Heath Daly is one half of Fremantle’s Raw Kitchen. He and his partner Emma Gilbert initially started the business as a market stall at the Subiaco Markets; the Raw Kitchen’s development is one of those classic stories about starting small and skyrocketing to great gastronomic heights. Their market stall originally comprised a limited menu along with a couple of different smoothie flavours. As time went by and their reputation for whole, unadulterated and nutrient rich food grew, so too did their business. Heath and Emma began to play around with their menu, developing new flavours and a greater selection of raw food. Shortly after opening their market stall they grew to a small café space and from there on to their current and prime position in the centre of downtown Fremantle.
The Raw Kitchen’s present location is within the four walls of an immaculately restored 1970s red brick warehouse. The cavernous belly of the building houses a plethora of tables and chairs, booths and stools, in the middle of which is a bar offering up an assortment of coconut milk ice-creams and cacao treats. This bar is one of two, the second being the iconic smoothie bar that delivers a range of deliciously flavoured, nutrient heavy hits. The smoothies come all sorts; from the classic green (the backbone of the raw movement) made with organic spinach, mango, bananas, dates and mint to the cacao, agave, almond milk variety and finally to more unexpected versions like creamy blueberry, coconut sugar and lavender. Opposite the bar is a small health food cum gift store supplying ecologically sound cosmetic products, homewares and raw food goods.
According to Heath, who has a longstanding history in naturopathy and dietary health and nutrition, the primary goal in being raw food centric is in the symbiotic fostering of physical energy and mental wellbeing. He perceives food as medicine with raw food playing an integral role in the turnaround of society’s reliance on highly processed, calorie dense foods that sedate rather than satiate. The raw movement is about retaining the natural enzymes, proteins, amino acids, minerals and antioxidants that are found in un-heat treated wholefoods while simultaneously promoting an environmentally sustainable footprint upon the planet. Although the Raw Kitchen serves vegan friendly fare, Heath is neither pro-veganism nor pro-vegetarianism and instead adopts the stance that diet must be tailored and suited to the individual concerns of each person. While it is predominantly raw, the Raw Kitchen is not about a black and white experience; plenty of hot meals are available like the warm winter pizza made with sweet potato, in-house apple sauerkraut, preserved lemon and spring onion or the paprika, fennel, caraway seed and sumac roasted wedges that are served with a side of raw cashew and macadamia aioli. This varied menu that incorporates spicy coconut curries alongside raw nachos (dehydrated corn and vegetable pulp chips, walnut refried ‘beans’, fresh and tangy tomato salsa and cashew sour cream) clearly exemplifies Heath’s standpoint on the importance of a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
‘Cooking’ raw food is a long and elaborate process; the various nut milks that are made on site must begin days before they’re ready for use and dehydration is similarly an affair that cannot be rushed. The kitchen, which is situated at the far end of the building, is open plan and constantly active with over ten chefs employed. Above the kitchen is a mezzanine floor that looks onto the teeming, light filled dining space. The second story is where raw food workshops are hosted along with a daily array of yoga and Pilates classes. The interior of the Raw Kitchen is vibrantly eclectic. The loft-like ceiling showcases the building’s exposed framework and pendulous industrial lamps. The dining arrangements consist of stripped back wood and salvaged metal and everywhere there are native flowers and potted plants. This is a space that is both purposeful and aesthetically dynamic.
As Heath proposed, the raw movement is not about being wholly raw, instead it is about achieving a balanced and nutrient dense diet that is energy generating. The Raw Kitchen is focused on serving simple, unprocessed food that is high in flavour and naturally nourishing. This is a space that interfuses health and nutrition, balance and wellbeing and progressively gourmet fare.
Rillettes like pâté is a meaty, fatty amalgamation of the ordinary vs. the extraordinary. Originating in France, as do most gastronomic extravagancies, pork rillettes is a rusticated, somewhat simplified adaptation of the more common pâté. However, unlike the smooth, puréed, homogeneity of rillettes’ culinary coordinate, the emphasis lies in its unique texture; slow, slow, slow cooked pork shoulder and pork belly that cooks down into an intoxicating spread of meaty multidimensionality.
450 g pork belly, skin discarded
450 g boneless pork shoulder, skin discarded
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3 tsp sea salt
6 cloves garlic, crushed
3 bay leaves
1 cup white wine
Coarsely dice pork and place in a large, heavy pot. Add mustard seeds, pepper, salt, garlic and two of the bay leaves. Mix well. Add wine. Bring to a boil, reduce to a very slow simmer and cook, skimming any foam, for 30 minutes. Add 1 cup water, return to a very slow simmer, cover and cook for 2 1/2 hours, stirring once or twice during this time.
