Monday, August 31, 2009

Question

Hey guys, this is just a quick post to find out if there is anyone out there following my blog???

I've had a few comments and a few people sign up as followers but I really would like to find out more about you all. Where are you reading my posts from, where did you first see my blog and what you like and don't like about it?

Is there anything you don't want to see and think I should scrap or is there something you would like to see more of - please send me through your suggestions.

In the meantime I've got lots to fill you in on including a French book launch, my dish of the week and a wrap up of last week's wine awards.

Chat soon Belle xoxo

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Going Wild in Mexico!!!

So as you can probably tell from previous blogs I have a slight fascination with all things Mexico. The food, the culture and the people are just gorgeous and I'm hoping to go there next year. Yesterday I got the opportunity to learn more about Mexican cuisine after being invited to attend an Upper Crust cooking class taught by chef Susanne Wilder.

Susanne has been in the food business for decades as a food stylist, food writer and chef. Her mentor Julia Child, encouraged her to study at London's Cordon Bleu famous for teaching French cuisine in English. She has since travelled to different parts of the world educating people about the wonder of food!!

Straight off the bat I knew we were up for a Mexican fiesta as I saw a Pinata hanging from the ceiling. Proprietor Gabriel Zahra welcomed us with a nice drop of the 3Drops Cabernet and we nestled in to see the expert at work.

Gabe and Susanita hard at it in the kitchen

To start us off on our gastronomical journey "Susanita" served us a starter of spicy Chile con Queso dip with TORTILLAS (remember it's said torteeya the L is silent in Mexican - Ole!). The dip was flavoursome and creamy but not too heavy or rich and had just a hint of chile.

Susanne then served us three different soups ranging from the super-healthy, the super hearty and the super caliente.

The super caliente soup otherwise known as the Spicy Tomato Soup was light, fragrant and very spicy, in fact I'm sure I started to feel chest hairs sprouting!!!

Our last dish the Decadent Killer Chocolate Mousse was worth the wait. But as we waited for our sweet treats to firm in the fridge, students took turns in hitting the Pinata. The Gypsy Kings playing in the background and Armada chef Sonny de Ocampo's crazy antics only added to fun!

Our night finished off with the delicious mousse and a Masterchef-style taste-test of Sangria - FYI I missed out on taking out the prize by one guess!!

All in all I would recommend an Upper Crust Cooking class to anyone. They are lots of fun, very informative and you get to lots of yummy food too!!

They are currently taking bookings for the month of September so visit their website www.uppercrust.com.au for more information, until next time Bueno Gusto!!


Susanita and I with the prized chocolate mousse

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wagamama Baby

Wednesday July 29 2009
Last Wednesday night the team from Menu Magazine was invited to attend the Fremantle Wagamama launch. Industry locals and media attended the soiree which was to promote their new Catering Menu.

Of course we jumped at the chance to try the goodies on offer and first up was the Kare Loman Rice Balls, yummy curry infused riceballs with a pink grapefruit dipping sauce. I love a good rice ball but had never tried a curry sort before but am happy to say it was so good that I went back for seconds and third!

Also on the menu was Ebi Katsu - King Prawns in panko breadcrumbs with chilli and garlic dipping sauce. Again a highlight of the night and downed with my lemon ice-tea was just delightful.

The main course of the night was a choice of two noodle boxes or two rice boxes. I went Teriyaki Steak Soba - tepan fried Soba noodles with baby bok choy, red onions, snow peas, bean sprouts and chillis garnished with grilled beef tenderloins - definitely the overall winner of the night!

With winter in full force it's a shame many people don't venture down to Fremantle Harbour to experience the new Wagamama on the beach but with spring around the corner I'd get in quick as I'm sure it will be pumping as the warmer weather arrives!
My favourite dish of the night the Teriyaki Steak Soba

Another Girlie Lunch

Friday July 17 2009
Girlie lunches are so much fun, even more so when you have gorgeous wine and yummy food and where we found this was Banca Cafe off Wanneroo Road in Tuart Hill.

I've been to Banca a couple of times and from memory it was pretty damn good and after choosing our last girlie venue (see below) I was hoping it would still be that way - and it was!!!

Owner Joe Fiorda runs the smooth operating restaurant and unlike its namesake it's nothing like waiting in a bank queue (Banca was originally the Tuart Hill Commonwealth Bank). The staff are pleasant, attentive and definitely looked after us on this occasion.

I knew it was going to be a long afternoon when my cousin started with a bottle of the Giesen Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and we clinked our glasses to every toast imaginable.

On my hit-list were the starters which included Garlic bread, Marinated Olives and Fetta and a serve of Italian Sausageand for my main I went the Papardelle.

The starters went down a treat and mixing and matching these little treats are just the way I love to eat, a littlew bit of this and a little bit of that and you feel like you're not missing out on anything.

