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!
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Here comes the meat sweats…

At some point, I don’t remember when, I decided that having a meat party was a great idea. I mean, there’s nothing more beautiful than bring together people you love, to break bread and share experiences over food. That bond can only be made deeper by meat sweats.

The invitations went out to my usual suspects – Pantry in Suburbia, The Skinny Perth, Lipstick Honey, Beers and Sympathy and our favourite taste tester cousins and partners. It was turning into one hell of a meaty pot-luck dinner. Look, I’m not going to lie to you, having food bloggers for friends is a tiny bit handy at times like these: roast lamb in all its glory, the most out-of-this-world buffalo wings and chorizo (because who doesn’t love chorizo?!) wrapped in flaky pastry. There might have been salads, for balance. I wouldn’t know, I didn’t eat them. I came here to party.

As with most events in my life, it was structured around a recipe. As in, I’d found one and wanted to make it so badly that I organised a dinner party just so I could. Is that a really girl thing to do? Am I the only person that’s bought a new dress/shoes/jewellery for no reason at all, then created a party/night out/breakfast just to show it off?Anyone?

Oh. Never mind, forget I brought it up.

Back to meat.

I know I posted a pulled pork recipe this year already. But it was over 6 months ago, so it doesn’t count. Plus, if I’m honest, I like this one better. It’s kind of simpler, in that there’s no brining, it’s less cooking time and a little less having to be organised. It’s certainly not a 30 minute meal by any means… But it’s worth every single second. I know the sauce looks like it’s a lot of ingredients, but 90% of it is stuff in your pantry. For the chipotle sauce, I used the sauce from a tin of chipotles in adobo sauce which I picked up from Fresh Provisions in Mount Lawley. If you see them, grab a couple of tins because they go beautifully in Mexican cooking. YUM. I used a couple of tablespoons, because it turns out I imagined the chili flakes in my pantry, and when I went to use them, they weren’t there. Clever me.

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All jokes aside, I absolutely love having a group of friends around to eat. There’s something really special about cooking for those you love, having them enjoy something you’ve brought to the table. You sit back and ask yourself why you don’t do these kinds of things more often (the answer is the bajillion dishes that took me an hour to wash the next day), but at that moment in time… It’s the definition of happiness. Good times, good food, good people. And if that’s not the meaning of life, I don’t know what is.

 Chipotle Pulled Pork Burgers

From What Katie Ate

2kg pork shoulder, bone in
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pulled pork sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, very finely diced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 carrot, very finely diced
2 sticks celery, very finely diced
1 long red chilli, finely diced
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 tablespoons treacle (I used golden syrup, honey is ok too)
2 tablespoons mustard powder
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ cup (125ml) white vinegar
1 litre chicken stock
½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 tablespoon chipotle sauce
1½ teaspoons cornflour mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water

Heat the oven to 160*c.

Place the pork in a roasting pan, and season really well with salt and pepper. My pork didn’t have skin, but if yours does, make sure the skin is facing upwards, then cover with foil and place in the oven for 5 – 6 hours. I left mine in for 6, and it weighted a little less than 2 kilos. Check the pork at the 3 hour mark, and if it’s looking a little dry add some water (I threw in 1/2 a cup, just to be on the safe side). Once it’s done, set the pork aside to cool a little bit, then shred using a couple of forks or your hands – it literally falls apart. It’s amazing.

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At the 4 hour mark of the pork cooking, heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Add the onion and a good pinch of salt and cook until soft. Add the garlic, carrot, celery and chilli and cook until they soften, about 10 minutes. Chuck in everything else except for the cornflour paste and let simmer for 2 hours uncovered until it’s reduced and thickened. Remove from the heat and then pass the sauce through a sieve to remove any chunks. Return the sauce to the pan, discarding what remains in the sieve, then add the cornflour paste and stir to combine.

Add the sauce to the shredded pork and stir to combine thoroughly.

Serve on fluffy white burger buns with coleslaw (the link has a great recipe, if you need one).

I’m sorry there isn’t more/better pictures, but it honestly didn’t last long enough to take any!

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Lezbehonest. Joey just gets it.

What makes food taste better than good?

There are things you can do that makes food taste better. I mean, better than normal.

Slow cooking, for one thing. Having someone else cook for you. MSG and salt. Being hungry – have you ever noticed that everything tastes AMAZING when you’re starving?

I’m personally of the opinion that eating with your hands goes firmly on that list. Think about it! How good are burgers, or pizza? Picnics! Hotdogs! CAKE, BECAUSE CUTLERY BE DAMNED.

