Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Gathering of the Dried Fruits

While browsing the aisles of JJ (so happy that they extend their business hours till 11pm for the coming Raya celebrations), I chanced upon this attractively packed snack called "Apple Chips". The label says it's made from Fresh Fuji Apples and dehydrated gradually. What adds to the excitement was that the rm2 discount for JJ members, so from the normal price of rm6.25, I only need to pay rm4.25. So into the trolley it went, and it was such a breeze to shop so late in the night with no queue at the cashier counter since not many shoppers were aware of the extra hour for late-night shopping. In fact, it was the first day of the business hours extension, and we were caught by surprise also as we entered the mall and read the notice. Of course I was rejoicing, and needless to say, made maximum use of the time there.

I opened the packet rightaway upon reaching home, and it's nice, the apple chips. Just like what is normally found in mueslis, this was sliced thinner, thus crispier. Hmm...can throw some in for breakfast cereal the next morning, other than snacking on them.

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Then coincidentally, the next day, I saw some other dried fruits at another shop. I was curious to try them, so I bought all the varieties available, which are listed below. These are packed in +100g each.
1* Dried Cherry @ rm 2.80
2* Dried Pear @ rm 2.80
3* Fushion Blueberry @ rm 4.30

The spelling of the 'Fushion' is something new, not sure if it is meant to be fusion since there's no such word when I checked with the online dictionary. But well, let it be, for all we know, it might be a typo error when the shop tried to tag their item.

All four types of dried fruits are nice, and not too sweet. The dried cherry, dried pear and fushion blueberry have higher water content than the apple crisp, since well, they undergo different process, I presume. Probably just normal dried process like the raisins. Anyone would like some, as now I got 4 types of dried fruits to finish. :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

NO-Knead Focaccia

After my not-so-successful attempt at the focaccia the other time, I remade it, and for this, I used some fresh rosemary herbs. Despite nearly a month old, the rosemary is still quite fragrant. Dh feedback that those areas which the rosemary herbs are on are quite pungent with the scent of rosemary, so he suggested that I should chop them up into smaller pieces so that the aroma of rosemary will be more evenly distributed. *Point noted, dear*.

I also tweaked the recipe a tad, instead of using plain flour, I substituted half of it with wholemeal flour for added fibre. I used a 7" x 10" rectangle pan, and the output is 1" in height. Managed to cut into 8 rectangles with the 550g of dough. *specifics for my own future reference*

Ingredients
240mlwarm water
1 tspinstant yeast
1tspsalt
140gplain flour
140gwholemeal flour


While mixing the ingredients, I find them too dry, so I added more water than the recipe called for to combine them all. I think this could be that my flour is quite dry, as per Peony, the dough is supposed to be very soft. Turned out that I made the right decision, when the dough was proofing, the texture is much softer compared to the first round.


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Dough before baking
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Baked and cut
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Close-up of the texture
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Top view
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Paired with chicken-corn-soup

Recipe: Carrot Raisin Walnut Cupcakes

Eversince I saw this from Joanne Loo's blog, (Thanks Jo!) I had been wanting to make them as dh is a lover of Carrot Walnut Cakes. Previous I made one whole cake and cut them into wedges for him during his birthday, but due to the hot weather of Malaysia, the cake just goes bad pretty fast despite being kept in the fridge. It was a hassle to keep taking a wedge of cake out from the fridge and thaw it before consumption, and then to keep the rest. Not to mention, the whole big cake box just takes up too much fridge space.

Now with this recipe, I just pack them in rectangle plastic containers and freeze them. Each receptacle can fit 3 of these Carrot Raisin Walnut Cupcakes snugly, which is just a nice serving size for him. What's more, I need not worry about the cakes drying out, that's a fabulous arrangement.

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"Botak" Cupcakes

Ingredients:
180g butter

145g brown sugar

4 eggs (weighing 240g without shell, A size as that is what I have at home)

180g all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder

150g carrot, grated (about 1 medium-sized carrot)
100g raisins, soaked in 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Grated lemon rind from 1 lemon (I omitted this because I added in some chopped walnuts instead)

50g walnuts, toasted and chopped

Method:
1/ Cream butter and sugar till light, then add in eggs one at a time till well incorporated.
2/ Add carrot, raisins and walnut.
3/ Fold in sifted dry ingredients with a quick stir till evenly-mixed and distribute into "Solo" baking cups before sending them into the oven.

Batter: 1.05 kg
Temperature: 170°C
Bake time: 30 minutes until golden brown or cooked (skewer inserted in the middle of cupcake comes out clean)
Makes: 12 pieces (per Jo's measurement), but mine yield 20 pieces because I was afraid that the batter will overflow.

