Monday, May 31, 2010

Long Weekends is EVIL

Do you know why long weekends is evil?!! It was a Wesak Friday and then followed by my Sat off day and then Sunday. I have 3 days off in a row. Guess what I did?!!


My RM150 hair style.

First, my hair needed a cut badly and then colour and highlights. 4 hours later, I'm RM150 poorer by the time I walked out of the saloon. Was I happy? Erm... so so la. I still think this haircut looks a lil weird on me and you can't see the chocolate colour dye I had. But my friends love it. Surprise surprise... Hmmm...



My RM120 sandals

After treating my friend whom came down from Jakarta for a meal at Albion, I walked out with RM200 less from my wallet. In return, he promised to buy me a 1 million Rupiah dinner back in Jakarta. Haha.. Then my blardy mouth suggested we go to Pavilion. And somehow, I've always got a list of things I wanna buy. And I bought a pair of sandals from Charles & Keith. Tadaa... less another RM120 off ze wallet.


RM40 nail polish

I searched high and low for the perfect nail polish colour that I wanted but to no avail. Then I decide to settle for the orangie red and couldn't decide which one to buy and so I ended up buying both colours. Ka ching Ka Ching RM40 gone.

Putting some colours to my mundane black & white office outfit. My sister said it looked very "la la" but I don't care! Don't tell me, I don't wanna hear! Lucky friends at dinner yesterday loved the new colour. So happy!

After that I walked past the Vincci promotion at the concourse. Couldn't resist looking at the accessorizes and guess what?!! I bought 3 pairs of earrings, a ring, a necklace and a bangle for RM130. This Nanang kept on telling me to "bungkus" every piece I like. Sigh...

There, just a mere few hours, how much money I have spent? I don't even want to calculate. So who says a woman couldn't decide what to buy? I could buy everything in less than 2 hours.

See, long weekends is indeed evil. It lures you to spend.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Spaghetti with Lobster & Mangoes

By just reading the title, I am sure you know that this isn't any of my cooking adventures or rather it's not me. How on earth did I ever thought of having spaghetti with lobster (I mean whole lobster) and mangoes?!!

It was actually one of the cookout sessions I had with Huai Bin, also known as Mr. Sixthseal. He is notorious for his cooking that includes some of the very outrageous ingredients. It's been quite some time since we last met and since he had moved into his new place, we thought it'll be great to cook.

The ingredients were bought right before we cook.


Ingredients:
Whole Lobster (Small - RM60)
1 tray of Clams
1 Whole Mango
1 packet of Spaghetti
200g Bacon streak
1 tray of french beans
1 can of anchovies
1 bottle of garlic & parsley oil

for the chefs:
1 bottle of Piper Heidsieck Champagne
1 bottle of Cadet d'oc Sauvignon Blanc



Huai Bin shows that you don't need a wine glass to drink wine. And according to him, he cooks better when he drinks. Maybe the alcohol brings out the cooking talents. Who knows?!!

For starters, I suggested that we do the bacon wrapped french beans since there were no asparagus available at the supermarket. The french beans are first blanched with boiling water and then rolled up in the bacon streaks. Then the bacon with french beans are put on the non stick pan for some grilling action. You can drizzle some olive oil if you want to.



Then, we start on the mains. At first, we boiled a pot of water with infused salt, pepper & garlic oil. The lobster and clams is added into the pot. The biggest pot that Huai Bin has is just right for the small lobster, even then, the lobster head was jutting out. We had to simmer the lobster head first and then the tail. Hard work!


The clams is dished up after a short while and then is sauteed with anchovies oil in the pan. Huai Bin then went and cut the mangoes. He showed how the mangoes is done by peeling the skin. I actually never like to peel the skin with my hands because it leaves a very ugly look. I like to use a peeler. The mangoes should be cut into cubes.

At the same time, the water used to simmer the lobster is also used to cook the spaghetti, so that it's got the flavours of lobster in it. Heheh... my own theory. After the spaghetti is cooked al dente, drizzle some garlic oil and it's ready to serve!


