Family friendly chili con carne

I constructed this meal one night when I was feeling particularly lazy but still wanted a decent home cooked dinner. It is therefore nice and easy to prepare, easy on the wallet and, since it actually lacks any chili at all, perfect for kids.

It’s naturally gluten-free and you can also omit the yoghurt and cheese for a vegan friendly version.

Not to mention it is super yummy!

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Serves 5-6

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of uncooked rice
  • 500g beef mince
  • 1 tin mixed beans
  • 2 tins diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tomato
  • 1/2 tin corn
  • Handful of coriander (optional)
  • 1/3 cup red onion
  • Corn chips to serve
  • Greek yoghurt to serve (omit for vegan meal)
  • Grated cheese to serve (optional/omit for vegan meal)

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Method

  1. Cook 1 cup of rice. ( I use brown rice but any rice will do).
  2. Cook beef mince in a fry pan.
  3. Once meat is cooked add 2 tins of diced tomatoes and mixed beans. Season with cumin and paprika and mix well. Bring sauce to a gentle simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile prepare the salsa by combining the corn, red onion (diced), fresh tomato (diced) and coriander in a bowl.
  5. To serve place a small portion of rice in a bowl, top with beef mixture then grated cheese if you desire, followed by salsa and a tablespoon of Greek yoghurt. Eat with corn chips.

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Perth birthday freebies

Everyone loves freebies, and who’s more deserving than the birthday boy or girl!

Here’s a round-up of all the things you can score when your birthday comes around (I hope you can eat a lot because there’s a lot of free food up for grabs).
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There’s also bound to be things I have missed so leave a comment if you have more to add to this list!

  • Nandos will give you a whole free birthday meal on any day during your birthday month. You must become a member before your birthday in order to receive your voucher via email.
  • Boost Juice Vibe Club members receive a free original size juice on their birthday. This offer can also be claimed on one of the two days either side of your birthday.
  • Grill’d Relish members get a free drink on their birthday with the purchase of a burger. (I’ll admit after the first two this one is a bit of a let down, at least throw some chips in there!).
  • But wait it gets good again… San Churros will delight you with a free churros for two on your birthday. You do need to be a member of their El Social club, but even if you sign up on your birthday you can still claim your free churros – now you’re talking!
  • Jamaica Blue gives members a free slice of cake to celebrate their birthday. You can sign up on your birthday in store and claim your cake right away. Plus, new members also get a free coffee – morning tea sorted!
  • Muffin Break members can score a free birthday muffin.
  • Join the Eat Fresh Club at Subway to receive a free lunch.
  • The Outback Jacks Birthday Club gives members a free main course meal up to the value of $35 during their birthday month. However, it’s only valid when two or more main meals are ordered. If you book a table for four or more there’s also an extra birthday surprise (I have no idea what this is but if anyone does let me know in the comments).
  • Cold Rock gives VIP members free ice cream and a cake voucher. You must have been a member eight days before your birthday in order to redeem your free ice cream and for 35 days to receive the voucher.
  • It’s time to get something good into you… Sumo Salad’s Sumo Society will give you a free salad on your birthday. You must collect a membership card from in store to sign up.
  • Gloria Jeans grants members a free drink on their birthday.
  • Panchos in Victoria Park and Mount Lawley will treat you to a free birthday meal and dessert if you join their VIP Gringos Club. You must present your birthday letter to receive your freebies, but you can do so any time during your birthday month.
  • Finally, if you still have some room head to the Spud Bar to claim your free birthday spud or salad, but only after joining The Secret Society of Spud. This freebie can be claimed on your birthday or the two days either side.

Happy birthday and I hope you enjoy your food coma! If you didn’t make it all the way then you’ve got something to aspire to next year.

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Healthy cranberry oat biscuits

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I’ve been making these delicious chewy biscuits for a coupe of years now. They make the perfect morning or afternoon snack with a cup of tea. The best thing is I don’t feel guilty if I have more than one in a day as they only use a small amount of brown sugar to sweeten them up.

