Cops & Spiders| Apple Pie Biscuits

If you follow me on any form of social media, you will know The Spider Story.

If you don’t, here’s a quick recap:

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Essentially, I had a great time joking around (mostly… Seriously, I need an on-call spider killer. Please. Apply within.) with the Kensington Police about sending someone to squish a spider for me. Before long, it had taken on a life of its own, and I found myself delivering morning tea to the station to say thanks for them having an excellent sense of humor.

I had a really great morning getting to meet Senior Sargent Goy, Constable Roberts and the rest of the team. But what I enjoyed the most was getting to chat to them about their love for Vic Park, swapping coffee tips and restaurant finds, and generally sharing the love for an up-and-coming hub. It was really lovely to spend time with people who genuinely love the city that they serve and protect, and are working towards making it a better place. Hats off to you, Kenso Cops!

Biscuits are essentially American scones, typically made with buttermilk. If you don’t have buttermilk (it’s in the fridge section of the supermarket with the milk), this is my favourite substitute. Works a treat!

Coming into Spring, these are a great treat to take along on a picnic (that still happens, right?) or barbecue. If your kids are on holidays, this is also a great recipe for them to make themselves.

 

Apple Pie Biscuits

From Joy the Baker

 

For the apples:
1  apple
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

For the biscuits:
2 cups Self-Rising Flour
1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2/3 to 3/4 cup cold buttermilk

For the topping:
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt

 

Preheat the oven to 220 C/425 F. Line a baking tray with baking paper, and set aside.

For the apples, peel and slice thinly with a mandolin. Toss together the apple slices with the melted butter, cinnamon and brown sugar until coated, then place in a baking tray. Place in the oven for 5 minutes, then set aside (you don’t want the apple cooked through).

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To make the dough, place the flour and cold butter in a bowl bug enough to get your hands in to. Work the butter into the flour with your fingers until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the sugar. Add 2/3 cup of buttermilk, then mix together until well combined and the mixture is moist, soft and holds together. Add more buttermilk if needed.

Dust your bench well with flour, then turn out the dough. Shape the dough into a rectangle, the, with a rolling pin, roll out to a large rectangle about ¬Ĺ inch thick, about 18cm by 25cm.

Spoon the apples in a single layer over half of the dough, leaving a small border. Fold the rest of the dough over the apples, and press the edges together to seal. Cut the dough into 12 then place on to your baking tray.

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Combine together the sugar, cinnamon and salt. Brush the top of the biscuits with the egg wash, then sprinkle over the sugar mixture.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden. Enjoy warm or cold, with custard or cream. Or ice cream. Or on their own. It’s all good.

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I found that they went a little soggy the day after, so they’re best eaten the day you make them (they’re still delicious the next day though, so don’t let a little soggy stop you).
P.S. If you know of a cop in your community who’s doing an amazing job, why not nominate them for a WA Police Excellence Award?

What I Love | Coogee Beach Fitness Club Edition

There are some people in this world that are just born to do what they do.

To say that¬†the guys you’re about to meet are¬†passionate doesn’t quite cover it; it’s almost too clich√©d. But for them, it’s in their blood. They live and breathe this stuff, and you can’t help to be¬†caught up in their infectious joy. Yes, even me, the lover of deep-fried¬†mac and cheese and general slothfulness, comes away from¬†talking to the boys¬†wanting to go for a run.

I’m¬†very pleased¬†to introduce you to Jason and Dylan from Coogee Beach Fitness Club.¬†The boys have been very good friends of mine for a very long time, and I couldn’t be prouder of what they’ve built.

Hell, if my gym had a view like theirs, I might actually go!

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Seriously. This is their view.

The team also have some great stuff¬†in the pipeline. Coming up is their¬†6 week summer body program, of which you can find details here. ¬†If you’re a Yelp member (and you should be), September gives you the opportunity to attend a FREE mobility, muscle tension release and self massage workshop (the details here) AND there’s also 1 month free on memberships for the gym. How good is that?!