Cream Cheese Topping
120g butter
120g cream cheese
110g icing sugar, sifted
4-5 tsp fresh lemon juice

Method:
1/ Cream butter and cream cheese till fluffy and light, then add in the icing sugar till combined.

2/ Add in lemon juice to incorporate and adjust to taste.

Note to self:
1/ The raisins didn't really plump up in the 1 tbsp of fresh lemon juice, just moistened.
2/ To use 1.5 scoops of batter next time instead of 1 scoop of 4cm-diameter ice-cream scoop.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Review: Che-Go Korea B.B.Q. Restaurant

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This is one of the new food outlets @ Aeon City Bandar Perda, which we haven't seen anywhere in Penang. We
find that it's a cross between a korean and a japanese restaurant, with the setting of sitting on tatami. The menu also is almost similar because they have the (un)common sense to use the same photo to illustrate their food, specifically Unagi Rice Set. Blame it on our sharp eyes, hahah...as we were undecided to dine at which restaurant, thus were checking out what's being offered on each outlet's menu before arriving on our decision on this. Later on it was confirmed that this very same company own a japanese restaurant just right across it called Ichiban.

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The rice that came with a sprinkling of furikake

Jimmy had the Kimuchi Seafood Soup Set that came rice and 2 kimchis on the side. We had serveral refills for this that at the end of the meal, dh said that he was full from the vegetables, not full from the meal per se.

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I had the Chego Rice Cake, which was the picture on the wall. What came to the table was different altogether. I have heard of the mention of this from blogs, with its korean name being 'daebokki', but this is my first time tasting it. It's chewy and nice when it's consumed hot. However once its cold, it's too starchy to my liking. One thing though, it took the kitchen quite some time to prepare this dish and we had a long-waiting game.

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Slightly over-priced @ RM 36.00++

It was stir-fried with onion slices, spring onion chunks, bean sprouts, immitation crab sticks and 3 large prawns. The was a mixture of Chap Jae in it as well. Hmm, nice, worth the waiting time afterall.

Would I return? 50/50, because it's convenient, but surely I have tasted ones at other korean food outlets.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Home-made burger

Well, almost, except the bun. Initially I had the intention of making the bun as well, but this project has been procrastinated till so long that I couldn't hold it off any longer, especially when dh kept hinting at it. So with store-bought bun, this is what I managed to conjour.

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I was in one of my good mood to have the energy to pile this so high.

Step-by-step as follows:
1) Cut the bun into half horizontally, butter them and toast on pan till lightly browned and crispy.
2) Sautee the onion till caramelised, set aside.
3) Make bull's eye egg, set aside.
4) Pan fry the burger patty to the doneness of your preference, ending with a dash of Lea&Perrins sauce for the aroma.
5) Top the burger patty with cheese slice in order to melt the cheese a 'lil.
6) Assemble the tower-high burger by starting with vegetables such as salad leaf and cucumber slices. The egg comes next followed by tomato rings and the burger patty. The sauteed onion came later, then the salad leaf again before closing the cover with the rounded top of the bun.
* For extra flavour, the burger patty can be sandwiched with cheese at the top and bottom, making it a double cheese burger*.

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Burger "KING" accompanied by wedges and carrot-raisin salad

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ever tried this combination?

As I was preparing my french toast yesterday morning, an idea came to mind, why not spread some peanut butter on it? It was different from the usual way I have mine, which was normally with just a sprinkling of light brown sugar for the taste. Or a drizzle of honey for a change.

The verdict: it gave the french toast a different twist altogether, and I would recommend it to those who are game to try.

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Do share how you enjoy your french toast, wokie?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Old Town Kopitiam

Did you notice that different outlets of Old Town Kopitiam has different pricing for their items? Well, at least the food taste the same, so these days, we opt for those outlets with the better price.

The coffee is a must-have, and this is the first time we have it cold. It's still thick, unlike those that normal coffee-shops sell which is diluted once the ice is added.

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Another item that top the list for us is the toast, kaya butter toast. Somehow they have it in brown-bread, it's not wholemeal, so wondering aloud if it's colouring as there's no taste to it with any addition of flavouring. This must be savoured while it's hot to get the crispy sound, lest it gets soggy.

