Diane and I had a Lebanese meal last night and it is always special to have the delicious food available at the Prophet Lebanese Cafe in Vic Park. We have been eating the patron’s food for decades now and before when he had a similar cafe near City Centre in Perth which has been torn down for many years. His son is now in charge of the kitchen and the quality of the food has remained unchanged over the decades that we have been eating at the Prophet cafe.
We have our favourites and I tend, less so for Di, to order the same item whenever I eat there. We were immediately served with an appetizer for which, highly unusual in Perth’s restaurants, there was no charge. In most of the world’s countries that I have visited the restaurant will offer something for no charge as a means of luring custom but not in Perth; this is a hard town and we are the poorer for it! This appetiser was perfect: a basket of Lebanese bread, sliced pickles and garlic spread. I tore a piece of bread, put some garlic spread on it and then a slice (or two) of the pickle–delicious!
As a first course we shared a plate of six Falafel that were as light as I have ever tasted. I have read that traditionally the groom’s mother would judge her son’s future bride on thedelicacy of her future daughter-in-law’s Falafel’s; my guess is that a smart future bride would simply ask for a double serve of the Prophet’s Falafels as a take-away and a happy future mother-in-law would be assured.
For our mains Di ordered a serve of four Ladies Fingers (lamb mince, pine nuts, finely chopped onion, various herbs and wrapped in filo pastry before deep frying.
I ordered a Lebanese version of an Egyptian-Sudanese bean stew called Ful. The Lebanese version is red beans and chick peas (garbanzos) cooked until they break down somewhat, herbed and splashed with olive oil–delicious!
Forgive me for being blunt but paying a minimum of $100.00 per person for a restaurant meal is basically insane when you can eat this fabulous food for a fraction of the price. We, the customers, are the bunnies so I guess we deserve what we get: over- priced food of questionable quality.
Last night was another Diet Night so that we can get back on schedule for this week: 2-5, Tuesday and Thursday.
I had wheeled over to the local Coles and they carry small, two person, packets of fish fillets of various kinds. Yesterday arvo I picked up a packet of Kailis Bros. Barramundi fillets as a change from the Toothfish and they tasted excellent: nearly on a par with the Toothfish.
I prepared the fish using the same simple Bernard recipe: this time using the delicious Swiss Brown mushrooms but the recipe remained the same.
Just a salad using fridge greens: a combination of Rocket and Spinach plus a partly used tomato and some old mushrooms.
We always try to eat whatever is left because it really pains me to throw out food. That goes against the popular trend: I read just the other day that the average developed world kitchen throws out about 1/3 of their food and that statistic saddens me profoundly. It must be, as I have read, that I grew up poor which is really crazy because, being a farm kid, I eat steak virtually every night or our own pork or our own chicken so being food-poor was definitely not the reason.
Water can be an excellent beverage also.
Last night was a makeup diet night because of the celebrations last week. It was my turn to cook so I opted for the magnificent Patagonian Toothfish in the freezer. No, I will never get tired of this great fish and Bernard’s simple recipe is a match made in heaven.
The recipe is simplicity in itself: a bed of sliced mushrooms that have been sprinkled with one chopped shallot sitting in as bath of Vegeta stock.
That and a simple salad with Di’s Greek yogurt dressing completed a very tasty yet extremely low-cal meal.
After the large and delicious meal that Diane prepared for my birthday it was imperative to return to the diet of last week; therefore, I made the tried n’ true Bernand fish recipe which is an interesting combination of being low-cal but very tasty.
We had bought some of that wonderful Patagonian Toothfish some days ago. The store snap freezes their fish and that is the only way this particular fish can be obtained because the Antarctic waters are so far away that fresh is out of the question.
I just bake the fish on a bed of mushrooms sprinkled with finely chopped shallots for 20 minutes. The recipe calls for stock to be poured into the baking dish so the mushrooms are sauteed with the shallots. I make a green salad, in this case, of lettuce, avocado and halved cherry tomatoes.
Last evening Diane fixed a cracker of a meal for me; it was a delayed birthday gift. She asked me what I would like and I said I would like an old-fashioned Sixtie’s meal. She made: a Wild Turkey Old Fashion to begin, a Cesar Salad, a Prawn Cocktail with her own sauce, Steak Diane with Scalloped Potatoes and Peach Cobbler for dessert!
Every dish was superb and together they took me back to those halcyon days. The only modification was the scalloped Potatoes: they were French Potatoes Dauphinoise which is the French version of the dish and as anybody can imagine they were delicious.
As is the American way, where we were in the 6os, Diane served the salad first. She made a Cesar Salad with her own dressing and her own croutons and it was superb.
The Prawn Cocktail made with those large succulent Western Australian prawns fresh from our local fishmonger with her sauce were outstanding.
