Spice Up Your Kitchen with Chefology and McCormick

It’s always a great pleasure to be invited to a cooking workshop because it means that I could get out of my comfort zone and cook at a foreign, often-more-equipped kitchen trying out new recipes with other people. Few days ago, I attended a bloggers’ meet and greet with Chefology and McCormick. McCormick I’m quite familiar with as I use a lot of their herbs and spices at home, but Chefology is relatively new to me.

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This was me arriving at the event not knowing there’s a competition awaiting us. Calm before the storm, indeed.

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Some of the McCormick herbs and spices on display, how many of these are in your kitchen?

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The heavyweights: McCormick Grill Mates BBQ Sauce. Thick, flavourful and excellent as a sauce, dipping, marinade and glaze, comes in 3 different flavours: Vintage Smokehouse, Brown Sugar & Chilli and Pepper.

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The event kickstarted with a few words from McCormick’s Patricia and Chefology’s Jaden Teoh (small world, we met earlier through completely different circumstances, I was performing at one of his outlets).

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The Chefology Nature Series is a collection of 5 cookware items, designed for the comfort of cooking in the kitchen. The cookware is made of die-cast aluminium, with a six-layer coating, ensuring a safer cooking experience.

This new series of cookware has a highly durable marble ceramic non stick coating (fancy) and a few important points:
– It’s durable and scratch-resistant.
– The pan features ergonomic stainless steel long handle for solid grip
– Ensures even heat distribution with minimum heat loss

Best still, they can be used on all kinds of stove including induction!

We then had Chef Charming, I mean Chef Collin Edward Lim demonstrating his dishes using the Chefology pans and McCormick products.

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He first made a Braised Beef Short Ribs, using the sturdy looking Chefology pot. Then he also demonstrated the 2 recipes which we were supposed to cook as well. So let’s move along to the main event!

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We were grouped into 3s and I was paired with ciklilyputih and also my new friend Mei Mei. Without wasting anytime we got straight to cooking!

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Marinating the Chicken boobies with McCormick Salt and Pepper. Love the grinder, ensuring freshly grounded salt and pepper everytime. I shall also mention that the bottle is airtight, so the pepper will always smell amazing. We also added the McCormick BBQ sauce for a full flavour boost.

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ciklilyputih prepping the vegetables like a pro.

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Our chicken, after pan frying on stove, then sent to the oven with a sprinkle of cheese. Looking awesome!

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Not forgetting to smile for the camera while cooking.


We also made a dessert. Here’s Mei Mei pouring the crepe batter into the pan.

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Adding the finishing touches: a last sprinkle of salt onto our crepes.

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And we are done!

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Our Grilled Cheesy Black Pepper Chicken Salad with yoghurt dressing (I added a but of cooking juices from the chicken too for extra flavour). The presentation is a little sloppy on this haha.

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Basil Crepes with Caramelised Bananas. This looks much better, but of course we had the help of our creative director, Kevin.

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We had to present our dish to the judges to be tasted. That’s me putting on my game face despite the burn on my hand (yes, I touched the handle of the pan after it came out of the oven…. clumsy as ever).

The dishes tasted quite good, and I was pleasantly surprised at how well the chicken breast was cooked (not a second over). We didn’t end up winning the mini contest though (think our presentation still wasn’t good enough haha).

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Thank you Chefology, McCormick and The Cooking House for putting together this fabulous event! I will be posting some recipes soon using my new Chefology pan and the McCormick herbs and spices!

I have to put this photo in as blooper:

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Epic RBF when I thought I wasn’t on camera. LOL.

Stay tuned for my recipe posts!

All Photos shot by Kevin Loh, he shall be my designated photographer from now on!

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Häagen-Dazs™ Introduces A New Way To Send Flowers With Its “Little Gardens” Collection

Running out of ways to impress your partner? Want to show a little appreciation to your mom in a creative way? Well, here’s an idea for you. You can send flowers along with Ice Cream for that special person in your life. It won’t be just any ice cream of course, in fact let me just give you a glimpse:

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And it’s not just any Häagen-Dazs, either. This is a very special limited edition called the Little Gardens Collection. Partnering with from BloomThis, bespoke luxury flower arrangement and delivery specialist; you can send your loved ones the glorious gift of blooms perfectly complemented with a pint from the Little Gardens Collection of flavors, from May 16th till July 15th.

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The Little Gardens Collection, latest to the Häagen-Dazs™ renowned line up of ice cream flavors, is inspired by the beautiful and aromatic world of flowers. Ethan Lim, Marketing Director of General Mills Southeast Asia said; “These 2 limited edition flavors were inspired by Spring and the idea of flowers in bloom and they have been carefully crafted to balance the aromatic floral notes with sweet fruit to deliver a truly unique ice cream indulgence.”

Häagen-Dazs™ has a core philosophy of using the best ingredients to produce their signature dense, rich and indulgent ice cream and these limited edition flavours are no exception. Only available for 3 months, the Little gardens Collection fresh fruit flavours will be enhanced and complemented by delicate floral notes.

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Lychee Raspberry Rose

An intoxicating blend of rose, lychee and raspberry flavors. Inspired by the sweet allure of the world-famous Ispahan Macaron, this delicate dessert is crafted with rose extract from Turkish roses, juicy handpicked lychees from Taiwan and the sweetest raspberries to create a fragrant ice cream with the perfect balance of rose and sweet fruit that will exhilarate the palette.

