Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Blogging By Mail (BBM): Care Package has arrived safely

I have seen care packages being sent and received all over the world when they were featured in the blog of the recipient and yearned to participate in one, just for the fun of it. Luck was on my side, I happened to blog hop and end up at Stephanie's blog - Dispensing Happiness just in time to sign up for the Blogging By Mail event that she was organising.

The idea was to send a package to another blogger in another part of the world and in return, one gets another package shipped from somewhere else. The anticipation of waiting for the arrival of the package, the mystery of what one gets within the parcel plus the joy of seeing the recipient blog about the content of the box one sent sounded like one big ball of fun to me, so I quickly emailed Stephanie with the necessary information she requested without hesitation. This was one thing I wouldn't want to miss at all cost.

The theme for this round was Indulgences, we just need to share 5 of our favourite indulgences with the blogger we got paired of with. I had fun packing mine to send out, hopefully the recipient likes what he or she got. So after I did my part of of biding farewell to my package at the post office, all I had to do was to keep looking out for the arrival of mine. The excitement built up as each day passes, with a prayer that the care package would arrive safely.

So happy was I upon seeing this big red box greeting me all the way from U.S. of A. Thanks to my sender, Indhu for all the thoughtful items she had carefully sent my way. There was a whole box of Mini Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti, perfectly crunchy for me to indulge with my daily cuppa. I was impressed with the homemade granola also, definitely a healthy indulgence to kick start my day with such a power-packed breakfast item.

And then there's the tea bags with jasmine pearls, ain't they pretty its individual packaging? Last but not least, the bag of assorted Belgian Chocolate Mini Bar which I shall savour slowly to make them last.

Thanks a bunch, Indhu, for taking the time to send this to me, I appreciate them very much. Nice meeting you (albeit through the cyberspace), my newfound friend.

Thanks goes to Stephanie also for hosting this great event. Count me in for the next one if it is on.

Muffin Tin Meal #31 091218

This might probably be my last muffin tin meal for the year 2009 as the year draws to a close with one more day to go. Unless I'm extra hard-working to make one tomorrow for the grand finale, , that is a big unless, you know.

A cup of Kopi Tarik from Nescafe's latest range of product, I had that with a pumpkin pau. On the bottom left corner there were some honeydew melon balls plus some mini tangerine segments topped with a single gingerbread man in red for the festival. Sitting on the pau was a Ferrero Rondnoir, the dark chocolate cousin of the better know Ferrero Rocher.

Trio Funghi Fettucine

I found a way of cooking fettucine without them sticking onto each other by utilising my square grill pan. The idea just came to me one day and the dimensioin of the pan is just nice to house the length of the pasta.

I boil the pasta in the same way I normally do, which was in salted boiling water with a bit of oil. The only hassle was to put in the fettucine stick by stick into the pan in a criss-cross way. Once I finished putting in all the fettucine I need to cook, I let the whole thing boil for awhile to soften the pasta. Then I transfer them into a pot and put the cover on. That's the only extra step because I do not have a cover for this pan, thus the need to pour the content into the pot.

Now I also found a short cut, which was to cook more pasta for my next day's lunch and just reheating it by dunking it into a pot of boiling water without the fire on. The heat from the water will soften the pasta once again and be ready for consumption. Much faster and energy saving than cooking a fresh batch.

My simple lunch for one of Trio Funghi Fettucine, a drink and a snack. This Yan Yan biscuit stick is different from the normal ones with chocolate dipping, there's this compartment for some colourful sprinkles.

Bacon Chicken Wings

I bought some extra bacon while shopping for the barbeque I had a few posts back with the intention on doing this. I chose streaky bacon to wrap around the chicken wings and it was extremely easy to prepare, just need to secure the ends with some tooth-picks so that the bacon won't unravel.

No seasoning was necessary as the bacon was salty and flavourful on its on, and since it was wrapped around the wings, the flavour rubbed off onto the chicken wing's skin.

Before baking, the tray was full.

After 45 minutes in the oven, see how much the wings had shrunk. And noticed the bacon has turned crispy?

Verdict: An extremely easy to prepare finger food but a tad oily to our palate. It is because we are not used to eating chicken wing as most of the time, we consume chicken breast at home. Once in a while of high-cholestrol food, who's complaining? The aroma emitting from the oven was beyond this world, I just couldn't wait to sink my teeth into them. Was hoping that the forty minutes would go by faster, hahah..
If I were to repeat it next time, I would poke the chicken wings here and there abit and marinate them slightly with say, some barbeque sauce so that at least there's some layers of taste to the meat other than the skin.
Must thank this lady at Kel's place for sharing, that's where I got the recipe from although I didn't follow it 100%.

