Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Macaroon made my day.

It’s funny how small things can really make your day.

Some gorgeous girls I work with bought a little treat back to me after a very stressful and patience –testing morning.

Introducing – the best Mango Macaroon I’ve ever tasted!

Being larger in size than most macaroons I’ve tasted, this little morsal embodied everything I love about macaroons – the sweet hit and sugar rush you get from the first bite and the crunchy texture you bite into before reaching that smooth creamy filling inside!
To my surprise, this mango macaroon had a sweet mango flavoured filling inside that complimented the bright orange sweet mango biscuit.

I gobbled it up so quickly that I only remembered to steal a happy snap of this treat after the first delicious bite… can you tell how excited I was to try it?!

My love for macaroons has now been re-ignited.

How did I ever forget how much I love macaroons?


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Ria Malaysian - take 2

For the second time in less than two weeks, we visited Ria Authentic Malaysian in Leederville.
This should give you some indication of how impressed we were the first time!

The restaurant was busy and even more so considering it was a Friday night at 5.30pm. It just goes to show, that we wouldn't have been able to get a seat if we didnt book!

With only a 10 minute or so wait, the dishes started pouring out from the kitchen.

This time we tried a few different dishes but still got our favourite Nyonya Salad!
The freshness of the vegetables cooked so the beans still had a little crunch and the sweet zing of the dressing complimented the crunchy texture of the nuts with fresh mint garnishing the dish.
This was a winner, yet again.

Nyonya Salad: $15 - our favourite! With a spicy dressing, herbs and crushed peanuts.
We glanced up to the *Specials Board* and noticed an Indian Seafood Curry.
...You had me at "Indian".

Indian Special: Seafood curry in a coconut milk sauce. $25

This beautiful dish was topped with crunchy, perfecly cooked prawns, soft fall-apart-as-you-eat fish and swwet scallops. It was DIVINE!
The rich sauce was not hot but had a depth and creamyness to it. I could taste the spices and the real flavour!
Not like any Indian ive tried before (and trust me, ive tried many!), but it was so tasty and summed up a perfect dish for me. 

Ive always wondered how they managed to get each seafood element cooked perfectly in one dish. Brilliant!

Next we tried the Portuguese baked Fish: on a banana leaf spiced predominately with chilli and dried shrimps. This dish looked very impressive when we first saw it coming out. A large fish fillet, cooked (again) perfectly with the fish breaking away effortlessly.

 Portuguese Baked Fish $21

The main factor about this dish was the thick sauce covering the fish....This sauce had a "plum sauce" consistency and was powerfully spiced. The sauce in my opinion was way too overpowering for the fish. The fish itself was a little ruined by the huge amount of sauce covering every ounce of flesh. 1/4 of this amount would have been bearable as once I scraped a lot of the sauce off, minimal amount of the sauce actually tasted quite nice.
It's a shame this was ruined by the huge quantity that was covering the fish.
Plus, with the amazing-ness that was the special Indian Seafood Curry, I couldn't help but keep going back for more Indian Curry and avioding the Portuguese Fish.

This dish was not necessarily hot in chilli flavour either, which surprised me considering it was labelled with "Three chillis" on the menu.

Our other guests tried the Arab Beef from Kedah, influenced by Arabs. Non spicy with tomatoes and nutty from sesame seeds.

Arab beef $23

 The other dish ordered was the Nyonya chicken curry: spiced with coriander, tumeric, cinnamon, chilli and coconut milk.

Nyonya chicken curry $22

We ordered rice for the table and feasted away in what was overall a very rewarding experience.
The flavours of the dishes from Ria were wonderful, rich with spices and flavour!

The service was very fast in the beginning to recieve our meals, however we had to try wave down a waiter to get our water refilled. It seemed once our meals were delivered, we were almost forgotton about.

All in all, there was a reason we came back to Ria and it didn't dissappoint.
The staff were friendly and helpful, the ambience was busy and the food was beautiful!

