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Orange & Poppyseed muffins.. because toast for brekky gets boring!

We tend to get bored of eating toast or cereal for breakfast every morning, so sometimes I go looking for something yummy to bake so we can keep it for breakfast the following day(s). Sometimes we get frozen mantous or rice rolls (chee cheong fun) from the oriental shop to create some variety as well.

But last weekend, we visited the Subi Station St markets for our weekly fruit & veg shop, and jie went to pick up some veggie chips (of which she has an upsetting story to tell) as well as some poppyseeds.

I’ve never seen poppyseeds until I came to Australia, and they would typically be paired with lemon in a muffin/cake. It doesn’t add much flavour or smell, but it is visually appealing, and adds a bit of texture -sometimes you might bite into a seed when chowing down the muffin/cake.

So since we had them, I decided to hunt down a recipe to use them in. Off i went to Dr. G again.. oh what would I have done if the internet wasn’t around? (probably not writing this post.. but I digress!) And I found this orange and poppyseed muffin recipe from taste.com.au (they have some great recipes there! I’ve used them a few times for dinner ideas before)

Muffins have got to be the easiest thing ever to bake! No gentle folding, or creaming butter and sugar, or need for fancy-schmancy cake mixers. Just measure out the ingredients, put them in a bowl, give it a good stir with a wooden spoon (or spatula, whichever you fancy!), and put them into lined/greased muffin pans! even Becks (our younger sister) should be able to do it! 😛

So thats basically what I did. Measured the ingredients according to the recipe, and about an hour later (taking into account the prep & baking time) we had fresh, hot and fluffy orange and poppyseed muffins ready to be devoured! *lip-licking smiley* (someone sholud create one!)

Orange and poppyseed muffins

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Posted by on April 21, 2011 in Cakes/Muffins, Perth Eateries, Snacks

 

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Rendezvous Hotel Perth

Disclaimer: All pictures were taken by my iPhone so I apologize for any graininess, or if the food doesn’t look too appetizing! 😛 Once again, the resident photographer is still out of town!

 

Hubby and I celebrated our 2 year anniversary last month (woohoo! two years of bliss!) with a bunch of friends down south. It’s probably not a typical way of spending your anniversary, but what better way than to share it with friends that you consider family right?

Well, we didn’t actually plan it that way to be honest! We wanted to use a voucher that we bought from Scoopon that gave us a night’s stay at the Rendezvous Hotel with champagne, dinner and breakfast included but because they were booked out for our anniversary weekend, we had to postpone it. We finally used the voucher last Saturday,  which worked out well because it was a weekend away with just the two of us before hubby got sent off to Mission Week for 5 days where we have to do the whole long distance relationship thing again! (sobs!)…brings back not-so-good memories.

But anyway, the day started off in Claremont Quarter area , so we had lunch there and of course we HAD to drop by for more Koko Black 🙂 where we shared a delicious chocolate mousse martini. But more of that in another post to come 🙂

We checked into Rendezvous Hotel and Observation City at about 2pm in the afternoon. The concierge there were excellent and were so willing to help with my 1 tiny overnight bag 😛 and check-in was a breeze (also the state of the lobby area!).

Perth Beach Scarborough Sky Sea and Sand view

Our room was on the 17th floor and had a fantastic view of the ocean and the beach and their Cascade Pool and Bar, and we had champagne chilling in the fridge as well (which was part of the deal).

Rendezvous Hotel Perth Bar Cascade Pool

The hotel was a stone throw away from Scarborough Beach, so we decided to take a stroll down the beach. Even though it was a fine day, it was really windy so the “No swimming” signs were up that day, which was a bit of a shame but there were still surfers there enjoying the waves.

