belgian waffles



I got the best present for Christmas. Something I’d been wanting for years thinking if I had one, my life would be complete. It was like looking for The One, Mr. Right, my appliance-soul-mate. Looking online, lusting over American versions (oh All Clad!) and looking forlornly at Gelare’s gorgeous cast irons, after six years of whinging –  I finally got a waffle iron. And to be absolutely honest (and seriously tragic) I actually sleep better at night knowing we have one.

It’s a badass waffle iron, with deep pockets and tall walls, all the better for catching blueberries, bacon and maple syrup. Basically, all good things in life.

But the recipe… In that honeymoon period with the waffle iron, I tried several and I don’t think we’ve ever eaten so many waffles. What became glaringly apparent were batters risen with baking powder just don’t cut the mustard. They don’t have the power to rise and stay that way; instead they become stodgy, soggy, soft.





Yeast is the way to go. Like all good things it takes time, but an overnight rest does wonders. We get tall, fluffy, crispy, tall-dark-and-handsome waffles out of this batter. Which is pretty good considering the batter is as easy to put together as pancake batter. Just make sure you pick a bowl large enough for the batter to double in size, just in case.





Belgian Yeast Risen Waffles
Adapted from a King Arthur Flour recipe

Overnight fermentation does make the batter taste mildly yeasty (don’t go nuts with the yeast, we once got waffles that tasted like beer) but it’s a flavour I find delicious. If you don’t like the yeasty flavour, use immediately after the first rest. If you can find it, use cake flour – it makes a really light waffle.

Makes about 4 Belgian sized waffles

40g caster sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
241g cake flour (can be substituted with all purpose flour) 
2 tbsp cornflour
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
340g lukewarm milk
85g butter, melted
1 tsp baking powder

Put all the dry ingredients except the baking powder into a large bowl. Form a well in the middle and pour in the eggs, vanilla extract, milk and melted butter. Whisk to a smooth batter. Cover with cling film and leave for an hour to rise. If it’s a really hot day, let it rise for only 30 minutes.

The batter should be slightly risen with a few bubbles peeping out. Refrigerate overnight or use straightaway.

Take the batter out of the fridge, it should have almost doubled in size. At this stage I knock it back by sprinkling over the baking powder and stirring it. Heat the waffle iron. When it’s ready, pour in the batter – it will rather satisfyingly rise and bubble from the hot iron. Cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions – in mine it takes two and a half minutes to get a golden crust.

Flip out of the iron and enjoy!

To my surprise I have not tinkered with this recipe just yet. But I’d imagine it’d be excellent with bacon bits, cheddar and spring onions stirred through just before cooking. Other ideas for the batter are cocoa and choc chips (for a really dark waffle with melty pools of chocolate); coconut spiked with rum; or ricotta and blueberries.




margaret river



Somewhere near Prevelly Park.


Gabriel Chocolate.


Poached salmon with peas and horseradish cream at Aravina Estate.


Excellent starter of Thai prawns and coconut rice.

IMG_5185 IMG_5204

Ocean trout with yuzu dressing at Miki’s Open Kitchen. The beginning of a fabulous meal.



Tempura course at Miki’s – zucchini, scallop and out of focus, nori wrapped Fremantle sardines.

IMG_5298 IMG_5349

Margaret River mouth.


IMG_5459 IMG_5454

Morries Anytime.


Worth the drive and then some, 34 Degrees South olive oil.

IMG_5464 IMG_5488

Left: Inside the 34 Degrees tent. Right: Millers ice cream at the farmstead.


Golden hour approaching.



Heading down on a Saturday morning and coming back up on Sunday arvo, it was a whirlwind trip to Margaret River. It’s not quite enough time to do this diverse region justice, but for a weekend of fun, sun, wining and dining it’s unbeatable. Our base, Prevelly Park, is small but adorable. With endless beaches of fine, white sand (that gets into everything and everywhere) it still has that old school surfie town vibe. Early mornings see a kombi van putt its way down to the river mouth to caffeinate those dreadlocked, middle aged and/or brave searching for the perfect wave. From our studio we went for long walks by the beach, watched the sun rise over lush dunes and explored the spookily quiet, closed mouth of the Margaret River.