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Apricot Lavender

Made with lavender from the Mediterranean coast and plump apricots from Morocco and France, this recipe refreshes and relaxes the senses. The lavender entices the palate while a thick apricot sauce and generous scattering of apricot pieces bring a tartness that goes on to tingle the tongue.

Personally, I really really dig (get it?) these floral flavours. The apricot and lavender has a lovely tang and a subtle lavender note.

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Disclaimer: Don’t be over-zealous with the sprinkling of Lavender or you’ll risk eating potpourri.

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I’ve served this on top of homemade waffles along with some fresh apricot. Makes for excellent afternoon tea.

However, I have a special weakness for anything related to roses so of course the Lychee, Raspberry and Rose would be my choice. And thus, it deserves special treatment. In a form of Ice Cream Tart.

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Isn’t it just exquisite? I’ll be posting the recipe up soon enough. The Ice Cream itself is just delightful, with delicate rose note which brings you instantly to a gorgeous garden, finished with the tart raspberry and the unique aroma of lychee. It’s out of this world. Too bad it’s only available for 3 months, I will be stocking up for sure.

With BloomThis, you can get an arrangement of flowers and a pint of your choice delivered for RM119. This bundle is only available for 3 months, so make sure you take advantage of it. And I’m going to give you a Promo code which entitles you to get a 15% discount off the package price, just to make it sweeter. And the code is: KELLYDAZS15. Head over to http://bloomthis.co/collections/haagen-dazs to make your order.

Deliveries of ‘Little Garden’ bundles are limited to certain Kuala Lumpur and Klang Valley areas. Terms and conditions apply. Visit BloomThis’ website (bloomthis.co) for more information.

Memory Makers at Traders Hotel

Traders Hotel carries a lot of fun memories for me, from the time I was still a tourist til now. And it’s fitting that they have recently launched a selection of new flavours called “Memory Makers”, a series of new dishes and drinks created based on guests preferences over time. The Memory Makers are made to leave a lasting impression in terms of flavours, presentation and the experience the evoke. We were invited to dine at Gobo Upstairs couple of weeks back and safe to say it was a memorable meal indeed.

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First up, let me just say that if you are into theatrical displays, this meal will certainly wow you. Our starter was “Mushroom Tea” (RM35), a slate with a few pieces of salted tempura oyster mushrooms, a glass with mixed mushrooms (let’s pretend my glass was dry for a sec) and a teapot containing the “tea”….

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Which was then poured into the glass. The broth is infused with wild mushrooms, as you can imagine. Despite its light-ish appearance it’s definitely flavourful, and if I hadn’t practised restraint I can easily have that whole pot over the course of the meal. Then again I’m just a sucker for good soup.

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The tempura mushrooms were seasoned perfectly too, and the bits of sea salt, pink peppercorn and herbs help lifted the flavours.

Gobo Upstairs is as meaty as it comes, and it’s nice for them to offer a Three Meat Platter (RM250) for 2 so you get a nice variety of tastes in one meal.

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The steaks and fine cuts are of course the mainstay and here we get a tenderloin served with Pumpkin Puree and chunky fries. Cooked to medium rare, the steak is tasty enough on its own, but who can pass up the wonderfully done Bordelaise sauce, served in a syringe for the fun factor?

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I don’t even normally order Lamb Rack but this cutlet actually won my heart. So tender and flavourful, none of that gamey taste I dislike. That artichoke and coriander pesto is amazing I want to steal the recipe. Of course, it’s accompanying rosemary sauce (also in a syringe) is excellent too.

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Surprisingly, the poultry was really well done too, with juicy flesh and crispy skin which packs plenty of flavours.

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The dish that could really become an icon is the Nasi Lemak 2.0. Sure, you can get nasi lemak anywhere but if you want it fancy this is the place to go. Especially if you want to introduce this to friends from other countries. It’s like the famous Chicken Rice at Chatterbox, Mandarin Oriental Singapore, but even prettier.

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The usual suspects are all present, with an upgrade: Rice steamed with coconut water and milk in the coconut shell itself, which means you can scoop up the coconut flesh as well. You get a choice of Chicken Rendang or Fried Spiced Chicken, Prawn Sambal with succulent prawns, and the usual sides. If I have just one suggestion to improve the dish, I’d prefer to swap the hard-boiled egg to just slightly underdone for that glorious yolkporn. For RM35 nett, I think this is definitely worth the price tag and experience.

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Now we move on to the desserts!

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This is the Cherry Bomm (RM30). I’ve seen a lot of people sharing videos of this, and now we can finally get it in KL!

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The round sphere is made with white chocolate. You pour the dark chocolate over it and viola! The shell melts to reveal the treat within.

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Ours looked more like the crumbling tower of Piza. This is fitting for the most serious chocolate lovers.

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Le Bon Vivant Ice Kepal (RM20) is inspired by the local Ice Kepal treat that many will recall from their childhood days in the 70s and 80s. Topped with raspberries and drenched with syrup, the surprise twist is the ice cream core beneath the layer of shaved ice. I think I might be a little too young to remember this though.

There are also 2 cocktails from SkyBar we tried.

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Sky 33 (RM35), a fruity concoction with fresh apples, kiwi juice, a hint of kaffir lime leaves muddled with vodka on ice. Cubes of kiwi vodka jelly for that added kick. This was delicious in a dangerous way.