We will definately be back in the could we not be curious to try all the wonderfully sounding dishes!

Highs: The Seafood Indian Curry Special
Lows: The Portuguese Baked Fish
Overall: 8/10
Will I return? Definitely

Ria Authentic Malaysian Food on Urbanspoon

Dinner at The Fig

Quite often I've been for brunch at any number of 'The Fig' cafe's along the coast of Perth.
Each time I've curiously pondered at the "lunch" and "dinner" menu's and creatively dreamed of what I would get if it was lunch or dinner.

I finally got the chance to visit the Naked Fig in Swanbourne for dinner.
On a beautiful summer's night, the view was gorgeous, The Fig was settled not to far from the beach. Similar to all the Figs - the restaurant was very busy this Saturday Night.

We were seated inside and ordered the roasted vege salad to share for starters. This was classified as a "light" meal, however i was so curious to try it, I managed to convince everyone else on the table that it would be a nice start to our meals to share...Unfortunately I didn't get a photo of this one, but it was delicious!

The crumbled fetta over the roasted beetroot, sweet potato, rocket, spinach leaves, pumpkin with pine nuts and fresh pumpkin seed bread. The salad was drizzled with a balsamic reduction. This was a lovely start to the meal! I could have 

For mains I ordered the Grilled Salmon with Beetroot risotto. The salmon was cooked wonderfully with that gorgeous pink flesh peaking through in the middle of the fillet. I would have probably preffered the salmon to have been cooked a little more rare and had that pink flesh more prominent throughout the fillet, but it was lovely nonetheless.

Grilled Salmon with Beetroot risotto

The beetroot rissotto was bright pink in colour and quite sweet in flavour. Creamy and smooth. I guess I was surprised by the taste as the pink colour can be quite distracting, but it had the cheesy risotto taste blended quite nicely with the beetroot. 
The asparagus was cooked but still had that nice crunch - I could have done with 10 times more. (But that's just the inner-asparagus lover in me - shouting out for more!!!)

Jack ordered the special of the night which was a Mussel Seafood Chowder with a spicy tomato broth.
This was a dish that failed to impress. The mussels, although cooked nicely, were floating in a "tasteless and very unspicy" sauce which failed to have any chilli, let alone a flavour at all. Not something that you think would feature on the "specials" menu. Although both Jack and I have a huge love for chilli, this dish failed to show any sign of spice or heat.

There were quite a few macadamia encrusted roast lamb cutlets sitting on the tables around us... maybe this was a favourite we hadn't been notified of...?
A little dissapointing.

Although the service was fantastic and the "Mai Tai" cocktail ordered tasted beautifully refreshing and sweet with mint leaves adding a zing! It looked fantastic and had the appeal to take you away to Thailand for a brief moment. 

Overall it was a pleasant experience, however I'm not sure I would return to The Fig in the future for dinner.

Considering I absolutely love the "brunch" menu offered at "The Fig" cafe's, and have been more times for brunch that I can count on both hands...I think I will just stick to brunch in the future!

Highs: The ambience of the restaurant, the view, the selection of vegetarian options on the menu.
Lows: The mussel chowder special. 
Overall: 4/10
Would I return? Probably not for dinner. Brunch - yes!

The Naked Fig Cafe on Urbanspoon

Lemon Belgium Tea Cake

Lemon Belgium Tea Cake.

This yellow delight is what defined a little cafe I used to work at once upon a time.
We had up to 10 orders a day for a full teacake in which I was responsible for baking.
(You can see why I loved my job).
Despite making these teacakes constantly, I still devour a slice (or two) every time I make this.
This is the cake you take to parties and without a doubt, there will be at least one guest that will ask for the recipe.

The crunchy sweet pastry bubbles on top of the tea cake, covering the sweet, tangy bright yellow lemon curd filling inside the sweet vanilla short-crust pastry base…will make any cake lover weak at their knees.