Uncover and increase heat to medium. Cook 20 to 30 minutes more until any liquid is pure fat, not water. You can tell if you look at a spoonful of the liquid and there are no little water bubbles. Taste the fat and adjust the seasonings if needed; do not under-season because the rillettes will be served fairly cold. Set aside to cool 1 hour. Remove bay leaves.
Mash and shred the mixture, using 2 forks. Transfer to a glass jar with a lid that clamps tight, pressing down so there are no air bubbles. Top with the remaining bay leaf, cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.
Yield: about 2 cups
Bib and Tucker is tucked away on the coastal region of North Fremantle. The restaurant is nestled between sloping sand dunes, an abandoned beachside kiosk and the sea itself. The view from Bib and Tucker is as memorable as it is engulfing. Perched on the second story of Leighton Beach surf-lifesavers’, the restaurant looks out onto a mesmerising stretch of sand and surf. This is a familiar landscape; one that evokes umbrellas flapping in an easterly breeze, granules of sand snagged in homemade sandwiches, the melting of ice cream in the sun and the ever-present scent of sun cream. These iconic images are somehow recognised at Bib and Tucker and are assimilated into their menu.
Their food is a creative amalgamation of the familiar and the exotic – from battered barramundi with hand cut chips and house-made tartare to a ceviche of lime-cured West Australian pink snapper with avocado crème, popped amaranth seeds and chipotle salt. There’s the hearty chorizo, roasted capsicum, caramelised onion and mozzarella wood-fired pizza or the exuberant pulled-pork, pickled radish and smoked chilli aioli tostadas; the brioche beef burger with tangy tomato relish, Swiss gruyere and house chips or the soft shell crab slider with citrus and coriander. This seasoned gambol through the flavour compendium is the doing of head chef Scott Bridger. With a ripe background in cooking and travel, Scott’s history has had a hand in tailoring the menu at Bib and Tucker.
Scott launched himself into the world of cheffing before hitting his twenties. After completing a two-year apprenticeship in Perth he flew to London, on the hunt for bigger fish. It was this detour into the finer workings of European cuisine that set Scott’s career in motion. He suddenly found himself serving up freshly caught crayfish in a succession of luxury yachts owned by various high rollers. He sailed around most of Europe, docked in North Africa, Turkey, the Middle East, did the Americas, Mexico, the Caribbean. With each docking (some lasting no more than a day, others lasting up to a few months) Scott would hit the local markets, try the surrounding eateries and file his culinary experiences away. He experimented with new flavours and fusions and earned himself growing repute within the industry. It was also during these years that Scott met his wife-to-be. Eventually the couple decided to swap the high seas for Perth, gain some stability (and solid ground) and embark upon a new, different kind of adventure. While Scott was working under Neil Perry at the newly opened Rockpool, an opportunity arose in the form of Bib and Tucker.
With its pristine location, panoramic vistas and vibrant menu the restaurant has become an instant success. Creatively dreamt up by Olympic swimmer Eamon Sullivan, Bib and Tucker has fully realised itself as a gastronomic triumph. So pull up a seat in the alfresco dining area, take a long hard swig of premium boutique beer and ponder the menu as the last of the sun dips below the ocean.
With a heat wave peaking at 40°, cooking can lose some of its appeal. It becomes too hot for soups, curries and stews, almost too hot for culinary adventure. Fresh and zesty flavours are what we turn to – food that is easily prepared and readily, happily consumed.
Labne or labneh is a traditional Middle Eastern dish made from strained yoghurt. It can be eaten savoury, sweet or enjoyed as is. Full fat cows milk is most commonly used, however both sheep and goats milk labne are seasonally available. For a milder milkier flavour cows milk works best. For a tangy, yoghurty flavour sheep or goats milk does the trick. And It is deceptively straightforward to make.
Goats milk labne
500 g goats milk yoghurt
A couple of layers or muslin cloth
String or rubber band
Double the muslin cloth for a tighter weave and use it to line the sieve. Place the sieve over the bowl and add the yoghurt then bring the cloth together and tie with a rubber band so that the yoghurt forms a loose ball. Place in the fridge for 24 hours, giving the whey time to separate from the yoghurt and drip into the bowl.
After 24 hours, remove the muslin from the cheese and transfer to a serving dish or airtight container – it will keep up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
Harissa caramelised carrots with labne and fennel salad
1 bunch Dutch carrots, scrubbed and trimmed
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp fennel seeds
1-2 tsp Harissa paste
1 tbsp honey
1 bunch fennel leaves(the green spindly fronds at the top of the bulb)
Small bunch of mint
100 g labne
Preheat the oven to 200° Place carrots in a bowl, add olive oil, fennel seeds, honey, harissa paste, a good pinch of salt, pepper and stir to evenly coat then place carrots on a roasting tray and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the tips are starting to char. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add an extra splash of olive oil(white wine also works) to the pan and mix with remaining pan juices, you may need to scrape a bit. Set aside.
