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AFF Philippines: Tortang Talong (Eggplant Omelette)

When I was researching for Philippine cuisine, I was deeply intrigued by this dish called Tortang Talong (Eggplant Omelette). A dish combining 2 of my favourite things: Eggplant and Egg; of course I had to try it! I wonder how come I’ve never thought of doing that myself, but nevermind as now this dish is in my life, I will never let it go.

In Philippines, Tortang Talong is a very popular breakfast dish and it’s pretty economical as well. At the basic form, it’s just Eggplant with Egg seasoned with Salt and Pepper. Some do opt for ground meat or other vegetables in their versions. I have gone for some onion and chili to suit my taste. Plus the chili does give it a lovely colour contrast. Usually, this is enjoyed with white rice and banana ketchup. But to make it fully Paleo, I served it with some lettuce instead. To see the recipe for Banana Ketchup which I’ve posted recently, click here.

Tortang Talong

Eggplant, preferably the Asian/Japanese variety
1 Egg (add more if using more eggplants)
Salt and pepper
1 Red Chili
Quarter Onion, finely diced

First we’ll need to char the eggplant. There are few ways of doing this. You can either grill it over the stove top until all the surface area is charred, then cool the eggplant, and peel off the skin. You could also use an oven broiler. But if you have a Philip Airfryer, it gets even easier! Just airfry it in 200C for about 10-15 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the eggplant.

Tada! Let’s get the eggplant naked!

Nice and naked! Haha

Beat the egg on a bowl and mix with cut chili and onion (feel free to cook the onion beforehand for extra sweetness). Place the eggplant on top ensuring that it is fully coated with the eggwash. Mash or flatten the eggplant. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat some oil in a frying pan. Slide the eggplant to the pan and start frying it. You can use the eggplant’s stem to lift it up and check to see if the other side is already cooked. If the bottom of the eggplant has set and is cooked, flip it over to cook the other side. Fry until it has set and has turned a lovely golden brown.

Transfer to the plate and enjoy while hot! To be truly Pinoy, eat it with banana ketchup as your condiment.

Aerial View.

As expected, the texture is both fluffy and silky, and I love the simplicity of the flavours, enhanced by the delicious banana ketchup. Can’t wait to make it again! Frank isn’t really a huge fan of Eggplant but he enjoyed this dish too.

Yummy!

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest – Philippines hosted by The Sweet Spot.

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Calling all Singer-Songwriters, Rockstars etc: Project Aloft Star

Want to win US$10,000, perform at Aloft hotels and a chance to be on MTV? Don’t look any further and submit your original song ASAP!

Designed for the next generation traveller in mind, Aloft® Hotels today announced the debut of the Asia Pacific edition of Project Aloft Star, in collaboration with MTV. The music talent discovery competition aims to identify and support the hottest emerging music artists from China, India, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

From now until August 24, 2014, unsigned bands and artists are invited to showcase their talents by uploading an original video showcasing their music to www.mtvasia.com/projectaloftstar for the chance to be named Asia’s first Project Aloft Star winner. Three winners will ultimately be chosen – as the Asia Pacific edition of Project Aloft Star will feature three key contest clusters covering major Asia Pacific markets: China, India and the third contest cluster consisting of Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Shortlisted entries will have the opportunity of a lifetime to perform at the finals in late September in front of a panel of judges held in their respective clusters. The winner from each cluster will receive US $10,000 cash and a chance to be featured on MTV. What a brilliant opportunity!

“Music is in the DNA of the Aloft brand and we are thrilled to kick-off Asia Pacific’s first Project Aloft Star competition to identify the latest emerging music artists in the region. Project Aloft Star has been hugely successful with five editions in North America; and this year we are very proud to have Asia Pacific’s very own edition to discover the region’s immense potential pool of talent,” said Vincent Ong, Senior Brand Director, Asia Pacific Brand Management, Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

“We are also excited to partner with MTV Asia who shares our same passion for live music, pop culture and design-led initiatives. This synergistic collaboration allows Aloft Hotels and MTV Asia to amplify the discovery of great new music experiences across Asia Pacific,” continued Ong.