Of course, Mexican and it’s various subsidiaries fall into this category too. It’s fun on three levels:

  1. Most of the names are ridiculous to pronounce. Quesadilla what?
  2. Eating with your hands is pretty much mandatory
  3. You get to make it up as you go! Personally, I like cheese and hate guac.

The other thing that’s awesome about Mexican, is that it’s stupidly quick and, if you make it yourself, fresh. Done in 30 minutes or less, this dish wastes absolutely no time getting on your dinner table, leaving you with more time for the important stuff. Like stuffing your face.

Coriander chicken with pico de gallo

Adapted from Good Taste

3 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
1 tsp sea salt flakes
2/3 cup chopped fresh coriander
4 garlic cloves
2 fresh jalapeño chillies, finely chopped
80ml lime juice
2 tbs olive oil
800g chicken breasts
4 tomatoes, seeded, finely chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
Tortillas, warmed

Place cumin, ground coriander, oregano, salt, 1/2 cup chopped coriander, 3 garlic cloves and half the chili in a mortar or blender, and blitz until it forms a paste.

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Add half of the olive oil and lime juice. Season with pepper to taste. Pour the marinade into a bowl, then add the chicken, rubbing the marinade in well. Set aside for 10 minutes.

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Toss together the tomato, onion and what’s left of the garlic, coriander, chili, lime juice and oil in a bowl; set aside.

Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan on high, then add the chicken and cook for a few minutes each side until cooked through. Slice thinly, then serve with the tortillas and pico de gallo.

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I might be wrong, so please correct me if I am, but I’m pretty sure you could even blitz up the marinade, coat the chicken and then throw it into ziploc bags to be frozen.

Did I just make this super easy dinner even easier? Uh, I think I did. YOU’RE WELCOME.

Pulling up pork

I don’t exactly remember how it happened. I lost a bet, or generally offended my Non Foodie Friend, and the short version of the story is, amends needed to be made in the form of food.

I love the challenge of cooking for people; no two guests are the same. There are allergies and food phobias to juggle, budgets and time constraints. Hell, I’ve even thrown a dinner party simply because I had a new cookbook to play with. Actually, that’s probably my favourite reason to do anything.

I had been seriously hankering for an excuse to make pulled pork. It’s everywhere at the moment, part and parcel with the Mexican wave we’re riding. My Non Foodie Friend is not a huge fan of pork, however he does love simple, meaty fare – lasagna, pastas, burritos, that kind of thing. So, making pulled pork enchiladas was the perfect marriage of ‘showing off cooking’ and the simple, high-impact flavours that NFF loves.

Here’s the deal. I started this on a Saturday morning, for dinner on Sunday night. I promise you, pulled pork is almost effortless. It does take a LOT of time, though; being organised is key. But once you have that… One long nap, and pulled pork goodness is yours.

Visit your local butcher, ask them to remove any bones, skin and ligaments – that’s most of the hard work done for you. Winning! I used a kilo of pork, and that gave me a lot of leftovers. Luckily, there are also a lot of uses for them – Google is your friend.

Pulled Pork

From Juji Chews

Pork shoulder –  I used a kilo piece, Juji used a pieces between 3 and 4 kilos. Whatever suits your needs, really.

Brining solution
1/3 cup salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1.5 l cold water
Bay leaves (about six)
1 tbsp dry rub
1 large (really large) ziploc freezer bag 

In a large saucepan, add the water, salt and sugar, stirring to dissolve. Throw in the bay leaves (I only had dried leaves) and the dry rub.

Put the pork into the ziploc bag, then pour in the brine. Sloosh around to coat, then seal the bag, put it into the roasting pan (it catches up any leaks) and into the fridge for at least 10 hours – though its fine to leave it as long as you need – just not less. The brine stops the pork from drying out while it cooks.

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When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to 100*c – I cooked mine overnight, while I was sleeping. 

Take the pork out of the fridge, drain the brine pat it dry with a towel. Rub the pork all over generously with the dry rub, getting into all the folds.

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Place the pork in a roasting pan, and then into the oven.  Take a nap (it’s totally part of the instructions) or go about your day – just don’t open the oven, and don’t turn up the temperature. Set an alarm for 11 hours. When it goes off, turn off the oven and then cover the pork with foil. Put the pork back in the oven, and let it cool for another 2 hours.

Once it’s cool, the pork will come apart into threads with your hands, and it’s free to use as you wish. I made it into enchiladas, using the recipe here.

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Oh, and one more thing – the dry rub. If you’ve got some in the pantry, feel free to use it instead. The more spice, the merrier. If you’ve got plenty of stuff in your spice cabinet at home, you can make your own!

