It Just Has To Be Delicious

 

Basq Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Basq is a popular restaurant with the locals. It is very close to the cinema at Currambine, so ideal for pre or post cinema dining. I came here on the recommendation of a friend, and I like the large airy floorspace, and clean design of this restaurant.

The menu has appetisers, tapas and larger plates. We decided to go for the tapas.

We chose a ‘plank’ containing cured meats, terrine, pickles and bread.  It was okay. To be honest $24 for this amount of food was a bit of a rip off, especially when the only real skill here is in the creation of the terrine, and terrines are not expensive or difficult to make (see my recipe).

Cured meat plank

Cured meat plank

We also chose Nachos with guacamole, basq chicken and spiced beans. The Nachos were lovely, and the chicken and bean sauce very tasty. Probably my favourite dish of the evening, but again, a bit overpriced at $16.

Nachos and basq chicken

Nachos and basq chicken

Next came Spanish spiced garlic prawns. Five large prawns with a tomato and garlic sauce and some crusty bread. Yes this was nice but it didn’t blow me away. It tasted like something that I have made myself at home on many occasions.

Spanish spiced garlic prawns

Spanish spiced garlic prawns

We also chose a house cured salmon dressed with a salad containing radish, citrus fruits and fennel.

House cured salmon

House cured salmon

The desserts were lovely, we chose sticky date pudding and bitter chocolate cake. The bitter chocolate cake came with salted caramel sauce, and the sticky date pudding came with a toffee sauce – both were quite large servings.

Sticky Date Pudding

Sticky Date Pudding

Bitter chocolate cake

Bitter chocolate cake

Basq serves nice food, the desserts are the pick of the menu. It was quite expensive though, for food that I thought was just ‘nice’. When I have had tapas at other restaurants, there has usually been a few standout dishes that have blown me away, but none of the above dishes did that for me. Maybe I could have chosen better dishes, but if I am eating out I want to taste flavours that surprise me and quality of ingredients that impresses me, I don’t want to pay a fortune for something that I could have made myself. Of the mains, the salmon was probably the best dish, but the others were just average, and I am not sure that I will be rushing back to Basq.

If you are ever in Sydney I highly recommend a visit to Mamak. I noticed it because every night there was a huge queue of people outside, and let’s be honest if a restaurant attracts a queue then it has to be a good one. As you queue up you can watch the chefs making fresh roti, which keeps you entertained while you wait.

Mamak on Urbanspoon

It’s a fairly big restaurant, cafe style, we queued for about 20 minutes before we secured a table. The food didn’t disappoint – it reminded me so much of the food that I have eaten in Malaysia.

We chose four classic dishes. The chicken satay was tender and delicious and as authentic as you will get anywhere.

Chicken Satay

Chicken Satay

The roti bawang – roti filled with onion, was fresh off the griddle and tasted delicious. It was served with two curry dips and a sambal. We also used it to mop up our main curry dish.

Roti Bawang

Roti Bawang

The nasi goreng – again a classic very well executed – Malaysain special fried rice, good enough to be eaten as a dish on it’s own.

Nasi Goreng

Nasi Goreng

We also had Kari Ayam – the classic Malay chicken curry with potatoes. Another well-executed, authentic, flavoursome dish.

Kari Ayam

Kari Ayam

I really really like this place and I would happily queue up again for  table. The food is relatively cheap and very tasty – well worth it. I would have liked to try a dessert roti – yes they make rotis with banana or coconut/pandan, but I was too full from the main course. Maybe next time.

Deca Bodega on Urbanspoon

Deca Bodega was buzzing when we arrived. Centrally located in Freo’s restaurant hub, it has tables outside and in and is busy brash and noisy. When we arrived we were allocated an outside table right on the pavement, but the waitress kindly agreed to move us to a quieter inside table. It is an interesting corner building with a spiral staircase inside. The dining tables are at street level, but the spiral staircase leads down to a lounge area which could have possibly been a purpose built bodega previously.

Deca Bodega

The menu has tapas and ‘bigger plates’, so we chose three smaller tapas plates and the ribs as our ‘bigger’ plate.

The first dish that arrived was mixed mushrooms – a lovely dish containing a variety of mushroom types with parsley and soft roasted garlic. The remaining juice was delicious and I should have ordered bread to mop it up.

Mixed Mushrooms

Then our fish tacos arrived, nice fish goujons with a slaw. I thought they were quite enjoyable but quite expensive for the amount on the plate.