In a previous collaboration last year, Aloft Hotels and MTV jointly launched a digital platform that helped promote local up-and-coming music talents that have performed at the Live at Aloft Hotels showcase at Aloft Hotels W XYZ bars across Asia. This was aimed at providing an enhanced Aloft Hotels guest experience for millennial travelers with live music access while on-the-go. I have personally performed there for a few months and you can even see my profile on MTV Asia’s website right here. I have plenty to thank Aloft for. :)

“Building on the success of our earlier collaboration with Aloft Hotels,Live at Aloft Hotels, Amplified by MTV, we are thrilled to expand our collaboration and help amplify Project Aloft Star in Asia,” said Paras Sharma, Vice President, MTV and Comedy Central Brands and Digital Media, Viacom International Media Networks. “It’s testament to the on-going synergy between our brands as we continue to promote and reflect local cultural tastes and musical talents. We can’t wait to see who will surface from Project Aloft Star!”

Public Voting Contest

From August 25 to September 14, 2014, the public can vote for their favourite videos from a panel of curated entries posted online. 40% of public voting will determine which entries get to perform at the finals for each cluster and the remaining 60% will be determined by MTV. Fans in each cluster who cast their votes will stand a chance to win a three day, two night all-expense paid trip for two to Seoul, South Korea and accommodation at the Aloft Seoul Gangnam hotel, slated to open on October 1, 2014.

For more information head over to www.mtvasia.com/projectaloftstar.

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AFF Philippines: Banana Ketchup

Even though I have quite a few Philippino friends, strangely I’ve never been introduced to the cuisine. Now that I think about it, I don’t even know whether there are good restaurants in Melbourne serving Philippine cuisine. Luckily, Mr Google has proven to be useful in this research and I’ve been learning tons about this cuisine. Of course, it’s not enough to just read about it. Tasting is paramount. And once of the most intriguing thing I wanted to try was Banana Ketchup. It’s totally unique to the country as an alternative to Tomato Ketchup.

The tomato ketchup was brought in by the Americans, but during World War II, there was a tomato shortage. This very clever lady Maria Orosa apparently created the banana version because there are always plenty of bananas in Asia. And soon this became a hit and til this day, many still prefer the banana version over tomato. It’s used in almost everything: burgers, omelettes, fries, meat marinade, even spaghetti!

As you know, making things from scratch is very much my thing (ditch the bottled stuff, you know) and I found a couple of recipes online which are easy to follow. In the end I chose Andrea Nguyen’s version because I have everything except for the annatto seed, which is actually optional just to add some colour to the ketchup. Some people choose to add red food colouring, but I don’t have a problem with yellowish ketchup as long as it tastes good! So here’s how I made my banana ketchup, Paleo-style.

Banana Ketchup

Recipe adapted from VietWorldKitchen

Olive Oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, mined
5 Chili Padi, chopped
1 generous tablespoon tomato paste
2 large ripe bananas, mashed (net 9 oz / 270 gr)
1/2 cup (120 ml) apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup (60 ml) water
1 tablespoon Honey
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 Cloves
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon Liquid Aminos
1 bay leaf

Heat the oil over medium heat, add the onion and cook, stirring often, until soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and chile, stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until aromatic. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until the mixture is orange red and the tomato is no longer visible.

Add the mashed bananas, stir to combine well. Then add the vinegar, water, sugar, pepper, clove, salt, liquid aminos, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to simmer, partially covered, for 20 to 30 minutes, until thick like—ketchup! Remove from the heat, cool for 10 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf and cloves.

Use a mini food processor or blender to puree the mixture. Taste and add water to thin, sugar to sweeten, or vinegar to tartness. Transfer to a jar and use, or refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

Done!

I’m glad I gave this a go because it’s so delicious! Now I understand why it’s so popular. Similar to tomato ketchup, it has the sweetness and tang, but there’s an extra aroma from the bananas and the addition of spice is such a brilliant idea. I made Frank try a bit and he’s now hooked. I think I might not need to replenish that Heinz ketchup anytime soon, as long as I keep buying bananas.