A few minutes drive away is Miki’s Open Kitchen, offering food of utterly unexpected calibre for a country town (and state for that matter). A U shaped dining room surrounding an open kitchen, Miki’s is a drama of hot oil, clockwork cooking and food envy. We went for the ‘trust’ menu (basically an omakase – chef’s choice) which started with tempura duck liver pate encased in gritty black sesame seeds. Served seconds after being pulled out from the oil, the pate was melt in the mouth. Watching the chef produce multiple tempura main courses between two copper vats of oil was both nerve wracking and intriguing, with each piece of zucchini, panko’d scallop and Freo sardine not a second over cooked. Local seafood is the star here, with the menu frequently changing mid service depending on supply. Be sure to book a table.

Perched above undulating vineyards and reaching down to a rippling lake is Aravina Estate. This estate does it all – a shop, cellar door, weddings, even a sports car gallery (!) and of course, a restaurant. At first reading, the menu does seem a bit pedestrian but the food that comes out is nothing short of excellent. The slow cooked ocean trout surrounded by thirst quenching radish, squeaky peas and sharp horseradish foam was gorgeous on the plate and to eat. But what surprised were the Thai dishes…Prawns with peppy sprigs of coriander on top of creamy, coconut rice was sharp, sweet, pungent and salty. Even better was the pork belly with yellow noodles. Bathed in an intense oxtail soup it was silky, balanced and meaty. It’s an odd juxtaposition to be raving about Thai food in the middle of a vineyard, but it’s so good it works.

Apart from eating and drinking, food shopping was on the agenda. Vasse Virgin is a heaven for samples and anything olive related (they make excellent pesto and marinated olives). At Gabriel Chocolate, vats warming single origin drinking chocolates were irresistible. Ice cream at the Millers’ original family farmhouse (as opposed to the kiosk in the township), was worth the short drive away from civilization. Beneath swaying gum trees, just metres from the Millers’ cows, we enjoyed scoops of freshly churned ice cream. So good.

Talking about civilization, just outside Rosa Brook (a town that looks so lonely, the movie Hills Have Eyes came to mind – but its actually a very lovely area) is 34 Degrees South, an olive oil producer that’s not to be missed, if only for the safari tent that looks oddly elegant. Inside, we taste extra virgin oils and olives produced from the 7000 strong orchard just metres away. The organic olive oils which range from distinctly buttery and bright to robust and fruity, are a testament to the onsite crushing and production. At the farm gate, each bottle of freshly poured oil is $10 (plus $1 for a recycled wine bottle) which is crazy good value.

We say good bye to the resident alpaca and pull out onto one of the most idyllic routes of the road trip. As we speed back to the city, the vista changes from cow studded paddocks protected by gnarly windbreaks to more olive groves, then forests, then finally, hills flecked with rolling vineyards.


Margaret River Beach Studios | 17 Wooredah Crescent, Prevelly Park
Close to the beach, private and affordable with a little kitchenette and barbeque to boot! Highly recommended.

Gabriel Chocolate | 3220 Caves Rd, Yallingup
Stop by for mugs of single origin chocolat chaud. A must do for the chocolate purist, or gifts for the chocolate lover.

Aravina Estate | 61 Thornton Road Yallingup
Nice for lunch and having a sneak peek at a big estate. Be sure to call ahead for a table.

Morries Anytime | 2/149 Bussell Highway, Margaret River
Brekkie (did someone say avocado on toast?), good coffee, lunch and dinner, this place does it all.

Woodlands Winery | 3948 Caves Rd, Wilyabrup
Secluded, very local organic winery. Lovely reds.

Miki’s Open Kitchen | 131 Bussell Highway, Margaret River
As close to an authentic tempura restaurant as you can get (even in Perth), minus the airfare to Tokyo. Run, don’t walk.

Wulura Farm | 1071 Wildwood Road, Yallingup
Locally produced olive oils and wine tastings over looking a forest lined lake.

Vasse Virgin | 2 Rosa Brook Road, Margaret River
Sample mustards, marinated olives, oils and pesto! Plus olive oil based soaps and skincare.

Millers Ice Cream | 314 Wirring Road, Cowaramup
With a multitude of flavours, a playground and cows mooing in the distance, having a scoop in the original farmhouse is not be missed. Whole milk (with that delectable layer of cream) is also available here.

34 Degrees South | Crozier Road, Rosa Brook
Gorgeous organic olive oils at unbelievably good farm gate prices.

Vasse Felix | Cnr Tom Cullity Drive & Caves Road, Margaret River
Make time for this juggernaut estate. The gallery is a must-see, the wines are must-drinks (there’s a pun in there somewhere) and the inventive food is a must-eat. Book, book, book! And ask for a table overlooking the vineyard.



margaret river farmers’ market


Margaret River Bakery’s morning bun. The love child of a croissant and cinnamon bun.


