December 2004

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Tadaima

Just returned home from camping down in Denmark. The recent news dripped in on the radio and the enormity of it all is still sinking in.

Santos (and Pim!) is on to it and is helping out at the The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami Blog. I’m sure you’ve worked out where to donate but Oxfam/CAA is one. Good chance to get 2005 off on a better start.

! Marisa , who usually blogs in Perth, is in Sri Lanka. Go to her site, ladykiadri’s , for details.

Oyasumi

liklikwopaman

As the stenographer said of the cannibal – hiatus.

LikLik Wopa Man&#185 is in charge for a few days, so no messin’ about.

&#185 Commemorative ANZUS Crackers not pictured

Christmas Brunch

christmasgalettes

The Culinaria France describes these buckwheat crepes, a mixture of buckwheat, water, egg, salt and lard, as one of mankind’s oldest foodstuffs. Fitting, in what is an ancient season of celebration. Buckwheat has a history of being used by French peasants unable to afford the taxes placed on wheat flour. So a humble dish for what should be a simpler day, enjoyed with my mother, and Toni and her parents. The galettes* were filled with local cheddar, ham from the bone, mushrooms, and salmon, fennel, and ricotta for flash. A few sausages and bacon, roasted tomatoes and spinach and speck oeufs en cocotte.

Hmmmm two White Stripes Under Blackpool Lights DVDs.

Peace and goodwill to all. Enjoy yours.

xmasbeachbeer2004

I’ll have to be quick I’m in the middle of preparing a 6 dish Sino-Indonesian Pre Chrimbo table top BBQ with a special appearance from the kindly gifted from the Sedgwick family infusion ball for some out of town long time no see guests from Shidoney and Engerland up to my elbows in san choi bow and satay sticks and on top of this put in a full days honest labour from 6:30 this morning anyway happy seasons greetings whatever you’re doing well rounded christmas viewing is

here, here, and of course here oh yeah go vote for me for a post I did at the Food Blog Awards- Best Post and we can all go out and drink Mumms after I need enough people to balance out anybody else who has hinted for a vote plus the loss of those who are now not going to vote for me out of principal because of my vote whooring anyway take a look and vote for who you like best to the others but keep in mind two of my fellow nominees were involved in smuggling funds to the Contra in the mid eighties and another uses margarine, as I said up to you it’s a good thing because there’s good stuff to see, outta here and catch ya later mashed potato and remember, if you’re drinking, good on ya!

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allfruitsmoothy

Look
I know this is the fun season and I know juice-as-penance is not the right way to approach it but I care about you all and would hate to think you’re missing out on vitamins. So pop some peeled bananas in the freezer and go make an all fruit smoothy for breakfast. If it isn’t doing it in the blender, add a splash of orange juice. It will make you a commander of men and painter of walls, trust me.

Speaking of breakfasts, a surplus of crepes from the night before at a friend’s place on Saturday had me calling over to make Banana Foster. Here’s the recipe. I don’t make a lot of desserts so 3/4 of a cup of caster sugar just seemed a ludicrous amount like it may as well have been 5kg.

Melt 1/2 cup of butter in a large pan and then added 3/4 cup of caster sugar, 1/4 cup of milk, a teaspoon of cinnamon, and a finger of rum. Stir together. Slice up 6 bananas laterally and mix with the juice of two lemons.

Add the bananas to the pan and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Adjust ingredients as necessary, I added a splash of orange juice for tang, and some more cinnamon for colour. Serve over crepes.

Actually looking at the recipe it said 1 and 3/4 cups of sugar. Gah! It was sweet enough as it was and the business with coffee. Possible variations of the recipe include, vanilla, Suzette style flambe, strawberries, goat in a boat, or pig in a wig.

And for holiday antics, I suggest Jim Taylor’s Bananas. The person who is “it” fields any question, but can only answer “bananas”. Hilarious. Try it.

Also, on a personal meta-note, is it better to call people by their names or refer to them as “friends” in posts. The former seems cliquey name callery and the latter seems like faux circle flaky vagueness. Should I build them up more such as “a very dear sweet friend of mine”?

