Saturday, October 31, 2009

Muffin Tin Meal #19 091023

Two longevity peach buns here, the one with the foodpicks was peanut filling. The other was filled with lotus seed paste. Between the two, the peanut flavour packed a punch of crunch though leaning on the sweet side.

Managed to purchase a big fat juicy mango, so with the bigger surface dimension, I got 4 heart-shape cutouts. Choose two to make them into rings with the foodpicks, this sure perked up the otherwise plain muffin tin meal.

The rest were the usual suspects of a cuppa and yoghurt.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Bento #037 091002

Realised the diameters of both the tomato and cucumber were same size, so I made skewers of the alternating with each other using the long flower food picks. The contrast in color was catching to the eyes. Next to it was a tub of japanese curry to go with the 3 rice balls I made. Spot anything amiss? I didn't compact the rice sufficiently when making them, thus they were threatening to unravel and fall apart

Slightly longer time taken to prepare today's bento because of the rice-shaping and assembling of the vegetable skewers.

Home Cooked Meal

I only get to cook when the weather permits, no, not because my kitchen is out in the open that I can only cook when the sky is clear. On the contrary, it's for the rain that warrants me to cook because it means dh won't be out pedalling on his Trek and we would have an early dinner. I think it's rainny season now as for the past two evenings, the rain had been torrential. So I have to thank the rain for making me diligent, cooking two dinners in a row.

Compared to the previous day, I was more prepared yesterday since I spotted the heavy clouds in the evening which were signs that the rain was on the horizon. What I meant by being more prepared was getting the raw food thawed, and I decided to have chinese dinner of rice plus some dishes. Nothing elaborate, just wholesome home-cooked food.

Seen here was the rice into which I added a scoop of rolled oats to up the fibre index. A good twist to the plain white rice, it was fragrant as well. I topped the rice with some fried silver fish since I was heating up the oil for frying the block of fish.

As for soup, we had sour plum pork ribs soup. Granny used to cook this using those precious sour plum she brought from visiting her relatives in China but I made do with those local ones now. Two condiments on the side, at the top was chopped red chilli plus cili padi whereas the one at the bottom was cili padi with garlic. I made a bottle of this cili padi with garlic as the harvest of cili padi from my parents' garden was plentiful. Goes very well with fried fish, something I learnt from eating at our favourite chicken rice stall.

Blanched broccoli and carrot with oyster sauce, garnished with meat floss. It couldn't be any simplier than this, fuss free as well.

Fried fish as protein dish with a drizzle of kicap lemak manis (malay soya sauce) for colour.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Review: Yum Yum Cream Tomyam

It was raining last evening, so that means no riding for dh which equates to an early dinner. As I didn't expect to prepare dinner and at the same time, we didn't feel like braving the weather to eat out, I had to whip out something fast.

So a hot bowl of tomyam came to mind, and for a twist I had wanted to prepare tomyam udon instead of the usual instant noodle version. I quickly thawed a block of fish fillet, a pack of meat balls and a few prawns.

While getting things ready for a speedy cookout, found out that there's the last pack of udon in the pantry. That won't be sufficient for the both of us, I thought of changing to tomyam pasta instead. Still tinkering on what to do, I decided to pair the udon with instant noodle. That's it, I used 2 packets of this brand's Creamy flavour tomyam and dinner was served within 30 minutes flat.

Steaming hot bowl of cream tomyam with a squeeze of kalamansi lime, good food for the soul on a rainy day.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bento #036 090928

Jaya Jusco's sushi counter in Perda started fo sell onigiri, and there were a few choices available. I was quite undecided as to which one to pick, and after a few minutes standing there weighing my choices, unagi won.

It was quite big in size and was quite filling for me. To counter balance the starchy sushi rice, I piled up on vegetables and fruits on the side. There were some celery sticks to go with the chunky peanut butter in the 'crown' muffin papercase. A combo I learnt from another bento blog (but I can't seem to locate which blog it is now as I was hopping around). The celery and peanut butter were very good partners, and I was glad I try this out though initially I wasn't too keen.

Some kyuri and carrot slices plus 3 juicy plump strawberries, that's all.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bento #035 090927

This bento, housed in the square black box contains steamed mantou wrapped with nori sheets. I used four leaves clover for this, but as can be seen, the edges were jaggered, thus the cutouts were not very obvious. The mantous went very well with the spicy curry at the top right corner.

Next to that were two pieces of starfruit adorned with green emoticon picks, and to fill up the remaining gap, I tucked in two medium-sized tomatoes.

