Philips Raya Cooking Session with Chef Marina

It’s no secret that I am a kitchen gadget geeks, and it shall come as no surprise that I own most of the Philips kitchen appliances because of their functionality and convenience. I use my Philips All-In-One Cooker, Philips Airfryer (older generation so it’s almost time to upgrade) and Philips Blender on an almost daily basis and they have made my life so much easier.

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Another name that is almost synonymous with the Philips Brand is Chef Marina Mustafa, who’s actually the official ambassador, and might I add, doing a fabulous job at that. It’s always a joy to spend a session with Chef Marina Mustafa as she’s jovial, down to earth and always generous with her knowledge. That’s why whenever Philips holds a workshop with her, I’d always try to attend. Luckily, the stars aligned a couple of weeks ago and we were able to join her Raya Cooking Workshop.

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The appliances featured during the workshop were the Philips AIO Cooker, Philips Airfryer and Philips Viva Blender. And the first recipe she demonstrated was the Rendang Tok, which I’ve previously cooked and featured on my blog too. Click link Here for the recipe video. Let me just tell you her recipe is one of the best I’ve tasted so far. I’m still amazed how rendang done this way could taste so rich and full of flavours, even with the dramatically shortened cooking time, the beef is superbly tender. No more slaving over the stove for this!

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She then made the Lemang using the AIO Cooker. No hovering over the charcoal grill for hours to achieve this! A little trick she taught us, was to use the sushi maker to form the lemang (along with the banana leaf). Of course, this version would not have the traditional smoky aroma; but I would say that it’s delicious nonetheless.

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Next up was the Otak-otak. Now this was our favourite dish of the day. And honestly, I had no idea it was so easy to make. The prepping was done with the blender and then the mixture was poured into a ramekin and then sent to the Airfryer. The result? Smooth Otak-otak with bit of chunky fish threw in before cooking, and the flavours were light enough yet super aromatic. I have to try and make this myself soon and share the recipe with you.

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She also made a dessert: Kuih Seri Kaya Bakar, a traditional cake that’s often served in weddings, and of course during Raya Feast. You can actually make this using either the Airfryer or AIO cooker, and that’s the beauty of owning these two gadgets: sometimes you have to do multiple things at once and they do come as a great help in the kitchen. I didn’t get to try this because we can’t do the carbs, but the aroma was indeed tempting.

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Thank you Philips for hosting this wonderful session and Chef Marina Mustafa for another fun cooking session. And that’s a group photo with my eyes closed lol.

Oh, and since we are here, I’d like to giveaway a cookbook!

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“One-Pot Wonders”, a comprehensive cookbook/guide co-authored by Chef Marina Mustafa and Sara Khong, is a must-have if you own a Philips All-In-One Cooker, or the older generation Pressure Cooker. Each recipe comes with detailed instructions on how to cook each dishes in either slow or pressure cooker mode, as well as conventional method, from Chinese Herbal Soup, Raya dishes, to Cakes and desserts. I have one copy to give to a lucky ready!

To participate in the giveaway:

  1. Comment below and let me know why you want this book, and if you already have a Philips All-In-One Pressure cooker at home/planning to buy.
  2. Like this page http://www.facebook.com/kellysiewcooks 
  3. And this: https://www.facebook.com/PhilipsHomeLiving.my/ 

And that’s all you need to do! Open to all readers in Malaysia only, entries close on 31st July 2018. 

Happy Cooking Peeps!

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Ketogenic Lifestyle – Eating Out

So continuing from my last post about our diet change, I’d like to extend and touch on what we normally eat when we go out. And just to summarize it quickly: We don’t do any processed carbohydrates, which means no rice, noodles, pasta, bread, pizza, sweetened drinks etc; that’s obvious, right? But a lot of people don’t realise that almost everything has carbs (with the exceptions of fatty meat) and some vegetables have higher carbs than others. Apart from reducing carbs, the amount of fat would have to be increased significantly. You can imagine that eating out becomes a bit of a challenge. How do we do it? Here’s a general idea for you.

Bear in mind though if you do eat out, there’s always going to be some hidden carbs in the form of sauces and seasonings because you can never be 100% sure of what they put into your dish. Then again I think it’s commonly agreed that home cooking is better than eating out, am I right? But of course, not everyone has the luxury to cook every single day. So for the purpose of this blog post, let’s start with hawker centres and kopitiams:

Pork Noodles

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Pork noodles stalls are everywhere in Klang Valley, and we all have our own favourite shop/stall. It’s the easiest dish to be made Low Carb High Fat. Ask for no noodles (most of them would happily oblige nowadays), extra crispy pork lard, and add an egg or two. It’d be good to check if they cook it with any sugar. The meatballs are made with fillers though, so best to avoid. The picture above is a dry version, but this one has hidden carbs from the soy sauce, so do count that in the macros. The vegetables they put in the soup is usually choy sum or lettuce, which is perfectly fine.

