Head & Heart | March 2016

I know, I know. It’s been a while. I always say this, that I’m sorry (because I am), and you are always kind and forgiving (because you are).

But I’m here now, and we should probably catch up. Are you ready?

 

Head & Heart

What I’ve been grateful for:

  • Opportunity. Although I swore a million times that I’d never go back, I’m currently studying. There are files and textbooks and highlighters and post-it flags piled at my feet (and like any good student, I’m writing this while I procrastinate), and I’m oddly happy about it. My Day Job encouraged me to take the leap – I’m studying a graduate certificate in policy and governance at the Queensland University of Technology – and are really supportive about it all. #auspol #nerd
  • Opportunity 2: I’m off to Sydney for the first time! I’m heading over to check out the MAD conferenceat the freakin’ Opera House, no less! The biggest names in food (Kylie Kwong, David Chang, Massimo Boturra, Rene Redzepi) are talking Tomorrow’s Meal, and I can’t even believe that I’m going to be in that theatre, with so many incredible people. So out of my depth. So excited.
  • My girl gang. Last month, I gathered a bunch of ladies that I truly admire for a whole bunch of different reasons, and told them how incredible they were. Some run small businesses, some are creatives, others educators. They are all fierce, giving, kind and generous, and I wanted them to know each other and connect. It was magical and terrifying and I loved it.

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What I’ve been thinking about:

  • This piece – making friends on Twitter. It sums up my experience – mostly positive, highly educational, and the home of my tribe. I’ve met such wonderful people (mostly women) who I couldn’t live without, and I get to indulge in the things I love the most –  politics, comics and feminism – that would probably have my Facebook crew unfriending me in droves.
  • Youtube. I’m so behind on this whole thing, but I’m into now with gusto. With its plethora of cat and fail videos, there’s also so much to learn. And no, I’m not just talking about make up tutorials (though I love those too), there are so many incredibly smart women talking about really clever things. Karlie Kloss is talking to female entrepreneurs, Estee Lalonde is talking periods and sex, Rosianna Halse Rojas is chatting Shine Theory. It’s something I wish I had growing up, and even at almost 30, it’s still interesting and insightful.

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What I’m excited for:

  • Uh, SYDNEY. Bakeries! Wanderings! Adventures! Sephora! I plan on coming home with a very large box of panna cotta lamingtons from Flour and Stone, I’m going to find Black Star Pastry if it kills me, and I’ve already planned a dinner at Billy Kwong with my folks. Mum wants to spend some time wandering around The Rocks, probably catching the Manly Ferry. Other suggestions? Hit me up, I want to hear them pleaseandthankyou
  • If you, like me, make unholy squealing noises when you see cute fluffy things, then please meet Hicks the bunny. He belongs to my friends Marc and Lou, and I’m obsessed with his thumping paws and fluffy white tail. He’s also a sassy, sulking drama queen. I love/hate him.

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What I’ve been doing:

  • Winning the 4th Annual Office Bake-Off, nbd. It’s funny, everyone in my office is competitive for us, while Alex and I just like baking. This year, I submitted feta and herb biscuits, and a panna cotta tart with lemon curd and freeze-dried raspberry. I was pretty proud of that tart, it was a smushing of recipes and a lot of finger-crossing while hoping for the best. TRIUMPH.
  • Getting behind the Safe Schools program. It kills me that our government can be so cruel to speak about our kids in such a disgusting way, and it’s killing kids to not have access to such a vital program (LGBTQIA youth are six times likely to attempt suicide, and transgender people are 76% more likely. This. Is Not. Okay.). Write to your local Members of Parliament and demand that they support funding to Safe Schools. These kids deserve better.

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What I’ve been reading:

  • The shiny and new Broadsheet Perth. Edited by my friend and all round best guy Max Veehuyzen, it’s a website dedicated to the best in Perth. Now I know you think these are a dime a dozen, but Broadsheet does it better with content written by people who know and love what they do, and photography by the best in the business. There’s no washed-up, ex reality tv wannabes here, just quality writing.
  • This post about chocolate brownies, just in case you didn’t get enough chocolate over the weekend.
  • And this about throwing together a dinner party in under an hour. It’s a pretty excellent reminder to keep things simple, more than anything.
  • I attended the Perth Writer’s Festival last month and picked up a stack of books that I’m trying (and failing) to work through. I learned so much from seeing these women speak, and I can’t recommend their books enough!