What I Love – Coogee Beach Fitness Club Edition

 

Who are you/what do you do?
We are Jason Lim and Dylan Kvas-Rothwell, Exercise Physiologists (Injury management specialists) who use our knowledge of injuries and rehabilitation to train and coach individuals and athletes through their programs to maximise performance and minimize injury risk so that they can attain their goals as fast as possible. Other than that we are just two friends who want to share our passion for fitness, fun and life with those around us.
JD

Jason and Dylan

Why Perth?
Jason – Perth is and forever will be home. After spending the last few years travelling around Europe, America, South East Asia and Canada, including growing up for a few years in Singapore and spending a year in Canada, you realise how relaxed and comfortable it is to move at your own pace and Perth really allows you to do that. If you want the hustle and bustle you can find if you really want to, but if you wanted to sit back relax and enjoy the beaches and scenery you get that too. As far as things to do in Perth, the city is really picking up its game in terms of culture with art shows, restaurants, bars and food festivals.
Jase

Jason Lim

Dylan – The longer I live in Perth the more I want to stay here for life. I most definitely want a few more short and extended travel plans but I am quite certain I will always come back. Our beaches, food (not how much we pay for it though), all round weather and just good people everywhere. There is just such a good spread of everything but at a slower intensity than everywhere else, and that sits pretty well with me.
Dyls

Dylan Kvas-Rothwell

What inspires you?
Jason¬†– my parents for one, they have always lived their lives according to how they wanted, money was a beautiful side product of them following their passions, they made sacrifices where they needed to as responsibilities required, but never at the expense¬†of their own happiness or that of my brother and I. Dylan is another, his outlook on life, always looking to the future with enthusiasm and energy pushes me to do more and be better, couldn’t think of a better person to be¬†in business with. Together they have taught me to be¬†self-reliant, to follow my passions and to find a way to mix work and play together and get the most out life. This outlook has allowed me to work multiple jobs as a ex. phys. whilst travelling the world and eventually led up to opening up Coogee Beach Fitness Club with Dylan.
Dylan¬†– That is a tough one when you ask it so simply. I will come from a ‘who’ perspective¬†first; a lot¬†of people in general inspire me but I have to say that kids inspire me the most. I am lucky enough to work with some of the most inspirational little kids (some with disabilities and some not) and their outlook on life, way of conducting themselves with such a constantly positive outlook no matter what is going on behind the scenes. Jason and Nathan (the business partner) inspire me constantly in different ways. Jason with his ability to constantly balance work and play life so well, he is one of those people that¬†when you spend time with him, you realise he never whinges¬†about anything, EVER, and as far as life balance is concerned he has everything he wants at any given time. He has travelled for years on end, and follows his passion no matter what is necessary. Nathan is from a different side of inspiration, he just wants more with everything he does. He doesn’t want to just do it and be in the top ten, he wants top every time and his dedication to this shows through in everything he does. What inspires me; I am a pretty simple person when it comes down to it. Travel, beach and all round creativity. I read once that observation is the best inspiration as long as you look in the direction you want to go, and I couldn’t agree more.
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Tell us about Coogee Beach Fitness Club.
Coogee Beach Fitness Club¬†as the name suggests is a gym located right on Coogee¬†Beach in the new Coogee¬†Beach Surf Club Community Development literally meters away from the ocean! After working for other people at gyms, working the corporate sector and other tiresome and non fulfilling jobs we decided it was time to do what we loved but for ourselves. We aren’t selling new trends or fads, our education has helped us find what we know to be¬†true and what works, but what really matters is that we are a gym that focuses on providing ¬†a great atmosphere, great view and trainers that are dedicated to their clients, not just physically but mentally too. We believe in a holistic approach to health and to us that means being happy is a part of being healthy. Having the beach there doesn’t hurt either!
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Classes on the beach