Chinese Style Roast Meat

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Siew Yoke is another perfect keto food item that’s super easy to find. Ask for fattier cut, no sauce, then eat the cucumbers. The chili sauce (like the one in the pic) is best to be avoided too because there’s sugar in it. Note that Char Siew is not keto compliant because it’s made with a lot of sugar. Bored of Pork? Roast Duck is great too, just make sure no sauce or sweet marinade.

Curry Mee

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Not the best choice but if you want a bit of variety you can try asking them to replace the noodles with bean sprouts, don’t eat the tofu pok and go easy on the soup because there might be hidden sugar. Those with Roast Pork would be better because of higher fat content. And on that same subject, I’ve seen people doing Char Kueh Tiaw with bean sprouts too, but hard to imagine that it’d taste good hahaha.

Beef Noodles

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Again, same concept with the pork noodles, just the beef parts and broth, no noodles. Skip the meatballs. This picture above is from Yung Kee Beef Noodles, which in our opinion serves the best beef noodles in town. Now that we can’t eat their famous lai fun, we opt for the fatty cut of beef in broth and other parts like tripe. Yum!

Kueh Chap/Kueh Tiaw Kia

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This is my favourite comfort food because it reminds me of home (Sarawak, though the one above is from JB). Admittedly both of these are not easy to find in Klang Valley, but if you do, you can also skip the noodles and just go for the pork parts and egg, no tofu though.

Chicken Rice

This should be quite obvious. Just the Chicken (thighs and drumsticks, both roast version and white version are ok), eat all the skin, eat the cucumber, no sauce. Organs are good too. No picture because well, I don’t eat chicken as my body reacts badly to it.

Bak Kut Teh

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Well well, this is a controversial one. BKT is the easiest way to obtain fatty pork parts (Tua Kut, Pork Belly, Pork Leg… all great selections), but the only thing is, the thicker the soup, the higher the carb (from soy sauce and the Chinese herbs… Yes they have carbs). So eat the meat/fat, and only drink the soup sparingly if you must. Since you are eating without the rice and You tiao, you don’t even need that much soup.

Ok…. Moving along to restaurants/cafes. Our two favourite things would be Mookata (Thai BBQ) and Korean BBQ. Why? Because you can just eat all the meat and some of the low carb vegetables.

Korean Food

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A few things you can order: Bo Ssam is Boiled Pork Belly served with Kimchi and Lettuce. As keto as it gets! Just don’t take the sauce because sugar.

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BBQ meat is also an excellent choice, but do go for the ones without marinade though. The picture above is from Palsaik which has meat marinated in 8 different flavours including Gochujang etc…. give the sweeter ones with friends who are not on Keto hahahaha. Anything that says Bulgogi or made with Gochujang, skip. Kimchi is usually made with a little bit of sugar too so don’t eat too much of it.

Mookata/Thai Restaurants

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Thai food is generally a little bit tough to be made Keto because almost everything has sugar as their seasoning. Mookata, however, is a pretty good option: just order the pork slices (no marinade) and some of the lower carb vegetables (water spinach, cabbage, mushrooms usually). Ordering the Basil Fried Pork with Egg and no rice is probably fine once in the while, and the Herb Omelette is safe too. Braised Pork Leg might be a good source of fat, but most of them tend to be too sweet so nowadays we avoid too. The grilled fish is great, grilled pork neck is probably fine too, but definitely skip the Moo Ping so it’s also super sweet.

Japanese

A wide range of choices here: Sashimi (choose fatty fish like Salmon and Tuna), Chawanmushi, Grilled Fish (salt grilled only), Yakitori stuff (pork, chicken, organs). No teriyaki sauce (sugary) or aburi/mentai-yaki stuff (coz of the mayonnaise).

Filipino Food

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This one might come as a surprise to you but they do have a lot of keto friendly dishes. The Tortang Talong (Eggplant Omelette), Lechon (roast pork), Bicol Express (Pork cooked in coconut milk and cincalok), Sisig (Sizzling Pork Face meat… awesome stuff though careful with the amount of onion/garlic), Sinigang (tamarind based pork soup, but watch out for high carb vegetables) and of course the crispy pata (Pork Knuckle). But of course, skip the rice.

German/Bavarian Cuisine/General Western Cuisine

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Go for Sausages, Roast Pork, Pork Knuckle, Roast Lamb, Roast Chicken, Salmon. Avoid Pork Ribs unless you can find those without BBQ sauce. Eat with, Green Salad, Roast vegetables (skip carrot/corn/anything else that grows below ground), Sauerkraut. Fantastic food to stay low carb. There are also a lot of pork-based restaurants around that serve these kinds of food: Three Little Pigs and Big Bad Wolf (this place even has a Keto menu), S.Wine, Brussels, The Brew House, Tipsy Boar, Uncle Don etc which made low carb meal an ease.

