St Stephens Farmers Market, Tapping – Week One

Like all foodies I love a good farmers market. We’re blessed with some crackers in Perth – I enjoy the bustle of the Subi Farmers and love the village feel of the Kalamunda Sunday Markets. Wherever we go, it’s always a hike, as we live north of Joondalup. On Saturday, Little Chef and I enjoyed a new farmers market… The St Stephens Community Farmers Market is just a few streets from where we live – it was nice that the farmers, food trucks and artisans came to us for a change *wink*IMG_0031

The St Stephens farmers market is on from 8am to 12noon, in Tapping, each Saturday in September. If locals get behind it, it will be around for a lot longer. We left home a bit later in the day and missed the biggest crowd, though it meant that by the time I made it to one of my favourites – “The Juicist” – they had sold out of juice! Bummer.IMG_9983

It makes a lot of sense having a famers market in Tapping. Before the suburb existed 15-20 years ago it was mainly market gardens. There are still many operating market gardens in the surrounding suburbs of outer Wanneroo. The fruit and veg stalls are brimming with local produce and I got some to cook that night in a stir-fry.IMG_9982

We sampled some award winning olive oil, made locally in Gingin. The oil, from family owned Guinea Grove Farm is organic and biodynamic. Guinea Fowl roam free amongst the olive groves to reduce pests. I bought a bottle of olive oil that is blended with lime juice. I had a lovely zesty flavour and is apparently great with seafood and as a salad dressing – I can’t wait to use it!IMG_9994

I spotted the lovely Mei, creator of Turban Chopsticks. You may remember I cooked some TC onion bhajis and biryani – check them out here. For a lazy cook like myself, the Turban Chopsticks meal kits are a godsend and make cooking a tasty dinner a breeze. Mei was very kind to gift me a jar of her butter chicken sauce – so I’m looking forward to cooking that along with the Turban Chopsticks ricotta bites. Stay tuned to how that turns out in the next week or two.IMG_9986

Raw food is so on trend at the moment. There are a couple of raw sellers at the market. After a couple of taste tests, I bought a Red Velvet bliss ball from Sneaky, who have a range of organic, gluten free treats – including protein bars.

I was intrigued by the Bon Pussy chilli sauces. Jamaican food is something I don’t know too much about and I’d love to find out more. We tried a couple of sauces, which are also great as marinades – they were really tasty! The chillies used are grown in Freo and the popular product is shipped all over the world.IMG_0023

I had a chat with another fantastic Perth foodie, Latasha from Latasha’s Kitchen. She has a multitude of spice blends, oils, pastes, chutneys and more. Check out the scrumptious Chicken Kuruma Masala I made a few months ago HERE. At the market, I tried one of her sweet creations – a cherry chocolate sauce – which would be amazing on a pavlova! IMG_0001

Little Chef can’t go past a Bratwurst stand or a sausage sizzle without begging me for a snag. These smelled heavenly, but the little fella scoffed the lot before I even managed a nibble! Greedy guts.IMG_9996

As well as a multitude of foodie stalls there’s also home ware, crafts, beauty products and more.IMG_0018

It’s a great place to find a unique gift.

IMG_9989With so many delicious aromas in the air, I sniffed out a giant paella dish before I saw it! It was from KQ Spanish Food – I happily tasted the paella which was brimming with chorizo, carrot, zucchini and corn on the cobb.IMG_9992

There’s lots for the kids to do – a bouncy castle, petting farm, pony rides, go karting – as well as a big sandy and shaded playground. There’s also live entertainment, which adds to the atmosphere.IMG_0025

On our way back to the car we made one last stop. Little Chef had been so good while I chatted to many stall holders so I let him have an “Ice cream”. I’m not entirely sure if frozen yogurt is more healthy than Ice-cream, but I assume it is. Little Chef chose to have a Tim Tam crushed up into it too – so it turned out to not be such a healthy snack – whoops.IMG_0034

We both enjoyed the St Stephens Farmers Markets and will be back again next week for sure – when I got home I tucked into the Red Velvet Sneaky bliss ball – so scrummy and healthy to boot!IMG_0038

We hope everyone else in the Joondalup and Wanneroo areas get on board too – it will be wonderful to see this become a permanent fixture in the outer northern suburbs! Each week the stall holders line up changes a little, so I’m looking forward to what I discover there next Saturday morning!

