Head & Heart | February

So, we’re back to Head & Heart. Check out what everyone else is up to over at Helarious, and join in!

 

What I’ve been grateful for:

Support. Last week was one of those weeks. It was manic busy, incredibly stressful, and just hard. Find your tribe. They make your world better.

 The person who’s responsible for this. It’s my new standard for mind blowing adorable.

The person who sent me this, because this is pretty much going to happen, and he doesn’t find that weird about me.

Grown up

 

What I’ve been thinking about:

Doughnuts. Because, always doughnuts. What would be your dream flavour?

Love this post (and all of her work) by Elise from I Fucking Love Science to celebrate the really cool discoveries by women in science that you probably didn’t know anything about. Fuck yeah!

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What I’m excited for:

RAIN. Please, please, please, please, please, rain.

Stationery. I was given some gorgeous stuff by Kelsie from K Gets Organised, and I’m pretty sure she’s unleashed my inner monster. I need pads! books! pens!

The new Avengers movie. I’m a massive nut for Marvel, and I’m pretty sure 100 of these views are from me alone. 7 weeks to go!

The Good Food Month Night Noodle Market. Photos from the events over East flood my Instagram when it’s on, and my jealousy knows no bounds. I’m pretty keen to see what the guys from Lucky Chan’s can do in the lead up to their opening, as well as stuffing my face with Low Key Chow House’s mantou buns (which is the best thing on their menu). It runs from 18-29 March, from 5pm on weekdays and 4pm on weekends, in the Perth Cultural Centre (around the Library and Art Gallery). The event is free, and dishes cost less than $14. Woooo!

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New Openings:

  • Max + Sons
    The gorgeous, light-filled coffee shop that is just what 140 William needed! They serve 5 Senses coffee (using a gorgeous Synesso machine) and doughnuts by my dough-bros at Top Dup.
  •  Asado
    I attended their launch recently, and was impressed by their beautiful space, the quality of their meat (I tend to walk into barbecue joints with slightly low expectations, because it’s hard to get right) and the lovely attitude of their staff. I haven’t had a chance to get back, but I assure you, it’s on the cards.
  • The Old Laundry
    A new haunt on Angove Street. I haven’t gotten there yet, but I’ve heard lovely things from multiple sources.
  •  Sauma
    A pretty gorgeous Indian restaurant on the corner of William and Francis Streets (next to Lot 20), Sauma is a welcome addition to one of my favorite strips. I hear the servings are veeeery generous, so take a group to get a good taste of the menu.
  • The Modern Eatery
    Some seriously fancy looking Japanese has come to Freo. Check out Miss Eats a Lot for her review.

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What I’ve been doing:

The recent long weekend saw me down south (I’m sticking to my promise of more time out), which was amazing as always. Vasse Felix. Morries Anytime. UGH, FANTASTIC. From here on in, I’m putting miso butter on everything.

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I finally won my office bake-off. I’ve been competing against Alex from Little Red’s Cupcakes for 3 years, and at long last, I am triumphant. My savoury dish kinda sucked, but panna cotta lamingtons saved the day! You can get the recipe here, and it’s bloody fantastic. It’s not hard at all, you just have to be organised.

My new day job has a more political skew, and has introduced me to my new addiction: Parliamentary Question Time. It’s like your favourite reality TV soap opera. I love it. There’s yelling and petty name calling and it’s amazing.

I’m only 1 million years too late, but The West Wing. I love you, CJ. And Rob Lowe.

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 What I’ve been reading:

The Obsession issue of Lucky Peach. This piece on making gnocchi is a beautiful read.

I’ve got my hands on copies of Bad Feminist and Trigger Warning. I’m going to build a pillow fort and hide for a couple of days while I devour them.

This post from my friend Michelle at Foodie Cravings.

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What I’ve been spending money on:

Of course, I came home from my weekend down south laden with goodies from Providore, the Margaret River Chocolate Factory, Bahen and Co and Olio Bello.

Flowers from Debra Hayes Floral.

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I swear, I start nesting in the lead up to winter. I’m all about homewares right now. Blankets! Pillows! Vases! A Cup of Chic is responsible for most of my current lust list.

More Cards Against Humanity (I bought booster packs), because I love this game. From Planet Books, if you’re looking.

 

Tell me about your month. What’s news?