The main well, was sensational. I don't often eat pasta out as my mother-in-law does a pretty good job of it at home but after seeing two Italian ladies making it fresh in the kitchen I knew it would be worth a try. The colourful dish was filled with red peppers, fetta, olives and Italian sausage and was something I could imagine eating in a Tuscan Villa - just gorgeous.

You would probably think that I was full by this stage but no I wanted more and so for dessert I just had to have the Sticky Toffee Pudding. Loosening my belt this certainly pushed me over the edge but I enjoyed every tablespoon of it. Served with ice-cream and you betcha cream this was scrumptious!

All in all Banca Cafe is a great place to try and somewhere I will visit again soon.


Banca's Papardelle - oh so good!

Just A Little Taste of Home

Monday July 13 2009
I don't often go to Nandos as I can get the real deal at home but after a busy day at work and another Siren's Movie Night on the cards a quick bite there was just what the doctor ordered.

The thing I like about Nandos is that it reminds me of my family everytime I walk in the door. The folky music playing the background, the Portuguese pictures and Portuguese phrases all over the wall, just scream GOOD TIMES as I visualise Madeira, Portugal circa 95 and 98!!

Having not been to Nandos for a while I noticed the menu had grown to include two types of rice, Portuguese style salads, Espetada (meat on skewers - my favourite ) and the old faithful Pastéis de Nata (Portuguese Custard Tart).

These types of dishes are typically Portuguese and you can bet your bottom dollar you would be served at least one of these if you had lunch in Portuguese household - just ask my hubby he can definitely attest to this! My pick of the day however was Chicken Tenderloins dressed in Lemon and herb (hey I may be Portuguese but that Peri Peri is some HOT stuff) and a side of chips. I would normally also go the Pastéis de Nata for dessert but I'm spoilt for choice at home and have these on a weekly basis - jealous????

Although there is quite a large population of Portuguese people living in WA, there is not a lot of choice when it comes to their cuisine. What Nandos has done is introduced the cuisine into the mainstream market targeting those unaware of the taste sensations Portuguese food can unleash - ande I'm all for that!!!


Chicken Tenderloins just the way I like it - Portuguese do, do it BETTER!

Issue 7 Launched at Every Woman Expo

Friday June 26 2009
I was so excited to launch Issue 7 of Menu Magazine at the Every Woman Expo this year. It was the first time Menu Magazine had a stand at the expo and it was fun getting to meet new readers as well as catch up with some who have followed the Menu trail since we began.

In our latest issue we reviewed some fantastic cafes and restaurants and tasted some great drops of red and white. We also looked at the growing industry of drive-thru coffee and met some true kid connoisseurs, who enjoy a change from the typical kid's menu. Everything from truffles to tea is covered in this jam packed issue, as well as our regular columns, book and music reviews.

There's also a chance to win a trip for 2 to Malaysia, so have a read, get hungry, and get out there and enjoy what Perth has to offer and thanks to everyone who came to visit us - be sure to drop by our stand at the Good Food and Wine Festival in July!!


Working it at the Every Woman Expo

A Nice Surpise

Tuesday June 2 2009
Coming home from work on a Tuesday evening and being surprised with dinner with family is just what one wants to hear when she has no idea what to cook. And living in the northern suburbs there is an array to chose from - this time Asian Cuisine at The Tamarind in Mt Hawthorn.

I love this little place on Scarborough Beach Road, it's quaint, affordable and there is plenty on the menu to chose from. This visit we went for a banquet style meal and had a little bit of everything just to make sure we didn't miss out.

Knock-out favourites were the Pad Thai and Teriyaki chicken although one can't go past the vegetarian spring rolls and chicken legs (to die for chicken drumsticks without the bone and stuffed with beautiful herbs).

The Tamarind is a trusty old favourite which never disappoints. Your guaranteed good food, good service at affordable prices - it's even better when someone else is paying as was the case with us!!!



Teriyaki Chicken so yummy!!

The Best in WA

Monday May 25 2009
THERE were no signs of the economic crisis as WA's restaurant and catering fraternity came out in droves at this years WA Restaurant Catering and Industry Awards for Excellence held at the Burswood Grand Ballroom on May 25.

More than 900 members of the hospitality industry's glitterati turned out to hear "Gourmet Godfather" and Chair of Judges John Maiorana declare the awards the best he'd seen in its 15 year history, adding it was the new crop of chefs who were now leading the way in WA.

This year's big winners included Restaurant Amuse in East Perth who took out the biggest gong of the night winning Restaurant of the Year Award, while owner and chef, Hadleigh Troy took out the honour of Chef of Year. Not the first time to win an award Restaurant Amuse, were also winners of last year's New Restaurant Award and are known for their strong reputation of serving modern French Cuisine in the form of two degustation menus. Chef Hadleigh Troy, not an industry unknown, has worked overseas and was formerly at The Loose Box and Jackson's Restaurant.

