Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tips to keep your home warm

Try these tips to help keep your home snug this winter and you'll not only reduce your energy use, you'll also save on heating costs.

To read the full article visit: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/a/-/habitat/7415010/tips-to-keep-your-home-warm/

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The right recipe for a catering career

It wasn't long ago when working in hospitality was considered something you did until a "real" job came along but, according to managing director of Australian School of Tourism and Hotel Management Alan Williams, this is no longer the case.

To read the full article visit: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/a/-/food/7408812/the-right-recipe-for-a-catering-career/

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Summer Flavours

A WISE man once told me I could “indulge in the taste of Italy without leaving Perth” - truer words could not have been spoken. This wise man I speak of? Maurizio Di Ciano of Maurizio Restaurant & Events Catering.
Summer flavours Octopus Salami a light refreshing dish with a slice of lemon and wine citrus, dry, sharp at the end but still very long in flavour. Served similiarly to carpaccio it’s a great starter. Salt and pepper citronelle needs lemon served with Mavasia Bianca – Alfonsia – just beautiful.
We tried the papardelle with broad beans, tomatoes and potatoes nestled in a bed of parmesan crisp. This dish was colourful, unique and light and great for those ladies who like to lunch.
There was definitely a theme coming through the dishes – Summer. Light fresh flavours had my palate dancing for joy. Side serve of potatoes, capsicum, eggplant, zucchini, beans and carrots.
Swordfish served with Etna Doc was you guessed it light and delicious and the beautiful flavours. Straight from the ocean but no fishy flavour in sight, you see the trick to good seafood is when it’s fresh there is no smell (again words of the wise man). Caught here in the waters of WA Maurizio loves to use local products keeping both the consumer and supplier very happy.
Char-grilled baby lamb marinated in rosemary and extra virgin olive oil. Again what says spring more than lamb. Light and served with finocchio on a bed of greens. The feenel balances the flavours of the lamb and matched with the wine it was a great match, Cooked medium the lamb was tender and juicy and the wine brought out the flavour of the rosemary and the pepper highlighted the flavour.
What I like about Maurizio is his food is simple and delicious – what Italian food is all about really. His Italian fare transports you instantly to gorgeous villa somewhere in Italy. Italians are a proud bunch and love nothing more than to look after their guests and Maurizio and his staff do this in spades. Going over and beyond the call of duty to satisfy our tastebuds.
The Fresh Fruit Tart was a gorgeous tart made with apple, strawberry, kiwi fruit and rockmelon served on a shortbread crust and was something I certainly imagine enjoying on a summer’s day. This flan was light and fruity and nice way to move onto our more decadent dessert the Orange Chocolate Mouse. Maurizio teamed the tart with an Asti which was just delightful.
The Orange Chocolate Mouse served in an a ginger waffle basket had my colleague in seventh heaven and not coming down anytime soon. This dessert certainly packed a punch and was decadent but not heavy – just gorgeous. Maurizio introduced us to the dessert wine the ombretto which had traces of cinnamon, almond, licquorice and cloves. Indulgent and We felt extremely honoured to be trying it as he told us the background of the wine. It was served at Barack Obama’s Presidential Dinner and all I could think of was Yes we can!
Our last surprise treat was a cheese and fruit platter with various types of cheeses including one of my favourite things truffle infused pecorino. This was a beautiful way to finish off my Italian dining experience here in Perth. I have to say I’ve been to Maurizio’s several times and each time it gets better and better. Talk show queen and president Obama’s friend Oprah often asks what one knows for certain and I can honestly say this is what I know for certain – Maurizio Restaurant and Events Catering never disappoints.