I hope this list is helpful for you to decide when you eat out. I’d probably come back to add more to the list, so feel free to add your suggestions too. Happy Keto-ing!

It’s been a while…..

Hi everyone! I’d like to apologize for my absence on this space. It’s truly been a crazy ride the first few months of this year. Everything was building up until our big trip (8 days are considered extra long for our lifestyle) in Siem Reap and Bangkok. There are many things I want to blog about, but then it’s hard to decide what to post first. So this post will serve as a general update for those who are still reading.

So after 2 years and a bit of being extra lenient on our eating habits, Kevin and I both were not feeling the best: bloating, allergy problem (mainly me), and just constantly tired and worn out. One day, as though seeing the light, he said: “B, we can’t continue like this anymore….. time to go on a diet!”

Me being me, was like: “Say no more!”. Prior to this, I’ve been reading up on a “new” way of eating: The Ketogenic Diet. The name is daunting as it sounds like a complete metabolic overhaul, and it is. Those who have been around here for a while would know that I used to do Paleo Diet for quite a period of time. And this is another step up from that. Basically, we are talking about severely reducing carbohydrates, increasing fat intake and moderate protein intake.

Long story short, we started the diet right after Chinese New Year, and to date, both of us have already reached our goal weight (he lost 6kg, I lost 5), his mother who was half forced (haha it’s a dictatorship when it comes to kitchen management in this household) into the diet lost 8kg! So it’s rather impressive, considering we never had to starve ourselves ever.

So I guess the next step here is to share some of the food that we’ve been eating (that I cooked) over the past couple of months. A typical meal would consist of a sizable portion of meat (fatty meat preferred), and probably around equal about of vegetables. No rice, no pasta, no bread, no noodles, no quinoa, and definitely no sugar of any kind. As for the vegetables, anything grown below the ground has to be avoided. And most fruits are also banned. Let me show you some of our meals then:

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Pork Belly, Green Beans, Tomatoes

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Minced Pork, Cauliflower Rice, Greens

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Pork Hamburg, Broccoli, Green Beans

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Tonpei Yaki (Bacon, Cabbage, Omelette)

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Keto Compliant Pork Sausage (no sugar, no fillers, increased fat) with Green Beans and Tomatoes

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Pork Knuckles and Grilled Vegetables

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Beef Brisket Stew

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Braised Pork Knuckle

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Lechon Porchetta!

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Because it deserves another photo: Lechon Porchetta with Homemade Sauerkraut and Greens. The crackling is amazing!

And speaking of crackling:

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I’ve been perfecting my Siew Yoke (Crispy roast pork) and will be selling them soon too!

The eating out photos shall be shared as a separated post to give you an idea of how we avoid carbs in restaurants and cafes.

Apart from weight loss, there have been several other major benefits too. I no longer have cravings for anything (might not be a good thing for a foodie lol), you can sit in front of me and gobble down rice, noodles and bread and it will not tempt me. My mind is clearer too because there will never be any food coma without sugar and carbs. My energy level is better without the afternoon crash. We have yet to go for our yearly checkup though, that would probably be the next thing to do. I’ve always had high cholesterol. The Paleo diet helped me reduce a little, so it’d be interesting to see what happens this time.

Ketogenic way of eating is not just a diet, it’s a lifestyle change. It requires a complete shift of mindset. We must first realise that sugar is the main cause of metabolic syndrome, and that cholesterol is our friend. That way, you would go into this lifestyle without holding back. I will be sharing more specific topics in the future, but if you have any questions feel free to throw it my way!

MHB Christmas Party, Samplings On The Fourteenth

Located at the East Tower on the 14th floor of Berjaya Times Square Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Samplings On The Fourteenth Restaurant boasts a large collection of vintage wines and offers the finest Western cuisine that ignites your taste buds. Since opening its doors in 2011, Samplings On The Fourteenth Restaurant has built a steadfast name as one of the most distinguished fine-dining restaurants in the local dining scene. The restaurant is well-known amongst discerning food lovers in Kuala Lumpur for its excellent service standards, innovative menu, comfortable ambience, as well as unique culinary experience.

It wasn’t the first time I visited Samplings On The Fourteenth, although the last few times they’ve always had guest chef for the events. This time, the MHB had a Christmas Dinner there, presented by Calvin Klein and supported by Kronenbourg. A classy affair it was with specially crafted Christmas menu for us to feast on.

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The Amuse Bouche was a Tortelini filled with Spinach and Ricotta, dressed with a prawn bisque. Lovely enough to whet our appetite for the rest of the evening.

