Sunday, April 13, 2014


"Absolutely bloody stoked."

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Hopped Negroni

Although I’ve been toying with hop-infused booze for some time, it was the cold-drip Negroni at – deep breath – Enrique’s School for to Bullfighting that convinced me to get a move on. It also steered me towards a bit of drink-making kit I already had in the cupboard and was familiar with: ye olde Vietnamese coffee filter (I should also mention that David Nguyen-Luu had a cocktail on the Rockpool Bar & Grill Perth menu that also involved the same filters, but alas, I'm yet to road-test it). If you haven’t got one, a visit to Tran’s Emporium or your nearest Asian supermarket is a must. You’ll be able to pick up a complete kit consisting of filter, tray, tamp and lid for less than a fiver. As well as allowing you to explore the wonderful world of hop-enhanced cocktails, you’ll also be able to brew your own condensed milk-enriched Vietnamese iced coffee (ca phe sua da) in the mornings.

Like all things Negroni-related, don’t think of this as a set-in-stone recipe, but more of a suggested itinerary. From the type of hops and the amount used to the spirits and their ratios, there’s plenty of room for creativity. I might mention, however, that opting for a drier, more restrained vermouth (ie not Antica Formula) would probably help accentuate this drink’s bitter notes. In this instance, I reached for a bottle of Cocchi Vermouth di Torino rather than my usual Negroni vermouth-of-choice, Dolin Rouge.

And now, the hops. Before beer geeks don their battle flannel, I’m no home brewer. This drink is about taking one (a la mode) aspect of brewing and incorporating it in the fine art of making drinks. Perhaps there are more appropriate hops for this exercise. I'd be stoked if there was. But as a starting point, I’m chuffed with how nicely the Negroni played with the Saaz hops I'd bought from my local homebrew store. Straight out the bag, the hop pellets are a little too big to work in the filter so they'll need to be grounded down with a mortar and pestle (ground the pellets till the hops are about the same coarseness as, funnily enough, Vietnamese coffee). While I’ve settled on a ratio of one heaped tablespoon of crushed hops to 90ml of (undiluted) Negroni, feel free to get as oppy as you like. My advice, however, is start small and, if necessary, pass the drink back through the filter. Like the old cooking adage goes, it’s easier to put seasoning in than take it out.

Best of all, once you get this technique down pat, you can use it to flavour other drinks, perhaps using flowers that are local, in-season and not shipped in from elsewhere on the planet. Also, a disclaimer of sorts: while Google searches for “hopped Negroni” didn’t unearth much, this technique isn't new new and I'll willingly acknowledge that people have been flavouring booze since the advent of distillation. Still, it's relatively straight-forward and doesn't require anything woundingly expensive. And if it adds a new string to your drink-making bow, I'm happy. Oh, and I’m pleased to report it tasted how I hoped it would. Resiny hop aromatics with a pronounced bitterness to the usual Negroni flavour profile. Good luck and keen to hear any thoughts you might have.

Hopped Negroni
30ml Tanqueray 10 gin
30ml Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
30ml Campari
1 heaped tablespoon of crushed Saaz hop pellets

Stir gin, vermouth and Campari over ice for 15 seconds. Strain into a Vietnamese coffee filter filled with crushed hops and allow liquid to slowly pass through (this should take around four minutes). Pour hopped Negroni into a rocks glass with two large cubes of ice. Serve at once.

Friday, June 14, 2013

July truffle market in Perth

Black truffle and four-year-old Comté, Agapé Substance. Bazinga!

The below has been (lazily) copied and pasted from an email from the Gala Restaurant's Hans Lang. Anyone else thinking a hangover-busting bacon and egg roll souped up with fresh shaved truffle?:

Yes, this year's Truffle Festival in Mundaring has been cancelled. However, the Gala Restaurant together with the Farmers Market on Manning and The Wine & Truffle Co (the pioneers of truffle growing in WA) have joined forces and we will offer Fresh Manjimup Black Truffle and other Gourmet Truffle Products at the Farmers Market on Manning. The small “Truffle Market” will be on Saturday 6th, 13th and 20th of July only. Products available will include fresh Manjimup Truffle, Truffle Mustard, Truffle Salt, Truffle Honey, Truffle Aioli, Truffle Oil and of course the Gala Truffle Butter and the Gala Truffle Ponzu Dressing.

The Farmers Market on Manning is located at Clontarf Campus (opposite the Chem Centre, Curtin University), 295 Manning Road, Waterford.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Memories from the Polaroid tin

Ask people to pose for a Polaroid and they almost always smile. What's not to love?

Ben Shewry (Attica) and Christian Puglisi (Relæ), Attica, Melbourne, March 2012

 Clare Valley, South Australia, February 2012

Hendrick's Theatre of Curiosities, Sydney, April 2012
Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown, New Zealand, July 2011

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dinner with Doris (Saturday November 17)

Just wanted to spruik an event featuring Anthony Georgeff and Jane Cornes - she's on the right in the above picture; with her is friend and other half of music duo Doris, Margie Hanly, not Mr Georgeff - two (retired?) food and drink writers who've played big roles in helping Western Australia eat and drink a little better (Anthony used to edit the sadly defunct Spice Magazine while Jane was Australian Gourmet Traveller's former WA state editor before I took over). Great part of the world, Balingup. If you're after an excuse for a south-west road trip, this'd be a good one. Details of the dinner below copied from press release.

Join WA’s favourite gal duo for a night of good food and fine original music. Includes a three-course long table Spring Feast created by Anthony Georgeff

6.30pm, Balingup Lesser Hall
$65 per person BYO
Bookings essential – book online at or at Taste of Balingup

Monday, October 22, 2012

Golden King BBQ Express, Morley

Seeing as search engines don't crawl instagram comments, I'm going to start reposting images in a blog-ish format for the benefit of those eating out in Perth. First cab off the rank is Golden King BBQ Express in Morley, a spin-off of the Northbridge mothership on William Street. Small place. Eight chairs. BYO. Service standards appear to be set at perfunctory, but really, people who get shirty at brisk service at low-end Chinese restaurants need to check themselves. To the food: the pork in this two-meat combo ($9.30) is a little leaner than I'd like but does what's asked of it. The duck ($9 in the same rice, meat, gravy and vegetable combination), however, is the real star. If more places roasted duck like this - crisp skin, fat properly rendered and the meat pleasingly juicy as - I'd probably promote it from third in my Chinese barbecue rankings. They're not shy with the star anise either, both on the duck itself and, by extension, the gravy too. The chilli oil tastes like it's out of a jar. Not a patch on the deeply flavoured house made version at Aberdeen's excellent Hong Kong BBQ House. All in all, fair value, and a far comelier prospect for a feed in Morley than tackling the hordes at The Galleria.
Shop 19, Morley Market (Walter Rd West), (08) 9375 5556, Mon-Sun 10am-9pm