Finally, does the spelling of banana seem odd to you, and doesn’t “unpeeled banana” seem strange in the context of peeling it?

forsterpussycat

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egg

We forget eggs. In my ancestral hometown in Bulgaria they would have many words for eggs. Variously, “the egg that is still warm”, “the egg that was the only one lain”, “the egg that is good only for throwing at naughty children” and “the egg that must be saved for grandfather”. And with that opening of our eyes I would like to announce EoMEoTE#2End of Month Egg on Toast Extravaganza 2.

Hatched, if you’ll forgive me the pun, barely a month ago, here, cook sister there, here , and the mother hen.

The rules are:

1) There must be an egg

2) It must be on toast

It is open to all humanity. The period covered is a broad post-Christmas until New Year. Photographed and or with commentary is to be informed of by e-mail or in comments. It doesn’t even have to be by you. Owen of Tomatilla has outsourced some child labour especially.

And remember, we’re not judging – we’re sharing.

Supermart

smworkofartWhereas craft is about the skill of the creator, art is about the audience. It should take us somewhere we could not go by ourselves, whether it be to greater sublimity or further abasement. It should also provide rough and friendly red wine and cheesy snacks if it is to appeal to scroungers like myself who like nothing better than latching on to our cultural betters.

smknittedtorus But those were the heady happy days of the Hawke-Keating era and art has yielded to commodification and beer for sale in our visit to the opening of the Supermart exhibition in Northbridge. Filled to the aisles with conceptual art gags 784% funnier than your average Christmas cracker. Hinging on the themes of food – Pre-Packaged Finger Food, Knitted Sausages, and Mrs Alderson’s Little Book of Garnishes; and belonging Other People’s Lighters and Other People’s Shopping Lists. I settled for a friends’, look out for him B. O’Connor’s, Black and Yellow Small Work of Art, which will get pride of place in the SB production centre.

smcheckout Then moved over to have beers and chat in the mild and fading light where I bumped into local blogger Karen Cheng to compare bellies and talk about roasting pigs. This reminded me that I should send you over to her gorgeous site. Get to Supermart before Christmas – cheap and clever (and is it too late readers, to let you know that there’s a Ford Falcon XC Cobra for sale over at Australian Muscle Cars – hint hint).

Off then to a birthday party when I drank (attention Bucks Off Innaloo shoppers $40 a carton) Monteiths’s Pilsners with gallettesand tasty sausages.

supermart has opened, keeping normal business hours until December 30 (closed Christmas and Boxing Day) at the the Breadbox Gallery at the Bakery Artrage Complex, 233 – 239 James St Northbridge.

smoutside

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torus1

torus2 torus3 torus4

torus5

If you’d like to work out the approximate surface area of this Torus, it’s simply a matter of finding out the inner radius (r) and the outer radius (R) which will give you

S=2π(R+r)(R-r)

Of course for volume you’d save yourself the trouble and immerse it in a measuring jug of coffee.

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Been reading A Concise History of Australian Wine by John Beetson. A much more enjoyable way of tracking Australian history than sheep population numbers and self-serving revisionism. Although I know progress is never an unbroken march, this stunned me (slightly edited):

The wraps were off it was now time to reveal the product to the Sydney “cognescenti“. They were horrified. Reactions in Adelaide we’re no better. Comments varied from ‘crushed ants’ to ‘aphrodisiac’.

Schubert was mortified and received the final blow when the board asked him to cease production just before the 1957 vintage. For three years it officially did not exist. It was a ‘non-wine’, condemned because it was unsaleable and also because this lack of acceptance and the criticism thus generated was deemed harmful to the company’s reputation as a whole. The tide of public disfavour began to ebb and ‘the prejudices were overcome’.

The wine? None other than the Kooba Estate Fruity Lexia.

Nah, not really. It’s this tidy drop

hotsoursoup

Hot shopping day and felt like something spicy and limey that wasn’t a pertsovka, lime, and tonic. Made this little soup with what I had. You’re clever people, I don’t need to tell you how much of each thing do I?

Chicken Balls: (too late, joke’s been made) – hand minced free range chicken thighs; minced red chilli; minced spring onions; 1 tbs flour; 1 egg; sesame oil; soy sauce;. Mixed together well and dropped into soup with two spoons.

Soup: base of softened chopped onion, garlic, chilli and ginger. Then chicken stock; 2 star anise; fish oil; soy sauce.