Time taken to fix this bento was quite short because I just need to steam both the mantous and curry. While both were in the steamer, I just wash and cut both the fruits. Then a couple more minutes for the deco, and bento lunch was ready!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Muffin Tin Meal #18 090926

Everything in this muffin tin meal is store-bought, so assembling it was an extreme breeze. The most 'work' in need to do was wash the yellow and red cherry tomatoes and skewer them using the nice pattern pick which came in five colours, namely white, red, blue, green and yellow.

The green tea with red bean filling swiss roll was bought from Bread History out of my curious mind. It was quite light with a slight hint of matcha, goes very well as a breakfast item.

The rest of the items in this muffin tin meal need no introduction, do they?

What was your power breakfast this morning?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Muffin Tin Meal #17 090925

Some back-dated post here, and I mean really aeons ago, like one month back.

Canned Milo
"My Sweet Piano" butter cookie, courtesy of SIG
3 tomatoes on vine
"My Melody" chocolate cookie, baked with love from the same kitchen of SIG
Mini sausage bun (excuse my feeble attempt at decorating it with nori to look like a dog)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Strawberry Shaped Bento Box

A surprise find while shopping last week.

It was an untentional visit to the shop, in fact, my first time stepping into Mini Toons, which I did at the spur of the moment. Hubby was surprised when I told him I'm going in to that shop because it sells all those souvenir stuffs (those with "Nice to see, Once broken considered sold" messages all over the place). All the cute interesting stuff that, to me, would be pleasing to the eyes, but a chore to keep because of the dust it collects. I am way over the phase now, so I was just enjoying the sight. So that explains the disbelief look on hubby's face. Somehow there was this 'calling' to me to go and thankfully I heeded my inner voice and there on the shelf, was this bento box in strawberry shape beckoning to me. It came in two colours, red or pink. Needless to mention, you know which colour I chose.

Collapsible because of the slightly smaller bottom tier. Came with a spoon as well.

See the way the strap is secured to the bento box? With this, the strap won't slip, ain't it?

Friday, October 23, 2009

More Coffee ART

Time zoom by so fast, so much so that I didn't realise my last post under the Coffee Art category was dated 13 September 2008. No posting does not equate to no coffee. We still have our daily cuppa and in fact, it is the most utilised electrical appliance in our household with an average of once a day. Well worth the investment definitely which by now I think we would have gotten back our initial outlay.

A cutesy mouse for the Year of the Rat!

The love of coffee is still very strong in this family, and what better way to depict that than with the above Love in a Cuppa design.
Have a break, have a Cuppa!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Alphabet Pasta by Heinz

A friend was asking about this as she couldn't locate it on the shelves of supermarkets so far. She had searched high and low for it, but to no avail. She went hunting for it at the pasta section but it is filed under baby food section under Heinz brand. Hope with this post, she will get her alphabet pasta soon and also, help point others who are looking for it the correct way.

There was a mixture of green, orange and yellow in that bag of pasta. Green from spinach, orange from tomato and yellow in its original state.

Other than to use this for cooking, one can utilise it for arts and crafts as well - make greeting cards with it, namecards also possible, or just paste them onto art projects. The list is limited only to your imagination. I know because I had previously use it not for my stomach but on canvas.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tian Shan Xue Lian

What could be encased within this yellow sponge netting?

Sweet potato? It sure does resemble sweet potato at first glance, but it is not. I was not convinced with that at first until the green grocer showed me the big packaging box that houses it with the words 天山雪蓮 (Tian Shan Xue Lian) printed on it. So curiously I bought one to try while departing with my RM2 for it. As dh was waiting in the car, I was rushing and thus didn't ask for the step-by-step instruction on how to cook this peculiar vegetable. He just told me to eat it raw or to cook soup with it, never to stir-fry. He did wax lyrical about the goodness of it in terms of health and etc, but I didn't pay close attention thus nothing was registered.

Now onto the peeled version. Now it looks more like potato with the slight translucency. I tried a small tiny bit of it and it was crunchy. It tastes a bit like daikon, without the raw taste but with a slight sweetness to it. I decided to make soup with it because it would be impossible for me to finish the whole thing raw.

I boiled it on slow fire with some pork ribs and the resulting soup was fabulous. There was no seasoning added except a tiny weeny bit of salt to bring out the taste.

Surprisingly, the 天山雪蓮 (Tian Shan Xue Lian) remains firm and crunchy. I had in mind that it might turn mushy and soft, but I was dead wrong. It was an unexpected find and something new I learnt today, 天山雪蓮 Tian Shan Xue Lian soup.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Easy Roast Chicken

Picked up this recipe from the newly revived Nurkochen forum and I'm convinced now to make my own Roast Chicken. Before this, I will normally purchase them from the deli in supermarkets, either Giant or Jaya Jusco or even Tesco. Now I can say bye-bye to them simply because I love the aroma that permeates the kitchen while the chicken is roasting in the oven. NOthing beats that priceless scent, and the end result of crispy skin that greets me when the chicken is ready for consumption. Such good outcome on my first attempt sure beefed up my confidence.