The very popular Combi Coffee combi van. You can also catch these guys at the Prevelly River mouth on Sunday mornings…

IMG_5118 IMG_5120

Native blooms at Cape Flora Estate’s stall. (These photos do no justice to the sheer abundance of colour.)


One of the best buys at the market: Yallingup Woodfired Bread. Also the place to nab a gugelhopf or two.



Margaret River Free Range Eggs. A bargain at $5 a dozen!!!


IMG_5098 IMG_5103
Left: Fresh herbs and salad leaves at Oasis Hydroponics. Right: Margaret River Bakery.

We went down south about four weeks ago and every time we arrive, I wonder why we don’t head down more often. In just two and a half hours of speedy morning driving (ahem, not me driving but K) we were just south of the township, in the midst of the farmers’ market. It’s a quiet, laidback market where everyone knows everybody. In fact, there were very few tourists around. 

This is a great spot to nab brekkie supplies, as well as have breakfast. Don’t miss Yallingup Bakery’s wood fired sourdough loaves. Some of the best in the state, the loaves have a fantastically chewy crust and pillowy, substantial insides (they’re the same pedigree as Freo’s Bread in Common). Their gugelhupf can also be bought here without driving to Yallingup. A yeast risen cake studded with walnuts and bacon, it’s kind of a savoury panettone if you can imagine that. To go with all that bread, I suggest getting into The Farm House’s ham. Cured from the legs of well reared, free range porkers, its deep pink flesh is cloaked with a thick layer of buttery fat. This stall does a roaring trade in snags, so if you want to throw some on that self contained unit’s barbeque, get in early. Oh, and eggs – beautiful eggs – are a must buy from Margaret River Free Range Eggs. Here, they’re $5 a dozen (bargain!) with slightly imperfect eggs being sold by the slab and precious double yolkers available too.

For brekkie right now, I have two words: morning bun. Go straight to the Margaret River Bakery stall – it’s the one with the most people. And rightly so, because their morning bun, a cross between the buttery flakiness of a croissant and sugar dusted cinnamon bun is to die for. The croissants are equally as heavenly, warm with lacquered layers shattering off with each bite. Chase the pastries down with a coffee from the yellow combi or the juice stall plying $1 lemonades. Yup, we’re definitely in the country now. Lovely.



Margaret River Farmers’ Market
Margaret River Education Campus, Lot 272 Bussell Hwy, Margaret River
Every Saturday 8am – 12pm






Oh my, how time flies. Can you believe it’s already September? Well I can’t, and I can’t believe I’ve left the blog unattended for this long. There’s so much to tell you. I’ve been eating out heaps, but I have to say, eating without having the blog in mind, not having to remember everything and not taking photos has been quite liberating.  I’ve been loving Sri Devi’s chicken 65 (pieces of chook marinated in tandoori masala then deep fried!), gorging on bread (what else?) at Bread in Common and just last weekend we found a tiny Japanese place that was pretty awesome.

Anyway first things first – I have an article out in the current issue (October) of SBS Feast, about a place dear to my heart. Actually dear to most of our hearts I think – it’s Perth! Or more accurately, eats around Perth CBD and Northbridge.





When I was asked to write the story, I found it daunting. Actually daunting would be an understatement. How to condense this vibrant, changing city within a thousand words? But eventually what gripped me were the good old favourites, along with the newcomers on their way to being institutions. I tried to pack in as many as I could: Noodle Forum, European Foods, Kakulas Brothers, Twilight Hawker Markets (namely Marcelita’s Empanadas and Bangkok Jump Street), Co-Op Dining, City Farm and Hong Kong BBQ. If you’re curious to read more pick up a copy of the mag, it’ll be on the shelves for a couple more weeks.

Lastly, I was on the radio last Tuesday! Crazy, right? I harped on about farmers markets with Simon and Anth for the RTRFM 92.1 Tuesday evening Food Alternative segment. It was both a great and unnerving experience but thankfully my blabbermouth took over in the end. (Big thanks to segment producers Ai-Ling and Laura for the invite!) If you’d like to listen, the stream is here.





IMG_4504 IMG_4507

Lunch at Chin Chin. One of the best lunches. Ever.


Weekend breakfast means pastries. And a jam donut. And caneles. And French butter.


Spring Street Grocer’s cheese cellar. My version of heaven.


On the way up to Captains of Industry.


Solo coffee at Captains of Industry. Totally loving that guy’s jumper.


Read the rest of this entry »

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...