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What I’ve been spending money on:

  • One of these La Lune prints from Chi Borello. I’m obsessed with everything she does, I can’t even tell you. I picked it up from La Luna, a rad homeware store in Inglewood, which I can no longer venture into unsupervised.
  • This phone case from Sportsgirl – easily the best $15 I’ve spent this month, because I never developed past being a 13 year old girl. This is why.
  • Breakfast at Satchmo Cafe in North Perth. There’s something I really love about Jewish cooking – the ritual of it, the intrinsic link between food and family, the tradition, and it goes without saying that I was excited when this beautiful café opened near home. It’s a place with energy, with a vibe. On weekends, there’s a band playing in the carpark, other days there’s 1950’s jazz wafting from the speakers. I twisted Rob’s arm into picking the brisket bagel, while I devoured the blueberry blintz, and they offer all kinds of different bagels and biscuits.

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Tell me about your month! What’s news?

 

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Brinner | Pea + Ricotta Fritters

Nothing pleases me more than the world realising what we’ve always known: No one breakfasts better than Australia. But while Sydney and Melbourne get all the glory, make no mistake – Perth is no slouch on the brunch front.

When my beloved Bitchez Who Brunch posted this beauty from Sayers Sister, it was an instant yes moment – everything I was craving in one go. Except, it was 4pm on a Tuesday, and who can wait until the weekend?

Enter: Brinner.

(brin-ner) adj. breakfast eaten at the time in which you eat dinner.
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This dish is full of spring goodness, and hits all the flavour points – sweet, salty, creamy and sharp, with plenty of green for smug. Perfect for your weekend’s brekky with the girls, or you know, tonight’s dinner. I’m not going to judge.

Pea + Ricotta Stacks with Prosciutto and Parmesan

Adapted from Donna Hay

400g fresh ricotta
2 tablespoons self raising flour
2 egg whites
3/4 cup frozen peas
8 slices prosciutto
Handful shaved Parmesan
Handful rocket leaves
2-4 eggs (depending on the number of people/how hungry you are)

In a frying pan over medium heat, fry the prosciutto until crispy, a couple of minutes each side. Set aside.

For the fritters, mix together the ricotta, flour, and mint in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the eggs into the ricotta mixture until just combined.

Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan (non stick, if you can, they’re sticky bastards), and spoon a couple of tablespoons into the pan and cook for 3 minutes each side until golden.

While the fritters cook, poach your eggs to the required doneness (if you need help).

Stack as follows: Fritter, prosciutto, rocket, Parmesan and repeat. I went 4 fritters high, and topped with a runny poached egg.

For extra fancy, I also drizzled with basil oil (recipe here), but that’s up to you.

Good Mornings | Coconut + Almond Granola

I’ve perfected just how long I can stay in bed and still be not-unreasonably late to work. As you can imagine, breakfast does not fit into that equation. That’s valuable sleeping time! Instead, I eat breakfast at my desk around 9:30, when I’m semi-awake and finally hungry.

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This granola comes to work with me in its own little Ziploc bag, with a piece of whatever fruit is going in my house. It’s tasty enough on its own but lends beautifully to whatever flavours you like. Add extra nuts, different dried fruits, change up the spices. It’s one of those recipes with ‘good bones’; it won’t fall to pieces if you’ve run out of something or want to change it up.

You know how I feel about repeating recipes. I rarely do it. But this, this is a staple in my pantry, and I’m still not sick of it. If that’s not a glowing recommendation, I don’t know what is.

 

Coconut + Almond Granola

From A Lot on Her Plate by Rosie Birkett

350g traditional oats
1 tsp chia seeds
80g pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
15g sunflower seeds
150g flaked almonds
50g desiccated coconut
1 1/2 tsps each of ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and ground nutmeg
4 tbsp coconut oil
4 tbsp maple syrup
60g sultanas

Heat your oven to 180*C. Line a baking tray (something long and shallow, rather than a roasting dish) with baking paper.

Combine the oats, seeds, almond and spices in a large mixing bowl. If the coconut oil is cold or solid, melt gently in a small saucepan with the maple syrup, then pour over the oat mix and stir until well incorporated.

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Spread the mixture in an even layer in the baking tray. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so until toasty and golden. Leave to cool completely, then add the sultanas. Keeps beautifully in an air-tight container for 4 weeks.

I like mine with cocoa nibs, Greek yoghurt, sliced fruits and a little bit of honey. Or poached pears! Or roasted strawberries. Yeeeeees, the roasted strawberries are amazing. Do that.



