Barista School

Naked portafilter (by Abstract Gourmet)

Just a quicky post. Dtm and I headed down to the W.A Barista Academy for a bit of schooling just the other day. We were taken through a 3 hour session with the lovely Jen on coffee techniques, grinding, dosing, tamping, pulling shots, texturing milk, a little latte art, and general machine maintenance. All in all a great course and an excellent way to get a solid grasp of the basics of preparing espresso.

Dtm pouring a latte (by Abstract Gourmet)   Dtm's cup

There was 4 of us all up in the course and with 2 x 2 group La Marzocco Lineas to play with, everyone had ample access to the machines, and a lot of time to spend practicing shots over and over until they were coming out right. Jen covered tamping techniques, using correct pressure, adjusting the grind to suit conditions of beans, and also gave us some tips on how to maintain a consistent routine (something I never seem to do) so that your shots are all made the same way, with the only variable factor being the grind.
The course was excellent, Jen is a great teacher, and the amount of people just was right so that everyone got a lot of time to just pump the shots out.

It makes me really regret ever paying to do a course called Prepare and Serve Espresso Coffee at the Perth School of Hospitality and Tourism. The course was a joke. There was about 20 or so people in the class and one dodgy coffee machine and grinder. We all had about 5 minutes in total to use the machine and we were being taught by someone who had never worked in a cafe in her life, and who’s recommendation on where to find good coffee in Perth was to go to Dome (enough said). The sad thing was, some people in the course were hoping it would teach them the skills they’d need to get work in the industry. If you happen to find this post and you’re look for barista training… DO NOT TAKE THAT COURSE !

Testament to the quality of the courses at the WA Barista Academy is that Dtm was pulling awesome shots in no time at all (although he is a skill home barista), and after little to no instruction at all managed to whip out a fine first example of a rosetta (below). How sweet is that ?

We also managed to find time to put the naked portafilter on (the top photo), and make some shots with that. It’s basically a really good way of locating weaknesses in your dosing and tamping routine, because you can see the coffee coming out of the basket as it extracts, and you can tell if it’s coming out of one side and not the other etc. A great tool for making sure you have got the technique down.

Dtm's rosetta

We’ll also be going back soon for a more in depth latte art course, for all those fancy flowers, hearts, and patterns people seem to love so much. Look forward to seeing some more cool photos, and if you’re in need of some training, get in touch with WABA, they will sort you out.

W.A Barista Academy
Phone: (08) 9328 7675
Fax: (08) 9328 6805



Take one serious coffee lover with an idea about how things should be and a growing dissatisfaction at not finding it in his own backyard, and Mooba is what you get.

It’s the latest addition to the growing number of quality cafes in Perth that I think are doing things right, by taking an approach of continual learning and improvement to make sure their coffee is consistently good.

Mooba is situated right in the heart of Wembley, on the corner of Cambridge St and Jersey St, right next to the bank, and down the road from the Wembley Hotel, it’s basically built into the alcove of a small block of shops.

Mark (the owner) of Mooba wanted to bring the concept of the coffee bar to this area by creating a relaxed space where people could sit and chat and drink great coffee. Sadly, planning officials didn’t think too kindly of this idea, because apparently you can’t have something with no walls that needs a roof. So the bar was morphed into what I’d called a coffee kiosk. A little room housing the coffee equipment, fridges, and a display cabinet, but otherwise stripped to the bare essentials.

The first time Sharon and I dropped in to check the place out after getting the low down from the effervescent Ben of the WA Barista Academy, we were surprised to hear a barista in an indepth conversation on coffee roasting with some customers. Sounds like my kind of place I thought, and soon found out that the aforementioned roasters were none other than Matt n Bec, a couple of discerning local coffee geeks and home roasters who know their way around a cup. Happy to be in good company, we sampled a few ourselves.

The Mooba blend is roasted by 5 Senses, it’s got a nice body, and a chocolately aftertaste, not the same kind of acidity or floral highlights as some other blends, but it’s very easy to drink and pleasing in a short black as well as in milk. The bulk of the work being done by a solid PNG base, with some Brazilian and something else I forget filling it out nicely.

Fritz makes coffee

On my next visit to Mooba, a week or so later, I was also able to sample it as a double ristretto and as a flat white. Both worked well for me, but I probably should have drunk the flat white before the ristretto, because after that intensity of coffee, a flat white just tastes like milk.

