Thursday, March 29, 2007

Other Men Dream Of Fast Cars....

... but I get my kick out of kitchen gadgetry. So, it was with great anticipation when I saw the hoarding for the ONE SHOP that I might possibly be interested in in the new Bangsar Village II. The KITCHEN SHOP. Anyway, the main reason I headed for BVII today was coz MPH is having a 20% sale, and I had just seen Delia's How To Cook Series in the MPH in mid valley on Monday night. I breathed a sigh of relief that I hadn't been my usual compulsive self and bought all three, at RM101 each.... so when I saw that it is now 20% cheaper, ie, translating to a saving of RM60 if I bought all three, I had to get myself to MPH asap. Slap forehead!!! Aiyo, I forgot to check the older MPH in BV1. Anyway, they only had books 2 & 3 in BVII, and I hate buying missing sets. So I'll head to mid valley tonight. But along my way back, I thought I'd glance up at the hoarding for Kitchen shop, and lo and behold, it was opened!!!!!

Figuring that I had just saved RM60, buy not buying Delia's book earlier, and another RM60, by finding out my IXUS has an extended warranty, so I didn't have to pay for the diagnostic , (I think), with the RM120 saving, I was itching to spend. Kitchen Shop is a subsidiary of House of Presentation, but more for everyday items, but certainly not at everyday prices.

Before I forget, two items on my wish list, ARE, a big glass measuring jug, that Nigella and Delia use, I think it can measure up to 2 litres ( I already have a 1 litre one, and its indispensable. I use it to melt chocolate in microwave, etc etc), AND, that big herb cutter that Nigella uses. (the sickle with handles). There was a miniature one, (not that mini la, I mean miniature in relation to Nigella's), at Kitchen shop for RM69.90. They also have that hand held citrus squeezer. It looks like your normal orange juice squeezer on a stick. Speaking of the herb cutter, I have the one from IKEA, which isn't bad value for money. It costs like RM40 I think for the cutter and board.

But the two items on SPECIAL for their opening, are.....

the 100 cookie cutter set, usually priced at 89.90, today at 49.90, (and you know my fettish for cookie cutters, albeit plastic. Still haven't used any of the Wilton ones that I bought though)...hmm, I just realised got letters of the alphabet there too...and numbers. AIYO, that's already 35 pieces. (26 letters, and 9 numbers. Hangon, maybe M and W are interchangeable, so maybe 34 pieces).


The herb chopper, apparently also normally at 89.90, but reduced to 39.90!!! I can't resist such gadgetry. Call me a sucker. Anyway, now I think I have about 200 cookie cutters. I shall be sure to hold a big garage sale when/if I get bored with baking...I was thinking ha, if I sell 4 cookie cutters for RM10, can make money leh.

Time For A New Camera

Of late, my Canon Ixus 5000 has been giving me these kinda shots. On Tuesday afternoon, lunch time, I was actually at Sudu in KL Hilton, having the buffet lunch....and sms-ed Boolicious to say that I dont think I dare blog about it, lest people think I hang out in hotel buffets all the time. As I said, when it rains, it pours. Actually, I was buying my colleague lunch, and had every intention of trying the dim sum at CHYNNA after Lemongrass's write up recently. But as we walked past the Sudu buffet, my colleague was looking at it so longingly, and I asked him, "you SURE you can eat buffet at lunch time ah?"... and he replied in the affirmative, although politely saying, "but dim sum is okay too".

"Oh what the heck!" I thought, I was intending to go for Body Combat in the evening anyway. You'll have to rely on your imagination to picture my buffet spread. I did sneak a few pictures, (it seems even harder to take pics when its lunch time and the place is swarmed by very important looking corporate bumiputras....incidentally, in that short span of time, while walking from Sudu to the lift, we saw Mokhzani Mahathir and Tony Fernandez) but the camera was on the blink, so it was destined that I cannot play the devil and put forth temptation. Nevertheless, if a picture is worth a thousand words, then let me barter with you a thousand words.

Ya, how it works is, you have a choice of 88++, 98++ or 108++ for the lunch buffet, whereby the price difference is for your mains. I opted obviously for 88++, and had the grilled salmon, but more about that later.

