Arts Beyond Sight feat. Poesy小詩

Imagine seeing the World with only a little or completely without your beloved eyesight!
Dark, daunting and depressive thoughts?
But can we try to see a sightless world from a different perspective?

Imagine seeing without colours, would it cause less racial discrimination?
Or not looking at physical deformities, would it help us to hear a person’s inner beauty?
Will we learn not to judge a book by looking at its cover in a World that often believe and judge in what they see?

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Welcome to Arts Beyond Sight, an experiential journey of seeing the creative beauty of Arts without your sight! Visitors will be guided by professionally trained visually impaired Guide thru a 30 minutes of Touching, Smelling, Hearing and Tasting the beauty of Arts seen from a non visual perspective!

Arts Beyond Sight is an effort by Save Ones Sight Missions Berhad (SOSM) a non profit Organisation, Dialogue in the Dark Malaysia (Social Enterprise) and DID MY Innovations Sdn Bhd (Social Enterprise). For more information please email our Founder Mr Stevens Chan at stevens@did.my

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Introduction of this year’s solo artist :
Poesy Liang 梁小詩 is an artist, mastering 3 classical Chinese mediums since 6yo. She was discovered as Levi’s 501 girl at the age of 14. As a teenager, Poesy feels at home in a film set – she has worked closely with top commercial filmmakers, leading agencies & prestigious brands – a familiar face in the broadcasting world from high school through architectural school till her late 20s.

She was paralysed twice. In her quest to heal, Poesy experimented with her social media to raise compassion, kindness and empathy, which won her numerous humanitarian awards & recognition. After many reinventions, Poesy re-emerged an interdisciplinary artist who is busy in 3 continents. Due to many requests to turn her life into a movie, she has opted to tell her story through a very short “Poesy Anime” which is still in production.

This exhibition is Poesy’s self-portrait in the dark which borrows some materials from “Poesy Anime” never shown to the public and showcases other unpublished creative skills. All your senses will be activated except for your sight.
This exhibition is suitable for children from 12 years old up.

梁小诗,是位艺术家,自六岁开始掌握书法,水墨画,雕刻等的古典中华艺术。 她在十四岁时被选为”Levi’s 501 Girl”星马区的广告模特儿。虽然年纪还小,她在拍片过程中却是如鱼得水般的自在。陆陆续续的接了不少的广告,和当时当红的商业影片者,知名國際品牌的代理商合作无间,这样的生活从中学一直延续到她二十多岁上了建筑学院时。
她的人生中经历了两次瘫痪。在療癒探索的过程中,她在社交媒体上发起了“恻隐,仁爱,同理”的醒覺活动,取得多项“人道认同”的相关奖项。
測底改造後小詩成為 跨学科艺术家 重新出现, 活躍於亚美欧三大洲之間。
她的经历吸引了不少影片制作者的注意,有者要求把她的劇本拍成电影。而她选择用一部动漫短片 Poesy Anime 来发表她的故事, 目前还在制作中。
這個展覽是小詩在黑暗中的自画像採用Poesy Anime還沒面世的材料和一些尚未發表的创作。
除了視覺之外,所有感官將會被啟動。
這個超視覺藝術展覽適合12歲以上的觀眾。

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Here’s a video from the press conference:

Poesy’s Speech:

I’d like everyone to relax, don’t look at your phone, close your eyes. Relax, it’s okay. Close them. Let your eyes take a minute break. Now, listen to the sound of my voice. Can you tell anything from how I sound? Listen to the sounds around you. Can you tell who is sitting or standing? Slouching, eating or yawning? Listen to the sounds outside. What do you hear? Is there a lot of traffic? Trucks? Bikes? For some people, this is their entire life. And for what you might experience as an inconvenience, some might consider a super power. The ability to hear sounds and surroundings in a way like no other. Today, I’ll be talking about the blind and visually impaired. While I’m a person with sight, I’ve come to admire and become close with people in the blind community getting to know them through their stories. From judgement to struggles to joys.
First, I’d like to thank YB for officiating my exhibition. Thank you to the members of the media for taking the time to be here. Today is an uncommon day for me because it is not often that I find myself seated next to a politician in a press conference. I’m an artist, and often more focused on expression than governance. So, it’s great that we are here today, united for the arts & humanity and I am here for a cause that is close to my heart which is to raise empathy for the blind & visually impaired.
It is an honor to be the solo artist for Art Beyond Sight this year. Mr Stevens Chan of Dialogue in the Dark was first connected to me by the Singapore International Foundation. I’d like to thank them both for this opportunity.

For those who hasn’t met me yet, I will offer a brief introduction of why I am here.
I am a founder of a social experiment started on Facebook 11 years ago. It was a movement based on random acts of kindness, I wrote the policy with 4 simple rules – No fundraising, No Commerce, No Religion & No Politics. My movement spread to more than 20 countries, in Malaysia alone I throw an average of 1200 volunteer events per year for the first 6 years. The activities were run without a production budget and were designed for volunteers who were willing to do random acts of kindness and to serve the marginalised community. It was my first of many portfolios of a new kind of art performance. A senior curator who is also the Commissioner of the Arts for the City of Dallas coined my work as the art of life and it gained me many invitations to different countries, to create more movements & to grace the stage of global humanitarian summits at the United Nations in New York. As an artist, you can say that kindness is my art, despite my preceding reputation of a wicked human mind.

