Thursday, September 27, 2007

Taking Possession of New Baby

She can slice, chop, grate, knead, whisk, juice, blend, and as a result, you can make bread, cake, soya bean milk, fish paste, mayonnaise, rojak, .....the list goes on, but we were only shown those few items for starters.... almost as good as a wife, except it doesn't perform conjugal duties, and if Teckiee was grossed out by grated flesh from fingers on a blood coulis....well, .....doing it with the magimix will certainly be a lot more these bottles of colorings and essences.

Such bright happy colors, dont you think. It reminded me of a rainbow, so I had to take a picture.

These here are some of the items meant for the "hands on getting to know you" session when we took over the magimix. It's like post natal classes, where you are taught how to diaper up, wipe ass, burp, etc. I think. I wouldn't know, I've never been to one, cos I'm a natural at those things.

Thats the mozarella destined for the grater.

It took her all of 10 minutes to whip up the batter for this butter cake, and that is using the separated egg white method. No need to worry about light handedness in the folding of flour, etc etc.

She demos how to knead and roll the bread dough. That's way too much work for me.

A deep pan pizza. Not my cup of tea, cos I like thin crust with lots of unhealthy, sinful filling, and don't like getting full on bread dough.

The butter cake texture was lovely, and the cake, moist and delicious.

Flesh from a mackerel (tenggiri) being transformed into fish paste, for yong tau foo, fishballs, whatever.

Look at how uniformly and finely it can shred the pumpkin. Although I have no idea why I would need such wonderfully shredded pumpkin.

There's nothing quite like freshly baked bread, although it's unlikely you'll ever get that from me. Anything more than 3 steps is too much work, and measuring, mixing, kneading, proofing, kneading again, proofing again.....true, you can watch episodes of CSI in between, but I like my work concentrated and concise, not dragged over a long stretch.

But I guess if I trained the right laborers to do this, it would be nice to have thick slabs of unhealthy kopitiam style white bread in the morning, slathered with SALTED butter, and a dollop of kaya, with two half boiled eggs. Heaven, I'm in Heaven.....(different one from the Living in Food Heaven)

As an added bonus, Salad Chef Ryan brought out some of his leftover pan seared fish with his self made pesto sauce. I found the fish a bit sang, but the pesto sauce was very good. A burst of flavours, ranging from sweet, to tangy, and basilly all at once.

And I present you, my new baby. Hope Kenwood Chef dont get jealous.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Christmas Comes Early

Oooh, so many new toys to play with. Rubbing hands in glee, whistling, "My chest nuts roasting on an open fire"....

First in, thanks to dear DEAR friend, Ms LTA, who lugged these babies back all the way from the States for me. I ordered them via, and had them mailed to an address in Texas somewhere, for Ms LTA to bring em back for me.

I hope my pores aren't as large as these.

Look at how finely these babies grate. What GREAT GRATERS!!!! God forbid you should ever run your finger through that thing though....imagine ribbons of human flesh in a pool of blood coulis.... bleagh. The microplane grates the surface, without entering the bitter pith region of the fruit, and the aroma from the grated zest is delightful. You can smell the lovely almost aromatherapeutic scents of citrus as they waft up your olfactories. The other longer one is for grating parmesan, etc. Price: USD 11.95 (RM48) for the zester, and USD 8 (RM 28) for the grater...what a steal. Considering they retail for at least RM 80 here.

The next toy, (unlike Christmas gifts though, all these I have to buy for myself), is this wonderful piece of equipment that will revolutionise my life forever, I believe. Other boys go for boys toys like expensive handphones. My present handphone was probably used by that T-Rex from Jurassic Park. Even my blind masseur has a more canggih handphone than mine.

I was asking ex classmate, sister of Edyth who runs Cooking House, as to what food processor to get. My little Kenwood is more overworked than an african slave in the 1800s in the cotton fields, and the one year warranty is due soon. I have great faith in electrical goods these days, they hardly ever fail me. The day after the warranty expires, so do they.

Anyway, Ms Ban recommended me the Magimix range, and offered to set up a demo, as they are one of the distributors. Demo = free cooking class. Why not!!!

The 3 items on demo (but there was more actually) were Swiss roll, Indonesian Rojak, and Chicken Floss Bun With Mayonnaise.

Look at this baby!!!!

Chopped up gula melaka which is for the rojak sauce.