For more info check out the website… www.sscfarmersmarket.org.au

 

Max Brenner Chocolate Bar – Joondalup

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Max Brenner Chocolate Bar on Urbanspoon

Just in time for Easter is a café for the chocoholics amongst us – Max Brenner Chocolate Bar. It’s a coco haven that is found all over the world – from New York to Moscow and now in Joondalup! It opened just last week and is located at Lakeside Joondalup, right next to the train station.IMG_8953

As an after school treat Little Chef and I checked out the chocolate bar. There’s a lot to choose from – waffles, fudge brownies, chocolate pizza, sundaes and much more. We settled on a Popsicle Fondue from the “Max I-scream” menu. Admittedly, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but I was happy to share with Little Chef. It was nearly Easter after all!IMG_8958

The creamy vanilla ice-cream popsicles are accompanied by a melted milk chocolate fondue, caramelised pecans and sprinkles ($14.50). Little Chef had an absolute ball dipping his ice cream in all the sweet goodies to make his own popsicle creation – even if he did make quite a mess!IMG_8962

Little Chef also had his favourite drink – a babychino – with a chocolate twist.IMG_8959

I had an icy lychee and coconut white granita ($7.60) which was a tasty and sweet fruit combo. I loved the tall ceramic glass it came in too.IMG_8970

There’s also an adjoining chocolate shop where you can buy chocolate and lots of other goodies to take home. If you love San Churro and Koko Black you’re sure to enjoy a sweet and decedent afternoon tea at Max Brenner.IMG_8972

And look what I spied next door… Coco Cubano Cuban restaurant and bar coming soon! Cubano sandwiches here I come!IMG_8973

Ocean Spice Café – Cottesloe

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Ocean Spice Cafe on Urbanspoon

I’m constantly looking for new places to dine. Truthfully, it’s a bit of an obsession – part and parcel of being a Perth food blogger! The web is a never ending source of restaurant news and new openings in Perth. Sites such as Urbanspoon and Tripadvisor can be a bit of a mixed bag though and I tend to take them with a large pinch of salt. The “urban-trippers” can get a little carried away on their imaginary soapbox, ranting and raving about disappointing meals and awful service. On the other hand, when I find a restaurant with an unblemished record and nothing but praise online, I take it as an excellent sign. One such place is a casual Asian restaurant, Ocean Spice Café, which has been open just a few months – to rave reviews.IMG_8554

Ocean Spice Café is on Eric Street, right next to the Ocean Beach Hotel. It’s modern, airy and has sea views if you can secure a table next to the large open window. We dine at 6pm on a Tuesday night and already the place is bustling with people and take away orders.IMG_8558

We are very warmly welcomed by the owner Maria. Ocean Spice café isn’t licenced, so Chef dashes to the neighbouring OBH for a bottle of white. There are soft drinks on offer, as well as such Vietnamese delicacies as “Sinh To Bo” an avocado milkshake, for the more adventurous.

There’s a lot of choice on the menu for meat eaters and plenty of vegetarian options too. To start, Chef and I chose a few entrees. We have Little Chef in tow. It is the notoriously fussy five year old’s first dalliance with Asian food. The four vegetarian curry puffs, $8.90 brimming with potato and peas are only mildly spicy and to our surprise Little Chef tucks into them. The pork spring rolls, $7.90 are deliciously crisp too.IMG_8561

Many years ago my yard stick for satay sticks was set impossibly high during a trip to the Satay Club at Clarke Quay in Singapore. Never before had we tasted such delicious morsels of nutty meat and sadly, never again since. Our chicken satay sticks, $8.90 at Ocean Spice Café are very tasty, but fall short of our impossibly high benchmark for satay sticks. They are missing something – perhaps the smokiness of being cooked on a chargrill.IMG_8566