Other star performers on the night included Nahm Thai who took out the award for Informal Restaurant of the Year and Best Thai Restaurant. The Judges Commendation Award went to Star Anise and Christina's in East Victoria Park won the Most Popular Restaurant Award while the Perth Convention Exhibition Centre was awarded the Caterer of the Year.

The 23 Restaurant Awards for Excellence were judged by a 53-member panel who visited the 97 finalists over a two-month period. Winners of the WA awards in eligible categories can contest the national awards to be held in Canberra in October.

See page 52 in the latest issue of Menu Magazine for detailed information on the award winners.


Enjoying a drop at the WA Restaurant & Catering Awards

An Old Favourite

Friday May 8 2009
On a balmy Autumn evening there is nothing nicer than visiting my favourite local haunt, Piazza Del Sol otherwise known to regulars as LuCafe. Being a Friday night and not wanting to cook after a hard week slogging it out at the office hubby and I decided to hit Lu's with avengence. I of course ordered my usual the Tortellini Alla Panna while hubby stuck to his favourite the Capriciosa Pizza. The Tortellini Alla Panna as always was just delightful! Freshly made pasta that's not too creamy, drizzled with almonds and topped with Parmesan - oh so good!!!

This trusty little eatery hidden in the backstreets of Tuart Hill is just the place to go when you want to avoid the city crowds and get good value for money. I'd recommend it to anyone who loves to eat good, Italian, rustic fare at affordable prices!!


My all-time Piazza Del Sol fave the Tortellini Alla Panna

The Long Wait

Monday April 27 2009
Going out on a long weekend has its advantages and disadvantages. You want to chill out, enjoy good company and soak up the day in all its glory, after all that's what long weekends are all about - not this one though. After months of planning my cousins and decided on a girlie catch-up at The Windsor for the ANZAC Day long weekend.

Having eaten at The Windsor several times (and loving it) I suggested we go there instead of going where we always go - not one of my finest moments I must admit! Our booking was for 1pm and when we arrived the place was pumping and packed to the brim. It was a beautiful day and being seated next to the waterfall was just lovely. Our waitress took our drink orders and then told us we should really put in our food order also as there could be a wait, so taking her advice we placed our orders and waited.

An hour later and no meals to be seen we asked the waitress what the hold up was and she told us there was a wait on the food because of the long weekend crowd - they hadn't expected such a turnout. She then told us it would be at least another half hour before we got our meals.

Much to my tables horror I proceeded to talk about the weather and hope the sound of everyone's stomach rumbling would fade into the distance. When our food finally arrived we went for it and whether it was my hunger pains talking or the few too many wines I consumed -the Fish and Chips were the best I'd had in a long time and well worth the wait..

Will I go there again? All in all The Windsor has never disappointed, I'd just suggest going on a normal weekend as opposed to a very long one!!




Diving into my long-awaited Fish and Chips!

The Sirens

Wednesday April 15 2009
Those of you who have read my articles before should know I am a Freo girl through and through. I was born and bred in this great town and absolutely love it! Speaking of which with Freo comes my beloved football team the Dockers and mock as you may I have supported them since day dot. So where is this going I hear you ask - well yesterday I attended my first Sirens function. The Sirens are a group of dedicated and PASSIONATE women supporting this fantastic team (who will one day get there).

It's a great little supporter's group who get together to network, enjoy yummy food and wine while talking footy, definitely my idea of fun! Last night we were treated to delicious canapes including broccoli mini tarts, satay chicken kebabs and mini pizzas washed down with wines provided by Swings and Round-a-bouts. We also got to watch the boys first training session, speak to general manager of football operations Chris Bond and after training got to drill players Roger Hayden and Michael Johnson on their game plan. It is a pretty good night out and one I would recommend to any LOYAL, PROUD and PASSIONATE female fans. For more information on the group click Sirens to email the club.

Pizza and wine and I'm good to go - Freo Heave Ho!

Mexico Here We Go Again!!

Thursday April 10 2009
Arriba Arriba let's go to Mexico - AGAIN!!!!

After last week's successful visit to Mexico I decided to take my overseas visitors there again but this time a little closer to home. Acapulco Annies Mexican Restaurant and Cantina has been around for almost 30 years yet I'd never stepped foot in their doors and they are literally around the corner from where I live.

Every night from 6pm to 7pm is Happy Hour so imagine my surprise when we rocked up at 6.15pm and were offered the cocktail menu straight off the bat - Margaritas all round!!!

Dinner again was a difficult choice and clouded by six carafes, yes carafes (they don't do things by halves in this joint) of Margaritas I chose to go with the yes you guessed it the Beef Burritto - it just screamed safe to me considering how under the influence I was.

Served by our waitress (a native Mexican) the meal came out complete with Mexican flag in tow and I devoured it whole heartedly, so yummy! Speaking of Miss Mexico, she was fantastic, constantly checking to see if we needed anything else as well as offering some Mexican tourism advice - Los Cabos here I come.