Dry rub

1 tb ground cumin
1 tb dried oregano
1/2 tb dried thyme
2 tb garlic powder
2 tb onion powder or flakes
1 tsp chili powder
1 tb cayenne pepper
2 tb salt
1 tb ground pepper
3 tb paprika
1 tb smoked paprika
1/2 cup brown sugar

Mix the dry rub ingredients together in an air tight container or ziploc bag. It lasts for months, so make more than you need here if you like, it’s great on all kinds of meat.

And then whoopm, there it is. Enchiladas.

Getting toasty in Mexico

So, this whole Mexican food trend. It’s not going anywhere. Yay for us! There are fewer cuisines that are quicker, easier and more fun to eat and make.

For most of us, Old El Paso is pretty much about as Mexican as we know. I mean, taco night was always my favourite growing up, even though those taco shells snap clean in half at first bite, and the fragments are bloody sharp when they stab you in the gums. Am I the only person that has taco war wounds? Probably.

You can, of course, buy tortillas from the supermarket. I made my own, from here. It’s kinda like making pizza dough, and kind of fun. The original recipe is also completely vegan, so if that’s your thing, take a look.

Mushroom and Lime Sour Cream Tostadas

Adapted from Vegan Yum Yum

Six Corn Tortillas (use the mini tortillas)
Wild Mushroom Filling (recipe below)
Lime Sour Cream (recipe below)
1 Jalapeno Pepper, sliced thinly
Handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 cup grated cheese
Oil

Wild Mushroom Filling
340g mushrooms (I used oyster mushrooms)
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp oil
Fresh cracked pepper

Lime Sour Cream
8 Tbsp sour cream
1 Tbs fresh lime juice

Preheat the oven to 200*c

Finely dice the mushrooms. Add the mushrooms to a fry pan over medium heat and after 3 or 4 minutes, add the salt, oregano and cumin, stirring constantly.

Once the moisture has evaporated from the pan, add the oil and mix. Set aside in a bowl.

Place the tortillas on a baking tray, and grease lightly. Bake for about 8 minutes, until slightly toasted.

Mix together the sour cream and lime juice, and keep in the fridge until ready.

Divide the mushrooms between the tortillas, then top with cheese. Place the tray in the oven and switch to grill. Cook until the  cheese melts into gooey cheesy amazingness.

Top each of the tostadas with a couple of slices of carrot, some jalapeño and coriander and a spoonful of lime sour cream. Enjoy!

Foodsters. Like scenesters, but with food.

trend/trend/

Noun:

A general direction in which something is developing or changing.
1. Style or vogue.
2. To emerge as a popular trend; be currently popular.

Food, it turns out, is not immune to a good band wagon.

Liquid Nitrogen. Slow food. Raw food. Organic. Southern Comfort. Seasonal.
Perth has also seen its fair share of trends. The influx of tapas bars. Then the gourmet burger places (I live within a 5 minute drive of no less than seven). Right now, if you’ve got a good eye, Mexican places are creeping into the ‘burbs.

I get highly irrational food cravings. Ones that make pregnant women seem relatively sane. The idea worms its way into my brain, and takes hold. There it will remain, unrelenting (think Bart Simpson with a pot on his head yelling “I am so great”, unrelenting) until I relinquish control to the voice in my head; commanding me to eat until breathing becomes uncomfortable and I require elasticated pants.

I got one of these cravings. For burritos. And it needed to be more than that Old El Paso, imitation Mex (what’s the Mexican equivalent of Fasian?).

Being one of those nights when no one was home, and half my kitchen was taken up with another baking venture, there was no chance I was cooking. So, I recruited my friend Wheezy for a mid-week catch up, and convinced her to meet me at The Flying Taco in North Perth.

The menu isn’t complicated. Choose from a style (taco/burrito/quesadilla), chose a meat (or non-meat if so inclined) throw in a salsa, and you got yourself a tasty, tasty feed..

Fillings are marinated in imported spices, and combined with a bean and rice mix. It’s all smushy, delicious goodness.

They hand make their own tortilla corn chips, served with sour cream (which, by the way, is the best sour cream ever).

All can be washed down with a variety of refreshments, including home-made iced hibiscus tea. The Flying Taco is also BYO, and within stumbling distance from The Rosemount Hotel, if you feel that a brewski is in order.

As Wheezey and I inhaled our burritos, we looked at our own. And the at each others.
“How is it?” I asked.
“Pretty damn good”, came the reply.
“Um… Want to try some of mine?”, I offered.
So, like kids in the playground at recess, we swapped. Giving them back was much harder than you would have thought.

One pollo burrito later, the raging craving was quieted.
For now.