Spanish Flavours

Rosa Jamon

** Update **

Rosa and Spanish Flavours have finally moved to their new location at the top end of Oxford St, Mt Hawthorn. They are no longer in the Wembley Food Court. The new premises has the deli section as before with chorizo, jamon, and cheeses, and then on the other side is a cafe where they’ll be serving coffee, churros and breakfasts.

New location is 413 Oxford St, Mt Hawthorn (or close to it, look for the Spanish flag coloured building).

I’ve been telling everyone I know about Spanish Flavours since the first time I found about it myself. It is the only (to my knowledge) Spanish providore in Perth, and more importantly, the only one run by Rosa, the dynamo proprietor and doyen of all things Spanish.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a home cook or an award winning chef who’s been running restaurants for years. Rosa will tell you how it’s done. Her cheeky smile and attitude are what fills the humble little store with life and makes it something special. Just ask a few stupid questions (like I do every time), then sit back and wait to be educated.

Rosa’s chorizo is used all over Perth by the most discerning chefs. You’ll find it on the menu at Cantina with her name attached in homage. I really can’t quite say just how much I love it. There was a phase not so long ago where I think I lived on it for the better part of a few weeks. I’d put it in omelettes, paella, risotto, pasta, grilled, fried in red wine, fried in cider, fried in it’s own luscious fat and juices. Friends and late night visitors to my place will attest to just how satisfying it is to mop up a bowl of Roas’s fried chorizo with a thick piece of bread smothered in butter.

flaming chorizo

Aisde from chorizo, her’s is also the best place to find jamon iberico, jamon serrano, manchego cheese, a delicious goats cheese that the name of which escapes me, quince paste, guava paste, saffron, tortilla flour, smoked paprika, paella pans, cazuelas, paella rice (calasparra), and everything else you need to make your next Spanish dish as authentic as possible.

Also, *plug plug plug* if you’d like to know a little more about the delightful lady that is Rosa and her possible links to the world of gypsy magic and mind reading, check out my article in the latest edition of Spice Magazine, which aside from what I scribble down on napkins and throw at Anthony to print, is a rather quality publication with fantastic local content.

Rosa was kind enough to donate some of her time doing what she loves best (talking) so I could put together a little story about the shop, where she’s come from, and where she’s going.

Jabugo La Jabuguena JamonSpanish Flavours :: Guava pasteSpanish Flavours :: ChorizoSpanish Flavours :: PimentonSpanish Flavours :: Paella seasoningSpanish Flavours :: GuayaquilSpanish Flavours :: Papa CriollaCazuelaJamonJamonSlicing Jamon at Spanish FlavoursSlicing Jamon at Spanish FlavoursSlicing Jamon at Spanish FlavoursRosa from Spanish FlavoursRosa from Spanish FlavoursRosa from Spanish Flavours

Spanish Flavours
413 Oxford St
Mt Hawthorn
(08) 9284 1313 (unless it’s changed)


Shiny Shiny

shiny shiny

So yes… That’s right… I have a blog.

Somehow in the crazy mixed up time that is Christmas and New Year and holidays and moving house… I seemed to forget about this little corner of the world.

Not that this post is going to make up for it mind you. It’s just one of those lazy kind of ways to say that I’m still here, and life is good.

It’s also an excuse to introduce you to the newest member of the family, who I have no name for as yet, because the only names I can think of are lame. By deed poll though, he’s Isomac La Mondiale, a modern masterpiece of stainless steel and brass and shininess that has the apartment smelling of wonderful espresso every morning.

More photos of shots and a bit of a review coming soon for the coffee lovers, but this will have to tide you over for now :)

Happiness is a sharp knife

Tools of the trade

I’ve just got my knives back from being professionally sharpened and I am a happy man. I mostly use my 10inch Wusthof classic for most of my chopping, julienning, chiffonading, and the odd COMPLETE AND TOTAL ANNIHILATION of meat, vegetables, and/or herbs. I also use my Wusthof paring knife on a daily basis for peeling, and tidying up the knobby bits on veges and the like. Then there is also an 8 inch Furi East-West (Santoku) knife that I’m trying to get Sharon to use so she doesn’t have to use my Wusthof… but it’s not really working.

Needless to say they get quite a workout at times, and although I keep them pretty sharp with my diamond pronged sharpener and honed with a steel… they still get dull after a while.

So driving along through the city yesterday I happened to be stopped at the lights behind a van that said “Professional Mobile Knife Sharpening !” (actually I added the “!”, because it seemed appropriate). I called the number on the van and talked to the very friendly Ken, who said he’d swing by my work the next day and sort me out.

Ken does all the sharpening for a number of the “King Of Knives” stores in Perth, so if you drop your knives off there, it’ll probably be him who does them, as well as numerous hotels and restaurants throughout the city. He is a busy man.

So in a very Proverbs 27:17 way (except it was man sharpening steel this time), Ken swung by in his van today and went through the process of sharpening my knives. The Furi had a couple of small dents that needed to be ground out on a stone, and then it was onto the grinder with three grit levels taking the edge back to razor sharpness before a finishing buff and polish. The whole setup runs off a small petrol motor in the back of his van. All up, it took about 10 minutes to do three knives and cost me $18… which I was more than happy with.

For a while I’m going to have to stop my normal routine of running my fingers over the edge of the blade to test how sharp it is, because even across ways I’d be scraping my finger prints off…they’re that sharp… or else I could take up burglary… hrmm.

Anyone wanting to get some knife repairs done, or to feel the love that only a razors edge can bring should give Ken a call. Now I just need to find something to cut.