What’s Life Beast?¬†
Jason¬†– Lifebeast¬†Movement is a fun project started by Dylan, Dr Nathan Bridger (Chiropractor and old friend) and myself to motivate and educate the health inspired. We wanted to get out as much information on how to lead happy, fulfilling healthy lives to other like minded¬†individuals. It’s basically three friends who love what they do, trying to share as much knowledge and joy with each other and those around us whilst having a bit of fun, and through our youtube channel, website, facebook and seminars and workshops. We really hope to help people from a physical, mental and lifestyle perspective of health. At the end of the day whether we reach 1 person or 1 million people if we can help them find what the are looking for in attaining their own personal health then we are doing our job.
LBM

Dylan, Nathan and Jason between Life Beast shoots

Your dream food day?
Jason – a lot of gluttonous food that a health professional should not say so I’ll leave it at that :P
Dylan Рalot of good food, the beach, and my favorite people that just happened to be scattered around the world at the moment.
(Editors note: Both of the boys loved these cookies, so don’t worry – they’re not infallible!)
What’s the best thing you ate recently?
Jason – Chicken wrapped in bacon stuffed with cheese, onion and garlic. Side of sweet potato mash and veggies. A few of my favourite things put together and I even made it myself!
Dylan РSavoury : I lost my mind when I had Fried Chicken pancakes with added bacon from Mary Street Bakery in Mt Lawley (Katsu style fried chicken on pancakes) or any meat from Lapa in Subi. Sweet: Also from Mary street bakery. Asked for a cold malt chocolate milkshake and got them to throw a shot of coffee in for a bit of a boost. I had two of them before breakfast came out they were that good.
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Where do you love to go to eat? 
Jason – Anywhere around the City, Mt Lawley, friends places. For me if I’m looking for a good meal, as important as the food is, the company is more important. Being around friends and family the people I care about to share those experiences and memories with, nothing else can compare. Especially when we find our own little secret place.
Dylan РI am definitely more of a breakfast person and I notice I am around Mt Lawley a lot more recently. Other than that, we are down towards South Fremantle so I make my way through there a fair bit if I feel like something a little more healthy.
Where do you love to hang out?
Jason¬†– I guess the above statement kind of applies here too anywhere around friends and family, but also love being here at the gym its like having my own playground, I also work at a bar (Canton if you want to come say hi) too on the weekends and I really enjoy that, it’s where I get to have a bit of a creative outlet, I’m not usually creative or artistic but for some reason I get cocktails and flavours, go figure.
Dylan РAs long as there are good people around, I am down for anywhere. If I can get those people to the beach or at least near a beach then I am even happier.
What’s your favourite thing right now?
Jason Рsleep, not getting much of it these days, not that im complaining but every time I get a chance to nap its one of my favourite things to do :P
Dylan – Day naps in the sun with some music in my ears. THE BEST, and I am pretty sure that will never change.
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What are you looking forward to?
Jason¬†– Well,¬†I have a birthday tonight in the City so i guess im looking forward to that. Oh and Dylan and I plus some other friends are taking a weekend away at the end of the month. Can’t wait for that, will be nice to just relax and switch off for a bit.
Dylan РA small Bali weekend away to reset. But the major one is planning a trip to South Africa to visit some incredible people who we met in Europe in 2012. They have the whole thing planned; all I have to do is arrive at the airport and hop in the car.
All images via Facebook, website and instagram

The Sweet Swap | Salted Caramel Swirl Marshmallows

I love mail.

I mean, proper mail. Not bills, or pizza delivery flyers, not junk mail. Ain’t no one got time for that.

So when I heard about The Sweet Swap, you can bet I was signing up for something that results in me getting delicious treats in the post. Why wouldn’t you!?

I had been inspired to give marshmallow-making a go after reading this post by The Sugar Hit – I mean, how hard could it be?

So I made one batch. That went fine.