Nahh, its too much work to produce a long write up with no pictures. No syiok. To cut a long story short, buffet starters got sashimi (even yellow tail), small sweet oysters, (I hate those monstrous one), steamed prawns, crabs, scallops, mussels, cornucopia of salads, cheeses (AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH, I FORGOT TO HAVE THE CHEEESE!!! SLAP FOREHEAD), steam boat, (with nice plump juicy scallops), naan, tandoori, etc etc...actually, it's way too much for lunch. I just stuck to the high ticket (and high cholestrol) items, like sashimi, prawns, scallops. Boolicious was right, the standard is up there with Lemon Garden, if not better.

The grilled salmon was VERY well done. Crispy skin, and moist flesh. How did they manage that!!! I suspect musta fried the skin first. The desserts, well, nothing much to really rave about, except the presumably home made ice cream. Very good. The cakes, well, I only had morsels of each, more as market research, (hear ye hear ye), and homework. No, I didnt take a big slice and waste.... I cut it up right there at the buffet table. Obviously, a lot of ppl do prefer smaller helpings, coz the smaller pieces that I left there (I generally halved all the existing portions) got snapped up rather quickly. Any of you guys running a hotel, please advise your staff to cut dessert portions smaller. Do not waste.

Okay, so, guys, what cameras yall using ah? Rasa Malaysia's one is out of my league. Lemongrass, Masak Masak and WMW? (she's in spain, pah)..???? Hallo?

Monday, March 26, 2007

I Like Fine Dining? No la...Who Said.

It's not that I like fine dining, as mentioned by Boolicious in a comment on previous post, it just SO happens, when it rains, it pours. My diet this week has ranged from Ladida lunch at lafite, Chinese banquet at Shang Palace, and dinner at Sudu, to Hokkien Mee at Lian Bee and Ramly Burger at Kompleks Sukan Negara. It has been a whirlwind week, with book launch, Philharmonic Orchestra, AND best of all, the 3 Divas... the 3 indonesian singers, Kris Dayanti, Ruth Sahayana, and Didi J, but since they aren't food, I shall blog about them elsewhere. However, I can't resist adding that not only did I get complimentary tickets (thanks RK! you're a pal), but note those three important letters at the right lower corner of the ticket stub. Nyuck nyuck.

Anyway, back to food related stuff. Was supposed to have something on, on Saturday night, but that was scrapped at the last minute, so decided to bring wife to Sudu Bar, at KL Hilton. Now, again, let me reiterate, it's not that I like fine dining. But with these privilege cards, it really doesn't make sense for us to eat elsewhere. Any run of the mill restaurant would probably come up to the same price.

We were debating whether to have the buffet, but not for long, coz I really didn't want to stuff my face. They have 3 ranges of buffet, RM98, RM108 and RM118. The variation comes in the main course. Buffet appetisers and buffet dessert. Too much for us. So I settled for a soup, and rib eye steak, and wifey had caesar salad and cod fish. My battery showed that it had expired when the starters arrived, so I didn't bother with pictures, but oddly enough, the battery gave up its last juices for me to snap pics of the mains. My tomyam pumpkin soup with crispy wontons was good, rather unique taste. Went down easily. I didn't care much for wife's caesar salad, as I generally find caesar salads too creamy and rich. (this is rich hor, coming from me).

My steak, Australian Rib Eye, was fabulous. It is so hard to get good steak these days, a nice cut with little embellishment, where the purity and quality of the meat is all important. My steak was done perfectly, and the size, aiyo, humongous. Gave half to wifey. Her cod, (initally she ordered lamb, but then decided to diet, and had cod), was also very was swimming in a hollandaise-y kinda sauce.

The stained class ceiling in Sudu (senses and chynna probably share this too) was rather attractive, and since we were sitting underneath, I had to take a pic. Again, my grouse is the close proximity of the seating. I could hear the entire conversation of the couple next to me. He was actually asking the maitre d how to go about obtaining the privilege card.

Friend ordered some stuff over the weekend, but wanted them in individual portions. Aiyo, so much work. The hardest part is making individual pastry shells. (for me anyway, since these fat fingers are not cut out for delicate work). And she wanted individual carrot cakes, so I suggested to make them in muffin form.

