fluffy towes
Carmen

Carmen Jenner is a copywriter, journalist, travel writer, communications consultant and the founder of travel blog Fluffy Towel. She specialises in many industries including tourism, hospitality, aged care, health, real estate, property, business, charities and not-for-profits. Carmen is also the editor of Menu Magazine, catering to the Western Australian hospitality industry and hungry foodies.

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Perth, Australia

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Menu Magazine Issue 26

filed09 Oct 2019 from

HELLO and welcome to the 26th edition of Menu Magazine!

The Minister for Tourism Hon Paul Papalia opens the magazine with vigour for our state’s diverse climate, flora and fauna, which have contributed to our premium food and beverage offerings.

In this Autumn issue, I’ve taken the reins as Editor of Menu Magazine while our illustrious leader Scott Arnold-Eyers was busy dining his way around Perth and the south-west, including at Bush Shack’s new location in the Ferguson Valley.

Scott also caught up with Rick Stein and dispelled the myth that the infamous chef doesn’t actually live in Australia; he just enjoys it so much he can’t help but keep returning, especially to the Margaret River Region.

We also caught up a few Mothers, no not the ones who brought you all into this world, but Mother doughs, the pre-fermentation also known as bread starter normally used for sourdough or any naturally leavened bread.

I was so impressed with Jeremy’s piece about beer and food matching that even a non-beer drinker such as myself is seriously considering converting to the amber coloured brew.

We discovered that our dedicated food reviewers have yet to find a witchety grub on any mainstream menu and when Indigenous ingredients do appear, they’re often Westernised. After delving into the topic, we’d love to hear about your own experiences with traditional Aboriginal food.

We just know you’re going to be intrigued by Liz’s piece about Perth’s newest ingredient – hemp seed, which is grown, roasted, processed and packaged in Margaret River. We can’t wait to see the exciting ways this ingredient is going to appear on menus.

Join me in Vietnam for a gourmet feast into the heart of the country at the gorgeous Angsana Lāng Cô resort.

As the cooler season takes hold, it’s the perfect opportunity to snuggle up with some mulled cider (check out our story) and a cheese board.

Cheese Week may be over but our round-up of cheese across the state can be enjoyed at any time.

Feeling hungry yet?

We hope to satisfy your appetite and for more food adventures please go to Menu Magazine and West Coast Cafes

Carmen Jenner.

Smiles from the Teardrop Isle: Family Travel in Sri Lanka

filed15 Aug 2019 from

Like a jewel dropped into the ocean, Sri Lanka sparkles bright. Tamer than its Indian neighbour, the spicy isle is heaving with culture, wildlife, gems, adventure, welcoming locals, and exotic beauty every which way.

The figurative doors have flung open and tourists are invited in as one might welcome a long lost friend, or in this case a young friend.

Accommodating restaurant owners cater well to your cherub’s exacting food requirements. Often compared to Indian food, Sri Lankan curries use

Careening around Colombo

filed20 Mar 2018 from

 

tuk-tuk pin-up

The swanky homes of Cinnamon Gardens and the Town Hall resembling the White House in Washington are hard to miss when careening around Colombo in a tuk-tuk. But many of the city’s secrets and surprises are hidden behind walled courtyards and held by the locals themselves. Breaking the ice is easy at the mere mention of the favourite national past-time of cricket.

Cricket Crazy. Even if you secretly don’t know Don Bradman from Ricky Ponting, you can fake it …

Six romantically remote WA destinations to woo your honey

filed13 Feb 2018 from

There’s nothing quite like being whisked away to luxury digs where the signature dish is your lover and dessert is, um, well I’m sure you can conjure up some scenarios. Crown Towers, Como The Treasury and Margaret River’s Cape Lodge are obvious choices, but why not go for gold and head to a remote pocket of our huge state where no-one will mind your cries of glory.

Esperance Chalet Village, Esperance

Esperance’s isolation already appeals to those craving an uninhibited …

Truffle hunting in Manjimup

filed12 Apr 2016 from

On the 28th July in 2003 the first ever (well, the first documented one) truffle was found in Western Australia’s Manjimup. Thirteen years on, the Truffle & Wine Co. is so successful they now export to the US, Germany and France.

