It Just Has To Be Delicious

Canned baked beans….meh. They’re great for a quick and convenient snack, but beware – the average can of beans has 21g of sugar. It is simple to make your own, you then know exactly what goes into them, and you can also mix up your beans if you like. You don’t have to use haricot, you can use cannelini, pinto, navy, any type you like or a mixture.

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My recipe uses chorizo, you can also use bacon if you don’t like the strong flavour of chorizo, or if you are vegetarian, you can leave out the meat and up the flavour stakes with additional herbs and spices. This recipe makes enough for 4 serves for dinner or approx 6 batches of smaller lunch-time serves. Quite an easily portable snack too. You can also serve more people at dinner by adding other ingredients to the plate such as toast, cheese, eggs, sausages, chips, hash browns and sauteed mushrooms.

Ingredients:

2 x 400g cans of beans of your choice (you can also use dried beans if you soak them overnight)

1 x 400g can of diced tomatoes (or about 6 large Roma or Truss tomatoes skinned and chopped)

1 average sized onion, diced

1 clove of garlic, very thinly sliced or chopped

1 chorizo chopped into small dice, or two to three rashers of smoked bacon diced

1 teaspoon of Worcester sauce

1 teaspoon of dijon mustard

1 teaspoon of smoked paprika

Half a teaspoon of cumin powder

1 teaspoon of mixed herbs, dried, fresh or freeze dried

1 teaspoon of vegetable stock powder

salt/pepper/sugar to taste

Method:

Prepare the chopped ingredients

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If using canned beans, drain them:

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Fry the chorizo (or bacon) in a few tablespoons of olive oil until it is slightly crispy and the fat has rendered.

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Add the onions and garlic

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Once the onion begins to soften add the flavourings – mustard, cumin, paprika, herbs, Worcester sauce, stock powder.

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Stir everything to combine well and then add the tomatoes.

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Half fill the tomato can with water, swirl it to rinse the last bits of tomato and add it to the pan.

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Add the beans, but try not to stir them too much (this tends to mush them up. Shake them around the pan.

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Leave to cook for 20 – 30 minutes until the beans are soft enough to eat. Add salt and pepper to taste. You shouldn’t need to add sugar, but if you do, consider adding some honey or agave syrup instead of granulated sugar.

Serve in a bowl with fresh crusty bread and some grated cheese. So simple and tasty that you’ll probably never buy cans of baked beans again.

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Hong Kong Cuisine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I was really looking forward to this outing. Our friends Susie and Simon had been telling us for a while about this fabulous Chinese restaurant close to their home. It had been dubbed ‘Chinese in the Cave’ and I was curious to experience this food in an unusual setting.

The first thing that you notice as you walk in is that the decor is indeed very cave-like, but also the clientele is almost exclusively Chinese, and there are various notes on the window (probably special set menus) that are not in English. This was a good sign because if Chinese people are happy to eat here, it points towards it being very authentic.

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The menu is quite extensive and contains photos for some of the dishes, so that you know what to expect. We were certainly spoiled for choice because many of the dishes had our tastebuds tingling in anticipation.

We chose prawn toasts to start, quite good, but also quite a thin layer of prawns, and I would have liked them a bit fatter. Served with a sweet dip and very good on the crunch factor.20180209_195357.jpg

We also chose the fungus with chilli. This was a dish of cloud ear mushrooms served in chilli oil, and the waitress double checked with us because she knew that it would be spicy. It was spicy, but very very tasty, the only difficulty being that as you got nearer the bottom of the dish it was impossible to take a spoonful without scooping up a large amount of the super hot chilli oil. If you have ever tasted chilli oil, you will know that you only need a little !

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Next to arrive was the young chow fried rice, a very tasty and slightly smoky ‘special’ rice containing shrimps, pork, onions, egg and many other little flavour bursts.

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Next came the salt and spicy ribs.  These were the star of the meal with an amazing depth of flavour and a definite umami kick. I could have eaten the whole plate of these and nothing else, and I would have been very happy (but we had to share).

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We also ordered beef with ginger, another fabulous dish, full of flavour, with really good ‘melt in the mouth’ tender beef.