The magic machine whips up egg white, and fold in your flour for you as well.

Chopping, slicing, grating, (except the fine grating that only microplanes can do) are a thing of the past. Lucky maids.

The machine kneads bread dough, juices citrus fruits, and has a juicer component for other fruits, whips up mayonnaise faster than you can say KRAFT LOW FAT, blends ice coffee, makes cakes, whips egg white, chops up nuts, ...... put it this way, if Magi Mix was a woman, I'd be asking Papa Mix for her hand in marriage.

For the indonesian rojak, which turned out most yummylicious, it was all done in the one bowl, from scratch. Nuts in first, followed by palm sugar, chilli, tamarind, blitz, change attachment to slicer, slice fruits, cucumber, and presto, rojak enough for 4. Amazing.

And apparently you can make these things too. But you know me, I'd never endeavour a recipe that takes more than 20 minutes, so this is out of the question.

Check out the vegetarian egg yolk. Go figure. No, a carrot didnt lay an egg, its made from gluten.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Cupcakes At The Cooking House

After the last enjoyable Salacious Salads Soiree at the Cooking House, I was open to the idea of revisiting the place, so when BabeKL highlighted the cupcake course, I unhesitatingly raised my hand with the enthusiasm of a kid who needs to be excused for a loo break, in a classroom.

Initially, the chap who lives in Food Heaven was not keen to go, as the class did not cover the actual baking of cupcakes, only the decorating. BabeKL somehow, using her charm and persuasive powers, managed to wrangle the "how to bake cupcakes" into the syllabus as well, which actually, WAS just as well, or the class proper would have taken all of 20 minutes.

Anyway, it pays to be more attentive when reading brochures. I completely did not see that the medium of decoration was FONDANT. And worst of all, I saw these which sent shudders up my spine.

Anyway, the instructress, Soo Chee from The Cake Shop was exhorting the use of fondant, and its many wonders, and how the latest trend in Europe were miniature 6" diameter wedding cakes used as a crown atop a mountain of fondant wrapped cupcakes. Quite honestly though, fondant to me is one step away from being inedible, so I can't really say I am terribly excited by the major breakthrough this medium is going through, and its sudden popularity. Basically, it is a very versatile medium, I guess, and its easy to play around with, and can be moulded to all kinds of shapes.

Apart from Roses Jackson, Ryan (the salad chef) and Me, the rest were all thorns, looking intently at the demo as if it were neuro surgery. At one point, it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop.

I've always suspected you COULD use the mixer for fondant. But in those days, when I first attempted HL's wedding cake, I didn't have a proper mixer, and my fingers and palms were nearly paralysed from all that kneading.

This is of course the famous Salad Chef.

These were the freshly baked vanilla cupcakes. Can't really say I cared to much for the texture, they felt a bit rubbery, bordering on hard. Tastewise, well, you can't really go wrong with butter, eggs, sugar and flour....

Once she had demonstrated how to make fondant, (she did make it seem a lot more effortless than it actually is), we were left to our own devices to decorate our cupcakes the way we deemed fit.

St Jackson from Food Heaven....

By this time, I was getting a little fidgety, coz I had to host a dinner for 16 that night, and hadn't done any preparation yet, so I quickly tried to get mine done as soon as possible. Note my dual toned rainbow hippo, who had just done a poo.

My two purple love ducks having a swim in lake gardens.

This was BabeKL's creation, ....I thought HB stood for HUS BAND, but actually it's Happy Birthday.

The macabre snake, complete with bloodied fangs and blood drops, were the brainchild of the Salad Chef , Ryan.

And no prizes for guessing who this belongs to.

Overall, I'd say it would have been a very good class for those with first time exposure to Fondant. For me personally, since I am not a flowery, decoraty kind of person, the knowledged garnered here can be shelved right up there with my notes from the Chemical Warfare course that I took in 1990.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Calories Are Cheap

I've not been to any new places in the last two weeks, to eat. So, before I let this blog decompose, I thought I should just simply write something. Don't you just hate it, when people telling you, "wah, so prosperous oridi hor", one of the most annoying euphemisms for "wah so fat liao".

Anyway, we aren't living in feudal times, or in the days of hard labour, AND calories seriously have never been cheaper. This morning, I stopped by at the wet market and saw these noodles that I've always been meaning to try, coz they looked tasty. For RM1.50, you get a rather sizeable portion, (so much so I couldn't finish it), some more got disposable chopstick thrown in.