I have always been curious to work with the blind. My first project with the blind was exactly 7 years ago in San Francisco. That summer I persuaded a quartet of big named jazz singers & musicians to perform a free concert for 100 blind audience inside a borrowed canteen. The immense reward from that humble project brought me clarity, it was the kind of clarity about life that you will experience when you gain new perspective not with your eyes but with your consciousness. That perspective came to me when I tried to empathise what it was to be blind. Ever since then, I have held a strong belief that the blind can often see a life situation far more clearly than someone who has eyesight. More often that not, our eyesight causes confusion because it makes us judgmental human beings. The eyes receive images, which communicate messages that may or may not be intended. We may be influenced by what we see, and then our perceptions and attitudes are impacted. But, take that sight away, and the distraction of stereotype changes completely. Our intuition becomes sharper.
When Mr. Stevens Chan approached me about doing this exhibition, I saw the opportunity of gifting this extraordinary dimension to the Malaysian public. While normally, I charge a fee for my public speaking engagements and exhibitions, for this it was different. I was compelled to join the cause.
Today is uncommon also because the exhibition we are launching is my self-portrait in the dark. If you were observant, I use a mobility scooter to get around, my story has been told many times in the media but not the way I am about to share with you today. A few years ago in HK, a prominent collector of Chinese contemporary art from Switzerland gave me an important piece of career advise, he told me to share my life story. What he said to me was no different to what the agents, book publishers and film makers said to me over the decades, but speaking to someone who understood & supported artists inspired me to write my own rules. I did not want a 100-minute movie nor a boring old book. So 4 years ago, I started to draw a short animation film titled Poesy Anime slated for global release on social media. This short movie was only going to be 5 minutes long, I wanted it to be short since our general attention span these days are also short. Today you will be hearing the soundtrack of this film before anyone else. This script has gone round the globe and it took 14 writers 2 years to shorten my life story into 5 minutes. To shape the narration, we had a scriptwriter who consults for Disney, a film school professor from a Texas university, while others were media producers & journalists who had interviewed me in great lengths. Needless to say, I had to personally sit through many hours of counseling.
I self-fund this production by selling my art work, painting on the sidewalks in Europe & travelling between 3 continents each year – just painting my way. The final copy of this soundtrack was recorded in London last year with a special music director who was also the last music director of the late great songstress Teresa Teng. To date, I have spent close to USD$22,000 on this production with most of the top professionals offering their services pro bono and now I am offering this exhibition to you for free. It is my birthday and we can consider it my gift to my home country Malaysia.
When you enter that pitch black room later, know that you are sharpening your senses by temporarily taking away your sight. You are not pretending to be disabled, but instead think about expanding your abilities in that darkness. Rest your eyes and let your consciousness take over. I hope you will gain insights from your experience and tell all your friends about it on social media, traditional media and please come back again with friends and their teenage children, the exhibition is suitable for children 12 years upwards. And it will be open from 11 to 7 everyday until Hari Merdeka. Don’t waste this opportunity.
Before I end, I would like to thank the blind guides who will be walking you through the dark room experience. They will only be earning a small allowance each day for an entire month to present this experience to you. To contribute to their dedicated service, please donate to Dialogue in the Dark. You will see the main character of Poesy Anime printed on the tshirts for sale, those are also to help raise funds for the cause. I’d like to leave you with a favorite quote of mine, “If you ever find yourself in complete darkness, you are better off being led to the end of the tunnel by someone blind.” So go forth and have a unique experience that now can only belong to you.

If you are planning to pay a visit to *Arts Beyond Sight feat. Poesy小詩* soon, this is last week’s attendance statistics so you may choose a good day for yourself. (Currently still no queues on their busiest day.) Media day ~> 16 Day 1 ~> 13 Day 2 ~> 28 Day 3 ~> 20 Day 4 ~> 23 Day 5~> 62 Day 6 ~> 47

Here are the Facebook event links : https://web.facebook.com/events/671962409675861/ https://web.facebook.com/events/1415587341889377/

Poesy’s Social Media
Instagram @poesyliang
Twitter @poesyliang, @HelpingAngels @poezjewellers
Facebook
www.facebook.com/poesyliang
www.facebook.com/poesyart
www.facebook.com/poesyprize
www.facebook.com/BaldEmpathyMovement
www.facebook.com/poesyworld
www.facebook.com/poesymusic
www.facebook.com/poezjewellers

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Love Our Planet: Time to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle 

Recycling is a relatively new concept in Malaysia. During my years of living in Australia, a couple things that were done very well were waste segregation and water conservation. That’s why it was a bit of a cultural shock when I moved to KL. A few years ago it was literally unheard of to bring reusable bags to shopping trips and in fact, the cashiers would gladly use as many plastic bags as possible to sort your groceries, some even practise the act of double bagging, which was totally appalling to me. Similarly, all trash would go into the same bin, plastic, paper, food waste, whatever. And water? Everyone just uses water like no tomorrow and God forbid if there’s water disruption where the public goes into a frantic attempt to keep large amount of water, only to be discarded once the disruption is over.

I’m no angel of course and there are things I do which contribute to carbon footprints, which is unavoidable sometimes. But I would like to do as much as possible to save our planet: Climate change is real guys. If you want your children to live a long life, better start doing something today! Anyway, back to the plastic bags. On 1 January 2017, my current home state of Selangor imposed a ban on the use of polystyrene containers and while extending the “No Plastic Bag Day” on Saturdays to seven days a week.

Essentially, polystyrene containers were banned while a 20 sen charge per plastic bag was levied on consumers at supermarkets and retail stores throughout the state. While 20 sen per plastic bag may not seem a lot and many consumers won’t really mind paying, the actual intention behind the charge was to educate consumers on the importance of reducing the usage of plastic bags.
Now, five (5) months into the ban, it’s become a habit for us to bring along our reusable bags for our groceries trips and it’s also pleasant to note that many shoppers are doing the same. Although it’s a shame that we had to actually impose a charge on the plastic bags for this to happen, at least there’s progress.

The BBC ran a report recently stating that scientists say about eight million tonnes of plastic waste find their way into the world’s oceans each year. This amount of debris is, they say, like covering an area 34 times the size of New York’s Manhattan Island to ankle depth.

The feature also highlighted the possible threat to the food chain, by the plastics broken down into tiny fragments in our oceans. Tests by the Plymouth Marine Laboratory have shown that when minuscule particles of plastic are in the water, the creatures at the bottom of the food chain do ingest them.

Ref: http://www.bbc.com/news/av/science-environment-34415464/plastic-in-oceans-threatens-food-chain

So you throw a plastic bag indiscriminately, the fish eat the plastic bag, you eat the fish and you probably end up getting stomach or gastro intestinal cancer. Karma is unavoidable…

OK but what about the total ban on polystyrene containers?

The use of polystyrene takeaway products was widely touted as detrimental to the environment when disposed due to its non-biodegradable nature. In fact, the authorities attributed the indiscriminate disposal of polystyrene lunch boxes into the waterways as the cause of flash floods in the Klang Valley during torrential downpours due to the presence of polystyrene lunch boxes floating around impeding the flow of the flood waters into the drains.

