Wow. Thanks Rachael for teaching me how to microwave bacon late at night. Um...but how do I cook it at breakfast time? Thanks to the folks at Food Network Humor for pointing this out. There's also Ellie Krieger's controversial "dark chocolate as a snack", but unfortunately the Food Network took it down before I could copy the recipe.
I happened to be at Ikea's massive Perth store this morning, and somehow found myself in the restaurant...I wonder how that happened! If you're not familiar with the Swedish powerhouse that is Ikea, get reading over here. The mix of food and furniture might seem a bit odd, but it's hard to argue with the number of people that were in the Perth store restaurant at 10:00am on a Friday morning. The store also has a "Swedish Food Market" which sells all of your favourite Swedish goodies, including the meatballs served in the restaurant. Thankfully, I didn't see any lutefisk. So why is breakfast in a furniture store worth a review? Because it only costs $3.50. Between 8:00am and 9:00am on Saturdays it's only $1.95, and that's just silly. No doubt similar pricing is available overseas, too. The egg, bacon and sausage are plated for you, and you serve your own baked beans, hash brown and tomato (which I passed on). Extra bacon, sausage and hash browns are available if you want them. It was all perfectly edible, and I was surprised at how nice the bacon tasted; I've certainly had worse from a breakfast buffet. The only thing I felt I was missing was some toast. Queuing for the hot food requires you to push your tray past lots of tempting looking cakes, and while I wasn't looking a piece of Daim cake sneaked onto my tray and hid behind a sausage. This cake is made from almond biscuit batter and then covered with Daim candy and chocolate. It was light and crispy with a nice toffee flavour from the candy. The full breakfast, cake and a bottled apple juice cost a very reasonable $10.70. As well as an impressive array of sweet snacks, the restaurant had a selection of pre-made rolls and sandwiches which looked fresh and appetising. If you want a hot meal there are options such as Ikea's famous meatballs, pasta, chicken schnitzel, fish & chips and quiche & salad, all for around the $7 mark. A kids menu is also available. In American stores you can get pizza - check out this review on Slice. You have to pay for extras (like tomato sauce at 30c) and it is requested that you dispense of your own tray when leaving, but if you want to complain at these prices then you really need to take a hard look at yourself. Breakfast is served until 10:30am every day, and if you're heading to Ikea I'd certainly recommend timing your trip to include a visit to the restaurant. Oh, and if you're still hungry when you've finished shopping, you can grab a $1 hot dog at the "bistro" near the exit. Ikea, Perth 6 Sunray Drive (off Ellen Stirling Blvd) Innaloo WA 6018 Phone: (08) 9201 4532 Store Opening Hours Mon - Fri: 9am - 7pm Thur: 9am - 9pm Sat: 8am - 5pm Public Holidays - closed
Having survived a very hot and humid night, I decided to sneak out of the house early and treat myself to a quiet breakfast. Given the temperature, I figured that heading south would be the way to go so I decided to visit Cafe Moka, located in the Dolphin Quay Marina in Mandurah, some 45 minutes south of Perth. I'd had a few good breakfasts there when I stayed in the lovely Seashells Resort a few years ago. Cafe Moka's location is quite stunning - those of you struggling through the northern hemisphere winter can be jealous of the view from my table, right next to the white umbrella in the photo above. I'd already checked out the breakfast menu online, and had my sights set on The Big Breakfast. I was particularly excited at the prospect of the Cumberland sausages, as in my opinion pork is the only meat that belongs in a sausage and I don't like surprises (or gristle) at breakfast time. The first thing I noticed was that the menu was different to the one of the website. The Big Breakfast was $1 more (now $22.50), and a couple of the more "cheffy" items were gone, notably the curious "Paw Paw and lime boat served with a fresh mint & red dragon fruit coulis" and the "homemade baked beans". I was secretly pleased at the removal of the beans - having been born in England, I have a genetic disposition towards baked beans as nature intended them - from a Heinz can. I understand that chefs want to reinvent and improve things, but to me it's like ordering a Big Mac - I'm under no illusions about what it is, but I know what I'm going to get within certain limits. Avoiding the temptation to order an ice coffee, I went with my standard breakfast cappuccino. It arrived quickly and looked pretty but was too watery. Thankfully it didn't taste burnt like so much coffee in Perth seems to. Like I've said before, if you want good coffee go to Epic Espresso in West Perth. My breakfast also arrived quickly, as advertised - mushrooms, tomato, cumberland sausages, bacon, "homemade" bubble & squeak, eggs (poached) with toasted turkish bread and baked beans added as a optional ($4) extra. As I moved around the plate I was surprisingly disappointed - my beans were cold in places, the sausages weren't very tasty, the bacon should have been cooked more, one of my egg yolks had been broken before my plate arrived and I didn't care for the bubble & squeak, what little of it there was. The foccacia toast was an interesting change, although it soaked up a lot of moisture from the eggs and quickly became a soggy mess. Oh, and the butter was rock hard. Why is it so hard for restaurants to serve butter at a spreadable temperature? Side note: it's a personal thing, but I don't like my baked beans and eggs too close together on the plate. I used to think it was just me, and I remember being relieved when I saw Alan Partridge talking about "egg-bean separation", and his recommendation that a sausage be used as a breakwater between the egg and beans. I'll talk about this more in a future post. The second I put my knife and fork down (and I hadn't even eaten everything), a waitress appeared and whisked my plate away, as if to dispose of the evidence. Anybody reading my restaurant reviews must think that I' m fussy and very hard to please, but that's really not the case (quite the opposite, actually). When it comes to breakfast I will always compare quality & quantity to what I can get elsewhere, and while my experience at Cafe Moka wasn't exactly bad, I paid over $30 for breakfast and a coffee that I didn't really enjoy so I won't be rushing back.
My kids aren't very adventurous with food, but a good choc-chip cookie always goes down well. I've tried quite a few different recipes in search for the ultimate one (my personal favourite is the one in Nigella's new "Kitchen" book, with this one coming a close second) but when this one came my way via Twitter the other day I knew I had to give it a go. It is, with out a shadow of a doubt, the most insane thing I've ever cooked. The recipe I used came from "Buns in My Oven", which credits it as coming from Jenny at "Picky Palate". Note to Jenny: you're completely mad, and a danger to yourself and others. Here's the recipe with a couple of metric conversions thrown in for those of us who measure in a sensible fashion (but not worrying about changing cup or spoon measurements):
- 225g butter, softened
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 280g milk chocolate chips
- 1 packet Oreo cookies
- Preheat oven to 180C.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars. Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix until well combined.
- In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add to the wet mixture and combine thoroughly. Stir in the chocolate chips (I roughly chopped the same weight of Nestle Melts, I find the chunks of chocolate makes cookies more interesting).
- Chill the dough for 15 minutes to make it easier to work with and to keep the dough from spreading when baking. My huge slab of dough looked like this:
- Using a cookie scoop place one scoop of dough on top of an Oreo cookie. Place another single scoop on the bottom of the Oreo to create a cookie sandwich. Seal the edges together to completely close in the Oreo. These things are MASSIVE, well over 5cm / 2 inches in diameter. I had enough dough for a dozen of these biscuit beasts, and another dozen plain choc-chip cookies.
- Place the balls of cookie dough on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 9-13 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack.
I've been wanting to give this a go for a while, and tonight was the night. The aim here: to make a very quick & simple apple tart, and as little mess as possible. First I took a sheet of frozen puff pastry and cut it into pieces. I placed the tart bases (and some long strips of pastry just for the hell of it) onto some baking paper and covered the tart bases with apricot jam. I then cored and sliced a few apples, not bothering to peel them in the interests of speed. I arranged the apples on the pastry in a rather haphazard fashion and drowned with icing sugar before popping into the oven at 180c for about 20 minutes. Side note: I've decided not to bother trying to make my desserts look nice any more, and I'm just going to stick to the baking which I seem to be ok at. A series of disastrous kids birthday cakes taught me this the hard way, and I also learned not to trust the books. Have you ever tried trimming a waffle cone with scissors to make turrets for a castle? Well you can't. They shatter, leaving you with a pile of useless shards and your head in your hands. It's a great way to teach the kids some new swear words, though). A dollop of vanilla ice-cream, a dusting of icing sugar and there you have it. So simple that even I didn't screw it up too badly. Next time I'll make the effort to peel the apples. Perhaps a different jam too. Or maybe I'll just buy a frozen tart and stick it in the oven. I can cook some things, honest.