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Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups wholemeal spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon pink salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries (I generally use a reduced sugar variety)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or vanilla essence

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Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, bicarb soda and cornflour in a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl mix together the eggs, coconut oil and vanilla extract or essence.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
  5. Add the oats and cranberries and stir to combine. You may have to use your hands here to thoroughly mix the ingredients and mold into a dough.
  6. Take a portion of the mixture (whatever size you desire your biscuits to be, I usually make them about as big as my palm) and flatten on a baking tray. Continue with the rest of the mix.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius. Remove from oven and allow to cool or eat while still slightly warm.
  8. Store in an airtight container or freeze.

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The biscuits can easily be modified to include your favourite things. Try adding toasted coconut pieces or drizzling melted chocolate over the top for a less healthy, but extra tasty, treat.

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Perth’s most quirky iced drinks

Summer is well and truly upon us and with the unrelenting heat bearing down you’ll want to find a place to cool off. Treat your tastebuds and refresh yourself from the inside out with a cool drink or icey treat from one of Perth’s many delectable eateries.

Willi Wagtail

Walking around the City of Perth I soon discovered just how many wonderful places there are to sample and enjoy.

There are old favourites cafes, cute and quirky nooks and streets of hidden gems.

While the good old-fashioned ice coffees and spearmint milkshakes are readily available when it comes to cool summer treats for 2016 it’s all about the simple cold brew coffees as well as more eccentric flavour varieties.

Max + Sons

Max and Sons

Situated in Perth City’s freshest dining precinct Globe Lane, or 140 William Street, Max + Sons is bright little café and the perfect place in this thriving hub to grab a coffee on the go or stay for a chat.

If you’re craving that coffee kick but the stinking hot temperatures have you desperate for an alternative to the toasty beverage then swap your regular cup of joe for a revitalising cold brew.

This cold coffee option is rising in popularity all around the city and Max + Sons provide a great take away or dine in option for $5.

Because cold brew involves steeping coffee grounds in cold water and leaving it to infuse for long periods of time there is some bitterness associated with the flavour of cold brew.

Max + Sons’ cold brew wasn’t overpowering in terms of coffee strength and although there was a little bitter aftertaste it was a mostly smooth and refreshing.

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For the tea drinker Max + Sons have their home made iced Yerba Maté tea for $.4.50.

A caffeine free, Brazilian medicinal tea with lovely subtle flavours, the Yerba Maté is easy to drink with light flavours that provide a nice hydrating alternative to water.

In addition, the café sells small glass bottles of their house made juices for $8.

Juices vary each day but there are normally a handful of flavours to choose from including a green juice, summer fruits, watermelon, orange/apple/turmeric and beetroot/apple/ginger.

Location: Shop 23, 140 William Street Perth

Open: Monday-Friday 6.30am-4pm and Saturday 9am-4pm

Website

Willie Wagtail

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There were several things that stood out to be about this sweet little place.

The first was the location. I had never before noticed this café sitting opposite Jamie’s Italian on William Street.

With only small signage facing the street, the café sits tucked away with its entrance a little corridor that leads to a courtyard of tables and chairs.

The second thing was the friendliness of the staff who all clearly held such a delightful passion for the job.

They eagerly explained the differences between cold brew and cold drip coffee and gave advice on the best ways to make both.

Thirdly Willie Wagtail’s cold coffee menu is as extensive as your own imagination. By that I mean if you can think something up the staff here are prepared, and excited, to make it happen for you.

On their written menu are iced long blacks, iced chais, iced chocolates and iced teas.

Enticed by the varied menu I sampled a few of their exotic delights including the Ethiopia di Bello, a milk chocolate, strawberry and plum cold drip.

This iced coffee was silky smooth, full of flavour and reminiscent of a liquor. Perfect for those who like striking flavours, it had a much more refined taste than that of a cold brew.

Next was their iced long black of the dark chocolate and date variety. The coffee was quite strong and would be perfect for someone seeking a cool sharp coffee hit.

I also sampled their much lighter cold brew mixed with sparkling water on ice, colourfully named the Willie Tingle.

All cold drips, brews and iced long blacks are $4 for a small or $4.50 for a larger size.

There’s even an assortment of cold drip devices on display to view and purchase to make your own concoctions at home.