Just look at that. Oodles of noodles, with enough oil to fry another plate. Cabbage and bean sprouts thrown in for good measure. All for RM1.50. Oh, not to mention a large dollop of rather delectable sambal.

So, may I make an impassioned plea to all and sundry to stop equating Prosperity with Fat-ness. In fact, these days, the opposite would be true. To be prosperous would mean you could afford a personal trainer, a nutritionist, a dietician, a facialist, a masseur, and look radiant, svelte and glowing like a hollywood star. Yeah, that would be prosperous.

Meanwhile, I also sustained one of my first and major cream beating accidents. It was for a tiramisu. I've always warned people to be careful when beating either the mascarporne or the whipping cream, coz overbeating will mean you gotta feed it to the cat. One of my friends told me she had to feed hers to the cat, literally, and I was thinking, "how the heck can you go wrong with this....". Anyway, pride comes before a fall, and all it took was a moment of distraction, when wife asked me something as I was beating the darn thing, and presto, the mascarporne/cream transformed into a soupy, grainy mess, beyond salvation. Not one to give up easily, I added some gelatine to see if I could bind it together. But it was a disaster of gargantuan proportions. The gelatine and god knows what other fluids started seeping out, and the texture went from ugly to uglier.... Well, since everyone is only posting beautiful pictures of food porn, let me show you the food photo equivalent of a wart filled, pockmarked, sagging flesh w0..... okay, lets not be gender biased, PERSON.

Horrible!!! Horrible!!!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Chynna, KL Hilton

Since the kids had to attend their cousin's birthday, and therefore had to skip Sunday School, the parents decided to do likewise......sssshhhhhhhh.........don't tell anyone. Have always wanted to bring the wife to try the dim sum at Chynna, not because I think it's outstanding, but just so she can say she's been la, being the dutiful and thoughtful caring spouse that I am.

Since it was still very early, ie, 11.15am, (the same time that Lemongrass was having her brunch at Fish and Chips place on changkat raja chulan), the place was quite empty. I still can't help feeling, that for the price we pay, the seating could be a bit spacious, it is, the tables are so close to each other, especially tables for 2 and 4, you can hear every strain of conversation around you, AND stroke the thigh of the person on the table next to you should you so desire.

The dim sum menu actually seems even more limited than I remember it to be. No char siew sou, which is my favourite, instead, these little whatever you call them. Char siu buns. It had a crispy topping, that's quite nice, and a bunny (bun-like) texture at the bottom. But it wasn't warm enough. After a bite, we asked them to warm it up. They must have just chucked it in the microwave, coz after that, I scalded my lips. And these thick lips take a lot for it to be scalded.

The scallop cheong fun was good, but nothing particularly outstanding. Well, the scallops were plump and fresh though.

This is supposed to be their specialty, some prawn dumpling of sorts. Soaked in prawn oil, I found it a tad greasy, and the prawns within were overcooked. Nothing to shout about.

Scallop and prawn dumplings. Fresh, but not particularly tasty.

Char siew pao. To the credit of these chicken in place of pork substitutes, I can't really tell the difference, especially for char siew paos. The filling was nice, but I found the bun too bunny again. Too much bun. I like the jln ipoh ones, where there is a generous amount of filling. For an establishment like this, I'd have expected more than a heaped tablespoon of char siu, some more fake char siu....

Taking forever to arrive, was this prawn dumpling soup, in superior broth, something like a poontong gao.

Okay, in conclusion, I really don't think I'd bother going here again for dim sum. The alacarte food's not bad, but as I told Lemongrass, the photos of her post of this place were more delicious than the real stuff. Well, at least I have fulfilled my duty as husband and lover.

Friday, September 07, 2007

888 Cafe

I thought I'd better get this over and done with, because check out the competition with their large equipment....I can't beat that, and if I don't post this quick, I'll have zilch readership.

The event, organised by the enterprising and illustrious, Timothy Low, was a food sampling at 888 Cafe & Bistro, which in a nutshell, is named after the brand of 888 Coffee and Teas, which is a subsidiary of Thong Guan, a public listed company. Of all times to forget my handphone, I did so last night, and it was only my photographic memory and brilliant sense of direction that helped me recall the map posted by Tankiasu, as I navigated my way to unfamiliar territory beyond the border of Ikano and the Curve.