Polystyrene boxes though are light material and floats on water hence it’s also highly likely there are plenty of other forms of heavier garbage that were also the cause of drains being blocked.

Polystyrene lunchboxes represent the most versatile, economical, user-friendly and effective product in the takeaway of food. It can insulate heat, wherein when the food is hot, the user holding the lunchbox will not feel any heat at all.

So, what is the alternative when polystyrene lunchboxes are banned? Hawkers now use solid plastic lunchboxes that contribute up to 3 times more to the waste problem as plastic lunchboxes are 15-16 grams in weight as compared to polystyrene lunchboxes which are 4-5 grams in weight.

A country’s “solid waste” and “waste management” is measured in metric tons and thanks to the use of solid plastic lunchboxes, we are now contributing 3 times more in terms of waste which is actually more detrimental to the environment.

Plastic lunchboxes also use 3 times more plastic resin than polystyrene lunchboxes, meaning more raw materials are used to produce them starting with the petrochemical plants that contribute heavily to pollution. For manufacturers to produce the plastic lunchboxes, the machines consume 4 times more electricity than manufacturing the polystyrene lunchboxes!

So wait a minute – the alternative product to polystyrene is actually worse for the environment! And to compound matters, polystyrene lunchboxes are not biodegradable if not disposed of properly!

Biodegradability and/or compostability ensures that the end-product can be broken down and degraded back to its molecular state. Plastics actually have the ability to be biodegradable and compostable as well with modern manufacturing techniques and additives.

However, for the plastics to biodegrade back to its original base, the item must be properly disposed of and end up in a compost or landfill. Biodegradable, compostable or environmentally-friendly plastics of any kind that is indiscriminately disposed will NOT biodegrade and will continue to remain as their original state.

That goes to say that if you keep a solid plastic container in your kitchen cabinet, it will stay as a solid plastic container in your kitchen cabinet for years and not biodegrade.

So, what then is the solution for this problem?

As much as it would pain our authorities to admit, but our neighbours down South have the solution.

“The Government will not impose a ban on them in consideration of other factors, such as the cost of alternatives and inconvenience to hawkers and consumers, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor said on Monday (9 May 2016).”

“Dr Khor said that while polystyrene foam packaging may be of concern in some countries where waste is landfilled, it is incinerated safely in Singapore at waste-to-energy incineration plants, which are fitted with pollution control equipment.”

Ref: http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/environment/no-ban-on-using-styrofoam-packaging-but-hawkers-discouraged-from-using-it-amy

In fact, there have been studies done to show that in many instances, the alternative is actually not more environmentally friendly.

Ref: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/paper-cups-not-an-environmentally-friendly-option-here-either-ex-7540186

Of course, the best alternative is to bring your own tiffin carrier, mug or tumbler. However, sometimes you just don’t have one with you.

How do we solve this problem?

The people living in this country need a paradigm shift. We need to learn how to be more conscious about the environment and not litter indiscriminately. This is a culture that needs to be inculcated at an early stage and indeed at all levels – government, corporate and civil society.

More enforcement needs to be taken against the main causes of polystyrene pollution, be it more enforcement officers at construction sites, commercial and F&B outlets, and even residential areas. The change won’t happen overnight however like the 20 sen charge for plastic bags, consumers will slowly realise the importance of looking after the environment and the effect might trickle into other aspects of life – making Malaysian a country of people with a conscience.

Our local authorities should look at installing electricity-generating incinerators like Norway which transforms its trash and waste into energy – doing away with the need for fossil fuels to power the power plants thus solving the issue of insufficient landfills and rising energy costs.

China lifted its ban on polystyrene back in 2013 after a 14-year long ban. Perhaps it’s time our authorities reassess whether or not this ban is actually helping the environment or not, and if it’s not, stop the ineffective ban and consider other solutions instead.

At the end of the day, it’s up to us to reduce, reuse and recycle. We only have one planet to live on so it’s time to change our mindset.

Lan Jie style Steamed Tilapia with Panasonic Cubie Oven

If you come into my kitchen, you might assume that I’m a gadget geek. Well, it wouldn’t be too far from the truth as we had to clear out a good portion of our kitchen to welcome the newest member, and joining my long list of high tech kitchen appliances is the Panasonic Cubie Oven.

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After using the Panasonic Cubie Oven for a week, trying out its different functions: I can now share with you some of the pros and cons of this device. The first thing I did with this, of course, was to steam a fish. Before this, I shall mention that Kevin and I had a debate on whether it’s possible to do a whole fish seeing it’s much smaller than our oven. Turns out, it might be compact, it’s definitely spacious enough to cook a good sized fish!

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Fish on the side for comparison. Turned on the steam mode to check how it works and prompted geeked out haha. More on that later.

Since we had a Tilapia in our freezer waiting to be used, what better to share our current favourite recipe?

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This dish is inspired by the famous Lan Jie restaurant which has numerous branches across Klang Valley. This restaurant specialises on Steamed Tilapia. In fact, that’s all everyone eats when they are there. Its concept is that everyone gets a fish each. You can choose the level of heat and that’s about it. Yet it’s the burst of flavours due to the super umami toppings that makes the dish so enjoyable.

The recipe is simple, so it’s important that the quality of the fish is good. The recipe I found was shared by Kimberly (Hi Kim! BTW I’m still following your blog religiously. Closet fan here haha). Actually, I couldn’t tell for sure if it’s exactly like Lan Jie because I always go for super spicy so it kinda drowns out everything else. But this recipe is tasty enough.

Lan Jie inspired Steamed Tilapia

1 Tilapia (I used a Red one, Lan Jie uses Black)
1 thumb sized ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 chilli padi
2 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Soy Bean Paste (Taucu)
1 splash of Shao Xing Wine
Spring Onion and Coriander to Garnish

1. Heat a pan with a neutral oil. Fry garlic and ginger until fragrant. Add soy bean paste, soy sauce and Shao Xing wine and stir around for 1 minute until the sauce is nice and combined. Add chilli and then turn off heat (beware of the cooking fume… it’s pungent!).

2. Prep the fish as usual, making a few shallow slices across the body. You might want to quickly blanch it if you are worried about the muddy taste. If the fish is super fresh, it should be ok though. Place the fish on steaming dish. Once the sauce is cooked, poured it over the fish.