The Bacon Wrapped French Beans - a winner for an appetiser!


The Lobster Spaghetti with Mangoes, Clams & Anchovies
Not for the weak hearted. It's quite a fusion.

Cooking with him is not easy as he only has one small pot, one pan, one pair of chopsticks and limited cutlery. Next time, I've gotta bring my own pots and pans. But it was fun and he is always up for cooking something weird. You can read Huai Bin's post here.


How about eating up all the lobster roe?!!
Sinful to the max!



Friday, May 28, 2010

Mr. Tom Yam @ Sunway Giza

I was craving for Thai food again. In fact the previous past weeks, I've gone to my favourite secret Thai restaurant two weeks in a row. One evening, I asked Hue Gee where she wanna have dinner as Yiling & I was free and she said she wanted to try Mr. Tom Yum at Sunway Giza. Sunway Giza is the new and happening mall in Sunway Damansara which house many restaurants, retail shops and also Village Grocer. It was my first time there and indeed, there was a crowd as it was dinner time.

So, Mr. Tom Yum it is!


The obligatory Tom Yum Fire Pot (RM19.90).

This is not the clear tom yum soup but one with a spicy orange colour. This pot is good for four although it says two. I like the taste which is very flavourful and not too spicy until it burns my tongue and made my nose runny. You can actually tell them to make it less spicy.


Crispy Catfish with Mango (RM12)

This is one of the interesting dishes I had. It was the shredded meat of the catfish fried till crispy and is eaten with the Kerabu Mango. The sourish mango makes a good appetiser and in it you'll find cili padi and also peanuts. So watch out because my sister happened to accidentally ate the chilli and her face went burning.


Thai Fish Cake (RM9)
The Thai Fish Cake is a real disappointment. It's tiny, lacked the firm texture and tasteless.


Stir Fried Baby Kailan with Salted Fish (RM14)
Nothing special about this dish as I couldn't even taste the presence of the salted fish.


Stir Fried Chicken with Cashew Nuts (RM15)
Nothing special as the dish wasn't what I expected to be.


Overall the bill came up to RM117 for these dishes, 2 lemongrass drinks and a coconut. I think it's pricey considering the size of the dishes and the taste. They might have nice ambiance and good branding (this is under the same management as Good Evening Bangkok, ToDineFor, and etc) but the food is really not up to my standards. It's not a satisfying Thai restaurant for me. Because in the end, it left me craving for my secret Thai restaurant again!


Even Hue Gee agrees.

Happy Wesak Day!!! Am sure that at this moment, somewhere in the Buddhist Maha Vihara Temple in Brickfields, our PM & his wife is having some vegetarian meal cooked by the renowned British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay (here) whom hosted Hell's Kitchen! Hell breaks loose!!! *while I have my liquid diet at home* Lol...


Mr. Tom Yum
Sunway Giza Block D,
G08&G09, No. 2, JLN PJU 5/14,
Kota Damansara, 47820 PJ.
Tel: 03-2272 3708


[Disclaimer: This is strictly my honest opinion and tastes vary with tastebuds. Please do not even waste your time trying to sue me because just like my sister, we ain't rich! Thnx]

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Konnyaku Jelly with Strawberries & Apricots

I was so greedy that the last time I went shopping with my sis at Village Grocer, I bought two trays of this petite strawberries. For a start, I wasn't even a fan of strawberries but they looked so cute and pretty! This must be the shopaholic syndrome I'm having.

After our steak cookout on Sunday where sis made some nice cocktails using the strawberries (which I shall post later), I still have got a tray left. I didn't want to eat them because it's sour and I hate sour fruits. So, I rummaged through the hundreds (ok not exactly hundreds but it's at least 40's) of drawers of the antique medicine cabinet of ours in the kitchen and I found that I have a packet of Konnyaku Jelly powder left. Konnyaku Jelly with strawberries it is!