All in all I loved this place and am glad I finally went and experienced a meal here, it was the perfect way to start off my Easter weekend.



Beef Burritos and Margaritas make for a very happy Food Editor!

Allergic Reaction

Sunday April 5 2009
There are three things I'm allergic to; pesto, avocado and Kiwi fruit. I avoid them at all costs, so why on my pleasant visit to The Royal did I decide to eat a chicken pesto pasta dish?? Your guess is as good as mine.

Put it this way I love pesto, I also love Kiwi fruit but somehow they do things to my body that nobody should put up with as was the case last night. The Royal had a heap of delicious meals on the menu which included a steak burger and chips, calamari and other pasta dishes but because the dish I chose was not available I thought I'd try the chicken pesto pasta, surely I'd be ok - right? After all it was just a little bit of pesto.

The dish itself was lovely and went down well with a lemon, lime and bitters (of course). The staff (particualarly their Brazilian waiter) well they too were fantastic and ever so helpful. But whether it was the mix of the cream and pesto together or the fact that I am allergic to pesto all together made for a very unpleasant afternoon and evening.

Needless to say I won't be ordering that again....whoops my bad!


Me and the yummy pasta dish in question!

Arriba Arriba

Saturday April 4 2009
All this wining and dining has caused me to feel a little under the weather lately so going out for Mexican was sure to wreak havoc on my sensitive stomach but being another cousin's birthday I had no trouble into the spirit.

Normally Mexican food is something I really look forward to and having not had some for a while I couldn't wait to dig in.

First stop - The Mexican Kitchen's Fishbowl Margarita an absolute must when eating Mexican. There is nothing better than enjoying good company while sipping on Margaritas before tucking into a typical Mexican dish. My dish of choice, well that was easy, a delicious beef burritto. Served with spicy rice, the beef was tender and wrapped in a warm pita bread, topped with sour cream and a chilli salsa sauce mmm the taste of Mexico.

Everytime I visit The Mexican Kitchen I'm never disappointed and I'm often left wondering why it takes me years to go back there. This time round I promise I'll visit again soon Buonos Noches people.....


The Mexican Kitchen's yummy Fishbowl Margarita!

The Taste of India

Saturday March 28 2009
We celebrated my cousin's surprise 40th birthday at the Spicy South Restaurant in Subiaco last night. I am a big fan of Indian food and couldn't wait to get stuck into the Butter Chicken ( a personal favourite of mine).

After the birthday girl arrived we were treated to a set menu of Garlic Prawns and rice for entrees and a choice of Tandoor Chicken or Spicy Mackarel for our mains. The Garlic Prawns and rice were delightful and the perfect way to start our Indian journey and because I LOVE Butter Chicken Chef Kumar bent the rules a little and allowed myself and the birthday girl leverage on our main meal serving me my Butter Chicken and her a larger portion of the Mackarel.

My Butter Chicken was divine - creamy, spicy yet not overpowering and oh so yummy. The night was pleasantly finished off with Black Forrest birthday cake for desert and I was left more than satisfied on another visit to India!

Go Shorty it's your Birthday!!

Thursday March 19 2009
Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me, ok, ok you get the picture it's my birthday. Every year much to everyone elses pain I celebrate my birthday in style, usually over the whole month of March. It's great fun, sometimes I take the month off and go jetsetting around the country, other times I just chill out and really just spoil myself - I mean why not afterall it is my birthday and if you can't take advantage of being spoilt on your special day or in my case month then when else can you do it!

Anyway this year has been slightly different as I just got married and really can't take anymore time off work so unfortunately I had to work (how rude!). Lucky for me though my boss treated me to a nice lunch at The Essex in Fremantle. This quaint fine dining restaurant tucked away in Fremantle's Essex Street has been around for as long as I can remember and has really stood the test of time. In a place where others have closed up shop it just keeps getting better.

Because we were pressed for time I only ordered a small meal the Cajun Dusted Calamari and although an entree this was more than enough to satisfy my hunger. I expect nothing less than the best here at The Essex and again I was not disappointed - they know how to look after you and that's why I go back time and time again.

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Happy Birthday to me!!!!

Fast Food @ Fast Eddy's

Saturday March 14 2009
Nothing beats a Saturday night out with the girls and a good chick flick. I'd been dying to see the movie He's Just not that Into You so I dragged (not that they needed much convincing at all) my cousin and sister along with me to watch it. Having not eaten all day we popped into Fast Eddy's first scoffing down a beef burger and chips along with a tall glass of coke - just what a girl needs to prepare herself for a three hour movie.

After the movie, which by the way was hilarious we enjoyed a skinny (I know why watch the calories after the burger and chips!) hot chocolate and a lengthy girly gossip - my idea of the perfect ending to a great night out!


Fast Eddy's Beef Burger just what you need before a good chick flick!