What I Love – Michael Munroe Edition

A couple of years ago, I stumbled across a news article on my morning commute to work. Something about a new coffee shop opening in the Perth CBD, with a super fancy machine? My regular café was closed and I was desperate for coffee, so the finer details were a little lost on me.

One foot inside Standing Room Only, and I realised I wasn’t in Kansas any more. These guys take their Third Wave coffee very seriously.

Syphons, cold drips, pour-overs and filters all become very easy to understand because Michael and his team take the time to make things very, very simple. Nothing is too much trouble for these guys – trust me, I rocked up prior to their lunch rush with 6 food bloggers, their cameras and a million questions during Eat Drink Blog last year, and not a eyelid was batted. The girls came away with a heart full of caffeine-induced palpitations and a brain full of knowledge.

And if all of these things still isn’t your jam – they’re not going to scoff at you should you order a latte with 2 sugars – they’re all about the love.

Putting it as simply as I know how – I’d get behind anything Michael puts his name to. It’s all good.

What I Love with Michael Munroe

 

Who are you/what do you do?
I am Michael Munroe and I am the Head of Coffee for Addison & Steele Specialty Coffee (North Perth) and Standing Room Only (CBD).
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Image: Michael Munroe Twitter

Why Perth?
While most may look to Melbourne in search for delicious coffee (and they maybe somewhat right) what I love about Perth is that it is up and coming. There is so much potential for this city and it’s hospitality industry. It is truly exciting to be part of that.
Addison & Steele

Addison & Steele

Where did your love of coffee come from? 
Throughout my last couple years of school I worked a Sunday job at my parents café (now ex-café). Here I got a taste of cafe work and began to be exposed to making coffee. It got pretty exciting and I found myself searching the city for delicious coffee to experience and interesting people to learn from. After school I moved to Melbourne and scored a job with Sensory Lab and was exposed to a whole new world of coffee I had never seen. I tasted my first incredible coffee (Syphon with Panama Don Pachi Geisha) and fell in love at that moment. If I could wake up everyday and make something that tasted this delicious, then life was going to pretty sweet…. pun intended.
 
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You just placed 3rd in the Australian Brewers Championship (high five!) –  How do you feel about Perth’s growing coffee scene? 
During this competition I spent a solid week working with and learning from the incredible team at Small Batch Coffee Company. They exposed me to what they were doing and how they were thinking (coffee wise) in Melbourne. What I loved was how involved the public were interested and involved.
Right now Perth has some great baristas, managers and coffee institutions and I feel they are all somewhat taken for granted. We are producing some great coffee in some beautiful cafes, and as soon as we get the involvement with more of the public and they accept they don’t need to go all the way to Melbourne for good coffee we are going to have a thriving scene just like Melbourne. (I would like to note that this is a generalisation and I want to send shout outs to all our awesome customers at both shops who continue to support our business and ideas!)
I also believe that as soon as mainstream media decides to support its own city and all that it has to offer rather than focusing on dramatised pricing figures and other related negatives, the growth of our industry will be unstoppable!
Overall Perth is showing great potential to become the next coffee destination, I am excited for more people to get involved with our industry resulting in a flourishing caffeinated scene!
Your dream food day?
A day in Mexico. Eating delicious, raw food, drinking tequila and taking siestas. Couldn’t ask for a better day.
What’s the best thing you ate recently?
Probably the Beef Short Rib or Duck Bao I had at Melbourne’s new restaurant ‘Supernormal’. It was delicious, and Heston Blumenthal who was sitting next to us seemed happy with it!
 
Where do you love to go to eat?
El Publico I believe is doing some of the best Mexican food in Australia right now and I never turn down an outing there. The food is delicious, the tequila list is stella and service is top notch. Oh and it’s a 2 minute walk from me. Winning.
Where do you love to hang out?
You’ll find me slinging shots at Addison & Steele most days of the week, we also do a lot of staff training and public tastings so I am there a lot. And I love it. Coffee, beautiful fit out, great staff and customers – the ultimate hangout.
 