I have to say though, the thing I liked the best about Mooba were the staff. They are all so enthusiastic and eager to please, it’s like the Brady Bunch opened a cafe (no offence guys :) ). That attitude definitely bodes well for the future, with Mark taking a proactive approach to training (all staff have completed advanced level training courses at WABA), and giving the barista a little piece of ownership that they can sink their teeth into. Expect good things to be heard about these guys in the near future.

Oh, and try the Bircher muesli and yoghurt with fresh berries, it’s like a whole meal in a cup. Great for people wanting a healthy start to the day, and those who are frequently so lazy that they need to combine all their meals into one… ala me.

Bircher muesli with yoghurt and berries

Mooba Wembley
320 Cambridge St, Wembley


Green Tea House

How to pour tea

Tucked away in a small corner of Subiaco is one of the most charming shops I’ve come across in a very long time. Regular readers of this blog will be well aware that coffee is my beverage of choice most mornings, but even more diligent readers will also have picked up that my household often looks for inspiration from the land of the rising sun due to Sharon spending a couple of years there on exchange.

Spending a Sunday afternoon lazily gallivanting around the city we happened to be strolling down Hay St towards Subiaco when we happened to stumble (I do a lot of stumbling) into Green Tea House, the delightful tea shop owned by the exceedingly friendly Mr Wasaki.

What followed was probably an hour and a half’s worth of tasting tea, talking about tea, talking about coffee, talking about Japan, talking about food, talking about Japanese food in Japan, talking about Japanese food in Australia, talking about Chinese tea compared to Japanese tea, smelling tea in an incense burner, and eventually, actually buying some tea. As you might have guessed, Mr Wasaki likes to talk. He is a well schooled individual who has been living in Australia for the better part of 15 years now, having moved over here with his wife and family quite some time ago, but only recently having followed his heart by starting his own business importing and selling the tea he so dearly loves.

That tea in question is of course Japanese green tea. High grade, hand picked, vacuum packed, and air shipped for maximum freshness, Mr Wasaki leaves little to chance. His tea’s range from the everyday Sencha, to the superior Gyokuro, and having gotten to try just about all of them, I can say they are all quite good. I was also glad to have finally found somewhere that sells Matcha (the ground tea powder made from Gyokuro, used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies, and a damn good ice cream flavouring :) ).

Not just sticking with tea, he also sells Noren (traditional Japanese curtains used to hang in homes or shops as a welcome banner), as well as a number of special Japanese foods and sweets that no doubt have the ex-pats coming back on a regular basis.

He also sells a whole range of tea cups and bowls, which go along with his tips for preparing the tea properly, i.e: NEVER pour boiling water over tea leaves. You will bring the bitter flavours out, rather, pour the water from the kettle into another bowl first, and then wait a few minutes til the water is roughly 80C before pouring it into the tea leaves.

Green Tea House

The tea itself is great. I can’t say I am in any way a tea fanatic, jasmine, oolong, and russian caravan is about as exotic as I’ve been, but the flavours of the high end Japanese teas were outstanding. Clean and crisp, yet with an almost buttery finish to many of them, most markedly pronounced in the Gyokuro, we could not help but buy a pack of our own and go home to continue the experiment. I also picked myself up a can of matcha, and have been sprinkled it into everything I think is sprinklable.

My only concern is that Mr Wasaki is a little too friendly for his own good. He almost talked me out of buying the Matcha because he said he could get me something more suitable for cooking with, and then he almost forgot to charge me when I went to pay. His enthusiasm and love for his products shows through more than anything however, and it’s this coupled with his quiet unassuming nature that make Green Tea House a welcome respite from so many shops who just want to take your money and get you out the door. If ever you find yourself in the area, do yourself a favour and drop in to sample some excellent Japanese tea in a very relaxing atmosphere.

Green Tea House
Shop 17, 375 Hay St
Tel: (08) 9388 7245


Fiori Coffee


So I said I was going to spill the beans (ha… ha) on Fiori coffee, the latest addition to the gourmet coffee scene in our fair city (Perth that is), so here it is.

Kamran and Louise Nowduschani are the team behind Fiori, having moved over from Sydney a year or so ago after selling their previous roasting venture, they have quickly propelled themselves up to being one of Perth’s best local roasters in terms of quality and consistency, as far as I’m concerned at least.

Kamran is from the old school of coffee roasting, meaning he’s not comfortable letting the machinery do all the work for him. His roasting methods are a work of timing, temperature, and that elusive element that is a feel for the personality of each roast. As much as you’d like to think that roasting is a process of exact measures and maintaining absolute consistency, it’s also a case that no two roasts are exactly the same, not even two roasts of the same bean, so being able to understand how each roast is progressing and coax it towards the desired result is a great skill to have.

