Resolving resolutions

It’s that time of the year again. It only rolls around once every 365 days but when it does, it feels like someone sped time up and BAM, it’s New Year’s Day.

It’s also the time of the year where one is faced with the one same question from family, friends and work colleagues… “What’s your new year’s resolution?”. In my case, the first time it is asked I am stumped, having been too caught up in the festivities of the silly season to have thought about it. By the time the third or fourth person asks me I may have given it some thought and, by the time the tenth person asks me, I’ve probably made a few, already broken them and resent having to make a resolution in the first place.

But this year is a little different…

I wish I had the thought my friend had with her resolution, to write 2014 as the date instead of 2013. Ingenious. Instead, my goal for the next 12 months (and hopefully longer into the future) is to share all the wonderful things I hope to experience this coming year. It may seem ironic, given my lacklustre commitment to leave the grind behind over the past year, but it wasn’t until a good friend told me how much she missed reading the weekly snippets into my life. It seems blogging may be more desirable than Facebook for friends wanting to keep in the loop with your life.

So here I am, back in the online world of WordPress and excited about what posts will be typed up over the coming months. In the bank already are numerous food photos waiting to be uploaded and on the travel front, a trip overseas and one closer to home are sure to result in stories I can’t wait to share.

So happy new year to you all, may your 2014 be filled with good food, great fun and gorgeous friends!

Goodbye 2013, welcome 2014!

Goodbye 2013. Welcome 2014!

Itoshii Japanese ~ Morley

I think it’s safe to say that I love Japanese more than the average person. If I were to pick one dish I could happily eat meal after meal, it would be prawn and avocado sushi…throw in a side of edamame beans and miso soup and I would be in foodie heaven!

Perhaps the only person I know to rival my love for Japanese cuisine is my friend and food blogger, L. We had already scoured the menu, back to front, before even stepping foot in the place. And yes, we are that into it.

I arrived to a bit of an awkward scene – L sitting alone in a completely empty restaurant, with four staff members waiting attentively around the table. Looks like Itoshii doesn’t get much love during the week…but it should. It’s tucked away on the first level of the Morley Galleria, making it not the best spot for foot traffic on nights the centre isn’t open but does make parking very convenient and the service extremely quick for those with a mid-week booking.

The menu isn’t huge (which is a good thing for such an indecisive person like myself!) but I found a number of items that sounded interesting – hotate yaki for entree, ten pieces of the butterfly roll, miso soup and edamame beans.

hotate yakiThe entrees came out and both L and I were taken by surprise at the exquisite presentation – everything perfectly cooked and still warm, yet given enough time and consideration put in to plating it all up. The hotate yaki comprised of four well-cooked scallops on a bed of avocado mixed with kiwi fruit (great combo!) and a sauce to pour over the top. Not the most delicate dish to eat but it tasted amazing; the unique mix of fresh avo and kiwi fruit complemented the delicate scallops really well.

butterfly rollOn to the sushi and once again I was surprised (and slightly overwhelmed) by the huge serving size – ten pieces could have fed an entire family! The butterfly roll had tempura prawn, crispy potato, green tobiko, cucumber, carrot, crabstick, egg omelette and sweet garlic and chilli sauce. I think the chef deserves a round of applause just for managing to fit all of those ingredients into a single sushi roll! While it was an interesting mix of flavours, I found the the sweet chilli sauce overpowering and ended up scraping it off in a bid to taste the other ingrediants. I probably wouldn’t order such a complex roll again, call me boring but I like my simple prawn and avo sushi too much.

Why? I like the daringness of the menu; mixing unique flavours and coming out with a winning combination like avo and kiwi to accompany the scallops. Plus the staff are super helpful and friendly!
Why not? Sometimes simple is better (my preference for sushi) but hey, with so many Japanese restaurants opening in Perth it would be a shame if they were all exactly the same.
On the side: The edamame beans weren’t listed on the menu as a side dish but we asked and they happily prepared a big bowl of the warm and salty green beans. These are a must try if you haven’t had them before!

Check out L’s blog ‘Lettuce Muncher‘ for her take on foodie places in and around Perth.

Swapping the grind for wine

vineyardpanorama_cropped

There are times when embracing the grind can be a very good thing – coming back from a trip with a dismal bank balance that is in need of urgent funds and making the days goes faster when counting down to something special are two examples I am most familiar with.

This time the clock was counting down to an incredible long weekend down the coast of WA to Yallingup, a beach town on the outskirts of some of the best wine-producing land our country has to offer.

There were plenty of gastronomic delights, glasses of vino, beach visits and countless kilometres driven (thanks D!) but the highlight would have to be striking another item off the big list…having a picnic in a vineyard.

I must mention just how accommodating the winery was to let us walk amongst the vines and explore their beautiful estate. I thought we may have to sway them a little but not at all! Times like that when I hear one of my mum’s sayings in my head, “You should always ask, the worst answer you could get is ‘no’”.

Post-work indulgence

I have developed the bad (but oh so good) habit of coming home and indulging in my favourite after-work treat; onion jam and cheese on crackers.

Enjoy this delectable savoury treat with wafer crackers and a vintage cheddar. Oh, and maybe a glass of red wine if you really need to leave the grind behind.

onion jam crackers

I will try making this one day soon but I’m not sure if I will ever be able to recreate the great onion jam I bought from a vendor at the Albany Farmer’s Market…I am considering doing the six-hour road trip back to Albany just to buy and hoard away a Winter’s supply of the jam!

An egg-cellent Easter

A couple of days ago my lovely father asked if my sister and I would be keen to have an Easter egg hunt – bearing in mind that we are both in our twenties, haven’t done a ‘hunt’ in years and I don’t particularly like chocolate (yes, crazy I know!) – we said “no thanks”.