This teacake looks more complicated than it really is…
Whenever I mention that I “made the pastry” for this, you’d be surprised at how many people look at me in amazement.
I neglect to tell them it would have to be one of the easiest short-crust pastry recipes I’ve ever come across.

So next time you stop into Dome and grab a slice of their lemon-lime tart or that little café down the road that sells the lemon meringue pie…think about how easy it could be to create a sexy little morsel like this one and impress at your next party.

Serve chilled with a slice of vanilla bean ice-cream or whipped cream. There’s actually nothing better.

I keep a lemon tea cake in my freezer at all times to have a slice ready for a 10-second defrost whenever I crave that sweet lemony kick!

After years of making this tea cake, it still remains my favourite party impresser and people’s choice at any function.

It's a winner.

Michelle's Crepes at Freo Markets

When someone asks me where to go in Perth, one of the first things I tell them to do is go to the Fremantle Markets on the weekend and visit Michelle’s Crepes.

This little discovery has led Jack and I to be personally known at Michelle’s Crepes by Michelle herself as we have frequently visited this busy little French Crepe Suzette during the bustling craziness of what the Fremantle Markets are typically all about.

I usually get a spinach, fetta, sundried tomato, mushroom and onion crepe with chilli and garlic sauce.

Jack’s usual is the Chicken La’Quilla – Herbed chicken with salad and he also adds the chilli and garlic sauce.

You can have every combination of crepe that you could ever dream of:

Sweet: banana and nutella, custard and applepie, strawberries and cream, chocolate mouse, hazlenuts, icecream, coconut, cinnamon, maple, lemon and sugar…the list goes on!

Savoury options include anything from vego classics like spinach and ricotta to chicken, ham, seafood, hot chilli, to Mexicana!  

If your imagination can create it, then so can Michelle.

The Freo Markets are a place I love to visit. On a day that isn’t 40 degree’s, or a long weekend where you can hardly walk one metre without the stranger next to your bumping his melting icecream into your left arm or the person reaching over to grab that bag of fresh produce in the fruit and vege section.

I love the fresh produce and the bargains you can get from the fresh fruit and vege section. I normally stock up on every time of sweet fruit in season you could think of before coming out with heavy arms full of bags of produce.

The smell of hot potato curls cooking, or organic donuts, the stall owners yelling out their specials of the day or offering for you to try their samples. There’s bakeries selling fresh bread, the cupcake stall, lots of nuts and health foods and of course coffee, icecream, clothes, and every nick-nack you could think of!

I recently tried a “Dutch caramel” oil infused coffee bean in my latte, as opposed to the usual coffee bean. After paying $3.50 for the same size as a shot of Tequila at a bar - I thought I better reconsider my purchase next time as after one big sip, the “small latte” was gone.

There is actually nothing better (when the weather in Perth is being nice) than grabbing a crepe to go and sitting under a big tree in the park near the railway line. If you aren’t full after your gigantic savoury crepe (I normally fill mine with every ingrediant they offer), you can come back and try a sweet version.

They even have about 4 different times of batters: normal, wholemeal, chickpea batter and gluten-free.

Get amongst it. Let Michelle know your name.

The Pickled Fig

Im going to be honest with you upfront...
I have been to The Fig (mainly The Pickled Fig in Freo) more times than I can remember.

I've even had the cheek to take various friend groups in the hope that eventually...I would have the opportunity to try everything on their menu.

My only fault being, that I actually order the same thing (with slight variations) each time I come. This makes my review slightly bias you say? Alas, here I make up for my stubbornness and slightly "safe" way of dining by seeing everyone else's dishes around me (on my own table and on others), and experience the differenct service. 

Last admission... I'm a "Fig Fave" 
- Meaning I have a loyalty card for this chain of restaurant in Perth.
(At least I'm openly admitting my obsession by becoming a member!!)
Hey? Points gets you more freebies = happy me. 

Here I take the opportunity to share with you my favourite brunch place.