The Ingredients -
Konnyaku Jelly Powder, Kiwi Seeds, Apricots & Strawberries



The last time I blogged about my jelly experiment was about the Absolut Mango Agar-Agar where I also did write about the differences between Konnyaku, Jello and Agar-Agar. These 3 types of jellies are different in terms of textures. I still find Konnyaku very appealing as it's springy.



Rinse the Strawberries & Soak the Kiwi Seeds


The ingredients are simple and if you buy the Happy Grass brand, the Konnyaku powder comes with sugar premixed and also the malic acid to add the little oomph factor to the jelly taste. I like this brand because it dissolves well and it's convenient! Then, I also like to add a little Kiwi seeds (which is called "selasih" in BM) for the seedy texture in the jelly and then add some colours to the jelly by using strawberries and canned apricots.




After the Konnyaku jelly mixture comes to a boil, let it rest for a while. At the same time, I began to fill the jelly moulds with a dash of kiwi seeds and fruits. Then pour the mixture into the mould and let it set! It's so easy that you can complete the whole process in less than 30 minutes!


I used the plastic Mooncake moulds to make this.


Where is the love?


I think making jelly is so easy and it's the best thing I would do if I have to bring something for a potluck. Hahah... the easy way out and it seldom fail.

Have fun!!!


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ying Ker Lou Hakka Cuisine @ Sunway Pyramid


This place has probably been blogged a thousand times. Actually this is not my first time here, but the last time I was here was probably a year ago. Having some Hakka food once in a while is very comforting as I find their dishes very close to home-cooked food. My ex-colleague asked me where to go for lunch and since Sunway Pyramid is very near to the office, I suggested this place.

I like Hakka cuisine because according to their traditions, Hakka cuisine should be "salty, oily, flavourful and preserved" and which I find very true indeed! After all, Hakka cuisine is one of the more well-known/popular chinese cuisine after Cantonese and Teochew.

What I liked about their menu is that - a big variety of pork dishes! They have a vast array of pork cooked in various styles which I really wanted to try them all one day!




The Crispy Pork Belly with Fermented Beancurd (RM22) is a very nice dish because the outer layer of the pork is crispy. It's nice to go with some beer I think. The Stuffed Dry Oyster Hakka Style (RM33) is what I think fish paste with a stuffed dry oyster in it. It was huge! I only managed to have one as it was very filling. The vege dish is just a common sauteed baby "pak choy" with abalone sauce (RM15).



The "Dong Jiang" Style stuffed beancurd in Hot Pot (RM23) is a indeed flavourful with the additions of meat & fish paste to the beancurd. I like this dish very much as it's salty enough to give the beancurd some flavours.



And we end our lunch with the Hakka BanTiao (RM16.90) which is their own home-made flat egg noodles fried with prawns, mushroons and leek. Since we did not order any rice, we thought why not try the noodles and the waitress did recommend a good dish.

There's only 3 of us and we are so stuffed after the lunch. I guess my cravings for Hakka food had just been fulfilled and hopefully I can come here soon again to try other dishes. It's not cheap and I think the prices is a lil steep too. It's definitely not an everyday chinese restaurant but once in a while I would come here. The outlet in Sunway is the quietest among all the other outlets if you want to skip the waiting queue.

At the same time, my colleague was telling me that he wanted to change his telco to Celcom for his Blackberry Storm and I said, why not? There's an ongoing promotion from Celcom during this World Cup period and if you want to grab this deal, log on here. You can even win Blackberry Curve by joining their contests. There's Bearnalty & Bear Hunt! Check it out!



Ying Ker Lou
Address - LG2.122, OB South, Sunway Pyramid
No.3, Jalan PJS 11/15,
Bandar Sunway 46150 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Tel: +603-5636 3322


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Virgin Steak-y Experience

It seemed that whenever mom is not around to cook for us, we'll be so ever willing to cook such a complicated meal. It's not that we are lazy to cook, it's because Mom would surely kill us when she sees the mess in the kitchen we made after all the cooking. Well, cooking is a very daunting task because right after all the preparation, cooking and washing, I had to sweep and mop the entire kitchen and subsequently - the whole house!