Next recipe post would be another Philippine dish which goes extremely well with the Banana Ketchup, so stay tuned!

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest – Philippines hosted by The Sweet Spot.

 

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Balik Kampung Buffet at Grand Hyatt KL

Just when I thought I was done with the buffets, I received another invitation from Grand Hyatt KL to sample their Balik Kampung Buffet. Situated right in the heart of KL, Grand Hyatt is a lovely hotel blessed with superb view of the twin towers from the bar (which we got to check out after our dinner). The setup of the hotel is rather unique too, with the lobby located on the top floor, no doubt designed to wow the guests with the panoramic view of KL skyline.

Back to the Balik Kampung Buffet, which is offered by JP Teres, located on the ground floor of the hotel. It specialises in local cuisines, so it’s perfect for the Ramadhan season, or even outside of the season if you like to sample all local cuisines at once. The restaurant itself is elegant, with plenty of sitting areas inside and outside, suitable for all kinds of get-togethers.

Love the open kitchen.

Even though there’s no sign of International cuisines, there are literally hundreds of dishes for us to choose. Starting from various cold dishes such as ulam-ulam, kerabu daging/udang/daun selun, acar jelatah/buah, and various local salads. You’ll be spoilt for choice!

Cold Dishes including a nice selections of Imported Dates.

My favourite from this section would have to be the Sambal Eggplant. The acars are lovely.

Mmmm gorgeous colours.

Moving past the cold section, we see a variety of Indian curries (probably my favourite section of the restaurant). But not before a very tempting popiah station.

Freshly made for your enjoyment.

Let’s take a look at some of the curries.

Lamb Curry

Can’t miss a good Chicken Tikka Masala, my favourite Indian curry.

The vegetarian options are really good too, including this super delicious Paneer (a type of cheese) Makhani.

Paneer Makhani

And of course, anything with Okra will win my heart.

Vindi Do Pyaza (Stir fried okra with onion)

All goes really well with this superbly aromatic Nasi Biryani.

Nasi briyani

Pairing the curries with Murtabak is another lovely option.

In addition, there’s also a Tandoori station serving Roti India, Tandoori Chicken/Prawn, Shish Kebabs, and Talapia Merah.

Look at the fatty chickens!

By the way, JP Teres is famous for their Chicken Rice and it’s a must try here. Just check out how smooth the skin is.

Perfection.

The Malay hot selections are widely popular of course, with dishes such as Deep fried snapper with spices, Duck eggs cooked with sour star fruit and coconut milk (my favourite of the night), Sayur lodeh kering, Chicken with ginger flower etc. Let’s tempt you with some photos:

Ayam goreng berempah Sri Hyatt (Fried chicken with exotic Malay spices)

And of course, can’t have a buffet without the carving station. Roast lamb is pretty standard nowadays and here the lamb is roasted percik style, and paired with biryani rice.

Kambing bakar ala percik (Roast whole lamb percik style on briyani rice)

Last but surely not least, there are many classic Chinese dishes too.

Wok fried Mackerel fish with salted bean

Fried Mee Hoon with plenty of ingredients.

Chicken mayonnaise with Thai sauce, a very Children friendly dish. Especially with the refreshing fruits.

Sweet and Sour Fish… This pleased my inner child.

There’s also freshly made Yong Tau Fu, along with various noodles dishes such as Assam Laksa, Wantan Mee and Curry Laksa for those with more hearty appetite.

Massive pieces of YTF!

Of course, can’t miss out on the lemang/ketupat etc if you are into traditional cuisine.

Some lovely Ketupat

There are many other items I didn’t get to capture with my camera (otherwise this post will be neverending!), but here are some of the things I tried and liked.

Note that gorgeous duck egg on the left corner. Yum!

Mmm the curries were so good!

Moving right along, if you still have space in the stomach (I didn’t except for half piece of Gulab Jamun I couldn’t resist) there is a large selection of desserts too.

Various local and Western sweet treats.