Individual Lemon Meringue Pie-lets

Carrot Cakes With Orange Butter Icing

Ah, further to the comments on previous post as well, by Boolicious and Nigel Skelchy of Just Heavenly, yes, the Lafite chef's name is Kevin Cherkas, and he does hail from Canada, but I knew there was a spanish connection somewhere, as his last stop before heading this way was indeed Spain.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

LaDiDa Lafite Lunch

I had heard so much about the Lafite promo lunch, also cos they have this new smancy fancy chef from Spain (I think) who uses all these canggih manggih cooking methods, such as liquid nitrogen. Lafite for dinner, or any other time, is probably out of my budget, so this was a rare opportunity to be able to peek into the enclave of the lifestyles of the rich and famous.....

Priced at 68++, the lunch has a mini buffet starter, and dessert, and a pleasing choice of mains. By the way, how did I end up talking about restaurants? This is meant to be a recipe blog....a well. Must be the contagious influence of the floggers. Yar, anyway, stacked up on a glass column, are the mini appetisers. The menu has a set of instructions on HOW to go about eating your lunch, something to the effect of:
1. Pick up your base plate from the table, and proceed to the buffet appetisers.
2. If you wish for a 2nd helping of starters, please ask for another base plate.
3. Notify the waiter when you are ready for your mains.
4. YOu will be provided with another base plate for your dessert.

I'm surprised they didn't stipulate we should walk with elegance and poise to the buffet, and not like some mahjong group yabbering away at 2 million decibels so that the entire Lafite knows who's son is doing what, and who's daughter is marrying who.

Teeny weeny portions, of a myriad variety of starters, such as thai beef salad, seared tuna, salads with their individual syringes of dressing. The thai beef salad was probably the most notable. Smoked salmon rolled around cream cheese, bits and bobs of sushi wannabes, ... the breads were wonderful, but it's served with that dreaded unsalted butter... bleagh, also, breads fill you up. Oh, my fellow diner, big time lawyer from Melbourne, on his sabbatical, had arrived earlier and text me asking if he may order a drink while waiting. I replied, "yar, if you must, your drink will probably cost more than your meal". (I am cheap, and make no effort to hide that fact).

For the mains, we had a choice of pasta, lamb, chicken, tenderloin and cod. I vaguely remember being advised to take the cod, but who can resist the words tender and loin.... which actually, might have been a mistake. It was alright, but I've tasted better. Oh, when I was busy snapping pictures, the chef walked past, and quipped, "you fellas aren't from KL Hilton are ya"...

Melbourne Lawyer had the lamb which was rather good. Very tender, and succulent.

And the crowning glory that makes or breaks any dining experience. Dessert. A pleasing choice, from creme brulee, blackforest slice, cream cheese mousse, mini pavlovas, fruit salads....well, to be honest, nothing particularly stood out as orgasmic, but they were all good. I mean, nothing that makes you go, OOOOOOOOOOOOOOH, this is absolutely fabulous. My personal favourites were the creme brulee, and pavlova, which wasnt too sweet, so it might be possible to make a meringue nest with less sugar.


Mini pavlovas

Some kind of white chocolate mousse

Overall, at 68++, for that kind of quality of food and ambience, it really is a steal. No wonder that it is always quite crowded and it's advisable to book in advance. COffee and tea are not part of the set, though the way they ask you, you'd think it was (part of the set). Not wanting to sound TOO cheap, I risked it, and ordered coffee as did my friend. Now, his carrot juice was RM22++ and coffee RM18++, so I was right, his drinks bill was RM40++, more than lunch. (discount card mah, so the RM68++ is 50% off lagi). We live in an ironic world if you think about it. Paying RM22 ++ for a glass of carrot juice.... ( I personally would never order something like that)

Finally, for the benefit of Tummythoz, I sneaked this pic of the men's toilet, because, the minute I walked it, it had this dizzying effect, and I was quite disoriented as to where the urinals were. Mirrors on every wall, with that infinity effect.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Lian Bee Revisited

After attending friend's book launch in Central Market Annexe, wife and I were ravenous, so I decided to introduce her to my new found FOOKIN MEE stall, which the floggers introduced to me when Rasa Malaysia was doing her tour de KL.