What I Love | eatmeetswest edition

This is the last post for 2014!

I’d like to take a second to thank every single one of you for stopping by and lending me your ears. Or eyes. I’m not sure how this works.

In the interest of reflection, here are the things I’m particularly grateful for in 2014:

  • The email I got from my blog-host thing (I don’t really sure how that works either) informs me that I’m read in 90 countries, which might have made me cry a little bit. I can’t even name 90 countries, so this blows my mind.
  • I’m grateful to have had the chance to travel to Brisbane for Eat Drink Blog this year (where I followed Sarah from The Sugar Hit around like a creep and she was very nice about it), where I got to eat some really cool stuff and hang out with my blogger buddies. Always a great time.
  • Also super grateful to my beautiful friend Natalie for letting me use her home in Melbourne as a base while I stalked the city for doughnuts.
  • Those of you who visited Jus Burgers to try my Cubano burger! There will be a post next year with the recipe, if you want to make them yourselves. Thank you Laura for teeing it up x
  • Friends, family, and anyone who’s prepared to share a meal with me (and lets me sneak photos in even though they’re starving). You let me do what I do.
  • You. Yes, you. You’re looking particularly smashing today, just in case no one has told you. Keep that up.

 

So, I guess it’s time for me to answer the questions I put to so many others this year! Whelp.

What I Love – eatmeetswest edition

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Who are you/what do you do?
I’m Bri and I write this here blog. eatmeetswest is three(!!!) years old, which blows my mind a little bit.
I also sling crumpets for Mr Drummond’s Foods at the Subi Farmers Markets on a Saturday morning, where I’m also responsible for Hole Food Doughnuts.
 
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My Cubano at Jus Burgers

Why Perth?
Oh my god, why not? Perth is almost unrecognisable to what is was 5 years ago. There’s room for improvement, as there is anywhere, but I’m so proud of how far it’s come and the badass people who are making things happen here.
I love Perth’s beaches and laid back atmosphere, and that those things probably go hand in hand.
I love that if you drive 3 hours in any direction, you’re almost in another universe.
definitely love our world class produce (and that I get to eat it).
I love the pelicans that sit on top of the street lights on the freeway when I drive home to Freo. They make me happy.
I think it’s fantastic that we call our sea breeze The Doctor, because it makes everything better on a hot day.
I love that so many activities around town are dog friendly, because it means I get to cuddle puppies. A LOT.
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CBD Sunsets

 What inspires you?
I know that this is something that everyone says, but I’m incredibly blessed to be surrounded with extraordinary people, determined to make a change, or just showcase the amazing things that WA has to offer that we’ve simply overlooked.

On a personal level, I’m particularly inspired on the regular by Jacqui, Ai-LingMax VeenhuyzenMax Brearley and David; their passion for the things they do is nothing short of incredible, and I can’t believe they even know my name.

I’m also one of those people who spends waaaay too much time on The Internet. That helps with the inspiring and distracting in equal measure. If it wasn’t for the internet, how would I know about Katherine Sabbath?
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Sophie Zalokar at the launch of her book, Food of the Southern Forrests


Your dream food day?
For starters, it probably kicks off at 11am, because I like a bit of a sleep in!
Breakfast would be either banana crepes from Toast in East Perth, or breakfast panna cotta from Mrs S in Mayland.
Morning tea would be Mac-clairs from The Flour Factory, nursed by coffee from Addison & Steele (the espresso tonic is spectacular. Thanks Toby and Michael!).
Lunch is definitely dim sum at Northbridge Chinese Restaurant, because I would eat xiao long bao until the end of days. I LOVE DUMPLINGS. I’d probably need a nap after that.
Dinner would be a home-cooked affair. I have some friends who are seriously talented with a smoker, so it’s likely to be a Texas barbecue style thing, lost of ribs and slow cooked meats, a lot of sharing. I’d offer to do the dishes, being as how I didn’t cook!
If it’s a dream food day, then I’m probably heading back to Singapore’s 2am Dessert Bar for another hit of their dish Yellow, which was made up of corn, in 5 different ways. It was amazing. If you’re out that way, I definitely recommend you visit!
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Cocktails at Darling Supper Club

What’s the best thing you ate recently?
 I’m pretty crazy about Gusto Gelato in Leederville right now. I was all for the Gutso (peanut butter), but I’ve just discovered the Brittle Sweet Symphony, which is almond brittle and honey gelato, and I can’t get enough of it. I fucking love ice cream.
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Ice cream in Brisbane