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Rendang Chicken Rice, which came served in a woven basket in terms of presentation. Accompanying it are some papadam, cucumber slices and some sambal gravy. We prefer this to the nasi lemak as the chicken for the latter is just a piece of fried chicken.
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Nonetheless, it was a wholesome meal the same way it was presented as the Rendang Chicken Rice that came with fried anchovies and nuts, half a hard-boiled-egg and sambal tumis ikan bilis.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The F.A.I.R.est of them all

Ever since our purchase of the coffee machine, dh has been diligently using it to daily, well almost, whenever we are home. Least would be once a day, max being thrice, that is for breakfast, tea time and supper. Ya, he is one soul that can't sleep without coffee, unlike the reverse which is true for most folks I know. My mum for one can't consume coffee after her 3pm curfew, else she would have sleepless night. To each his/her own, and I have got two extremes within the family, but oh well, as long as both are happy, I am fine.

So dh has been experimenting with the different kinds of Fresh Milk available in the marketplace, other than those by the Indian susu-segar-on-the-wheels. Hmm..now that I get the idea, I might actually try to get that for him to try (mental note to self).

These days there are so many different terms coined for the pasturised milk, and for the good of me, I find them so confusing. There's skimmed milk, full cream milk, low-fat milk and what nots with all the different flavours. So I need to be extra careful to get the correct Fresh Milk as I made the blunder once of getting the wrong version once, which was not very good for frothing.

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Beauties lining my fridge

Seen lined above are thus far, the different brands of Fresh Milk that are available on the cold storage shelf in Malaysia. We have tried them all, and those really good ones do make a difference in the outcome of the cuppa after the frothing process. The bubbles are finer, and the resulting cup to dh's satisfaction. Not only that, the better ones are able to 'stretch' more, meaning that one can get more cups from the same 1 litre of fresh milk.

So far, those that we swear by are Dutch Lady's, Magnolia's and Farmhouse's. The latter two are from the same company, namely Fraser&Neave, just that one is Buatan Malaysia, and the other came from Australia. Of course there is price difference between these two, but they are equally good, as evident in this photo.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Hot Food for the Soul

The weather has been so wet for the past few days, so much so that some places were flooded, but these two days, keeping our fingers crossed, it has been dry though Mr. Sun is still rarely to be seen.

What's good for a cold rainy day other than a hot bowl of porridge? Hmm..thinking of it now is making my tummy making noise. This is our first visit to this unassuming stall, after recommendation from a friend. There is no written menu as to what is offered, other than the fresh ingredients, and I just ordered what I heard the previous customer before me ordered - mixed ingredients porridge. Mixed meaning all the spare-parts (innards) of the porky friends, hahha... Judging from the long waiting time, doubt I could go wrong, but this style is not that of dh's. It took him quite a fair bit of time to decide, and when he finally made up his mind, I was baffled at the combination he opted. Want to know what was his choice? Bull frog and fried fish?!? I was hesitant to place his 'fanciful' order, but oh well, I went ahead, and the stall operator obliged. But the bigger surprise was the bill, dh's bowl of bull-frog-fried-fish-porridge came at a whopping RM 12.00, whereas mine was only RM 4.00.

No complaints because the bull-frog was indeed fresh, and we think they were pretty generous with the serving. Will definitely head back to this stall, eventhough the waiting time can be quite trying.

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The 'masterpiece'
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The condiments, namely bird's-eye-chilli and light soy-sauce
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Steaming hot bowl...
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The 'treasures' unearthed

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Soup: White Radish with chicken breast

This is for one of those lazy days, just need to plop everything into the pot, bring the ingredients to a boil, lower the temperature to simmer it to extract the flavour, and 30minutes later, a bowl of clear chinese soup is presented.

Cut the pared white radish into any shapes you fancy, I like it with lots of corners for more bites, whereas those that my mum cook are flatter in pieces. The same goes for carrot, cut them into cubes. Add one honey date, 2 pieces of dried cuttlefish, half a bulb of garlic (to counter the fishy smell of cuttlefish) and a handful of white peppercorn if you like your soup to have the extra zing. Not forgetting the scalded chicken breast, scalded before hand to get rid of impurities.

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Strain the soup to remove those nasty white peppercorns (you wouldn't want to bit into one, trust me), and your bowl of soup is ready for consumption. Oh, before that, remember to shred the chicken breast as well.

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Saturday, September 6, 2008

Kopi Art

Realised it has been quite some time I didn't post up photos of dh's creation on his beloved art of coffee, and when I came across this, it's too good not to share. It's not that he has not been making his daily cup of cappuccino, no no, he has been making full use of his machine. So much so that the machine had to be sent for service only on Monday because of a stuck particle in the steam nozzle that forbids it from frothing milk. As such, he was nearly on the verge of crankiness and had to live only on espresso or using the french press to get his daily dosage of copium (coined from caffeine and opium, by yours truly).