High SocieTEA

Tuesday March 10 2009
With one of my cousin's Australian journey coming to an end we decided to treat her to High Tea at the C Restaurant. High Tea isn't something done in Portugal so we thought why not send her off in style from the 33rd floor of St Martin's Tower.

One of my favourite things to do is High Tea, it's so girly and reminds me of royalty - I know silly but true but there is something about it which makes you feel special.

Once inside our charming French waiter who had my cousin weak at the knees as she begged him to repeat her name Mon-nee-ca, Mon-nee-ca (ooh how I love a French accent!!!) served us bottomless cups of tea and coffee. We were soon ooooing and ahhing at the delectable treats coming our way as we went from bottom to top tier trying the sandwiches, petit fours and chocolate cakes, pure heaven on a stand - just delicious!

You may want to know my cousin's take on the whole thing, well she was quite impressed too saying we really did save the best for last!


Me and my cousin Veronica sampling the three tier cake stand mmm....

Our Margaret River Adventure

Thursday, Friday and Saturday March 5, 6 and 7 2009
We took our honeymoon South and stayed in the beautiful Prevelly region of Margaret River. Here we visited several wineries including Sandlford, Wise, Voyager Estate and the Bootleg Brewery. Margaret River was busier than usual as the charming Chris Isaak was playing Leeuwin Estate and half of Perth decided to join him.

Choosing where to eat in Margs is like being a kid in a candy store, there is just so much on offer. Though in saying that if I have choose one of my fave places to go is the Bootleg Brewery. The view is gorgeous, beer fantastic and the food well, what can I say but yummy, huge and well priced. When we visited I decided to go the steak burger and chips. This meal was substanial and could have easily been shared but being the guts that I am, I polished it off quite easily devouring it with a glass of their pale ale - pure bliss!


Me attacking my steak burger...yum!

The Day after the Night Before - I'm a Mrs!!!

Monday March 2 2009
Still floating on cloud nine from the night before my new husband and I decided to venture out of the spectacular hotel room at The Richardson and try their beautiful restaurant Opus. This fine dining secret tucked away on Richardson Street in West Perth is a honeymooners delight and the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of Perth's CBD. Here I enjoyed the Stockyard Ribeye from The Grill Menu which was cooked to perfection and just the way I like it - medium. For dessert I couldn't go past the Sao Miguel Portuguese Artisan Cheese with Fruit Mince Compote a brilliant combination with our wine selection the Parker Terra Rosa 1st Growth Cabernet.

They do say you get what you pay for and here at Opus at The Richardson this certainly rings true. The service was outstanding, wine superb, food spectacular and definitely a place I would recommend to anyone - FIRST CLASS ALL THE WAY!!!


Me enjoying the five-star service at Opus.....

Tapas the News Black

Wednesday February 25 2009
With only days to go before my special day we decided to take our overseas visitors for a taste of Spain. As we'd never been to Duende in Leederville we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try it out and remind our guests of home. Having never eaten at a Tapas bar before we were guided by our helpful waiter into deciding between the delicious options available to try. But before we tantaslised the tastebuds we quenched our thirst with some yummy Sangria. Being Portuguese this fruity drink is a favourite of mine so we indulged a little more than usual. When the food came out we did not know where to begin - the choices were endless, Sicilian Olives, Fried Whitebait, Grilled Chorizo, Potato Bravas, Salt Cod fritters, Wagyu Meatballs, Duck Empanada and Seafood Paella - all superb and leaving us chomping at the bit. I'd heard rumours about Duende and all were true - this cosy, cool Spanish Tapas Bar transports you to another world and one I can't wait to visit again SOON!



Belinda and her overseas visitor Carla get stuck into the sangria!

An Australian Birthday!

Tuesday February 17 2009
February has been such a busy month for my family with birthdays, weddings and overseas visitors - just crazy. On this particular evening we decided to surprise my cousin Veronica visiting from Portugal with a visit to a crazy little Italian place called Osteria Dei Sappori in Nedlands. My fiance and I came across it a couple of years ago after his family surprised him with a birthday dinner there also.

At first glance you think it's your average Italian restaurant but the longer you stay the more you appreciate the surpises that Franco and Mario pull on their unsuspecting patrons. Just as Veronica came to find out as the night progressed.

I decided to order both my entree and main off the specials menu and as per previous visits I was very happy with my choices. The six large, grilled prawns drizzled with olive oil and served with a slice of lemon were just delightful and the perfect way to start my dining experience. The grilled veal with parmesan and roasted vegetables was next. As always it was cooked to my liking - medium and filled my tummy just right. It's the same meal I order everytime I visit this eating establishment and much too my fiance's horror, it never ever disappoints.

After dinner we digested as Franco and Mario continued to entertain their patrons, taking Veronica by surprise with a rendition of Happy Brithday and cake presentation.

Osteria Dei Sappori offers lots of laughs, quality food and reasonable prices - I suggest you pop a date in your diary to visit it soon!