Location: 131 William Street

Open: Monday-Friday 6.30am-4pm

Website

Moana Coffee

Moana

One of my favourite places to dine, Moana Coffee served up the goods in the iced delights department on a sweltering day.

Tucked away above Hay Street mall, this charming little café is a hidden gem inside the renovated Moana Chambers building.

For the tea drinker Moana has a green sweet treat in the form of iced matcha for $5.50.

The best thing about this milky drink is while it tastes deliciously sweet there is no added sugar. It’s simply the delightful taste of the infused tea.

Their homemade iced orange pekoe tea is a wonderful bargain on a hot day at $2.50.

My personal favourite was the iced London fog ($4.50). Essentially a cold version of a white Earl Grey tea, this drink has beautiful fruity and floral aromatic flavours.

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Moana’s cold brew comes served in cute little 200ml glass bottles for $5.50 each.

There is a great selection of flavours to choose from including, Sparkling Lime and Ginger, Almond Milk and Maple and Classic Sparkling Orange.

There is also a larger 500ml bottle of cold brew concentrate available.

I sampled the Sparkling Lime and Ginger and found the addition of the sparkling flavour to give the coffee more of a hydrating feel.

The ginger flavour is what hits you on the first sip, followed by the kick of the coffee in the aftertaste.

It’s handy to know that if you bring the bottle back on your next visit you’ll get a 50 cent discount off your next cold brew.

Location: Upstairs in the Moana Chambers building at 618 Hay Street

Open: Monday-Friday 7am-4pm, Saturday 10am-3pm and Sunday 11am-4pm

Website

Little Angel

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For a truly unique iced dessert experience head to Little Angel at the bottom of the Exchange Tower in Perth’s CBD.

The only place in Perth to serve liquid nitrogen affogatos, known as their Nitro Affogatto, Little Angel provides an experience for all the senses.

It takes about five minutes to prepare the dessert and I would highly recommend watching it being made.

It’s exciting to watch as the barista dons gloves and glasses and carefully pours the liquid nitrogen with the gas pouring out everywhere. It looks more like a cool science experiment than food.

As recommended by the staff, and confirmed by my experience, the best way to eat the dessert is to first sample the gelato and then add the coffee to taste.

The pandan and coconut gelato was extremely smooth as a result of the liquid nitrogen and the 5 Senses Coffee was the perfect accompaniment.

It is worth trying each bit separately and then together as it brings out many flavours.

Coming in at $8 each, the price will seem steep if you are only after a coffee, but very reasonable for a coffee and an ice cream.

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Currently on their menu, Little Angel have the popular pandan and coconut flavour, along with hot buttered popcorn, and their new cookies and cream flavour.

Location: Ground Floor Exchange Tower, 2 The Esplanade

Open: Monday-Thursday 6.30am-3.30pm and Friday 6.30am-3pm

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Babooshka Bar

Babooshka

If there were ever a place in Perth for an elaborate drink, this would be it.

Babooshka Bar rose to fame on the Perth food scene for serving one of the most ostentatious milkshakes (or rather ‘freakshakes’) this city’s ever seen.

A triple-donut, chocolate-coated bacon shake is their signature masterpiece for $20.

For those of us less daring, but still eager for something more than the old vanilla milkshake, they serve up a unique range of gourmet shakes.

Starting at $10 each is the Fruitloop and Marshmallow milkshake and their Golden Gaytime shake and for $15 you can replace a meal with their Pancake, Milo and Maple Syrup shake.

In preparation for sampling the pancake shake I passed on lunch, a move that proved to be wise.

It takes five to ten minutes to make each milkshake, as the place is popular, with several people ordering the donut and bacon delight during my visit.

As a drink and meal all rolled into one I wasn’t sure how to begin on the pancake shake, even the boss admitted that “no-one really knows” how to tackle it.

All I can say is be sure to grab some cutlery and plenty of serviettes, as this is one messy drink.

The ice cream, maple syrup and milo makes for a great combination, and hidden under the pancakes is a stack of whipped cream to top off the milkshake.

The first sip brings with it all the maple syrup drizzled through the straw, giving you a quick sugar hit.

After enjoying this huge treat, clear your schedule because you’re going to want to submerge into the food coma that follows.