Where do you love to go to eat? 
There’s no bad day that dinner at Lalla Rookh can’t fit with bone marrow and pasta. This is a scientific fact.
My ultimate comfort food is BBQ pork wanton noodle soup from Viet Hoa in Northbridge. Cheap, fast and more food than I can comfortably eat (though I do it anyway).
My favourite, super low-key breakfast can be found at Ley St Cafe. I first heard about Adam’s milkshakes on Reddit, and can confirm (as a milkshake junkie) that they’re some of the best in Perth. Adam makes all of his own flavours from scratch, no bought syrups here! Also, the maple bacon and eggs on today are consistently fantastic.
Russell Blakie on cocktail duty at Must Winebar

Russell Blakie on cocktail duty at Must Winebar

Where do you love to hang out?

Varnish on King. I love a whisky sour almost as much as I love manager Jamie Passmore’s dance moves. Also the bar’s mascot is a stuffed beaver named Justin, of which the jokes just write themselves.

My girlfriends and I recently had our pre-Christmas catch up at The Flour Factory, where I drank 3 of their lemony cocktails, and I’d quite happily drink 300 more.

Freo always calls to me when I want to be somewhere that feels like home. This year, I loved The Banker, Lenny the Ox, Little Lefroys, The Mantle and Bread in Common.

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Scott Bridger, head chef at Bib & Tucker

What’s your favourite thing right now?
 Netflix. What?! I’m a girl of simple pleasures. Those simple pleasures include watching Stephen Amell do chin-ups on Arrow.
I love paddle boarding. I’m pretty keen to get out on the water again, who wants to come?
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What are you looking forward to?

I just bought Mr Hong, which is a bit of a must-have cook book for lovers of dude food or the Australian food scene. My first goal for next year is to master one of his signature dishes, Stoner’s Delight, so, you know, God help me.

The Perth Fringe World Festival!

Getting down south to visit Taste of Balingup (Katrina Lane is a genius) and Foragers Kitchen (so is Sophie).

More doughnuts. Always more doughnuts.

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Kane at Dapper Jack

Thank you again for all of your support this year, and I can’t wait to make you fried cheese pie in 2015!

Stay safe, happy and awesome xx

Don’t forget, you can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Say hey!

If you can’t stand the heat…

The festive season is no longer upon us. Thank frak for that, it’s exhausting! Going places, doing things, seeing people; trying to keep track of it all? On top of all that, it had to be done in 40* heat. With all that lovely time off, I was looking forward to playing in the kitchen. Uh, no dice. I don’t know about you, but I learnt my lesson turning on the oven when it’s like that outside. Running up and down stairs to hide in the air conditioning was not as relaxing as it sounds.

The minute that it cooled down enough, I went in. Something that didn’t need a lot of oven time, but wielded delicious results. And here we are. Scones.

Now, the American scone is a funny thing. What we call scones is their ‘biscuit’. Their scones seem to have similar bones to ours, but are also wildly varying. This particular recipe uses cream and ricotta, making for a very moist and slightly dense dough, more than you’re used to if you make scones regularly. Or ever. But don’t fight it, this is what you want.

This is a sweet-but-not-overly-sweet, treat with jammy pockets of berry goodness. With the addition of wholemeal flour and ricotta, I like to pretend that they’re practically good for you. If you have evidence to the contrary… Probably keep that to yourself. I’m very selective about the reality I accept.

 

Whole Wheat Blueberry Ricotta Scones

From The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, by Deb Perelman

1 cup (120 grams) wholemeal flour
1 cup (125 grams) plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
85 grams cold unsalted butter
136 grams fresh blueberries
3/4 cup ricotta
1/3 cup thickened cream

Preheat oven to 220*c. Line a tray with baking paper. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, sugar and salt.

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Cut the butter into little pieces, then rub into the flour mixture with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Roughly chop the half the berries and then add the chopped and whole berries to the mixture.

Stir the ricotta and cream into the mix with a spatula. Gently knead into an even sized ball.

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Gently lift the dough into a well floured bench top. Sprinkle flour on top of the dough, then pat it into an even slab, about an inch high.

Now, the original recipe calls for cutting it into 9 large square scones. I took to the dough with a small circle cutter like normal scones, and it didn’t seem to harm them any, so cut however you like. Just make them even!