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Picking up from the existing signature cocktail, this improved Selangor Sling (RM48) is slung with Tanqueray gin, hibiscus syrup, Elder flower syrup, pineapple juice, a dash of absinthe, shaken and top with a roselle flower. I actually liked this better, though it is rather potent and might send you into a daze pretty quickly. Especially if you manage to finish the whole Memory Makers’ menu.

TRADERS HOTEL KUALA LUMPUR
Kuala Lumpur City Centre
50088 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2332-9888
Fax: 03-2332-2666
email: thkl@tradershotels.com
website: http://www.tradershotels.com

 

 

F&N Full Cream Sweetened Condensed Milk & Banoffee Pie

Did you know that nowadays most of the “condensed milk” you see on the market aren’t actually made with real milk? And the “real” ones generally can be quite expensive as they were all imported. Well here’s a piece of good news for you: F&N recently reintroduced the Full Cream Sweetened Condensed Milk and is currently the only local company that offers Malaysians the creamy goodness of full-cream sweetened condensed milk at an affordable price.

I remember when I was growing up, condensed milk played a big part of my life. There was always an opened can (poured into small container) in our fridge and it was used for many things. One of my favourite snacks was a Cream cracker drizzled with a hearty amount of condensed milk. Back then it was a fun challenge to finish the cream cracker without the condensed milk dripping from the holes. As soon as I moved to Australia, condensed milk disappeared from my life. I guess it’s very much a Malaysian thing as you’ll see condensed milk used everywhere in local kopitiams and mamaks, and most household too.

So what’s so special about F&N Full Cream Sweetened Condensed Milk? First of all, it contains the wholesome goodness of milk, which makes it richer, fuller and creamier. Secondly, it’s also nutritious, with high amount of calcium, and the added benefits of vitamin A, B1 and D3; and as you know, milk is a good source of protein too. Tasty and beneficial, what’s not to love? Of course, enjoy it in moderation as it does contain quite a bit of sugar. But occasional indulgence is essential, let me tell you that.

I was sent a batch of F&N Full Cream Sweetened Condensed Milk to review and while I normally wouldn’t be consuming so much sweet stuff, I was curious about the taste (I guess you can say that condensed milk is my weakness). Upon receiving the package, I immediately open one and tried a spoonful (don’t judge k?).

Mmmm!!

It is indeed rich and creamy and tastes really sinful. The next few days I proceed to add this into my coffee. Such bliss. I also used it in a couple of recipes which I will show you in a minute. By the way, I really dig the new packaging which has a pull ring for easy opening (I remember the day when I used to dig 2 holes on the can and let the condensed milk slowly drip out into another container), and a plastic lid so I can store the can itself easily.

So I finally attempted to make my own Dulce De Leche! Dulce De Leche is basically caramelised milk and is prepared by slowly heating condensed milk to change its flavour and colour. Traditionally, it takes hours to achieve this, often requiring boiling for up to 4 hours. But I had the perfect tool to save me some time, in a form of Philips Pressure Cooker!

That’s right, with a pressure cooker, making Dulce De Leche takes only about an hour (that is if you don’t count the essential cooling down time, of course), and it’s definitely foolproof too! Let’s take a second to admire this heavenly creation of mine, shall we?

Oh My!!!

To make perfect Dulce De Leche, first place the can of Condensed Milk side way in the Pressure Cooker Pot, and fill with water to cover at least an inch above the can. Then, set your timer to 40 minutes and start the cooker. Once the time is up, release pressure, remove the can cautiously. This is super important: let it cool COMPLETELY before you attempt to open the can. If you don’t, the content will explode, and you’ll end up with severe burns. But when it’s cool it’s absolutely safe to open. Then control yourself not to finish this by the spoonfuls (will probably get into diabetic coma if you do).

So what did I make for with the Dulce De Leche? Banoffee Pie of course! This has been on my to-make list for years and I didn’t go through because I didn’t want to waste 4 hours of gas just cooking a can of condensed milk. The Pressure cooker is really a life-saver sometimes. Oh, I digress, this post is about F&N Full Cream Sweetened Condensed Milk. Haha. Here’s the Banoffee Pie.

Oh you, get in my mouth!

Move over, Lemon Tarts. This is officially the best dessert I’ve ever made! I’ve opted for shortcrust pastry case because well, that’s my expertise right there. Fill it with the Duche De Leche, Sliced Bananas marinated with lemon juice, and then a dollop of whipped cream. So simple, so delicious no I mean RIDICULOUSLY delicious, it makes my skirt fly up. Here’s the recipe:

Shortcrust Pastry (makes 3 mini pies)
1 cup Plain Flour (I used double 00 flour because that was what I have)
1/3 cup Almond Meal
100g Grass-fed Butter
1 teaspoon Salt
2-3 teaspoon Iced Water

To make pastry, mix flour and salt together then rub in the cubed butter until mixture resemble breadcrumbs. Add ice water (add 1/2 first, and pour in more as needed) to draw the moisture and mix until the dough just comes together. Form pastry into a disc, enclose in plastic wrap, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180C. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface until 5mm thick and use to line 6 x 12cm tart pans. Trim edge carefuly, then line with baking paper and fill with dried beans or rice. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove beans and paper, and bake for a further 5 minutes or until golden. Set aside to cool.

Other ingredients:
A Can of Dulce De Leche
2-3 Bananas
Lemon Juice
250ml Whipping Cream

I guess it goes without saying you need to whip the cream until stiff peak, then set aside.