Modern Mediterranean on the Upper-Seaside

Slick with an old-school twist is how I’d best describe the newly revamped Gigi’s on George in what I like to call - the upper-seaside, East Freo.Tucked away at the end of funky George Street, Gigi’s has been around for a little while but has recently undergone a makeover and on the day we visited it seems I wasn’t the only one to notice with suits from all over the Fremantle area, too discovering my latest find.Greeted by duty manager Amanda Sullivan we were given their latest menu which was not only extensive but featured an array of local fresh produce including the Blue Swimmer Crab Cakes.As well as some fantastic menu options (including tapas) Gigi’s has a great drink’s menu on offer too, so to start us off bar manager Johannes DeWet organised a Mojito to whet our appetites.While we waited for our entrees I took a closer look at the changes at Gigi’s, which included the bar area great for tapas and drinks after work.Inside the polished look of crisp, white table cloths and black leather chairs combined with the contrast of the heritage listed building’s high ceilings and old style fire places added to the charm that is Gigi’s.But now onto the food because that’s what it’s all about – right?Sipping our Mojitos (which by the way was refreshing and the perfect way to start our dining experience) Amanda presented us with Artichoke Hearts, Blue Swimmer Crab Cakes and Japanese Seared Scallops.The scallops coincidentally reminded me of spring – light, so colourful and fresh. Topped with parmesan crisps and pepperonata they were nestled in a light tomato veloute’ and looked so good I didn’t want to touch them – but I did and boy they were good.On the other hand the Artichoke Hearts were very earthy, though not tough like some I’ve had before. Served with truffle infused breadcrumbs, herbs and Parmesan, it was another great starter.My colleague tried the Crab Cakes which were nestled on a bed of greens.He commented they were battered nicely without being greasy or too thick – delicious!Next up were our mains, the Pan Fried Gnocchi, Fish of the Day and Char Grilled Fillet steak teamed up with the Babo 2008 Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie (a versatile wine suited to all dishes).I tried the Gnocchi first. You see being married to an Italian you always compare freshly made pasta to the one your nonna or in my case mother-in-law makes.My verdict – to die for! And that’s saying something.Freshly made that morning head chef Ricky Lim did an outstanding job with my favourite edible fluffy pillows.Melt in your mouth pieces of gnocchi combined with the spring (I know there’s that word again) flavours of zucchini, eggplant, pumpkin, red pepper fondue, olive oil topped with shaved Parmesan danced around in my mouth causing a commotion I’m not quite used to – spectacular.The Fish of the Day – Seared Yellowfin Tuna was cooked to perfection and was not fishy at all. Served with a side salad of basil, tomato, potato and boccocini, it was absolutely delightful and great match for the Babo 2008 Pinot Grigio (not only versatile but crisp and one I could of kept drinking all afternoon). The Char Grilled Fillet Steak served on a bed of potato cake and field mushroom with a side of tomato and asparagus was cooked medium rare. Tender and juicy along with the gorgeous flavours of the potato cake this dish was a winner with my colleague. Magic, was all he could say!If you think we stopped here, you’re wrong (although we probably should have).Dessert can only be described as heaven on earth.Sharing the Chocolate Crepes and Lemon and Raspberry Mousse we took our time devouring these sweet treats.The Chocolate Crepes with strawberry jam were light and fluffy and the contrast of the sour cherries made it not sickly sweet and had me wanting to finish the whole thing. The Lemon and Raspberry Mousse, Citrus Curd, Italian Meringue, well that too was delicious and being a lighter dish should have been my first option - a great way to finish off such a wonderful dining experience.
Head chef Ricky Lim said he wanted to cook modern Mediterranean food and I definitely think he has achieved this here at Gigi’s. And speaking of - who is Gigi? Does she even exist? I don’t know but one thing I do know for sure is she’s funky, flavoursome, friendly and I’m going to get to know her a whole lot better!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Gardening without the grunt

Love the idea of eating fresh home-grown produce but are put off by the hard labour that goes with it? Then try a no-dig option.WHAT IS IT?
The no-dig garden, created by building up layers of organic material which break down to form a nutrient-rich garden bed, is ideal for those who lack time, have poor growing conditions or are physically unable to tend to a traditional patch.

To read the full article visit: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/a/-/habitat/7320008/gardening-without-the-grunt/

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