I reckon Perth has one of the most beautiful beaches in the world – blue skies, soft sand, clean and the inviting waters of the sea! There’s just something about the sea and the waves crashing that just calms everything down…

Sand Sun beach Scarborough Beach Perth

We managed to get back to our hotel room and watch the sunset, which was literally breathtaking 🙂 Hubby had a field day clicking away on his camera taking pictures of the sea and the sky as it changes colours. It was so pretty and a perfect way to end the day. I will try and post some pictures from his camera when I actually get my hands on it!

sunset beach scarborough beach perth

Then, it was dinnertime! We were starving by now and since we had a voucher to dine at the Pines Grand Carvery and Buffet (Dinner – $36 per person), we decided to give it a go (even though I’ve been there a few times for lunch and I remembered that the food wasn’t too impressive). We were ushered into our seats straightaway and a very nice waitress came and explained where everything was, told us of the wine special to go together with the buffet, and gave us a bottle of water to start off with, which I thought was a nice touch.

There were basically 3 sections to their buffet – the colds or starters, the hot foods and dessert. My first impression was that the selection wasn’t huge but there were a lot of people that night, so there was a constant flow of food. There were a combination of hits and misses with regards to their food – I started off with soup; it was chicken and noodle soup, doesn’t look that great, but tastes good! It reminds me of the soups that I drink at home, I wanted to go back for more, but knowing me and my small tummy capacity, I didn’t want to waste space. 😛

Chicken Noodle Soup Rendezvous Hotel Perth

The salads were alright, nothing to shout about…prawns were fresh and cooked just right.

Pines Restaurant Buffet Roasts Mashed Potato Hot Foods

I liked the roast beef and mashed potato (especially the mash! It was smooth and creamy, very buttery)…

Rendezvous Hotel Pines Carvery Roasts and Mashed Potato Buffet

I was a little let down by the other hot foods, the crumbed fish was a little soggy, the cream sauce ravioli was ok and the lamb shanks, whilst it was tender, still had that game-y taste which really didn’t do much for me. I think it was a preference thing though because a couple who sat beside us polished it up clean!

Lamb Shank ravioli Rendezvous Hotel Perth Pines Restaurant Buffet

With desserts, they had a range of cakes which tasted pretty good. I just wished I had the tummy space to fit them all in! There was chocolate cake, passionfruit cheesecake, brownies and a selection of fruits. The brownie and the passionfruit cheesecake was a standout I thought and I wouldn’t have minded going for more if I could!

Passionfruit Cheesecake and Brownie Rendezvous Hotel Perth Buffet Desserts

As a whole, the buffet was not too bad, but the food didn’t have a great selection, neither did it have the quality (with misses more than hits!), if only they improved the taste of their foods – I think that the dining experience will be quite pleasant, especially with the view and the delightful waitstaff!

We were also given breakfasts for 2 the next day and I was delighted to find that there was a hot breakfast included as well due to past experiences of being served only continental (cold) breakfast. My plate of hot foods had scrambled eggs (good!), bacon (a bit cold), tomatoes (a bit soggy), mushrooms (I preferred fresh ones), hash browns (excellent! fried to perfection) and sausages (yummy! I think they were chipolatas). Hubby took the fried eggs but complained that they were cold and a bit rubbery. They also had a coffee machine which you could select which type of coffee you wanted and even provided guests with little takeaway cups if you wanted to do that. There was a range of fruit juices and different types of cereal (which I thought wasted space in my tummy and therefore didn’t take any), so I went for the danishes instead. It was yummmy! I wished they were a little bit heated up, then it would have been perfect.

Perth Rendezvous Hotel Breakfast Buffet

Once again, there were some hits and misses for their breakfast buffet, but overall a positive dining experience because of the atmosphere and the smiling waitresses even at 8 in the morning! I liked Rendezvous Hotel quite a bit – even though it’s a bit older than the flashier hotels in Perth, it’s in a great location with great staff making their guests feel comfortable and well looked after. I would go there again if I had the chance, but I probably wouldn’t dine there, we just might try out the local restaurants in the area…or splurge out at Hippo Creek! 🙂

Pines Grand Buffet and Carvery on Urbanspoon

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2011 in Breakfast, Perth Eateries, Scarborough

 

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The perfect way to start your day: Coffee and Crumpets

crumpets breakfast

We were first introduced to the whole concept of crumpets-for-breakfast when we came here to study, and picked them up at a local Coles or Woolworths for $0.99. We buy them coz they were cheap, not necessarily the best thing to eat for breakfast. They are usually hard by the time they get into our toaster, and they can taste like cardboard – I know, highly unappetizing for breakfast.