Running from 30 June 2014 to 25 July 2014, the ‘Balik Kampung’ buffet dinner promotion is priced at MYR148.00 per adult and MYR74.00 per child inclusive of unlimited chilled juices, kedondong, barley, teh tarik and other local beverages. This buffet dinner promotion runs daily and starts from 7:00pm to 10:00pm. Rejoice as JP teres offers an ‘Early Bird Promotion’ for the ‘Balik Kampung’ buffet dinner promotion. A discount of 20% is offered for early bird booking or dine-in during 30 June 2014 to 6 July 2014.

For reservations or enquiries, please call +603 2182 1234 ext 2333 or email jpteres.kuagh@hyatt.com

JP Teres
Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur
12 Jalan Pinang
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 50450
Tel: +60 3 2182 1234
Fax: +60 3 2182 1288
http://kualalumpur.grand.hyatt.com/

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Recent Media Appearances: Look Ma, I’m on TV!

A few people have came up to me or messaged me telling me they have seen me on TV. Coincidentally, I have appeared on several channels  including one that is aired across a few Asian countries. So I thought I’d share the experiences here. All exciting stuff!

1. Diva Universal Asia (Astro Ch 702)

I was approached by the producer, Serene, from Singapore, a couple of months ago checking whether I would be interested to film a short promo for the popular Oz Reality Cooking Show “My Kitchen Rules”. The idea was to get our local cooking talents more exposure, while promoting for the show. I’m never one to say no to such opportunity so I said yes in a heart beat!

She needed me to find someone like a family member or good friend (if you watch the show, you’ll know they also go with cooking duos) to pair with me, and of course I asked my mum, who’s the reason I know my way around the kitchen. She is unfortunately too camera shy, and so Poesy was the best candidate as she’s definitely used to the media.

Well first here’s the finished video which you might or might not have seen:

The video sees us talking a little bit about our passion for food, and then I demonstrated a very simple dish. For just a one minute video, the filming sure was elaborate. The crew, consisting of about 10 people, along with their heavy equipments started setting up at my place at around 2pm, and we didn’t finish until past 6:30pm.

Some ‘Behind the scenes’ photos:

Getting my makeup done. Love the lighting here.

The craziness! I’m sure our electricity bill shot up tremendously just in one day.

Oh, by the way I know that my look for the shoot seems a little out of character, but they wanted a more ‘casual’ and ‘homely’ look so I couldn’t exactly dress like a rock chick! I also felt my hair was super tame. I suppose it’s not a bad thing to have multiple faces.

Forgot to get a proper picture of the dish we prepared, but you can see it in the video anyway.

Oh and here’s one of Poesy mucking around with the board.

Thank you for helping out with the shoot!

2. Capital TV (Hypp TV Channel 420)

I was also invited for an in-depth interview for Capital TV, thanks to the lovely Miss Joanna Kwan. After discussing my life story and my various passions, we decided to cover everything: why I switched career to pursue my passion, my achievements, my advice to people who would like to follow their dreams, and the most fun bit would have to be about cooking, and how to stay healthy during the fasting month.

Talking away happily with the lovely host, Ashikin.

The program I was on is called Capital Today and it was aired on the 3rd July (live, with repeat). As with the Bella NTV7 interview last time, this was an early morning shoot too. I got to the studio at 8am and we started the interview just after 9:30am. Time flew by and our 25 minutes interview went past so quickly. Compared to my first interview, I was a lot less nervous this time. I only got tongue tied twice, which was an achievement.

Nice studio huh?

All smiles after completing the interview.

Thank you Sharlene (producer) and Joanne for the great opportunity!

3. 8TV(八度空间)

I wasn’t going to announce this one publicly but since I have appeared on it a couple of times according to my friends (I even had strangers coming up to ask me about it, which was a strange experience). But last month I have actually auditioned for The Voice of China. And they have been showing the auditions on air, so I got some airtime as well.

I was alerted by Louise about the audition just a few days before, but thought I would just give it a go anyway. It sure has been a very long time since I’ve performed Chinese songs though (must rectify that one day), so I spent hours trying to figure out what to audition with. They were only going to choose one contestant to represent Malaysia, so it’s pretty tough!

