Siew Yoke (Roast Pork) with Panasonic Cubie Oven

There is something innately appealing about crispy food. Perhaps it’s because we associate crispy with great tasting food: generally crispy food is a product of the Maillard reaction, which leads to more intensely flavoured and savoury food, or maybe it’s the whole sensory experience of hearing that tantalizing sound of crunch and the texture. For me, the top 3 crispy food would be 1: Fried Chicken, which I have to cut out of my diet to protect my voice; 2. Tonkatsu (Japanese Deep Fried Pork Cutlet), which is another thing I have to eat sparingly of; and 3. Siew Yoke! Luckily this one I can eat whenever I want. Good news is that it’s also pretty convenient to make it at home.

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You, glorious thing.

With the gadgets I have at home, there are no shortage of ways to make this delicious treat. The convection oven is the standard, Airfryer is super convenient and foolproof, and now I have the Panasonic Cubie Oven too which can achieve the same delicious result.

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The Cubie in action.

As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, the Panasonic Cubie Oven has a few interesting functions, and you can read about its performance of steaming here. Today, I’d like to talk about the Healthy Fry function. Basically, akin to an airfryer. The oven circulates hot air to cook the food, so you can crisp up your dish without using much oil (or none at all if the ingredients are naturally oily). I’ve decided to try using this function to make my Siew Yoke. And did it work? It sure did!

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Before we get to that, let me also tell you that I’ve tried using just the Convection oven mode as well and while it can also produce a decent siew yoke, it does require a much longer time and as a result the skin is a little less crispy than the healthy fry version and the meat ended up a bit too dry.

Anyway, let’s get to the recipe then. The basic Siew Yoke requires only a few essential ingredients:

Pork Belly (obviously)

Generous amount of Salt

Pepper to taste

1 teaspoon 5 Spice Powder

1 tablespoon Vinegar (or Lemon Juice).

The salt, pepper and 5 spice powder are used in combination to marinate the meat side while the vinegar or lemon juice is combined with salt for the skin to draw out moisture. But it’s the preparation that makes a world of difference for the crispy skin.

1. So, first, you take a whole slab of pork belly and blanch it well, for around 15 minutes, making sure it’s cooked all the way through. Then, drain and pat it dry.

2. Next step is absolutely crucial. You must poke hundreds of holes through the skin. How do you do that? Either with a fork, a skewer (takes ages, trust me), or a spike meat tenderizer that looks a little bit a torture device. Do it over and over again until you are satisfied that every surface has been covered. Then wipe the skin dry and apply vinegar and salt. It’s also time to apply your salt/pepper/5 spice marinade on the meat side.

You might have noticed that the first and second picture look slightly different, it’s because I decided to score my skin the second time for easy cutting later.

3. Once you’ve done that and properly worked up some sweat, leave the pork near a window to air dry for a few hours. Wiping the skin dry occasionally if needed. If the weather is humid, you might even want to consider using a hairdryer to dry it for a minute or two.

4. When the pork belly is almost ready for the cooking, turn on the cubie oven to healthy fry mode and let it preheat (the preset temperature is 190 and it’s fixed). Set it to 60 minutes and put in the pork belly, skin side up. Make sure the slab sits evenly so the skin will cook evenly.

5. Check the pork in the last few minutes, if the skin hasn’t bubbled up, add another 15-20 minutes and keep an eye on it so it doesn’t get burnt. For this batch, I also applied a miso/honey baste at the end for added flavour. It was such a good idea!

So the end product…. super crispy skin!

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Tasty, juicy meat, perfect crunch. Just watch them disappear in minutes!

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

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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

 

Pork and Kimchi Cauliflower Fried Rice

My love for Fried Cauliflower Rice runs for at least 2 years deep. Some of you might remember my old post from 2014 for a basic version, or a Nasi Tomato adaptation (along with a cooking video! I must attempt that again soon). But because I have well and truly fallen off the Paleo bandwagon, this has dropped off my cooking rotation for a while. Meanwhile, my skill for the actual fried rice levelled up so much thanks to the rice monsters at home at one point I was considering opening up a place selling just fried rice. I’m looking at you, Kevin. But anyway I digress.