Scatter the labne on a serving dish, top with carrots and the combined fennel and mint salad, drizzle with pan juices, season to taste and serve.
It’s the New Year and Christmas is an exercise in patience best left behind. But, some words must be said on how the annual exchange of festivities and gifts transpired. The decision was against buying and in favour of making. And because food is such an integral part of it all, hampers of homemade dukkah, pickled onions and orange/rosemary scented biscotti became the sole currency of Xmas.
The wicker hampers were collected at the tip, the jars recycled from the fridge and the wormwood clippings sourced from backyard. The recipes for dukkah and pickled onions can be found in previous posts and instructions for biscotti are as follows:
100 g blanched almonds
250 g plain flour – wholemeal works well
1 tsp baking powder
250 g caster sugar
2 tsp finely grated orange zest
1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
2 eggs, beaten
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla essence
½ tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 180º. Spread the almonds on an oven tray and bake for 10 minutes until lightly golden and fragrant. Cool and roughly chop.
Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl and add sugar, orange zest, rosemary and the chopped nuts. Add the beaten eggs, egg yolk and vanilla and mix to form a firm dough. If the dough sticky add extra flour.
Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 5 minutes or until smooth. Form into a flattened log about 30 cm in length and place on a lined oven tray, then bake for 40 minutes or until firm and golden. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
Reduce the oven temperature to 140º. With a serrated knife, cut the log into 10 mm thick slices and arrange in a single layer on a lined oven tray. Return to the oven for 20-25 minutes, turning occasionally, until dry and crisp.
Ice cream. Icy poles. La Paleta.
Paleta, the Mexican ‘ice pop’ on a stick that has made a timely, ebullient resurgence in 21st century Western culture. Originally sold as a street-food from pushcarts or street-vendors and occasionally from cafes or Paleterias. The traditional Mexican flavours are often simple and unchanging – vanilla, chocolate, coconut for the cream-based, strawberry, mango, cucumber for the water-based. It is only in recent years that the paleta has been given a playful twist.
The woman behind Western Australia’s first encounter with the liminal world of Mexican iced delights is Ami McDonald, owner, manager and creative stronghold of La Paleta. Not quite three years ago Ami was given a basic home icy pole maker for Christmas and she began to experiment. It wasn’t long before she decided to quit her job in theatre production in order to launch what has become WA’s paleta dynasty. In a seaside town that is blessed or cursed with minimal rainfall and long searing summers, the paleta is a precious commodity and her business is flourishing.
In outer Fremantle a team of talented, smiling girls in floral dresses and colourful aprons chop and stir, mold and freeze, package and distribute these handmade ice creams. Close to 700 paletas are produced daily with flavours ranging from the mild to the exotic. Despite waves of advice warning Ami against the unpredictability of using unusual, seasonal ingredients, her paletas steadfastly prove otherwise. There are certain fixed staples like creamy toasted coconut, pink lemonade and sweet salted caramel, the latter a treat of truly mythical magnitude. Alongside these are the inspired, daring, eclectic paletas that change with the seasons; frosty cucumber lime and chili, strawberry and hibiscus, blueberry and lavender, grapefruit and tarragon, peppered mint and chocolate and the explosive blue cheese fig jam and pistachio. Fresh, regional, high quality produce is a fundamental element in the creation of Ami’s paletas and her ethos is centred on doing business with those who are like-minded and ethically motivated.
With a bicycle, cart and stand La Paleta’s moveable feast sets up at a variety of locations such as farmer’s markets, night markets, private events and street festivals and their ice creams which are sold both individually by the stick or as take-home boxed sets are also available from certain grocery stores and local food vendors. It is an exuberant, engaging venture and the fervour surrounding La Paleta is just beginning.
At South Beach in South Fremantle a recipe was found. Among the lost goggles, found thongs, forgotten hats and sun bleached towels was a sausage roll recipe. Undoubtedly, the beach is a strange place to find one, but there it was tacked to a post and surrounded by abandoned oceanic memorabilia. An unassuming A4 page flapped in the breeze, titled ‘Leah’s Healthy Sausage Rolls’ – the following recipe is an adapted version.
500g beef mince
Ready-made puff pastry
2 brown onions
3 cloves garlic
2 small potatoes
Half a zucchini
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp dried chili flakes
Preheat the oven at 180º dice the potato then boil in a pot of salted water until tender. Dice the onion, mince the garlic and cook in olive oil in a pan on medium heat until soft. Grate the carrot and zucchini and place in a large bowl, add the cooked potato, beef mince and all the seasonings. Thoroughly mix all ingredients together and spoon the mixture in a thick line along the separated sheets of puff pastry. Roll the pastry together to form logs, cut into smaller logs then brush with the beaten egg. Place on a tray lined with non-stick baking paper and bake for around 35 minutes or until golden and crispy to touch.