I started on a second. I dropped and smashed my thermometer. I then¬†burnt the sugar syrup. In a moment of¬†brain snap, I poured the syrup straight into the bin… Where, because sugar syrup is basically lava, it melted through the bin liner (and half of the contents), pooled in the bottom of the bin, and set like toffee. The whole bin went into the garbage (and I still owe Blair a new one).

Oops.

One week and a new thermometer later, and these guys came to fruition. So very, very pretty, and very, very tasty.

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Salted Caramel Swirl Marshmallows

From Bake or Break

For the coating:
3/4 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup cornflour

For the marshmallows:
1/2 cup salted caramel sauce (bought or your own recipe)
4 & 1/2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup, divided
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Sift together the corn flour and icing sugar in a small bowl, set aside.

Lightly coat a square brownie tin with oil, then dust the pan with the icing sugar mixture.

In a microwave safe bowl, combine the gelatin with 1/2 cup cold water and leave to bloom for 5 minutes.

In a medium saucepan, combine 1/4 cup corn syrup, 1/4 cup water and salt and bring to a boil. Stirring occasionally, bring to a temperature of 240*f/115*c.

While the syrup boils, heat the gelatin in the microwave for 30 seconds or until melted. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer with the remaining 1/4 cup corn syrup, then turn the mixer on low.

Once the syrup has reached temperature, remove from heat and veeeery slowly add to the gelatin mixture, while the mixer is still on low. Once combined, increase the speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes. Increase the speed again, beating for a further 5 minutes. Then, increase to high, add the vanilla and beat for 2 minutes. The mixture should have tripled in volume and be white and fluffy.

Add 1/4 of the marshmallow mixture to a bowl, and stir in the caramel until combined. Then scrape the caramel mixture back in to the marshmallow, and gently swirl together.

Pour evenly into the brownie tin, and smooth the top with a spatula. Leave the marshmallow uncovered in a cool dry place for 8 hours or overnight to firm.

Cut the marshmallows into squares, then toss with extra coating (this stops them from sticking) and tap off any excess. Enjoy!

 

Most marshmallows are gluten-free¬†– just make sure the icing sugar and cornflour specifies that they are gluten-free (most do), and you’re on your way to an allergy friendly treat for the masses!

Head & Heart | August

I guess I should explain myself.

It’s been a long time between drinks for me here, and I definitely owe you an explanation as to where I’ve been. Life has been really really hard for the last 6 weeks, but I’m finally coming out the other side.

I heard about writing a Head and Heart post (created by the gorgeous Helen over at Helario) via my lovely friend Rachi, it sounded like a pretty excellent way to get everything out on the table, let you know what’s been going on.

What I’ve been grateful for

My lovely little flat.¬†I found one! Jeebus, house hunting is a full time job. I’ve moved out to a little place with views of the city, all by my self. Is it weird that I’m really excited to be living on my own?

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There’s a saying about it taking a village to raise a child. While I’m no longer a child (well, only a little), I certainly have a village of people who help take care of me, and I’m beyond grateful to them. My friends Marc and Louise¬†have let me stay with them for the last 6 months while I got my shit together and found a new place to live. They are truly the best friends (family) anyone could ever ask for. THANK YOU.

Also, my folks for helping me move, which is never an easy task. They found me a fridge, hired a truck, and lugged all of my stuff up a flight of stairs. Best. Parents. Ever.

Having my own kitchen.¬†I can cook stupid things (I have a recipe for deep-fried coke – who dares me?), whatever I want, whenever I want. It’s fantastic.

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What I’ve been thinking about

Rocky Road. Who know that the ingredients for rocky road were such a contentious issue? So far the consensus is: No nuts, yes to marshmallows, gummy things and cherries, maybe for biscuit. Fancy rocky road is an entirely different thing, of which fresh cherries and raspberries and pistachios seem to be the go. Edible glitter is always acceptable. Now you know.