To my surprise, wife said she's been to the place before. She also saw some of the lower life forms lurking around in the gutter. Bleagh.... Anyway, had the same thing as the last time, ie, Hokkien Mee, and the pork soup. (all this after the book launch titled I AM MUSLIM, by my friend Dina Zaman). I have to say it's darn good value for money, RM10 for such a huge plate, that we only finished 2/3rd and doggy bagged the rest. Scooted of to Petaling Street after dinner to looksie looksie. I lurve Petaling Street.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Shang Palace

The good thing about hotel privilege cards is, sometimes, it becomes cheaper to dine there (esp for 2) than eat in a normal restaurant. Like when wife and I go to Zipangu, or Shang Palace, the bill comes up to about RM100, which is VERY reasonable, considering the quality and ambience. The bad thing about having the card is, then you feel its such a waste NOT to use it, and therefore mentally limit your variety of eating places.

Yesterday, we celebrated my father's birthday, and we went to Shang Palace. Got a nice room, which is handy, when there are 6 rambunctious kids running around creating havoc.

Being a scuba diver, I have a vague conviction against eating sharks fins, so this soup is the next best thing. It has a lovely broth, much like sharks fins, but contains enoki mushroom and dried scallops only. It's always piping hot, and very substantial. One of my favourites here at the palace.

Soon Hock fish. Well, my late maternal grandmother loved this particular fish, (although my father swears its getting extinct), and somehow passed the legacy down to my mother. I am okay with it, but won't go out of my way to eat it. I find only the big ones good to eat, the flesh is firmer. But this was done quite well, the usual steamed with soya sauce way.

I'm not sure what this one was called. Spinach with crab and scallops? Something like that. It was the requisite green dish la, I guess.

The long life noodles, which come in a large claypot, full with goodies from la mer. Big prawns, scallop, sea cucumber, (though of late, their sea cucumber supply seems to be contracted from Dunlop Tayar)...I love this dish, coz I love noodles, but yesterday's was a tad salty.

The complimentary mango mousse cake. The mango mousse, though chiffony and light, reeked of fake essence. Shudder. Son no 1 took one bite and spat it out, and proclaimed, "eugh, disgusting". But it's more his aversion to mango, rather than a discerning palate.

Sigh, how to diet like this!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Sedate Weekend

I've always wanted to get into sugarpaste, as in, making sugarpaste models, like that wonderful works of Just Heavenly....but of course, those fellas are in a different league. If they are the phD of the baking frats, I am but the pre schooler.

Then I decided I probably do not have the patience, nor the light handedness of a neuro surgeon, to really do a good job. It's one thing rolling plasticine models for your kids, quite another to be rolling phalluses and boobs into realistic looking items from sugarpaste. Also, I think a comment from a certain person (she who must not be named) who specialises in sugarpaste, who made it a point to emphasise that due to her graphics background it was easy for her to visualise and create, (as opposed to us plebians with no graphics background) also kinda deterred me from attempting any creativity.

So, when I got an order for a cake with naked woman, I did soooo want to try making a sugarmommy, but alas, time was not on my side, having just returned from vacation, so I had no choice but to resort to those plastic dolls. I did however take some effort to embellish the anatomy, coz these dolls are SO unrepresentative of real life.

If it were not for discount cards offered by hotels, I doubt I'd ever go dating on a one on one with the bini. With the discount card, it only makes sense to do so, coz everything is 50%!!! Of course, we ignore the fact that we have to fork out like hundreds to get the card in the 1st place. However, I know for a fact that my Shangrila card is more than paid for, coz we regularly went to Zipangu, Shang Palace and occasionally Lemon Garden. (not into buffets, me).

My recent purchase, after EVERYONE raved about it, was the KL Hilton Card. Actually it's hilton card, can be used in PJ Hilton too, which I already used in Genji. Pretty cool, two people at lunchtime, only RM50.

Since we hadn't yet celebrated our aluminium anniversary, (10th), and the weekend became free coz original plans fell through, I thought it would be a good time to try Chynna.

Fancy plates, complemented with plastic chopsticks that you get at a tai chow. Seating, way too close, I could have easily stroked the thigh of the guy sitting on the next table. Not to mention having to hear every word spoken, without even trying to.

I had the abalone ginseng soup for starters, wife had a double scallop broth, (dried and fresh scallops), no pictures, for how does one photograph chinese soups. My soup was a nice clear consomme, with a STRAND of abalone, which I had to comb the bowl for. Wife's was a bit eggy, but tasted good.