Fiori currently have one main blend of coffee, it’s put together with a number of different beans that all serve a different purpose. There are beans used for body, others for acidity, other for floral highlights or spicy qualities, but all coming together to create a blend that is interesting and punchy as an espresso, but still cuts through in milk nicely. It’s also Kamran’s skill as a blender and cupper that ensure this flavour profile remains consistent from year to year, regardless of availability of the beans.


The coffee is of course, all arabica, not a robusta in sight, although simply saying arabica doesn’t mean much. There are plenty of places using
cheap and average arabica beans that would most correctly be identified as “commodity” coffee. These are beans that are bought from the large markets in Brazil and other countries, and are basically bags of coffee sourced from all over the place and graded pretty low. These are the kind of beans you’ll find most often in major brand label coffee that fill supermarket shelves around the country. Fiori (and any quality roaster for that matter) where possible use estate grown, single origin beans. What this means is that each bag of coffee that arrives at the roastery comes either directly from the estate or through a distributor with a specific bean inside. So instead of the bag saying “Brazilian”, it will say something like PNG Bunum Wo Peaberry, indicating the country, region, and screening of the bean.

If that all sounded like drivel, then don’t get too caught up in it, just get the point that quality comes from knowing your beans and being able to use that knowledge to manipulate the flavour profile of your blend to highlight the best qualities of your beans. Something that you soon realise is a big deal to Kamran after speaking to him for more than a minute. He is meticulous when it comes to tasting and everytime I’ve dropped in to see him he’s been buzzing from drinking so much espresso, definitely a good sign for anyone seriously concerned with producing great coffee.

So after a rapid introduction to Perth last year, I’m looking forward to more good things from Fiori this year, Kamran has recently upgraded his funky French Samiac to a much larger Deidrich, which gives him the capacity to roast a lot more coffee to supply what I envision will be a lot of new cafes in the near future.

Fiori are currently supplying a number of cafes around the city, namely Tiger Tiger in the CBD, Boucla in Subiaco, The Blue Duck in Cottesloe, and a bunch of others I have yet to try but will no doubt get around to soon. Stop by one of those places sometime soon and give it a try, or buy some beans yourself if you’re more of a DIY kinda person.

So whilst we in the Perth coffee scene are far from being spoilt for choice, the future is definitely looking brighter with people like Kamran and Louise coming into the market, who actually care about their product and are open and honest in their approach to raising standards. Which is something I really respect.

Fiori coffee beans

Fiori Coffee
9 Douglas St, West Perth
T: (08) 9328 4988

Tuna Tataki

Tuna Tataki

First of all, we didn’t ever really eat fish in my family. If we did, it was covered in cheese and breadcrumbs and called Tuna Casserole… It bore no relation to actual fish, and aside from Friday night Fish & Chips, was as close as we got to be pescetarians. Not one of the better creations we got to eat, but it was normally paired along side macaroni cheese on a lazy night when Mum didn’t really feel like cooking… so i’ll let her off the hook this time.

So… that fact established… Fish is a kind of new thing for me, raw fish especially so. Sharon however, is at the opposite end of the spectrum. She spent a couple of years in Japan and came back raving about how great the sushi and sashimi was there, and now frequently bemoans the paltry variety of seafood available in Australia.

I of course, being the patriot that I am, stand up for our fine fish stocks and ocean life, saying that we have plenty of things of the sea that we could be eating if we so desired… but the reality of the matter is that she’s right (just don’t tell her that… we’ll see how long she takes to read this and find out). The sushi in Australia, or Perth more specifically, can in no way be compared to that of Japan. Half of the things they eat on a regular basis I have never heard of, and would not be able to identify if they sitting right in front of me.

Recently I’ve begun to develop a taste for good fish though… taking the philosophy that if any kind of produce is of a high enough quality, it should be able to be eaten on it’s own with only the most basic of cooking or flavouring. It works for wagyu carpaccio, so why not fish ? I’m also not the kind of person to not try something on account of it being strange or different, so I suppose turning into a raw fish eater was inevitable.

So a little research into top quality sushi reveals there is a lot to know about Tuna. Firstly, it should not come in a can (in case you were wondering), secondly there are many grades of Tuna. Only the top grades of tuna are good enough to be called “sashimi grade”, and those towards the bottom are often called “cat food”.

So imagine our delight when we found out that a Japanese fish supplier would be opening up shop just down the road from us, serving up a large range of… sashimi grade tuna !
Fish Japan is the latest addition to the budding gourmet hot spot that is Dog Swamp Shopping Centre in Yokine. It has a small range of sushi and sashimi, but some excellent quality fish, from which I was able to procure two lovely big chunks of high grade sashimi tuna for the dish I have taken so long to tell you about… Tuna Tataki.