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Our starter was Pan-Seared Scallop served Avocado Tian with Mango-Tomato Salsa and few other vegetables including an earthy baby beetroot. The simplicity of the flavours was simply delightful, harmony of sweet, tang and earth and brine.

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There was a Soup course too, and I must say the Cream of Asparagus was executed well. Mushroom Crostini on the side was a little too garlicky for my liking, thus an overwhelming pairing for the soup.

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We had a choice of Fish, Chicken and Turkey for Main Course and no prize guessing which one I went for. Grilled Cod Fish with Truffle Risotto and Saffron, Fennel Coulis. Pretty much all my favourite elements coming together. The buttery soft fish with a bit of crispy skin, the creamy aromatic risotto, topped with the distinct aroma of saffron. Even the side grilled vegetables were delicious. A++!

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Since I didn’t go for the Turkey, the Xmas pudding was the most festive dish for me. Filled with mixed fruit and spices, this definitely brought a taste of Christmas to the party. It’s also a nice touch with the berry coulis and vanilla sauce.

As the party was supported by Calvin Klein jewellery, I had a few pieces of them on while dining:

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Definitely added to the classy vibe.

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Here’s me enjoying my glass of Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc.

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Thank you Samplings On The Fourteenth for having us!

Samplings on the Fourteenth is located at:
14th Floor, Berjaya Times Square Hotel,
1, Jalan Imbi,
55100 Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia
Telephone: +60 (3) 2117 8000 ext. 8131
Website: http://www.berjayahotel.com/kualalumpur
Email: bth.samplings@berjayahotel.com

Closer look at my CK Jewellery

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Thank you Calvin Klein for the lovely gifts!

Find Your Lucky Star Pop-up Dining at Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur

I’ve been to Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel many times and most of the time the dining experiences have been satisfactory due to the great quality of food offers in their outlets such as Celestial Court, Essence and Villa Danieli. But nothing ever prepared us for the eye opening experience at their special pop-up restaurant.

“Find your Lucky Star” is conceptualised by multi award-winning global interior designer, Emma Maxwell. Drawing inspiration from European flavours, the celebratory menus are curated by two talented chefs; Chef Francois Mermilliod of famed French dining restaurant in Singapore, Bar-A-Thym as well as Chef Gaetano Di Stefano of Villa Danieli, the signature Italian restaurant at Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur. The mesmerizing dining experience runs for limited time only from 12 to 29 December 2017 for lunch and dinner and each session accommodates only 12 guests.

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“In our endeavour to constantly satiate Kuala Lumpur’s appetite for new and exciting dining experiences, we are thrilled to have Emma Maxwell and Chef Francois Mermilliod to collaborate on this unique experience,” commented Frank Beck, Managing Director of Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel. “Kuala Lumpur is such a diverse gastronomic city, we aim to continuously present culinary innovation for our guests and creating unforgettable memories especially this holiday season,” he added.

Sparked from a simple question on “How do we make our dreams come true?”, designer Emma Maxwell in her signature layered, worldly and eclectic style came up with “Find your Lucky Star” pop-up restaurant concept based on the foundation of seeing things a little differently.

Creative mastermind, Emma describes the journey, “As guests walk through the threshold of the external austere and rigid structure, they are swept from the chaotic and bustling streets of Kuala Lumpur and submerged into a seductive and evocative “other” world. A scene that is the exact opposite of what they perceived from the rigidity of the exterior of the structure.”

Walking into the Pavilion, we were immediately greeted by a medium sized black box, which doesn’t tell us much exteriorly. Walking in, we were greeted by a beautifully decorated long table, pretty light fixture, and even starry night projected on the walls. It’s truly gorgeous and romantic.

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When everyone’s settled in, we were quickly served our first drink and first starter. Our menu is curated by Chef Gaetano Di Stefano, who’s their resident Italian Chef. He has definitely exercised plenty of creative muslces to put this feast together.

 photo IMG_20171222_194407.jpgLobster Carpaccio with Young Mango Salad and Grape Fruits Foam
Wine pairing: SAN FELETTO Extra Dry Prosecco DOCG

Gorgeous dish, with very simple flavours from the ingredients, rather tropical and refreshing. Feeling extra fancy from the Grape Fruit Foam.

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Roasted Beetroot Soup, Seared Scallop and Truffle Essence
Paired with 2016 MAZZEI Belgvardo Vermentino di Toscana

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The soup pouring was the theatrical element, a sea of red supporting the lone scallop. In a way, this dish is combining the surf and turf element, the earthy beetroot surprisingly worked really well with the perfectly cooked scallop. With that lovely micro herbs and sprouts for extra herbaceous note. And of course, with the extra decadence from the truffle too. I think this was Kevin’s favourite dish of the night.

