Friday, June 29, 2007

A Simple Man's Simple Breakfast

I think one of God's greatest gift to man is eggs. Culinary wise. If it were not for the potential cholestrol hazards, I'd eat eggs EVERY day, (as opposed to every alternate day), and eat LOTS of it.
The above combination is my idea of a heavenly breakfast. Crispy preferrably freshly made Yau Char Kwai, a cup of ice local coffee, and two half boiled eggs. No, I don't eat like this everyday, for YCK's are not that easy to come by, and I got to detour a fair bit to get them in the morning, so usually its replaced by toast. But this morning, I was in a good mood, so I thought, why not.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Cheese Puffs aka Gougères

Oh dear, I cant remember which blog I got this recipe off, but it sounded like the the author was an Asian woman married to a French man.

Anyway, yesterday, I was relatively free in the baking department and since it was Tuesday, and the household is filled with kids, (my sister's and my own), I thought it would be a good time to experiment with these cheese puffs, that really sounded quite idiot proof.

60gm butter
1 cup milk
pinch of salt

1 cup flour
4 eggs

100gms grated cheddar or any other strong cheese

Basically follow the same method as making choux pastry. Melt the butter, milk and salt in a pot, remove from heat, stir in the flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. Place back on low heat and stir until the dough forms a ball and doesn't stick to the sides of the pot.

Let mixture cool a bit. Add eggs one by one, while beating on low speed with a handmixer. (can do it in the same pot, and save washing one extra bowl). By the 2nd egg, you might be thinking, this looks terrible as the dough breaks up into little lumps. Fear NOT, by the time you add your 4th egg, the dough becomes a cohesive, satiny silky batter...well, not a flowy one.

Add 3/4 of the cheese into the dough and mix well. Drop tablespoons of the mixture onto a baking tray. I lined mine with my silicone sheet from pantry magic. Drizzle the rest of the cheese onto the top of each puff.

Bake in hot 200C oven for about 15 minutes. Makes about 18.

Takes all of 10 minutes to make, including grating the cheese, and within half an hour, you have the perfect snack for a group of hungry kids. My son declared that it was even better than Welsh Rarebits.

Actually they kinda remind me of our cekodoks, except they're baked, and therefore, probably healthier.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

El Cerdo, Porcine Paradise

You know when you enter a place, that even the door knobs are embellished with pictures of cute little piggies, that it is an establishment not kosher. When wall upon wall are filled with more portraits of those cute pink babes in all shapes and sizes, you know that these slitty chinese eyes, that were made to gaze upon char siew and siew yoke, light up like when one shines a torch into a dumb blond's ears.

El Cerdo, on Changkat Raja Chulan, same row as Frangipanni is one such establishment. There's so much pig QI in the air, I swear I'd grown a curly tail and grunted to the wife by the time we left.

I only saw one non pork item on the menu, which was oxtail. I guess fish would be quite safe here, if they wanted to live. The place was packed, for a Monday night, with pockets of large crowds. All oldies lah. Fortunately for us, Young Lawyer in our party, being quite the gourmand, has eaten extensively in the area, and was no stranger to the place, and knew exactly what to order. There is something indescribably wonderful when someone takes over the ordering, its like a sudden release of pressure from an over inflated tyre. Suddenly the mind switches off, and enables us to focus on the other aspects of the dinner, such as the gossip about a high profile murder trial. I suspect this is why some women love it when a man takes over during a date, and does the ordering.

Anyway, to start, we had a little cup of mushroom soup.... I'm not sure if it was on the house or not. (oh oh, we had this fiasco with mineral water...I am one of those strictly against paying RM18++ for a bottle of imported mineral voiced my objection loudly to the manageress, but soon enough, we were served ice water in carafes. (but not before two bottles of Panna had already been opened).

That was followed by the most sublime thin slices of parma ham and rockmelon. I have to say it was a first for a jakun like me, though I have seen many pictures of parma being served with rockmelon. The saltiness of the ham marries with the sweet rockmelon, making it a match like Thelma and Louise. Plebs that we were, all asked for butter for the bread, which was actually meant to be eaten with the ham.

