Video: Me Making coffee

So this is my routine for making coffee. I have a Rancilio Silvia and a Rancilio Rocky. I roast my own beans from time to time, but most of the time I can’t be bothered and ended up buying some from a local roaster. This little clip is not a single continuous scene… unfortunately I’m not coordinated enough to do the whole thing perfectly as well as one handed in one take. So it’s from a few different sessions of me finding ways to occupy myself that don’t involve actual work.

Feel free to laugh or cringe, whichever takes your fancy.

Duck Sausage Curry

Duck Sausage Curry

What do you do when you have a hankering for something different, as a curry, without breaking the bank ? You buy duck sausages ! (of course).

Last time I went to my local butchers (The excellent Meat the Butcher in Dog Swamp Shopping Centre), to find duck for my curry. The friendly chap on the other end of the meat cleaver suggested I try their duck sausages as an alternative. I decided against it at the time, as I wanted the gaminess that duck breast provides that time around… but then found myself strangely drawn back there the following week (I have a certain attraction to butchers, kitchen supply stores, and bottle shops, which I’m sure that puts me in a certain category I should be concerned about).

So I bought three lovely duck sausages at a pittance (compared to duck breast) and rushed away gleefully to find a recipe for them. But what do you know… in a first for food nerds the world over…the internet failed me… Searching for all manner of terms including “duck sausages” “duck curry sausages” “curry sausages” “+sausages +curry +duck -sweetandsour” etc provided nothing that I could easily steal and proudly claim for my own. So it was up to my wiley self to come up with something suitable.

My thinking cap firmly on, I raided the spice rack for every conceivable thing I could think of that might go well with duck sausages, and came up with this.

Duck Sausage Curry

  • 3 Duck Sausages
  • 6 baby potatoes halved
  • 1 bulb baby fennel
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon chilli powder (less if you’re a weeny)
  • 2 teaspoons fenugreek
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • handful of curry leaves
  • 100 ml coconut cream

So basically I do my curries in a similar style most times, whether it be right or wrong. I started off by dry roasting the dry spices (fennel, coriander, and fenugreek) for about 30 seconds in a hot pan, then taking them out and putting them into my mortar and pestle to be ground finely.

Then add some butter/oil/ghee (whatever you like to cook with) to the pan and fry the chopped onions, fennel, and garlic at a relatively low heat until translucent and soft. At the same time (and this is probably cheating), I have the potatoes boiling in their own pot of water, so I don’t need them to cook in the curry itself, which saves a bit of time.

So once the onion mixture is nice and soft… add all the dry spices, the turmeric, chilli powder, and other stuff that was ground up, and coat the onion mixture with it nicely, so all the turmeric is absorbed into the mixture, and it colours it. Now add your duck sausages that have been sliced up into pieces (as chunky as you like them). Stir them all around and get them coated in the onions and spices too, and perhaps add a little water if the mixture is starting to stick to the pan and dry out.

Once the sausages are nicely coated and basically cooked, add the potatoes (which should be cooked but still firm), and the coconut cream and curry leaves, and then stir it all through so the sauce is nice and thick and the colour has absorbed all throught the coconut cream. Taste it and see if it needs anything else at this point, like more chilli or salt/pepper, and if not, turn the heat down, put a lit on the pan, and let the flavours absorb for a little while.

When you’re happy with how it’s looking, and all those wonderful flavours have pervaded every corner of your kitchen. Spoon it out over a pile of steaming hot rice, and dig it. One of the tastiness creations I’ve made in a long time.

And introduce yourself to your local butcher. You never know what great things they may have in the back of those fridges just waiting for you to discover them.


Poached obsession

So on a lazy Sunday morning, waking up at the crack of noon, making my lady and I some poached eggs and easing ourselves into the day the way only we can… It was a nice surprise to find this little blog mentioned in an article in The Australian. I’m not sure why I get a buzz out of seeing myself in print, it’s happened a few times now, but I guess it’s nice to get a little recognition, or at least to know that I’m not the only person reading it… which would be sad.