Now don't you think it's wiser to drive out and buy a packet of RM4 noodle?

On Saturday night after a dinner at Giza, Yiling & I went and explored Village Grocer and at the spur of the moment, we bought some sirloin, some condiments and wanted to cook a steak for lunch on Sunday. The 3 pieces of Australian Sirloin steak was at RM30 which looks pretty good for our virgin steak cooking experience. We didn't want to waste an expensive piece of meat.



Yiling was put in charge of the steaks while I went out to meet a friend at Empire Shopping Gallery in Subang Jaya. She marinated the steaks with Olive oil, Garlic slices, Rosemary, Pepper, Smoky sauce and some Johnnie Walker. Look who's the alcoholic uh?

After leaving it for around 2-3 hours, she heated the non-stick pan with garlic butter and slowly put the marinated steaks in. The steaks are cooked individually to ensure that it was not overdone.



While she cooked the steaks, I blanched the french beans and julienne carrots by adding in a lil salt for taste. After that, using the same salty boiling water, I added in the baby potatoes and sweet chestnuts. I then dished out the potatoes, dry it and put in on a baking tray lined with foil. Sprinkle some salt, drizzle some olive oil and leave it to roast for 10 minutes. I had a space wok to do the roasting. The sweet chestnuts have to be boiled for a while longer. After that, remove shell and cook with the steak sauce.


Don't forget to sear the tomatoes!

I'm really no expert in sauces but I believe adding in everything that makes sense and tastes good. So, Yiling pan fried the button mushroom slices with a lil butter before adding in the Fountain Pepper Sauce for steak which I bought. I drizzle some Lea&Perrins sauce, sprinkled some salt and then pour 3 tablespoons of the Bin 555 Shiraz into it and let it simmer. The cheapest bottle of wine I could find was the Wyndham Estate Bin 555 and so I had to sacrifice that bottle. It used to be my favourite when I was in college but now, I think I've outgrown the taste of it.




And the result, a perfectly fine looking piece of steak with sweet chestnuts and pepper mushroom sauce. I would give pretty high marks for the presentation. I think I could serve this in my future restaurant! Haha... I was trying to be creative and so the sauce was drizzled at the side to make it more "classy".



The verdict - I would give ourselves 70 points for the good effort. The steak needs improvement in terms of raw materials and the cooking. It was a lil tough and still a lil rare. I don't know whether I'll get food poisoning from eating this but if I were on sick leave on Monday, you knew what happened. The baby potatoes was great! But the sauce is a little too sweet. Perhaps I should just skip the wine and Lea & Perrins sauce next time. Good job, sis!

What a great cook out! Got my cherry popped for cooking steaks.



Saturday, May 22, 2010

3D newspapers?!!

You have seen 3D films and movies, now brace yourself for the next generation of newspapers in 3D! Sorry, not Malaysia though but this is from Singapore.


The Straits Times goes 3D

The previous time I was down in Singapore, about 1-2 weeks ago, I was surprised to hear about this 3D newspapers and my fascination towards the creativity of the newspaper made me brought home a copy of it to show it to my colleagues.


Before wearing the 3D glasses


After

Sorry, I can't manage to capture both the red and blue in one shot. The effect would be better if you had the glasses on as you can really see the fishes protruding out. This 3D is very popular with the advertisers as most of the big names did advertise in 3D in that issue.


Wei Mei testing out the glasses


See the butterflies come to live!

At one point, I was wondering what the hell we need 3D newspapers for? Who wants to wear a 3D glasses to read?!! It gives me headache after a while but I must salute the newspapers for being so innovative and keeping up to the trend. Perhaps that's the difference between Malaysian papers and Singapore papers or rather Malaysian minds and Singaporean minds?

Weekend is ending again. Have you played this online Blue Challenge from the Celcom website?!! The World Cup is coming soon and Football fever is starting all over again! Check out their promotions, the World Cup Campaign, play the online games, get cool downloads and do the Bearigamy. If you play their Bear Hunt, you stand to win a Blackberry Curve. One winner everyday and 14 phones to be given away! Hurry~

Thursday, May 20, 2010

When I'm sick...