Belinda enjoying the prawns at Osteria Dei Sappori

Funky Freo!

Saturday February 7 2009
It was dad's birthday so we decided to treat him to a night out in Freo. He's a simple man and fish and chips on the harbour and a walk along the cappucino strip is his idea of a perfect night out. First stop Ciccerellos, definitely a Freo favourite of mine. It reminds me of days gone by when dad used to take us on long drives and finish up on the harbour as the sunset before us - just gorgeous.

Dad went for the usual a big serving of crispy battered fish and chips along with a serve of sardines, I thought I'd join him and ordered the same. The wait for our meal was longer than normal but it was to be expected considering the hoards of people who obviously had the same idea on this balmy Summer evening.

When our meals arrived they did not disappoint. Mine, two crispy pieces of snapper and an abundance of chips were just what the doctor ordered. Teamed with a lemon, lime and bitters it was just the combination I was hoping for.

After dinner a walk along the cappucino strip confused the issue of coffee and cake for dessert. The choice of coffee, gelato and sweets on offer were just too many and in the end we decided on a new little place called Sans Churros which specialises in Spanish desserts.

This little place is one I've now visited several times and just love. And when visiting you can't go past their Chocolate Churros. Hot, crispy Spanish style donutes dipped in hot chocolate dipping sauce - Yummo! Just don't overdo it because I walked out feeling like I had been drinking with the girls a little tipsy from a chocolate high - strange but true! All in all it was the perfect ending on a great night out.

Me and the yummy chocolate churro - delicious!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Who would you Invite?????

I was reading The West Australian this morning and an article written by Belle Taylor titled Be My Guest really got me thinking. The whole gist of the story was to ask local celebrities, sports stars, pollies etc which five people they would invite over for dinner.

I don't about you all, but my family and I have gotten quite heated over the dinner table asking this very question. We can sit for hours reeling off names of who just might get the tick of approval to get the pleasure of dining with us.

Names that have already made several visits to each one of our homes have included the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandella, although mum always thinks Dr Phil deserves a guernsey - not sure why maybe she's looking at holding some sort of intervention!!!

Me, well my order goes something like this:

Number 1 on my list is talk show queen and mentor Oprah Winfrey. We would have so much to talk about and the word diet would not once get a mention!
17th Annual Women In Entertainment Power 100 Breakfast - Arrivals

Number 2 would be her pal US President Barack Obama. Not only could Oprah bring a friend (not Gayle) but it would give me another reason to show off my I'M AN OBAMA MAMA t-shirt and meet the first African American president!!!
President Obama awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom in Washington

Number 3 would have to be the King of Rock N Roll Elvis Presley. I know he's dead but how cool would that be and I absolutely love him - STILL!
Juliens Auctions Summer Entertainment Sale Press Preview

Number 4 on the list would go to the King of Pop Michael Jackson yes I know he too is no longer with us, but just imagine the music both he an Elvis could make. I wouldn't need any background music at all and I could finally learn Elvis'legshake and Michael's moonwalk. Music Heaven.
Michael Jackson 1958-2009

Number 5 on the list would be mum & dad. Yes I know there are two of them but they come together as one, like a pair of shoes - Jimmy Choos actually. Plus Mum could talk Dr Phil to Oprah and Dad could show Elvis his Elvis DVD collection Fun In Alcupulco woot woot.


So there's my list and trust me it was hard to cull. Celebrities that didn't make the final cut included Nigella Lawson, the Dalai Lama, Princess Diana and Mother Teresa, all good, but I only have eight chairs at my dining table and I can't let hubby miss out!!!

Do you guys agree with my choices? Would you choose these for your feast and if not who? Drop me an email, I'd love to hear who made the cut at your house!!

Belle's Favourite Dish of the Week

OK so those who've been following my blog know that I have huge passion for food and as of late have been dabbling in the kitchen myself. Having a husband whose food critic prowess matches that of Matt Preston (minus the cravat - don't worry it's coming) means that when I cook a meal it's got to be up to scratch.

I've always loved cooking and enjoy being in the kitchen but since the Masterchef invasion and my love for dinner parties growing week by week, I've decided to take my next foodie step.

From now on Life According to Belle will tell you what my best home-made meal for the week was. What I'd like in return is for you tell me if you love it too so I can than post the recipe up for you all to make and enjoy yourselves - see it's a win win situation.

My first home-made meal is Pasta Cartoccio otherwise known as Spaghetti Al Forno made for last night's dinner party. Now I've eaten this dish a few times and it is one that is quite popular with my husband's family. His aunty is a whizz at creating this dish and to emulate it is no mean feat.

Lucky for me I had my trusty assistant who not only helped with prep but helped me put the whole thing together ready for when the guests arrived. You see making the dish is not hard at all but there are a few things that need to be done so it all works.

