Tag Archives: perth

Its February .. the month of love and no sugar!

8 Feb


Dry January got off to a spectacular start and continued as such for exactly 14 days and 16 hours … then a rat strolled across our yard as nonchalant as you like, I could be mistaken but I think he was smoking a cigarette – YES he  was THAT CALM!

What followed was the freak out of all freak outs on my part and after a brief draining of blood from his face a very calm taking control of the situation by Dave! Rats are one of my biggest fears in life, second only to death and in joint place with falling and breaking all my teeth, so as you can imagine I wasn’t too happy seeing one in the middle of what had been a lovely afternoon. Mr Rat, as the neighbours have taken to calling it (they had been watching him for a while it seems .. no, I don’t understand this either) had eaten all our chillies and was probably heading for the capsicums which were starting to rot in the sun. Dave disposed of all our veggie plants in one swift movement, laid poison, set traps and poured me a glass of wine. There really was nothing else for it, the only way to stop me crying was to have me drinking!

The rest of January although not strictly dry was very restrained until Australia Day which became a 4 day weekend of immeasurable fun lubricated with various alcoholic beverages … Oh the fireworks! The laughing! The fun!


And shur then it was February ….

I started reading about going sugar free in earnest after Christmas, my main source was Sarah Wilson’s blog and e-books. Any fans of Masterchef Australia may remember Sarah presented the first series, she has an autoimmune disease as do I so this really interested me as she claims to have healed herself and lost weight by cutting fructose and wheat from her diet. It was something I had been thinking about for years so I decided it was finally time to give it a shot. So from Feb 1st I have not eaten any fructose including that in fruit and avoided wheat as much as possible, I am doing really well! My tastebuds have recovered to such an extent that a glass of full fat milk now tastes deliciously sweet!

This week I joined the local library, it was such a shock to see how high tech libraries have become its a long way from the stuffy little place we used frequent in Arklow in search of Roald Dahl & Enid Blyton books! For one thing the books check themselves out these days, you can keep them for 21 days, there’s dvds too and its not quiet AT ALL! My main reason for joining was that I wanted to read another book on giving up sugar called Sweet Poison by David Gillespie, Sarah Wilson refers to him as an inspiration. The book is incredible, I read it in 24 hours (it would have been less but I had to keep stopping to get into the pool and sleep) and would recommend it to anyone interested in health, the food industry, why we are getting fatter, heart disease, cancer, diabetes or just looking to expand their knowledge base (in other words info-hungry like myself!).

I’m not going to try and convert everyone but if you have ever wondered why humans are doing more exercise than ever but getting fatter, eating more low-fat/light products than ever but getting fatter and why this has all come about in our lifetimes this subject is worth looking into!  Oh and don’t worry I will be eating fruit again in a few weeks, I am detoxing totally first then I’ll start eating it again.

Are you wondering what I am eating? If so let me know and I’ll do a post on a few meals ….

Today I made these rice paper rolls, very simple and filled with all sorts from the fridge such as peanut butter, courgette/zucchini, cucumber, carrot, capsicum/pepper, fresh coriander, last night’s roast chicken, avocado (of course!) …I’ve munched on 3 as I’ve been writing this! Other filling ideas are cold rice, noodles, meats, prawns really anything works as long as its not liquidy.  Great with a simple little dipping sauce of lime juice, tamari (soya sauce) and chilli …


Of course February is the month of love with Valentine’s Day falling slap bang in the middle of month! I just love love and not just the romantic hallmark flowers and chocolates sort but the real life best friends, sisters, parents, family, being there for each other, knowing you are not alone in this big bad world sort of love! In the past few weeks I have come across some really beautiful stories that I want to share … if you’re a Hurley get the Kleenex out ..

Bill and Shelley: Their love story 

The Race Grows Sweeter Near its Final Lap 

Ada Bryant and Robert Haire 

And lest we forget those that were not so lucky to know love in life …. Margaret Magdelene No. 322 

And as for me well I am super lucky and know first hand all sorts of real love but none so greater than what I feel for my early Valentines gift …. isn’t she a beauty????