For mains we had the deep fried cod fish in their special honey sauce. At RM60, it's actually not too bad, considering the slice of cod was huge.

I loved this version of cantonese crispy roast duck. The first few pieces I had tasted like suckling pig!!! However, as we got nearer the breast, the meat became drier. Also, as we were getting fuller on other stuff, the appeal of the duck diminished.

And last, we had the seafood fried noodles. There was of course a fancier name on the menu, but basically, it was seafood friend noodles. Again, at RM32, it's pretty decent value, coz it had nice plump prawns, scallops, fish (which I didn't care for), and the noodles itself was delicious. Lots of egg too, which of course makes any dish a winner for me.

I did have the aloe vera and lemon grass jelly with lime sorbet for dessert, similar to the one in Shang palace, which I absolutely love. Forgot to snap a picture, (I am so not used to this "Take picture of your food" business), but suffice to say, the tangy lime sorbet matched the lovely smooth lemon grass jelly to a T.

Verdict, will definitely come back, afterall, with the Hilton Card, it worked out to be the same price had we dined any other half decent Chinese restaurant, but will order one dish less, coz we had to go for a late night workout in Tesco after dinner, to work out some of the meal. It's AMAZING how packed Tesco (Mutiara) is at 11pm at night.....

Monday, March 12, 2007

When Friends Raise the Hosting Bar Soooo HIGH......

I've always kinda thought I was a good host, but I could never get around to hosting those elegant sit down dinners, where people are served course by course. While mentally, I've tried to create that scenario many a time, somehow when it came to execution, I just didn't have the tenacity or energy to see it through. So, usually mealers at my place end up with a semi buffet. Actually, not semi, 100% buffet.

So, when friend living in chic gated community invited us for intimate sit down dinner of 10, I was eagerly looking forward to it. I was instructed to bring a pavlova, which flustered me a little, as I've never really made one before, and a half hearted attempt a while back resulted in a meringue cake, more than pavlova. I had NO idea how absurdly priced passion fruit are. Sigh, the price of passion. I was frantically sms-ing Masak Masak aka Boolicious for alternatives. She told me to check out Justlife in Ikano. She was right. Each passion fruit in Cold Storage cost RM6.20, whereas it cost RM1.90 in Justlife, although it's a local version, and probably less pulp.

Anyway, this is my first attempt at Pavlova. As I didn't want to botch it up, I did not dare reduce too much sugar, so it was SICKLY sweet....anticipating this, I made a layer of lemon curd and sandwiched it underneath the Meringue Nest, which actually helped somewhat combat the diabetes inducing Meringue.

Starters, yup, STARTERS, was this lovely teriyaki tenderloin, on a bed of mash, with grilled oysters. The texture of the beef was perfect. Very tender, and doneness just right. I had just been watching Delia's How to Cook before dinner, and was salivating at her shot of Mash with Steak!!!! Wow, talk about visualisation and NLP!!!

Next was this Cappucino Mushroom Soup. Actually it's a good idea to serve soup in cups. I love drinking soup. As in drinking drinking, not sipping it from a spoon.

For the mains, we had the Coq Au Vin, with roasted potatoes and grilled vegetables. Alas, I got the breast, which somewhat reduced my enjoyment a bit of that dish, but it was very tasty nevertheless. Again, bizarrely enough, I had been perusing the cordon bleu cookbook earlier and thought, hmm, the Coq Au Vin sounds quite nice.

Dessert was this dark chocolate (Lindt no less) mousse. The chef had us guessing what ingredients went into the mousse, as it wasn't usual cream or egg. Turns out it was tofu. I suspect the bitter chocolate might not have gone down well with some, although I loved it.

Ah, what a lovely dinner!!!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Still Nothing To Post

As I still have nothing eventful to post, I thought I'd put up this picture of Pucuk Paku, for the benefit of Rasa Malaysia who says she doesn't know what it is. I had this for dinner last night. It was our 10th anniversary, and wife must have known that I like this vegetable, so we had it for dinner. 10th anniversaries are aluminium, apparently. 1st is paper, 25th is silver, 50th is gold, 75th is diamond....heh heh, such foresight, must be a man who allocated these elements to commemorate anniversaries. Afterall, what is the likelihood of reaching 75th anniversary!!!! I'd be 105 by then..... she probably couldnt tell the difference from a polar mint and a diamond by that time.