One day while we were getting ready to go out, I heard a cry from the next room. Thinking that Kevin might have hurt himself I rushed over to check, “I DON”T HAVE ANYTHING TO WEAR HUHUHUHUUUUU” he exclaimed with much exasperation. “Huh, why ah?” “Because I’m FAT la*”

Here, you heard it from me.

Yes, we keep ourselves active mostly, but we certainly have been indulging a little more than usual when it comes to food. Case in point: the Bak Kut Teh post just before this, haha. So with much persuasion and bribing, my-very-sexy-despite-a-little-overweight-so-he-claims-boyfriend finally agreed that we will go on a low carb diet, allowing one cheat day a week. Which means I get to exercise my muscles (and my brain) in the kitchen to come up with things interesting enough for him. I’m sure if I bring something like a poached chicken breast with blanched broccoli on a plate, he’d run out the door faster than our little Colt (the car). No….. we don’t want that. What we want, is diet food that tastes good. (Is there even such a thing?)

Well apparently yes. Something as simple as Cauliflower, mixed with other veges, some sort of protein and just some simple seasoning. Today, I present to you Kimchi and Pork Fried Cauliflower Rice! There’s no rice in this at all, so I can safely say that this is almost 100% nutri-dense. Plus, kimchi is really good for you what with the good bacteria for your gut and all. So without further ado, here’s a pic, and how you make this dish.

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Pork and Kimchi Cauliflower Fried Rice (for 3)
Half a head of Cauliflower
Few florets of Broccoli
2 clove of Garlic, minced
Half an onion, finely chopped
1 Carrot, finely chopped
1 big handful of Kimchi, chopped, reserving juice
100g Minced Pork
2 Eggs
Pinch of Salt and Pepper
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce*
1 tablespoon Ketchup
Spring onions, to garnish

To prepare the “cauli rice”, cut or tear the cauliflower florets by hand, remove excess moisture and pulse in food processor or blender until resembling rice. For this recipe, I pulse the cauliflower along with carrot and broccoli to save myself some time.

Heat oil in pan and saute onion and garlic until soft, then add minced pork and kimchi. Fry til the pork starts to brown, then add in all the vegetables. Stir around a little, then season with kimchi juice, soy sauce, ketchup, salt and pepper.

If you don’t drain the excess moisture enough, you will find that liquid will slowly pool up (happens to me all the time because I am err lazy). This is ok, just slowly let the liquid evaporates by pushing everything to the side. Not a disaster, but you do have to let all the liquid cook out otherwise it will become a soggy mess.

When the cauli rice is almost ready, make a well in the centre and crack 2 eggs into the space. Stir around to break up the yolks. Once it’s set, move around to mix everything merrily. Once the eggs are done, taste to adjust seasoning, then turn off heat. Garnish with Spring onion before serving. While this dish is also edible slightly cold, I’d suggest enjoy it while it’s hot for maximum comfort.

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As with normal fried rice, you can customize it until the cows come home. Don’t like pork? Use chicken or prawns, maybe tempeh if you want it vegetarian. More leftover vegetables crying for help in your drawer? Throw it in! The possibilities are endless. Eat this often enough (replacing your normal high carb meal la of course), you will thank me for your slimmer body soon enough.

So, since we have been so good this week, where shall we go for Bak Kut Teh this weekend?

Oh, and have a great weekend y’all!

*Conversation might not be in those exact words. But you get the jist la

R.AGE Food Fight: Ayam Masak Merah with Cauli “Nasi Tomato”

What’s red in colour, delicious, and also uniquely Malaysian? Ayam Masak Merah, a Kedahan dish commonly seen at Hari Raya Celebration and Malay Weddings, of course. Do you know what else is red and Malaysian? Red Palm oil, which is the star of the day in this blog post. Needless to say, I decided to cook this dish because I was inspired by the colour, but it also happens to be one of my favourite Malaysian dishes, due to its rich aroma, and a nice balance of savoury note, sweetness, richness, piquancy and just enough heat to tickle your system.

Did you know that Malaysia is the world’s second largest producer of Palm oil? Interestingly enough most of it is exported and we don’t really see a lot of Palm oil used in cooking locally. It’s not that Palm oil is not good for us, in fact, it’s high in antioxidants, which is responsible for combating free radical damage. It also has virtually no cholesterol, just like another super cousin of it, the coconut oil. It has its signature red hue due to high level of beta-carotene, which is a precursor to Vitamin A (the Vitamin that’s good for our eyes), and it’s also high in Vitamin E. In short, it comes with pretty attractive health benefits, but of course as with all fats, consuming in moderation is key.