Being single again. After 3 years, it wasn’t working for us. And that’s ok and¬†I’m ok. There’s absolutely no bad blood (we joke about being really bad at break ups, we like each other too much to get angry), and we are still friends.¬†Now, I get to focus on the important things, like not wearing pants around the house and sleeping in the middle of the bed.

What I’m excited for:

September is an excellent month for me, and I’m pretty keen to dive into it!

My friend Bryton is hosting a Harry Potter Party. I have robes, glasses, a wand and an owl. EXCITED MUCH?! Seriously, you should have seen me when the robes came. There was a lot of jumping up and down and clapping like a seal. I’m a child.

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I’m off to Brisbane for Eat Drink Blog later this month, with is pretty damn exciting! Not only do I get to catch up with many of the gorgeous bloggers that I met, but didn’t get to spend a lot of time with last year, but I actually get to sit back and enjoy the conference. I’ve also never been to Brisbane before, and there’s nothing I love more than getting to play tourist.

On my way to Brisbane, I’m stopping off in Melbourne¬†for 24 hours to visit my gorgeous friend Natalie, and to eat a lot of doughnuts under the guise of “research”. Natalie is one of my most treasured friends, who gives the best advice, so getting to give her lots of hugs is always something I look forward to

And finally, it’s my birthday (one ridiculous birthday cake recipe, coming up!) to wrap it all up. I’m thinking about a dinner at The Old Crow with friends, and then a family dinner. Suggestions?

What I’ve been doing

Inspecting homes. Stressing. Moving.

The gorgeous team from Studio Bomba let me run a blogging workshop¬†in August, which was insane. So much fun and only a tiny bit scary! I talked about all the things I’ve learned from you guys over the years, and it felt really good. Like, I knew what I was talking about. That is a strange concept to me. But I’d do it again tomorrow.

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Watching: Criminal Minds (I heart Spencer Reid), Guardians of the Galaxy (Is anyone else confused by Andy Dwyer getting hot?!)

Listening to:¬†Sassy women pop music. I wish I could blame this on the break up, but I really really¬†love cheesy pop music, and I make zero apologies for it. So yes, I’m dancing in my kitchen to Shake It Off, Bang Bang, Chandelier, Can’t Rely On You and Come Get It Bae¬†(Pharell isn’t a woman, I know, but it fits the playlist)

What I’ve been reading

This Buzzfeed list - I know it’s not real reading, but if you love Parks and Rec as much as I do, you’ll be in stitches.

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What I’ve been spending money on

Ohmygod, So. Much. Ikea.

Kaya toast and soft boiled eggs at Sprolo in South Perth. So, so so so so so good.

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And sammiches from Toastface¬†Grillah, because comfort food. The steak one is hands down my favourite, and if you haven’t been, go. Now. Right Now.

 

So, tell me about YOUR month. Has it been good? Has it been rough? What are you celebrating?

What I Love – Pure Glow Edition

Man has invented many brilliant things in his time upon this earth.

The wheel is a good one. As is the ability to refrigerate food. The telephone. Penicillin. All excellent things¬†for the advancement of¬†humanity. My personal favourite (aside from the internets¬†and elasticated¬†waistbands) is the deep fryer. Is there anything it can’t do? Mac and cheese, chips, a whole turkey. Mars bars, doughnuts, even Coke.

While my diet isn’t entirely¬†deep fried,¬†I’ve been so¬†busy lately that an unforgivable amount of what I’m eating is take-away or quick fixes, and I feel like crap. Surprise! It turns out your mum wasn’t lying – you are what you eat. Damnit mum, I hate it when you’re right.

My system needed a bit of recovery time. Enter: Pure Glow Cleanse.

Annett¬†has long been one of my favourite customers on a Saturday morning when I’m slinging crumpets. When she suggested that the cure to my woes may be some time out from my beloved fries, I looked at her fabulous glowing skin and demanded that she sign me up immediately.