The Australian reads me.

So I had a call from Steve the day before to let me know that he’d come across it, and so we headed out and bought a copy to see just exactly what was there. The article is an interesting piece based on an article in the New York Times, about how food bloggers are having an impact on how restaurants and other establishments market themselves, and under what level of scrutiny they fall. It was critical in particular of US bloggers who interrogate staff on the opening night for all the information they can get, so they get their review out first.

The article then went on to talk about Melbourne food blogger Ed of Tomatom, and how he’s had positive experiences with people finding reviews of restaurants on his site, that have been largely ignored by traditional media reviewers.

So… in short, US bad, Australia good… bloggers, keep your opinions to yourselves. The bit involving me was a link at the end of the article (I tried to click it, but it went nowhere), to a page I put together that lists the top Australian food blogs by querying technorati for rankings. So a nice little spot of publicity, and a bit of excitement on an otherwise yawn worthy weekend… Still, that’s just the way we like them around here.

The excitement over, I went and made myself a coffee and in my rush to drink it, managed to spill it over the paper… from fame to coffee stain in 2 seconds… still, the coffee was great, and my latte art is reaching a stage of sloppy consistency that will no doubt have the real baristas quaking in their boots in no time, as they prepare themselves for the W.A Barista Competition.

Some days are good like that.

morning coffee

W.A Barista Championships


Just passing on a message here folks. The W.A Barista Championships are nearing, very close in fact. So here are a few of the details from the man himself, Ben Bicknell of the W.A Barista Academy, who is a representative of AASCA, and organiser of the competition.

W.A baristas, this is your chance to show your skills and get some great insight on the only competition that will give you access to compete in the Australian and World barista championships.

Get on down and get involved !


Bringing you the latest event on the Coffee Industry Calendar of WA:
The official W.A. heats for the AASCA Australian Barista Championships!!

This is just a quick message to give you the initial information about the AASCA WA Barista Championships (WABC). If you are a coffee distributor, coffee roaster or just know of other people who may be interested in this event, feel free to forward this email on.

This year the WABC is moving to a bigger, slicker and more accessible location of the City of Perth Town Hall (crn of Barrack and Hay Street).

The event will be held over two days on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th of March. An information session consisting of a general run through, tips for the competitions and the opportunity to practice on the competition espresso machine will be held around a week before the competition (possibly Sunday 25th February). Additional practice sessions may be available throughout the week preceding the competition.

Any resident within Western Australia is eligible to enter. The winner of the WABC will secure their place in the AASCA Australian Barista Championships on April 29th, the winner of which will represent the nation at the World Barista Championships in Tokyo, Japan later in the year.

The WABC is an independent competition run by the AustralAsian Specialty Coffee Association (AASCA), a national non-profit organization. See for more details.

If you would like further information, would like a copy of the rules and score sheets or would like an application form, visit the AASCA website: Also, feel free to either give me a call on 0439 511 881, email me at or alternatively email AASCA at

Further information about the event and prizes will be forthcoming.

Ben Bicknell
Secretary for the AASCA Australian Barista Guild
W.A. Convener for the AustralAsian Specialty Coffee Association

A (Curry) Night to Remember

Curry !

I had the idea recently of organising a little curry night. I’ve been getting into all sorts of curry over the past couple of years, spurred on by Sharon introducing me to some excellent Malaysian curry. I’d never really understood the curry before then. I just figured it was a hot spicey kind of soup that other people ate, and that I didn’t like. I’m not sure why I had that idea, but I think it’s an important one to get rid of if you ever want to experience all the world of food has to offer.

Since then I haven’t looked back, having tried out a whole range of Malaysian, Thai, Southern Indian, North Indian, and Vietnamese curries, a good number of Moroccan tajines (which are almost kinda like curry), and doing my best to avoid Japanese curry, which still defies all logic.