Fish tacos

Next our large plate arrived – pork ribs with pomegranate sauce and a cabbage slaw accompaniment. The ribs were tender and tasty, but again, I would have liked more on my plate for $30+

Ribs with pomegranate sauce

We had to remind the waitress about our missing prawn dish, but she was very quick to remedy the situation, and we decided to order an extra dish of patatas bravas. These lovely crispy spicy potatoes were served with a chipotle and were one of the best dishes of the evening.

Patatas Bravas

The last dish to arrive was a bowl of garlic prawns. Really tasty, they were served with zucchini slices.

Garlic prawns

So Deca Bodega – what is the verdict? The food is definitely very nice and good quality, but I think that it is a little overpriced for the portion sizes. The waitresses are friendly and efficient – I can’t fault the service.

The reason I tried Deca Bodega is because I had a 50% off food offer and this made the bill very reasonable at $50. I am not sure that I would have been happy to pay $100 for the same food, especially as Freo is quite a drive for me. For diners living nearby it is a neighbourhood gem and definitely worth a try for the atmosphere and the wine selection. I also noticed some delicious looking churros being served at nearby tables – they would be worth testing.

Jamie's Italian on Urbanspoon

I tried to book online for Jamie’s… well okay I left it a bit late, but couldn’t get a booking for Sunday lunch, however the website said that some tables are reserved for walk-ins, so we just turned up and were told that the wait time was 45 minutes. This was not a major problem as the restaurant is in the heart of Perth and you can easily while away an hour browsing the shops or visiting a nearby coffee bar. We returned after 30 minutes only for my phone to ring to let me know that a table was ready.

The restaurant is large, busy, and warehouse style with a huge chandelier in the middle, quirky napkins that look like Jamie tea towels, and wooden plank tables.

Jamie's

Our waitress was a delight – she enthusiastically explained all 4 ‘specials’ to us and quickly organised some non-alcoholic ginger beer mojitos.

Ginger beer mojito

Ginger beer mojito

For starter we chose to share a crab and avocado bruschetta. This was really nicely done, served on a plank, the bread was sourdough topped with a lovely crab mash with apple, mint, chilli and lemon. If you were hungry you would probably want this whole starter to yourself, but it suited us as a share option.

Crab and Avocado Bruschetta

Crab and Avocado Bruschetta

For mains we both chose the special of pork belly with crispy crackling, served with salad leaves and roast potatoes. This was really nice, the pork was succulent and fell apart and the crackling was crispy and tasty.

Crispy Pork Belly

Crispy Pork Belly

For dessert I chose the tutti-frutti lemon meringue pie with limoncello and crunchy pistachio brittle. This was a lovely big serving, nice tart lemon offset by the sweet fluffy meringue and complemented by the crunchy nut brittle.

Lemon Meringue

Lemon Meringue

My companion chose the chocolate brownie with amaretto ice cream and caramelised popcorn – this was a luscious dark chocolate fix and the amaretto ice cream was superb. A very yummy dessert.

Chocolate Brownie

Chocolate Brownie

The toilets here have old fashioned Victorian style cisterns but alas no chain – I think that the cisterns are there for decor, the flush is push-button, but they were quirky nevertheless.

The meal was very nice and I would love to return to try some of Jamie’s pasta. The bill was quite reasonable too – not as expensive as you may expect. Some of the waiters are from Essex – which reminded me of home, so maybe I have a soft spot for this place. It is definitely a favourite in Perth, if you don’t mind waiting for your table.

All you need is a stick blender and you can make mayonnaise in seconds. It is so ridiculously easy that you will probably never buy mayo again because this method is simple – you can make it fresh every time.

Mayo

Mayo

You need the tall plastic beaker that comes with your stick blender, and the important thing to remember is to put the oil in last so that it covers the other ingredients.

Place the following in the plastic beaker:

1 egg (without the shell)

a pinch of salt

a twist of pepper

1 -2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon of either lemon juice or white wine vinegar (this is your acidic ingredient)

200ml of light oil (vegetable oil or light extra virgin olive oil)

Now use a stick blender to blend the ingredients – in approx 20 seconds you will have mayonnaise. Adjust the seasonings – you can add more of any of the ingredients if required.

You can also add other seasonings – herbs, garlic, spring onions, wasabi, capers, horseradish, mint, paprika, garam masala are a few suggestions.

Moore & Moore on Urbanspoon

This was my first trip to Fremantle for brekkie, and I was very pleased that we discovered Moore and Moore. It’s a long drive, but I will be happy to go back for a return visit.

The cafe is within an art gallery, and it is very interesting, a little kitsch in places, but very warm, cosy and inviting – I really loved the atmosphere.