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3. Set the Panasonic Cubie Oven to Steam Mode – Medium, and set the timer to 15minutes. Or select Steamed Fish from the Auto Cook Menu (which is number 1) and put in the weight and press start. Then just watch the cubie work its magic!

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The Cubie Oven has a water tank on the top right corner which takes up to 600ml of water (cold, tap water will do. Never mineral water). During the steam mode, it basically squirts out water to a small sink then heat it for the evaporation. Kinda cool watching it work and in fact, I was totally geeking out during the first few times.

So I’ve tried both the Auto cook mode and Manual input and both works like a charm. The fish came out perfectly cooked!

And of course, to steam this normally, either do it traditionally over a wok (or whatever steaming device you have) for 15 minutes on medium heat.

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5. To serve, simply garnish with spring onion and coriander… and extra chilli if you like. Serve with plenty of rice!

Steaming food is a breeze with the Cubie. The only downside is that you do have to do a proper wipe down after it completely cools down because the water tends to pool at the bottom, even though there’s a drip tray at the front and bottom part of the oven (which should also be clean every time after use). Basically, it’s important to be diligent with cleaning to prevent limestone build up.

For more information on Panasonic Cubie Oven, hop over to their website, or check out Panasonic’s facebook page.

Weekday “Fantastic Feast” at Dynasty Restaurant, Renaissance Kuala Lumpur

Though they have converted to a Pork-free restaurant, Dynasty Restaurant at Renaissance Kuala Lumpur shows no sign of slowing down with revamping their menu and constantly create hype by creating attractive promotions. This time, the promotion is super competitive, offering half priced dim sum (lunch) as well as a 4-course menu at only RM49.90nett per person (lunch and dinner).

Chef Kok Chee Kin who has masterfully helmed the kitchen through his unfailing adherence to Cantonese cuisine’s principles vows to treat his guests to an interesting array of dishes that are light on the palate while emphasizing on a distinct primary flavour of the main ingredients used.

We were invited to sample some of the dim sum items and also feasted on the 4-course menu, specially picked out to showcase their signature dishes. Let’s start with dim sum!

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First, the Emerald Dumplings with Scallops. By no mean an ordinary piece of dim sum, even comes with bonito flakes for that bit of Japanese fusion. The skin is thin enough with a slight chew, which is interesting. Love how they are generous with the filling and I could definitely taste the scallop.

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Steamed Rice Flour Rolls with Chive and Shrimps or simply known as Cheong Fun. The skin is a little on the thick side here. I’d stick with other items on the menu. Like the next one.

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Bean Curd Rolls with Cheese. Definitely a hit. Crispy skin, bouncy and juicy prawns and the delightful oozy cheese.

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Fluffy Buns filled with Barbecued Chicken (Char Siew Bao). Pretty good, even to a non Char Siew Bao eater. The filling is spot on.

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Crystal Prawns dumplings with Asparagus. Compared to the rest this was a little plain in flavour, but also the most traditional tasting. Asparagus added a little extra crunch.

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The Fried Taro Puffs were excellent, with all contrasting textures and great tasting filling to complete the experience.

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The Egg tart has extra creamy custard, not too sweet, and perfectly flaky crust. Yum.

The Renaissance team always strives to overfill their media guests and this time was no exception. Our 4-course meal arrived in full portions!

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For the first course, you get to choose a soup dish; and we got the shredded duck broth with chives. Very rarely do I get a duck soup in a Chinese restaurant so this was a pleasant surprise. Love the umami, slightly smoky flavour, freshened with the addition of chives.

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Second, out of Fish and Poultry category, we received the Stir Fried Grouper Fillet with Spring Onion and Ginger. Very simple and straight forward combination, that’s why it’s guaranteed to taste good. Kevin took an extra serving of spring onion and the ginger went to me. The fish was perfectly flaky and soft.

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For the Carb option, we got the Cantonese Wonton noodle with honey glazed chicken and vegetable. The Chicken char siew was really nice actually, with just the perfect amount of fat. I guess they used mostly thigh for this. But the noodles were a little overcooked. But hard to blame them since they had to cook such a large portion for us.

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I mean look at this? This is more like One Tonne noodles! We could barely scrape the surface. Like I said, they really overestimate our eating abilities. Because there was an extra dish for us!

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So if the 4 course isn’t enough for you, you can also add on another signature dish with a discounted price. We got the Pan seared stuffed Scallop (RM48 instead of RM88). But this dish was probably the best out of everything we had that day, so was worth it lah.

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To end this feast we had the Herbal Jelly with Honey. The perfect dessert to cool down.

This promotion is currently available, until 29th August, every Monday to Friday.

Located on Level 1, East Wing, Dynasty Restaurant is a beautiful Chinese restaurant with great ambience in the lovely Renaissance Kuala Lumpur open daily for lunch from 12.00noon to 2.30pm and dinner from 6.30pm to 10.30pm.

Dim Sum breakfast is served from 9.30am to 2.30pm on Sundays and Public Holidays, dinner hours are as usual.

To discover more or to make a reservation, call at 03 2771 6692 or email
rhi.kulrn.fb@renaissancehotels.com

For more info/promotions, check out Renaissance Kuala Lumpur’s Instagram @renaissancekualalumpur and @dynasty_kl
or Facebook www.facebook.com/RenaissanceKL and
www.facebook.com/DynastyKL

Panasonic Cooking Workshop: Creating Colourful Flavours

It seems that everytime I’m at a social event, someone is bound to come up to me with these “I have not seen you for the longest time! Where have you been?!”. Well, I have not disappeared, just that I have not been receiving much of invitations to these (*hint**hint*), and frankly I’m not that interested in meaningless activities when I could be doing something else more interesting, like watching Netflix (hehe). But if it’s a cooking workshop, you bet that I’ll try my best to get there.

Well, the stars aligned last week and I had the opportunity to attend a cooking workshop hosted by Panasonic and Le Creuset at the Panasonic Home2Com Solution Center. The workshop was held in conjunction with the release of the Panasonic Cubie Oven.

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Cubie? What a cute name right? Stems from the term “cubical”, with connotations of “small and compact” in its size, the design of this oven is focused on assisting young and urban families to make quick and healthy meals.