I should be resting at home. But instead, I went and pig out because I'm easily tempted by food. I was lured into this chamber in Imbi Palace, with promises of good wines, good company and of course the good food.

The excuse of being sick didn't work and so I thought, if I have to die tomorrow, I could have at least had a good meal the night before. Accompanying me is my two girlfriends, sister and one of my wine drinking member.


Hue Gee, Yiling (my sista) and Liwei


Don't you just lurve the champagne glass?

We started off with the champagnes. First, we had a bottle of 1999 Dom Perignon which Hue Gee had the pleasure of popping it. I don't know whether we were drinking too fast or the DP is too small, because we did pop another bottle which I was given the honour to choose. I chose a bottle of Krug Brut Grandee Cuvee. This time Liwei did the popping and guess what?!! The cork went flying across the table. Haha! Lucky she broke nothing.


Can you imagine I had 4 appetisers?!!

Then came the appetisers. As usual la, this friend of mine will order at least 3-4 appetisers (minimum) before we can adjourn to the mains. That very much explained the expanding waistline of mine. Since I've been on a diet for 2 weeks now, everything looked so good! I can even have my favourite runny yolk centre century eggs! The chicken and abalone bits soup was so good! The "char siew" is commendable but I find it still not as good as the one at Overseas Restaurant.


The ooh la la main dishes

Just as when you thought the appetiser is filling enough, we started with 1/2 a roast suckling pig. Is it to celebrate me falling ill?!! Hmm.. I put my sore throat aside and savour every roasted crispy slice. Then the cheese baked tiger prawn was served! OMG, cheese in the middle of a filling dinner? I still went ahead and ate it. The relief came when I saw the green leaves and we always have greens to end the meal. And so I thought...


The beef came in....

But I must say that the beef is tender, and cooking it with soya sauce brings out the flavour. It's such a nice dish to accompany the drinks that we were having. Actually, the main highlight of this dinner is the wines. And these wines really surprised me.



The Hermitage and Opus One


2005 Domaine JL Chave Hermitage Rouge

This wine has an inky ruby with huge aromas of red and dark berries, cherries, flowers and spices. The palate is remarkably deep with hints of red berries and spices but leaves a sweet trail. Chave says that if you insist on drinking this young, it's now because it will close up in about two or three years and not be open again for a long time.

The test begins. We were asked to rate this wine. Everyone has a guess and see who's got the closest point to Wine Spectator, Robert Parker & Tanzer's ratings. I gave this bottle a 98pointer and it appeared that WS - 98, RP - 94 and Tanzer - 97. Bravo!

2005 Domaine JL Chave Hermitage Blanc

This white has a very nice pale gold hue. The nose is fabulously complex with honeyed pear, apricot and fruity bouquet. On the palate, it's dense, you could taste the peach, and a whiplash of smoky minerals. It's still a very young wine and I felt that this wine hasn't really open up.

The rating that I gave this time was a 96-97pointer. WS - 98, RP - 96 and Tanzer - 97. Right on the dot!

Then, I have a choice between two American wines and I opted for Opus One 1999 from Napa Valley. They claimed that this is the Greatest Wine of California which is a gathering of two wine families: Rothschild and Mondavi. This wine has a dark purple red. On the nose, I could recognise the bordeaux style, with blackcurrants but subtle. It's a modest wine. There's a slight hint of olives but I wouldn't regard this as the greatest wine from California. It's good but I don't think the price is justified.


Fried crispy frog legs!


We had an extra order of fried crispy frog legs to go with the wines. It's better than KFC I tell you! It's so good when it's crispy and piping hot! I have forgotten about my sore throat. Then, I spotted a big claypot in the room! OMG, please don't give me any more food!


I'm scared of the food!