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Place them on the making tray, and then into the oven for 15 minutes, until golden around the edge. Allow to cool on a cooling rack.

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While they are perfectly delicious on their own, there is nothing that is not made better by a smearing of butter.

No rest for the wicked. Instead: Eggs

Team, there’s something I need to confess to. Sit down, this is a safe place, right?

Ok, so we’ve well established that I love breakfast. Good.
There’s this thing.
On weekends, I’m rarely awake early enough to eat it. Left to its own devices, my body will naturally sleep through until 11am, no problems.
Unless.
I’ve had a little to drink. I can’t sleep when I’ve been drinking; it just doesn’t sit well. I wake up every hour, wander around, spend forever trying to settle back into whatever restless doze takes over.

Last Saturday night… Well, this happened.

The short version of the story is: I’m no good at card games. I’m not sure how that’s possible as it’s a game of chance. Regardless, I lost; those shots were two of five, and I didn’t sleep a wink.

On the plus side, you should always invite me to parties. I wake up at the crack of dawn, and make breakfast.

Eggs always make me feel better. Plain and simple, or dressed up however you like, they’re always exactly what you need. This recipe is really simple, really fast and has some serious flavour. Perfect on an upset stomach.

Greek Baked Eggs

From Salted and Styled

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon heavy cream
5 large eggs
5 Kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese

1) Preheat oven to 180*c. Add the butter and cream to the bottom of a heavy based, oven proof pan. Place in the oven for 3 or 4 minutes, until the butter and cream mixture is hot and bubbles.

2) Place chopped herbs, garlic and olives in a small bowl.

3) Once the butter and cream have bubbled, quickly but carefully crack the eggs into the pan. Evenly sprinkle herb mix. Top with crumbled feta, cracked black pepper and a pinch of salt.

4) Place the pan back in the oven and cook for about 5 minutes, until the whites are almost set. Eggs continue to cook once you take them off/out of heat, so be careful not to overcook them. Let them sit out of the oven for a minute before serving. Probably with Turkish bread. Everything tastes better with Turkish bread. True story.

P.S. That beautiful goat feta from Urban Locavore I talked about last Friday? Tastes like heaven when used in baked eggs.

You can’t mastermind a watermelon catapult on an empty stomach.

In my humble opinion, breakfast is probably the greatest meal of the day.
It can be eaten at any time post waking up, regardless as to whether that’s 3am or 3pm. Sweet? Savoury? Fried? Fresh? Champagne? Vodka? Coffee? It’s all on offer. Does lunch do that? No. Dinner doesn’t come to the party either.

After dragging my bestie out to the markets in Morley (and her in return dragging me out of bed at 8:30am to do it), all that veggie shopping (by ‘veggie shopping’, I mean evil-masterminding what kind of havock we could create with the giant 4 kilo watermelons they were selling and some kind of catapault. You can’t tell, but right now I’m steeping my fingers like Mr Burns. Exxxxxcccccellent) had worked up quite an appetite in both of us.
Breakfast was on the cards.

Having spent a fair amount of time recently in Northbridge checking out the night markets, Chinese New Year celebrations, and generally scoping out the awesomeness that is William Street, I knew that Little Willy’s was the place I wanted to be.

A tiny little space full of charm, we slid into the table by the window to watch all the people go past.
Nic and I don’t waste much time ordering. We’re easily pleased folk. The waitress who takes our order adorably ends every sentence with ‘Darling’, and apologises profusely when she tells us it’s cash only.
After placing our order, we peruse the newpaper, coo over the rockin’ kid at the table next to us who’s very well behaved and playing with dinosaurs, and debate how we’ve made it this far in life without a giant wooden moose head…
Answer: We’re not sure, but deem this should be rectified immediately.

My coffee arrives very quickly (always a good thing, I’m the Devil when under-caffinated).

Not too long after that, Nic’s orange juice and my apple, lemon and mint in all their freshly squeezed, delicious glory appeared.

Then… Nothing.

About a half hour after our juices, breakfast finally arrives.
I’m not sure what the delay was…
However, biting into it… All was forgotten.

The perfectly toasted bagel, with just-runny fried egg, crispy bacon and a touch of tomato relish brought me an unnatural amount of joy.

Nic’s poached egg on sourdough with avocado was met with a side of possibly the best butter browned mushrooms EVER.

Ultimately, the experiance was a happy one, and I’ll be back. Soon.