All this changed, until we tried crumpets at Crumpets, Victoria Park – they were soft, fluffy, piping hot from the frying pan – and topped with butter and honey, they were divine!! This opened up a whole new world, if we knew crumpets should taste like that, (brainwave!) we should so totally make our own! We didn’t really know how to even start making crumpets so we turned to Dr.G (our term of endearment for Google) and tried out a recipe the first time, sometime last year. It was a success and so easy to make! I’ve lost that recipe unfortunately, but we knew roughly what to do…so we invited a few friends over to make it for the second time.

Our recipe was adapted from Home Baking Cookbook which I got from Hubby for Christmas (he knows my heart, and my love for cookbooks – I’m surprised he got me something that I could really use, considering my cookbook collection is growing by the minute!)

Crumpet Recipe


Makes:
10-12 pieces
Preparation Time:
1 hour
Cooking Time:
1 hour

Ingredients
350g plain flour
3 tsp dry yeast (or 15 g fresh yeast)
1 tsp caster sugar
400ml warm milk
pinch of salt
Butter for greasing
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
125ml water

Method

Make sure you give yourself plenty of time because the mixture needs to be proofed about an hour before, so allow yourself about 2 hours before breakfast for both preparation and cooking time. I got up about 7am and started preparation, but while waiting for the mixture to proof, I got a whole lot of housework done, so time is never wasted!! I think my mum just fell of her chair reading this – my daughter up at 7am, cooking AND doing the housework!! 😛 God changes people in tremendous ways, that’s all I can say!

Back to the crumpets, first make the yeast mixture. The recipe asked for fresh yeast, but I used dry yeast instead (because that’s what I had). Mix the yeast and sugar together in a bowl then mix it in with room temperature milk (make sure that your milk is not too hot, especially if you heat it up in the microwave. Overheating the milk will kill the yeast! Trust me, I learnt it the hard way :P). Once you see it turning into a browny mixture, you know you’re on the right path (and the yeast ain’t dead). Leave it for about 5-10 minutes.

Dry-yeast yeast-mixture milk sugar

Then start working on your flour mixture – measure the flour out and add in a pinch of salt. Then when the yeast mixture has risen, create a well in the middle of the flour and pour the yeast mixture into it. Mix it around until well combined then cling wrap it and leave it in a relatively warm place for the mixture to proof and rise for an hour.

Flour yeast crumpets

When you return, it should have risen to about twice it’s original size (above). Then, combine together the bicarbonate of soda and water and mix it into the dough, you should now have a batter-like consistency (a bit thicker than pancake batter).

 

Batter-like consistency

Heat a frying pan with butter. Using Egg-Rings (or any circular pan and heat proof contraption!), butter the sides of the egg rings well and then pour the batter into about 3/4 of the egg ring (it will rise as it cooks, so try not to pour too much). Let it brown for about 2-3 minutes on low heat.  When one side is cooked (you will know when you can easily move the crumpet around), ease the egg ring off and this should be easy if you have buttered them well! Then flip them over to cook on the other side, which will be another 2-3 minutes.

crumpets cooked frying pan

They are best served piping hot with butter and honey/maple syrup. We couldn’t wait to dig in – but we couldn’t eat it alone s0 Sammy grilled some chipolatas and bacon in the grill (healthier option than pan-frying)…

sausages grill

Esther and Deb brought mushrooms, which we fried with butter in a pan…and hubby made coffee bought from our recent Dunsborough trip from Yahava Koffeeworks (Monte Cristo blend). It was a perfect start to a Saturday morning – with a busy day ahead of us, why not start it right? Everything fit perfectly – from the crumpets, to the crispy bacon and the yummy coffee 🙂

It was a great breakfast and even greater company – thanks for being our guinea pigs Esther and Deb! I’m sure there will be many more to come…!

Crumpets mushrooms bacon chipolatas sausages

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2011 in Breakfast, Cookbooks

 

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