So just last Saturday night a few of our closest curry making friends dropped by to share the love, and the food in their own special way. Sharon and I spent the better part of the day procuring supplies from Kongs (the local Asian supermarket), and preparing the base for her curry. I’m always amazed walking around in those places… it’s like, just when you think you have a pretty decent grasp on a type of food, you step one foot into a store, look around, realise you don’t know what even half of the stuff is for, and suddenly feel very small again.

A recent discovery along those lines for me personally was Asafoetida… which i’m sure is pretty common to my sub continental readers, but was a complete mystery to me. Turns out it’s a kind of spice made from the resin extracted out of the stems and roots of the Ferula plant, and is used particularly by Indians who are practitioners of Jainism, as a replacement for certain foods (onions, ginger, garlic) that they aren’t allowed to eat.

That has nothing to do with this post of course, other than to state formally that I still know bugger all about a great many things… and any education my learned readers are able to give is always appreciated.

So on to the curries.

Dan and Mabel brought a lovely lamb curry, I would say vindaloo, but I might be wrong, so i’ll stay general for now.
Dave and Mel also brought a lamb curry, this was a southern Indian style dish with no coconut milk and a predominant clove, cinnamon flavour to it.
Jen and Ben brought a Bicol Express (!). My first experience with Filipino curry and apparently one of the few of such dishes that exist in the Phillipines, It’s basically pork, chicken, beans, chilli, tumeric, and… ummm, stuff. Very tasty indeed and sadly too hot for the creator to manage, but well done Jen for taking one for the team.

Sharon made a Malaysian chicken curry. This one had a lot of ginger, chilli, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, garlic, onion, tumeric… all blended into a wonderful paste that got smeared all over the chicken (one the bone) while they cooked away for a good few hours til nice and fall apart-ified.
I was stuck for options, not having a home land from which to draw curry making experience from I either had to choose from my list of previous conquests that turned out ok, or tread the lonely road of experimental curry making.

Lamb curry Duck Curry

Plucking up all my courage, I turned the pages of Mel’s curry book she had kindly lent me, and settled on one that looked sufficiently different yet still tasty… Duck curry. A slightly odd choice perhaps, and not the most well known of all curries, but it was in the book dammit, and apparently is quite popular in the Kerala region of India where water fowl are more prevalent, and clearly not fast enough to not get eaten.

So I started with Duck breast… three of em, skinned and cubed. Fried a little fenugreek and fennel seeds in some oil and then added a whole onion, two green chillis, and a good dose of shredded ginger. When that was nice and soft I added some more chilli powder and a dash of turmeric. To that lovely concoction went the duck breast, to get coated and loved with all the spices and flavours. The rest was simple, throw in a few baby potatoes, a handful of curry leaves and a spash or three of coconut cream, and Babu’s your uncle. It turned out pretty darn good even if I do say so myself, and I do… Of course I am the worlds most biased food critic, and can quite easily overlook the slighty dry and somewhat gamey texture of the duck, which perhaps would have been nicer had I used it on the bone and cooked it for a couple more hours. Still, it was a triumph for experimental curriests the world over, and a great first effort.

Mel's mango cocunut puddings

We finished off with these lovely little mango and coconut puddings that Mel lovingly coaxed out their shells and served with a good dollop of ice cream.

All in all a great night, and like all things curry, the best was yet to come. Two days later and I’m still going strong with the left overs, and as much as a fan of Johnny Cash I am, there hasn’t been one ring of fire to speak of. Thanks to everyone for putting in the effort and all I can say is the next one will have some huge expectations… Anyone know where I can buy Iguana ?

Sayers Food

Sayers Sayers Sayers

I am officially the king of the lazy posts. I keep on meaning to write more, but I always end up writing less. So please consider this offering as a token of my appreciation that people continue to come to my site in search of content, most often to find nothing.

It was recently made aware of a new establishment in Leederville called Sayers Food, by the ever thoughtful Jen of the W.A Barista Academy. Sayers Food has been open for about 4 weeks now, and is located next to Cinnamon Club in Carr Place, Leederville, in the premises that used to be occupied by the most excellent Eminem Modern Turkish (before they got too cool for Leederville and moved to Nedlands).

