Sunday, 29 June 2014

Become A Tourist In Your Own City - Leederville

So it has reached that time of the month again where I get to dust of my camera and hit the streets of one of Perth's wonderful suburbs for a day of food, shopping and just general tourist fun. 

It is so easy to become caught up in our day-to-day routines that we forget how wonderful our hometowns can be. So it is my mission to remind you, and myself, to take the time and really explore your city - I want to challenge myself to really look around me, to remember to look up and view my city as if I were a tourist in my fun series Become A Tourist In Your Own City

This month Claire and I headed to the lovely suburb of Leederville. Located just north of the city, Leederville is always a bustling hub of cafes, eateries, boutique clothing and gift stores to keep you exploring all day long. 

I had violin students all over the city Saturday morning, but with one of them in Leederville I wandered around the corner to refresh with a cup of tea from the scrumptious Dapper Jack, located in Studio Bomba

Studio Bomba is a curious little Co-op that houses a number of studios working in a variety of mediums such as fashion, marketing, illustration, interiors, lettering, photography and print. Not only is there a beautiful shop, but you can also see these creative souls hard at work in their studio, whilst munching away on yummy treats. 

On top of all of this (and possibly my favourite part), Studio Bomba run a series of workshops throughout the year where you can learn how to make everything from your own leather satchels, silk flowers or the art of applying vintage makeup!!! I will definitely be keeping my eye on this place! 

With my official work done for the day it was time for the real fun! 

The main hub of Leederville is located on the city end of Oxford Street, there are fascinating finds further north (Kitsch Bar and The Re-Store) but as time is somewhat of a constrain we decided to keep things easy and stick to the south. 

We started at the lovely little Francois Patisserie. Tucked away off the main street Francois is a delightful French style cafe specialising in Swiss Pastries and Chocolates. 

If you are ever in need of a couple of delectable treats, or a freshly made cake to take away I highly recommend checking them out! Otherwise it is the perfect space to simply curl up with a book, or gossip with a girl friend over a cup of tea. 

There are so many lovely cafe's in Leederville that it was quite hard to decide where to go. We made it to as many as we could (I visited 5 cafes in one day!) but there are many other notable coffee stops including Sayers (great for Breakfast, Lunch and afternoon tea!), Sweet Remedy Cafe (your perfect stop for a cupcake treat), and Foam Coffee Bar (open from Breakfast, Foam offers a large menu for all meals and is open late for a delectable after dinner dessert). Any of which I would be perfectly happy to sit for the afternoon. 

Leederville is dotted with a number of lovely little boutiques. Fashion Boutiques such as Varga Girl, Harry & Gretel and Atlas Divine have a very unique feel and hold a number of independent labels, many of which are local Australian designers. Unfortunately the price-tag tends to match the unique items sold, but they are still worth a flick through the hangers.

But for me, shopping in Leederville is perfect if you are looking for a gift. With stores such as Remedy, a gorgeous store holding unique gifts and home-wares from many local makers, you are always able to find something unique and beautiful for every type of person. 

Other places such as Henry Hiccups (The cutest children's toy store!) Urban Records and Urban Deport, Wild Poppy and Gypsiana Leederville are well worth checking out. 

We continued the afternoon strolling the streets, nattering away before making a quick stop at 50mL for a refuel and continue down the other side of the strip. 

50mL is a quirky little cafe filled to the brim with retro seating, lamps and lights covered with bright read colanders. They offer a large selection of tea (yay!) and many cakes and sandwiches to keep you company as you sit on the street watching the world go by.

As the evening went on we wandered around to The Garden for a pre dinner drink and discussed our finds for the day. 

With not 1 but 3 burger joints (Grill'd, Jus Burgers and The Burger Bistro), a hotdog place (Snags & Sons), a couple of pizza places (Little Ceasars) and a mexican (Zambrero), I often think of Leederville as a perfect non fuss, gourmet take away dinner stop. But there are a few lovely hidden places worth knowing about. Places such Amani Wine Bar, Ria, Kitsch and Pinchos each have a great selection of food and drink to keep your tastebuds going, but we went for Duende, a spanish tapas bar with a wonderful reputation.

I hadn't been to Duende before, but would recommend it now! It is a beautifully cozy tapas bar hidden at the back of the main strip on Newcastle St. 

