A Tasty Month

I can’t believe April is almost over. It’s been such a hectic month, and it’s just flown by. But it’s been an enjoyable busyness, and I certainly preferred it over the languishing nothingness that seemed to define March.

One of the things I most enjoyed about this month was eating out in my home city. I love the ever expanding food scene in Perth. There are new places opening up all the time, which makes it nigh on impossible to get through all the cafes I’ve got on my ‘to-eat-at’ list. Add to this, it was school holidays, plus the weather has been absolutely glorious!

Seriously, autumn has been better than summer this year, with endless days of clear, blue skies and sunny afternoons. Daytime temperatures have been warmer than usual, while the mornings and evenings are crisp enough for cosy jumpers, but not bitingly cold. It’s simply divine, and the perfect weather for exploring and being outdoors.

In the lead-up to Easter, I cut out eating biscuits, chocolate, cakes and ice-cream, so I was definitely craving some sweet treats.  Consequently, I think I consumed more sugar in the week following Easter than I did in the month preceding it.

One meal which stands out from my recent foodie forays is the apple pie French toast which I ordered for breakfast at Jack & Jill, which is located in Kalamunda, a suburb in Perth’s hills. It was absolutely heavenly. The brioche toast was lathered with the most divine creme patisserie I’ve ever tasted- it felt like eating a cloud. (Or what I imagine eating a cloud would feel like!) The dish was complemented by apple and brandy butter, while a sprinkling of oat crumble provided some crunch, and pieces of rhubarb gave a touch of tang to this delectable dessert-style breakfast.

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I also had a decadent breakfast with my friend, Suz, at Little h. When we were in Kangaroo Island for our hike earlier in the month, I told Suz that this newly opened cafe was serving up red velvet pancakes, which led to many indulgent daydreams while eating yet another packet of beef jerky for dinner.

It was an exciting moment when we entered the sleek, modern cafe in Duncraig last Sunday and the waiter confirmed the pancakes were still available. The order was placed and before long, a plate of three ruby red pancakes with thick swirls of cream cheese frosting was placed in front of both of us. A dream was finally realised, though the pancakes were so rich that we almost felt as though we had to go on another hike to burn off the calories!

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As well as these delicious breakfasts, I’ve also enjoyed two outings to the family-and-furbaby friendly cafe, Slate; used up an $80 gift voucher at Shadow Wine Bar in Northbridge; tucked into a delightful pear and gorgonzola pizza at Comet Pizza, before polishing off a classic taiyaki ice-cream at neighbouring Whisk; eaten the most scrumptious choc-orange doughnuts for ‘lunch’ at my favourite restaurant, The Hummus Club (and got their amazing brownie to take away); celebrated a friend’s 30th with a high tea at Madhatter’s on Milston and chilled out with friends at Mandoon Estate on Anzac Day.

My sweet tooth has definitely been indulged this month, but there’s room for one more treat before April is out. Tomorrow, my brother and I are heading to Cafe 2TwentyFour in Belmont to try their brand new Raffaello milkshake. I can’t wait!

Rainbow in a Bowl

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My favourite meal to go out for is breakfast, which has come as a bit of a surprise given that I spent many, many years skipping it. There’s a couple of reasons why I finally started giving this meal the love it deserves. When I cut back from full time teaching to relief work, I had a lot more time on my hands. Suddenly, I could take my time with preparing and cooking breakfast. Most of all, though, I could now enjoy breakfast. When I worked full time, I was too preoccupied about making sure I was organised for all my lessons that day, meaning breakfast was a rushed affair, if, indeed, I ate anything at all- more often than not, an extra twenty minutes of sleep would win out.

The other reason for my newfound appreciation is the transformation that breakfast dishes started experiencing in cafes around Perth a couple of years ago. All of a sudden, there were a lot more options for the first meal of the day than toast, or bacon and eggs. Not that I have anything against traditional breakfast fare, but it was so interesting to see cafes getting creative with the flavour combinations they used to wake up your palate. Plates were now popping with fresh and colourful ingredients, presented so prettily that you’d feel slightly guilty about ruining a piece of (edible) art. Instagram was suddenly brimming with tantalising images of the best new breakfasts, which allowed you to feast with your eyes before having to make the difficult decision of which one to try first.

I’m not a morning person, but I found myself becoming strangely motivated to wake up early, and driving to suburbs which I would never usually be bothered venturing out to for a meal. Not only did some of the breakfasts inspire my own cooking at home, they got my day off to a great start because I felt like I was fuelling my body with nutritious food. Well, except for the cinnamon churros cup with bacon brittle shards. And the salted caramel pancakes with bananas, pecans and marscarpone. One time, breakfast may even have consisted of a Golden Gaytime milkshake, with the whole ice-cream in the glass. Ok, so maybe I don’t always go for the healthy options, but they’re satisfying all the same.

The reinvention of the breakfast game in Perth is showing no signs of slowing down, but in recent times, I’ve been on a stricter budget and have had to cut back on my a.m. outings. (If there’s one thing to note, these fancy breakfasts don’t come cheap!) However, when one of my uni friends suggested we catch up for breakfast today, as she was on mid-term break from school, I happily agreed. She suggested we catch up at a Northbridge cafe called Flora & Fauna, which suited me just fine as I’d been meaning to try it for ages.

My memories of Northbridge are mostly from my early 20s, when it used to be the place to go out clubbing with friends. Walking down Aberdeen Street at 9am on a Friday, the area looked very different from what I remembered, not to mention all the clubs I used to frequent were now sporting names I did not recognise. A sure sign that I’m getting old! It was the nicest surprise to turn down a lane and find the chic, vintage themed space from which Flora & Fauna operates. The kitchen itself is tiny, so tables are scattered outdoors in a courtyard.

The vibe of the cafe space is in complete contrast to the club that’s just around the corner. It instantly felt like the perfect place to get creative. As I waited for my friend and perused what food was on offer, I realised I could very easily spend the whole day here, working my way through the menu, because every single item sounded scrumptious. I settled upon the goji berry muesli, which came with seasonal fruits and yoghurt, while my friend eventually opted for smashed pumpkin on sourdough.

My stomach did a happy dance as a bountiful bowl of goodness was placed before me. In it was every colour of the rainbow, represented by a carefully arranged display of strawberries, watermelon, oranges, rockmelon, apples, kiwifruit, blueberries, passionfruit, and more. All the fruit was fresh and juicy, and the perfect accompaniment to crunchy muesli and creamy yoghurt. It took me ages to finish the generous serve, but no way was I leaving anything uneaten. This was a satiating breakfast to be savoured.

Nutritious and delicious- you can’t ask for a better way to start your day than that!