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Braised Beef Cheek, Modica Saffron Risotto, Crisp Parmesan
2013 MAZZEI Fonterutoli Chianti Classico DOCG

A whiff of Saffron hit the nose as this reached the table. On top of the orange hue risotto sat a good chunk of beef cheek and then top with beautifully crisp parmesan. I got one extra piece because Kevin doesn’t eat cheese, well lucky me! This dish was perfectly executed, with al dente rice grains, superbly tender beef and that crisp cheese for a great marriage of textures.

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Baked Italian Turbot with Braised Mediterranean Vegetable, Sea Urchin Foam 
2013 MAZZEI Fonterutoli Chianti Classico DOCG4

Without the strong LED light, the dishes all look something like this:

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Sparkle sparkle, pretty right?

Another very clean tasting dish, with the fish lovely and flaky, and the finely diced vegetables retaining a touch of crunch. I couldn’t really detect the sea urchin but the sauce is at least not overpowering. Delicious. But perhaps a little mismatch with the Chianti as this dish is lighter than the wine. Not a huge problem, though.

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Austalian Lamb Loin, Crushed Pistachio, Sweet Potato Mash, Asparagus and Madeira Reduction
2011 MAZZEI Ser Lapo Chianti Classico Privata Riserva

I think the Lamb loin is the biggest surprise (pleasant one) for me. Super tender meat, full of flavours perfect pairing with the sweet potato. And I do appreciate a nice fatty asparagus. Winner dish for sure!

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Ok, I normally abstains from all things chocolate and so does Kevin. Me for the protection of my throat, him… just doesn’t like the taste. But after he took one bite of that truffle, he insisted it was worth me breaking my rule for. And my my was he so right… I ate both the truffle and the chocolate star. Plain amazing, no words.

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So much so I totally forgot wee had a dessert coming.

The Green Apple Tarte Tatin was served with vanilla gelato and berry coulis. The tarte was more biscuit-y than flaky, though the flavours still spot on. A good light dessert to end the feast. This has got to be the more memorable meal we had in 2017, thank you for hosting us.

The Pop-Up definitely had a successful run, with most of the dates fully booked til 29th December, in fact the night we dined, they had to add 2 extra seats in order to accommodate everyone. The “Find your Lucky Star” experience is available at RM 238 nett for a 4-course lunch with wine pairing or RM 188 nett with mocktail, and RM 438 nett for a 6-course dinner with wine pairing or RM 388 nett with mocktail. I heard that they might be extending this until Chinese New Year, so do check their website out for more updates!

For further inquiries or reservations, telephone +603-27179027, e-mail LuckyStar@sheraton.com or visit http://www.pavilionslounge.com/, http://www.sheratonimperialkualalumpur.com/

Cava Restaurant, Jalan Bangkung

Jalan Bangkung in Bangsar houses a row of quality restaurants quietly serving the foodies for a number of years now. But did you know that most of the restaurants are actually owned by the same people? Peter, the man behind Cava (Spanish/Mediterranean), Opus Bistro (Italian), Lucky Bo (Wagyu Steakhouse), Leonardo’s (International) and Bobo KL (Mod European and Piano Lounge) has definitely found a winning formula to keep this part of Bangsar alive, covering a wide variety of cuisines to keep the diners excited and satiated.

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The Malaysia’s Hottest Bloggers recently had our Christmas Party at Cava, a Spanish Restaurant, supported by Kronenbourg 1664. Spanish cuisine is right up my alley as I love the vibrancy and its spirit of respecting fresh produce, enhanced by just the right amount of spices. The restaurant has a relaxed and casual vibe yet is formal enough for most occasions. One thing for sure, you’ll never run out of drinking options here!

Inspired by the land and sea and its bouncy, Cava sources the freshest ingredients locally, and serves up a great selection of tapas, meat and seafood dishes. Though the restaurant is pork free, your palate will still be kept busy. We had a trio of tapas platter to start our lunch.

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Boquerones en vinagre: Fresh anchovies marinated in vinegar and olive oil, a slight umaminess balanced by the peppery arugula. We also had the cured version of anchovies which is a lot saltier and goes great with wine. The Pulpo a la Gallega, Galician style octopus has a slight lick of paprika, love the textural contrast between the bouncy octopus and waxy potato.

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Sopa de Mariscos, Traditional Spanish seafood broth with a dash of pernod is an excellent choice of soup with super fresh seafood cooked just right, and delicious briny broth which is light and tangy. I polished it clean!

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During our meal we also had some Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc for extra merry making!

