5 Ways To Pimp Your Hot Cross Bun

Despite the fact they landed on shelves around Australia three months in advance, hot cross buns are (almost) everyone’s guilty pleasure. But sometimes the old faithful ‘toasted with a smear of butter’ can get a little boring. So i’ve come up with a few alternative ways to enjoy your festive, fruity bun.

#1 Ice-cream Sandwich

If you’re a smart shopper that tends to avoid the ‘naughty’ isles where temptation looms then you probably aren’t aware that Coles now sell their own brand of ‘frozen custard ice cream’, the perfect addition to a hot cross bun ice cream sandwich. Simply halve the hot cross bun, toast under the hot grill, add a few scoops of the custard ice cream and top with the remaining half. If you’re feeling super fancy, melt a few squares of chocolate and drizzle over the top.

#2 Creme Egg Surprise

If Cadbury’s Creme Egg’s are your favourite chocolate at Easter, then you’ll love this combo. Fire up your sandwich press and slice your hot cross bun in half with a coating of butter around the outside. Place the bottom half of the bun on the sandwich press, a creme egg in the centre and the remaining half on top. Close the sandwich press and watch the sugary egg ooze all over the bun.

#3 French Toast Twist

If your’e searching for the perfect Easter Monday breakfast idea, this is it. Whisk together 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons of milk and some orange zest and soak the hot cross bun halves in the mixture. Heat a non-stick frying pan, add a knob of butter and fry each half for about 1-2 minutes each side. Remove from heat, plate them up and top them off with some creme fraiche and a drizzle of maple syrup.

#4 A Savoury Delight

Sometimes (not often) we simply can’t do sweet. So i’ve come up with an alternative way to enjoy your Easter treat that won’t give you a sugar rush. Simply cut open your fruity bun, add a few slices of unsmoked streaky bacon and some mature cheddar cheese then toast. Lunch at your work desk never smelt so good.

#5 Bread & Butter Pudding

This one requires a recipe and a bit of time, but it’s totally worth it – especially if your pantry is full of discounted hot cross buns you managed to snag the day before Good Friday. Using chocolate hot cross buns, celebrity chef Nadia Lim has created one crazy good bread and butter pudding that you won’t be able to stop eating. Check out the recipe here.

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How Not To Kill Your Indoor Plants

So that trip to the markets on the weekend fooled you into thinking you’re a green thumb, taking home more cacti and succulents than your tiny apartment can handle. And now you’ve stuck them all on the windowsill with the hope they’ll outlive that fish you bought on a whim, as they don’t require food (or a clean bowl to live in). But keeping these pretty plants alive is easier than you’d think. I managed to get a few tips for ‘succulent survival’ from Stackwood’s in-house plant expert and landscape architect Claire Greenhill.

#1 Drainage

When growing succulents in pots, good drainage is essential. Make sure your pot has at least one good drainage hole and is planted into free draining soil. If you live on the coastal plain in WA, the soil is generally sandy and very free draining and little amendment is needed. If you are in the Hills or elsewhere on clay soil, some organic matter and a bit of gypsum will help break up the soil and provide better conditions for your succulents.

#2 Water

While Succulents are very tough plants if they are situated in full sun and planted into pots outside they will need to be watered regularly over the hot summer months so they don’t dry out. If the leaves or stems or your succulent look deflated, the plant probably needs a drink. If they are in the ground they will need less water than in pots and the twice-weekly allowed sprinklers should be more than enough all but for the hottest days of summer where some supplemental hand watering may be necessary.

#3 Light

Succulents love good light. If attempting to grow inside, a window sill where your plant receives direct morning sun through the window it a great spot for these hardy plants. If growing outside they will grow in part sun to full sun. These are not plants for the damp shady corners of your garden or a dark cool corner of your home.

#4 Gravel

Sometimes the hole in the bottom of a pot can get plugged so putting a layer of coarse gravel at the bottom of the pot can ensure the hole doesn’t get blocked by the roots of the plant or by compacted soil.

#5 Positioning

The less light and sun your succulents receive, the less water they will need. A succulent grown indoors on a window sill where it receives some direct light may only need water once a week and less in the winter months.


To start your cacti collection, check out Stackwood in Fremantle.