The fit out of the shop maintains the cool vibe hat Eminem created during it’s brief tenure in Leederville, with a relaxed yet classy atmosphere created with a bench along one side filled with cushions, dark wood grains on the tables, and beautiful textures running through the tableware and wallpapers. But really, who cares about layout (aside from interior decorators), it’s all about the food isn’t it ??

So I strolled in on a lazy afternoon when everyone thought I was somewhere else. I was due to have a meeting in Subiaco later on in the afternoon, and so I justified my brief sojourn into Leederville as a mere pit stop on the path to productivity that is my working life, plus it was already well past midday and I hadn’t had lunch… it was basically a matter of survival… yeh, lets go with that.

Smoked Salmon BrouilladeFlat white

Without much of a chance to look at a menu I opted for whatever looks tasty in the display window. This time round that was a smoked salmon brouillade, which was slightly confusing because I was under the impression that a brouillade was some form of scrambled something or other. So it possibly should have been called a smoked salmon and spinach brouillade being as there was a creamy spinach type mixture wrapped around the salmon. Actually, maybe it was called that… I have a habit of misreading menus and ending up confusing myself with over analysis. The dish itself was great, fresh and light but still filling, with great textures coming through the salmon, spinach, and cream cheese (I think) filling. A lovely little salad of wilted cucumber strands in a light vinaigrette accompanied my “brouillade” just nicely.

The coffee they are using at Sayers Food is 5 Senses, and they’re using a La Marzocco Linea. I asked how they made their coffees and they explained that the shots were pulled quite short. Happy that I wasn’t going to be getting half a cup full of bitter espresso, I ordered a flat white which was great… lovely flavours coming through what is clearly a nice blend, however probably a bit too foamy for my liking. Still, vastly superior to what they are serving in Oxford 130 around the corner as far as I am concerned.

Problem is though, it’s not just me who’s concerned, it’s everyone. Oxford 130 seems to have a strangle hold on the coffee loving community of Perth. It is a much loved hangout and beacon to the trendy masses that flock to Leederville for their fill of trucker caps, aviator glasses, and quirky original t-shirts. So whilst the coffee at Sayers is pretty good, it won’t be knocking 130’s off as the cafe of choice anytime soon. It doesn’t have that same shabby vibe that 130s does… its trendy, but a little too trendy for those types who don’t feel comfortable sitting on anything other than a milk crate, drinking long mac’s and discussing how to make the world a better place.

Still, that’s besides the point. Sayers Food is it’s own cafe. According to the guys at Five Senses, Mark Sayer (owner and namesake of Sayer Food, along with his wife Steph), has 25 years experience as a chef, and prides himself on creating great food with local fresh produce. This really shines through as the food I had was fresh and fantastic, and there is always room in this city for someone with a passion for their food, and a commitment to quality.

Hopefully Sayers Food continues to bring people in and raise the bar for quality food and coffee in Leederville.

Sayers Food
Shop 1/ 224 Carr Place, Leederville
p: 9227 0429


A summer wedding

The cut

Another quick one, just to proudly announce the marriage of my brother Francis to his beautiful new bride Joelle. They were married this past weekend here in Perth. It was a wonderfully unique ceremony (they both work in media, so there was plenty of music and videos playing throughout), an excellent reception lunch (organised by Mum with the help of a small army of volunteers), and some eloquent, funny and emotional toasting (accompanied by a pleasant Australian sparkling sourced by yours truly).


The moment says it all really.

Touch ups

The only problem was that it was so hot (41 C in Perth that day, with little to no breeze), that the makeup artist (aka the lovely Sharon) had a hard time making sure the sweat from the grooms face didn’t wipe off all of her hard work…


Still, nothing that a refreshing minty mojito couldn’t fix.

It was a great day and night, and I wish them all the best for their new life together.

Soppy post over… be assured, this blog will return to it’s usual sarcastic self shortly.