Sunday, 18 May 2014

Become A Tourist In Your Own City - George Street

I can not begin to tell you how much has happened in the last month! With surprises around every corner, the dips and turns of life have taken me (and many of my nearest and dearest) to unexpected places. Reminding me that you can not predict life and that maybe you shouldn't even try.  So I was so pleased to dedicate an afternoon to simply relax, gossip, eat and play tourist in the hidden nooks and crannies of East Fremantle as part of my new series Become A Tourist In Your Own City. 

So often we get caught up in our every day lives that we forget to enjoy and experience the places we live in. In this series I hope to remind you, and myself, to take time to open your eyes what is available on your own doorstep, rather than feeling the need to travel great miles to feel alive. 

After last month's expedition to Perth's city centre, I decided to head a little further off the tourist trail, to George Street in East Fremantle - a street many Perth locals don't even know exists. 

George Street reminds me a little of a country town. Although the street is full of high end boutiques and wonderful cafes and restaurants there is such a local, community feel about the place. The sounds of giggling children fill the air as kids run around exploring with out a care in the world, whilst their parents and neighbours take advantage of the good food and coffee, having long afternoon catch ups with the friends they ran into on their evening dog walk.

With a rather large collection of boutiques, George Street has a lot to offer. Particularly if you are looking for a gift and especially if the gift is for yourself!

One of our favourite stores would have to be Willow And The Bowerbird which houses a wonderful selection of jewellery, accessories, home wares and body products, all selected by owner Sarah. 

Located in a lovely, bright corner building the space is one you could spend hours rummaging through to ensure you don't miss a product. 

As well as home wares and gift stores, George Street also houses a number of lovely local clothing stores such as Hubble +Duke (a cute store filled with the cutest handmade baby and children's clothing)Indi + Em, Iridescent Sea, Savvy and Harper's Emporium, all filled with high quality, stylish and local garments. 

As Saturday was such a beautiful day we decided to stop by Cookie Dough Biscuits for a cup of tea and a cookie to enjoy in the afternoon sunshine.

There are many notable food stops along George Street and Cookie Dough is just one of them. Although it was closed when we were there, I hear Hubbles Yard Cafe is well worth the stop for breakfast if you get the chance! 

A popular stop for locals as is the George Street Bistro & Merchant, as well as serving lunches and coffees it is the perfect place to find tasty treats to take home for your cheese platter. 

As the warm afternoon sun began to dip behind the trees we took a wander across the road and just happened to find ourselves in The Wine Store and Kitchen, with glass of red in hand. 

With its extensive wine list and a modern Australian menu The Wine Store is the perfect place to spend the evening catching up with friends and exploring new tastes in a comfortable, contemporary venue.

As well as a bar/restaurant, as it's name suggests, it is also a rather wonderful cellar store celebrating a large portfolio of beer, cider, wine and spirits. What this means is that if you try something you like in the kitchen you can simply pop next door and purchase a bottle to take home with you!

The smells coming from the kitchen were enticing, but as a day like this is about exploring and seeing what is on offer, we decided to leave its taste testing for another day and head back down the road for dinner.

There are a couple of spots available for dinner along George Street such as Limones, The Wine Store or even Giorgio's pizza but we decided to opt for Barque. Described as Asian fusion, Barque offers a diverse share style menu featuring wonderful fresh local produce in a charming colonial house.

chilli braised beef, eggplant, spring onion
coconut poached ocean trout, green mango
Sitting on the cozy balcony by the gas heater, filling ourselves on a delicious selection of tasty treats really felt like the perfect way to finish a lovely day on George Street.

It is so wonderful that even though I have lived in Perth my entire life, and have visited George Street previously, I can still find places to discover and learn more about these slightly hidden areas of the city. What I love about this series is that it forces me to take myself out and gives me an excuse to venture to places that I hear about yet never go... and, I hope that it inspires you to do the same. 

 So why not go and become a tourist in your own city? 
You may be surprised what you will find! 

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Old School Chocolate Brownie

What a month it has been! I am terribly sorry for my absence of late, unfortunately it has just been one of those months where life simply gets in the way... But to make it up to you all, I would like to offer you a piece offering in the form of the perfect gooey dark chocolate brownies! 

My wonderful mother arrived home today after galavanting the world for the past 3 months! (You can catch up on some of her stories here) Given it is also Mothers Day in Aus today I thought it would be the perfect excuse to test out the oven in our new place and welcome her home with a batch of freshly made chocolate brownies.

There is something wonderful about having a Sunday like I had today. A Sunday consisting of so many things  you love, friends, family, music and baking. 
I woke up to glorious blue skies worthy of a stroll down to my local farmers market where I got a few goodies (including a beautiful bunch of lilies for mum) and headed back home to lock myself in the kitchen for the first time since last weeks move. The remainder of my morning was spent covered in cocoa powder, some solid practice and getting ready for this afternoons performance with the Fremantle Chamber Orchestra. FCO is such a wonderful orchestra to be involved with, it always presents a brilliant program (this season involved Beethoven's 2nd piano concerto, and Appalachian Spring by Copland) and and you get to work with wonderful people and incredible musicians. After another successful concert I drove straight to the airport to pick up my parents and spent the remaining evening nattering away, sharing tales of our last 3 months. I can't wait to hear the rest of her stories and see all of her incredible travel photos! I can honestly sit and look at peoples travel photos all day :-) 

Anyway! That is enough of me reflecting on my incredibly enjoyable weekend and on to why we are all really here - The decedent, gooey, chocolaty goodness of these 
Old School Chocolate Brownies!

Preheat your oven to the usual 180 degrees C and grease your cake tin. 

In a small bowl place 3/4 cup unsalted butter and 3/4 cup good quality cocoa powder and place over a simmering pot of water. Be careful the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of coffee (or water if you prefer) and stir well to melt. 

In a separate bowl whisk together 2 large eggs and 370g of caster sugar. Once light and fluffy add 2 tsp vanilla extract. When the chocolate mixture has melted completely, slowly add to your sugar mix and continue to beat. 

To your mixture add 170g plain flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder and a pinch of salt and mix well. This is the stage where you can add other flavours or ingredients. I love adding a cup of roughly chopped nuts (usually walnuts or macadamias) and a cup of chopped dark chocolate, but you can let your imagination go wild! 

Pour batter into your tin and chuck in the oven for 20-25mins. 
Once cooked, remove from tin and cut into little squares.

I think the best way to eat these brownies is straight away when they are still warm and gooey, possibly with a dollop of cream or a scoop of your favourite ice-cream if you want to be really decadent. But honestly these are perfect on their own, and will always go down a treat.

I hope all you wonderful mothers out there had a beautiful day!

Happy Sunday!

Ingredient List:
370g caster sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
170g unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons coffee or water
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
170g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of Salt

1 cup roughly chopped nuts (walnuts or macadamias)
1 cup chopped dark chocolate