Once the tarts are nice and cool, spoon over the dulce de leche and spread it flat. Slice bananas and coat them with a bit of lemon juice (this provides a little acidity to balance the taste and also keeps the banana fresh for longer), then lay them however you like on top of the dulce de leche. To serve, spoon generous amount of whipped cream on top.

Make this today to impress your friends! I brought this to my gig for my musicians and made them very, very happy.

F&N Full Cream Sweetened Condensed Milk is now available at selected outlets (Ben’s Independent Grocer, Jaya Grocer, Hero Market, AEON, Jason’s Foodhall, Mercato, Village Grocer, Isetan, Cold Storage and Presto Grocer) throughout Peninsular and East Malaysia for RM5.00 per 392g can.

For more details, tasty recipe ideas and list of participating outlets, please visit www.fndairies.com

Hwan by Chakri, Midvalley Megamall

Thai food seems to be all the craze in Klang Valley all the sudden, with a few new additions sprouting up everywhere. Of these, Hwan by Chakri (obviously run by the same Chakri Palace people) stands out with a slightly different concept. The owner created this concept after her visit to Thailand. There she met Chef McDang, a celebrity food expert, who brought her to sample some amazing Thai food and desserts and this inspired her to open Hwan.

A giant mountain of Mee Krob (a sweet savoury fried noodle snack) by the eye catching logo.

Yes, it’s only a kiosk, which caters to shoppers who wants a quick bite to recharge after shopping til they almost drop. I think the location is quite strategic, as it’s right in front of the McDonalds, and this Chinese herbal hall which I can never name (is it Eu Yang Seng?). Hwan actually means Sweet in Thai, so you will expect a small variety of sweet treats, but fret not for those without a sweet tooth as they also offer some delectable thai snacks. In fact, let’s start with the savoury items.

Mieng Kham

A fun thai snack, Mieng Kham consists of ingredients like dried shrimp, chili, lime, roasted peanuts and a thick palm syrup sauce flavoured with herbs and fish sauce, wrapped in a leaf so you can imagine the complexity of the flavours. A great appetiser.

Som Tam (RM5.90) Green Papaya Salad

Som Tam is my favourite Thai dish and what’s not too love? It’s crunchy, citrusy, spicy, slightly sweet and definitely umami with the addition of fish sauce and dried shrimps. Best still, it’s a steal at only RM5.90 for that big portion.

Som Tum Mamuang (Green Mango Salad)

The Green mango version has slightly less crunchy but nonetheless packs a punch of flavours. Both salads are made on the spot, so freshness is guaranteed.

Thai Fish Cakes

The Fish cakes, however, had to be heated up in a microwave which explains the slight rubbery-ness. It’s also a little on the salty side. I would stick to the salads for sure.

Mango with Sticky Rice

Mango with Sticky Rice is probably the most well-known Thai dessert and although I’m not a fan of sticky rice as dessert, I managed to steal a couple of slices of that sweet, sweet mango.

Sticky Rice Ice Cream with Red Ruby.

I’m not familiar with Red ruby so I have no point of reference but my first impression was pretty good.

Durian Sticky Rice Ice Cream

I dug into this not knowing it was Durian and had a shock when I tasted it. Durian lovers should give it a go as it’s strong!

Tab Tim Grob (Rubies in Coconut Milk)

More rubies, this time served with a thick coconut milk concoction. It’s refreshing enough, and they used smoked coconut milk which has an intriguing aroma, an acquired taste.

Everything served at Hwan by Chakri is RM10, a rarity these days when it comes to Thai food. I know I will be going there if I have my Som Tam craving!

Nook’s MIGF 2014 Menu

It’s always a pleasure receiving invitations from Aloft Kuala Lumpur be it a review session, or music event. You might have notice that I am there quite often (several times a month, in fact) and that is because I always enjoyed their great hospitality. A makan session at Nook, especially, is something I won’t miss. This time, it’s the Malaysian International Gourmet Festival at hotel’s signature restaurant. This is the second time Nook is participating in MIGF and you may read about my last year’s gourmet experience here.

The theme for MIGF this year is “Red Hot Chefs” and Nook’s innovative menu is created by Executive Sous Chef Rozaiman and his team. Nook lets its diners to play with their food and this year it’s extra fun! I like how the menu is very much Malaysian, but with modern twist and a little bit of molecular gastronomy.

Our first course definitely looked very pretty and the aroma of the sea hits the nose instantly.

Marinated Sea Conch, Octopus and Sea Urchin Roe in Coconut Kerabu with Fiddlehead Fern.

Not just visually pleasing, this dish has everything done right. The ‘sand’ you see on the plate is a mixture of toasted coconut and blended dried shrimps, the seafood is marinated in chili, lime juice, salt and pepper. To enjoy the dish, toss everything together for the best flavour. Although I would admit I ate the sea urchin before mixing, it’s just too precious!

Next dish is a fun one. At first when I saw Chicken Noodle Soup on the menu, I was a little puzzled. But once this was placed in front of me, all was forgiven.

Chicken Noodle Soup.

Never be surprised to see syringes at Nook, it’s their thing. Here the syringe is filled with  a puree of black chicken which turns solid in contact of water. All we needed to do is squirt the mixture out (tee hee hee). It is indeed ok to play with your food.

Tada! Magic!

I thought this was very well done. The taste of the black chicken is prominent, and the soup is aromatic with some lemongrass and galangal. Very refreshing.