In Fremantle’s West End on a street that is home to fish tackle production, artists’ studios, peeling backpackers and gated tree-lined residences, is the newest addition to the local dining milieu. Housed in a cavernous building that dates back to the small world splendor of the colonial era, is the meticulously articulated Bread in Common. All salvaged brick and red rusted steel and stretches of polished glass.
Lamps hang low over long bench tables, their tangled wires looped and lost in the expanse of the ceiling. A durable industrial shelf extends the length of an exposed brick wall, upon which bottles of wine glimmer darkly in the shadows. There are chalkboards, one the size of a church door, with wineries and varieties and derivations scratched across their surfaces. Below this imposing, well-stocked wall is a small bar with bowls spilling fruit and veg, celery fronds jutting out from brown wicker baskets. The kitchen is adjacent and positioned towards the back of the building is the bakery.
Bordered by freshly baked loaves and oblong stacks of firewood lies the hulking wood-fired, volcanic stone twinned oven, aptly named Hansel and Gretel. The bread it produces is delicious. The baker, originally heralding from Germany, first set up shop in the quiet sloping expanse of Yallingup, four hours south of Perth. There he built what has now become an institution: Yallingup Woodfired Bread. His bakery is nestled into well-kept bush land, away from the small township but close enough to draw the locals, the tourists and the holidaymakers from open till close.
His current juncture with Bread in Common is a welcome surprise, this being his first foray away from the countryside and headlong into the urban bustle of Fremantle. With a strict policy of ‘no night-shifts’ because ‘happy bakers make better bread’ the loaves are still warm from their early morning baking session. There are only a few varieties of bread available; from a crusty white loaf with a soft spongy centre, to the more Germanic and heavier rye, to a wholemeal midway loaf, and finally to the aromatic, spiced apricot and raisin fruit bread. Both fruit and flour is organic, and the latter is stone-milled.
As the name suggests, Bread in Common is primarily concerned with bread. However the menu is eclectic with a strong emphasis on serving homely, wholesome, yet exciting food. Bread in Common’s focus on bold and nourishing flavours comes as little wonder, this being the latest venture from the restaurateur who established Il Lido in Cottesloe, Duende in Leederville and Balthazar in Perth city. The dishes are designed to share but are big enough to have as mains. They consist of strong flavour pairings; pork with pistachio and fennel, glazed carrots on a bed of homemade labne, pickled shallots and heirloom tomato salad, soft scrambled eggs dusted with dukkah, duck-fat roasted rosemary potatoes, spice encrusted kangaroo with hot sauce and spinach, minted lamb ribs with chili and black garlic. The menu continues with many more options, including dips and spreads and exotic deserts and all manner of beverages.
Much of the produce is local, the fish comes from up north; Exmouth, Onslow, Broome, the drums of olive oil from Donnybrook, the cured meats from Mirrabooka, the goats cheese and curd from Albany. There is a sense of camaraderie at Bread in Common. They are aware of ‘food miles’ – the distance that food travels between farm and kitchen table, and they are interested in locality and supporting small growers and businesses in regional Western Australia. As one of the staff explained, ‘we’re all in it together’.
As spring shifts to summer and the desert wind makes the days hotter and heavier, the garden undergoes a gradual transformation. Plants that thrived during the cold months begin to turn; colours that were startlingly, unsettlingly green are now yellow and flowers give way to seeds that hang heavy with purpose.
Nasturtium – the wily, rampant, twisting plant that is entirely edible from its peppery golden blossoms, to the lily-pads like leaves, to the seeds that are produced at the end of its seasonal cycle. To make a backyard variation of capers, the nasturtium’s pungent and abundant seeds can be picked, pickled, jared and stored.
500 g nasturtium seeds
50 g salt
1 litre water
All Purpose Brine (makes 2.5 litres)
1.5 litres water
500 ml cider vinegar
250 g caster sugar
30 g salt
spices (peppercorns, bay leaves, star anise, garlic, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, caraway seeds, etc)
Rinse the nasturtium seeds under cold water, place in a large bowl with the salt and water, cover and allow to soak for 24 hours.
After soaking, rinse seeds again and set aside. To make the brine place all of the ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to the boil, making sure the sugar and salt are dissolved. Add the seeds to the sterilised jar while it’s still hot, pour in the brine, then screw the lid on.
Note – to sterilise glass jars thoroughly wash and dry, then place them in a preheated oven at 160º for 20 minutes, then turn the oven off and allow to cool with the oven door open for a minute.