school after year nine and with his parent’s permission started to pursue an apprenticeship at The Loose Box where he stayed for two years. Once Dave had learnt what he needed to at The Loose Box, he then (like many budding chefs) decided to move on to another challenge and finished his apprenticeship at the Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle. Now qualified and looking to expand his skills, Dave started to work at (a then) new restaurant called Gucce in Applecross with a friend. Little did the young Dave know then, that one day, years down the track, he would be a Head Chef and Part Owner of a popular restaurant called JACS on the same street as his new workplace (isn’t it funny how life turns out?).

Dave’s first taste of responsibility started when he became the Chef de Parties at C Restaurant in the heart of Perth City where each night, he would be in charge of a particular station in the large industrial kitchen with a team that he had to lead through a busy and demanding service. This was the first opportunity for Dave to show that he had the leadership skills to become a Head Chef and started on his journey to move up the ranks within the industry he is so passionate about.

Some pivotal places where Dave worked was ECucina Café (which unfortunately is now closed) where he had the opportunity to collaborate with like minded chefs and at Zafferano’s Restaurant in Crawley, were he became part of a team that went on to win many gold plate awards.

Now with twenty years of culinary experience under his belt, Dave is the proud part owner and Head Chef at JACS and has been there for seven years with no intention of leaving. He has found his place, his team and through his experience, he is now creating the dishes he wants to.

What is the one thing that Dave wants you to know about him?

Well, he wants to “be successful in his career not famous”. This speaks volumes to me about what kind of chef Dave is. He is not in it for the fame or get his face on a TV series like Master Chef or any other cooking program and he doesn’t want to be noticed when he walks down the street, he just wants to be known for his dishes, plain and simple. Dave wants his dishes to speak for themselves and this to me is one humble chef and a rare breed in this day and age.

wpid-20150429_110047.jpg

Where did Dave’s passion come from to become a chef?

For Dave it was always something that he wanted to do from a young age and it was one of the reasons why he left school so early. He knew what he wanted to be and went ahead and persued his dream of becoming a chef. Although Dave knew that he wanted to be a chef and liked food, he believes that his passion came gradually and he “picked passion up from different people” as he worked in a number of restaurants. One thing that Dave believes is that “its who you have around you and that you can bounce ideas off each other”.

So does Dave have a significant time in his life that made him who he is today?

To be honest he thinks that all of his experiences from “learning off people” in his culinary life are a huge part of who he is today. However if he had to choose, he said that “Other than JACS, when I worked at ECucina Café, it was a really collaborative environment” which brought that side out of him. He states that “you can’t teach creativity” and I believe this is a powerful statement to anyone trying to get into the industry. Like most professions, you either have it or you don’t.

wpid-20150429_110638.jpg

How does he fuel his passion to create the amazing dishes at JACS?

Dave is hardworking man but when he does have a chance to get out of the kitchen and eat at a restaurant as a patron, he always wants to “try something out of the box” on the menu. What he means is that he chooses the most experimental or unusual item on the menu and see how the chefs have put it together.

He admits that it can “be hard to change peoples minds” to try something new as most clients will have a picture of what they like and what a dish should be instead of letting it speak for itself. So he even though he loves the unusual, Dave and his team always make sure that the menu that they are creating have a little bit of something for everyone. This ensures that all patrons can enjoy the meals and don’t have to  do too much to push themselves and get out of the culinary comfort zone.

So what’s the team like at JACS?

Well its a good team with a lot of the staff that have been working with them for a while. The low turn over of staff is a testament to the managers on how they foster a happy and close team dynamic. This is not to say that it can’t be challenging at times with different personalities but when you walk through the doors of JACS restaurant as a patron you can see that the restaurant has a good dynamic between the kitchen to the front of house staff and therefore it all works in cohesion.

wpid-20150429_110324.jpg

What would be one piece of equipment in the kitchen that Dave just can’t live without?

Dave laughed at this question and said “there’s lots of things” however right now it is the cool room as they previously didn’t have one for 5 or 6 years.  Now his team can dry age their meats and the cool room has allowed a lot more organisation within the kitchen.

So if he could give one piece of advice to anyone who wants to become a chef?