I went on a truffle hunt three years ago and I can still smell that earthy aroma. And as you can see below hunting for truffles is a very simple process…once you’ve selected the right plot of land, inoculated …

Gently Bentley

filed30 Mar 2016 from

driving

Pulling out of the Bentley showroom in Claremont onto Stirling Highway, I’m very much aware many houses cost less than the Bentley Continental GTC V8 S we’re test driving. However, given the craftsmanship on this elegant beast, it almost seems gauche to mention to money.

Our automatic seat belt presenter embraces us as we head up into the Perth Hills for a night of indulgence. It doesn’t take long to relax into the ventilated massaging leather seats with contrast cross …

The Colombian Cloud Atlas

filed07 Mar 2016 from

El Sauce 5

In one of the most dangerous countries in the world I stand on the side of the road with my thumb out. There is another woman striking a similar pose except she’s poured into the Colombian uniform of jeans tight enough to make out the lace on her g-string and, of course, the obligatory stilettos. This attire applies to women of any age, size or shape and I admire their fierce quest for sexiness as dust settles on my sneakers.…

Why you should visit Launceston

filed12 Jul 2015 from

Hollybanks Reserve

As Big Ben chimes in the background and the autumn colours adorn Launceston, you can almost pretend you’re in the UK. Teeming with art and architecture, some of the freshest produce I ever tasted and the kind of scenery which will turn even the most cynical of travellers snap happy, I can write with complete sincerity that Launceston should be added to many a travel list. And I haven’t even mentioned the locals. Everywhere I went I was given advice …

ANZAC centenary Western Australia’s Great Southern Drive

filed22 Apr 2015 from

The approach into Western Australia’s Great Southern region is a mix of weathered scrub bordered by the rugged peaks of the Stirling Ranges hovering in the distance. This idyllic scene has been a fixture on the landscape for over one million years, but is a world away from how our ANZAC troops left the region to fight for Australia’s future.

The 25th April 2015 marks the ANZAC centenary and the 1st November 2014 marks 100 years since the first …

Smokin’ in the City

filed24 Mar 2015 from

About 20,000 carnivores followed the waft of barbequed meat to Forest Place last April. The smell was strangely familiar but exactly what was that extra smoky aroma that brought them in droves to the inaugural Smokin’ in the City BBQ Challenge?

Forrest Chase

Hang on to your tongs, it wasn’t a simple backyard grilling affair. Grilling? What about that great Aussie tradition? However lovingly you marinate and tenderly place your high-grade meat onto a direct source of fire until its cooked; it’s …

Mango madness

filed09 Mar 2015 from

mango boxWe generally associate mangoes with the tropics but about an east of Perth in Gingin, there are about 20 commercial growers handpicking their juicy fruit as I write this. The Mediterranean climate in the part of the world allows the fruit spend 120 days on the tree, which is one month more than in the tropics. The extra time before harvesting allows the sugars to become more developed, making them sweeter to eat, and the warm temperature also means minimal …

Hola Colombian coffee

filed05 Feb 2015 from

Oh, the lengths I’ll go to for a decent cup of coffee. Like to the other side of world. I’ll soon be in the city of Pasto, in the department of Narino in south western Colombia, and bordering Equador.

It’s well and truly off the beaten tourist trail and yes, I promise to be careful of machete wielding drug lords cruising around the streets in search of random travel writers. This is generally the kind of reaction I’ve received whenever …

Singapore’s Chicken Rice War

filed07 Jan 2015 from

When Chinese immigrants arrived to the island of Singapore in the 1960’s, they brought both a strong labour force, and their beloved chicken rice. Since 77% of Singapore’s five million residents are Chinese, their favourite meal was soon adopted as the national dish. Eating is a serious business here: even the local the local greeting “sudah makan” means “Have you eaten?” Read the full article published with Ensemble Vacations Summer 2014 to see how seriously Singaporeans take their chicken rice.…

Meandering Melbourne

filed17 Oct 2014 from

Melbourne’s adorned laneways aren’t exactly a secret. Neither is the city’s vibrant food or shopping scene. It would be so easy to pay homage to its Victorian roots or compare it to the megatropolis of New York City. I’m not a local (although I’d jump at the chance to be one) and nor would I want to insult Melbournian’s with an outsider’s lowdown on their beloved treasure. But I am a lover of this wonderful city. So much so that …

Bali: Eat, lay, bend and write

filed18 Sep 2014 from

statue2On a recent journey to Bali’s tranquil Ubud I didn’t find myself and despite hunting high and low not even Javier Bardem frolicking in the rice paddies either, sorry girls.  I did however discover many enticing ways to eat, lay, bend and write, with a few naughty detours along the way.

