Too much fun to be had this site, come on vote for my fest so i can win sneaks and go to berlin! A bit of a fantasty line-up bit i did what i could with the budget they give. Hard to choose the bands and even harder to know when to stop with the poster.
After years in jobs where I had to email people reminding them that leaving crap in the sink sucks and refilling the water-cooler sometimes wouldn't kill them I take great pleasure from this site. Anonymous submitters post all those emails and notes some more nutty than a squirrel. It is good to know that there are tools all over the world that need notes & that have to write notes.
After some shopping in Fremantle, what we were later to discover was one of the very few places in Perth with shops open on a Sunday!? Whilst it is a nice enough city it is one of the reasons i could never consider moving there.
Another night wandering the streets of Newtown looking for a reasonable meal that is civilised. After a couple of aborted attempts at finding a place including even sitting down in a tapas joint that just didn't smell right. We double backed to Soni's after our escape and were welcomed warmly. Things started well, they accommodated our request for a lower table instead of a stools at a bar table. The specials were pointed out then bread & water were brought to the table unrequested. The bread even with balsamic and oil, I was feeling the love already. Grilled haloumi on the specials board was a must, as was the Veal Za'tar another special. It was one of those difficult but great menus where i wanted about 2/3 of what was there even though we could really only fit in 4 dishes. The other 2 we ordered before we got too distracted was the spiced baby calamari & Moroccan lamb meatballs.
By the time we were into the first sips of our Tin Cow Pinot Noir the baby calamari hard arrived. Chunky bits of calamari covered in a tasty spiced crust of cumin & coriander it was wonderfully tender. Although i do like a good dipping sauce and thought a good aioli wouldn't have gone astray it was the sort of great seafood that was great with a squeeze of lemon. It did come on a bed of baby rocket but as i'm just not that way inclined Mr. blue-eyes took care of that. By the time we were fighting over the last piece of calamari the meatballs arrived. I've had a go at making Moroccan lamb meatballs like these and mine were nearly as good as these. As the plates are tapas size in style there were just 4 meatballs (no fighting over an odd number) sitting in a juicy tomato sauce. One thing i did appreciate about this dish that although it wasn't anything fancy it was zesty & clean in its flavours. There wasn't a greasy residue left afterwards which makes a nice change from places that are heavy handed with the oil.
The Tin Cows Pinot wasn't the greatest but it served its purpose. The veal Za'atar came out and was reminiscent of kofta.
There were 4 triangles of toasted bread including a green one and a dish of a very smooth baba ganouj. We quickly set about to smothering the triangles with the baba and then rolling the veal in the bread. It was a little tricky to eat but the best way to get it all happening together. There was more za'tar sprinkled about the plate so the last mouthfuls were used to mop them up. To be honest i can't recall details of the veal 'kofta' but i don't remember anything bad about them at all. We contemplated ordering some sort of vegetable but then churros con chocolate was spotted at another table and there was no contest. No pic of the churros, we ate them too fast. The little pot of chocolate sauce was nice and dark if a little thin. Not quite the thick custardy consistency of spanish chocolate but the churros themselves were great. Hot, fluffy and crispy with a generous dusting of cinnamon sugar . We did consider heading upstairs the Madame Fling Flongs's which is a cosy bar with funky lounges however it was booked for someones party. I think the bill came to around $85 which i didn't think was too bad. We weren't starving but weren't uncomfortably full. There was much more on the menu that i'd like to try. It is good to know there is a real alternative in Newtown for us to get into. ps. apologies for the ordinary pictures from my phone. Haven't quite got a real camera sorted yet but i figured some blurry pix were better than none for the moment.