Location: Arcade 189, 7/189 William Street

Open: Monday-Friday 7am-3pm and Saturday-Sunday 9am-2pm

Website

Notable Mentions

I am yet to make it to every great iced drink place in the City of Perth, so here are some that I think are still worth a visit.

Henry Saw

From peanut butter smoothies to orange infused cold drips, this little café by Perth’s museum has it all in a charming setting.

Location: 117 Grand Lane, Perth

Open: Monday-Friday 7am-3pm and Saturday 8am-2pm

La Veen Coffee and Kitchen

La Veen recently announced an exciting new addition to their menu, their own coffee granita.

This drink will be sure to keep you cool all summer long.

Location: 90 King Street, Perth

Open: Monday-Wednesday 7am-3pm, Thursday-Friday 7am-4pm, Saturday 8am-4pm and Sunday 9am-3pm

Utopia Bubble Tea

For the widest selection of iced tea flavours anywhere, you can’t go past Utopia Bubble Tea.

With sweet fruity teas, traditional milk based flavours and a range of toppings and jellies to suck up that thick straw there’s plenty for all tastebuds.

Location: 109 James Street, Northbridge

Open: Sunday-Thursday 11.30am-11pm, Friday 11.30am-1am and Saturday 11.30am-2am

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Little Creatures’ comfort food

Last weekend I ventured down the long road to Fremantle to take out my newest American friend for dinner. I did a bit of research into places to eat in Freo on a Saturday night, only to discover that most of the places I have been keen on trying are only open for breakfast and lunch, so it looks like I’ll need to venture there more frequently during the daylight hours.

We ended up at Little Creatures Brewery right on the waters edge. This place is large and impressive. I’ve only been here once before a long time ago and had fond memories of the steak sandwich.We found our own seat inside among the ginormous beer kegs and a waitress soon brought us menus. A quick glance down the menu and I realised I was starving, having been on a long ride that day and forgetting to snack between lunch and dinner (that is so unlike me). I was craving carbs so I ordered a woodfired pizza.I had the cured beef, rocket and bocconcini pizza and I devoured the entire thing.The perfect size for one (one hungry little person that is), this woodfired pizza was delicious but possibly on the touch too salty side.  I loved the addition of rosemary and sea salt to the base of the thin pizza. However, with the addition of the cured beef and cheese there was quite a lot of salt going on. Thankfully I needed it that day after my exercise so it was all too easy to put away.

Allison ordered the salmon, which was an impressive chunk of fish. Unfortunately it wasn’t cooked all the way through (probably due to the piece being so thick). She still enjoyed the dish and the fries looked beautifully homemade (some with the skin still on).The payment service at the table was easy and convenient and they kindly let us split bill.

After dinner we enjoyed a pleasant walk along the Cappuccino strip before heading home.

Butter me up, I love brunch

I’m a firm believer that weekends are for brunching, and although it sometimes takes a bite sized piece out of my pay check each week I have no regrets about catch up dates that involve muesli or eggs in one of Perth’s many delightful breakfast spots.

The weekend just gone was spent like many. Saturday morning Lauren and I fitted in a triathlon training swim, a nice slow 1.2km for me that morning as I felt I may have pushed myself right to the edge with exercise during the week.

Then we headed out for that all important post-workout refuel to one of my favourite places in Joondalup Health Freak Cafe (there is one also located in Scarborough).

I love going to a place where I know that I can’t go wrong with anything on the menu because all the meals are packed full of goodness.

On this occasion I opted to try something new and ordered the paleo zucchini bread topped with an avocado and tomato salsa and a poached egg and surrounded by a capsicum sauce. The zucchini bread was quite plain on its own but under the salsa and egg it was delicious and so lovely and moist. I could still happily eat the bread on its own though as I love hearty snacks and don’t mind things lacking in sweetness now that my tastebuds have adjusted to a less sugar filled diet.

I also couldn’t go past my favourite Cookies and Cream smoothie despite the $10 price tag. It’s so great drinking something that tastes amazing and sweet but is so good for you. The smoothie includes a banana, dates, almonds, coconut, chia, cacao nibs and coconut milk. Yum!