His response was very wise, he said “don’t become a chef if your doing it for the money and only do it if you have the passion for it BUT be prepared to work”. He admits that you never stop learning and that he’s always made sure that he has left each business on the right terms as everyone knows everyone in the food industry.

wpid-20150429_110954.jpg

 I would like to thank Dave Duff and the team at JACS for taking the time out to speak to me and give some insight into what it really takes to be behind the counter. If you would like to visit JACS Restaurant please visit their website below:

http://www.jacsapplecross.com.au/

Restaurant Reads – Bathers Beach House Fremantle

wpid-20150427_165128.jpg

Its late afternoon, you and your partner have decided to take the opportunity to get out of the house on a sunny public holiday. You both want to go to a place over looking the water so you can watch the world go by while sipping wine and one of your favourite places that ticks this box is Bathers Beach House in Fremantle.

Why this particular restaurant you might ask? Well it has a bit of everything, its food is simply fabulous, the atmosphere is comfortable even when its busy and the view from the restaurant is to die for! There is no other place I have seen that creates a little oasis so well and so close to a bustling hub of restaurants right outside their door step.

As you both hop out of the cab and walk hand in hand up the footpath towards Bathers Beach House, you think about how lucky you are to be living in a city where you have so many options to travel a relatively short distance and end up with great food, great wine, a great atmosphere and of course (the best part) great company!

The Food

The restaurant is in full swing when you arrive, the hum in the air awakens your senses as you walk through the door and search for a table. Your partner finds a high bar and chairs close to the counter away from the rowdy beer garden area outside and you sit facing each other.

Wine ordered….. check!

Now to focus on the food. You both aren’t in the mood for a main meal so you decide to opt for share plates instead. This is a great idea as you can sample a range of dishes from the menu and you both agree on the dips with oil and charred bread, sea salt and pepper squid with fried parsley and citrus aioli, hot wings with tangy slaw and some sweet potato fries. Your partner goes up to the counter and orders the chosen dishes while you sip on the wine and watch the people out on the beach.

As you and your partner wait for the food, you talk about organising the upcoming family holiday that is in the next school holidays and place it in the calendar on your mobile phone. Coming to the end of the discussion about the holiday plans is when the food arrives at the table, this is perfect timing as you can feel your tummy rumbling!

Dips, Oil and Charred Bread with Sea Salt and Pepper Squid, Fried Parsley and Citrus Aioli

Picking up and biting into the bread, you could tell it was fresh. There was a crispy outside and a soft and fluffy inside. What surprises you is that the bread had a great smokey flavour which, when paired with the accompaniments and blended with the balsamic oil, brought out the sweetness in the capsicum dip and tickles your tastebuds with a hint of chilli. The hummus had its own personality, it was smooth and creamy, just like a hummus should be and ran smoothly in your mouth.

The squid was piping hot but once it cooled down slightly you could tell that its was going to be something special. It had a salty and crispy crust and as you dipped the squid into the little tub of the creamy aioli, you were surprised that the citrus in the aioli cut through the richness of the dish.

wpid-20150427_161026.jpg

Hot Wings with Tangy Slaw

A caution to the patrons ordering this… it is spicy!!!

Popping the tender little wings into your mouth you could tell that it was too spicy for you to be able to handle (they did warn us on the menu and boy oh boy did they deliver!!) but your partner loves it so you let him munch away. The slaw was very enjoyable, there is no mayo in it but still had a creamy element to it which was pleasant.

wpid-20150427_161111.jpg

Sweet Potato Fries

The crispy, sweet and salty chips did not disappoint! It was a welcome change from the usual order of normal potato fries that are available on menus when out and this change went down a treat. The newspaper it came on was a perfectly patriotic tribute to Australia as ANZAC Day was the reason we were having the public holiday.

wpid-20150427_161322.jpg

You’ve finished the food and wait for it to settle in your stomachs as you finish off the bottle of wine. You and your partner both agree that 4 hours of indulgence is enough and that you two should probably be getting home.

As you get up from the table, the sun is setting over the beach. Its clear to see that the view is another reason why you come to this spot… its like heaven on earth!!!

wpid-20150427_180815.jpg

If you would like to have a similar dining experience. Please visit the Bathers Beach House page below.