The Steak Diane, as with Prawn Cocktail, has disappeared from restaurant menus and we, as patrons, are the poorer for it. Steak Diane is a simple (in the hands of someone as good as Di) meat dish with simple flavours but the result because it is flattened becomes fork tender (if you start with a tender cut) and a special main course. The scalloped potato’s are a special treat because, as with the entire meal, it is pretty caloric but the potato’s specifically were caloric.
For the wine on this special occasion, Di served an ’09 Laurelwood Cabernet Sauvignon from california’s Napa Valley: a wine that she bought on a previous trip to visit her family and brought back with her. California wines are rare here in the West so this one tasted particularly good: it was a memorable wine.
The dessert was something special: a Peach Cobbler the likes of which I had not eaten in many decades. It was as delicious as you can imagine but the same could be said about the entire meal. All praise to the chef; she carried it off with aplomb and made a particularly great “gift that money can’t buy” for my birthday!
Last night Diane and I finally railed into Perth and at about 4:30 PM we found our way to the Center of the city where the city council had allowed the establishment of a large Food Fair with numerous international food stalls
The Fair runs every Friday from 5 until 9 PM and it started before Christmas but we only made it in last evening but now I think that we will become regulars.
Of the many available foods we only tried a few so there will be many more untasted for future visits. We tried, always sharing: Latin Crazy Corn, Polish Jam Donuts (I last had them in Lublin in ’85) and Pirogi, Indian Vegie Filled Parrahah, Spanish Paella and French Macaroons.
The Polish food was the best and we will rerturn perhaps next week.
Last evening before the Musica Viva concert at the Concert Hall we had dinner at The Corner Cafe as is our wont with its large variety of Asian dishes.
We started with four spring rolls and then Diane had a delicious (she gave me one) plate of breaded squid rings while I ordered a plate of Thai curried chicken with coconut cream and rice.
Their food has never let us down and it continues to be a real winner: excellent tasting food at a very reasonable price–highly recommended!
Its thundering with very light showers at 8 this morning but last night it was warm and still so a BBQ was on the cards.
As often happens with BBQs I do the prep while Diane does the actual cooking and last night we just used what was in the fridge: some Cypriot haloumi, part of an eggplant and two lamb steaks plus a bit of Turkish bread leftover and frozen. That makes a perfect BBQ!
First I marinated the lamb which I brushed with olive oil, crushed garlic and finely chopped rosemary. Then the haloumi was dusted in flour and paprica and the eggplant was sliced into rounds. We don’t bother with salting the rounds to draw out the bitterness because over many years we have found that the eggplant is not bitter when BBQed so there is no need.
We finished the bottle of Moulin De Gassac Guilhem which is just an inexpensive table wine from the French Languedoc. The Australian dollar has appreciated in value these past years and we can drink European wines that were too expensive in past years.
A new aspect of the night’s meal was a dessert (which we normally never have) called Banana’s Brennan named after a famous old restaurant in New Orleans. The fruit is sliced into thirds, sauteed in butter, cinnamon and brown sugar (very quickly) then splashed with brandy and lit until the liquor burns off and served immediately. The story is that New Orleans was the east coast entrance port in the US for the banana crop from central America; the dish was a natural outgrowth. I think it was invented sometime in the 20s of last century.
Last night was day one of our 2-5 Diet and Diane created her delicious “diet” menu that really had nothing to do with diet except that it was low-cal.
She prepared two plates of braised prawns and grilled vegetables. The prawns were lightly braised in stock, not oil, dusted with smoked paprica.
The vegetables included: two mushroom caps, two wide slices of capsicum (red pepper) and something else that I can’t recall.
She served all on the plate with some Greek yogurt cut with a sqeeze of lemon juice and followed by the habitual green salad dressed with the same Greek yogurt dressing. The beverage of choice was a glass or two of water mixed with a little lemon juice or cranberry, whatever is in the fridge.
Vegeta Broth with Vegetables
Garlic and smoked paprika marinated grilled chicken breast with grilled vegetables.
This shows the greek yoghurt sauce and the low oil dressing
One of our trusty grill plates
Grilled seafood… what diet?
Scallops and Peas in broth
Diane put the grilled seafood in a broth.
French Baked Fish with mushrooms and shallots
We love salad!
Here are some photos of the delicious meals we have prepared on our two days each week of eating restricted calories. The main rules are to eat normally for five days and on two nonconsecutive days we eat limit ourselves to: 500 calories (about 4,000 kj) for Diane and 600 calories for me. This limit precludes wine so we have water with a dash of lime or cranberry juice.
The main meal for us is dinner and the meat component is about 100 grams (3 ounces) . Prawns, non oily fish and chicken are all low in calories for these meals. Grilled vegetables and salad with a greek yogurt and stock dressing complete the meal.