I bought one medium-sized chicken weighing about 1.5kg. No pre-marination required, I just lined my oven tray with aluminium foil to make life easy for clean up thereafter. This collects the drippings perfectly and every single drop of the juice is not wasted. The I put in a smaller rack onto which the chicken rested and just baked it for an hour in a pre-heated oven of 180°C. Recipe requested to keep basting the chicken with drippings, but I skipped that because of no reason other than laziness (again). Despite this factor, the end product turned out marvellously nonetheless. I did rotate the chicken every 15 minutes, in total 4 times of rotation.

Oh, at the same time, some vegetables were thrown in as well, so that it would be a complete meal. I had the usual suspect of carrot, potato and broccoli. In addition to that, I added onion, garlic, celery and tomato. It was a one-tray meal to me with the assortment of colours coming from the vegetables.

Quartered chicken with roasted assorted vegetables. The whole chicken lasted us for 2 meals of dinner.

The next day, I used the drippings with instant mashed potato and it was such a yummy concoction. Just need to heat up the drippings then add the instand mash potato powder till desired consistency. Dinner was served in under 10 minutes because I heated up the roast chicken in the ovenette while preparing the potato mash. Topped with 3 tomatoes on vine which just needed a quick wash.
Original recipe:
1 whole chicken
100gm butter, softened
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp garlic powder (can be omitted)
1 tsp paprika powder
Here's the recipe which I modified:
1 whole chicken (butterfly cut)
100g butter (softened)
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 tsp garlic salt
1/ Mix the butter with the dried mixed herbs and garlic salt. Rub chicken with this herbed butter.
2/ Roast for 60 minutes with skin facing up at 180°C.
* I did not add salt and pepper as needed called for in the recipe because I used salted butter and there was presence of salt in the garlic salt. The resulting roast chicken was salty enough for my tastebud.
* I find the 100g butter too much to my liking, so will reduce it to probably half next time.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

John King Egg Tarts @ Gurney Plaza Penang

There are a few additions to the choices of food at Gurney Plaza's old wing basement, and it was a hive of activities when I was cruising along last Sunday afternoon. Since we had our fill of late lunch, the food didn't tempt me at all, so I was merely checking them out for the fun of it. Sort of to KIV for the next visit to Gurney Plaza. There was this teppanyaki joint that looked interesting...probably it was the crowd that was buzzing and the brisk business that caught my attention.

Further along, I saw this kiosk selling egg tarts. Just nice for tea time treats. What's more captivating was that it boasts of hailing from Hong Kong, and there were samples to savour. I've never came across them, so I was eager to try. The egg custard was smooth, no bluff. One try and I was swept.

Since there was the opening special, I couldn't resist the offer of 6 pieces at the price of RM 9.50, when individually it would cost RM1.90. Good excuse to try out all the available flavours as well, so in this box I managed to get a good sampling to share with hubby and with some savings. Ain't is the best of both worlds, price and choices? Not sure how long the promotion would be, but it certainly was an irresistable opportunity to check them out and pick out our favourite(s).

From top left, going clockwise there were the Traditional John King Egg Tart, Egg White John King Egg Tart, Corn John King Egg Tart, Red Bean John King Egg Tart, Green Tea John King Egg Tart and Coffee John King Egg Tart. All these came with cookies pastry. There was this other choice of flaky pastry, however that is only for the Traditional John King Egg Custard. How nice it would be if they have the different flavours to go with flaky pastry? Just a thought..

Seen here is another flavour, Durian John King Egg Tart. This was not included in the promotion because it was slightly more expensive at RM2.20 each. Oh, the additional Coffee John King Egg Tart was FOC from the lady owner because I had to wait about 10 minutes for the tarts to be ready. Nice gesture in terms of customer service, I'm sure they will go a long way with that.
Nice piping hot *fragile* tarts, I had to carry them gingerly so that the custard would set without any damage. I love them all...if I were to only pick one, then it must be the King of Fruits - Durian John King Egg Tart. The red bean and corn version have some bites to them. However, the traditional one still win hands down from hubby dearest.

The nice box that fits 6 pieces. Simple packaging that keep those precious tarts intact without much room for movement.

The carrier bag that housed the box, with a listing of their other outlets in Malaysia. Probably Penang is their latest addition, I can't seem to see Gurney Plaza printed on this plastic bag.
Go get some tarts, it's worth the calories *grin*.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

1Malaysia Celebration Rice Set at Laksa Shack

This banner attracted us to Laksa Shack recently. Mind you, it's not the laksa but the rice set. Funny that we don't patronise Laksa Shack for their variety of laksa, instead we find their choices for rice more tempting. Actually Laksa Shack offers a whole lot of variety other than laksa, so it's worth checking them out.