Starbucks' Christmas Party 2009

This year's Christmas Party by Starbucks was held at their Island Plaza outlet. The one we attended last year hosted by this same manager was in New World Park, so yes, we were invited to this exclusive party with special pass. There is also another party that Starbucks organise in their calendar called Summer Party but I shall save that for another story.

Back to this year's celebration, as usual there were games and prizes to be won before attacking the food. Choices of food leaned towards sweet stuff but quantity certainly has improved. Think they learnt as the year goes along to up the quantity so that there is sufficient food to go round, in fact, there were some leftovers after all the guests had filled their plates.

I just took a quick snap of the food, as you can see, they were still under wraps, so please pardon the reflections of light. For the first photo, it was the Blueberry Cheese Muffin on the left while the Strawberry Jam Sugar Donut was on the right.

Next tray housed the only savoury item for the evening, Sausage Croissant. To its right was the Ipanema, a yummy chocolate sponge sandwiching the white chocolate and milk chocolate layers.

This fifth tray contained both our personal favourite, an item they introduced for this year's Christmas. The croissant needs no introduction.

Last but not least, their Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin.

Some Iced Chai as drinks.

We had a wonderful evening of merriment in the spirit of yuletide, all thanks to the Starbucks staff who planned and pulled this off so well.

Never getting bored with Canton-I

Simply love this place, none other than Canton I for their wonderful food array with quality plus excellent service. Ever once in a while I will miss this place and so there we went to satisfy our cravings. By now, we still have yet to exhaust all the items on the menu but slowly we are getting there.

The Sunday before last saw us dining there again, this time for lunch. Ya, undeniably, we haunt Queensbay Mall almost every weekend, all thanks to such wonderful outlets like Borders, Jaya Jusco, Canton I, Kim Gary, Swensens, Taiwan Bull and Starbucks. Parking is cheap here compared to the other mall worth going in Penang, which is the Gurney Plaza. With so many attractive factors, naturally we get attracted to here.

We were caught by surprise during this visit when the person taking our order asked if we would like to try their Roasted Pigeon. They just recently introduced this in their menu, so we said "Why not?". At RM15, we got 4 pieces, oh actually, 5 pieces, but the head is not edible, so I count that as 4 pieces to be consumed. Excellent choise, the pigeon was tender and got us licking our fingers to savour every bit of it.

Didn't realise I shot the back of the pigeon until I was downloading it. Here's another picture of it, but a half eaten one.

I had my noodles, for a change, I tried the dry version with stir-fried spicy roasted pork belly. Wah, this one really damn good, no joke.

The must-have of 3 types of meat, from top to bottom: Roasted Pork Belly, Roast Duck & Char Siew.

Dh had his usual porridge which I didn't take a photo of since it's not something new. He likes the smooth congee there while I without fail will go for their noodle.

This Crispy Duck Popiah was nice, crunchy on the outside with lots of filling. Would have been wonderfully tasty if not for being slightly on the salty side.

Durian fritters which we liked since our very first virgin visit but after we got a not so sweet durian filling on our second time ordering this, we had been staying off this till now. I made sure I checked with the manager on the quality and taste of the king of fruit first before placing our order. By now, we have sorta became a regular to them, so she was ok with my particular request.
This is another place we always leave on a high note. Doesn't need explanation why it's on our list, in fact, topping that favourite list even.

WAH, 6 years already?

How time flies, just can't help the cliche, but it is so true, that statement.
We just had a mini celebration at Sakae Teppanyaki when initially I had in mind to check out another place called KhunThai for you-guessed-it, Thai food. Save that for another day then, Jap food is the tall order for the day.

Below were just some items we had, and I regret not capturing the photo of the beef that we had. It was excellently cooked to the doneness we wanted and still juicy pink. Yum yum, that explains why camera was the last thing on my mind as I tucked into the food with a hungry stomach.

This udon was quite nice eventhough I ordered wrongly, or more like I wanted to order the very same item that the patrons at next table was having, but I didn't know it was a different one from the one I pointed. Their udon came wrapped with an omelette, much like omurice.