While I don’t believe in ‘detoxing’ in the traditional¬†sense – my liver and kidneys function perfectly¬†well, thus have no need for detoxing – I was keen to kind of hit the reset button for my body, giving it time out from the heavily processed foods I’d been bombarding it with.

And you know what? My skin cleared up, I wasn’t as hungry as I thought I’d be, and I felt better, pure and simple.

So today, I’m talking to the fabulous Annette! Say hi, team!

What I Love – Pure Glow Cleanse Edition

Who are you/what do you do?
My name is Annette & I’m the co-founder of Pure Glow Cleanse and editor of Wellness WA¬†(the latter is currently taking¬†a little nap!). My business partner Jacqueline Forth and I launched Perth’s first juice cleanse delivery business in April 2013 and have been busy getting the people of Perth nourished, detoxed¬†and glowing ever since! I also moonlight at lululemon, selling yoga gear & hitting up yoga classes with my amazing colleagues (best retail job ever!)
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Why Perth?
Perth is such an amazing place to be¬†right now. It’s really undergoing a huge transformation and has been for the last couple of years. It’s such an exciting time to start up¬†a business, as there are so many fantastic ideas that exist in the Eastern states and overseas which haven’t quite¬†made it to us yet – so for entrepreneurs there is no time like the present to take a leap of faith and just go for it.
What inspires you?
Goal setting, farmers markets, yoga, dreams of travelling to Portland.
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How did Pure Glow come about?
Both Jacqueline and I wanted a cold-pressed juice company in Perth, and at the time¬†there was nothing available. I’d been waiting for about 4 years for a juice cleanse delivery business to start up here and when she emailed me out of the blue asking if I thought it would be a good idea to start this business, I said yes instantly! From there it’s been a very crazy journey full of challenges, highs, & lots and lots of green juice!
Your dream food day?
Ha! What a great question. My dream food day would start with our Glowing Greens smoothie, I’d then head to Subiaco Farmers Market and enjoy 3 x organic crumpets with honey from Mr Drummond’s Foods (!!!), after this I’d pat some pups and have a snack of Cheezy¬†Chipotle Kale Chips, which at $9 for a small packet is a very pricy addiction to have unfortunately.
Lunch is a Garden Goodness burger at Grill’d, washed down wish a Little Creatures cider, and I’d then go and lie down for an afternoon food-induced-nap for a few hours.
Post-nap it’s time for some Cadbury Furry Friends & then out to dinner at Meeka in Subiaco. If I could teleport anywhere in the world, dinner would be at Millennium Restaurant¬†in San Francisco, consistenly rated the No. 1 vegetarian dining place in America.
Dessert is either apple crumble, churros, or artisan icecream. Then home to bed to most likely have vivid, food-induced dreams!
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What’s the best thing you ate recently?
Probably some yummy pumpkin soup or banana bread made by a lovely friend of mine.
Where do you love to go to eat?
Meeka, Subi Farmers Markets, Lanna Thai, Aisuru. Anywhere with great vegetarian and vegan options.
Where do you love to hang out?
Can I say at home?! I’m usually working 7 days a week so try and get to farmers markets when I can. I also really like Double Double small bar.
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What’s your favourite thing right now?

Now, and always, hounds. I’m also pretty obsessed with acai¬†smoothies right now!

What are you looking forward to?
Summertime, exciting new business opportunities, turning 30!
If you’re interested in trying a cleanse before summer, you can read about other people’s experiences here, here, here and here.
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The French. Is there anything the can’t do?

Is it any wonder that the rest of the world is in love with the French?

They own the term champagne. If you put ‘French’ in front of a product description, you can charge 700% for it (French butter? TAKE MY MONEY). Their accent is the stuff of dreams/fantasies. They don’t diet or need face-lifts (apparently), their children simultaneously eat everything and nothing (how else do you stay skinny?!), and if you believe the internet, French women basically invented style. Look, I may have to conceded that last point, I do own at least six Breton striped tops. That’s normal, right?