I choose a chicken cashew nut stir fry, $18.90, also available with beef or pork. The thinly sliced chicken is perfectly sautéed and oh so tender. It is packed full of fresh, crisp vegetables; snow peas, capsicum and spring onions all covered in soy sauce and sesame oil – absolutely delicious!IMG_8573

Next, we devour a pile of crispy roast duck, $21.90, which sits atop a mound of crunchy noodles. The duck is moist on the inside and is smothered with a lip-smacking sweet plum sauce.IMG_8568

Chef enjoys his favourite staple Thai dish of Chicken Pad Thai, $18.90. He practically demolishes the traditional street food dish of soft stir fried noodles, perfectly cooked chicken, fried egg, tofu, bean sprouts, garlic and chives.IMG_8572

The khong wan menu, which translates as “sweet things”, looks tempting. Feeling rather full, the three of us decide to share the kow neow manung with ice cream, $10.90. The traditional dessert of sticky rice with succulent fresh mango, sesame seeds and coconut milk with a generous serve of ice cream is the perfect end to our meal.IMG_8580

The busy café offers outstanding value for money and is incredibly popular – even Mark Barretta from Channel Seven’s Sunrise was spotted dining there recently! We noticed many of the other diners seemed to be regulars – Ocean Spice Cafe seems to have filled a much needed niche in Cottesloe.

*First published in the Post newspaper*

At a glance

■ Ocean Spice Café

2/1 Eric Street, Cottesloe

Phone 9383 3303

■ Opening times

Tuesday to Friday

5pm to 9pm

Saturday & Sunday

11am to 9pm

■ Rating

food 3

service 4

ambience 3

value for money 4

■ style – Thai & Vietnamese

■ wine – byo

■ Chef – Pop Samasorn

■ Owner – Marie Grace

■ feel – Casual and unpretentious

■ wheelchair access – small

step at entrance

■ cost –

Entrée – $7.90 to $8.90

Mains – $11.90 to $21.90

Dessert – $8.90 to $10.90

■ all in all – well priced and

well cooked food with a

warm welcome from Marie.

Mary Street Bakery – Highgate

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Mary Street Bakery on Urbanspoon

I’ve said it before – my brunch “to eat” list is as long as my arm and gets longer by the day. Somewhere that’s been on my wish list for far too long is Mary Street Bakery, opposite The Queens, on bustling Beaufort Street. Recently, Chef and I had dropped Little Chef at school, on his first day of Year One. Feeling impulsive we decided to treat ourselves to a child free brunch, now that the summer holidays were over (hooray!!). Our brunch was childfree, but not quiet. The Mary Street Bakery is a busy spot and quite noisy when full.IMG_8458

We grabbed some drinks while we looked over the menu. Chef enjoyed his coffee. At Mary Street bakery they have Pound Coffee – which we both rate at one of the very best roasts in Perth. I had an organic, cold pressed “red juice” from The Juicist.IMG_8457

I just had to order “The Talbot” $24. Thought I’m not usually a fan of black pudding, I was prepared to brave it, in the name of pork belly! I’m pretty much obsessed with pork belly and when I spotted it on the brunch menu my eyes almost popped out of my head. The scotch egg is a favourite picnic food from my pommie childhood – an egg is encased in sausage meat and them crumbed and fried. I’d never had a runny scotch egg before and it was egg-selent (oh dear!). It was seriously good. The green tomato relish was grand and I even surprised myself and enjoyed the black pudding, something my Dad loves, but could never tempt me to try – the thought of a “blood pudding” didn’t excited me, but I really enjoyed MSB’s version.IMG_8463

Chef, ever the predictable diner, chose the steak sambo $19. It was a gourmet version of the pub food classic and wedged in-between fresh thick cut slices of bread was perfectly cooked rump, fried onion, aioli and lettuce. Chef decided to pimp it up a bit (though it didn’t really need it) and also ordered a side of bacon for $5. Chef was impressed, and soon wolfed it down.IMG_8461

And true to it’s name – up at Mary Street Bakery’s counter there are organic artisan breads and baked goods a plenty – pies, sausage rolls, cakes and pastries. Though I didn’t treat myself this time, I’ll have to go back for a sweet treat soon! We were both impressed with the well cooked food, top quality drinks choices and friendly service.IMG_8470

 

Brekkie at Flinderz & The Giants come to Perth!

