Sunday, May 30, 2010

Winter warmers

I love food blogs but I don't like the term foodie as it's used too often these days, it seems that everyone who enjoys eating like to call themselves a foodie.  To be a real food connoisseur, you actually need to be able to cook.  You need to understand how food is prepared and how it is cooked to truly appreciate what you eat.  I could go on for days and days on this topic, but I won't.....

Anyways, along those lines, I'd like to blog about what I know.  I know how to bake and decorate cakes, and I like to eat and cook.  Something my cousin, Harry of Cafe China fame says is in our blood - after all, it's been in our family for the last 5 generations.  So, I'd like to give you an insight into some of the places that Perth has to offer for coffee, cakes and brunch.

This weekend, Jo and I visitied Boucla in Subiaco for our regular cake catch up.

Boucla is tucked away on the quiet side of Rokeby Road near Nicholson Road.  It started off being a little bit of a local secret but very quickly got very busy.  Jo and I were certainly not to be deterred by its popularity and arrived promptly at 9am on Satuday morning.

The big breakfast consisted of spinach, chipolatas, field mushroom, greek beans, speck, and fresh, perfectly poached eggs on toast.   It was just the thing we needed to start the day!

As we sat there, the cakes started coming out of the kitchen, a couple at a time.  We had started regretting our choice of chocolate & ricotta cake (which was delicious too) as there seemed to be more and more interesting morsels appearing every half hour or so.

Takeaway trade was brisk and the line never ended from about 10am onwards.  It seemed as if a lot of locals came down to grab a coffee and roast beef roll, or some of a delicious looking feta & spinach filo pie.

The coffee was fantastic and just the right temperature.  My cafe latte tasted great, even though I went for the skinny option.

The cake selection at 11am. 

It all looked so organic, wholesome and certainly delicious.  Boucla is a little gem, food made with a lot of heart (which is rare) and probably no longer a kept secret.  It left us with a longing to return some time soon with clothing worn for eating.  *evil grin*

Baking Better Muffins

We love muffins.  My whole family loves THESE muffins.  My brother once bought them to his office for his birthday and his boss ate 3 muffins in one breath.  They really are amongst the best muffins you can make, all you need is a spoon and a bowl.  So, whilst it's cold outside, give it a go, because a cup of strong tea with lots of sugar and milk and a homemade muffins will surely warm you up!

The best thing about these muffins are that you can make them savoury or sweet with a whole world of flavours limited only to your imagination.

Buttermilk Muffins
1/2 cup rice bran oil
3/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar (omit if making svoury)
1 tbsp grated lemon zest
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla paste (omit if savoury)
1 cup buttermilk
3 cups Self raising flour
Pinch of salt (increase to 1 tsp if savoury)
1 3/4 - 2 cups fruit, grated, smashed, whole or diced (vegetable if savoury)

Preheat oven to 190C

Combine oil,  sugar, egg and vanilla together. Add buttermilk when combined.
In another bowl mix flour with lemon zest and a pinch of salt.  Add the wet ingredients to the flour mix and stir gently until just combined.

Fill muffin cups to the very top (for big puffy muffins).  Bake in hot oven for 10 minutes and reduce heat to 170C and bake for further 15 minutes.

For a extra special treat, you can put a streusel topping on the muffins

1 tbsp chilled unsalted butter
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts/pecans

Combine all ingredients in a bowl till you have a crumbly mixture.  Generously sprinkle on top of muffins prior to baking.

Savoury zucchini, onion & cheese muffins with garlic salt

Apple & cinnamon muffins with a praline topping

Happy baking!!

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