If none of that impresses you, the French are also responsible for the framework of modern cooking, so, you know, there’s that. I’m not going to lie to you, traditional French cooking isn’t something I know a hell of a lot about. It’s never been my scene, though I respectfully acknowledge its contribution to food.

However, when you live with someone who is all about all things Paris and it is their birthday (Happy birthday Lou!), you shut up and pull out Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Soupe à l’Oignon is a pretty excellent entry into French cooking. The recipe for French Onion soup is relatively effortless, but is still chic enough to serve at a dinner party. Impressionnant, non?

My advice to you, is this: as always with recipes with so few ingredients, the strength of your dish depends on the quality of those ingredients. Buy the best you can afford. and you can’t go wrong.
I also advise you to get your hands on a mandolin, because it will take you forever to thinly slice all those onions without one, unless you’re a pro with impeccable knife skills. They’re a pretty¬†cheap bit of kit, and worth having in the cupboard for times like these. Make sure you buy one with a safety guard!

Also, even with a mandolin, I cried the whole time. Stupid onions.

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Soupe à l’Oignon (French Onion Soup)

From Smitten Kitchen

680 grams thinly sliced yellow onions (I sliced up 6 large onions)
42 grams unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
3 tablespoons plain flour
8 cups or 2 litres beef stock
1/2 cup (118 ml) dry white wine
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons cognac or brandy (optional)

To finish (Optional)
1 to 2 cups grated cheese (I used Gruyere)
Thick rounds French bread, toasted until hard (2/3 toasts per person)

 

In a large, heavy based saucepan, melt the oil and butter together over low heat. Add the sliced onions and gently stir until coated in oil. Put the lid on the pot, and allow to gently cook for 15 minutes.

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Once this is done, ditch the lid, stir in the sugar and salt and raise the temperature ever so slightly. For the next 40 minutes, stir the onions frequently until they are a deep golden brown. This caramelisation process builds the soup’s flavour, so make sure you take care!

Once the onions are golden, add the flour and continue to stir for 3 minutes. Add the wine to the pot and scrape any delicious brown bits from the bottom. Add the first litre for stock, a little bit at a time, continuing to stir. Then add the second, and season with salt and pepper. If you’re adding the cheese later, go easy on the salt – it’s easier to add more at the end, but you can’t make it less salty if you add too much now! Add in the brandy or cognac and stir.

To finish, cover the toasted French rounds with Gruyere, and grill until golden and bubbly. Stir any leftover cheese into the soup, taste and season accordingly. Divide soup between bowls, and serve with toasts.

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What I Love – Monstrositea Edition

Of course, not everyone is a coffee drinker. So, if my last post wasn’t quite your… Well, you know. Settle in, I have something for you.

The magic of a cup of tea is well established, the romance and ritual of something so small and simple is truly one of life’s great pleasures; no matter who you are.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am new to this whole tea drinking thing. I drink French earl grey with milk (gasp!) and sugar (shudder!). I like ginger tea when I’m stressed, jasmine in the afternoon, and Chinese over yum cha.

Little did I know that there is an art to tea. Different temperatures and steeping times, and for the love of god, no tea bags if it can be helped. Turns out, I have a lot to learn. What a delicious education awaits me!

Via Pinterest

Via Pinterest

Enter Monstrositea to show you how tea should be done. Five generous sample size teas in the cutest tin you’ve ever seen, delivered every month. Let the wild tea rumpus begin!

If you know someone who even remotely likes their tea, bundle up a tin from Monstrositea into their next gift. They will take you.

What I Love – Monstrositea Edition

Who are you/what do you do?

I’m Katherine, the Chief Curator of Monstrositea. I collect teas from all over the world, research them and their stories and then package them up to all of my subscribers in a monthly tea sample delivery. Tea adventures!