Nestled into the hillside and offering flourishing views every which way, ONEWorld Retreats (www.oneworldretreats.com) offer unique experiences at Ubud’s boutique hotel Kumara Sakti.  There’s no questioning the …

24 hours in Brisbane

filed08 Sep 2014 from

do not disturb

The Brisbane River weaves around the city’s peninsulas as freely as the friendly vibes float along the undulating streets. Brisbane is one of those cities which embraces its visitors immediately on arrival. Ask any local for recommendations and they’ll probably be able to list enough activities to keep you entertained for much longer than your intended stay; which in my case is just 24 hours.

I flew out of Perth early with Virgin Australia ensuring I have the maximum amount …

Win a night at an ibis hotel near you

filed08 Aug 2014 from

You can now experience how great it is to stay at an ibis hotel and explore the city! ibis hotels Australia is giving away one night’s accommodation at an ibis hotel in/nearest to your home city in Australia. Head to the ibis Facebook page here and tell us in 25 words or less, what is the best activity to do near the Ibis hotel in/nearest to your home city. Comment on the status of this blog post and the best

Carluccio’s Recipe for Life

filed13 Jul 2014 from

As two anaconda pasta sheets snake along the walls of Perth’s Government House, Antonio Carluccio claps his hands in delight. The pasta-making competition is held in his honour for his first ever visit to Perth and the room is abuzz. The 75 year-old has taken the time out of his gruelling Australian tour to support the charity Mondo Community Warriors (MCW) founded by his close friend and butcher Vince Garreffa, aka the Prince of Flesh. Before entering the function he …

Singapore’s Chicken Rice Recipe

filed24 Apr 2014 from

Singapore’s chicken rice is the Asian equivalent of what chicken soup is to the soul and is eaten any time of the day or night and served everywhere from school canteens to high-end restaurants. Originally from Hainan Island, south of China, the dish is also often called Hainanese Chicken Rice, and is a meal of steamed or blanched chicken, fragrant rice and chicken broth eaten with soy sauce, spring onions, slices of cucumber and a ground chili and ginger sauce. …

Smokin’ in the city BBQ challenge

filed01 Apr 2014 from

BBQ challenge

 

Come down to Forrest Chase on 13th April for the ONLY authentic US-style BBQ challenge! Sample the spoils, put together a team or provide sponsorship. There’s cash prizes and all proceeds go to Mondo Community Warriors charity inconjunction with Lifeline, Eat Drink Perth and the Butcher’s Picnic. For more details go to www.smokininthecity.com.au or contact Stephan Jenner on stephan.jenner@mcw.org.au

And here’s a little something about authentic US Style BBQ-ing to whet your appetite Where there’s smoke there’s flavour

meat on BBQ

Manila Madness

filed24 Nov 2013 from

We’ve all seen the heartbreaking photos in the wake of Haiyan. And while many of us probably won’t be rushing out to book our next holiday to the Philippines, it’s a shame, because not only do they need tourists more than ever, it’s a fascinating country.

The sprawling metropolis of Manila has many mini cities within its labyrinth and several years ago I took a walking food tour through Chinatown, actually it was more like an eating tour as I …

Feeling porky

filed29 Aug 2013 from

Some of you Perth-ites might have attended the Butcher’s picnic back in March. My husband competed in the Home Cook Competition and although he didn’t win, his pork chops were a hit with the crowd and so popular the West Australian published his Crumbed Pork with Corn and Sage Pancakes recipe.…

Truffle Time

filed29 Jul 2013 from

On the 28th July in 2003 the first ever (well, the first documented one) truffle was found in Western Australia’s Manjimup. Ten years on, the Wine and Truffle Co. is so successful they now export to the US, Germany and France.