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Next to arrive was the fish – a whole halibut with ginger and spring onion. I couldn’t fault this – very fresh and with delicate flavours that complemented the fish perfectly.  Another star of the show.

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I chose a claypot chicken dish with soy and oyster sauce. This was a dish that was full of flavour but at the risk of sounding like a spoiled brat, I found it hard to eat. All of the chicken was on the bone and every mouthful was 50% bone and cartilage. Cooking meat on the bone definitely adds to the flavour, but there comes a point where the pleasure of eating it is slightly spoiled by the effort involved, so although I enjoyed the taste, I would probably not order this dish again.

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Rice can be ordered by the bowl, plate, or bucket. We ordered a bucket of boiled rice and found that the insulated bucket was very effective at keeping the rice warm.

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At the end of the meal, the waitress brought fresh melon (which we didn’t need to order), jasmine tea was also included.

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Well Hong Kong Cuisine was wonderful and I can’t wait to go back and have ‘Chinese in the Cave’ again ! I absolutely loved the fried rice, the ribs, the fish and the beef, and would probably order them again with a few different additional dishes. It was good value too, working out at less then $30 a head for such a huge amount of food. There is a tank of live lobsters at the back of the restaurant, so maybe lobster will be on the menu next time. Yum.

 

 

Malaysian Hawker Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Following on from the last post, we decided to have Malaysian for our main course.

Malaysian Hawker has quite an extensive range of traditional and authentic Malaysian favourites.

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We chose beef rendang, a really thick and delicious coconut curry that cooks for ages so the beef is really tender. This was quite a nice version, but the meat could have been trimmed a bit better. the flavour was amazing but there were a few fatty pieces in there.

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We also chose char kway teow which was as good as any ckt that you would find in Malaysia or Singapore. It had the nice smoky wok burn flavour which I love. I ate some before I took the picture, so this is not representative  of portion size.

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We also ordered Lo Bak, a beautiful pork and prawn dish in a beancurd wrapper which is steamed and then deep fried resulting in a crispy sausage type dish, then sliced into bite sized morsels. This was very good and quite a meaty version, served with sliced crispy tofu and a dipping sauce.

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I really enjoyed my visit to Cambridge Forum and would definitely recommend the stalls that I visited.

Wembley Dim Sum Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

In the middle of Cambridge Street nestled between Alexander Street and Simper Street is Cambridge Forum – a hawker centre with curries, Malaysian, dumplings, dim sum and French food. There’s also a fab drinks stall that can whip up a chendol in no time.

This is a fairly short blog post because we chose some food from Wembley Dim Sum for a starter, so I only have two dishes to review, but if you look at the next page, you’ll see the review for Hawker’s Delight, a Malaysian food stall.

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So, you go and order your dim sum and they give you a little flag for the table, then when it’s ready, somebody delivers it to your table.

We chose siu mai, a pork and prawn dumpling and they were the biggest siu mai we had ever seen, very tasty too. We also chose crab claws, probably not really traditional dim sum, but definitely a favourite and very enjoyable.

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Both came with nice dipping sauces – chilli oil and sweet chilli. Yum.

Now here’s a pic of the marvellous chendol from the drinks bar. With green rice flour jelly and red beans, it was really good.

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Tropico Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tropico is a casual cafe on Flora Terrace, just a street back from the main coastal road. We didn’t book and were pleasantly surprised to be seated straight away for brunch. The wait staff are really nice, and very efficient. It’s quite large and airy inside, and they offer table service.

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I chose a soy iced coffee to drink, which was nice but with an edge of bitterness. It wasn’t my favourite type of coffee, as I prefer a mellower blend, but it was certainly very drinkable. I am not sure which blend was on rotation on the day – but then again I have been a little spoiled with Five Senses at home.

For my brunch I chose the Paleo plate – a delicious combination of avocado, spiced nuts and seeds, and spinach topped with two beautifully poached eggs. It was tasty from the first mouthful until the last and surprisingly filling.

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One of my companions chose the cornbread with chorizo ragu, poached eggs and chilli jam. He thoroughly enjoyed it – a well thought out plate – and a very satisfying meal.