So with the traditional chocolate hunt out the window we decided to instead focus our attention on a beautiful big dinner for the whole family, with my preferred Easter egg treat for starters.

deviledeggs

Deviled eggs (recipe adapted from SimplyRecipes.com)

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 2t dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon tabasco
  • Salt and pepper
  • Paprika
  1. Place the eggs in a pot of water and bring to the boil. Leave in the boiling water for  4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure the yolk doesn’t set to one side. 
  2. Once the eggs are done, take them out of the hot water and run under cool water. Now this is a trick my grandma taught me to make eggs easier to peel – crack the shells and place back in the pot of boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove and allow to cool slightly before peeling.
  3. Cut the eggs in half , remove the yolks and place them in a bowl. With the yolks, add the remaining ingredients and mash together with a fork.
  4. Spoon the mixture back into the holes of the boiled egg and top with a little more paprika and parsley to garnish.

Now chocolate may not be my ‘thing’ but I’m all for any sweet treats my very talented neighbour whips up – like these shortbread bunnies L made for us, love heart icing and all!

Eastertreats

Happy Easter everyone!

A step back in time with a walk down the aisle

The West Australian Art Gallery has boasted two great collection of works through a partnership with New York’s Museum of Modern Art but it’s not just the art gallery that’s secured a world-class exhibition for the Perth public.

The Museum of Western Australia in Perth’s Cultural Centre has on display an array of distinctive fashion pieces, outfits and photographs through the ages of wedding fashion, made possible through a relationship with the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Unveiled at WA Museum

Unveiled: 200 years of wedding glamour was ‘unveiled’ to the Perth public last December and has been extended due to popular demand – it is on for one more week, ending 2 April.

This isn’t just for those interested in fashion (it also has a great collection of mens wedding apparel) but anyone looking for something different to do and explore in the city. You could take half an hour out of your busy week day to stroll through and unwind, or spend a couple of hours perusing the collection on the weekend – but if you are keen to check it out, do it in the next week!

Market season

South Perth Fiesta's 'Unwrapped' market day

South Perth Fiesta’s ‘Unwrapped’ market day

After a Summer season packed with evening events (mostly as part of FringeWorld and the Perth International Arts Festival) it seems our attention has been drawn back to making the most of the Autumn mornings and days.

The cool change in the weather makes for the perfect time to check out that local farmers market or take part in council community events. Living in the City of South Perth shire, I have been lucky to experience two community events right up my alley – the ‘Sorry We’re Clothed’ vintage fair and South Perth Fiesta’s ‘Upwrapped’ market day. It was lovely to bump into friendly neighbourhood faces but both events also provided a great opportunity to meet new people get talking about what else coming up on the Perth scene.

I’ve gathered a little information about similar events coming up that you might like to explore in Perth…

Polka Dot Vintage Markets 2013 dates
April 27-28, August 17-18, November 16-17
Claremont Showgrounds

Street festivals

Fremantle Street Arts Festival
30 March – 1 April at various venues across Fremantle

Angrove Street Festival
7 April at Angrove Street, North Perth

My favourite Saturday morning farmers markets

The Farmers Market on Manning
Clontarf campus, Manning Road, Waterford

Mt Claremont Farmers Market (see my previous post on these markets)
Mt Claremont Primary School, 103 Alfred Road, Mt Claremont

Perth City Farm Organic Growers Market
City Farm, 1 City Farm Place, East Perth

For more WA farmers markets or to see what’s on offer in your state, check out the Australian Farmers’ Markets Association website.

Please share any great Perth events you know coming up in the comments!

Sculptures by the sea

sculptures crowd

If you are in Perth over the next week and have access to a car, bus, taxi, bike, skateboard (any means of transport!) then head down to Cottesloe Beach and take a wander in one of the most unique art ‘galleries’.

This annual event sees a fantastic array of three-dimensional pieces take pride-of-place on the sand, wharf and grassy areas on arguably our city’s best beach. The drawcard of it being a free event (booklets containing information about the sculptures are not cheap though) has drawn a huge crowd, since the official opening day on 8 March.

I have been twice to this year’s exhibition and, whilst I definitely have my favourites, I don’t envy the hard task the curators had of deciding who and what was worthy!

It’s also fascinating just how different people’s opinions are of artwork and why they prefer some pieces over others; after talking about it among one group of friends, we found we all had very different perceptions of some sculptures and had a variety of ‘favourites’ – guess that makes it easier for when we win the lotto and buy them (I wish!).

So take your partner, family or enjoy a solo stroll and, while you’re there, take a picnic and soak up the incredible atmosphere with the beautiful backdrop of the Indian Ocean!

P.S. Here is a sneak peak…

My kind of pick-me-up

Looking back at previous posts, I realised I failed to pass on that promised Tiramisu recipe from my Italian-inspired Christmas lunch. So here it is!

  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 100g castor sugar
  • 265ml marsala
  • 500g marscapone
  • 250ml espresso, cooled
  • Savoiardi biscuits
  1. Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until pale. Add 80ml of marsala and whisk until tripled in volume and mixture holds a ribbon (may take 8-10 minutes). Cool and then fold through marscapone.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk eggwhites until soft peaks form, then gently fold through marscapone mixture.
  3. Combine espresso and remaining marsala. Dip savoiardi biscuits in espresso mixture and place in the base of a square serving dish. Top biscuit layer with marscapone mixture, and repeat layers.
  4. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Dust with cocoa powder and shave chocolate generously over the top before serving.

This recipe is from from Gourmet Traveller and here’s a little foodie fact for your evening; did you know tiramisu translates to ‘pick me up’? I personally take that as a sign that it’s okay to replace my morning coffee with a slice of this Italian treat!