I went on a truffle hunt last week and I can still smell that earthy aroma. And as you can see below hunting for truffles is a very simple process…once you’ve selected the right plot of land, inoculated the …

10 Reasons to Desert Yourself on Gaya Island

filed14 Jul 2013 from

yoga

 

As the speedboat zoomed towards Gaya Island Resort, I was already devising ways to never return to reality.

A few minutes off the coast of Kota Kinabalu on the Malaysian state of Sabah lies a refuge away from life as most of us know it. Located on the island of Pulau Gaya within the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, Malohom Bay sweeps majestically at the Gaya Island Resort’s feet.

Gaya Island villas

1. Lay down and weep

On the approach in it’s …

BBQ-ing US style

filed07 Jun 2013 from

After the sun had long disappeared I pondered on how I ended up in a field in Lexington’s North Carolina passively smoking a beef brisket and drinking the local moonshine. RV’s with palatial proportions steamed into town for the BBQ-ing version of Woodstock at the Annual Capital BBQ Cook-off 28th-29th April 2012.  Heaving with 50 competing teams vying for the $15,900 prize money, many of the competitors were probably conceived at such an event, except for the …

Antonio Carluccio: Interview

filed07 Jun 2013 from

smiling

In 2012 I was lucky enough to not only meet Antonio Carluccio in Perth but to also spend about 24 hours with the delightful chef and author. An absolute pleasure so stay tuned for a more in-depth story coming up soon.

Read my interview for Scoop here

SHARING SHANGHAI: The secrets of Shanghai dumplings

filed06 Mar 2012 from

dumpling perfection

Captured in the dank staircase of the crumbling Art Deco building, we suddenly alight to an industrial kitchen flooded in a dusky glow. Two little old Chinese ladies are pottering around, oblivious to the chaos of Shanghai several floors below. Me, my husband, and our seven-year-old daughter are instructed with gentle gestures and broken English that we’ll be learning how to make pork buns and pearl dumplings today.

Flour is thrown with abandon for the dough which is torn and …

Craft Beer Festival 2012

filed24 Feb 2012 from

Thirst quenching honey-hued bitterness satiates WA’s south west.

I must confess I’m not a beer lover. There I said it. I may be a failure at the Australian tradition of a downing a coldie, but after a tasting at Eagle Bay Brewery, I didn’t mind it. In fact, I even finished my sample of the German style Kolsch. Drank as a lager and likened to the crowd pleasing Little Creatures Pilsner, my Kolsch (note how I’ve already become a …

East of France

filed10 Feb 2011 from

Vietnamese girls glide by on bicycles much as willowy frames saunter along the streets of Paris. French colonial architecture stands resplendent in Siem Reap and the sultry streets of Saigon are dotted with patisseries. The tree lined boulevards of Hanoi are centred around Hoan Kiem Lake while the River Seine snakes through the City of Light.

Hue Part 1 506

 

Hanoi Metropole

The word Indochina came about with the French colonisation of Vietnam which soon expanded into surrounding regions, and most predominantly into Cambodia and …

Liquid gastronomy: Tea inspired cuisine

filed22 Dec 2010 from

While visiting Sri Lanka I had a spot of Tea Gastronomy and learnt all about tea-inspired recipes – and I shared a little more than inspiration with few chefs in Dilmah’s headquarters.

tea picker 2

Far from the maddening pace of Colombo and about three hours north of Sri Lanka’s idyllic beaches in the south, you’ll hit mountain ranges awe-inspiring enough to give any trekker palpitations even before their ascent. The chequered green ranges are dotted with women picking tea, many of whom …

Great Gourmet Weekends In Australia

filed25 Nov 2010 from

Okay, here’s a bit of shameless self-promotion. Great Gourmet Weekends in Australia has just been released by Explore Australia and its jammed packed with delicious options around the country. I was lucky enough to “research” and write the Western Australian content. Each state has in-depth coverage and is available in stores across the country and there’s giveaways too. Available to purchase online at Great Gourmet Weekends in Australia

Andy & Michelle 4

Here’s a little tease for your tastebuds,

Meet the Osbornes of Darlington

Paris at the Hilton

filed08 Nov 2010 from

 

The harpist serenades us as lady-boys shoo away flies with white cloths, or are they merely surrendering to the scorching heat?  Celebrating our daughter’s sixth birthday, we’re having lunch at No Problem Restaurant in a wooden structure suspended on stilts over a mangrove on Mactan Island, one of the 7,000 islands in the Philippines.