Now he is back to normal with the coffee machine back at home and at his service. Presenting the cup of perfect rosetta!

So here's a gentle reminder to take a break from your busy hectic life...
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Friday, September 5, 2008

Kuih Kodok Cempedak Pisang

Now is the season for local fruits, and makeshift stalls selling durians, mangosteens, rambutans, langsat and cempedaks are in abundance. There is this lorong (small lane) near my place that has been converted into a local fruits haven, starting from one stall, now both sides of the lane are paved with stalls selling their harvests from the orchards, and they numbered about half a dozen now. What a sight to behold with the different colours of the fruits being sold...and it's a benefit for the customers as we can haggle on the price. Such is the stiff competition going on there. While some stalls carry those branded durians, others sell them by the longgok (heapful). Take your pick manz!

I do have my fair share of durian intake, but at the same time, I am quite fond of cempedak. The going rate now is RM 3 per kg, and a sensible medium size that serves both of us at home comes to about RM 4-5 on average, and there would be approximately 20 odd fruits within in. Cempedak is best consumed cooked, either by batter-coated and deep-frying, or made into kuih. Reason being that its fiber is quite hard to digest raw, so once it has been processed (meaning cooked), the texture is changed and thus, kinder to our digestive system. I normally would have a few cempedak raw, then make the rest into kuihs.

Here's one interesting recipe which I came across in Y3K magazine, specifically issue # 29 by Master Chef Lim Bian Yam. It is a cross between the normal Banana Kuih Kodok with the addition of shredded cempedak. It somehow gave the plain kuih kodok pisang a twist which is surprisingly yummy!

240g cempedak {nett weight of flesh, shredded}
120g banana {nett weight of flesh, mashed in a plastic bag to minimise washing}
120g superfine flour {all purpose flour also useable}
4 tbsp castor sugar {soft brown sugar also can be used}
½ tsp salt
120g water
1 tsp oil

a/ Combine everything together and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
b/ Meanwhile, heat up half a wok of oil then scoop the mixture into the oil and fry on medium heat till pale golden brown.
*Reason for pale golden brown is because these morsels will turn a tone darker upon cooling because of the sugar content in the fruits.
c/ This can be served with some icing sugar or chocolate suace, but I skipped that step for it's finger-licking-good to eat it on its own.

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Minum Milo® Anda Jadi Sihat Dan Kuat

Milo, a chocolate beverage that is available in most households. I grew up with it, and it's like without fail, mum would make us a hot cup of Milo for breakfast every morning before we headed to school. I used to detest it, for like it or not, we have to down that cup of hot beverage without fail. I suspect it has to be the way it was prepared. All along it was mixed with condensed milk, thus making the drink rather on the sweet side.

After growing up, I made my Milo with just a few teaspoons of it and just add hot boiling water, without any milk. It tasted more chocolatey this way, and also that's how those mamak stalls sell them, which we called Milo-O-kosong. O denotes black, meaning sans the milk, kosong means without sugar.

Somehow I felt that the formula used in the manufacturing of Milo has changed over the years, seems to me like I have to add more Milo powder these days to get the same taste. Anyone encountered the same situation, or is it just me? I have heard of Milo that is produced in Australia is creamier, and it's available in Singapore, but has yet to reach Malaysian shore. I was almost tempted to lug some Australian-made Milo on my last trip to Sg, but at the same time, I can imagine how my travelling companion would roll their eyes in disbelief, more so my mum! Oh well, I would have to leave my curiosity aside as to how Australian-made Milo tastes compared to buatan Malaysia's.

Back to locally made Milo, I stumbled upon 3 ways of preparing the drink on its soft packaging. I normally would divide the contents into clear glass jars and discard the soft wrapper, thus the word 'stumbled' here. I find it interesting, so here's to share:
For familiar taste: 5 tsps of Milo + 3 tsps of sweetened creamer/condensed milk + 200ml of 80°C hot water
For milkier choice: 5 tsps of Milo + 4 tsps of milk powder + 200ml of 80°C hot water
Great as it is: 5 tsps of Milo + 200ml of 80°C hot water

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Now I realised that I had been having the "familiar taste" since childhood, switched to "great as it is" per Milo's menu and by-passed the "milkier choice". Hmm...that's interesting to note. :P

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Crispy Fluffy Fish & Chips

Per Elaine's blog, the secret ingredient to get the perfectly crispy batter for fish & chips lies in the yeast. Hop on to her site for the full write-up.