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We then moved on to the meat dishes and everyone’s face lit up upon seeing the Baked Suckling Lamb. What a glorious plate of meat! Baked with rosemary herb, this dish is served with mashed potato, vegetables and lamb jus. The lamb comes with just the right amount of fat (read: a lot) and the meat is perfectly tender. Be sure to get those crispy bits too for layers of texture. Not gamey at all, which is important for me. Definitely the crowd favourite!

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The Slow Braised Oxtail is fabulous too, cooked for hours for extreme tenderness and great depth of flavours in the gravy. I couldn’t help but had a second serving and extra helping of the gravy. So good!

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A Spanish feast would not be complete without a theatrical serving of Paella. Cava’s Specialty Arroz Negro: Squid ink paella with squid and prawns, comes with garlic aioli for that extra decadence. The rice is a mixture of fluff, crisp (from the bottom) and definitely plenty of umaminess from the Squid Ink. The prawns is very well executed with some part of shell nice and crisp, while keeping the flesh juicy. But I’ve like to draw your attention to the top left corner, because that chili padi pesto is the bomb! Packed with a punch, its so tasty I had to order extra baguette to soak it up. If they bottle this I would buy it for sure!

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Cava is quite well-known for their Sangria and I can easily see why. The red Sangria is truly delicious with addition of Triple Sec on top of usual concoction of Red wine and fruits.

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Well after all that meat, it’s time to end the feast on a sweet note. And there’s nothing better than a Creme Catalana, Spanish version of Creme Brulee. The delightful sugar crust, light custard which melts upon contact just provided a much needed closure to this hearty meal.

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Thank you so much for the great hospitality and I hope I’ll be back here soon for another serving of Spanish delights!

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYBODY!

Cava at Bangkung Row
Tel# +603-20936637
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CavaRestaurant
Web: http://www.cava.my
71, Jalan Bangkung,
Bukit Bandaraya,
59100 Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia

It’s the Season of Celebration at Renaissance Kuala Lumpur

Celebrate this festive season at Renaissance Kuala Lumpur Hotel as WACS Global Master Chef Helmut Lamberger and his team have crafted superb festive feasts to please all palates on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

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We were invited to check out one of their dining spots, TEMPTations and experienced the festive buffet. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can enjoy a festive dinner buffet for RM148nett per person inclusive of a non-alcoholic welcome drink. The highlights of the buffet include the perennial Whole Roasted Turkey with stuffing and all the trimmings, Roast Prime Beef Ribs, Roast Leg of Lamb and more.

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The Turkey is done well here and I specially love the tasty stuffing and cranberry sauce.

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The Roast Beef Ribs is quite amazing too, especially when you do for the medium rare parts, so tender and full of flavour. But the highlight would be that giblet sauce, full of umaminess and goes exceptionally well with the Yorkshire pudding.

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Roast Leg of Leg with Pumpkin Mash

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Roast Fillet Mignon.

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More Turkey!

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To whet your appetite, start your dinner with their seafood on ice, featuring oysters, slipper lobsters, prawns and more.

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Great selection of salads and appetizers, with that Salmon Egg Mayo on Endive being my favourite of the lot.

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Yum.

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Feeling Japanese? Sashimi is available too.

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Balance your diet up with some dairy! Excellent selection of cheese.

The dishes do span from East to West, including some of our local favourites:

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Tandoori Prawns.

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Satays.

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Noodles station

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Sup Tulang (Bone Soup)

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Ayam Goreng Berempah

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Fish Curry

And of course, I have to mention the Gnocchi:

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May not look like much, but the Gnocchis are soft as pillows and the creamy sauce tastes amazing. I had to help myself to several servings of this.

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The Garlic prawns were quite enjoyable too.

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Baked Salmon, even though it’s fully cooked it’s not too dry.

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To fulfill the vegetables quota

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Some tasty spuds

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Chinese flavours

Moving on to the desserts, and I must say this is the first time I see a Croquembouche in flesh, after seeing it at one of the MasterChef Australia challenge years ago.

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A tower of custard filled choux pastry glued together by spun sugar. Yeap, pretty much accurate.

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Gorgeous Yule Log

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“Later we’ll have some Pumpkin Pie and we’ll do some caroling”

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Minced Pies!

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Hazelnut Eclairs

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Christmas Pudding

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A variety of mini desserts

The Long lunch buffet at TEMPTations will be served on Christmas Day and New Year’s day, priced at RM138nett per person.

Worth a mention is that Dynasty Restaurant will also be offering 2 delightful menus, 3-course Seasonal Special set and 4-course Festive Set priced at RM125nett and RM180nett per person respectively, available for lunch and dinner from 18th December to 1 January 2018.

On New Year’s eve, there will be a countdown party from 9:30pm at the hotel’s Convention Area’s concourse area. Diners at TEMPTations and Dynasty will receive complimentary entry to the party and for non-diners, the ticket is priced at RM48nett per person which comes with a drink.