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My other companion chose the brioche toasty, consisting of fried egg, leg ham, bechamel and cheese on a toasted brioche. A dish where all of the ingredients complemented each other perfectly, and he polished it off in record time.

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At the end of the meal, we felt very happy. We didn’t have to wait ages for our food, the staff were great and the quality was excellent. I am looking forward to going back soon.

Galangal Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I had heard nice things about Galangal, and after visiting some other establishments in Mount Hawthorn, decided to give it a try. Mount Hawthorn is a nice area with lots of good eateries, and some bars, but without the hustle and bustle of Leederville and Mount Lawley. There are plenty of side streets to park, and even some spaces right outside Galangal.

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It’s a big restaurant with a large bar area, and it was pleasing to see that it was at least 75% full on a Saturday evening.

We chose a semillon sauvignon blanc from the wine list which was nice and crisp without being too acidic. Many of the wines available were WA options.

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The menu has a great variety of Thai food but it does not try to be all things to all men. It has all of the regular options available in a menu that is not hugely extensive, but has enough variety to make for a well balanced meal.

We dithered over starters and considered having the fish cakes, spring rolls or the golden wraps (chicken and corn parcels), but after seeing the portion sizes of some main courses going past, we decided to skip starters and concentrate on a variety of mains.

We chose classic green chicken curry. This was very authentic with holy basil and eggplant, and was enjoyable from the first mouthful to the last.

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We also chose the fried barramundi fillet with garlic, chilli and tamarind hot sauce. The amount of barramundi was outstanding, it was fresh and tasty, but the sauce was much sweeter than I expected and tasted more like sweet chilli sauce than tamarind. I didn’t really get the sour tamarind hit.

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We also had pad thai with prawns which was very good and fairly authentic. I would have liked more prawns though – 4 prawns seemed a bit mean for a $22 pad thai.

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All in all I enjoyed the meal and the dishes that we ordered left us very full – the amount could easily have fed three of us. I will return to Galangal – it is a nice glam atmosphere, the staff are lovely, and the food is very tasty and authentic. Besides, I need to try the pork belly dish !

There’s nothing like a great ice cream, and with so many parlours to choose from, it can be difficult to find a parlour that provides the right balance.

Many establishments are geared up towards children offering an array of sauces, sprinkles and chocolate bar additions, and although nice occasionally, I generally find them quite sickly.

Gusto in Leederville is a great parlour – the guy who owns it took the trouble to go to Italy and learn the true artisan craft of gelato making. Thus far it has been my favourite. When I saw that Milk Barrel had won awards at the Perth Royal Show, I thought it was worth a try and was very pleasantly surprised – the gelato is certainly as good a standard as Gusto.

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I chose the Tiramisu gelato, which was beautiful. With sponge pieces, gooey chocolate and a not too sweet creamy coffee gelato backdrop, it was really well constructed and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

One of our group chose the pavlova special, which tasted just like a pavlova with raspberry, passionfruit and chunks of meringue.

The lemon and lime bitters sorbet tasted exactly like lemon and lime bitters, wonderful and refreshing.

The cookies and cream was again not too sweet, but tasty and creamily delicious.

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It’s great to see a good quality gelato bar in the northern suburbs, I look forward to going back to try the other flavours.

Click here for more information on the Milk Barrel

The Portside Grill at Hillarys is a busy, casual restaurant that provides great value for money. Offering several specials each week, we decided to go for the steak special night where you can get a rump steak, chips and slaw for just $14.

The range of beers, ciders and wine is quite extensive and it is nice to see Custard and Co cider on tap.

The menu consists of all of the grill type favourites – steak, ribs, burgers, wings, salads, and fish as well as a range of share boards which offer a nice selection for those who can’t decide.

I chose the barramundi, not expecting it to be amazing, as I didn’t think it would be their speciality, however I was pleasantly surprised to be presented with a beautifully cooked portion of fish, some tasty seasoned chips, and a wonderful salad with great additions like sun dried tomatoes and olives.

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One of our group chose the steak special, and found it to be really good quality and great value for money with great chips and a very tasty slaw.