What’s your favourite thing right now?
My VST Refractometer. It’s a coffee nerds most useful tool. Basically it reads a sample of my brewed coffee and helps me work how much I am extracting from the coffee. I can then adjust my recipe to make sure and I am not over or under extracting and instead hitting the desired sweet spot.
What inspires you?
The idea of being the best I can be. Obviously there are people and events in the coffee industry (and outside of it) that inspire me but in the end this is all channeled to being the best I can be. This is applied both in career and personal life.
What are you looking forward to in 2014? 
I the beginning of the year I declared this was going to be a huge year. Already at nearly the halfway point it has been hectic and so much has happened. Some of the things I am looking forward to now include roasting our own coffee at Addison & Steele (happening soon!), competitions in November and new hospitality institutes opening!
Want to know more? Check out this post from Juji Chews and these beautiful photos from DineWhitMe and Wildest of Dreams.
 Addison and Steele also debuted a new menu last week well worth checking out!

The Cult of Condensed Milk

First of all, let me apologise profusely for my absence. The Browed One and I have recently moved house, and with that came the month of no wi-fi. It was awful. So many cat videos went unwatched, so many Buzzfeed lists were unread. Tragic for all involved. More importantly, it also meant no blogging, because it is really hard to post from my tiny phone.

But here we are, together again. I missed you.

I convinced myself that I hated condensed milk as a child. I don’t know what I based that opinion on, given that everything about it is right up my alley. I can only imagine that I made up my mind without having tried it (as children do) and then stubbornly refused to change it (as children do).

And so The Cult of Condensed Milk eluded me. I had one friend in particular, knowing that we always kept a tube in the pantry, would make a beeline every time she came over, and would proceed to inhale the lot. Wade is some kind of CM bloodhound. We can’t keep it in the house, because he’ll find it, and consume it in a manner not unlike this. I’ve since discovered the error of my ways, and am now a card-carrying member of The Cult of Condensed Milk. Join us.

Last week saw us celebrating Wade’s birthday (happy birthday Wade!), and the best way of celebrating anything is with everything that you love – birthday law and all that. Wade’s big loves in life all come together is the form of cà phê đá – Vietnamese Ice Coffee – and when he happened across a recipe for it in cheesecake form in my current favourite cookbook, his knees went a little weak. I’ve made a lot of cheesecakes in my time, and this is the most utterly perfect texture. Feeling pretty damn smug about the whole thing, to be honest.

The trick here is to use strong espresso. I visited Humblebee Coffee Roasters and got them to brew me up some magic (I’m terrified of our coffee machine at home – if I break it, Wade will kill me), and it was perfect. Should you wish, instant coffee is totally fine and if you’re not one for kahlua, just substitute extra coffee.

Cà phê đá Cheesecake

From Skinny Weeks and Weekend Feasts by Gizzi Erskine

85ml melted butter, plus extra for greasing
200g digestive biscuits, crushed into crumbs
1 tbsp brown sugar
3 x 300g cream cheese, at room temperature
395g tin of condensed milk
50g brown sugar
3 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp extra strong espresso
3 tbsp Kahlua (or more espresso)
3 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk

Heat the oven to 160*c. Line a cake tin with baking paper, then grease the sides with butter.

Stir the melted butter into the crushed biscuits and 1 tbsp brown sugar until evenly combined. Evenly press the mixture into the bottom of the cake tin and place in the oven for 10 minutes. Cool in the fridge while you make the filling.

Increase the oven temperature to 200*c. Beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth, then add the coffee, Kahlua if you’re using it, sugar, flour, vanilla and condensed milk. Whisk in the eggs and extra yolk until thoroughly combined and airy.

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Pour the filling into the tin, and then place in the oven for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven to 100*c and bake for a further 25 minutes or until it jiggles just a little in the middle. Turn off the heat, crack the oven door just a tiny bit, and then walk away and leave to cool for 2 hours.

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Once cooled, cover with foil and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. To release from the tin, run a butter knife under hot water, then around the edge of the tin.

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Have you ever driven past some of the magnificent buildings around town and wondered what lay inside? Open House Perth is your opportunity to discover all their secrets, and I definitely recommend you check it out. From heritage to art deco, from corporate offices to people’s homes, nothing is off-limits.

Personally, I’m very keen to visit The Creative Arts House (#51, in case you want to come too) because not only do I love seeing creative brains come together, but Lifeline WA do incredibly vital work within our community. Studio Lifeline is definitely something I could get on board!

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.

Loves: Breakfast. Hates: Mornings.

I’m not a morning person. In the slightest.