So mr.blue-eyes was back in town and eager to get out. I was still shamefully hungover from the night before but was not allowed to stay on the couch. A brisk stroll up to Newtown, although we contemplated flagging a taxi we made it the whole way without seeing one free. The Bank on King st was our first stop. It was rather busy as to be expected on a Friday night, despite the Sydney chill. The fragrant thai at Sumalee lured us downstairs but there were no tables free and a queue of a few people already. Whilst waiting for Miss Cath we had a drink (a lemonade for me) in the only free seat on the open deck amongst the banished smokers. So out we went onto King St with hungry stomachs and no plan. After some aimless wandering up the street dismissing the usual thai suspects and misc noodle joints we all noticed the cosy lampshades through the windows of a 2nd story restaurant that somehow desptie years of wandering up this street we'd never noticed before. Shortly afterwards we also smelt hearty italian garlic and knew this was the night for some good old fashion italian. It is mamma maria's and up some rickety stairs that felt like they'd come from some odd boarding house we found ourselves in a dining room that might have been decorated by someone's italian grandmother.We were seated pretty quickly and inspected the vinyl menus. Mr. blue-eyes took care of the wine list but what i saw had pictures, generally not a good sign but i left it in his hands. I asked for some mineral water that never came. The menu was quaint for lack of a better, word. Misspellings were rife, advacado, tomarto amongst others. Groupings were also vague with many combinations of seemingly the same dish with different pastas. A curry sauce of some sort featured on a couple of dishes, i wasn't brave enough to try the italian take on curry however. There was a substantial chicken & veal section with crumbed slabs served with various sauces and accompaniments. After being drawn in by the garlic we couldn't go past some sizzling garlic prawns, i also got some bruschetta to balance it out a little. The prawns were well and truly scorching. Days later i can still feel the burnt spot on the roof of my mouth, punishment for diving in too fast. A decent number kept the 3 of us happy with the bruschetta to mop up the oily goodness. The bruschetta benefited from the the flavour from the prawny oil, i guess it is winter and tomatoes just aren't at their best right now. I ended up going for the classic spaghetti al vongole with tomato, i figured it should be safe enough for my delicate state. Miss Cath went with penne marinara, not trusting herself with slippery noodly pasta and Mr.blue-eyes went for chicken domingo. No parmesan or black pepper was offered but the pasta was all good without. The chicken domingo was actually quite the dish, apparently domingo means some kind of mushroomy sauce with your chicken schnitzel. Old school peas, carrots (possibly frozen or canned) & mash accompanied it but the sauce and chicken were the star. My pasta was my kind of comfort food with sweet little vongole and a tasty tomato sauce. Miss Cath seemed quite content with her marinara, i noticed some nz green lipped mussels which is a bit of a turn off for me but she was happy enough. An obligatory glance at the dessert menu took me back to italian dining of my youth with the full range of frozen gelato desserts. I do have a soft spot for the passionfruit served in an chocolate shell but i was in no state for over eating and the weather wasn't quite right. I think we got away with about $20+ per head. It made a nice change from thai in newtown and maybe i might go back one day if i was craving some old school, very unpretentious homey italian food. ps. apologies for the lack of pictures, still training myself to take the camera to all meals.
So we'd been set a challenge to cook a course for mr. blue-eyes ' sisters birthday at her house, with a french theme and we drew the entree straw. The ideas started flying. I'd seen the french issue of Gourmet Traveller with the feature on soufflés. Despite never having made them before i'd seem them made enough times for me to thinks why not. However i wasn't certain that we would have a decent electric beater available and we sure as heck weren't going to be egg whites for 10 by hand. Crab omelet was also bandied about and with a new spiffy fry pan he was keen to make the most of it. This idea was nixed due to his pregnant sister's allergy crabs. Damn shame as he is a master at the crab & the omelet. Thoughts turned to duck, we still had some duck breasts (peking & smoked) that i scored from the luv-a-duck stand at the good food show as well as a bushel of apples from my last trip to Blackheath. A simultaneous idea of franco-peking duck pancakes began to emerge. The desire for pancakes was strong with him, However after much discussion we couldn't really think of a way to make the apple work in a suitable sauce. Plus my usual google recipe search wasn't coming up with the goods. Then we hit on the classics, duck l'orange & crepe suzette. Another Good Food Show score, an eggplant & orange marmalade from Bendigo was to provide the base to the sauce. We grabbed a few oranges from the farmers market and used the zest & juice from them to fill the marmalade out, that and some seeded mustard did the trick. Some spring onions cut into batons from the growers markets were to be flambed in a wee bottle of grand marnier. We were also able to use the little jar of duck fat we'd rendered down from a previous meal and was waiting in the freezer for this moment. Instead of using melted butter for our crepe batter we used melted duck fat. Oh so very decadent but it did something magic to the crepes. The smoked duck from the orange grove farmers markets was actually a bit over cured so that was chopped up and became part of the sauce. The luv-a-duck breasts were tender and moist as duck should be so we kept them seperate to slice on serving.. After the mushroom soup course we stepped up and went to work. The shallots we flambeed with great flare & flame. Although the crepes were more pancake than crepe they were the most perfect golden pancakes i had seen. A production line was in place, plate, pancake, slices of duck, flambeed spring onions, a couple of spoons of the orange & duck sauce. Rolled up and the final touch was a slice of candied orange (a quick garnish i baked up in an hour on a low oven). The winner wasn't officially proclaimed but from response alone ours was best on the night for sure.