Ken Powell – Professional Knife Sharpening
0418 916 947

On the roasting trail again

my ritual

Well having officially run out of all the beans I’ve been given, it’s back to roasting my own coffee for the time being.
I seem to waver on and off between roasting my own and buying beans from others. I find my own technique doesn’t produce the results as well as the beans I buy from local roasters (well mainly 5 Senses). This could be due to the fact that I’m using an IMEX CR-100. A tiny popcorn popper style roaster that has neither the thermal stability nor the capacity to roast coffee the way it needs to be. If you’re not a purist though, it does a reasonable job, and I am officially the hardest person to please with my own efforts.

The upside to it though, is that I have full control over how my coffee turns out, and can take all the credit when I make someone a delicious espresso or latte on my silvia (espresso machine) :)

So here’s a quick video I pulled together of me roasting some coffee at home. It’s not particularly exciting, but some of you who have never seen what green coffee looks like before may find it interesting.

The coffee blend I used was:

Indian Tiger Mountain A – 60%
PNG Sirehini – 30%
Costa Rican Tarrazu – 10 %

Sorry for the crappy audio/blair witch cameratography/random merengue tracks playing in the background.

You wouldn’t believe how much I laughed when I put those titles and credits on the video. Apologies to anyone who has multimedia skills… Making dodgy videos is just too easy these days.

Home Coffee Roasting

My Sweet Silvia…

Miss Silvia (on my cameraphone)

My Sweet Rancilio Miss Silvia…Has died. I think i left the steam switch on without realising and now the boiler has run dry and fizzled out. All I get is cold (so very very cold) water running out of my group head, and that makes for pretty dire espresso (or rather, no espresso at all). I’m too distraught for a more eloquent account of the situation, but trust me when I say that having anthropomorphised her into an actual being, its quite distressing to see her so sick. I’ve rung a couple of service companies, one of them can’t even look at her until next week, and the other I’m slightly dubious of due to past experience, but seem to know what they are doing. It’s times like this that I wish I hadn’t gotten 8% in my first year electrical engineering exam at Uni. They were confusing times, damn you Kirchoff!

If anything I guess it does give me an excuse to try out French Press coffee on a more than passing interest level. Which also gives me an excuse to start roasting again as well. Single origin coffee is not generally designed for espresso. This depends on the bean of course, but most espresso nuts are of the opinion that a single type of bean does not have the compexity required to make a well rounded shot of espresso, however in a French Press, you can really bring out some of those unique origin qualities that make coffee from different countries taste so good.

I have given up on roasting for a while now, as I find my beans aren’t up to scratch compared to some of the commercial blends I get to try out, so whilst it’s an interesting learning experience, why try to reinvent the wheel basically.

Hopefully Silvia will be back up and running soon though, ready to greet me each morning with a warm smile and a hearty puff from her steam wand, and this madness will all come to an end.

Your thoughts and prayers for her are appreciated in this troubling time.

Just got her back from the repair place, turns out that she had overloaded somehow, and all that needed to happen was to reset some overload switch/circuit inside. Which is kind of annoying in a way because thats something I should have looked for myself. Ahh well… I cleaned her off, removed the obligatory “serviced by some company” sticker that I had asked not to be put on, and cranked her up. All good, lovely espresso and great steam for milk. Gives me a chance to use some of my new Australian Fine China cups that I picked up cheap at their recent stocktake sale at Claremont Showgrounds, where I was manhandled by numerous old ladies stirred up into a bargain hunting frenzy by irresponsible spruikers wanting to clear an entire warehouse full of ceramics. It was like giving matches to a pyromaniac.

Anyway… situation is back to normal. Please return your seat to it’s original upright position.

Milk Frothing Guide

Having recently purchased a beautiful Rancilio Silvia espresso machine, I’ve started getting into espresso in a big way.

One of the biggest things i’m trying to master is the art of milk frothing, and how to create latte art.

For anyone else wanting to get into this pursuit, i will say look no further than the CoffeeGeek milk frothing guide.

It’s an excellent resource that covers the main points of steaming and frothing milk, as well as a bit of the science of milk, and what chemical reactions are involved in getting that velvety smooth microfoam that makes espresso taste so good.

It also covers how to use various grades of espresso machines (basic home machines to full commerical machines) in order to get the desired result.

Now if only i can put some of it into practice.

You can see the results of some of my efforts here.

Hello Miss Silvia & Mr Rocky

Miss Silvia

Yesterday i welcomed two new friends into the household. They were Miss Silvia and Rocky, both of the Rancilio family.

After a long time reading reviews and searching through websites for information about espresso machines, grinders, and all the assorted paraphenalia that goes along with using and maintaining them, i finally decided to jump in.

I found the Silvia and the Rocky both on ebay, via a private seller. The photo’s looked good, the price was reasonable compared to what i’ve seen and the dealer seemed reputable and so i went for it. I dropped my bids in with a week left to go, and lo and behold if a week later i had won both auctions !

So yesterday they arrived and after a quick check to ensure they were in good working order Sharon and I got them working.

The first few shots left a lot to be desired, and after some grind level changes on Rocky and a few back flushes on Silvia we
were back in business. I won’t say the espresso is great yet… but it’s definitely on its way.


Update: Got some great info from Dan the seller, and done a lot more reading on how to get the Silvia setup right for consistently good shots. Sharon is kicking my butt so far… She made an awesome short macchiato for me last night, don’t think i’ve tasted one as good in recent memory.

Check out the photos if you want the real deal :)