For a hassle free celebration at home, you could also opt for their takeaway gourmet feast. The whole roasted turkey is priced at RM108nett per kg (4-5kg per bird), which comes with Pecan pie, 2 sauces and choice of 4 trimmings. Available from 23rd Nov to 1 January 2018.

To discover more of Renaissance Kuala Lumpur’s festive dining promotions, or to make a reservation, call 0327716692 or email rhi.kulrn.fb@renaissancehotels.com

Thank you Renaissance KL for hosting us!

Renaissance Kuala Lumpur Hotel,
Corner of Jalan Sultan Ismail & Jalan Ampang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
(Parking rate: RM10 flat rate for diners)
03-2716 93
Website: http://www.klrenaissance.com

Chefology x McCormick: Lemon Garlic Salmon with Green Bean Quinoa Salad

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Due to the process of house relocating over the last month (the lack of a functional kitchen space), our waistlines have definitely suffered. The constant eating out means we couldn’t eat as healthy as we wanted to and as you can imagine, a less than ideal diet actually also leads to cravings and bad habits. Suppers, extra desserts, snacking… you name it.

Needless to say, we decided enough is enough and kick started our clean eating routine this week. Good thing is, the new condo that we are staying also have a beautiful gym and swimming pool. So the two of us are going to look fabulous by the new year, hopefully.

Anyway, this also means I get to play around the kitchen more and create more low carb high fat recipes to keep our diet interesting. It’s easier to stay on the wagon when you still enjoy the ‘diet food’, am I right? And just a couple of days ago, I’ve introduced a new ingredient to Kevin’s diet: Quinoa.

Quinoa was all the rage years ago when it was dubbed as the new super-food. The idea of super-food however, does not appeal to a certain type of people who might have the preconception that all healthy stuff tastes horrible. Kevin belongs to that group and I might add, it did take a little convincing for him to try this out. But I think I’ve successfully converted him.

So over the hectic weekend (nowadays weekends are packed with furniture shopping), I made a super simple meal, again with the Chefology Pan and my McCormick collection. Simple it might be, but it’s huge on flavours! Let’s break it down here.

Lemon Garlic Salmon with Green Beans Quinoa Salad

Salmon Steak x 2
4 cloves of Garlic, minced
Handful of Green Beans, cut into bite size
1 Lemon, halved
1/2 cup Quinoa
Half a small onion, diced
McCormick’s Oregano Grinder
McCormick Sea Salt Grinder
McCormick Black Peppercorn Grinder

First to make the Green Beans Quinoa Salad. Rinse Quinoa under water for a minute, then cook with double amount of water for around 20 minutes under low heat. Turn off the heat once the water is all absorbed and leave to rest.

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In a pan, heat olive oil add onion and half of the minced garlic, cook til translucent and stir fry green beans for a couple of minutes. Fluff the Quinoa and add to the vegetables. Season with sea salt, black peppercorn and half a lemon. Turn off heat and add a final splash of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Serve immediately or on room temperature (it’s great as a salad too!).

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Season the Salmon with salt and pepper, then pan fry on high heat for 1-2 minutes each side. The way I usually is season one side first, place the seasoned side down on pan then season the other side while it’s cooking. If you have the cutlet type make sure you also stand it on the sides to cook the skin.

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Remove fish from pan, leaving the oil (rich source of Omega 3, don’t waste!) in pan. Add garlic, oregano (I’m loving the McCormick Oregano Grinder, adding extra freshness to the dishes) and juice of half a lemon and mix til thick. Pour over the fish and serve.

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I think typing this out actually took longer than the cooking process! I love how the pan gives the salmon a beautiful golden crust. Effortless cooking at its best.

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Do give this a try at home and show me your best version of Salmon!

Other salmon recipes I’ve posted in the past:

Lemon and Herbs Baked Salmon with Dill Yoghurt Sauce

Vietnamese Rice Noodles Salad with Pan Fried Salmon

Sarawak Laksa with Salmon

Pan Fried Salmon, Spinach Quinoa, and Mango Salsa

Poached Salmon in Coconut Milk with Greens

Pan Fried Salmon with Garlic Lemon Mustard Sauce, Potato Galette and Buttered Green Beans

Cooking with Chefology x McCormick: Japanese Hamburg

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After the Chefology x McCormick Bloggers Event, we each took home our very own Chefology pan along with a range of McCormick Herbs and Spices for us to have some fun at home. And of course it didn’t take much convincing for me to switch over to the Chefology pan. It’s a 24cm frying pan which is great for small household and it definitely came at the right time as we have recently moved and needed an upgrade of the kitchen.

So the first recipe I’ve rustled up was Japanese Hamburg Steaks with a bit of a twist, utilizing the McCormick products that I’ve got.