Settled a stone-throw away from the Fremantle south beach sits The Pickled Fig
The south beach is a dog beach and so the The Pickled Fig often has customers who have just finished their morning walk and pop into the Fig for their morning coffee. 

The fig is decorated with beach art on the walls, a bright red couch that extends along the wall of the café and many “fig” themed items to buy such as fig hand cream, recipe books and The Fig branded mugs and coffee.

What really impresses me about The Fig Café’s are their dedication to supporting good causes such as donating over $15,000 P.A. to The Hunger Project, using Fair Trade coffee and recycling at any chance. They also only use suppliers that have RSPCA accredited chickens and eggs which are free range, and use fresh, local produce.

The front counter has an array of oddly shaped tea pots and cups which finds it’s way to your table if you order one of the many choices of tea from the menu. My favourite here is the Traditional Chai Tea served in a bowl. Don’t be fooled, this gigantic-sized milky chai will set your taste buds with cinnamon, nutmeg and the aromatic chai leaf before you start your brekky.

The multiple freshly blended juices and smoothies are a huge hit.
The “Mad Monkey” blends banana, chocolate, coffee and icecream and the “Nut Nectar” is an almond and date drink which tastes mysteriously like sticky date pudding but it’s made with a soy milk and is gorgeously rich and smooth in texture. 

But my favourite is the “Green Smoothie – Health in a Glass” which blends banana, greens and fresh fruit to a refreshingly green coloured juice. You can just feel the nutrients packed into this smoothie and the fact that it is green in colour doesn’t deter from the fact that its sweet with honey drizzling down the side and the sweetness of the fruit. 

The Green Smoothie $7.80

The coffees are made with 100% fair trade coffee, and if you have had enough caffeine for one day, the option of a ”Dandy Soy” may appeal to you as a decaf version using dandelion root espresso.

Enough about the drinks, now onto the food – those amazing fresh and home-made brekky dishes! 

Pictured below is the Eggs Benedict (with added salmon).

Eggs Benedict (with salmon) $15.50 

The perfectly poached free-range eggs oozed yolk down the grilled ham, salmon, spinach and cassalinga. This was topped nicely with tangy homemade hollandaise sauce. Perfection!

I ordered the Vegan.Version 4.26 and wanted to replace the hash brown with poached eggs but they apparently don’t do any swaps so I was charged the extra $4 for 2 poached eggs and no hash brown… probably should have just got the hash brown as well considering I paid for extra eggs…

The Vegan Version 4.26 - $17.90 (+ poached eggs for $4)

Again, the eggs were pached to perfection and I happily devoured the balsamic field mushrooms, slow cooked cherry tomoatoes that popped sweetness into my mouth, and wilted spinach. I had pumpkin-seed rye bread which I absolutely loved – it was light and had crunchy pumpkin seeds on the crust. The semi-sundried tomato pesto was beautifully tasty, I just wanted more to cover my toast in!!

I finish with photos of two other meals I’ve had from The Pickled Fig. These were from the winter menu which has changed slightly to the now – summer menu.

In the forefront is a spicy bean and roasted pumpkin vegan brekky with asparagus and roasted tomato.  This was also with pumpkin-seed rye toast. I usually added poached eggs to this meal as it was a little dry without the moisture of the egg yolks.

 This meal is a balsamic field mushroom brekky with scrambled eggs, sour dough and goats cheese fetta and cashew and sundried tomato pesto. 
Ultimate gourmet deliciousness!!

If you haven’t realised why I love these café’s so much, I’m starting to wonder if you haven’t seen the photos clearly…This place serves amazingness on a plate!
Fresh, made from the heart and with good intentions. 

Perfection at it’s finest. 

Highs: Good quality, fresh ingrediants
Lows: Price for extras and no substitutes in breakfast combinations
Overall: Love the food here
Would I return? Definately, I can't resist this food!

<a href=""><img alt="Pickled Fig on Urbanspoon" src="" style="border:none;width:104px;height:15px" /></a>

Pickled Fig on Urbanspoon