Finish: Before serving put the stems of choy sum in the soup to cook a little. Serve the soup, add the leafy ends and two quarters of lime and serve.

Nice job, had the desired contrasts in a spaced out taste arena. Flaming Lips.

Also: Thanks to those who nominated spiceblog in a couple of categories* in the 2004 Food Blog Awards at the Accidental Hedonist. Made me turn bright red and coy. Nominating people is gut wrenching for me, it’s like Sophie’s Choice but without the accents.

And: a big hello to readers in Merredin and surrounding districts.

* -Best Food Blog / Best Post / Most Imporved Spelling. You can still get over there and say things like “yep” “hands down” and “without a doubt”.

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santaluciacoffee

The weekend began modestly with me on my Pat Malone on the sofa with a six pack of unremarkable beer. Late accompanied by a takeaway Hawaiian Pizza from down the road and an unusual Ben Stiller movie with Alan Alda and Elliot Gould in it.

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walkstreet Late brekky after a home improvements shop with a Walk Street Cafe long mac and an orange and poppyseed muffin. Good, and if you look closely you can see the face of Jeff Harvey, bandleader for the Ray Martin Show, in there.

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pelicanpointblank Fancy new pair of shorts and I’m off down the foreshore with three king browns of Coopers and two bottles of lemonade to drink shandy and watch Robbie dice it out there with a hundred other wind and kite surfers. Dry Shandy: 1 parts lemonade, 9 parts beer. Deadly. I mean it’s just a shandy but before you know it, you’ve three empty bottles and people walking by going tut tut and telling you to get a job. And my, haven’t windsurfers come a long way since the unidirectional plastic 10′ jobbies of yesteryear?

Finished with a bottle of the Cascade Special Stout [pictured al fresco]. Great for lovers of toasty grained stouts, look for it in the Castrol Dot4 High Performance Brake Fluid container.

cascadespecialstout

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tqrchristmastree Chips justs don’t cut it so with a raging hunger I popped on a nice shirt and headed to TQR Vietnamese restaurant on Stirling Highway grabbing a bottle of wine on the way out. Have to admire the Christmas tree though those Buddhists are waving a red nose to defenders of Traditional Christmas . Nowhere, nowhere does it state that Jesus wore a conical hat or if he did, make a tree of it. Syncretic sabotage.

Dinner was yum but not as good as previous standards, but that’s Saturday night and there were two tables of adolescent birthday parties (The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Mexican Restaurant -come back all is forgiven and what was with the hairy eyeball table two?) putting extra pressure on things. My starters were a little singed but the rest, pinapple rice, pig in a pot, and rice noodles with vegetables, were on par and a solid combination. Let down by a poor choice of wine by me due to no chilled whites at home. A sparky Pinot Noir with a spicy meal matched that old vindictive cartoon standyby of [[Event 1] – character unwittingly consumes A, only to [Event 2] unwittingly drink B to tongue popping hilarity].

aretheygoingtoeatthat

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santaluciacandlesSanta Lucia breakfast with Swedish-French Veronique. A sneaky way of having a pagan winter solstice festival by naming it after a Saint. As Robbie put it – evil christmas. More ethnic subversion.

The unlit candle is for the one more Sunday until Christmas. Highlights were the Lussekatter – saffron, walnut, and schnapps flavoured buns with lingonberry jam. Lingonberry jam is a nice and tart alternative to other berry jams. Perfectly think and speckled crepes, lots of coffee and attractively decorated ginger snap biscuits. No requirements of singing, dancing, or the wearing of candles. More functional Swedish well designed no-fuss. Love that country and it’s in my top 5 countries I wouldn’t mind being invaded by (the others being France, Mexico, New Zealand, and Japan – sorry Diggers but speaking Japanese is kind of fun).

santaluciacrepes

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Finished a hard day’s adding of equity with the sole bit of cooking for the weekend – spicy italian snaggers and onions. Marvellous.

santaluciabikkies

The Ethics of Meat

theusefulpig

When the United States Defence Department has found that its use of beagles to test lethal gases has evoked a howl of protest and offers to use rats instead, I am not appeased.