20130208-131155.jpgYip, I’m as shallow as they come ,

Be good,

SJ xx

Helloooo 2013!

10 Jan

Pinterest NY Fireplace

Happy New Year everyone,

The first ten days of the new year have been lovely so long may that continue. Here in Perth there was a heatwave over Christmas and New Year and I found myself longing for bitterly cold weather, the grass is always greener on the other side!

Christmas was really lovely, both our big dinners were lots of fun. Bread sauce was a revelation and I will be attempting to recreate it at some point in the future, a pot luck dinner party is a really great idea as everyone shares the stress and there are lots of different and new foods to try. On Christmas Day we had a delish dinner with my relatives in the evening both the turkey and ham were cooked on the BBQ then served with roast potatoes and an array of hot and cold salads. The pudding was lit and served later on in the evening and it was a lovely relaxed day over all with a nice swim in the ocean before dinner. A success over all! I received some beautiful gifts which I will do a post on soon, two new cookbooks if you don’t mind along with lots of other great stuff!

New Year’s Eve was spent drinking french champagne with our lovely neighbours by the pool, it was so hot that we had to keep jumping into the water to prevent spontaneous combustion or melting! There weren’t any fireworks as I had thought, it seems Perth does a huge display on Australia Day which is January 26th so NYE is a more low key affair in the skies!

I would imagine I am similar to lots of people with new year’s resolutions to eat healthier, lose weight, do more exercise and drink less! My plan is to set myself a challenge each month as I feel a month is doable. So this year I am embarking on a Dry January inspired by the lovely EnglishMum. So far so good … although the hot evenings are not helping as I would love nothing more than a glass of white wine by the pool but I’m holding firm! I am going to break it for Australia Day though, my reasoning being if you are allowed to break lent for St Patrick’s Day then its only fair. When in Rome …

My plan for both February and March is to eliminate sugar from my diet. I’m spending this month reading up on it and slowly getting prepared food wise … so once I know exactly what I am at I will share the details. For anyone interested in trying this Sarah Wilson’s Blog is a good place to begin.

Pinterest 1

So how was everyone’s Christmas and New Year?? Any exciting new year’s resolutions?

Any suggestions as to what I should do per month after March,with a health benefit? All suggestion gratefully received 🙂

Here’s to a healthy and happy 2013


Station Street Markets, Subiaco

12 Sep

Almost every weekend since I’ve been here I’ve made the trek to Subiaco for these markets .. I love them!
From the outside it looks like nothing, maybe a warehouse or underground carpark but once you get inside its a hive of activity and I adore the buzz! I like to think I am a bit like my hero Darina Allen pottering around the English Market in Cork picking the best of everything … perhaps the sun really is getting to me.

There’s a superb health food shop called The Angry Almond where I buy porrige oats, basmati rice, dried apricots and lentils among other things from huge open metal bins. It is also a great place for spices, oils,  flours, yeast,  hard to find ingredients (just this weekend I got coconut sugar) and some good cheeses!

Angry Almond
There’s a branch of my favourite french patisserie La Galette de France, a florist, juice bar, milk bar, numerous restaurant stalls offering all sorts of delights but the largest part, and my favourite hands down are the fruit and veg stalls!!

The array of fruits and vegetables astound me everytime .. 5 types of melon, 6 types of tomatoes, 4 sizes of avocados (my addiction), fresh herbs in huge bunches, produce I don’t recognise, bright colours, fresh smells, choice, choice, choice!!


Potatoes Royal Blue potatoes are really good, they are white on the inside and sadly don’t keep their bright blue colour when cooked but taste really good!






I have no idea what this is or what to do with it? Anyone??




uglyHow’d you like them (custard) apples??!!


oranges and apples

There is better value to be had here compared with the large supermarkets, these eggs for example are about €6 in our local supermarket and since discovering these markets our food bill has decreased … however we also had to get a larger fridge for the amount I haul home every week.. five a day is no longer the aim but a minimum!

While in Ireland last month I treated myself to this new book from another one of my food heroes Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, I’m hoping to try lots of new vegetable dishes and salads suitable for the warmer weather while taking advantage of the huge array of fresh good quality product available here.