10 Stack St, Fremantle WA 6160

The Best First Date Bars In Perth

So you’ve swiped right, matched and exchanged some banter. Now it’s time to meet your true love  face-to-face. But we all know first dates are never easy. There’s always that fear you’ll insult them, bore them, or talk too much to fill that ‘award silence’. But thankfully you can make your first date less nerve-racking by dabbling in a few drinks at one of Perth’s best first date bars. The key is to pick a bar that matches the vibe the two of you have been sharing. And if that doesn’t seem to work, there’s always the ‘fake phone call’ get-away.

The Standard

The Standard is a tiny but mighty bar that you’ll end up leaving hours after you’ve met your date (provided all goes well). But on the rarity the two of you can’t stand each other, the bartenders here know how to make some seriously strong cocktails to help you survive the evening.

28 Roe St, Northbridge WA 6003

Bob’s Bar

Rooftop bars are always a good idea for a first date. Bob’s Bar provides a large open space with plenty of fresh air and strong alcohol, making it a laid-back way to find out everything there is to know about the mystery guy/gal. And if your date turns out to be a total flop, you can always have a chat to the friendly bartenders about how you wish you could have ‘accidentally’ shoved your tinder match over the edge.

125 St Georges Terrace, Perth WA 6000

For more Rooftop Bars in Perth, check out the Perth Rooftop Bar Guide

Henry Summer

This relatively new bar in Northbridge is always packed, so if your date is a no show, there will plenty of other possible candidates around. With five bars and no shortage of space for drinking and dining, you can easily spend a solid few hours here finding out each others deepest darkest secrets. If the two of you get hungry, they’ve got a few grazing boards on offer, and if you feel like trying something new, they’ve even got wine on tap – makes for a good conversation starter. 

69 Aberdeen St, Northbridge WA 6003

No Mafia

The best thing about No Mafia is that it’s located right next to Franco Forte, so whether the date is going impressively well or horribly wrong, you can grab a bowl of pasta to collect your post-date thoughts. Being an Italian bar, you can expect some notable wines and antipasto.

189 William St, Northbridge WA 6003

The Cabin

Whether it’s a hot summers night or a cold winter evening, The Cabin is a great spot to meet a complete stranger for the first time. The interior boasts a real cosy cabin feel with its low lit lighting, decent sized fire place and couches aplenty. And if it’s getting too heated inside, the balcony provides just the right amount of fresh air to sit down and enjoy a few drinks with your soon-to-be partner.

174 Scarborough Beach Rd, Mount Hawthorn WA 6016

Clarences

If you’re after a subtle romantic vibe, then Clarences is the spot to check out. With soft candle light and cosy booths, the atmosphere couldn’t be more warm and welcoming if it tried. Partake in a wine or two and peruse the menu, there’s a different meal special every day, so you can charm your date on a budget.

566 Beaufort St, Mount Lawley WA 6050

Coast

With a view of the beach and an impressive line up of food, you’re practically guaranteed a second date after an evening spent at Coast. Soak up the chilled-out casual vibes whilst sipping on a few Port Beach Mojito’s with your date. And if you run out of stuff to talk about, you can always marvel at the sun setting over the beach.

42 Port Beach Rd, North Fremantle WA 6159

Little Creatures

When is Little Creatures not an appropriate place to kick back and enjoy a house-made beer or cider. The vibe is so chill, you can easily spend a few hours getting to know one another. And if all goes well after one drink and you suddenly develop an appetite, the pizza’s here are ideal sharing size.

42 Mews Rd, Fremantle WA 6160

Tried & Tested Snacks: February Edition

With new products on the market almost every week, it can be overwhelmingly difficult to decide which to try first. To help make the decision process slightly easier, i’ve tried and tested five products this month, find the verdict below.


1. Mars Frozen M&M’s Peanut Sticks

It’s about time Mars brought out a frozen version of their best-selling chocolate. These individually wrapped ice-cream bars contain a creamy milk chocolate ice-cream encased in a hard-chocolate outer layer with crushed m&m shell throughout with the perfect hint of peanut butter.

Verdict: So good I could eat the whole four.

Where to find: Woolworths & Coles freezer isle.