Its certainly worth it!

http://www.bathersbeachhouse.com.au/

5 Things I’ve Learnt Being a Cooking Teacher

Pasta Making

Coming up to my first year as a Cooking Teacher, I thought I would share with you on what I have learnt. I could list a million things through this blog (and I actually had originally started with a massive list) but looking through the items that I had written down, there was 5 key points I wanted to share with you.

Now to start off with, I believe that throughout our lives, we all inspire and teach people. Whether it be through our kids/family, your colleagues at work or through our friends, we all have something to say and information to contribute through our daily activities.

If you’ve ever had a passion for food or just really wanted to know what kind of key points you need getting into an industry that you can inspire foodies, then these are some things you need to know.

1. You don’t know food until you have to teach people how to cook for a living

I’ve been in the food industry all my working life and have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by family and friends who either loved food or had businesses in food. To be very direct, I feel like its part of my DNA and personality. I knew that when I first started the Cooking Teacher role that I had a good base of knowledge about food and cooking BUT what I didn’t know is how difficult it is to have complete faith in yourself and confidence that you know enough to relay what to you want to get across to paying clients.

The difficulty with teaching food is there is so much knowledge out there about techniques and the science behind food or why we prepare a dish a certain way that its very challenging to know it all. Its fine that you know the answer, however what is the difficult part is to verbalise that in a manner where all clients can understand or relate to what you are saying (not an easy task I must say).

2. Your attitude when teaching, is everything!

This is a big one for me!

To teach a class, you need to be able to be direct in your instructions, have fun with your personality, inspire/support people to get out of their comfort zone by putting their hand up to learn something new and command an audiences attention at the same time and surprisingly a teacher can only achieve this by a their attitude.

Its true what they say about people choosing you attitude and leaving your personal problems at the door. Once you step in front of people to teach them, nothing else matters but what you need your clients to get out of the experience. Sometimes this can be a very draining experience (if you do it right) especially when you have a client, for whatever reason, doesn’t want to participate or get involved. Unfortunately this is the toughest time to have a good attitude but I’ve learnt that you can look at this situation in one for 2 ways. You can give up and let the situation get to you (which doesn’t help you or the client) OR you can look at it as a challenge to inspire them to have fun and not take themselves so seriously, this breaks down the wall that the client has built up and easier for you to teach and keep that positive personality.

3. The more fun your clients are having the more they tend to learn

Through all stages in our lives, play can be a great way to learn. The more you have fun, the more I have found that people learn more and in fact actually WANT to learn more as it keeps them engaged throughout the time in your class. It also is a great way to get people to relax. As adult we are taught to take ourselves seriously (because lets face it, if we don’t take ourselves seriously then who will?) and in our business lives its can be hard to let go, have fun and relax.  So its even more important that  that as adults, we get a chance to get back to play again so that it opens the mind to learn.

4. Its ok not to know everything

This was a really hard one for me to learn…..

The first time I admitted in a class that I didn’t know something was a huge blow to my ego as a teacher and to be honest took me a while to bounce back from in the class. I felt that if I had admitted that I didn’t know something that I wasn’t credible as a teacher (and this is can tell you is COMPLETELY WRONG!!!).

Its important for the clients to see that they can trust what you say is correct knowledge and as a result, sometimes you have to admit that you don’t know the answer to everything. That’s not to say that you just admit that you’re wrong or don’t know the answer and move on with no action or attempt to find out the answer to the question. How you deal with not knowing the answer is just as important on how you deal with a mistake in the kitchen.

a) it shows your client that you are human and even people who create dishes on a regular basis can mess up

b) its gives you an opportunity to correct a mistake in front of the clients. This can be a teachable moment in itself as the client can now see how to come back from a slip up in the kitchen.

5. Do your homework

I spend a lot of time researching new and interesting facts about dishes that I’m either learning about for a new class or something new to keep an existing class interesting for me and the clients (this is one of the reasons why I started this blog site). You cant teach a class properly if you don’t know what you’re talking about  or if you’re bored with the material you are giving. You want to be able to walk into each class positive and confident that you can answer the questions that someone will ask you throughout the time you have with them.

image

As you can see…. combining all the above things makes for happy clients! 🙂

The Spaghetti Squash Experiment

wpid-20150412_130938.jpg

Yesterday I got a bit creative, my partner and I went to Fresh Provisions (a provedore down the road from us) and I ended up buying a whole bunch of fabulous, yet unusual produce to play around with.