Ayam Masak Merah with Cauli-Nasi Tomato

This recipe is super nontraditional as I’m adding my own twist to it. For example, a good amount of recipes calls for canned tomato soup for the gravy, and I’ve opted for canned tomatoes instead for a fresher taste. I’ve also added lemongrass in the spice paste for an extra depth of aroma. Ayam Masak Merah is commonly paired with Nasi Tomato, and I’ve done my own interpretation of a low carb substitute using Caulifower instead. Although this means that I can’t cook it the traditional way infusing milk, spices and tomatoes slowly into the grains, but nothing a good dose of gravy over won’t fix, right? This way, you even get your vegetable quota sorted. By the way, it’s also Gluten-free and Paleo friendly, how about that?

The cooking process is a little complicated, and involves deep frying (*gasp*) as this is the way we can keep the chicken juicy with a nice firm texture. You might also work up a sweat if you don’t have a fancy food processor (which I don’t), but with the end result this delicious, I can assure you it’s all worth the effort. Now let’s get cooking! To make this a little extra special, I shall include a full cooking video for your viewing pleasure.

Ayam Masak Merah (Malay Red Cooked Chicken) with Cauli-Nasi Tomato

Ingredients:
Spice Paste:
5-6 Shallots
3 Red Chili (or more if you like it spicier)
1 thumb sized Ginger
5-6 cloves of Garlic
1 Stalk Lemongrass

Spices (roast in pan beforehand):
2 Star Anise
3-4 Cloves
1 stick of Cinnamon

500g Chicken Drumsticks (or any other part you like)
1 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1 canned Tomatoes
300ml Coconut Milk
Palm Oil

Cauli Nasi Tomato
Half head of Cauliflower
1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
1 tablespoon Ketchup

First, to make the spice paste. Place everything in food processor/blender/pestle & mortar/or anything that can chop things into small pieces and process til fine. I had to make do with a smaller device on the day of filming the cooking video so my spice paste isn’t as paste-y as it should be. But well, still tasty! Set aside until needed.

Then we move on to deep fry the chicken. The Chicken drumsticks need to be marinated with turmeric and salt for at least half an hour. Fill a pot with Palm oil (great choice for deep frying because of the high smoke point), and when it’s hot enough (you can test it with a wooden chopstick, if it bubbles up it’s ready) add the chicken pieces to deep fry until they are starting to take on a glorious colour. Remove from oil and drain on paper towel.

Pour most of the oil out leaving around 3 tablespoons, and add in the spice paste to stir fry. You want to cook until it’s nice and fragrant and starting to split from the oil. Then add in the canned tomatoes (I’ve actually used my hand to squeeze the tomatoes into smaller pieces, you can also use a blender for this job), followed by the roasted spices and coconut milk. Mix everything well, and add the chicken drumsticks. Turn the heat to medium low and simmer for about 30-40 minutes until chicken is fully cooked and the sauce is nice and thick. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and sugar if needed.

While the chicken is cooking, we can prepare the Cauli “Nasi Tomato”. Cut the cauliflower into small florets, and use a blender/food processor to pulse a few times until the cauliflower become rice grain like (do not over process!). Heat the pan with Palm oil, and add the cauliflower rice, follow by tomato paste. Cook for 3-4 minutes until cauliflower is softened. Serve hot.

To assemble, place the cauli rice (using a bowl to mold if you want it nicely shaped) onto a plate, then pick your drumstick, making sure you also get plenty of that nice gravy on. Garnish with sliced tomatoes, some coriander and serve with achar if you like.

I love everything about this dish: the vibrant colours, the addictive gravy, succulent chicken, piquant cauli rice (with the added bonus of health), and the fact that the goodness of Palm oil is fully utilised. I hope you get to try this dish at home too, as it will sure impress your taste buds, and your family/friends.

Spaghetti and Zoodles with Cauliflower Pesto, Bacon and Shrimps

One click to check my blogging history and I realised that I have not posted a recipe for *gasp* 6 months! That’s too damn long for one who claims to post ‘a lot’ of recipes on her blog. For this, I do apologise for those who have been waiting for me to post something (I’m talking about you Michelle, and few others who have specifically asked for THIS recipe). First, maybe an overdue update on my personal life.