Peter Singer

I’ve long been meaning to write more on the issues surrounding meat, if only for my own benefit. Part curiosity, part moral biopsy. To this end and possibly to further procrastination, I grabbed my copy of Peter Singer‘s Writings on an Ethical Life and set off on the bus to work.

Singer is a utilitarian and I think utilitarianism is the part of the ethical gallery where secularists always seem to arrive back at. It’s an attempt to put a rational framework on ethics above conscience or faith. Nothing wrong with the latter two, unless they’re telling you to put someone to the flame, but moral questions have often to be resolved and reason serves us well. Singer’s arguments often take things to their logically consistent conclusion and his parallels employing ifs come up hard against many table thumping buts. His arguments on animal rights attract, up to a point obviously, because of their lack of sentiment. This is refreshing, as the debate over the treatment of animals often resembles a dysfunctional custody battle.

He writes clearly but points towards thick books in arcane English and concepts that if I understood them at the time, then I can’t remember doing so. Distraction called.

I stopped in at the Alexander Library to have a look at their discarded library book sale. I am both pigeon and step toed. In the group of cookbooks I found the one pictured above and the title The Useful Pig struck me as odd. I assume sense it was meant to be read “the usefulness of pigs” but the use of the definite article and the qualifier implied otherwise. What makes a pig useful, and what makes a pig useless? If it’s only its instrumentality, then what are our justifications? And here I’ll resolve to make a start on some posts and see where I end up.

rachmabikkie

One good sort, who knows who she is, brought home made biscuits for everybody to our end of year wind-up. The Brass Monkey is the best pub in the CBD and one of the best in Perth. The upstairs bull nosed verandah allows lazy car watching and they’ve now got new sofas. Many thanks to all there for putting up with me all year.

I had to rescue mine from the clutches of our resident garden spirit. Delicious. Resident beer at the Brass Monkey, Alpha Pale Ale put in a good showing for becoming official beer of the summer. Sharp, complex, and glassable.

Sorry folks for the delay I’ve been flat out busy compiling the entries for the first ever EoMEoTE – End-of-month Egg on Toast Extravaganza – where bloggers create an egg and toast concoction to share. They have come from one end of the earth to the other, of all sexes, and multiple ethnicities. Bread, eggs, great binders in this big old lump of meat we call humanity.

friedegg

My own humble effort was fired off prematurely and it shows – egg on toast and sauce, that’s it. I’m a simple man.

Godmother of EotMEoTE Jeanne of Cook sister!,took her entry so seriously there were no typical form mentions of eggstravaganza. Not just scrambling but whisking the whites for fluffiness, wilted some spinach, added some smoked salmon AND ADDED HOME GROWN CHIVES!!!!!!!!!!! Outstanding. Mei capilli sunt flagrantes.

Reid of‘Ono Kine Grindz‘s fried egg was so good he couldn’t take a picture of it before eating it. A first! What spirit!!!

January the 31st is EotMEoTE #2 – see you then!

kittysanta

[Draft notes: humbugging food blogger receives a letter from a reader which helps him to discover the true meaning of Christmas and write a handy post]

Christmas, like most high pitched noise coming from inside the brain situations, is the resolution of dilemmas. They are:

cooking <——————> interaction

volume <——————> quality

obligatory ties <——————> voluntary ties

European tradition <——————> Latitudinal reality

feasting <——————> grazing

luxury <——————> penury

To help, here are some pointers:

  1. Esky: The fridge will be working hard and opening it up for drinks won’t help

  2. Moist: Get a larding needle and a baster.

  3. Token Gestures : Turkey gods appeased by marinating turkey breast in cranberry sauce and puttiing them on skewers. Another year I made poulet en papillote shaped like christmas crackers.

  4. Fruit Mince Pies: Are good. Gingerbread for the home touch. Cookie cutters stifle innovation.

  5. Christmas Eve: A walk down Omotesando before dinner, and then hope you can coax your date into a Love Hotel.

  6. Bread: Heavier breads keep longer and quality bread makes quality cold meat sandwiches.

  7. Food as Metaphor: Son of God. Turkey? Goose? Lamb. King of Kings. Crown Roast.

  8. Ham: Covered with a damp towel or a ham bag, it will bring days of seasonal happiness.

  9. Eggs: see above + breakfast omlette

  10. Butchers: they know. Speak to them. They will be happy. Give organic and free range a go.

  11. Rissotto: Pasta seems wrong. Ravioli though.

  12. Music: Ethereal trumps supermarket soundtrack. Dvorak or similar.

  13. Wine: White Christmas. Crap champagne is still crap. Sparkling shiraz is at the very worst colour coded. Local wineries have case deals – go swapsies with friends. Good for gifts.