One thing I picked up and took home with me was a spaghetti squash (or as the packaging states…. natures spaghetti). As soon as I saw this beautiful yellow vegetable, I immediately wanted it and  I thought about what excuse I could come up with to give my partner (who can be a fussy eater) so that I could have my way and take it home with us to try. I came up with “spaghetti squash spaghetti bolognese” for dinner (try saying that team times over!). I must have caught him at a weak moment or the fact that when I go into these types of places I’m like a kid in a candy store and he loves to see me happy but he said yes to trying it with me for dinner…. success!!

 Now I haven’t had a lot of experience with this unusual vegetable so I decided to do a bit of research before I started cooking dinner. One site recommended that I chop the squash in half, roast it in the oven in a baking dish with water and covered with foil to help it steam. “What a great idea” I thought to myself until I tried to physically cut the squash in half and realised that this vegetable had a very hard outside so I gave up on that idea.

The next site I looked at said to put the squash in the microwave and cook it that way however I had images of this beautiful vegetable splattered all through my microwave as it had exploded plus I didn’t want to use the microwave to cook (not very inventive and I was in an inventive mood).

Donna Hay suggested that you boil the squash until tender but you must make sure that you have a heat proof dish to hold the squash under water as it cooks. Another great idea until I looked at the size of the vegetable (which is rather large) and trying to find a heat proof dish that would be big enough to fit in the pot so the squash doesn’t come to the surface would be a bit of a challenge plus I had visions of burning myself trying to get the heat proof dish out of the water after the squash had been cooked.

So after looking at numerous sites, and reading the opinions of others that had tried the methods I decided to come up with my own and here it is!

Eloise’s Edibles Experiment on How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

You will need:

  • 1 Large Spaghetti Squash
  • 2 Cups of Water
  • 1 Large Baking Tray
  • Alfoil
  • Oven preheated to 200 degrees
  • Chopping board and chefs knife
  • Dessert spoon
  • Fork
  • 2 TBSP Oil
  • Salt & Pepper

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 200 degrees
  2. Place whole spaghetti squash in baking tray with water and cover with alfoil
  3. Place in oven for approximately 30 minutes or until the outside of the squash has softened enough to cut through
  4. Remove squash from the oven and cut in half (keep the baking tray and water, you’ll need it again)
  5. Using the dessert spoon, scoop out the seeds and set seeds aside (you can roast these for a snack)
  6. Place squash back in baking tray with the flesh facing down into the water and cover with foil.
  7. Place baking tray back into the oven for 30 minutes or until the flesh starts to pull away from the outside husk.
  8. Once cooked, remove squash from the baking tray and using the fork, scrape out flesh
  9. Mix with oil and season with salt and pepper
  10. Enjoy!

What I discovered:

  1. The strands of the squash don’t really come out like long spaghetti pieces. Its more like cut up bits of spaghetti (not necessarily a bad thing)
  2. The taste is surprisingly similar to spaghetti with just a little hint of squash so that you can tell its not really the “real deal” if you don’t mix your sauces through the squash before plating it.
  3. The texture is similar to spaghetti that has been cooked al dente
  4. It takes time to cook the squash but I found that my partner preferred it to me using “zucchini spaghetti” so if you can have enough patience while it cooks, give it a try!

Taylors Art and Coffee House

20150313_120524

 I’ve fallen in love….. no I haven’t run off with another man (because I have the best partner in the world and no one else can match him) and no I haven’t got a new pet (however, this would be awesome). This is a new food love and its name is Taylors Art and Coffee house located in the Swan Valley.

My friend and I try to catch up every month as we both lead rather busy lives. She is a flight attendant and works long and unusual hours so catching up is not always easy (I’m sure everyone has a friend like this who you find it hard to catch up with due to work but when you do its always worth it).