I went through quite a significant life change over the past few months. A new relationship, new living arrangement (I’m now a PJ girl), new job (started a teaching job at an International College), new routines (no longer the night owl, though still a party girl during weekends). Needless to say, it took a few months for me to readjust and now that the dust has settled and I’m comfortable around the new kitchen, I can get back to recipe blogging again.

Of all the recent dishes I’ve cooked and posted on social media, this dish seemed to be the most popular so I thought I’d end this drought with this recipe: Spaghetti and Zoodles with Cauilflower Pesto, Bacon and Shrimps.

2 major things about this recipe: 1. It’s low carb. 2. It’s dairy free. And let me just tell you that it’s absolutely delicious. Zoodles are noodles made with zucchini by the way. If you have the magical gadget that is called the Paderno Vegetable Spiral Cutter (in short Spiralizer) you’ll be able to turn any hard vegetable into noodles = instant low carb meal (unless you use potato, of course)! If you don’t have the spiraliser, you can use a julienne peeler too. As for the sauce, I’ve used cauliflower to emulate the creamy texture because I didn’t use cheese in the pesto, keeping this recipe ‘almost paleo’. The reason I’ve added actual spaghetti is that Kevin still likes his carbs and I’m not going to deny him of his pleasure. If you want it to be completely guilt free, omit pasta altogether.

This is a great way to up your daily vegetables intake and chances are, you won’t even realise there is cauliflower in the mix. The zoodles do have a slightly different texture to pasta and that does take a bit to get used to, but nevertheless this dish will give you satisfaction as do any other pasta dish. This dish is also super quick to put together, making it a perfect weeknight dinner, while also suitable to impress your dinner guests. So let’s get cooking!

Spaghetti and Zoodles with Cauliflower Pesto, Bacon and Shrimps

Ingredients:
(serves 3 persons, or 2 with super hearty appetite)
2 medium zucchini, spiralised into zoodles
100g Spaghetti
12-15 Shrimps, peeled and deveined
4-5 strips of Streaky bacon, cut into lardons.

Cauliflower Pesto
Quarter of a head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 supermarket packet of fresh basil (1 big handful)
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 Walnuts
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the spaghetti according to packet instructions in salted water until al dente. Add the cauliflower florets in the last 5 minutes and drain out separately.

To make the cauliflower pesto, add a whole bunch of basil into the food processor, along with 2-3 cloves of garlic, a generous pour of Extra virgin olive oil, walnuts (or pine nuts if you want to stay more original), salt and pepper, followed by the drained cauliflower. Process until almost smooth, scraping down the sides a few times. Adjust the liquid level by adding some pasta water if you wish, taste for seasoning.

Heat oil in pan and add bacon. Cook until starting to brown, then add thyme and zucchini and stir for 3-4 minutes. Push everything aside and add prawns to stir fry for 2-3 minutes until just cooked. Turn the heat to lowest, add drained pasta and Cauliflower pesto and stir to combine. Serve immediately, with or without chili flakes. Refresh even more with a squeeze of lemon juice if you like.

If you like pesto and pasta, you’ll definitely love the lighter take of this dish. It’s as herbaceous as it can get, and the cauliflower lends an extra creaminess without actually adding any dairy products. This is going on high rotation in my household, and in fact, I have 2 zucchinis waiting in the kitchen for me as we speak! Enjoy cooking!

KLGCC’s Fiery Friday Poolside BBQ Fiesta

If you fancy spending some quality time with your friends or family by the poolside, sipping beer/wine/beverage of your choice while enjoying a range of delectable BBQ spread, you should absolutely check out the Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (KLGCC)’s poolside party, now on every Friday evening.

Gorgeous pool!

In conjunction with the Interntional Women’s Day, KLGCC organised a special Fiery Friday Poolside BBQ Fiesta and I was honoured to receive an invitation to attend the party. As it was a special night, there were a few treats for the guests. But of course, let’s take a look at the awesome spread first. I shall start with the meat choices; after all, BBQ is the star attraction here.

Chef Arnold Kwok, Executive Chef of KLGCC has led his team to create many mouth-watering delights. And I was even more impressed to find out that most of these things are Paleo friendly, using premium ingredients and mostly fit with clean eating principles. In fact Chef Arnold spotted me and told me I would have plenty of choices there, as we talked about my diet choice. He was right!