What a wonderful morning Little Chef and I had today! We dropped Chef at work (when he was Head Chef at Flinderz​ in Hillarys), and thought we’d stop for breakfast, so I FINALLY got to eat the Quinoa granola &  banana panna cotta that I’ve been dreaming about for months! It was as scrumptious as it looks. Thanks Chef!IMG_8605

Then Little Chef and I headed into the city and waited (very patiently) for the giants to wake up – they were snoring very loudly! The Giants are in our beautiful city for the opening of the Perth International Arts Festival – it was truly a once in a lifetime event to watch them walk the streets of Perth.giants11

Some didgeridoo music started playing at 10am, getting louder and louder till the little girl giant and her uncle (the diver) started stirring and awoke to find hundreds of thousands of people staring at them in absolute awe! They had a move about – the girl dancing in the air to music and the diver having his helmet put on. Then they walked, with help from the dozens of men and their ropes, around Langley Park. It was absolutely magic.giants2

I had been in two minds about going, mostly worried about parking and the crowds, but it was an absolute breeze. I’m so glad we did it. The diver was immense an very impressive. Little Chef was so excited, something this five year old will remember for a long time. It felt like we were part of something very very special and Perth is so privileged to get a visit from these two. The parade ended with the giants leaving – getting on a boat down the Swan River and a big blast of tickertape into the perfect blue sky. It was absolutely mesmerising! Amongst the tickertape were postcards, which we caught few of and will be great keepsakes. They are actually postcards from School children to ANZAC soldiers that served in Gallipoli – some who made it and some that sadly did not. It was very touching.giants

The atmosphere was wonderful – everyone was so friendly and chatty. Well done Perth!

Gusto Food – South Perth

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Gusto Food on Urbanspoon

I’d heard that it’s not uncommon to find queues outside Gusto Food on the weekend. The little Angelo Street café is very popular – I’ve been ooo-ing and arr-ing over instagram pics of their tasty wares for months. Finally, with Little Chef in tow, we made it to South Perth. I was on a mission to try their delicious looking homemade crumpets and I was prepared to queue for them! Luckily, there was a table free inside, so we sat down straight away and waited for Nays, one of my besties. There was no need to look at the menu – I knew exactly what I wanted!!IMG_8447

The girls behind the counter are friendly and the coffee at Gusto is hot and smooth, we were off to a good start! I really liked the artwork that was hanging around the café too.IMG_8449

Little Chef was eying up the sweet treats in the cabinet. He opted for the freshly baked red velvet cake and soon he was wolfing down a generous slice – along with his favourite drink – a baby chino.IMG_8435

Nays enjoyed the goats cheese scrambled eggs $20.50. The mountain of cheesy eggs is topped with a grilled tomato, quinoa crunch  and sat on a couple of slices of fresh chiabatta. There is a basil and pinenut pesto on the side.IMG_8439

Now for the house made crumpets – served with a little jar full of poached pears and berries, a peanut gravel and what I would like to call a “smoosh” of yogurt around the plate.  Chef is shacking his head at me – it’s a “smear”. Whatever the term – the dish is absolutely sensational and great value at $16.50. The crumpets weren’t exactly as I’d imagined (I’ve only ever had the golden crumpets before!), they weren’t full of holes but they were fluffy, delicious and much better than store-bought crumpets. The peanut gravel was really tasty and it is up there with my all time favourite brunch dishes.IMG_8445

Was it as good as I had imagined? Well, when I build something up in my head, sometimes it’s an impossible standard to live up to. These crumpets were just as scrumptious as they’d looked on social media – in fact, EVEN BETTER! Something else I’d spied on social media was Gusto’s homemade doughnuts. They looked fresh and fluffy – and massive! I just HAD to buy one for LC and I to share later on. They were delish – give me one of those over Krispy Kreme any day of the week!IMG_8451

Gusto Food is a fairly unassuming looking café from the outside, but there’s something special things going on in their kitchen! The breakfast menu is available till 11.30am. A little gem which is definitely worth a visit.IMG_8455