She lives over the other side of Perth, so this time I decided that instead of her coming to my side of the city I would come up and visit her instead. It took me around 45 minutes to reach her house as I passed the city then the airport and found myself going through the large industrial area of Perth and thinking “gee I hope that I’m going in the right direction”. As I moved past the large trucks I found that my friend (who I have never visited before) actually lives in a beautiful country estate near the Swan Valley a.k.a wine and food country!

Since this was my first time in her area she had her favourite café in mind to take me, as she drove, I looked out the window and we chatted about what we had been up to since we saw each other last and where she was going to take me for brunch. As she described it, I become more and more curious. It was a café that was an old house that had been turned into an art studio and had an antique shop attached to it as well…… Wow!

We arrived Taylors Art and Coffee House and made our way to the entrance of the establishment. As we walked through the gates I could see a large courtyard with wine barrels, vines and lanterns hanging from various parts of the trees. It seemed like a perfect introduction to our brunch and instantly made you feel relaxed. You knew you were in wine country!

20150313_115503

We walked inside of the café which was to our right of the courtyard and sat down at a table which was next to an old fireplace.

20150313_115420

The old world charms of Taylors Art and Coffee House is everywhere! 

20150313_114834

Once we had the menus, it didn’t take us long to choose what we wanted to eat and order as we only had 15 minutes before they switched to the lunch menu. I decided to have the bacon and egg roll with their homemade tomato relish and cheese and my friend decided to have the scrambled eggs, toast and a side of bacon.

20150313_113512

The bacon and egg roll with their homemade tomato relish and cheese was as delicious as it was ooey and gooey!

20150313_113458

My friends scrambled eggs and toast didn’t look to bad either… I could have stolen some 🙂

)20150313_113449

The bacon was amazing! Somehow the chefs in the café had crisped the skin so it replicated crackle!!!

Once we were full from our food, I decided that I would like to go and explore the other rooms of this very cool old house. As we walked through each room I saw that there was an array of things to see and also so many art items to buy and look at.

20150313_11540220150313_11532020150313_11530920150313_115249

As you walked through the rooms, the array of patterned artworks, cushions, blankets were amazing. Every corner of the house had its own little display were you could look at and if you liked it, you could also buy it!

20150313_115333

This was my favourite piece in the house. Sitting above the old wooden tables, it looked right at home 🙂

Lastly we came across the art of cakes that the café chefs made….. all on display and ready to be eaten. This to me (being a foodie) was the most beautiful site of all!

20150313_115436

If you would like to explore this beautiful little café for yourself and fall in love like I have then please visit the link below.

Taylor’s Art and Coffee House | Swan Valley | Middle Swan

Moreish Mousse!

wpid-20150214_192017.jpg

I’ve been going out a lot lately (funny when that’s my passion) and not surprisingly, my general catch ups with everyone has revolved around food which, I have found is awesome for doing a little bit of recon to see what everyone is doing in the food industry.

When I go to a restaurant or café, I love to see the places we frequent grow and become more creative in their meal choices as the clients become bolder and more educated in their food choices. While some places have been pushing the boundaries, some other restaurants and cafes have been taking an old favourite recipe and perfecting each dish to grow their reputation instead.

One thing I have noticed is how much the humble mousse has come back into foodie fashion this year, a month ago I visited friends and family in Brisbane and I was happy to see that most of the menus had their own twist on the traditional moreish mousse. I have also seen it coming into foodie fashion back home in Perth where I’m finding it more and more on the menus as well. It might not always be the star on the dish but its creeping back more and more even as an accompaniment to the hero (or star) on the plate.

This is music to my ears as mousse has to be hands down one of my favourite items on a menu. Even though most of the times we can see  mousse on the menu as a dessert, it can also be incorporated into savoury dishes. The great thing about mousse is that its like goldie locks and the 3 bears story. You can have it in a number of different ways, thick, fluffy, sweet, savoury and for most people, they can find a mousse that is (and I quote) “just right”.

This classic item brings back nostalgic memories and as a result whenever I see mousse on a menu, it creates a feeling of wonderment in a dish and I can’t help but get excited by the prospect of what it might be.

As a child, when I went out to dinner with the family, this was the dessert I got when I was really good. It was a treat and to this day, it still feels like a special meal that I will only have if I discover it on a restaurant menu and the connection between my life long memories and food is why I am a passionate foodie.

wpid-20150214_191946.jpg