Our first main course was pretty impressive too. Then again Nook has always been good with their beef dishes (you must try their Wagyu beef rendang if you haven’t already).

Sambal Beef Tongue and Tendon served with Percik Sauce and Achar Crudite.

It’s tricky to get beef tongue right and here it’s cooked sous vide style for 12 hours, then cut into smaller pieces and cooked with sambal sauce. I absolutely loved the texture of the tongue as well as tendon. I think I ate this entire dish in silence. The achar balances out the decadent beef and it’s delightful. Loved it!

We were given a palate cleanser before moving on to our fish dish. It did a good job in rounding up the overall menu, the combination of Lemongrass, Lime and Pandan is just perfect.

Lemon Grass, Lime, Pandan Sherbet.

So we moved along to our final savoury course and it’s my favourite fish, Cod.

Cod Fish Assam Pedas served with Garlic Rice, Salted Egg and Tempura Egg Plant.

I’ve had my fair share (read: a lot) of Cod dishes and I gotta say this was the first time I’ve seen a Chef pairing it with Assam Pedas; a seemingly risky move as Cod is extremely delicate and in theory should be kept fairly light. But I think the bold move worked because everyone was waxing lyrical over this. The fish was unquestionably tender, characteristic of this King of fish. The Assam pedas especially goes well with the garlic rice, which is full of wok hei and proven to be rather addictive. The addition of salted egg is an interesting one (apparently a common thing to do in Chef Rozaiman’s kampung), I just wished there were more tempura eggplant as I only got a tiny piece. Yum!

The syringes made another appearance in the form of dessert.

Nook Cendol: Pandan Rice Flour Jelly, Ba’ kelalan Salt, Palm Sugar, Ice, Red Bean and Glutinous Rice

The syringes are filled with propofol coconut milk and palm sugar and you can adjust the amount to your liking. I say bring it on!

Here’s my attempt to anaesthetize my “patient”.

For this MIGF, diners can choose to indulge in a 3-course light menu for RM98 nett per person (RM130 nett with cocktails and wines) or 6-course full festival menu at RM188 nett per person (RM250 nett with cocktails and wine). Hurry as you only have until end of this month to experience this for yourself.

Thank you Aloft for a fabulous meal!

Nook @ Aloft KL Sentral,
No 5 Jalan Stesen Sentral,
Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: +603 2723 1154
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AloftKualaLumpurSentral

New Zealand Natural, Sunway Pyramid

I used to live right next to my uni in Melbourne. And those who are studying or have studied in Melbourne Uni would have taken the advantage of the “Italian street” just a few minutes walk away. Lygon street holds many fantastic memories for me and that’s where I discover the joy of devouring gelato in winter. I remember walking down from my apartment just to get a taste of those Passionfruit sorbet and then just strolled along the street. Strange habit, I know. But something about that double-cold combination which appealed to me.

Back in Malaysia, of course, good gelato isn’t that readily available, and it’s hot all the time, so Ice Cream and such melts at crazy speed. One saving grace is the ones located in a shopping mall. Like New Zealand Natural at Sunway Pyramid.

Storefront.

New Zealand Natural is one of the largest premium ice-cream chains in both New Zealand and Australia and it prides itself in using the freshest ingredients in its products. There’s something from everyone, ranging from ultra healthy sugar free fruit juices to the most decadent ice cream (Walnut Butterscotch, anyone?). New Zealand Natural landed in Malaysia, much to the delight of all ice-cream lovers, in 2003 and since then they have grown to a total of 7 outlets. Not bad for an Ice Cream Specialist.

Well here’s another piece of good news for you: New Zealand Natural has recently added some new items to their menu just in time for the Sunway Pyramid’s World of Cravings Campaign in April. We got to try them all (after our very heavy meal at Paradise Inn, no less) and let’s take a look at what they have to offer.

Yoghurt & Pudding Sundae (RM11.90)

The Yoghurt & Pudding Sundae comes with Forestberry Frozen Yoghurt, paired with juicy mango pudding and topped with strawberry and apple slices. This is clearly my favourite  of course, as I’m highly aware of what I put in my body, I prefer all fruity combination so I can enjoy all the health benefits as well.

Single Scoop Sundae (RM9.90)

This one is clearly for the Chocolate lovers. The Single Scoop Sundae comes with Chocolate Ecstasy flavoured Ice Cream, Almond Flakes, Chocolate CHips, Cone Pieces and Whipped Cream. Oh by the way the New Zealand Natural Chocolate Logo is entirely edible.

Affogato (RM11.90)

Those who are into the fine things in life would enjoy this Affogato, classically Italian using the best coffee: Illy Dark Roast Espresso. Keeping it simple with Vanilla Ice Cream, the bitter and sweet combination is quite a sensual experience.

Ice Cream Croissant (RM7.50)

Pairing Ice Cream and Croissant together may not be new, but it’s still a creative way to serve Ice Cream. Here the Ice Cream flavour is Pecan Praline Crunch which is delicious enough on its own but enhanced with the textural contrast of the cripsy croissant. I didn’t try it but my dining companions enjoyed them.

Ice Cream Doughnut (price TBC)

Ok, now this one is scary and not for the faint-hearted. The doughnut is topped with Cookies and Cream Ice Cream and finished with more chocolate sauce. I have long quit doughnuts so I can’t tell you what this taste, but I’m sure you can imagine it yourself.