I was game to try it, so after getting the dory fish, I pre-seasoned the fish with a dash of ground black pepper, white pepper powder and salt and let them marinate before cooking. Here's the recipe for the batter:-

Mix and let it foam:
1/8 tsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp warm water


Make a well in the centre, then pour in the yeasty mixture to get a batter:
100g all purpose plain flour
120ml lukewarm water
1/2 tsp baking soda

I did some minor changes to her recipe, which was to omit the salt as I have seasoned the fish with salt, so I was afraid that I add the salt into the yeast batter again, I will end up with overly salty Fish & Chips. Also, I halved her recipe so the portion is just nice to coat the 250g nett weight of dory fish.

The batter fluffed up and was crispy, thanks Elaine! Guess this recipe is a keeper for English style of Fish & Chips. It's so similar to those sold at restaurants. I have thought of giving this a go with prawns, yet to execute this plan. Will update when I get round to it.

Instead of chips, I only had potato wedges in the fridge, so mine should be renamed to be Fish & Wedges instead? Since both fish and wedges are so oily, I threw in some sliced japanese cucumber to go with it, at least to rid the greasy feeling after consumption.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Another Laksa Shack adventure...

How time really flies...my last article on eating out @ Laksa Shack was more than a year ago?
One can take a pick when it comes to the noodles part, such as Lai Fun, Spaghetti, Yellow (alkaline) mee, Rice flour noodle or Beehoon, although the standard menu comes with its own pairing. Well, we go with the pro by sticking to the standard menu.

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Laksa Lemak Singapore

This time we tried the Laksa Lemak Singapore, which has beehoon in Fresh Fish Paste with Coconut Milk gravy. This Singapore's Creamy Laksa came with prawn, chicken, bean sprouts, cucumber, bunga kantan and sambal. What was served to us was nothing compared to the picture in their menu, which was what attracted us in the first place. Altogher, Laksa Shack has 8 types of laksa in their range. I think for sure we had not tried them all, but at the same time, I cannot really recall which of them we had savoured. Prolly I should list them all here and strike them off as I go along? Sounds like a good idea, but then, I don't know how to do the 'strikethrough' for text in blogger, hmm...time to explore more. Yay, managed to fiddle with some basic html and did the editting of font now.

Anyway, better to list them down here first for my own reference and think about the text formatting later on.
(extracts from Laksa Shack's website)
1/ Asam Laksa - Lai Fun is a piquant broth flavoured with ikan kembung, comes with onion, pineapple, cucumber, ginger flower, mint leaves and prawn paste.
2/ Johor Laksa - Creamy fist paste with coconut milk served with spaghetti, long bean cuts, bean sprout, onion, herbs and sambal belacan.
3/ Curry Laksa - A coconut milk curry served with yellow mee, comes with chicken, tofu pok, prawn, fish cake and mint leaves.
4/ Laksam Kelantan - Rice flour noodles served in creamy white fish gravy complimented with long beans, sliced onions, bean sprouts, herbs and accompanying sambal belacan.
5/ Tom Yam Laksa - Bihun in a spicy lemon grass paste with the aroma of lime leaves, accompanied with chicken, prawn, mushroom, fish cake and a slice of lime.
6/ Laksa Nyonya Melaka - Lai fun served in nyonya gravy with a touch of daun kesum complimented with prawn, chicken, bean sprout, cucumber and lime.
7/ Sarawak Laksa - Bihun served in a curry-based concoction mix of special herbs, garnished with prawn, chicken, tofu pok, fish cake and sambal.
8/ Laksa Lemak Singapore - Fresh fish paste with coconut milk complimented with bihun, prawn, chicken, ginger flower, bean sprout, cucumber and sambal.

As I was typing the above, I recall I have tried (3), (7) and (8). So 3 down, 5 more to go.

The above laksa came in a set with drinks and side dish. For the drinks, it was bandung (rose flavoured milk)with cincau and otak-otak as the side line.

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I like the imprint on the otak-otak (silly me!)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Another Avocado Milkshake - Honey

Today's Avocado Milkshake is different from this, instead of black treacle I opted for honey instead. Thus the colour is very light, and the fragrance from the sweet nectar is rather subtle. Everything is the same, apart from the replacement of 1 tbsp black treacle with 2 tbsp of honey.

Remember to oil the spoon first in order for the honey to glide out. Also, dissolving the honey in water first would make it so much easier to get this drink with minimal foam, else one would end up like me, I had to blend and pulsate the blender for a number of times in order to get the honey to dissolve. In the end, it was such a foamy shake, but leave it for a while and the foam would disappear, but that means I was not able to savour the drink right away. :)

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