This japanese curry was served with tealight underneath to heat it, and it came with the tempura set. Again, blame my hungry stomach, I didn't capture the whole photo but just the japanese curry. I like the way the tempura was dipped into this boiling hot curry, but towards the end, the japanese curry sort of dried off a bit because of evaporisation taking place. Should have blown out the tealight once the japanese curry reached boiling point, must keep that in mind.

The tempura to be eaten with the piping hot japanese curry, heavenly!

A banana dish that caught my attention from their specials' menu, done ala teppanyaki. Some sake was drizzled over it just before this was served topped with a sprinkle of both white and black sesame seeds.

Ah, the tofu cheesecake which I read about from some blogs previously. I still can remember I was divided between picking this or taking the goma cheesecake a couple of visits ago. Both were equally inviting, so I let dh chose and he ordered the later. Thus now, we were trying the tofu cheesecake. Personally I felt that the texture was not as smooth as the Black Sesame CheeseCake we had, but at least I fulfilled my curiosity.

Some items I wanted to try but ran out were the tofu burger and stewed beef brisket. Must make sure to go earlier next time to avoid ramming up the disappointment avenue.

Another Kim Gary

We had a late lunch at Kim Gary on Sunday the 13th, and lucky for us, we checked it out during the in-between hours as the lunch crowd was thinning, and not so long after we had our orders taken, the crowd began to form for tea time.

I tried this Shanghai noodles with their dumpling. The last visit we had something similar to this, but instead of the Shanghai noodles, we had the instant noodle. I liked their dumpling, which my niece dubbed as tasting abit like chai-koay because it contains chives. The chili oil that came along with this was superb, so much so that we requested for a lot more because the noodles were a tad flat in taste. Also, it was a bit soggy, so with the chili oil, it made this bowl of food more pleasing to the taste bud.

My other half went for their Seafood Rice, I don't have the exact name for this as it was eaten 17 days ago. It was superbly done, drawing praises from both of us. That's the attraction of Kim Gary, over here, good food goes hand in hand with low prices, the best combination.

Starwalk 2009 and a book

Glad that we managed to go for this yearly event once again. We missed it last year and surely it was good to be back. Not sure the changes I noticed was put into place last year since we didn't attend that one, but compared this year to the one we last joined, now there's 2 starting point for the different categories of competition and non-competition. As we parked our vehicle at the ending venue, it was quite a fair distance for us to walk to the starting line. Nevermind, extra mileage means extra calories burnt, that I certainly welcome.

Since we were in the vicinity of Queensbay Mall, it went without saying that after the Starwalk, that was where we loitered. I had an aim, which was to finish reading the latest Mitch Albom's book titled "Have A Little Faith". I like all his books, though they were kind of morbid, but his style is superb in writing about such matters. I started reading his first book "Tuesdays With Morrie" and from then on, I had been following him for all his subsequent books till this latest 4th. They had been touching, each and every one of the book.

So with a croissant, a cuppa and a book in hand, life is indeed very good. Mission accomplished as I flipped the last page of the book, yahoo!

12th Anniversary Gold Rush by Secret Recipe

12-December-2009 was the day Secret Recipe celebrated its 12th anniversary and to commemorate the occassion, they were having some promotion on whole cakes and set meals. There were quite good deals, but as we can't possibly finished a whole cake by ourselves without tipping the weighing machine, we 'participated' the joyous day by ordering their Noodle Tom Yam Soup set which came with a glass of iced lemon tea.

This was delicious but as my chili tolerance is not on par with this, it set my tongue to flames almost immediately. But it was addictive, so how? I quickly grab the sachet of sugar on the table meant for their hot drinks, pour out the content into this hot sourish soup and giving it a few stir and top with some warm water, wah, I managed to finish this whole bowl till the last drop. The sugar mellowed the spiciness, so it was my rescuer, hahah..

I also took the opportunity to try their Durian CheeseCake, also another winner to me. Compared to the other variety of cake with durian in it, also by Secret Recipe, dh likes the other one while I prefer this. This also managed to tame my tongue back to normal, so I'm happy overall and afterall with this meal.

Coob Coffee, Komtar Walk in Penang

The few times I drove past Komtar Walk, I told myself I wanted to check that place out but somehow, that didn't materialise till 2.5 weeks ago, thanks to an event that we joined. Our participation in this event in conjunction with Human Rights Day organised by DAPSY Penang, which was a Bicycle Ride & Leaflet Distribution ended at Komtar Walk, so that was how we found ourselves there on a beautiful Saturday morning.

