Monday, December 28, 2009

Summer Seafood

With Christmas over and New Year fast approaching there's been a lot of indulging - in everything!! So while I was lazing about watching Heston Blumenthal cook door mice and venison during a Holiday Special on the Lifestyle Food Channel, hubby suggested we visit Herdsman Fresh and Seafresh in Innaloo to stock up on some fresh, local produce for the night's dinner.

I love shopping at the Herdsie - everything sold there is fresh, delicious and most importantly made or grown here in WA. We bought fruit, vegetables and dairy products all of which we were in serious need of having not been grocery shopping over the Christmas period. On the way home we stopped by Seafresh Innaloo and bought some fresh squid and West Australian mussels ready to be turned into a couple of dishes I found in my new cookbooks.

Never one to really jump into the kitchen it was nice to hear hubby say he wanted to get his hands dirty so he tackled cleaning the mussels while I cut and scored the squid. Together we created Giada's Chilli Mussels and Cafe style Salt and Pepper squid - here are the results:

Giada's Chilli Mussels

Cafe Style Salt & Pepper Squid
My verdict - I think we work brilliantly well together as a team and the results really speak for themselves!! What do you think? Have you ever cooked something out of the blue and been surprised by the results? I'd love to hear from you!! Bom Aproveito - Cooking in Choos :)

A Very Portuguese Christmas 2009

Hubby and I got married earlier this year so I thought it would be appropriate to hold a Christmas dinner at my house. Every year we do the whole traditional thing, roasted ham and turkey with vegies - the lot really! This Christmas however, I thought I'd go back to my roots and revisit the traditions held by Avo (grandma) and her family in Madeira Portugal.

On the menu were starters of Rissois de Camarao (Prawn Empanadas), Rissois de Carne (Mince Empanadas), Rissois de Bacalhau (Bacalhau Empanadas) an entree of Carne de Vinho e Alhos com pao fresco (pork in white wine and garlic with homemade bread), the mains included Constantina's Assado de Carne (My grandmas traditional roast beef in a tomato base sauce) and Portuguese style Roast Chicken with vegetables while our desserts included a traditional Pudim de Maracuja (Passionfruit pudding) and Bolo de Bolocha (Biscuit Cake).
Everything from the food, wine & decor was a hit especially the personal menu's and bonbonieres all made by Invitings Made Easy by Susana.
For me, there is nothing better than entertaining guests on a summer's day & this little Christmas get-together enforced this even more so. The holiday season is all about family and friends so whether it's a tradition dating back 100s of years or one you want to start up now - invite them all over and share the good times, food, wine and memories today!
My Cousin Veronica, me & Mum in the kitchen getting into the starters for the evening!

Veronica's beautiful place settings

Table for 15

Menu & bonboniere by Invitings Made Easy by Susana

Constantina's Assado de Carne -my grandmas traditional roast beef in a tomato base sauce

Traditional Portuguese-style Roast Chicken

What did you do for Christmas? Did you have any traditions you kept or did you start some new ones? I'd love to hear from you so drop me a line - Cooking In Choos :)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

My Christmas Wishlist

So earlier this month I said I was going to post about what I wanted for Christmas. Well truth be told there was a lot, including a new GPS (anyone who knows me knows I have no sense of direction!), a handycam so that I can start video blogging (this was given to me from my hubby who got one ages ago & never used it - problem solved), a Burberry or Gucci purse (I'm not fussy), Tiffany 1837 ring, Gossip Girl Season 1 & 2, a summery Christmas dress (hubby also gave me this) and cookbooks by Nigella Lawson, Giada De Laurentis, George Calombaris & Tania Gomes.

Imagine my surprise on Christmas morning when I woke up to find all of this under my tree!!!
Needless to say I still want the other stuff, which by the way hubby says will come my way when we head to the US come June & don't worry I'm holding him to it!!!But in the meantime I'll keep you posted on all the yummy recipes I'll be trying out - they are all so good!

What did you get for Christmas? Was it what you expected & had hoped for? Drop me a line I'd love to hear from you.

New Look Blog!!

Hey guys, just thought I'd post about the changes I'll be making to my Life According to Belle blog. As of today Life According to Belle will cease to exist with Cooking In Choos taking its place.

All posts on Life According to Belle can still be found in the archive section of Cooking In Choos so if there is anything you would like another look at there will be no problem in doing so.

As for Cooking In Choos (Creating Culinary Delights in Couture), this little baby is going to focus more on what I love best - cooking, eating and dining out all in Couture & Choos (Jimmy Choos of course)!!! I'll also be talking travel, pop culture & a little sport (depending on what mood I'm in)so stay tuned for further developments.

Feel free to let me know what you think of my new name/new look blog - I'd love some feedback!!!

Belle :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas with the Girls

It's become a tradition that just before Christmas my girlfriends and I get together for dinner and drinks. This year there was only a few of us but none-the-less we went out anyway, kicking off the night at The Cabin in Mt Hawthorn.

The Cabin's a cool Melbourne-style haunt that's got everybody talking and living only blocks, I'm probably one of the last people to try it out!

Starting with champagne cocktails, we inspected the extensive drinks menu which included wine, spirits, cocktails and beer. The Cabin also has a funky tapas menu or if you want something more substantial they offer that too. It's definitely something Perth was missing and had it not been 37 degrees outside we would have stayed longer.

Mt Hawthorn has a real vibe about it at the moment and another one of the places taking off is The Azure Restaurant. I've been there several times before and am yet to be disappointed with the food, service and ambience - it's just beautiful.

On this occasion I ordered their chargrilled chicken and tomato roulade and for dessert the trio of creme brulee. The chicken was moist, tender and not at all dry and teamed with the tomato and potato gratin was an absolute winner.

The creme brulee trio of mocha, lime & pistachio & vanilla was delightful and very light making it even easier to devour.

All in all my girlfriends enjoyed our dining experience at Azure - in fact we were the last to leave (they had to practically kick us out!). Do yourself a favour and visit them soon!!

Devouring the chargrilled chicken and tomato roulade

The Girls


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