There’s something unnatural about all that bright light, and chirping birds/people that makes my want to curl up under my blanket like it’s a cave, and stay there. The down side to my self-imposed hibernation, however, is missing out on breakfast. I love breakfast. Sweet or savoury, light or heavy, simple or smorgasbord. It’s all on offer, and it’s all delicious.
The only thing I love more than breakfast, is Fremantle. Born and raised a Fremantle baby, the quiet bustle of the streets, aromatics wafting from the bajillion cafes, the hum of the markets, the rhythm of dreadlocked buskers/Metros at 4am… I feel it all like my own heartbeat.
So to draw a close on a glorious Queens birthday/CHOGM long weekend, I was determined to get out among it. After I hit the snooze button a couple of more times…

I dragged along my Non-Foodie Companion to come check out The Attic with me. He’s also not a morning person. Or a Fremantle person, for that matter. This may have been a mistake…

The Attic

The Attic, tucked away on Bannister St, just off the main cappuccino strip. From the street, it would pass for someone’s humble red-bricked abode, lest for the chalkboard out the front, with an arrow pointing inside. Stepping through the doorway, lay the bustling counter, laden with caffeine fixes and sweet treats.
After standing a bit awkwardly in front of the counter (me? awkward?) I managed to score a couple of menus, and quickly stole upstairs.

Specializing in Tunisian baked eggs, called shakshouka, it makes an interesting changed to a traditional cooked breakfast.
The rest of the menu is fairly simple, and caters well to vegetarian/vegans/gluten-free crowd, as so required in Fremantle.
On the drive down, I was hell bent on getting stuck into the eggs, served with chorizo in a tomato reduction. But once I got there, my stomach had its own ideas. Oven baked oats, with berry compote and natural yogurt. There was no way that was not happening. I’m weak willed, what my stomach says, goes. Clearly, I know who’s in charge here.
Non-Foodie, however, before he’d had a chance to look at the menu, declared “You’ve brought me to one of those weird places where I’m not going to like anything, haven’t you?”.
*sigh*
I did my best to placate him with promises of a trip to a bakery if he remained unsatisfied. He settled on a toasted breakfast wrap, and I scuttled downstairs to place our order, as frankly, I’m not exactly human until there’s a cup of coffee in my system. No, really, I shouldn’t be spoken to, least I actually growl at you. It happens.

Back upstairs, the space is an eclectic group of couches, crates and chairs, and one looong table, either next to pretty stained glass windows, or overlooking the counter chaos.
Before  long, coffee was served. It’s good coffee. Nothing annoys me more than paying $5 for burnt, bitter, scalding hot sludge. This was none of those things.
Surprisingly quickly after, my oats arrived. They looked nothing short of amazing in their little jar (“what’s wrong with bowls?” asks Non-Foodie), piled high with chopped raw almonds.

Baked Oats

I nibbled a few, while we waited for the other half of the order to arrive.
Except it didn’t.
I’ve worked in and around kitchens since I could hold a pastry brush, and Non-Foodie has 7 years experience working in hotels, so we both know that bad days in the kitchen happen. We weren’t too fussed if they were a little slow. However, after a half hour of trying to make eye contact with a waitress (who oddly never seemed to want to look directly at us), I finally managed to point out that we were missing something.
“Oh, the kitchen knows they lost it. But they’re taking care of it.”
Oh. Thanks for giving us the heads up on that.
A few minutes later,  it arrived. The waitress wasn’t overly apologetic, however did offer another round of coffee to make amends. Hey, I’m easily pleased.

Breakfast Wrap

Fluffy scrambled eggs, bacon, greens and tomato relish. A winning combination in anyone’s books.
My oats were sensational. Filling without being heavy, and the tart of the berries cutting through the sweet to avoid being over the top sugary, it struck a perfect balance.

On the way out, fully loaded with tasty goodness, I spied some seriously good-looking blueberry tarts. However, there was no way I was going to be able to have it survive the trip home intact. I had further Fremantle adventures* to embark on…

All together, I’d go back there again (Non-Foodie will probably not). The coffee was perfect, breakfast was spot on. The service leaves a little to be desired, and a quick glance on their Urbanspoon page confirms that this is not out of the ordinary for them. However, for another chance at those eggs… Well, we know my mind doesn’t make these decisions.

*Note: That’s a hint. A blatant, subtle-as-a-punch-in-the-face, hint. Yes, there’s more to come. Clever you for guessing! I knew we were friends for a reason. You’re awesome.