Moore and Moore Moore and Moore

A lot of the dishes on the menu are vegetarian. If you want meat the only options are bacon and meatballs, and if you want fish, there is a smoked salmon dish, however, as a meat eater, I found the vegetarian dishes very appealing and the lack of meat did not worry me.

I chose the burnt butter, sage and roast pumpkin mash. This consisted of roast pumpkin spread on turkish toast with two poached eggs on top, rocket, and tomato relish. I added bacon as an extra. The whole dish was delicious – the bacon good quality and nicely crispy, the pumpkin mash slightly sweet and the eggs cooked perfectly.

Burnt Butter, Sage and Roast Pumpkin Mash

Burnt Butter, Sage and Roast Pumpkin Mash

My friend Karen chose the smashed new potato rosti. This consisted of mustard seed, spinach and romano cheese potato rosti topped with a poached egg, avocado, green olives and caper salsa, rocket and tomato relish. Karen really enjoyed it, she has been a vegetarian for quite a few years and found it tasty and the flavours quite interesting.

Smashed new potato rosti

Smashed new potato rosti

As well as the food, the coffee and the drinks were really good – fresh orange, home made lemonade – all refreshing and delicious.

I really loved Moore and Moore, the menu is inventive without being ridiculous, the flavours all go well together and it is nice to see a menu with a wide vegetarian choice.

The building is lovely – the Moores building – it is a heritage listed building that used to be an old merchant’s warehouse. There are various rooms where you can dine including an alfresco area out the back. When we were there a musical trio were entertaining everybody in the walkway. It was very typically Fremantle – a bit different, a bit quaint and very colourful. I loved it.

 

 

Rasa Penang on Urbanspoon

This little cafe near Clarkson station is a real find. It is so hard to get authentic Malaysian food in the northern suburbs of Perth, and this has easily filled the gap that Sense Lah left behind when it closed.

The menu is 90% traditional Malaysian with a few pan-asian dishes included.

We chose Lor Bak – one of my favourite Malay dishes

Lor Bak

Lor Bak

This was tasty and crispy with nice prawn crackers and sweet chilli sauce.

We also had beef rendang – which was rich and delicious with coconut rice, and an authentic char kway teow.

Beef Rendang

Beef Rendang

Coconut Rice

Coconut Rice

Char kway teow

Char kway teow

This is a lovely little cafe, the owner is really kind, he gave us a sweetie for Chinese New Year. It is a fairly small restaurant, very clean, with pictures of Malaysian street scenes on the wall. It made me pine for Penang and Kuala Lumpur – lovely food memories brought back to me by a short drive to Clarkson. Highly recommended.

Saigon Palace on Urbanspoon

This restaurant is very popular with the local clientele and was quite busy when we visited. The menu has lots of asian items on it which aren’t necessarily Vietnamese. I am not really sure why asian restaurants sometimes try to be all things to all men, I would much rather they excelled in one cuisine. So we tried to choose from the Vietnamese style dishes on the menu.

For starters we chose Vietnamese rice paper rolls and meat spring rolls.

Meat spring rolls

Meat spring rolls

Rice Paper rolls

Rice Paper rolls

The starters were delicious, the rice paper rolls fat and full of prawns and veggies, and the deep fried meat spring rolls were tasty and succulent.

For main course we chose Golden Duck which was roast duck with a spring onion, garlic and ginger sauce. This was really delicious.

Golden Duck

Golden Duck

We also chose a beef dish – chilli and lemongrass beef, which was quality cuts of beef in a really flavoursome authentic sauce. We accompanied this with special fried rice.

Chilli and Lemongrass Beef

Chilli and Lemongrass Beef

Special Fried Rice

Special Fried Rice

We also had a dish delivered to our table which wasn’t for us – it looked like a lovely fish dish so I took a photo for my blog.

Vietnamese Fish

Vietnamese Fish

This is a restaurant that I would return to, all of the dishes were perfectly executed and tasted really good. A little gem in Clarkson.

Red Teapot on Urbanspoon

I had heard about the Red Teapot, but not actually seen the restaurant before. We intended to go to the nearby Four Seasons Roasting Duck House only to find that it had closed so we backtracked to the Red Teapot. Not the most noticeable establishment on William Street, it is a small canteen style Chinese restaurant, I counted only 35 seats. Luckily it was not fully booked, so we were able to spread out on a table for four. The menu has a good selection of dishes and as we were choosing from the menu, I was tempted by the sights and aromas of dishes being served around me.