We’re sampling the traditional dish of Sutukil, a term derived from three words Sugba (SU), Tuwa (TU), Kilaw (KIL) meaning to broil, …

The art of aphrodisiacs

filed03 Nov 2010 from

Aphrodite’s Feast

A bottle of red, a torn baguette, a slab of cheese, crumbled sheets, and laughter. The act of seduction is complete. The scene is simple and the ingredients are bare. Step it up a notch with baked fish and herbs, threads of saffron, a squirt of wine and the juice of a lemon. Handmade linguine slurped in unison or a lobster torn apart and then devoured. Simpler still, drizzle extra virgin olive oil over a voluptuous avocado. Pick …

Holy Cow! Five Reasons to Not Bustle Past Cowaramup

filed28 Oct 2010 from

If you’re moo-ving around the Margaret River region three hours south of Perth, you may notice some life-size cow sculptures left-over from the CowParade Margaret River, an international event held in over 50 cities. The competition saw local artists hussling up the bovine creatures in all kinds of attire and positions. It seems only appropriate to start your cow hunt in the charming dairy town of Cowaramup, situated on the Bussell Highway and just 10 minutes north of Margaret River.…

Ceylonese Cravings

filed12 Oct 2010 from

 

 

Many a tear and blood has been shed over the tumultuous past of Sri Lanka. It’s of no wonder then that the isle of serendipity is in the shape of a tear. But this tale isn’t about the 25 year war or the tsunami. It’s about a quest for a decent cup of coffee in a land of tea bushes.

Despite holding countless culinary charms, Sri Lanka isn’t exactly prized for its cafes. I stopped asking for an …

From Colombo to Galle: A Sri Lankan travel revival

filed01 Sep 2010 from

The palm-tree pattered isle formely known as Ceylon is recovering from its 25-year civil war and the devastating 2004 tsunami. Plenty of blood has been shed and oceans have been cried over the tear-shaped island of Sri Lanka. But now it is experiencing a resurgance, and nowhere is this more visible than in its Capital Colombo and on the road to Galle

Read more: From Colombo to Galle: A Sri Lankan travel revival | CNNGo.com

Published 1 September 2010 on …

Philippines Aflame

filed24 Aug 2010 from

I have a confession. My attention isn’t entirely focused on the food whilst on the Big Binodo Food Wok Tour in Manila’s Chinatown. For starters, I’m a little bit star-struck as not only is our delightful tour leader Ivan Man Dy, a local celebrity in his own right, but I’m retracing the steps of Anthony Bourdain. And so my fascination with the rock-star of the culinary world continues – and in particular his obsession with pork products. I’m thrilled at …

Top 50 Restaurant Guide Western Australia

filed24 Aug 2010 from

The Top 50 Restaurant Guide Western Australia 2011 is due for release in November 2010. This guide is STILL the first and best independent restaurant guide for WA, and I’m proud to say I was a key contributor and restaurant reviewer to the guide.  To thank our valued supporters, the 2010 edition is available for free download at the Gourmet Godfather

 …

An Ode to The Truffle

filed11 Aug 2009 from

A black diamond in the rough. Jagged edges craving to be sliced over innocence. An egg, a potato, handmade pasta, a slab of steak, shimmering risotto, a supple scallop or a sliver of asparagus. Your earthly pleasures are to be inhaled, caressed, consumed, and devoured. You are without gender, curvaceous like a woman and yet renowned as the seed of the earth. A fungus, so intense in scent and flavour defying even a flame, which merely reduces to a mushroom …

Eating out in Siem Reap

filed06 May 2009 from

 

Although many travellers come to Siem Reap to explore the marvels of Angkor Wat and the neighbouring temples, it’s the cuisine that leaves many staggered for words.  With an array of international tastes well catered for like Thai, Vietnamese, Indian and French, The Old Market area is a popular spot to sample traditional Cambodian cuisine, or also known as Khmer cuisine. For the uninitiated, Khmer cuisine is noted for its use of prahok, a type of fermented fish …