I always love going into a restaurant where everything on the menu sounds amazing - this is definitely one of those places. It makes the selection process difficult, but in the best way possible! 
(I unfortunately wasn't able to get any decent photos, but hopefully our chosen list will get your tastebuds going!) Our dinner included jamon & leak croquetas, patatas bravas, marinated olives, char grilled squid choirizo and fenal salad and slow braised beef cheek with pumpkin, goat's curd and roasted beetroot. All accompanied by a delicious glass of Spanish red. Everything was perfectly cooked, seasoned and so delicious.

The restaurant itself, although packed, was very cozy and to me wasn't overwhelmingly noisy. All in all highly recommended! Just make sure you book! I know I will be :)

We finished up dinner and popped back across the road to Greens & Co for a piece of cake before our late movie. 

One can't really head to Leederville without at least a glimpse in Greens. With its iconic paper lantern lighting filling the celling and poster covered walls, this cafe has become quite the image of this little suburb. 

Although Greens it is quite expensive for what it is, and doesn't have table service it is open late and always has the biggest selection of cakes. But I feel cafe's such as Foam and 50mL with their extended opening hours may start to rival this beloved Leederville cafe.

To finish the day we headed up to the funky Luna Palace Cinema to watch a late session of The Double. I always love Luna, with its small cinemas capacity and unique selection of screenings it is always an experience. As well as art-house and independent film screenings, the Luna screens performances fro the New York Met Opera and National Theatre Live screenings and during the summer Luna extends outdoors with their open air cinema in the courtyard. 

It is always a fun day out when visiting Leederville, and I was so pleased to spend the day wandering through and reminding myself just how many places there are to visit along this busy strip of Perth! 

If you want to take advantage of this quirky suburb, and make your evening an experience to remember I would recommend heading over to Leederville Food Safari - A designated progressive dinner through Leederville by Rickshaw!!! I haven't been yet, but being cycled around and eating at 3 wonderful locations sounds like a heap of fun to me! 

I have spent a lot of time on this busy strip over the years, yet as Perth is continuously changing and it I always look forward to having the excuse to get out there and really see the change. 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.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

In recent years I have become one of those people with a simple love for peanut butter. A dab of crunchy nutty goodness on toast is enough to keep me happy for the day. So when I remembered I had 3 old bananas, a tub of peanut butter in the cupboard, and a day of practice ahead of me I thought today would be the perfect day to put these two old friends together and make a deliciously moist loaf of peanut butter banana bread! 

For this recipe I would suggest using as natural a peanut butter as you can (But what ever you find in your cupboard will do.) I recently found that this gem of a spread. I love using ingredients with no added sugar or salt for baking as it means you don't risk doubling up and can control the flavours as you go. 

One of the things I love about making banana bread (of which there are many) is that you can adjust the flavours and textures to suit your tastebuds on the day, or to suit what is found in your kitchen! But I think this combination makes perfect sense, don't you?
Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Preheat your oven to 180degrees Celsius and prepare your  soundtrack. I spent the morning studying various recordings of Bach's Cello Suite No. 3.

In a large bowl whisk together 1 1/2 cup plain flour (you could also use wholemeal flour) 1/2tsp baking soda, a pinch of salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice and 1tsp cinnamon. 

In a small saucepan melt 3 tablespoons of butter until it begins to brown and has a slightly nutty aroma. 

In a separate bowl or your stand mixer whisk together 3 large mashed bananas, 1/3 cup plain yogurt, 1/3cup peanut butter and your browned butter. 

Beat in 2 large eggs before adding in 1/2 cup of brown and 1/2 cup of white sugar. 

Slowly fold your dry ingredients into your wet mixture and mix until just combined. At this stage you can add in extra flavourings like chocolate chips, extra roasted nuts or even a splash of rum! (As I used crunchy peanut butter I didn't add any extra nuts, however I did chuck in a small handful of cocoa nibs)

Pour batter into your greased and floured loaf tin and pop into your oven for 55-60mins, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean. 

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 20mins before moving onto a wire rack. 
Slice into think slices and serve as you wish.

And there you have it! A delicious alternative to your classic banana bread. 

Ingredient List:

3 Large mashed bananas
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup natural peanut butter
3 Tbsp browned butter
2 large eggs
1/2 caster sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup plain flour
1/2  tsp bicarb soda
A pinch of salt
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1tsp ground cinnamon