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McCormick Black Peppercorn Grinder, Sea Salt Grinder, Grill Mates Vintage Smokehouse BBQ Sauce, Oregano Grinder and Ground Chili.

The Japanese Hamburg, or Hambagu is basically a hamburger patty served without burger buns. There are many variations; the sauce, the toppings and the sides can vary as it’s very much a home-cooked dish. The patties almost always has a mix of pork and beef (for the extra moist factor), and generally the ratio is 3:7. In Japanese supermarkets you can find that particular mixture even, called Aibiki Niku. As for sauce, it can be soy based with some grated daikon (oroshi), teriyaki sauce or a demi-glaze (often served in a restaurant). My version would be a bit of a mixture here. Let’s get to it!

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Japanese Hamburg Steaks (Serves 3)

Patties
200g Minced Beef
100g Minced Pork (I know it’s slightly off the ratio but close enough lah)
1 Small Onion, finely diced
4-5 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Egg
1/4 cup Panko
2 tablespoons of McCormick Vintage Smokehouse BBQ Sauce
1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
Salt and Pepper to taste
Ground Chili to taste

Toppings and Sauce
1 stalk of Negi (Small Leek), sliced
2 tablespoons of McCormick Vintage Smokehouse BBQ sauce
Grated Daikon Radish

Mix all the ingredients for the patties together and work it together by hand until mixture is gluey and sticky. Divide mixture into 3 and toss each patty between hands to knock the air out and then slowly form into oval shape. Once done, made an indentation in the middle with your fingers (the patty will expand during cooking so the indentation will disappear) and set aside until needed.

Heat up the pan and add a bit of olive oil (don’t need too much for chefology pan… guarantee it won’t stick). Add the patties one by one into the pan and cook on medium heat for 3-4 minutes until the surface is nicely browned.

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Then flip over carefully, add a generous splash of water and turn the heat to medium low then cover with lid. Cook like this for 4-5 minutes to ensure the inside is cooked through. Uncover the lid to let the liquid evaporate, then transfer the patties to individual serving plates.

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We are not done yet here of course! Add another splash of water to deglaze the pan (or wine, if you prefer) then add in the sliced leek, and more of those bbq sauce. Simmer til thicken, then pour it out into a small bowl to serve.

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Top the patties with grated daikon and some raw leek, and serve with your favourite side dish. We opted for some braised Red Cabbage this time.

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The BBQ sauce here is quite rich and smoky, which is why I chose to pair it with Negioroshi (Leek and Daikon Radish) to lighten up the dish. This meal is low carb and full of flavours and not to mention very nutritious. Love how the Chefology pan keep my patties nice and juicy!

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A closer look.

So there you have it, a recipe to start off the week! Have an awesome one and I’ll be back with another recipe soon.

Mr Lens Online Contact Lenses Store

Shopping online is definitely a norm these days. Things that we can buy online nowadays range from clothes, furniture, home appliances and even groceries and ready-cooked food. But did you know that you could order contact lenses and glasses online too? I’ve only recently found out about MrLens, and have been kicking myself for not being in the know earlier. Turns out, not only it’s convenient to order contact lenses online, it’s also a lot cheaper!

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MrLens.com.my is currently Malaysia’s largest online contact lenses store, offering a wide selection of major brands of contact lenses, prescription glasses, sunglasses, branded and designer frames for both men and women. The price is very reasonable, and you can be assured that the products come directly from manufacturers or distributors. The lack of a physical store means that they can sell the products a lot cheaper, which is great news for all of us!

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Unless you wear some extremely obscure brand of contact lenses, you most probably can find what you normally wear on the website. Their products include daily, weekly and monthly lenses and colour contact lenses from trusted brands as Acuvue, Air Optix Aqua, Freshkon, Blincon, Biomedics, Magic, Igel, Focus Dailies, Freshlook, SofLens and Proclear for comfort and clearer vision.

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The website is easy to use on both desktop and mobile; and being on the go most of the time I, of course, opted to order through my phone. Plus point for being so mobile friendly!

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I’ve been recommended to switch over to daily lenses by a friend because my eyes generally get very dry wearing contact lenses, so I’ve ordered a bunch of Freshkon Color Fusion to try out(oh ya…. my degree is super high). Each box comes with 30 lenses and costs just RM90, what a steal!

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Once my order was placed, I waited eagerly for the arrival of my parcel and they sure didn’t disappoint, as it took merely 3-4 days for them to deliver.

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Tada! Let’s take a look at my lenses!

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I’m a happy girl! There are a few more other types I bought too.

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These are the daily lenses. From now on I can order refills anyday, anytime! Shall end this post with a picture of me wearing the lenses.

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So…. Do head over to https://www.mrlens.com.my/ for your next contact lenses/glasses order!