  14. Fuss: One of my favourite Christmas dinners was sausages and mash with takeaway chicken. It’s the company.

  15. Sherry: Why let Santa have all the fun. Chilled dry sherry is great. Spain, large bearded men, Hemingway, high rate of suicide at Christmas, moving right along…

  16. Hot-cross buns: save them for Easter.

  17. Breakfast: Automatically casual and leaves the day for ooohh playing on new drumsets.

  18. Charity: Social darwinists et.al. can fuck off. The impersonal perspective is our finest quality. Poor? Alone?

  19. Lunch: Stretch to prevent post lunch collapse. Salad is a course.

  20. Borscht: Why not?

  21. Seafood: You will be gouged. Early shopping and frozen. Little freezes better than tuna. Think smoked. Prawns are luxury standards for the common man. Wrap in prosciutto.

  22. Healthy eating: Unless tasty, give it up for Christmas – but that isn’t an invitation to eat shite.

  23. Brandy Custard: No. Cognac Creme Anglais. Yes.

  24. Tradition: Why European? The Middle East is the authentic locale for Chrimbo food and a long history of cooking for warm weather. Latin America has some of the most devout Christians on the planet, Mexico is also warm.

  25. Soft bit/Loud bit: Finicky entree leads to impressive centre-piece main. A fowl wrapped in a fowl wrapped in a fowl wrapped in a fowl has made an appearance at Mondo butchers. Or just have a whole snapper stuffed with sardines stuffed with whitebait.

  26. Gas BBQ: Charcoal. Otherwise, make sure the cylinder is full, or you’ll look like a nong.

  27. Crackers: Knick knacks, crap jokes, and ludicrous headwear – our second finest quality.

  28. Twilight: Beach. Sunset. Wine. Cigar.

  29. Heroism: Don’t. Many hands make light work and food can be shared.

  30. Cheese: Only needs a knife. Same for dips, patés, and terrines.

  31. Beer: I’m thinking James Squire. Crownies? Fosters. Get a few Europeans for special – you don’t want port in summer. Avoid world’s finest beer packs.

  32. Evening: Catch up with friends. They love you too.

That’ll do for now.

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poachedtrout

From two trout comes this Monday night fanciness. I relied heavily on James Peterson’s Essentials of Cooking. An excellent buy if you’re interested in learning the basics to mess around in the kitchen.

Poached Trout

The trout were cleaned and some chopped parsley and fennel put in the cavity. Tied up with a softened shallot (you can wrap them in cheesecloth). The poaching liquid was half semillon, half water with a bouquet garni of thyme, parsley, a bay leaf, and a shallot. Brought to a very gentle simmer and then the trout added and poached for 7 minutes. Removed the head and tail and peeled off the skin. It would have also been a good time to remove the bones.

Beurre Blanc

2 chopped spring onions with white wine and white vinegar and reduced to a near glaze. Add some cream – simmer and then whisk in cubes of cold butter. Don’t let it boil and whisk constantly until it’s smooth and creamy. Season. I added some fennel but saffron is a possibility.

The snake beans were steamed and the artichokes were boiled and went through the whole elaborate artichoke preparation routine which I can’t be bothered to explain. Am I missing something but are artichokes overrated?

A success. Poaching is easy and the beurre blanc can be done and adapted for future variations.

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frenchtoast

One of the many permutations available of egg, bread, and milk, French Toast is the business. Couple of free range eggs, cup of milk, splash of vanilla essence. Chop up the rest of a loaf of white, soak for 15 minutes, and then pan fry in butter.

Served with strawberries, freshly whipped cream (melty heaven), maple syrup, and some cinnamon powder. Big cup of freshly brewed coffee with a spoon of cream on it and that was Sunday morning.

nurnbergerrye

Can’t be arsed with pubs sometimes so summer brings beers at ours. Minimal fuss.