Located in Dataran Sunway, in Sunway Damansara, it's a nice corner lot, brightly lit and easy parking for now. I was one of the latest floggers to arrive...these people take these things very seriously.

First on the menu was Itchy Chicken, according to Lianne. Actually it's Inchi Kabin. Basically fried chicken marinaded in a cornucopia of spices... probably 5 spice, tumeric, etc etc. Cameras zoomed in as if this was some rare fowl on the brink of extinction. I often wonder how the public sees us. Well, at least we don't shoot to kill.

Inchi kabin, passable as a starter, for hungry palates. A bit on the dry side, but I find with chicken, some parts are prone to be drier than others anyway.

My Michael Jackson drink.... I was forewarned that the soya bean is from a can, not homemade. But the cincau is homemade. Strange. I thought it was easier to make soya bean than cincau.

The next two items that came along were the Brain Brain, (Otak Otak), and a shrimp toast thingie. Actually, I didn't even know what cuisine to expect, as Tim listed "ex la bodega chef" as one of the credentials, so I guess mentally we were expecting tapas-y kinda food. But the name 888 should have been a dead giveaway.

Otak otak was palatable. Smooth, and didnt have that fibrous content that some otaks do. The toast was unevocative, not something I'd order deliberately.

Then came the nasi lemak, which looked good. I love those broad ikan bilis, that are fried to a crisp. The condiments to the dish were good, but the rice itself was a bit vapid, and lacked the santan taste. It's actually quite a substantial meal, this, on its own. Got fish, beef rendang, egg, water convulva, (kangkong), okay, convulvulus, nuts....all the food groups represented.

Sizzling away on the platter was Mary's little lamb. A lamby aroma that I dont care much for assailed our nostrils. However, the lamb was surprisingly tender and tasty, and didn't taste like it smelt. I guess the sizzling effect might have elevated the odour molecules to a higher energy level.

OH NO!!! I didn't get a picture of the star of the night. Shucks, that's like going to Gwen Stefani's concert and only getting pictures of the back up dancers. In my opinion, the star of the night was their signature Nyonya Laksa. In a luscious creamy but yet not overly rich coconut gravy, some say a cross between curry laksa and assam laksa, because of the slight tanginess, the soup was excellent. It comes with all the necessary prerequisites for a good laksa, ie, cockels, aka see ham, prawns, sambal. Highly recommended.

Hmm, by now, I am beginning to sense a familiar pattern in the food. Where have I seen this kind of food repertoire before? Penang village? Kluang Station? But anyway, these are foods truly Malaysian and no one can really lay claim to exclusivity. Chau Kueh Teow. With crab meat. Yum. Alas, by the time National Geographic was done photographing it, the dish was colder than a glacier in Finland. I imagine it would taste a lot better piping hot.

Forgive our sins as we forgive those who sin against us..... Above, spaghetti bolognaise, which Teckiee proclaimed (with as much authority as JAIS raids khalwat couples) was CHICKEN, caused much stir was non beef eaters like Jackson and Lianne merrily tucked into it like happy kids with lactose intolerance found dairy free ice cream..... only to be told that it was BEEF. Luckily Lianne was busy talking to me about something, which distracted her from placing large chunks of cow into her mouth.

The non Beefatarians were compensated with a Seafood Aglio Oli, which actually was rather good. Just the right amount of olive oil, and nicely flavoured with chilli and garlic, it was actually a far better alternative.

And another sizzling dish, chicken this time. The sizzling chicken went well with the aglio olo pasta.

Meanwhile, Jackson Kah, sitting in the middle of the long table, (like a central figure in the portrait of the last supper by Davinci), was commanding a lot of attention. Considering we were celebrating his birthday nearly 2 months ago in King Crab, it's amazing that we were still celebrating it last night.

There's a large poster detailing the history of the 888 brand.

This came much later, this rice with more inchi which time I was full, so didn't try it.

Meanwhile, we had a debriefing session with the chef, whereby all the floggers put in their 2 cents worth of compliments, criticisms, etc, which was apparently all captured as can be seen by this monitor.

The night ended (for me anyway) with Jackson cutting his 10th or 11th birthday cake. Sidney of BBO was commenting how many cakes he's (JK) had.

Very drama hor.

Anyway, if you are in that neighbourhood, the 888 Cafe is at 1-1, Jalan PJU 5/10, Dataran Sunway.

Thank you Tim for organising the event.