We chose crab and prawn spring rolls to start – they were extremely tasty and served with a little dipping sauce.

Crab and prawn spring rolls

Crab and prawn spring rolls

Fir the main course we chose vegetable fried rice kung po beef and seafood with ginger and spring onion.

The seafood was very fresh, the squid extremely tender and the fish a nice texture. The beef was lovely, a nice cut of beef that melted in the mouth, watch out for the dried chillies in this dish though.

Seafood with Ginger and Spring Onion

Seafood with Ginger and Spring Onion

Kung Po Beef

Kung Po Beef

Vegetable fried rice

Vegetable fried rice

Yum what a lovely meal. I will definitely return.

I have blogged this recipe before, but when I saw the good quality chocolate and cream at the Herdsman, I was inspired to make it again. I made the caramel using the Dulce de Leche method.

Chocolate caramel pie

I used Gippsland cream (which is the closest thing to Clotted cream that I have seen in Australia, so thick and luscious) and Hachez 77% chocolate. It is important that the chocolate is a high percentage cocoa because it needs to contrast with the sweet caramel.

choc and cream choc

Pastry:

1 1/4 cups or 190g of plain flour

1/4 cup or 40g self raising flour

1/4 cup or 50g caster sugar (I use brown sugar and pass it through a sieve)

90g unsalted butter

1 egg

Pinch salt

1. Sieve the flours and sugar into a food mixer.

2. Cut the butter into small cubes and add it to the flour/sugar. Start the food mixer and mix until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs (you can rub the butter in using your fingers if you like, but I have warm hands, so I use a food mixer).

3. Pour the mixture into a bowl and add the egg and a pinch of salt. (My photo shows a double quantity which is why there are two eggs). Mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until it comes together, then using your hands, lightly knead and shape it into a round (keep handling to a minimum, and if you have warm hands like me, rinse them in cool water first so that you start off with cool hands).

4. Roll the pastry out into a round and use it to line a flan tin or dish. Put the pastry lined flan dish in the fridge for approx 30 mins if you have time – this will stop it from shrinking away from the edge in the oven.

5. Cut a circle of baking parchment slightly bigger than the middle of the flan dish, and put some ceramic baking beans in the middle. Bake for 10 minutes at 190 deg C, then remove the baking beans and bake for a further 10 minutes. (The baking beans just stop the middle of the tart case from rising too much, you can get away without using them, but you will need to prick the base with a fork, and you may find it will rise a little).

6. Remove the dish from the oven and leave the pastry to cool to room temperature.

The caramel (dulce de leche method):

1 tin of condensed milk (must be condensed – not evaporated) Check that the tin is in good condition, do not use if dented – the lid must be unopened and not damaged.

1. Using an old saucepan, place the unopened tin of condensed milk in the saucepan, cover with water.

2. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 3 hours. You can cover it with a lid to stop the water from evaporating too much. Check it every hour to make sure that the water is not boiling dry – top the water up as necessary.

3. Carefully remove the tin from the water and leave it to cool thoroughly – it can be stored in the fridge until needed. Do not attempt to open it while it is still warm – I have heard stories of some tins exploding when opened, but I have never had a problem – be sensible just in case – cover it with a cloth when opening.


Regular Caramel:

300g golden caster sugar

175g butter

200ml double cream

1. Place the sugar in a pan with2 tablespoons water. Heat until it dissolves but do not stir.

2. Boil until amber.

3. Stir in the cream – add a pinch of salt if you like salted caramel.

4. Stir in the butter and simmer for a further 3 minutes.

Chocolate Mousse:

200g good quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons icing sugar

1 1/2 cup (375ml) of whipping cream, whipped with the icing sugar

1. Place the chocolate  in a bowl and melt by placing the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water (the base of the bowl must not dip into the water) – or use a microwave if you are confident that you can melt it perfectly. Personally I use the saucepan double boiler method – I am not a fan of microwaves.

melt the choc

2. Cool the mixture for 5 minutes.

3. Fold in half of the whipped cream/icing sugar mixture – it will look claggy at first but keep folding with a spatula, then add the rest and fold again.

whipped cream

To assemble:

When the pastry case is cooled, you can add the caramel to the base of the pastry case. If you like salted caramel you can add a few scant flakes of sea salt on top of the caramel (if you have not already salted it).

pastry case

Put the caramel coated pastry case in the fridge so that it is completely cool before adding the mousse. This will help to keep the layers nice and separate.

caramel

Top the cool caramel with the mousse mixture and leave to set in the fridge. 3-4 hours should do it.

Chocolate caramel pie

 

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