Next was a pork medallion kinda thing, with some saurkrautish potato, which was nice, but not outstanding. Very yummy was the bacon wrapped around some paste with anchovy. A trite salty, and bad for the blood pressure, but what the heck. Tasted gorgeous.

Then came the piece d resistance, imho. The paella. Now, nothing like good old PORK to really add taste to a dish. Not normally a paella fan, (to me, its like soggy fried rice...maybe coz I've never tasted better), I was wowed by the burst of flavours in this particular one. Large succulent prawns, pork sausages, saffron arborio rice, what's not to like.

With that outstanding carbo out of the way, we could now refocus on their specialty, roast suckling piglet. They're even smaller than the chinese ones, but let's not go into the whole issue of when and what age is it humane to slaughter an animal. Very interesting dish, because the owner comes around, with a plate, and uses the plate to chop up the piglet into slices. Then, in some european tradition, he smashes the plate. (into a bucket).

The meat was tender and perfect. The skin could have been crispier, but overall, it was a gastronomic pigging out feast.

Then came my favourite part, dessert. Actually I have no idea what the stuff was, but it was a lovely mixture of summer berries, ie, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries in a thick cream, which I wasnt even sure was ice cream or just cold cream, but it was divinely good. It was served as below at first, doubling as a "birthday cake" for our friend.

The one above was a rum and raisin pancake, with vanilla ice cream. Also very good. The pancake was thick, and had lots of body. I would have preferred more taste of rum, as my own raisins are perpetually soaking in a tub with rum. (now now children, by raisins I meant the real thing, ie, dried grapes).

To finish off, we were given these shot glasses of something that vaguely resembled a margarita.

What a lovely meal, thanks to our three gracious hosts.

On a separate note, my dear insurance agent dropped this off for me yesterday. A very superb range of corn that can be eaten raw. I was a bit sceptical at first, but yes, it indeed can be eaten raw, and tastes very sweet. But halfway through one cob, I felt very jelak. I think I prefer mine cooked. Can anyone tell me what species of corn this is? Probably GMO.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Alaskan King Crab

We're no strangers to Pantai Seafood, in Sg Ara, but despite the fact that I've eaten more salt than a lot of young bloggers have eaten rice, I've never before sampled the Alaskan King Crab. At RM248 per kilo, this mother here, weighing 2.3kg, was a whopping RM570!!! Not something you get to eat everyday.

Anyway, since there was an occasion yesterday, (and it wasn't only just Father's Day), I am finally an alaskan king crab virgin no more.

So what is the big deal, you ask? Well, for starters, all those legs are filled with luscious, chewy crab meat. It is a bit like a cross between a lobster and our mudcrab actually, incorporating the best of both worlds. The meat is wonderfully succulent, and it's easy to deshell. And the superior stock in which it is cooked was absolutely delectable.

Another first for me, at Pantai, was this fried glass noodle. (tong fun). Well, it warrants a picture coz it was something we havent ordered before here at Pantai.

On the baking front, I have been experimenting with cheesecakes. Below is a pic of a baked blueberry cheesecake. Have also been dabbling with chilled durian cheesecake, but haven't managed to take a decent pic.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Fab Abs

Finally, after reading so much about the legendary six pack, I opportuned to witness the spectacle for myself last night, at the attic. You can find more pics of this in other blogs, and rumour has it the compilation is going towards forming a coffee table book.

However, more interesting than that (by a toss), was meeting this Budapest lass, (actually she's Msian)...with whom I clicked faster than an adulterous woman would click her door locked when hearing her husband's car pull up in the driveway. Fabulous, absolutely fabulous. A toast to you, dear Jaded Poetry, .....!!!

Earlier on in the day, WMW, PP, Unkaleong and I met for lunch (my inaugural meeting with Bangkok Bachelor) at Ah Sang. I shall leave the professionals to post better pictures of the Bak Kut Teh.

And by the way, further radio silence from me, until Thursday, as I will be away down south in the republic with the kids.