The audition was held across the weekend (Sat and Sun). I ended up being supremely hungover on Saturday morning so I went on Sunday instead. Woke up nice and early, and ended up being the 31st contestant (early bird gets the worm, so they say). So I went in and did my thing, and lo and behold, I got through to the second round (Top 80 out of 550, not bad huh?).

Didn’t get any photos for the whole process, unfortunately, so you’ll have to read, hah!

The second round audition was held all the way in Shah Alam where NTV7 studios used to be, so that was my second time at the location. We had to be there at 8am, and let me tell you it was a long day! I had barely any sleep the night before but luckily my adrenaline kept me nice and high. Let’s just say the competition was pretty fierce and we all had to wait for everyone to finish with the first round. Since I was in the first batch, we had 4 hours to kill after our round before the results were announced. Being the crazy chick, I was naturally joined by equally noisy bunch of singers and we actually had tons of fun.

Well, I can tell you know that I didn’t get the spot to go to China. I kinda expected it because I know the judges will prioritise the local artists (the ones who are already quite well-known in the Chinese Entertainment Industry). And also I probably should have gone with an English song instead, which is more of my forte. But nevermind! It was a great experience and it at least got me some decent exposure!

Oh by the way, if you haven’t been following my social media, I just totally changed my look again. Here are some photos from our recent gigs.

Do you love the RED? Because I sure do!

Here’s another one at Bricks & Barrels, Hartamas with my Mad Sally boys.

Do follow our facebook page for updates on shows: https://www.facebook.com/madsallyband

To keep up with my social media updates: http://www.facebook.com/kellysiew

@kellysiew for both twitter and instagram

Have a lovely week everyone!

 

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AFF Philippines: Fried Adobo Chicken Wings

I’m loving my new Philips Airfryer! Even though I don’t have a problem taking my time with cooking most of the time. It’s still great to have amazing gadgets like these to help enhance my kitchen experience. Especially now that I am increasingly time poor. The very first recipe I tried using this machine was the obvious: Chicken Wings.

A lot of questions have been asked about the Airfryer. Yes, it uses no oil and basically acts like a mini powerful oven, with precise temperature and time setting. Because it’s smaller, you don’t even have to worry about the dipping of temperature if you pull out the drawer to check on your food. Preheating takes less than 5 minutes, and cooking process is definitely speedy. It’s great for meat that has natural fat already such as oily fish, chicken and pork. Some things might need a brushing of oil before going in though (like if you were to cook something with breadcrumbs), but it is indeed a healthier way to cook!

Anyway, back to the Chicken Wings. Since it’s the Philippines month for Asian Food Festival, I have picked a Pinoy recipe for the Chicken Wings. Adobo is probably the most popular cooking method over there, and although generally the protein is simmered in the combination of vinegar, soy sauce and aromatics, there is also a dry version where the protein is marinated and fried indeed. So this time, I’ve adapted the recipe to suit the Airfryer and it turned out fabulous!

Fried Adobo Chicken Wings

Recipe adapted from Overseas Pinoy Cooking

Ingredients:

300g Chicken Wings, trimmed, cut to pieces on the joints
2 tablespoons Vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce (Liquid Aminos)
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon peppercorns crushed
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder

Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and marinate the chicken wings for at least an hour to overnight.

Preheat Philips Airfryer to 160C, then airfry the chicken wings for 8 minutes on 160c, followed by 4 more minutes on 180C. Serves hot.

Without the Philips Airfryer, you could opt to bake in the oven or saute/fry in pan.

Yummy!

Chicken wings cooked this way are extra juicy and succulent, as oven does tend to dry out wings due to the longer cooking time. I will only cook wings this way from now on! Although the marinade is super simple, this turned out pretty delicious! The vinegar doesn’t come through too much, which is good. I actually added some lemon juice for extra tang. Finger-lickin’ good!

Close up.

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest – Philippines hosted by The Sweet Spot.

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Philips Ultimate Cook Off Challenge

Last week, I had a really eventful weekend. Actually, all my weekends have been pretty crazy so far. And incidentally I’m still recovering from this one too. But before I digress all the way to China, let’s talk about the most recent Cooking Competition I had the opportunity to participate in: Philips Ultimate Cook Off Challenge.