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With this oven, we can use different modes such as steaming, healthy frying, baking (roasting) and fermentation. Amazing right? Well during the workshop we had a couple of dishes to make, guided by Chef Chin Pei Ling, who has a hand in creating many dishes using the Cubie.

We first started with our dessert, the Mango Passionfruit Crumble. Interestingly this is a combination of cake and crumble so we had to do the cake base first.

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Cake base was very standard, beating the sugar and butter together until pale, then add egg, vanilla extract, milk and then flour and baking powder.

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Handmixer makes it so much easier.

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Look at everyone focusing on their creation.

The next 2 steps included mixing cut up mango with sugar, corn flour, lemon juice then top with some passion fruit. Great tropical flavours.

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The 2 Kellys at work. At that stage, we already had the fruits on top of the cake base and I was getting started with my crumble.

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With the crumble, it’s just mixing the flour, rolled oats, almond flakes, sugar and melted butter until crumbly and then spoon over the top.

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Check out our beautiful Le Creuset Mini Cocottes! Love the candy colours.

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Time to send it into the Cubie! Using the convection mode we baked this for around 25 in 180C. Preheating was done prior to this (not all modes requires preheating by the way)

We then moved on to our main course, Roasted stuffed Chicken with Sundried Tomato Pesto and Seasonal Root Vegetables.

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Chef making our Sundried tomato pesto, plenty to go around in the group.

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While we busy ourselves cutting vegetables…well… and taking photos.

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Expertly tying the chicken up. Haha. The pesto was spread on the meat side of the deboned chicken thigh and then asparagus, mushrooms and carrot placed on top.

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Final Seasoning! This time we used the Le Creuset Rectangular Dish to house the veggies and the chicken. This is a great size for couple portion.

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Before roasting the chicken, my dessert has to come out! Looking good! The Chicken is roasted at maximum heat, 230C for around 25 minutes as well for a beautifully browned top.

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Not long after, our chicken is done too. Can finally let my hair down, literally.

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Gorgeous!

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It sure was a useful and informative little workshop, although it would have been useful to include other functions of the cubie too as I was most looking forward to seeing how the steaming function works. But nevertheless, the demonstration of the oven was helpful for us to understand how a compact oven could work for a small size family. The chicken was devoured straight away by Kevin and I but I had dessert for days!

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Err… just a testament of my social awkwardness haha.

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We each received a lovely bouquet from Happy Bunch for attending the workshop, how thoughtful!

Well, now that I have my own Cubie oven, I’ll be sharing more recipes soon! Is there anything particular you would like to see?

For more information on Panasonic Cubie Oven, hop over to their website, or check out Panasonic’s facebook page. Thank you Panasonic and The Cooking House for a fun workshop!

Claude Bernard Swiss Watch Review

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There are different types of people in the world. Looking are the photo above, some might pay attention just to the car (pretty sure Kevin belongs to that group), some might look at the woman (ahem), and a certain type of people might actually notice the wrist watch. Yes, there are probably as many watch lovers in the world as Petrol-head, but this post is all about the Claude Bernard Swiss Watch on my wrist.

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I’m obsessed with keeping time and while there are certainly many ways we can do this nowadays with the variety of gadgets available; the traditionalist in me prefer a good classic watch.

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Yet, in contrast to my mostly feminine fashion sense, I have a taste for bigger, unisex look watches. None of those dainty girly ones where I can barely see the second hand on them (maybe I’m just getting old). Which is why when I was given a choice to try a Claude Bernard watch for size, I went for one of its Sophisticated Classics – Retrograde Day-Date in Black.

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In order to call themselves “Swiss Made”, 60% of the manufacturing costs and the essential manufacturing step must occur in Switzerland; passing the final inspection in Swiss means that Swiss made watches are of the highest quality and standards. Claude Bernard collection is carefully hand-assembled in the Jura Mountains in Switzerland where years of master watchmakers have perfected their craft for Swiss watchmaking, making each timepiece a masterpiece.

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Claude Bernard Retrograde Day-Date

  • Encased by a stainless steel watch casing (40mm), this watch is elegantly matched with a black crocodile embossed strap.
  • Small Second Hand Sub-dial surrounding a big date display, viewing time and day easily in a quick glance.
  • A retrograde mechanism, whereby when the day hand reaches ‘SUN’, it would swing back to ‘MON’, signifying a new week.

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Maybe just retaining the habit from those years working as a doctor, it’s important for my watch to have a second hand (to measure pulse, breathing rate etc). Here, the second hand is separated, making it even easier to count time down to seconds. Having the display of date, and time of week is useful too, so my ageing brain can always be reminded of the day whenever I need to.

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Overall this is a gorgeous timepiece which is practical and easy on the eyes. The price tag is reasonable, making it an accessible luxury, also a suitable choice of gift. Aesthetic wise, it goes with almost every type of occasion/outfit formal or informal.

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This is my first watch with a leather strap. I usually opt for bracelet type in fear of allergies caused by leather/rubber material. This strap has been surprisingly comfortable even with long hours of wearing. The weight is just barely noticeable but not limiting.

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Got distracted during the photo-shoot by a friendly feline.

I’ve worn this piece to dinners, casual hangouts with friends, business meetings, and even for my gigs.

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Forever the one waiting for my musicians to show up. Hehe.

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Goofing around before show as usual.

Here are a few more photos shot by Andy Kho during the MHB Afternoon Tea Party at Senja, Saujana.

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Even in black it doesn’t look out of place pairing with white floral dress.

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Thank you Senja for providing us delectable afternoon tea spread and entertaining us girls.

Necessary Data:
Model: 34004-3-NIN
Movement: Swiss Ronda 7004 quartz (battery operated)
Case: Stainless steel, 40mm x 10.5mm thick
Back: Solid screw-in back
Crystal: Anti-reflective Sapphire
Band: Black alligator grain leather
Buckle closure: 20mm
Water Resistant: 50 meters

The Retrograde Big Day-Date also comes in other colours. Instead of Leather straps, you can also opt for bracelet style in Gold/Silver.