Station Street Markets are open Friday, Saturday and Sunday and Public Holidays.

Perth Zoo … literally 214 steps from my front door (approx)

23 May

I love going to the zoo, in fact myself and the boyf went on our first “daytime activity” (read: sober) date to Dublin Zoo way back in 2006 and have visited it at least once a year since. Dublin Zoo is so lovely these days and not at all like when I was a child .. no unhappy animals in squishy enclosures and lots of tree lined pathways and places to sit, have a picnic, get a cuppa, relax! The only negative is the lack of decent food outlets – a picnic is definitely a better option but hopefully in time they can improve that too. If you’re in Ireland visit the zoo this year you’ll love it!

When we moved to South Perth I was delighted to realise we are right beside Perth Zoo, I wasn’t sure how good it would be though as I have walked/ran around it and it doesn’t seem that large .. its not set in a huge green area like the Phoenix Park but instead its in the middle of a residential area, 10 minute walk from the Mends Street jetty and easily accessible by bus or car. Last Sunday we decided it was time to check it out so off we went, it took us 5 minutes at most to get there, it’s $22/adult and $1 for a map. We skipped the map and decided to just follow the paths, this worked out really well and we stopped once a while to check out the large maps posted around the zoo and were delighted to see we had managed perfectly well without the map! I felt somewhat like an intrepid explorer 😉

Perth Zoo is gorgeous! Its green, pretty, peaceful, well laid out and uses the relatively small space very well. We spent 3 hours there and could have spent a lot longer, we had to leave as it was closing so the next time we will go earlier in the day and catch some of the feeding times .. penguins at 1 and I think elephants at 10am.
Speaking of elephants .. I was ridiculously excited (ridiculously!) when I looked ahead of me and here was an elephant!!! Her name is Trisha and the zookeepers walk her around the zoo a couple of times a day! It was lovely and everyone stood by taking photos and abiding by the requests of the zoo not to touch her (I love how Australians abide by rules, its a really attractive quality of this country). Some of the animals are quite free to roam around for example we got really close to a large grey kangaroo and a little wallaby!
I also saw two mice which frightened the bejaypers out of me .. as you’ll know from my Rottnest post I am not a rodent fan!

Here are a few of the best photos we took!

Wagamama – Subiaco, Perth

21 May

I love Japanese food, in fact most asian food I’ve ever tasted has appealed to me but Wagamama and Yamamori were often called upon in Dublin to save me from hangovers that threatened my life … and rarely let me down!

Waga’s chilli chicken ramen was always a firm favourite but I also loved the noodle dishes, juices and even the thought of the tempura fish bento boxes in Yamamori make my mouth water!

So you can imagine how delighted I was to discover a Wagamama here in Perth, its situated in Subiaco which is a great suburb with lots of shops, bars, markets that’s always buzzy. We headed over on Saturday to the Subi Farmer’s Market but I got the times totally wrong and we missed it! Luckily we also had lunch on the agenda too.

I am giving the prices here purely out of interest, Perth is more expensive than Ireland but its a booming economy with higher wages so its to be expected.

As anyone who has eaten in Wagamama knows the food comes when ready and not all at the same time – it works really well for us as we love to share but perhaps not the ideal location for a first (awkward) date!


We ordered:

2 Sides

Chilli soft shell crab ($9.80)
soft shell crab coated with panko breadcrumbs then deep-fried and seasoned with sea salt and shichimi. served with a ginger and garlic vinegar

Tebasaki ($9.20)
chicken wings marinated with ginger and sake then deep fried. served on crisp salad drizzled with soy miring, sake and white sesame seeds

2 Mains

Chilli chicken ramen ($19.80)
noodles in a chicken soup topped with a marinated grilled chicken breast, fresh chillies, sliced red onions, beansprouts, coriander, spring onions and a wedge of lime

Ostunaaji beef salad ($8.90)
beef tenderloin marinated in cumin, aniseed and ginger stir-fried with caramelised red onions, sweet potato, red chillies, eggplant, mint and red capsicum in a coriander, lime and soy dressing. served on a bed of baby spinach and chinese cabbage. garnished with fried shallots

The food was all really delicious.