On Sunday morning I enjoyed another delicious catch up with a lovely friend at Joondalup’s Gipsy Boy Boutique. This was the third time I’ve been here and the third great experience.

Not only does this place do awesome breakfast but they also offer a great range of designer clothes for sale that are all amazing. Twice I have succumbed to the quality and beauty of their garments and walked away with something, but this time I put on a strong face and walked out with just a satisfied belly.

Yesterday I enjoyed their avocado and vegemite on toast with house beans on the side (I love beans and definitely recommend these).I’ve never had the avocado and vegemite combination before but it was a winner, the saltiness is a great addition to the avo. I also love the rye bread this place does, nice small but thick slices that are perfect for the toppings.

It may be only Monday but i’m already looking forward to new brunches this weekend!

It’s a revolution

A review of Perth’s Restaurant Revolution entry La Linea

We are well and truly living in a food revolution and it’s fiercely competitive. Meals are more elaborate than ever, desserts far more decadent, and restaurant owners are realising that their customers care just as much about their dining environment as what is on their plate.

Reality TV shows such as Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules have fed our desire to see people take food to new heights and from this Tuesday Channel 7’s Restaurant Revolution will hit our screens.

The show sees teams from five of Australia’s capital cities competing to turn their restaurant vision into a reality.

Perth’s entry into the competition is Spanish restaurant La Linea in Leederville run by WA sisters Carmen and Nicole.DSCF2838 (1)The restaurant, which opened this week, has been temporarily set up inside a number of large shipping containers. While it’s unusual appearance certainly makes a statement on Oxford Street the inside of the restaurant is lovely and quaint.

La Linea is on the small side for a restaurant and has a cosy and intimate feel. The back wall, on first glance, appears to be brick, but amusingly is just a wallpaper — well played.DSCF2867The decor follows the mantra ‘less is more’ with fake candle light fixtures and a floral wall near the entrance, there’s just enough to create a nice space without going over board.

The largest part of the restaurant has been built using stacked shipping containers, which create a high ceiling and provide a great feeling of space for a small place.DSCF2847La Linea has a tapas style menu and customers may find they need to ask a few questions of their waiter to decipher it.

To start we ordered the Pan con Tumacas (crispy bread, tomato, garlic, olive oil and sea salt) and the Croquetas de Jamon con Queso (jamon and cheese croquettes).DSCF2859The bread was a nice light starter, slightly salty and very well seasoned. The waiter recommended adding the Boquerones (marinated white anchovies) as the saltiness would complete the bread. We didn’t add the anchovies and I feel they may have made the whole meal far too salty.DSCF2862Cheese lovers would scoff down the croquettes, which quickly sold out on the night and have been a popular menu item all week.

The specialty drink on the menu, the House made Horchata, was the perfect accompanying drink to wash down the appetisers. The Horchata is a traditional Spanish almond cinnamon drink made on the premise. A very time consuming drink to make due to the sifting of the almonds and rice, but well worth the effort from the team at La Linea as this definitely took the cake as my most enjoyable part of the night. Gentle on the palette but with a wonderful zing of cinnamon after every sip.DSCF2856From the Carnes (meats) menu the Paella Valenciana (paella with chicken, Baldivis rabbit, saffron, mojo picon) both looked and tasted amazing with its deep orange colour and mildly spicy flavours

We also ordered the Cordero Asado (six hour roasted lamb shoulder, jus, paprika, peppers). The shoulder was an impressively large piece of meat which fell beautifully off the bone. The jus was the perfect accompaniment and balance of flavours.DSCF2870 DSCF2883With such reasonably large meat dishes we were feeling quite full, so to finish we shared the Flan de Nata con Frutas (vanilla flan with berries).

For those who like something to finish but without the sickly sweet end of a meal hangover this flan is perfect. Topped with two very sweet pieces of toffeed honeycomb, the flan refreshed the palette with a hint of sugar without the overload I have come to expect from most restaurant desserts.DSCF2888La Linea is open Wednesday to Sunday for lunch (12-4pm) and Wednesday to Saturday for dinner (6-11pm) at 103 Oxford Street Leederville.

Restaurant Revolution airs on Channel 7 Tuesday July 28.