To whet our appetite, Chef Arnold also created an interesting welcome drink:

Spicy Passion Mocktail, with chili flakes for extra kick! It’s very thirst quenching indeed.

 

The Meats:

Garlic Marinated Australian Chilled Beef Striploin, served with Chimichurri Sauce
Sesame Soy Australian Beef Short Ribs, served with Garlic Chili Sauce.

 

Missed out the picture of the Whole Spit Lamb though.

Chicken Leg Golek Bumbu Cabai, served with Sweet Calamansi Chili Sauce, Fans of Chicken Breasts can opt for the Grilled Balsamic Chicken Breast instead.
Beef and Chicken Satay
Chicken Sausage and Apple Yakitori

The Seafood:

Charcoal Smoked Fresh Salmon with Dill, served with Cucumber Yogurt Mint and Cilantro King Mackerel, served with Lemon Wedges Grilled Spicy Garlic Butter Shrimps, Lemon Wedges
Garlic Butter Shrimps

 

Snapper Tikka, served with Coconut Chutney Braai and Apricot Chili Jam
Griddle Squid Aglio Olio, Tomato Salsa

Interestingly, all of the meat and seafood is paired with their individual sauce, gotta love the attention to details here.

To fulfill the vegetable quota, here are some of the Starters and Salads (listed in the order of my own preferences):

Coconut Milk Frittata
Raw Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad, looks exactly like something I always make at home!
Cucumber with Jicama, Almonds and Sesame Salad
Sweet Potato Salad with Pumpkin Seed and Egg
Potato Salad

Of course, what I ate for the evening. Brace yourself because I think I did overeat… just a little.

The Starter Plate.

I enjoyed all the salads and loved the frittata. I say the even if you don’t eat meat, you’ll be very happy here too. If you absolutely must eat starch, there is a lovely looking steamed multigrain rice, and potatoes cooked in various styles.

Seafood Plate.

The Salmon is amazing! Exquisitely soft with the distinctive aroma of dill, made even better with the cucumber yoghurt.

The everything else plate.

I was most impressed with how everything was cooked well, and for someone who doesn’t like much of red meat, I sure ate enough Iron for that night. The Striploin with chimicurri sauce is my favourite, and I didn’t even mind the lamb (usually too gamey for me). The Squid, on the other hand, was super popular that night. Not surprising though because it’s so tender, and seasoned perfectly. Yum.

I will admit that I sample a little bit of desserts too, how can you not when the dessert spread looks like this?

Sweet Heaven right here.

Food aside, we were entertained by DJ Patricia K, who was also Emcee for the night.

Looking beautiful as always.

And there was a special performance by KLGCC’s in-house band Acoustic Fourplay, a versatile band which has been in the scene for a long time. Being the daredevil I am, I went and have a chat with the boys and found out we do have some mutual friends (even my own band member, haha KL is too damn small).

Acoustic Fourplay

These boys are good! We were thoroughly entertained and towards the end I was invited to sing a couple of songs too. That was fun.

The Poolside BBQ buffet fiesta will be available every Friday, starting from 6.30pm onwards, priced at RM75nett per adult (non-member); RM60nett (member); RM37.50nett per child (non-member) and RM30nett (member). Children under 6 years old dines for free.

As a promotion, diners are able to purchase a bottle of Carlsberg beer and get one FREE, at only RM22.15nett per bottle. To avoid disappointment, early booking is advisable. For further enquiries, call+603 2011 9187 / 9189 or visit klgcc.com to gain insights on KLGCC’s latest happenings.

Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (KLGCC)
No. 10, Jalan 1/70D,
Off Jalan Bukit Kiara,
60000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 603-2011 9188
Fax: 603-2011 9288

Bella Unwind NTV7 Apperance #3: All About Coffee

Following my last cooking demonstration on Bella Unwind NTV7, I didn’t expect to get another invitation so soon to cook another dish for Bella Unwind. This time the theme is Coffee, so the production team has suggested that I cook a savoury dish with coffee. After digging my brain for recipes, I decided to do a Coffee Brined Chicken pairing with a no-brainer: Cauliflower Rice. I will get to the recipe later, but here are some photos from the filming at NTV7 Studio.