The soft shell crab was really crispy with a great chilli kick!

In the tebasaki there were only two small “wings” which I didn’t feel was a big enough portion for the price but what was there was delicious.

My beef salad was gorgeous, the meat was well cooked whereas my preference would always be rare but it was full of flavour and I love that there are salads on the menu here which are not in the Irish restaurants, I look forward to working my way through them all!

The chilli chicken ramen is always a really generous portion and did not dissappoint.

Service was efficient and friendly, its a lovely location & an advantage of living here is that we could eat outside on the deck overlooking the main street in Autumn!

With one beer the bill came to $67.60 (approx €53).

I am already looking forward to going back!


SJ x


Rottnest Island

21 May

Rottnest Island is just off the coast of Perth and everybody talks about it, so we said we’d better go and check it out.

I am not a fan of boats as I have always gotten all sorts of travel sickness but it was a lovely smooth journey from Barrack Street (near Perth CBD) to Rottnest stopping twice along the way to pick up other passengers. The swan river is really beautiful and we were lucky to go on a lovely sunny day.

Nice day for a boat ride.

Rottnest itself has a perimeter of about 27 kilometres there are no cars on the island so most visitors bring their own or hire bikes once there to cycle around. There is a bus tour too if cycling is not your thing.

Cycling is not my forte or at least it wasn’t during my J1 summer in Hyannis, Cape Cod, USA! I have no doubt that some of my companions on that trip still have nightmares about me swerving erratically all over the highway and going around the rotary (roundabout) the wrong way, I certainly do. However I was allot better on Rottnest, the lack of cars no doubt helped and the hills in some places were rather steep which kept my erratics to a minimum.

There are beaches all around the island and we found the ones on the north to be much more beautiful and plentiful than on the south, we didn’t make it around the whole island as on a day trip you really only have about 4 hours on the island (you spend more time on the boat) but in that time we fell in love with Rottnest. I will let the photos speak for themselves but we’ll undoubtedly be back and definitely stay 3/4 nights the next time – we spotted some gorgeous little chalets near Georgie Bay which is also near the general store that would be perfect!

And I should probably mention this thing, its a Quokka and I didn’t like it ONE BIT!

The original discoverers of Rottnest thought they were rats and hence named the island Rat-Nest or Rottnest, they’re not rats but apparently related to the Kangaroo. In my mind they were rat type creatures and I tore off on my bike the minute I spotted one … much to everyone’s amusement.

So all in all our first day trip was very successful and Rottnest is a must see if visiting Perth or Western Australia!

SJ x

Flipper’s Friends

2 May

While sitting on a bench by the Swan River this evening I thought all the talk of Sharks here in WA had gone to my head as I saw a fin and a splash!

Luckily my mind is not gone although my identification of sealife is a little off. It was a dolphin, actually two dolphins.


A childhood of watching Flipper after school was not wasted on me … I knew these critters are special and can solve all sorts of problems!

We followed them along as they swam right by the shore, diving and re-emerging and at one stage tossing a big fish in the air. It was fantastic. I may have been a bit excited causing one passer by to comment “Jeez, I thought she was going to dive in!” .. Look, we don’t have dolphins in Wicklow*!

I’ve seen dolphins before but only while actively looking for them, I’ve never been taken by surprise by one before and I have to say it made my day!

Have a little look at our superb videography and see for yourself …

Dolphins in the Swan River, South Perth

More dolphins

If you’re looking for me I’ll be down by the river waiting for my friends to come back so we can solve a few mysteries ..

SJ x

* My lovely Aunty Kathy just informed me she spotted a dolphin between Bray and Greystones last week! Not that I blame the dolphins it is a beautiful part of Ireland, the Garden if you will.  She didn’t produce any videographic evidence but I’ll still give her the benefit of the doubt, being family an’all.

For any non Irish readers that I may have Wicklow is on the east coast of Ireland, south of Dublin its known as the Garden of Ireland and was the birth place of such notable figures as Charles Stewart Parnell and my good self. Its lovely you should go and visit.