For instance you must cook the sauce (home-made of course) along with the mince, cook the pasta, cut the olives, add mozzarella and pop it all in individual alfoil baskets ready for the oven. Sounds simple right? Well it is and it's oh so DELICIOUS.

My guests were not only impressed with the packaging but the aroma wafting from the oven had them so excited they could not wait to open their silver little baskets. It went down a treat and the best bit about it was there was no washing up to do. I sat back with the rest of my guests and enjoyed their company without worrying about the dishes piling up - success!

(Disclaimer: My guests also enjoyed a roast pork and vegies for their main and Ferrero gelato for dessert.)

Have you had a successful night in the kitchen? I'd love to hear from you and if you want to know more about Pasta Cartoccio drop me an email - until next time Bon Appetite!!

My Pasta Cartoccio (Spaghetti Al Forno), you can actually see the steam coming out of the piping hot dish!!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

That Special Someone


- Monica and I on my Hen's Day.

It's not often we witness a person change someones life so prolifically but last night I did. I got to see my cousin Monica being honoured for all her hard work with teenagers doing it tough.

Those who know Monica, know that she herself has done it tough for many, many years suffering with the condition Lupus. She has been in and out of hospital most of her life and almost lost her own battle not once but a few times.

Last night she was the STAR of the show and boy did we see it (several times over & over as images - some not of her finest moments, were splashed all over the big screen). Highschool students flocked to her asking for photographs, hugs and offering thanks for all her hard work.

I've known Monica all my life, she is an unsung hero and one of the strongest women I know, who always goes over and above the call of duty to help those need. Monica never thought she would make a difference to anyones life and often questioned why she would be the right person for this job but after last nigt I don't think she'll ever need to question this again.

She is a star and I wish her all the success in the world, trust me no one deserves it more!

Do you know Monica, share your thoughts or tell me about another unsung hero you think deserves recognition. I know there are a few of them out there. I'd love to hear from you xoxo

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Beware of the Bridesmaid Dress

- My gorgeous BFF and I at the
P!NK concert last week.

So I was recently asked to be bridesmaid for one of my closest friend's (see left) wedding. Having only tied the knot a few months ago, I'm still on a wedding high and jumped at the chance of honouring my girlfriend on her special day.'

The thing is up until I took the plunge myself, I was petrified of everything weddings and dreaded the moment one of my girlfriends would get married and ask me to be bridesmaid. Now I know you're all thinking SELFISH but no that's not it, I'm not selfish - just scarred from previous walks up the aisle.

You see it started with this satin blue number with silver alfoil train complete with silver gloves - JUST GORGEOUS - NOT!


You see this little number is a product of the late 90's (and no it was never in fashion, since when is alfoil HOT apart from when it's blanketing a roast in the oven - see my point!) and my girlfriends very bad taste at the time. Needless to say it was hideous along with my hair-do and matching bouquet.

My point is brides-to-be, don't make your girls look like products of the 80's. They are there to support you on your big day and although it's YOUR day they want to feel and look special too.

On my wedding day nothing made me smile more that morning then seeing my four girls walk out in their gowns, smiling and feeling sensational. I felt like such a proud mum and could not believe how HOT they all looked (this time I mean HOT as in stunning not alfoil) - it really did make me smile and made for a fantastic day.

Now I know my girlfriend who also goes by the same name as moi has excellent taste so I'm not worried in the slightest. I'm just hoping to continue my mission of losing a couple of kg's so that I too look and feel sensational on her special day - bring it on I say I can't wait!

In the meantime have you got a hideous bridesmaid's dress story to share, I'd love to hear from you.

My four girls SIZZLING on my Wedding Day - told you they were HOT!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My latest love affair - Truffles and Little Caesar's Pizzeria

- The Wine & Truffle Co sniffer dogs show us how to find the treasured truffle.

Menu Magazine spent yet another weekend meeting and greeting readers and subscribers at the Mundaring Truffle Festival. It was a fun weekend which was only dampened (pardon the pun) by the rain on Saturday.

I was lucky enough to attend on Sunday and gathering from the crowds (17,000 on Sunday & 7,000 on Saturday)it was a complete success. Having only sampled this "black gold" for the first time this year thanks to Hans at The Gala in Applecross, I can say I am officially hooked and was on cloud nine all day.

The aroma is hard to describe and the taste, well forget it I couldn't tell you either, everyone describes it differently. All I can say is, it is "The Ultimate Flavour Enhancer" (see page 50 & 51 of Menu Magazine's Issue 7 on news stands now) and I'm obsessed. Over the weekend I got to sample everything truffles including Truffle oil, Truffle Pizza, Truffle honey and Truffle infused macadamia nuts - see obsessed!

But my weeked wasn't all about "La Truffe" while in Mundaring I decided I'd pay a visit to the very popular Little Caesar's Pizzeria. I met owner Theo Kalogeracos the week before at Good Food and he told me next time I was in Mundaring to pop in and say hello - hey there's no time like the present!!!