Setting my station for the demo.

The host for the day was Elaine Daly who has that pregnancy radiance.

Here’s me with my nervous smile. Hah

We chatted about the benefits of using coffee in cooking, and also how to properly infuse coffee flavour without rendering the dish a bitter mess. She even managed to put me on the spot so I had to sing a little bit (without properly warming up my voice…. eeps! Should be more prepared next time).

Lookie! It’s the Philips AirFryer!

The studio has a fully equipped kitchen, but frying the chicken on pan might create a little too much smoke, so I decided to bring my airfryer along for a no-mess cooking process. The cooking itself was really simple. All I needed to do was combine prepped ingredients together while waiting for the chicken to cook itself in the airfryer, then it was time to plate!

Ready to serve!

If you love the aroma of coffee, then you will enjoy this dish. The Chicken breast was bathed in the coffee mixture overnight, so the aroma really penetrated all the way. The accompanying spices add more depth to it, and the addition of sugar balances the bitterness of coffee. Of course, the brine contains salt, so this creates a balance of taste all round. It takes only about 15 minutes to put together, perfect for those with a busy lifestyle. Furthermore, this dish is Low-carb, High Protein, Paleo Friendly and Gluten Free!

I don’t have a clear close-up picture of my dish, so I took some screen caps:

Juicy Coffee Tinted Chicken Breast

If only you can smell this!

Tada! Plating a bit cacat because le nervous. But still a colourful dish.

2 Chicken Breasts
1 Shot Espresso
1 Star Anise
1 Stick Cinnamon
Pinch of Black Peppercorns, smashed
Pinch of Chili Flakes
3 Tablespoons salt
1 Teaspoon Sugar
Water (enough to cover chicken breasts)

Combine all the brining ingredients and submerge the chicken breasts in the liquid, store in the fridge overnight.

Before cooking, make sure it’s out of the fridge for at least an hour. Prep the airfryer, and set to 180degree Celsius heat. Place the chicken breast into the grill pan or basket and cook for suffficient time until just done (1 for 12 minutes, 2 for 15 minutes). If you are not using an airfryer, you can just use a frying pan and cook for roughly 5 minutes each side, depending on the size of the breasts. Set aside and rest for 2 minutes before cutting.

Cauliflower “Couscous”
200g Cauliflower, florets only
1 Small Cucumber
Handful of Cherry Tomatoes
Juice of Half Lemon
Pinch of Salt
Handful of Parsley, chopped

Blitz the cauliflower florets in a blender of food processor until rice like. You can use this raw, or cook for a minute or two to take the raw edge off. I lightly fry it with olive oil for about 2 minutes this time. Set aside until needed.

Slice the cucumber thinly, and cut the cherry tomatoes in half.

To assemble, combine cauli’rice’, cucumber, tomatoes, parsley. Sprinkle over the salt, and squeeze the lemon juice over, stir to combine. Place the sliced chicken breast on top and you are ready to serve! Enjoy this warm or room temperature.

Thank you Bella NTV7 for inviting me! I hope to do more cooking demos for you in the near future. Always a good way to challenge myself this way, and also it really does take time to get used to live TV: no room for mistakes. If you are interested to watch the program, feel free to head to http://tonton.com.my to search for the 26th Feb Episode (I just watched it and I still looked silly…. must just be my normal persona).

During the same episode Louise from Claire Organics demonstrated a few beauty tricks using ground coffee, and she was kind enough to give me some of her products. Do check out their facebook page, they have a wide range of skincare products using natural ingredients and everything is 100% chemical free. Thanks so much, I am now a fan!

Paleo Chicken Stew

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe, and I do apologize. Like I mentioned in my last post for Fish stew, I went through a phase cooking various types of stew. And of these, Chicken appeared the most often. Even though I have kitchen gadget (looking at you, Mr Pressure Cooker) that can save me a lot of time, I still prefer the traditional method of slowly searing the chicken, and then slowly simmer it to extract flavours proper from all the ingredients. I guess I’ve mentioned it previous this is rather therapeutic for me, especially when I’m on a day off after a few shows in a row. Even better when the result looks like this:

Paleo Chicken Stew

There are many variations you can make with a chicken stew, and I usually just dig out whatever I have in my fridge. The basic mirepoix (carrot, celery and onion) is quite essential in this recipe, but the rest of the vegetables can be anything: zucchini, capsicum, green beans, eggplant, tomato; whatever rocks your boat. Tesco delivery sent me a massive bag of garlic the other day, so I decided to throw 2 whole garlic (merely cut in half lengthways) in my stew. If that scares you, let me reassure you that after cooking for a long time, garlic becomes super mushy and sweet. It also lends the same sweetness into the broth. Really delicious stuff.