The porridge! I was sick and so my friend asked Imbi Palace to prepare a nice porridge for me. But I never expect the porridge to be laden with crabs, scallops, oysters, abalone and the other condiments! This is just over the top! I'm so spoilt...

And the ultimate end to the night was this wonderful and satisfying bowl of birds nest. My favourite dessert. Ahh... isn't it nice to be sicked and pampered? Lucky sis was driving because I was drunk and I don't even remember eating the birds nest the next day! haha...

And you know what happened the next day, my sore throat was worse than ever! I had to see the doctor for the 2nd time. It really doesn't help if I'm on diet and still writing all these gluttony past posts.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Katnook Estate Winemaker Dinner


Last year Nov, I attended a Katnook Estate Wine Dinner held by AsiaEuro at Gu Yue Tien and recently, this Katnook dinner was a winemaker's dinner, with the presence of Wayne Stebhens, the senior winemaker of Katnook since 1980's. This time around, the winemaker dinner is held at Max @ iHaus which is my perfect choice of dining place.

Katnook Estate lies in the heart of Coonawarra - Australia's premier red wine district.




It's been a while since I last went to Max's. And boy, I did miss his dishes especially the scallops and foie gras. There were a few bottles to be tasted that night. We started with the Katnook Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2008 which is light and fruity as a pre-dinner drink together with some hors d'oeuvres such as smoked salmon quiche, roasted mushroom strudels and pesto marinated mozzarella cheese and cherry tomatoes.




Max rarely disappoints. The appetiser which is an AOC Espelette spiced Tuna Loin (a variety of chilli pepper cultivated in the French commune of Espelette and is certified appellation d'origine contrôlée) which is seared rare and served with shaved fennel with white wine anchovies and ratatouille emulsion is a great start to the dinner. The tuna just melt in the mouth and the pinkish red flesh is so visually appealing. This dish is paired with a Katnook Estate Chardonnay 2005. It has a very interesting nose which is butterscotch and thus the toasty bouquet.




After that, we were served Black Peppered Duck Breast on Parmesan Crisps with Leek confit and parsley coulis. I find it so interesting because the saltiness of the Parmesan crisps somehow blends in really well and I tell you, it's quite addictive!

The third dish happened to be one of my favourite as well - the Pigeon breast with Cromesquis of Goose Liver, glazed chestnuts and thyme cooked with port wine sauce. Max told me that someone even called him to order a tray of his cromesquis of goose liver (a small cylindrical croquette of minced meat bound with a thick sauce) for takeaway! It's not on the menu, so you'll have to ask Max in advance. However, the Mignon of Beef which was char grilled with Melange and sauteed asparagus did not gain my approval. It was a pass for me. Sometimes when you have too huge a dinner, the steaks are a little tricky.


With winemaker, Wayne Stebhens.

The best wines are always served last. In this case, we get to drink the Katnook Estate Odyssey 2003 and the Prodigy 2005 side by side. Last year, I kind of like the Odyssey more than the Prodigy by this time around, it was completely the other way round! And in the words of Wayne Stehbens, "Prodigy is a seamless marriage of rich, intense fruit and spicy, chocolaty oak with a palate that can only be described as luxurious."




Thus, I have exactly the thing that I'm looking for. It's chocolates! How could we have such good wine and not paired them with chocolates? I surprised the winemaker by pulling out a bar of Valrhona Manjari 64% from my car. Even he agrees that chocolates does goes hand in hand with wines. I cut it up and shared them around. Even Wayne told me that there was a journalist whom never got moved by a chocolate bar was very impressed with the Valrhona when she tried it. Hey, this is quality chocolate ok?!!

Guess who was there too?!!


Me & Patrick Teoh

It was such an enjoyable dinner. A few of us stayed up until 1 in the morning to have a few more rounds of whisky and some laughter. You should hear how Patrick pronounced the word cheers in Tamil (ADEI APPA!) He's so funny! Next time, go ask him.


Autograph!

At RM235 per pax, I think this dinner is very well worth it. Good value!
Besides that, Katnook is really a good value for money wine label.

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