I digress. Pucuk paku. A lovely wild fern.

It can be cooked in myriad ways. This one is stir fried with some dried shrimp, and fresh red chillies. Sometimes it's used in kerabus, and sometimes masak lemak. You may thank me at your own leisure, Rasa Malaysia.

Further to the Nigella Lawson Egg Separating Method, I had to make a lemon meringue pie yesterday, (along with 4 choc truffle cakes, 1 tiramisu and 20 scones), so I had to utilise this sensual baking method again. Now, this pic is badly taken because I had to use the left hand to take the picture. I am sadly alone these days in the kitchen, everyone maintains a safe radius.

Dont try to read the palm. I donch believe one.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Separating Eggs

I've nothing else to blog about, viz a viz food, restaurants, or even baking, as I stuck making the same things catering to orders. However, I thought this is worthy of mention.

Method of egg separation. You know how all these chefs espouse (or is it eschew? can't remember which is which...I think it's espouse la, since spouse means "stuck with") the theory that fat is the nemesis of albumen, (aka egg white), for meringues, and even one molecule of fat is likely to render your meringue into a wobbly mess that would make the merengue and cha cha look stiff. When I first started baking, I used that contraption called an egg separator. For some reason, it was a bit of a hit and miss, coz I think the catchment bowl for the yolk wasn't deep enough, and the yolks seem to break many times. Then I moved on to the half shell method, whereby you rock the egg contents to and fro in half shells, until the white is separated. Delia Smith uses this method in her show. Nigella, on the other hand, uses her hand, (no pun intended), dropping the entire egg onto her palm, and letting the whites flow thru. I've always wondered, what if you have fat hands, and some fat oozes thru your pores, would that ruin the meringue?

Anyway, the first time I tried using this method was at the Boutique Desserts course, and I found it CURIOUSLY SATISFYING. Very therapeutic, to have that slimy white slip through your fingers, reminds me of that ABBA Song, Slipping Thru My Fingers.....

I told you I had nothing to post...

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

New Lunch Menu

Last Saturday afternoon, I had the privilege of being invited to taste the new menu at Isthmus, that swanky restaurant in Northpoint that I've been raving about. Of course, one man's food might be another man's poison, but generally, most of my friends also enjoy the food here.

Saturday afternoon, with good friends, good food and wine, .....ah, this is the life.

The cold starter of a vegetable terrine, held together with a tomato coulis. It was wonderfully tangy, and refreshing starter. Although it was served with toasted baguette, I reckon it's good enough to eat on its own. Layers of zuchinni and egg plant and pumpkin. Very nice.

This is what happens when Dewi Sukarno married Sukarno. Japanese and Indonesian. An interesting combination of vegetables, crunchy golden needle mushroom (or was it enoki) wrapped in nori, with a hint of mayo and wasabi, complemented with a gado gado sauce. Rather interesting, though some didn't care for the mayo. King of England, who was with us, of course doesn't mind all things western, so mayo was fine. I wouldn't have minded a tad more wasabi.

This is inspired the the Terengganu version of otak otak, except it uses crab instead of mackerel. Satan? Santa? Something like that. Not Satan as in Lucifer, but Sah Tan....also an interesting starter, very tasty, and quite distinctly local. King of England was saying he prefers his food defined, either western or asian. I think FDI, me and Mrs King of England are okay with the fusiony (though that word is quite taboo these days) mixes.

The salad, which has the components of the penang rojak, was okay. I didn't particularly like the dressing. It was an interesting combination, nevertheless.

Now, this is worth going to Northpoint just for lunch. Some evolution of our usual chicken rice, but using the most fragrant Bario rice, and the chicken, yummy, stewed to perfection. I am salivating just thinking about this dish. It has hints of our usual hainanese chicken rice, for the rice, but it is gorgeously fluffy, and not oily. The chicken, is really good.

I went to the toilet before this was served, so I didn't hear what this dish is called, but it's some contemporary form of Lam Mee. It may look rather ordinary, but the best thing about this was the stock. Good to the last drop. I didn't care for the chicken breast pieces, I am a leg person, (I think Nigella Lawson is too, for I was watching her mughlay curry and she said "use only thighs") but again, the stock, made from Village Cock, (kampung chicken), was sublime.