Kelly Style Paleo Chicken Stew Recipe:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 stalks Celery, cut into bite-size pieces
1 Carrot, peeled, cut into bite-size pieces
3 strips Streaky Bacon, sliced
1 small Onion, chopped
2 Whole Garlic, cut into halves (of course, feel free to cut the amount)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
200ml Chicken stock
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon Paprika
500g Chicken Drumsticks (about 6)
2 Tomatoes, diced
100g Green Beans, cut into 2 inch piece
1 teaspoon tapioca starch (Optional, can use Potato starch too or just add Plain flour in the beginning)
Handful of Parsley leaves, roughly chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat a non-stick pan and sear the chicken drumsticks until brown. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add olive oil and sauté celery, carrot, onion for few minutes, then add the garlic, followed by dried oregano, paprika, tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf and chicken stock. Bring to simmer and put the chicken drumsticks back in. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When the cooking liquid has reduced to a stew consistency, add green beans, remove the bay leaf, and cook for further 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. And as an optional step thicken with some tapioca starch mixed with water. Serve warm as it is, or with bread (rice is good too, if you swing that way).

Mmmm so good!

The reason I love using drumsticks for this is that it’s super forgiving and super easy to achieve tenderness. You can of course use thighs too which is about the same, and if you use chicken breasts, cut the cooking time so it doesn’t go stringy. Love the natural sweetness extracted from all the vegetables, and the slight tang from the tomatoes. The tender chicken and mushy garlic is so comforting, while the green beans provided a much needed crunch.

Nom!

I enjoyed mine as it is, but feel free to pair yours with bread, rice, or even pasta! It’s as versatile as it can get. Ok, now I must sign off and get practising for my next show!

Cape Mentelle Wine Pairing Degustation Lunch, Tanzini.

I usually have a rule of not drinking before the sunset. But that rule was well and truly broken couple of weeks ago at a very special wine pairing degustation lunch hosted by Cape Mentelle. I’ve always been fond of wines of Margaret River, so this wasn’t something I would want to miss. So despite being slightly sleep deprived from the late gig night before, I dragged myself to the beautiful Tanzini and G Tower.

We were in for a serious treat!

Cameron Murphy, Cape Mentelle Estate Director made sure he introduced himself to everyone and took his time to get to know us. As an Estate Director, he is naturally knowledgeable with wines in general and you can see his passion when he speaks of his products. Truly, with the strings of awards Cape Mentelle has under its belt, it’s not hard to see why.

We were to sample a range of Cape Mentelle’s latest award winning premium red and white wines comprising its Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2013, Cabernet Merlot 2012, Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, and Chardonnay 2012, paired with the distinct neo-cuisines created by celebrity Chef Johnny Fua.

Hokkaido Scallops

Our first course was Hokkaido Scallops paired with the Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2013, the latest edition to Cape Mentelle’s range. I am definitely a Sauvinon Blanc girls, and this Sav-semillon blend is slightly more full-bodied, with complex fruity notes. It is a great wine to pair with Seafood and here the pairing with singular large scallop is just perfect.

Since I took all the pictures with HTC Desire 816, here’s one from the official photographer.

Moving right along. The waiter started pouring the second glass which is a Cabernet Merlot 2012, to pair with a poultry dish.

Free Range Chicken Roulade & cured smoked Duck

I was pleasantly surprised by the exquisitely tender Chicken and the smoked duck lends depth to the flavours. Excellent dish!

Now I normally don’t drink red wine at all because a lot of them can be too overwhelming for my palate. Part of the reason is that I don’t really eat red meat either so there isn’t a lot of opportunity for me to pair with red wine. So this Cabernet Merlot did take a little getting used to. So let’s take is from the tasting notes provided to me: On the palate, it’s medium to full bodied with sweet ripe fruits of currants and plums with wild herbs and violets. The structure is firm yet velvety providing great length and intensity of flavour. Personally, I feel that it’s punchy enough without overpowering the dish.