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*Prices include GST

Claude Bernard Watches can be found at:

Parkson: KLCC 1 st Floor Suria KLCC, 50088 Kuala Lumpur; Pavilion Level 3, Pavilion, 168, Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur; Sunway Velocity G-16, Ground Floor, Sunway Velocity Mall, 55100 Kuala Lumpur

Isetan: KLCC 3rd Floor Suria KLCC, 50088 Kuala Lumpur; 1 Utama Level 1, 1 Utama Shopping Centre, 47800 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

SOGO: Kompleks SOGO, 3D Fashion Arena, 190, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman 50100 Kuala Lumpur

For further information and the full list of authorised watch retailers, please call Crystal Time (M) Sdn Bhd at +603 2938 3938 or visit the website at www.crystaltime.com.sg.

Claude Bernard social media pages:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ClaudeBernardMalaysiaBrunei/

Instagram: @claudebernardmy

The Gluttons hit Penang for an Epic Food Trip

Several moons ago, there was Penang food itinerary that kinda went viral on social media. On that particular list, they’ve scheduled to eat a famous Penang dish every hour. Being the gluttons we are, we decided to take up the challenge and do an Epic Penang Food Trip. Travel plans were made, and I’ve spent a few days researching, coming up with a list. We even went super low carb for a week in anticipation of this trip.

So the day finally came, we touched down at Penang Airport at 8:30 am (yes, we were dedicated enough to take the first flight out of KL) and were picked up by Kevin’s BFF, Clarence; who’s a Penang local. The first thing he said? “You know what? F**k the list and let’s go to places that only locals go!” Who are we to say no to that right?

Our first stop was Genting Cafe, located at Island Glades, Greenlane. This place is known for its Pork Leg Rice, Chee Cheong Fun and Curry Mee. Unfortunately the day we visited the CCF was not available and we were a little too early for the Pork Leg Rice. But at least we got the Curry Mee.

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I found this to be just alright. The broth is a bit on the thin side and the chilli was not as hot as I’d like (Hot Bowl Curry Mee being the benchmark), but the toppings were nice. It was a bit early for curry mee though for me.
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Kueh Tiaw Th’ng is common Penang breakfast. The texture of the noodles was quite good, though the soup was nothing to shout about. Just a light noodle dish to start off the day.
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Loh Mee here is alright. The gravy has good flavour and worked well with the sambal.

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Sneaked a photo of him.

We headed to Georgetown after to suss out some of the dishes I’ve listed. One of which was Tiger Char Koay Teow found at Kafe Ping Hooi on Lebuh Carnarvon.

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This particular stall is frequently listed as one of the Top CKT in Penang. There wasn’t a queue as it was still rather early (just before 10 am). Unfortunately, this Char Koay Teow was rather ordinary, it didn’t really hit the spot for us.

Located on the same street is the Famous Pitt Street Koay Teow Thng, made with Eel balls. We went to check it out, but look at the size of the crowd!
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It was already getting pretty hot at that stage and we weren’t going to stand in line for this. So we gave up. Next time perhaps we should do it first thing in the morning.

Clare decided to bring us to try the Char Koay Teow that he likes. So off we went to Ho Ping Coffee Shop, on Penang Road.
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This one actually tasted better than Tiger, with distinct charcoal taste and enough wok hei to flavour the noodles. The spicy version is better though.

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We ordered the Rilwana Mee Goreng but it wasn’t anything to shout about.

We took a little walk through Penang Road and visited Chowrasta Market, the newly refurbished space looks really good!

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We spotted these super cute Link Bike, a newly launched Bike Sharing System, an initiative by Penang city council to make Penang a greener city.

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Has anyone been on one of these?

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Chowrasta Market is still occupied by a row of secondhand bookstores, the nerd in me was a little excited to spot these Medical textbooks.

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It was nearly hitting lunch time and we decided to drop our stuff at the hotel and then continued on with our journey. Next stop, New World Park. Built as a food, shopping and lifestyle hub, it hosts several fine dining restaurants, casual cafes and also home to a popular food court. We ordered a few things to share.
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I enjoyed the Yam Cake here, which has nice chunky yam bits which lend a lovely aroma to the kueh.

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I had to order the Oyster Omelette (Oh Chien). Clare said that he would be bringing us to the best Oh Chien ever and refused to touch this one. I thought it was ok though, the oysters were fresh enough and egg vs starch ratio was quite balanced.
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Hot day warranted Ice Kacang, the mixed fruit version definitely hit a sweet spot.
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I’m not a huge fan of Otak Otak, but this version tasted fresh, aromatic with soft chunks of fresh fish. Quite good.

The stop on our trip was rather unexpected. There’s an Indian uncle who sells Laksa and Popiah on the bike by the roadside near CIMB bank at Pulau Tikus. This is been around for a very long time and a lot of regulars have been eating this since young.
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Check out the plump golden popiah! The metal bottle on the side contains laksa broth. The recommended way of enjoying this combining the popiah and the laksa.

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The broth here is a mixture of Assam and Nyonya laksa. It’s a little more on the light side, but the fish bits were all blended in already. Topped with the piquancy herbs and cucumber this is really quite addictive! Dipping the popiah in the laksa broth definitely elevated the whole experience.

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He also sells Cucur Udang (Prawn Fritters), which also goes fabulously with Laksa broth. Yum!

We were joined by the rest of the makan team in the afternoon and the first place we hit was the Fort Cornwallis Food Court, which houses the Hameed Pata Mee Sotong.
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I’ve had this Mee Goreng several years ago and was quite impressed. Though this time, everything is a just a little too sweet for our liking.

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Mee Rebus version, also sweet.

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Pasembur, which tasted strangely like a dessert, the sauce is super sweet with a hint of chocolate and milk, most peculiar.

Next stop, got to have the Teochew Chendul to cool down.

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We chose to have it in a cup for convenience. The line there was insane too.

At this stage, we were all sweaty and rather full, but of course. A quick freshening up was all it needed for us to prepare for dinner. This time, the target is Keat Seng Kopitiam in Air Itam.