When I got the invitation to do the competition, I didn’t hesitate for long before agreeing. To be honest if you can manage to get me on the phone I’ll almost say yes to anything. (Now don’t go trying it now……) The idea was to get a bunch of bloggers (us) to pair up with the finalists and cook something with a mystery ingredient. Sounds stressful and fun at the same time right?

The Cook Off was held at Aeon Big Subang Jaya (so far) and we were required to be there at 8:45am (so early!). Naturally, being the Rockstar I am, I rocked up with barely any sleep. Everyone looked pretty excited and somewhat nervous even. We get to draw our numbers for the team, and I was damn lucky to be paired up with Dr Sidney Kan. Our mystery ingredient was fish (except Salmon), so off we went surveying what Aeon Big has to offer.

Awesome Prizes for us to win!

Oh by the way, the catch is that we will have to cook our dish with the amazing Philips Airfryer. And the Top 3 winners get to walk away with the Airfryer too! Needless to say, we were aiming for the Top 3 spot of course.

So we decided to use Flounder as our main ingredients and the genius mind of Sidney came up with a pretty sophisticated recipe. You’ll get to see it in a while. We were split into 2 cooking sessions (2nd for us), and it was fun watching the first session do their things. But before that, some encouraging words from Chef Marina Mustafa, followed by a demonstration by Chef Zam.

You can cook pastry with the Airfryer too! This was giving me lots of ideas.

He showed us how to make Pandan Chicken and Baked Apples (what the pastry was for), and I must say I was impressed with how juicy and succulent the Chicken turned out.

Mmm! Wish you can smell this!

So all teams were given RM50 worth of voucher to purchase our ingredients (not much, is it?) and we only have 15 minutes to shop and about 45 minutes to cook our dish. Your Truly have forgotten her brain before heading out the door and was wearing high heeled boots! Imagine running around the supermarket with that. It was a sight, I’m sure.

First session!

One hour passed by pretty quick, and here are some of the dishes from the first session.

Air-“Grilled” Stingray, Kampung Style.

Summertime Prawn and Orange Appetiser by Hungry Mario Supper Club. What a pretty dish!

Never thought we could make desserts with Airfryer. These are some lovely Brownies.

Grilled Salmon with Mashed Potatoes (I believe the Mash was cooked with the airfryer as well!)

Chicken Kebabs, served with Ice Cream! I was amazed with the creativity of all the participants.

And then it was our turn to cook!

Man, I really do have Resting Bitch Face.

I was assigned to do the induction top cooking. Here I was making a mushroom mixed (with onion, garlic, thyme leaves) to be stuffed in our fish. And I also deep-fried some ginger. The Airfryer was used to “steam” our fish roulade, which was wrapped in foil. We also grilled some vegetables with the Airfryer. So here I shall present our dish: Fish Roulade with Grilled Vegetables.

Fish Roulade with Grilled Vegetables.

All credit of plating goes to Sidney. Isn’t it pretty? We were really pleased with how it tasted too, especially that combination mushrooms, thyme with the delicate fish. The nacho crumbs provided a textural contrast. The vegetables were tossed in thyme infused butter/oil for that extra aroma. The judges loved the dish too, to our delight.

Grabbed a photo with Chef Marina and Chef Zam, lovely people they are.

And not long after, it was time to announce the winners! We nervously waited for all consolation winners to be announced, and then we knew we were in the Top 3! I was going to be contented with any place then because I knew we’ll both be taking home an Airfryer but thanks to Sidney, we actually got 1st place! Oh my!

Photo by Aileena.

We each got to take home the Philips Digital Airfryer with a Grill Pan (the box on top) and a Philips Pressure Cooker (which I already have and love). I will be writing a detailed review on the magical Airfryer soon! It’s been a joy to work in kitchen with my new gadgets.

A happy Groupie!

Thank you Philips Malaysia for the fantastic opportunity and of course thank you Sidney for leading us to victory!

For more information about Philips products and upcoming promotions/events, head over to their facebook page.

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