So… take one piece of excellent sashimi grade tuna, dip it in soy sauce, smother it all over with wasabi paste, and then cover it entirely with sesame seeds. Feel free to add a little sesame oil to the soy sauce for a bit more sesame goodness.

Sashimi grade tuna Tuna Tataki - rolled and ready

Once covered in sesame seeds, heat a pan with a little oil (sesame, olive) until it’s really hot (almost smoking), and then very quickly sear the tuna all over. My piece was cut into a thick rectangular block, so I simply left it on each side for 10 – 20 seconds before turning it over until it was done. Then out of the pan, and with a sharp/thin knife, try and elegantly slice your tuna into tasty little pieces.

I served mine very simply with sushi rice that Sharon prepared old school style (in a wooden bowl with a fan)… but you could quite easy knock together a simple dipping sauce of soy and wasabi and whatever else you have on hand if you so desire. It’s not the most “authentic” way to appreciate sashimi of course, but for a pleb like me, it was a great way of preparing the fish where I could get the full flavour and texture in it’s most raw form, whilst retaining a little Western respectability on the outside.

So put those cans back on the shelves, head out of the cat food isle, into the fish shop, and introduce yourself to good quality sashimi today ! (or tomorrow… I’m not pushy).

DMBLGIT December 2006 Winners

Does anyone even remember last year ? It suddenly seems like so long ago… but there are still a few loose ends to tie together. That being the announcement of the winners of DMBLGIT for December 2006 ! (Note: All the photos were taken in November 2006, which is why I was initially calling it the November 2006 competition, but have since corrected it, as the competition always runs one month after the photos were taken).

The judges were asked to score each photo submitted on three categories, edibility, originality, and aesthetics. The combination of these categories has been used in the past, and I think it’s a good idea, as there are points in each category to be won for people with less technologically advanced camera setups as others. The scoring was very close in some categories, but I was very happy with the overall results. This means that there is an overall winner, and then a winner of each individual category (who has not already won something else), which means more people coming away with prizes. We had some excellent entries this year, and overall the standard was very very high…

So with no further ado, here are the winners.

Winner of Edibility

Ilva of Lucullian Delights with Balsamic Vinegar and Pistacchio Truffles

Winner of Originality

Jennifer of Fer Food with her beautiful Bacon Flowers

Winner of Aesthetics

This was so close we actually had a three way tie.

Bea of La Tartine Gourmande with her Fall Medley Vegetable Soup — Soupe automnale de légumes variés

Nicole of Pinch My Salt with her Pumpkin Roll

Riana of For the Love of Baking with her Green Tea Pudding

Which leaves us with the overall winner this month being…. drum roll…

Overall Winner

Jules of Stone Soup with her Stuffed Baby Squid

Many thanks to the judges, Celine of Black Salt, Anthony of Spiceblog, Bron of Bron Marshall, Lara of Cook and Eat and Still Life With, for their time and energy, especially over such a time consuming part of the year. Thanks also to Matt of Matt Bites for letting me hack his lovely graphics up for this months prizes, which are available now to be displayed on the winners sites !


Note: despite my attempt at making gold, silver, and bronze coloured prize logos, there is no first, second, or third per se… All winners are winner, and are entitled to show whichever logo they feel best suits the style of their blog.

Thanks again to everyone and congratulation to the winners !

Looking for the next installment of DMBLGIT ? Look no further than Annie’s great site Bon Appageek ! Head on over now and get your entries in.

Worlds best fruit mince pies

fruit mince pies

Are made by my mum. Anne-Marie of The Corrigin Mallee Tree Cafe & Gallery. The recipe is a secret, but if you want to taste perfection, look no further than a little cafe on the main street of Corrigin, in the heart of the West Australian Wheatbelt.

Corrigin is about 230 kms from Perth, out the Brookton Hwy and a worthy spot for anyone looking for a nice relaxing slice of West Australian country air.

West Australian readers should do themselves a favour and take a trip through the wheatbelt soon. Beyond Corrigin there is that 8th wonder of the world Wave Rock, the 9th wonder, Wagin’s giant ram, and 10th -> 17th wonders of lesser known rock formations and ant hills.

Anne-Marie has a reputation in the town, the district, and the greater West Australian baking landscape as an expert of the fruitmince pie, and has been perfecting her craft for many years now, to the point where she has lines of customers waiting for wares as soon as they come out of the oven. Get one while they’re still hot !