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Remember we were supposed to try the best ever Oh Chien? Well, it’s located here! No mercy here and we ordered the biggest portion (RM16).
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Looking that the juicy oysters! Upon our first bite, I gotta say, this is probably the best Oyster Omelette I’ve had in my life. The oysters were super fresh and briny, the eggy aroma mixed with the light starch makes the perfect texture. Completely with the chilli sauce that’s seasoned just nice. Perfection on a plate I tell you. And here, they do not skimp on the oysters either.
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The Chee Cheong Fun here is generously doused in Hae Ko, which adds a fantastic umami taste. This is really good too.
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We also shared a curry mee, which was a touch better than the one at Genting Cafe.
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Surprisingly the Sar Hor Fun here is really tasty! We had it as the mixture of Mee Hoon and Hor Fun, the sauce is full of wok hei, and there were even slivers of pork liver, cooked perfectly.
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The Char Koay Kak here is pretty popular too, but I’m personally not a fan of Penang style Koay Kak, which is slightly bland compared to the Sarawak type.
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The Pai Tee was fully vegetarian I think, these were just ok.
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Here’s a little food porn in the form of Apam Balik. Hehehe. I didn’t eat these because I can’t eat Peanuts.

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Gluttons at work!

….. And that was the end of Day 1. We went back to the hotel with happy tummies. It was to be an early night because we needed to do Penang Hill in the morning.

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Good Morning Penang! Picture heavily filtered to hide fat lol.

We initially wanted to do the full hike but seeing some of us had a plane to catch and we wanted to maximise eating time we chose to go up via the tram. It was still a full hour walk though. But not before some light fuel for the body.

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Just some Toast and Eggs at the Food Court.

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The Token Half Irish had Tiger for fuel. Crazy yo!

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The View here is beautiful though.

Anyway, after working out for our meal, we headed to the Hawker Stalls located on Jalan Sekolah La Salle for our proper breakfast.
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Since we haven’t had Hokkien (Prawn) Mee the day before, it’s only apt we gave this a go. The broth is excellent with the heady sweetness of prawns. The chili paste has a good kick too.
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The same stall also serves Loh Mee and if you know the local lingo, you can order the Hokkien Cham Lor, which is a hybrid of the Prawn Mee with some Loh gravy. This adds a further depth of flavours to the noodles. Good stuff.
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Surprisingly this Mee Goreng is pretty good, almost rivalling Bangkok Lane, though a little bit wetter.
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Clare bought us some Bak Kwa sandwich, featuring a thick slice of Bak Kwa and a little bit of soy-based sauce. Very simple, but very moreish.
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Couldn’t resist ordering the Char Koay Teow again and this is even better than the one we had the day before! Goes to say that a good plate of CKT doesn’t necessarily come from those super famous ones, and perhaps this is also very subjective to personal taste.

Phew! We definitely ate up a storm in Penang, and would very much repeat the experience again in the near future. Special thanks to our ‘uber driver’ and ‘tour guide’ for showing us what Penang food is REALLY about.

Rendang Tok Perak with Philips All-In-One Pressure Cooker

Unboxing a new kitchen appliance is always a very exciting affair. Especially when it’s as big as the Philips All-In-One Pressure Cooker. That’s right, I received my very own just a couple of weeks ago and have been cooking up a storm with it. The original Philips Pressure Cooker has been very helpful in our kitchen too, but with the addition of new functions, I don’t even have to cook on the stove very much anymore.

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One of the very first dishes I made was, of course, the Rendang Tok Perak, which is well-documented in the book co-authored by Chef Marina Mustafa and Sara Khong, “One-Pot Wonders”. By the way, if you own a Philips All-In-One Cooker, this book is highly recommended, with details instructions on how to cook each dishes in either slow or pressure cooker mode, as well as conventional method (although who needs to use the conventional method with this?).

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So, back to Rendang. Normally, it takes around 4-5 hours of cooking and you can’t go very far away from the stove as you’d have to stir it quite frequently to prevent burning. That’s why a lot of newer generation cooks don’t even bother anymore. But what if I tell you-you can make this dish in under 1hour, with almost the same result?

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Of course, the very best rendang also lies in its ingredients. Make sure you use freshly squeezed coconut milk, the kerisik you choose should be those submerged in oil for the best flavour, and the quality of meat does matter.

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As you can see here, my Rendang is a little bit on the wet side. And that’s because I didn’t let it cook till dry (it’s an additional 15 minutes or so). I happen to like the extra gravy and in fact I kept some for future use (Rendang goes fabulously with Pasta!). Anyway, here’s a video, shot and edited by none other than Kevin, hehe.

I’ve made beef rendang the traditional way in the past, and I honestly feel that this is just as delicious. And this was even better the next day when the flavours had the time to develop and the sauce continued to thicken as I left it in the pot to warm. Other things I’ve cooked with the Philips All-In-One Cooker includes a Kek Gula Hangus (that was amazing), Barbeque Pork Ribs, Pork Belly and Bittergourd Stew, Japanese Mille Feuille Nabe (Napa Cabbage and Pork hot pot). It has made my life so easy!

Rendang Tok Perak

Ingredients to marinate:
1kg beef, cut into 11/2 inch cubes
2 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1/2 tbsp ground fennel
1/2 tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp ground cinnamon

Spice Paste (Blended)
2 large red onions
3 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger
2 inches galangal
4 stalks lemongrass
3 fresh turmeric root, removed skin

Other ingredients:
2 star anise
5 cardamons
5 cloves
2 cups thick coconut milk
1/2 cup grated palm sugar
1 tbsp Chili Paste (or a lot more…. if you want spicy)
2 tbsp tamarind paste, diluted in 1 cup of water, discard seeds
1/2 cup kerisik
2 tsp salt
3 pieces kaffir lime leaves
2 turmeric leaves, finely sliced

Pressure Cooker Method:

  1. Rub the ground ingredients all over the meat and set aside until needed.
  2. Open the lid of the Philips All-In-One Pressure Cooker and press “Saute/Sear High Temp” and press “Start”
  3. Pour in oil when hot, add the blended ingredients, chili paste, whole spices and stir to mix.
  4. Put in the marinated beef cubes and stir for 20 seconds.
  5. Pour in coconut milk, tamarind juice, kaffir lime leaves & palm sugar. Stir til combined. (I accidentally added kerisik at this point but I don’t think it affected the outcome too much.
  6. Close the lid and turn the valve to “Seal”
  7. Press “Pressure Cook” button, choose “MEAT/POULTRY” and set the cooking time to 30 minutes (I actually set it to 40minutes because I prefer my beef more tender), press start.
  8. When “Keep Warm” light flicks on the panel, the beef rendang is ready. Open the lid and put in the kerisik, season with salt if needed. Since I already added the kerisik earlier I didn’t have to do much except for letting it reduce a little by putting it on “Saute/Sear High Temp” function. If you prefer a very dry/flossy rendang you just have to continue searing until desired consistency.
  9. Sprinkle with sliced turmeric leaves before serving.