There's been a lot said about this place so much so there is no need for Theo to advertise this "little gem" (trust me if you do not know where it is you will walk straight past it, it's tiny and with no signage).

He has earned the reputation of Perth's Pizza King and I discovered why after rolling out of there on Sunday night after sampling not 1 or 2 but 5 pizzas! No easy feat I tell you!!


So what were my faves? Well he did recommend the Jane's Addiction and after doing this job for almost three years I've learned that if the chef recommends it, it's going to be good, and it was. Topped with marinated prawns, mozzarella, rocket pesto, garlic cream sauce and prosciutto it was delicious and although all three savoury pizzas were great this was by far the best.


Theo is also well known for his dessert pizzas, in fact he has won International acclaim for them, The Mudhoney Pizza is one of them. This dessert-style pizza is topped with chocolate mudcake, honey icing sugar, chocolate buttons and chocolate sauce oh so good!!

You might think I stopped right there but I did say I rolled out remember...so I decided the New York Pecan Pie would be the way to finish off my Little Caesar's pizza-thon.

My husband thought it was better than the Mudhoney but I was too full and too tired to make the call both went above and beyond my expectations.

I never really thought to visit Mundaring, but after my weekend liaison I've found there is so much more on offer than first meets the eye. It's a quiet little spot that's full of surprises (all of them good), so do yourself a favour and take a drive on the Great Eastern Highway you won't be disappointed!

Star Struck

- Mrs STM & I - definitely star struck!!

I don't often get too excited meeting celebrities, identities, sport stars yadda yadda yadda because as a journalist it's just part of the job and really no big deal.

But it seems there is an exception to this rule. Last Friday night at the Capricci's launch a collegue, a former collegue of mine and myself got ourselves in a little bit of a tizz over meeting one of our mentors. I've only been in the media a few years as have my collegues, this lady on the other hand has been around a long time and sure knows her stuff.

We affectionately refer to her as Mrs STM and when Mrs STM talks you listen. There aren't many around like her, in fact I can only think of another guy who I will refer to as Mr WA News who commands as much respect. These two people together really know what they are talking about when it comes to food and as someone relatively new to the food caper I listen. The thing is after our Friday night conversation it seems I am learning as most of my views seemed to match theirs so it just goes to show I really do know what I'm talking about. I just got to start believing it a little more......

Have you ever been star struck? Who is your mentor? Tell me your stories I'd love to hear from you.


- Another star struck moment in Sydney with another one of my mentors Kochie - love him!

Masterchef Australia's first restaurant opening - Trevor Forster's Capricci's

- Trevor Forster & I celebrate the launch of Capricci's in Rockingham WA.

It's been a crazy weekend for me and I've had a ball. Last Friday I was invited to attend the launch of former Masterchef contestant, Trevor Forster's, new restaurant Capricci's.

Located on the beautiful Rockingham beachfront I think it is one of the best things to happen to this gorgeous beachside city in a long time.

On Friday night local identities and fellow Masterchef contestants Josh, Kate & Linda flocked to Capricci's to support their old mate who was eliminated from the show after using bait in a team task. However, there was no sign of bait on this night, just champagne and oysters all making for a fabulous night out.

Trevor's down-to-earth personality and friendly nature guarantees his new gig will be successful & with bookings all the way through to November it shows he is already onto a winner.

I wish him, his lovely wife Marianna and the rest of the team at Capricci's all the luck in the world - CONGRATS GUYS I'll be dropping by real soon!!!

Masterchef reunited - Josh, Trevor, me, Linda & Kate.

Monday, August 3, 2009

WA's Good Food & Wine Fest Wrap!


- Me with Masterchef's George Calombaris - AWESOME!

As Editor of Menu Magazine you get to go to some pretty exciting and fun events one which I attended over the weekend - my first Good Food and Wine Festival. I attended the Every Woman Expo last month so sort of had an idea of what these expos were all about but I can now say the Good Food and Wine Festival is in a league of its own.

I mean I don't know if you've all noticed but there is a serious food revolution taking over the country and it is getting bigger by the minute. It seems everyone is getting into the foodie craze and have either become cooks, are learning how to cook or are in the food critic department.

Manning the Menu Magazine stand on Friday I met foodies of all ages who were quick to tell me about their latest creation in the kitchen and where I could find the best place to eat cupcakes in Perth (just so you know Sherbert in Maylands I'm coming for you!) Apparently, yes Perth, we know what we are talking about when it comes to the good stuff - food & wine and it was certainly evident over this bumper food weekend.

My weekend highlights included watching George & Gary's Masterclass, meeting Masterchef judge George Calombaris & Little Caesars super pizza chef Theo Kalogeracos as well as sampling some of the finest wines Australia has to offer. Now tinme to switch gears and prepare for this weekends Truffle Festival...mmmmm

Did you attend the festival? If you did what were your highlights? I'd love to hear from you all.

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