Superfruit Sorbet and Lemon Lime Sorbet

For the health conscious folks, you might want to consider their range of Sorbet. All 99% Fat Free, cholesterol free and dairy free, they are made with fresh fruits and thus passable for occasional treats. I went for the new flavour: Superfruit which is made with the zest of pomegranate with tangy blackcurrant, exotic goji berry and tropical passionfruit. Tangy, refreshing, guilt free. The Lemon Lime flavour is excellent too especially as a palate cleanser after a heavy meal.

New Zealand Natural
LG1.70A, Lower Ground 1
Sunway Pyramid
3 Jalan PJS 11/15
Bandar Sunway
46150 Petaling Jaya
Tel: +60 3 5638 8095
Operation Hours: 10am – 10pm
http://www.nzn.com.my/

Just to remind you about the World of Craving Campaign for Sunway Pyramid:

1) Contest
During this month, when customer spend above RM50 (RM40 for HSBC cardholders) , they’re entitled to join the contest and 10 lucky diners can stand a chance to win RM2,000 worth of Sunway Pals points each.

2) Immediate Redemption
By spending RM150 (RM100 for HSBC cardholder) in a single receipt, diners will be rewarded with RM20 worth of Sunway Pals points.

3) Tap. Eat. Save!
Everyday in the month of April, 1 F&B tenant in Sunway Pyramid will be having a promotion. To be entitled for such promotion, diners have to download Sunway Pyramid mobile app and present it to the restaurants.

New Zealand Natural‘s Promotion is on the 10th April and on this day:
Free Up-size for Purchase of Junior & Regular Ice Cream
* Every purchase of Junior Ice Cream (RM6.90) will be upgraded to Regular Ice Cream (worth RM11.90).
* Every purchase of Regular Ice Cream (RM11.90) will be upgraded to Large Ice Cream (worth RM14.90).

Terms & Conditions
– Not applicable with any other promotions, voucher or credit card discount

Paleo Banana Bread

Over the years of living in KL, I have become a bit of a hermit. If there’s nothing important, I much rather stay home. It probably doesn’t help that when I gig I have to be around a lot of people. So being at home means I can put my feet up and work at my own pace. And because of that, my shopping habit have become quite hermit like too. When it comes to groceries shopping, I either go to the supermarket down the road (5 minutes walk) or for heavy items, order from Tesco.

However, of late I have heard some negative reviews about Tesco, mostly about Tesco delivering items close to (or past) expiry date. Well, my advice is to shop for only fresh fruit and vegetables, drinks, dry goods, household items such as cleaning supplies, toilet papers etc (cat owners would find it useful for buying huge bags of cat litter). I order vegetables all the time and never had a problem with them. Except sometimes they do go a little bit crazy with the sizes. I’ve once received a beetroot the size of a baby head. Last week, I had a massive bunch of bananas delivered to me. Amusement value aside, you know what happens when bananas starts to go a little overripe? It’s perfect time for some Banana Bread!

Paleo Banana Bread
Paleo Banana Bread and my lousy attempt at food styling

Ever since I’ve adapted to Paleo cooking, I have stopped baking desserts and Frank is definitely feeling a little abandoned, food wise. So I thought I’d treat ourselves a little bit by changing our favourite Banana Bread to a Paleo Friendly Version. Well, almost anyway since it’s still got a little bit of added sugar in the form of high grade maple syrup. But the natural sweetness of bananas helps too. I’ve used the same recipe I posted a while ago and just swapped the non paleo ingredients out. To my pleasant surprise, it tastes just as good as the regular banana bread, if not better!

Yum!
Yum!

Paleo Banana Bread
100g Grass-fed Butter, softened
3 tablespoons Organic Maple Syrup
2 eggs
3 large Bananas, mashed
2 cups Almond Meal
1/2 teaspoon Bicarbonate of soda
3 tablespoons Flaxseed
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 170 degree Celsius. Grease the loaf pan.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter, maple syrup in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition until just combined.

Transfer butter mixture to a large bowl. Add banana. Stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Add almond meal and bicarbonate of soda over butter mixture. Stir until just combined. Add the flaxseed and mix well.

Spoon mixture into prepared pans. Smooth top. Bake for 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in centre of loaf comes out clean. Stand in pans for 5 minutes. Turn onto a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or toasted with spread.

Fluffy Texture just like 'normal' banana bread
Close up look at the loaf

The texture of this banana bread is a little denser and holds together well. I love the nutty flavour, goes well with bananas. It keeps well overnight, though it was hard for Frank not to finish the whole thing in one setting. No additional spread needed for this, but I’d imagine a little almond butter would be fantastic. Do try this recipe if you feel like baking/eating healthier.

Oh! My new batch of Tesco delivery has arrived! Laters! (Let’s hope the yam I ordered doesn’t come in giant size…)

Croisette Cafe Bangsar: Set Menu Promotion

I’ve had wanted to visit Croisette Cafe for the longest time ever since I’ve read CK‘s reviews with really pretty pictures and authentic sounding repertoire. When the invitation came to me for the new July Set Menu review, I saw it as a great opportunity to finally try it out. This quaint little cafe is run by a husband (Chef)/wife team and have really established their fan base in the Klang Valley. The night we visited (it was a Tuesday night), the cafe was fully booked! That’s always a good sign, isn’t it?

I have to apologize for the photo quality as dim lighting is my nemesis. I promise I will use my next paycheck to upgrade my camera. Well, one thing for sure is I will be returning for lunch soon with Frank (better lighting!)