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We also ordered ribs which were beautifully cooked and fell off the bone. Portside certainly know how to cook ribs and we could see that the membrane had been carefully removed. The sauce was rich and tasty. Much much better than ribs I have tried at Lone Star and Spur.

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Portside is popular, busy and noisy and has a selection of regular tables, high tables and barrels that you can sit around. It was a shame on our visit that all of the regular tables were taken, I find that high tables for eating food can be uncomfortable. However, it was a surprisingly good meal and we all enjoyed it very much.

Click here for more information on Portside Grill

Mia Cucina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We stopped by Mia Cucina for a Sunday brunch with family. It’s an Italian restaurant on the North side of Hillarys marina with great window views across the boat harbour.

The waitress was friendly and provided table water promptly. The brunch menu is not huge, and includes favourites like eggs benny, breakfast croissant, pancakes, as well as a full brekkie (Eggs with benefits) where you get given eggs (your choice of style) on toast and then you choose your other items from a table of sides e.g. bacon, sausage, mushrooms, hash browns, beans.

The coffee was very good, I had a soy cappuccino. The beans are prepared by local Perth roasters Karvan, and I was quite impressed with the house blend.

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I chose Eggs Benny with ham which came with spinach, cress and hollandaise. The portions were quite variable – mine had a few slices of ham whereas others in the group had much more ham than me. The eggs were cooked well, nice and gooey in the middle and the ham was okay but not particularly tasty. It was shaved ham, and I think that a nice slice of thick premium leg ham (as stated in the menu!) would have added more to the dish. The bread was disappointing – everybody on the table found it hard to get through the sourdough bread, and most of us ended up leaving a considerable amount of it. I would have preferred a good old English muffin.

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One companion chose the Eggs with benefits, and enjoyed the meal but was disappointed to note that there were no beans on the buffet table. Hmm Mia Cucina should really provide the items as stated in the menu ! My companion had to ask for another portion of butter, as the amount provided was not sufficient for the large slices of bread. The items on the plate were good and tasty and the eggs cooked well.

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Another member of our party ordered the ‘breakfast schetta’, a bruschetta with tomatoes, onion, basil, bacon and poached egg. It was nice, but again the bread proved to be a problem, hard to carve through, and difficult to get to the soft middle part.

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All in all, we enjoyed the meal, but I think that Mia Cucina should reconsider their bread choices. It seems that sourdough was the only option and it would be nice to have a choice. The menu clearly states that items on the breakfast dishes cannot be changed, so it seems that they organise breakfast to be easier for the kitchen rather than suited to the diner. It is definitely one of the better eateries at Hillarys, but I also feel that with a bit more care they could do so much better.

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Union Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Union Kitchen is located at Mindarie Marina next to the Boat pub, and is on the site of the old Waterfront cafe.

We visited on Christmas Eve for tea and cake and loved the muffins, so we decided to return for breakfast.

I chose the vanilla coconut chia trifle which was a very pleasant surprise. Each spoonful revealed more yumminess from the top layer of granola and yoghurt, through the berry compote and down to the depths of the soft chia. It was accompanied with a fresh fruit salad and ticked all of the healthy boxes for me.

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I also ordered a detox green juice with apple, cucumber, lemon and kiwi. It was very refreshing and tasty.

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One companion ordered the poached eggs on granary with a side of bacon. Simple but delicious and prepared with care.

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My other companions ordered the blueberry buttermilk pancakes which arrived with lots of squirty cream and a blueberry and banana compote. The pancakes also had blueberies in the batter, and started off quite promising, but as each mouthful was consumed they became a little sickly and we ended up with two unfinished plates. It would have been better to contrast the pancakes with something less sweet, or to just reduce the overall amount of sugar. Maybe a lemon yoghurt instead of cream would have helped.

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Tea was well presented with nice pots and all of the usual paraphernalia, and a little complimentary biscuit:

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So what was the verdict on Union Kitchen ? It’s a great cafe in a wonderful location, the pancakes were good, but too sweet, and everything else was satisfactory. Definitely worth a visit.

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