I've seen recipes for poached pears in many recipe books, but I can't say I recall actually eating it. This was black sesame ice cream on poached nashi pear, which was fantastic. So much so, King of England placed an order for an industrial size tub of the black sesame ice cream, without asking the cost. He can afford it lah. The poached pear was yummy, still crunchy, infused with all the lovely flavours of the poaching liquid, I suspect red wine may have been involved. We unashamedly asked for a second helping of this dessert. Aiyo, very bad, I shouldn't be blogging about this before lunch.

Anyway, Isthmus is located on the ground floor of the newly completed Northpoint Condos in Mid Valley. You can either park in MVM and walk across the steel walkway to Northpoint, or park in Northpoint itself, which can be a bit costly if you intend to stay on and yarn the afternoon away. Telephone : 03-22828112 for reservations.

Changing topic, does ANYONE know where I can find these tart rings?

There are three different sizes in the picture above. From the top, we have one about 7 inches across and maybe 1/2 to 3/4" high. The middle ones are like cake tins, 7 inches wide, probably 2½ inches high. The ones at the bottom, come in two sizes, one like Wonder Woman's bracelet, (see pic below), probably 2½ " across, (diameter), and 2 inches high, and like the one above, probably slightly larger, 3" across, and 2" high.

Can anyone tell me where I can get these things without paying an arm and a leg?

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Boutique Desserts Class Part 2, and Here Comes The Bride

Previously, on Fatboybakes Fantasy, [in the same tone as those astro voice overs, when announcing, Previously, On Boston Public, or something like that, referring to a previous episode ending with "To be continued...."]

Day 1 basically saw the individual parts of the fancy cakes/entremets coming together. Below, we have the printed joconde, which forms the border (as in, it lines the circumference of the cake) for one of the tarts. Looks like cloth hor. Seems like a lot of work though, so don't be expecting any of my desserts to be dressed in cake clothes any time in the near future.

At least 4 cakes were completed without make up by the end of day 1, and shoved in the freezer to chill. Lunch on day one was a duck confit thingie in puff pastry, a lovely salad, and divine bread. (with president butter, except it was unsalted, and I hate eating unsalted butter). They sell these duck confit and lamb shank prepacked in their cafe in Alliance Francais in Lrg Gurney.

Day 2, ...its amazing how everyone is so punctual, despite having to combat the daily crawl of traffic into town. I had kinda developed a routine by day 2, ie, arrive at 8.45, grab a quickie roti canai at the mamak downstairs, in the lane behind, and appear at class by 8.58.

Twas very funny, when the chef showed us how to line the tart ring with the almond shortcrust pastry. It looked easy enough, but when us mortals tried it, harumph.....

When the lady from BKK tried her hand at it, she botched up so many times, the pastry was getting warm. Meanwhile, I was sms-ing my friend bemoaning the incompetence of my fellow classmates.....but pride comes before a fall. When I tried MY hand at it, I realised it wasn't so easy. Unlike with our usual tart/pie tins which have a base, this one was a ring, without a base. So, that required lifting the entire piece of pastry, slowly lowering it onto the ring, and at the same time, ensuring you could still move it onto a baking tray. The base kept sticking to the marble slab. Also, I was rolling the pastry too hard. I finally got one done, but one of the chefs decided it wasnt good enough, so disassembled mine, and proceeded to make another one. IT was GREAT consolation to me, that even he had to have at least 4 attempts before finally getting it right. Snigger. You can see the baked tart shells in the pic below, in the picture next to the tub of Pate a Glacer Noire.

Lunch on Day two was a lamb shank pasta, with salad, bread and the dessert shown above. It was a lemon/ passion fruit mousse, with an almond tuille. Rather good.

Anyway, fast forwarding, the bride finally got dressed and made up, and look at the finished products at the bottom. And believe me, they tasted AS GOOD AS THEY LOOKED. You know how some cakes are Indah khabar dari rupa. These looked great, and tasted great too. With these kind of ingredients, it's hardly surprising. I loved the ones with the creme brulee layers, and also the jasmine tea infused chocolate entremet. Actually, I loved them all.


This was the gift voucher I received.

And look, we even made it to the press!!!! Featured in some un-named newspaper......