The new Set Menu is available in July and is priced at RM74.00 per person. You can to choose 1 starter, 1 main dish and 1 dessert with the option of adding 2 glasses of wine/2 cans of beer for RM108.00. Pretty good deal, I think. They will also throw in an amuse bouche which can vary according to availability of the day.

Amuse Bouche: Duck Rillette
Amuse Bouche: Duck Rillette

Our amuse bouche came in a form of cute little Duck rillette on crostinis. Tender duck (I believed plucked from the confit duck) that’s quite salty in nature, but the baby gherkin and tomato provided much needed piquancy to cut through the richness. The cripsy crostini provided a much needed lovely textural contrast. This definitely set the tone for the rest of the evening (as amuse bouche should).

 Salmon & Tuna Tartare, Capsicums Brunoise & Cucumber Jelly
Salmon & Tuna Tartare, Capsicums Brunoise & Cucumber Jelly

I accidentally deleted the close up photo of this dish, but I can tell you this was probably my favourite dish of the night. It’s rather complex but everything went together so well. We have the diced pieces of raw salmon and tuna (can’t you tell I love my raw food?), a cucumber jelly salad that is slightly creamy, topped with some Ikura (Salmon roe) that is quite briny, followed by the tiny cubes of dried capsicum and bits of cooked egg yolk. The mini blini were perfect to mop all that ingredients up. Very well-executed, I must say.

Nissarde Salad with Tuna & Anchovies
Nissarde Salad with Tuna & Anchovies

I’m not a huge fan of cooked tuna so this dish didn’t do much for me. I did enjoy the rest of the ingredients though. Contrary to what I said in my last post about dressing, I actually think that this is a little on the dry side and a nice citrusy dressing could help bring it together.

Prawn Bisque, Saffron Scented, Croutons & Rouille
Prawn Bisque, Saffron Scented, Croutons & Rouille

I’ve heard that Chef Pierre Mc is very skilled at making soup and this was everything I imagined it to me: delicate, silky with quite distinct prawn taste.  The little blob you see in the soup is the rouille; infused with saffron and garlic, it’s perfect to soak up that lovely flavours of the bisque. By the way, that was just a tasting portion, if you order this you will get the full size bowl.

Baked Mussels Stuffed with Herbs Butter
Baked Mussels Stuffed with Herbs Butter

This dish reminds me very much of baked escargots. Usually I would not care for mussels, but using the herb butter has made this so much more palatable. Then again, simple flavours always work, especially when you put butter into the equation. Yum. I actually went for another one despite this being shared among the 4  of us.

Bouillabaisse ‘Croisette Style’ with Prawn Bisque
Bouillabaisse ‘Croisette Style’ with Prawn Bisque

The only time I have tried Bouillabaisse was in Vue De Monde and it was such a spectacular theatrical experience (if you have been to Vue De Monde you would know). So that is going to be really hard to beat. Luckily for Croisette as they have produced this really homely yet extravagant version. That prawn should be qualified as a lobster! This is a treasure pot for seafood lover as you’ll be able to find prawns, hearty pieces of fish, scallops, mussels and squid, accompanied with plenty of potato to soak up that ocean flavour. I got the prawn head and it had such intense flavour I think my brain got a bit intoxicated.

Duck Confit, Potato Sarladaise & Mesclun Salad
Duck Confit, Potato Sarladaise & Mesclun Salad

I usually wouldn’t dare to order Duck Confit anywhere as many places don’t do them well. You are meant to cook the duck on low heat in duck fat very slowly to keep it moist and tender, then quickly seared to render the fat and add the crispiness to the skin. If I may say so, a highly technical dish. I think Croisette does a fairly decent version with good robust flavours in the meat and lovely crispy skin. However, I still feel the meat is slightly on the dry side for me. The duck fat potatoes however, were really the highlight of this dish. Wonderful aroma with parsley and garlic, I couldn’t stop getting extra pieces.

Sea Bass Fillet, Red Capsicum Coulis & Celeriac Puree
Sea Bass Fillet, Red Capsicum Coulis & Celeriac Puree

Doesn’t this plating remind you of Elmo? I was having a bit of quiet chuckle when I saw that. Nevertheless, I liked the fresh flavour of Sea Bass, cooked to perfection. The celeriac puree went really well too. However, I didn’t quite like the red capsicum coulis, I think it actually overwhelmed my tastebud a little, considering the delicate nature of the fish.

Beef Rib Eye, Cepes Mushroom Sauce & Potato Gratin
Beef Rib Eye, Cepes Mushroom Sauce & Potato Gratin

A glorious piece of red meat arrived on our table and I was glad to see that it was my favourite cut: the rib eye. Cooked perfectly rare (muahahahaha I like my steak still mooing), it was tender with the ever-so-slight char-grilled flavour. The Cepes mushroom sauce was creamy and earthy, however I think it could use a bit more salt as the beef was almost just au naturale in taste. The potato gratin was cooked perfectly, though also faced the same problem with the jus: salt level.

Croisette Cafe is known for their extravagant desserts and I sure wasn’t disappointed when this was placed in front of us:

 Chocolate Parfait, Confit Orange Rinds Inclusion & Bergamot Sauce
Chocolate Parfait, Confit Orange Rinds Inclusion & Bergamot Sauce

This was hands down one of the best Chocolate Parfait I’ve tried in Kuala Lumpur. Velvety, intense bittersweet cocoa flavour cut through by the confit orange rind and a touch of Grand Marnier liquor. You know when you close your eyes and say “ooohhhh….”, this was exactly that.