A kilo Elmar’s nurnberger sausages, a loaf of rye, some mustard and saurkraut – Hollywood!

A few pickles to kick off with then pop the sausage on the charcoal burner placed in the middle of the table. No dictatorship of the propane master here. Just cozy communal woody smoke warmth. Magnificent.

bicksbabydill

Just in case you were wondering, the table you see is made of Jarrah weatherboard salvaged from a mate’s shed and the centre-piece is an old 3 lidded stainless steel ice-cream freezer top I found on the farm. Just remove the lid and pop in the charcoal burner. Too easy.

Weihenstephaners and Löwenbräu all night finished with Seven Hills (South Australia) Sweet White Sacramental Wine (copy line ahhmmmm Sunday’s Best, Seven Days a Week!). Sweet.

Funny night. Best was the story of house sharing and finding a pat of butter in the fridge with ridge in it and a poil pubien. Ladies, if you find somone claiming “I can’t believe it’s not butter!” mid-congress, tell him Jean says Hi.

germansausages

Handy Hint! If you must use the same tray for uncooked as cooked, line it with a piece of alfoil then chuck it before returning the cooked meat.

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Dirty Deeds

bikechickwithtin

The 2004 Perth Bikers Charity Ride is tomorrow.

I always forget this, so a reminder. If you’ve got a bike (no), or just know someone called Snake or Bandit with a spare seat, get there with a donation of a toy, money, clothes, blankets, or non-perishable food. Always a huuuuge turnout.

Look out for me, I’ll be the one in black, wearing boots.

エエエエ? 何で?: Searching for EoMEoTE#1 and found there’s a Japanese version of spiceblog that I never knew existed. How very sugoi.

spinachbreadsalad

SB 16.11.04 spic malquoted lemon rectify

Wednesday leftovers and a coincidental alignment with tuesday nights dinner.

Tomato and Sausage Pasta

One onion, two cloves of garlic, one red chili all finely chopped and sauteed in EVOO until soft. One leftover cold sausage sliced and then fried a little. Add a handy bottle of tomato puree and let simmer for twenty minutes or so. Season with salt and pepper and a pinch of sugar. Served on spinach boughtellini with grated parmesan.

tomatosausage

Spinach and Bread Salad

Croutons: cut leftover crusty bread into cubes, toasted in the oven, and then stir-fried in garlic and olive oil.

Spinach: washed, and washed again, shaken of water and then torn into pieces.

Field Mushrooms: chopped, and left for half and hour to sit in a dressing of EVOO, white vinegar (no lemons on hand), chopped flat leaf parsley, a finely chopped garlic clove, and pepper.

All mixed, a little more dressing of EVOO and balsamic and topped with grated parmesan.

Easy. Good. Leftovers + standbys.

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piccolo

A small Italian restaurant nearby when the planned meal at the Rosemount didn’t eventuate because of severe deadness is a good thing. It was cute, crowded, and Catalonian with a few Miro prints on the wall. Yes I know he’s not Italian , but come on – Miro.

It has $10 pasta mains. $10. Ten dollars. T E N dollars. Don’t pay anymore anywhere else. OK bad things out of the way, outside for the first half in the cold like the matchstick girl, but that’s not their fault and they empathised and got us an inside table as soon as it was free. The place runs at 15 to the dozen so the food is slow. No bad thing, but the good part of a bottle of wine on an empty stomach leads to boozy scoffing.

Had the bruschhetta – funghi and pomodoro and followed with the penne all’ arrabbiata (hot sausage, chilli, and tomato). Hot. Hot. All good with a home cooked feel and couldn’t fault it. Same for the bruschetta. Would have stayed for cake and coffee. Will go again. Neighbourhood good.

The wine was a NSW Arrowfield 2001 Shiraz occupying the dead centre of all considerations. Mid value value, inoffensive but not offensively so etc. Would recommend it, but not too strongly.

Finished with a bowling grudge match between the Floreat petit-Bourgeois Adventurers and the West Leederville Spartacist 3 (incl. left of centre ring in). Toni won best score and I won “player most resembling league bowler pre-game”. Winners are grinners. Shiraz gives me headaches.

rosemountbowl

rosemountdiscotime

Piccolo Italian Restaurant 44 Angove Street, North Perth; 9227-5250

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