Atlantic Black Cod

For the main course, I went for the Atlantic Black Cod (of course), while the other option was a Aged striploin. While I didn’t try the steak, I did have a sip of the Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, which is the flagship wine of Cape Mentelle – Cabernet Sauvignon, sourced from Margaret River’s first grape vines. It’s an intense, rich red which I imagine would pair perfectly with the steak. But anyway back to my fish.

Match made in heaven.

The Atlantic Black Cod is everything I look for in the fish dish. Simply glazed with soy and flavoured with garlic, the natural sweetness shone through. It’s also melting-ly tender, a joy to eat. The pairing with Chardonnay 2012 is absolutely perfect, as it’s bright, fruity with citrusy note. My favourite of the day, definitely.

Praline Chocolate Mousse with Crunchy Croquantine Hazelnut Daquoise, Cherry Gel & Light Lemongrass Gelato.

Our meal ended with a high with this pretty dessert in the form of a Praline Chocolate Mousse with Crunchy Croquantine, Hazelnut Daquoise, Cherry Gel and Light Lemongrass Gelato, matched with the same Chardonnay.  The mousse was perfectly airy, with bittersweet cocoa. I loved the lemongrass gelato, an unusual pairing with chocolate but nonetheless refreshing.

Thank you for hosting us!

From 6th October till 5th December 2014, Cape Mentelle in collaboration with Tanzini will feature a pairing promotion comprising of a 4-course degustation menu for RM400++ for two persons; where each course will be paired with a bottle of Cape Mentelle Chardonnay, comprehensively showcasing the range of wines that lead the portfolio.

Mediterranean Fish Stew

Lately I’ve been having cravings for fish, but instead of pan-frying a fillet and call it a day, I decided to try something a little bit different and decadent, so I went with a fish stew. There are many variations of fish stew, but interestingly most involves more than one type of seafood. I don’t know if this one is authentically Mediterranean, but what I do know is that this is delicious because it involves one of my current obsessions: Fennel.

Fennel is rarely used in local cuisine, unlike Fennel seeds which are commonly used in curries. It has a unique aroma not unlike that of licorice and anise, and has the texture similar to celery. It’s a very good source of Vitamin C, Folate, Potassium as well as fiber. Preparation wise, Fennel can be eaten raw, lightly sauteed or cooked til tender. It’s a match made in heaven with fish, but I also enjoy it in a salad, like this Massaged Kale Salad I’ve posted a while ago.

Red, the colour of happiness.

I used 1 large Halibut fillet for this, along with a few medium prawns. You can definitely use more seafood such as clams, mussels or even crabs, or swap the fish for cod or tilapia. The tomato broth is slowly simmered to bring out the sweetness of the vegetables before the seafood is added. It’s important not to overcook the fish and prawns for the best texture. This dish is often enjoyed with toasts/crostinis, but to keep it Paleo-friendly I’ve gone without.

Mediterranean Fish Stew (serves 2)

Olive Oil
1 Onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of Garlic, Finely Minced
1 Fennel, halved and thinly sliced (keep the frond for garnish)
2 stalks of Celery, chopped
200ml Fish Stock
1 glass of Dry White Wine
1 Canned Tomatoes, blitzed in blender
1 pinch of Dried Oregano
Zest of Half a Lemon
Juice of Half a Lemon
200g Halibut Fillet, cut into large chunks
200g Prawns, shelled and deveined
Salt and Pepper to taste
Chili Flakes

Heat the oil in a wide, deep frying pan. Add the onion, fennel and celery and cook over a gentle heat for 5 mins until softened. Stir through the garlic and cook a couple of mins more. Pour in the wine to deglaze, then add the tomato purée, followed by fish stock, lemon zest. Leave to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Nestle the halibut chunks into the liquid and cook for 5 mins. Add prawns and cook for 5 mins more until the fish is cooked through. Before turning off the heat, squeeze over the lemon juice. Serve immediately, garnish with the frond of fennel and chili flakes.

Yummmm!

I love the tender flesh of the halibut and the bouncy texture of the prawns. The broth is tangy, spicy, sweet and savoury at the same time with ever slight hint of citrus. Here, the fennel is completely softened which makes it more mellow, and sweet. Needless to say, my craving was satisfied.