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Thank you Philips Malaysia for your fabulous product, I’ll continue to post more recipes soon.

For more information on the Philips All-In-One Cooker, refer to my post for the product launch or visit www.philips.com.my/pressurecooker

 

The Neverending Story at Just Heavenly Cafe, Bangsar Shopping Centre

Several weeks ago, I received an unusual invitation for an evening at Just Heavenly Cafe. By unusual, I meant it’s not just our normal food review evening where everyone just goes there, eat the food, socialised a little and leave the event. We were made to work for our food! That’s right, we had to exercise a little bit of our creativity for a little bit of social media detox.

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This event is a collaboration between Just Heavenly, @the5tory and PenGallery.com. Just Heavenly is a brainchild of Nigel Skelchy and Allan Yap, while Allan also started crafting his own leather notebook; and PenGallery is an authorised dealer carrying large selections of pens.

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Lai, founder of PenGallery.com brought his prized possession out for us to view: The Sailor Summer Haw Chinkin Maki-e Pen. Definitely the most expensive fountain pen I’ve ever seen, valued at RM68000! Chinkin means “Gold Inlay”, which is the method used to create the pen. Specialised chisel carved out the design, and the carving is then filled with gold and silver metal powder.

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We were each given a fountain pen, to create our own artwork referring to the picture above. Which include the newly launched cake: “Play it again Sam”, a tribute to the late Samantha Schubert, Malaysian Actor and Model. This cake is a delicious triple decker melange of Bananas, Strawberries, and Chocolate all topped with fresh cream. Beautiful to look at, even more exquisite on the tongue.

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A myriad of coloured ink for us to colour our art.

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This was our collaborative effort. Kevin did most of the work, to be honest, but still, it was fun creating this together. Our cake looks like it’s dripping with blood.

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Meena @llemongrass and Jason @smashpop won the contest, and they each received The Adventure Travellers Notebook. Made with 140gm paper, hand cut and hand sewn from beautiful leather lovingly by Allan Yap.

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We then were treated to some delicious food. Including a sausage pasta with spicy tomato sauce. This is also part of their pasta lunch set, all priced at RM20++ with an Iced Lemon Tea, great value!

Their specially created Raya Cakes are also available in stores now, here are some of them:

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Royal Gold, whole 6’tall butter cake, featuring Vanilla sponge with orange buttercream.

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The Ukiran, 9′ fondant cake. Chocolate fudge fans will love this one!

Thank you Just Heavenly for the hospitality!

Follow @the5tory, @justheavenly_my and @pengallery for more updates!

Just Heavenly Cafe
3rd Floor
Bangsar Shopping Centre
Jalan Maarof
59000 Kuala Lumpur
10am-10pm daily

Jaya One branch
10am-8pm
Genting Skyavenue
10am to 10pm

Josper at Work, La Bodega Telawi Bangsar

In the sea of the ever-changing culinary landscape in Bangsar Telawi, La Bodega has truly stood the test of time. I believe it’s because of their friendly hospitality, consistently good food, attention to details and continued effort to reinvent themselves from time to time. Today, La Bodega has its name not only in the F&B scene but also in the entertainment industry.

A couple of weeks ago, we were invited to spend an evening at their Telawi outlet experiencing Josper@Work and Asia Beat with Lewis Pragasam, a combination of delicious food and live music. For those uninitiated, Josper Charcoal Oven is a combination of grill and oven in a single machine. You might have seen it advertised in a few restaurants. This device is great for sealing flavours of meat and seafood while retaining the signature charcoal smokiness. Every Saturday from 6pm there’s a special menu featuring dishes cooked with Josper, hence the name. Here’s their current menu.

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We ordered a few selections suggested by them and sat back enjoying our drinks. First to arrive at our table was this majestic looking Grilled Squid (RM26).

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The squid is served with Italian parsley, garlic and extra virgin olive oil. Simple seasonings but plenty of flavours. It’s cooked to perfection, not a second over. I might add this goes superbly well with wine too.

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Our next dish was the Grilled Rainbow Trout (RM55), which came with grilled vegetables and Spanish Style sauce. I liked that the skin is slightly charred here while the flesh is still wonderfully tender. With produce this fresh, natural taste is best.

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The meat component was satisfied with duos of Lamb skewers (RM28+/ 2 pcs RM50+/ 4 pcs). We got to taste both styles, the Moroccan with spicy harissa and the Peruvian Anticucho with Mojo Picon. Harissa is a hot, aromatic paste made from chilli and assorted other spices and herbs, versatile enough to use on pretty much anything. Pairing with Lamb is a good idea for its pungent flavour complement the meat well. The Mojo Picon is another variant of chilli sauce, with paprika, garlic and vinegar as main ingredients. As you can imagine the Peruvian Anticucho style is more piquant and refreshing.

We were getting pretty full by this stage (having a whole fish for 2 is not an easy feat, I can tell you), but we couldn’t resist ordering a dessert once we saw Creme Catalana on the menu.

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Crema Catalana or Catalan Cream is the Catalan name and version of the often considered French dessert, crème brulée. Despite the French claim, however, there are many regions that lay claim to the origin of this popular dessert. Catalonia, in the northeast corner of Spain (near the French border), is one of them. But wherever it’s originated, still one of the best desserts ever invented. Here they do a pretty decent version, though the sugar coat is a little thinner. The custard is light, dissolving in your mouth leaving the aroma of vanilla (or coffee, for the other one). Delightful.

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After dessert, we adjourned to upstairs for some live music, aka Asia Beat by Lewis Pragasam, featuring different artists each week. We had Helga on the mic and violin for us. I’ve watched her previously in another outlet too, this girl is definitely talented! Check the event flyer below for their June program.

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Thank you, La Bodega for hosting us!

La Bodega Telawi (Bangsar Baru)
16-2, Jalan Telawi Dua,
Bangsar Baru,
59100 Kuala Lumpur,
Telephone: +603 2287 0848
Website: http://labodega.gastrodome.com.my/
Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday 8am till 2am