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2. Gelato Messina Tim Tams: Ice Coffee

Australian biscuit brand Arnott’s have collaborated with Gelato Messina for their second Tim Tam range. This time the concept behind the three flavours was to store them in the fridge and eat them cold. The flavours included Choc Cherry Coconut, Iced Coffee and Turkish Delight.

Verdict: Personally I’m a Tim Tam Slam fan, so eating my Tim Tams straight out of the fridge was entering new territory. That said, the flavours were pretty true to their name. Ice coffee was hands down the crowd favourite.

Where to find: Woolworths & Coles biscuit isle.

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3. Salted Caramel Almond Milk

Australia’s Own Foods Salted Caramel Almond Milk is nutty, sweet and (slightly) salty all at once. It slides down your throat with ease, exciting even the bleakest of taste buds. Best enjoyed ice cold.

Verdict: Free from gluten, dairy and soy, you’d be surprised at how good this milk tastes. Get creative and add it to a smoothie. Breakfast never sounded so good.

Where to find: IGA & Specialty Food Stores.

 

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4. Fantastic Rice Mini’s

For an alternative to Arnott’s Shapes, these mini rice wheels are the perfect bite-sized snack. Flavours include Chicken, Honey & Soy or Chilli Salt & Pepper. For a mini wheel of rice, the flavour sure does pack a punch, and the texture is almost Twistie-like, making them hard to put down. Arguably Honey & Soy was my favourite of the two, although the Chicken was a close first. 

Verdict: Ate the entire box on the car ride home from Woolworths.

Where to find: Woolworths biscuit isle.

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5. The Golden Gaytime Sanga

Ditching the stick, the Golden Gaytime has been transformed into the most epic ice cream sandwich you’ll want to get your hands on ASAP. It boasts a sweet carmel-ey honey cream on the inside, and a classic biscuit cover on the outside. The biscuit has been ramped up by ‘improved crumb technology’, with a higher crumb density, so your tastebuds may go into serious shock.

Verdict: This is one serious game-changer in the ice-cream department. The perfect balance of ice cream and biscuit, I don’t know why you’re still reading this and not getting your hands on one.

Where to find: IGA freezer isle.

 

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Where To Find Perth’s Best Continental Rolls

If you haven’t had the pleasure of sinking your teeth into a crunchy, crumbly roll filled with cured meats and assorted cheeses, then you’re seriously missing out. Luckily I know where to find Perth’s Best, so you can ditch that soggy old sandwich.

The Re Store

I would suggest walking into the Re-Store with an empty stomach and a full wallet, because this Italian delicatessen has the largest selection of European goods around Perth. Grab a ticket and join the queue to be served by one of the friendly Italian mumma’s behind the counter. Once you’ve got your $8 roll filled with Proscuitto, Salami, Cheese and Antipasto mix, have a stroll through the store and pick up a pack of their freshly baked Crostoli – one packet will have you hooked.

231 Oxford St, Leederville

Scutti

Pretty much everything that’s loaded into your continental roll is fresh local produce, so it’s no wonder this place packs in a crowd on a Saturday afternoon. Go in for a continental roll and walk out with olives, cheeses and a basket full of fruit and veg. Their Kangaroo Salami is also highly notable, if you’re into that kind of thing.

67 Angelo St, South Perth 

Charlie’s Fresh Food Market

At Charlie’s you can have your continental roll (and eat it too). Once you’ve had arguably one of the best continental rolls around town, grab a trolley and go crazy on the produce. From fresh pasta to meats, olives, pickled veg, biscuits and Italian cakes, there’s nothing you can’t find here.

497 Walter Rd E, Morley 

Passione

If you’ve ever wanted to visit Italy for the food, take a trip to Kingsley and check out Passione. From the hanging salami to the home made foods, it’s practically Italy in Perth. The family run shop offers up seriously over-sized continental rolls, because Europeans don’t do ‘small’ sized anything. And if you’re planning on going in just to ‘browse’, think again.

107 Kingsley Dr, Kingsley

Lo Presti And Son

Besides the fact you can find everything to make the perfect antipasto board here, their continental roll game is insanely strong. With extra’s like artichoke or fresh chilli, you’ll never want a packed lunch again. And if the cheese selection is too overwhelming for you, the staff here are really good at helping you take home half the shop.

170 Canning Highway East Fremantle

 

Looking for cheesy lunch ideas? Check out Perth’s Best Grilled Cheese