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Where did your love of tea come from?

Tea holds many different memories for me. My extended family have roots throughout China, Hong Kong and Malaysia, I grew up drinking Chinese tea at pretty much any opportunity but most commonly at Dim Sum and family get togethers. I distinctly remember cups of English Breakfast tea with my great grandmothers whilst we played scrabble in her lounge room. I guess I realised that I loved tea once I started exploring the world, tea and travel go hand in hand for me. Tea is full of culture and tradition, it’s a peak into everyday life and is something so many people hold dear and are very proud of.

How did Monstrositea come about?

Well‚Ķfirstly practicality – ¬†I buy a lot of tea, many of which I drink a few times and then put in my tea cupboard, to the point that my tea cupboard became a whole shelf in my pantry, a shelf in the kitchen and more… tea overfloweth! I thought it would be great to be able to try teas with enough to get a good feel for it, without committing the money and shelf space to a whole box until I knew that I loved it.

Second, I love travel and talking to people about tea. I have collected teas from all over the world, I have brought home more tea than a sane person would be expected to from every trip I’ve been on.  I have a fantastic collection of sensory experiences I can enjoy again and again. The dream is to travel the world curating incredible tea and cultural experiences. I truly believe you can travel from your tea pot, its what I do whilst saving for my next trip!

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Why Perth?

I happen to live in Perth, and despite Australia Post not being all that helpful to small ventures, it’s all too easy to run a business from here. I work full-time (the real job) so I value the flexibility of my employer and my lifestyle in Perth which allows me to juggle many things at once.

Perth people are generally open minded and looking for new experiences, it’s a good crowd to pitch new ideas at and get honest advice and experience back.

Your dream food day?

Dim Sum at 10am with a big pot of silky oolong tea, lunch of fresh sashimi salmon with a cup of freshly whisked matcha, followed by dinner of chipotle pulled pork tacos with fresh mango and avocado with a pot of peppermint tea.

What’s the best thing you ate recently?

I just came back from Japan and I’m currently feeling like everything I ate prior to this trip has been blown out of the water by the sheer incredibleness of all the amazing things I ate whilst there. A particular piece of marinated salmon sashimi is still playing on my mind, it just melted… However! prior to this, The Tuck Shop in Northbridge create some incredible things. They had a slow cooked lamb on their specials a couple of weeks ago and it blew my mind.

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Where do you love to go to eat?

Breakfast/brunch is my most favourite meal to go out to eat for, but only when its not your standard bacon and eggs, its got to be something a little left of centre, and come with great tea (of course!). I love the Tuck Shop (as mentioned previously), Harvest Espresso in Vic Park, Typika in Claremont, and Chapels on Whatley in Maylands.

Where do you love to hang out?

In the shady courtyard at my place. During my lunch hour I love to hang out in the Urban Orchard in the sun.

What’s your favourite thing right now?

Studio Ghibli films. I am in love, I guess I have been for a long time but having just come back from Japan my heart has been refilled with adoration. Lets watch Ponyo again, right now!

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What inspires you?

Nature, green spaces. I am inspired by urban greenery and well designed parks where people gather to relax, chat, eat, food truck, drink and be merry. I love that people can use space together and have a shared experience which not only connects them to the community but also to nature.

When I’m feeling flat, pessimistic and tired, getting outside is what I need to get my energy back. Even better yet, to be accompanied by wonderful friends and a thermos of chai.

What are you looking forward to in 2014?

(un)fortunately I packed all of my travel for 2014 into the first half of the year. It was a bit silly to go to India, Nepal and Japan in the space of 3 months, because… now what?!

Lucky for me Revelation Film Festival is about to begin, I look forward to this wonderful showcase of films every year and it has most certainly meant that I’m not getting the post holiday blues.

 

If you would like to know more about Monstrositea, check out their website, Facebook page, these reviews here and here.

All images via Monstrositea instagram