See this huge portion that came with the Nasi Ayam Lemak Cili Padi? The chicken thigh was such a big piece and the gravy so lemak. The kerabu bean sprouts that came with it was raw bean sprouts, so there was a tinge of green taste to it despite it being mixed with kerisik. Other than that, it was a crunchy healthy vege to accompany the meal. I like the way the rice was presented, it was moulded in a floral bowl and served with a triangular piece of thin, really thin omelette. I feel they could be more generous with the serunding atop the egg, but other than that, definitely no complaints. They even accommodate our request for more gravy at no extra charge. There were some crispy pieces of lekor for this set.

This one here was the Nasi Rendang Tok. Tender succelent pieces of beef cooked in a concoction of herbs that went down well with the white rice. Compared to the chicken set, this one looks less, but it was still filling.

The accompanying soup daging (beef soup) was done just nice as well with bits and pieces of beef in it. On the side was a piece of otak-otak, that, was just mediocre.

This was the platter of dessert that came with the promotion, baked whole banana with brown sugar and grated white coconut as toppings. It was called Special Pisang Bali, and initially what came to my mind when I saw the word Bali in it was the fine coconut shavings. This brought back good memories of our holiday in that lovely island couple of years back where we were served fresh fruits in the morning at our home stay, and you guessed it, the fruits were served with shreds of fresh coconut. I would have given this dessert plate a two thumbs up if Laksa Shack had chose a riper banana because this one we had was slightly sourish and hard in the middle.
Still, it was a lovely meal with loved ones.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Raya Celebrations

We "celebrated" raya with a feast at TCM (of course it is not Traditional Chinese Medicine but Teo Chew Meng). Feast because we ordered way too much food for just the two of us, which resulted in the curry being doggie-bagged home. Given the choice of ordering two dishes or three, I would opt for the latter despite it being an excess situation. Reason being that if only two dishes were ordered, it will be like eating dish one, then dish two, and back to dish one again and so on and so forth, how boring, right?

Teo Chew Meng has a few branches in different locations, but most of the chains served only limited items. They only carry their signature dishes - Mee Sua Tau, Tom Yam, Porridge and some side dishes such as Kerabu, 3-flavour oysters to name a few. That is not the star of today's post, so I shall not focus on that.

This particular one that we went has more than their signature dishes, it serves fresh seafoods as well. Fresh meaning the restaurant has those big fish tanks that houses the live seafood for their customer's selction. This was our second visit to this outlet, and boy were we surprised when one of the personnel there recognised us. He said aptly that this was our second time there, and that caught us really big eyed!! Such good photographic memory of that guy...amazing because it was at least a good six months ago. Sure left a very good impression to their customer for their personal touch, or was it us that left a good impression on him in the first place to be remembered this way!? I could have gone a step further to test him if he remembered what dishes we ordered, but he was saved by my rumbling stomach, hahha..

The braised peanuts as appetiser, nice!! A lot of places offer those hard shantung peanuts, but this braised version is a gem, and much to our preference.

You know how most zhu-char places will start the dishes rolling by recommending fish to their customer and they do not differ here either. I guess the profit margin is very high for fish, that's why the 'motivation'. We managed to steer clear of that on the excuse that we can't possibly finish one whole fish by ourselves, no matter how small the size is.
Then came the next hurdle - prawns. Ah, that also not our cup of tea because it's we were eyeing their crabs. So we just jumped straight into crabs, the meaty version. There were a few methods of preparation for crabs, and we thought to try them "Baked with Marmite". The person who took our order hesitated when he heard that and he recommended another style, "Spicy and Sour". We trusted his words, so it was Spicy and Sour Crabs for us then. As there was a minimum order of 2 crabs, we went for it tho I would very much prefer to have one bigger crab because then, there would be more meaty compared to two smaller ones. This dish came up to be RM32, priced at RM5 per 100g. As crabs are always served last, so the corresponding photo was the last one, at the very bottom of this write-up. We were not disappointed at all - the crabs were indeed very fresh, the tell-tale sign being the meat dislodges from the shell easily.
Next is the Venison Curry which came boiling hot in a claypot. The gravy was very flavourful, but the meat was more on the tough chewy side. At RM15, it was a reasonably price to pay for such a big serving.

The last dish we had was "Beancurd with Brinjal and Seafood". An excellent choice because we get our greens here as well. This RM12 dish came with prawns and squids as well, and a generous dose at that!

At a total bill of RM71 odd, we went back satisfied and happy. Now expect to see the left-over curry featured in either the following bento or muffin tin meal. Stay tuned!