Cake Passion Indulgence
Cake Passion Indulgence

Naturally, being a lover of all fruity desserts, this was clearly my favourite dessert of the night. Constructed from chocolate layer, white chocolate mousse, followed by passion fruit crème brulee. It has the right balance of sweet and sour, with the aromatic passion fruit. Superb!

Nougat Glace (Iced Nougat) with Fruits & Nuts Nougatine, Grand Marnier Scented
Nougat Glace (Iced Nougat) with Fruits & Nuts Nougatine, Grand Marnier Scented

My first experience with Iced Nougat and I must say it was an interesting one. The fruits and nuts made this feel really Christmassy, with once again the scent of Grand Marnier. Just like nougat, except in ice cream form. I felt that this was a bit on the rich side though.

Apple Tart on Thin Crust
Apple Tart on Thin Crust

Having done a few apple tarts myself, this was different as the apple slices were still crunchy and the crust is almost a bit too thin (hence burns quicker). While the flavours were good, I felt that maybe a dollop of cream would have improved this.

All in all, it was a nice introduction to this lovely cafe; Michelle and Chef Pierre Mc’s warm hospitality certainly made this a pleasant dining experience. I would be glad to return to sample more of their dishes.

Croisette Cafe
Level 3, North Block Cascadium Condo
28, Jalan Penaga Bukit Bandaraya
59100, Bangsar Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 016 330 4477 / 014 665 7944
Opening Hours:
Tuesday to Sunday  11.45am to 9.45pm
Closed on Monday
Facebook: www.facebook.com/Croisettecafe

Tofu Cheesecake with Strawberry Compote in a Jar

Couple of nights ago, I posted a photo on facebook and had many of you guessing what I was making.

Does this make you curious?
Does this make you curious?

There were a lot of guesses from ice cream, yoghurt, Tau fu fa, to Panna Cotta with Peanut Butter Brittle (hahaha this is really not quite as fancy as that) and even Tapai (fermented rice, as google says). But the expert baker Wendy guessed it correctly as soon as she arrived on that particular thread. That’s right, I was making cheesecakes in jars! I got the idea from the days of surfing Pinterest (sad to say I’ve abandoned it for a while, got a bit too busy), and there are so many things you can make in a jar! Salads, particularly, piqued my interest too. Though looking through my food album I realised I haven’t made a dessert for quite a while. So here it is!

Cheesecakes in Jars
Cheesecakes in Jars

These are no ordinary cheesecakes, by the way, as you know I’m always looking for healthier option when it comes to my cooking. A while ago I came across a recipe for Tofu Cheesecake, courtesy of the YouTube food sensation cookingwithdog (go have a look, I’m sure you’ll get hooked too) and decided I had to try it. Instead of keeping it plain, I went with some strawberry compote for garnish, and I think they look quite beautiful, what do you think?

I love the vibrant red for the contrast.
I love the vibrant red for the contrast.

So there you go, this isn’t my original creation but it is indeed my own interpretation of a healthy(ish) dessert.

Tofu Cheesecake with Strawberry Compote in Jars (makes 6 or 5 very generous portions)
Biscuit Base:
100g Marie Biscuits (you can choose to use more if you prefer more base) I also happened to use the Chocolate flavour ones, which matches the strawberry compote.
70g Butter, melted

Filling:
250g Philadelphia Cream Cheese (you can use light cream cheese if you wish)
200g Soft Tofu (pressed with a heavy dish on top to get rid of excess water)
100ml Thickened cream (more if needed)
1/4 Cup Caster Sugar
1 squeeze of Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 packet of gelatine (enough amount to firm up 500ml water, so check your packet’s instructions)

Strawberry Compote:
1 punnet of Stawberries (saving a few for ganish)
1/4 cup Sugar
General squeeze of Lemon

To make the the biscuit base, crush the biscuit in a ziplock bag by hand initially, then with a rolling pin. Add melted butter and shake to combine.

To make the filling, add everything into a blender, pulse initially, then blend well. You might need a bit more cream if your mixture is too thick. You want it to be slightly runny.

Sprinkle gelatine in a bowl of hot water and mix with a fork until dissolved and add into the blender. Blend for another 10-20 seconds until combined.

To assemble, spoon the biscuit mixture into jars, and lightly press with the spoon (or if you have long fingers, then by hand), pour the mixture equally into jars. Lightly tap out the air bubbles and flatten the top. Then chill in fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.

To make the strawberry compote, simply boil everything in a saucepan until the mixture is syrupy and strawberries are soft. Set aside and let cool before using. You can either pour it on top of the cheesecake after a few hours, or just pour in before serving.

A jar of cheesecake for you?
A jar of cheesecake for you?

Does the fact that it contains tofu confuse you? Well, if you are well-versed to tau fu fa, you will be able to accept this cheesecake easily. It’s definitely lighter (in taste) than ordinary cheesecake, but the texture remains the same. You’ll be able to taste the cream cheese, though with a very mild soy aftertaste. Frank is not a big fan of Tofu but he was really surprised how good this tasted.

As for me, I absolutely love the combination with the strawberries and the biscuit base. Think I’ll be trying different flavour profile next time, and perhaps add my favourite cheesecake ingredient: Rose water. You can definitely use different garnishes like blueberries, mango, passionfruit, the possibilities are endless.

So, would you be game enough to try this? I dare you!