This Cycling for Human Rights' event started from Chai Leng Park over at Butterworth side, then passed by Chain Ferry Road before boarding the ferry to get over to Penang Island and from there, the group headed towards Komtar after regrouping with another team that joined from the island side.

And so happened, there was this new cafe that started its business on that day with a very unique name - Coob Coffee. It serves Japanese style freshly brewed coffee plus some japanese foods and snacks to accompany that cuppa, but as it's their first day of operation, food was not ready till lunch time. Though I was very keen to give them a shot, it was not feasible because we simply can't cycle home with a full stomach, what's more under the hot afternoon sun. So we only managed to try their coffee, a latte.

The interior has a minimalist approach and though simple, it has an inviting feel. I'm gonna bookmark this place for a revisit when we head down to town to try their other items on the menu, especially the japanese coffee. There were other cafes and new eateries that we would like to check out as well as this place is so new, best of all, it's alfresco style with shades in the heart of the city. We just need to find the (precious) time, my oh my.

Crunchy Cheese Bites Dip-licious from Pizza Hut

After the Koay Teow Th'ng we had featured in the post before this, we headed to the mall for some shopping and "free" air-cond. There was the Popular Book Fair at Megamall that caught my attention when we drove past it earlier in the day, so off we went to see if we can catch some good bargains. Good choice, I managed to grab some cookbooks originally priced at RM60 at only RM9.90 each, isn't it a steal?? That shall count as 2009 Christmas presents for myself, cheap and good.

Initial plan was to head home to order Domino's delivery as we wanted to try their latest promotion of pizza using puff crust. But since we play by ear, we were hungry by the time we almost got done with our shopping so in the end, we went to Pizza Hut instead. The latter also has something new for us, the Crunchy Cheese Bites Dip-licious. With such a long name, surely it must be interesting so that was what we ordered. Each bite was filled with 3 types of cheese, namely Parmesan, Cheddar and Mozzarella, topped with crunchy cornflake. This was served with a jalapeno cheese dip in the middle which I expected to come on a small fondue set with a tealight underneath to heat it up. As usual, the promotion leaflet shows one thing while the food served is another picture altogether. What came with our pizza was using a plastic container and yes, you guessed it right, no tealight was in sight. What a disappointment to start off with, but well, gotta appease the growling stomach to some food rather than be upset with the presentation.

We also ordered their Cheese Baked Rice which err on the dry side. We ended up eating the rice with some mushroom soup, at least that made it more palatable.

The add-on item we had was the Sweet & Spicy Wings. I felt that this was simply those freezer-to-fryer type of food that was slathered with some sweet and spicy sauce, so nothing to shout about here.

Overall, this was not too bad an experience for us at Pizza Hut as we had lots of hiccups previously at their other branches. I would say we dined there out of convenience more than anything else.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

7 Village Koay Teow Th'ng

Told you upright that last week was filled with food, lots and lots of it. Since I just had my lunch, I better quickly get down to the task of posting them else I myself would be hungry looking at them. Well, I have a problem here, wonder if there's a remedy for it? Looking at food photos will make me reach out for some food to fill my growling stomach when I'm hungry eventhough I can supress and ignore the appetite when not seeing them, in an attempt to cut my calories. For now, I know my will power is weak, so my temporary solution would be to blog after a full stomach. What to do, till I strengthen my resolve to control the monster within.

Err..where was I? OH, after the bbq, we were so tired that we had a very good slumber till 10am+. Those chores of cleaning up the porch, washing up the utensils and what-nots plus mopping the floor coupled with re-arranging the furniture to its original position sure exhausted us badly, thus requiring the more amount of Vitamin Z. After we woke up we were still lazing around in bed, reluctantly dragging ourselves from it after god knows how long.

So after a shower to shake off the laziness in us, we head out for lunch. Been wanting to check out this place, it's a new outlet from their original shop in Raja Uda, 7 Village Noodle House. They serve mainly Koay Teow Th'ng and some other small snack items in the maiden venue we went to couple of years back, but this branch had more to offer. Not sure if the one in Raja Uda has upgraded their menu, we welcomed the idea of having more choices, one thing for sure.

This outlet is quite spacious, taking up a corner lot and it has 3 sitting areas, one al-fresco and another with a/c. We chose the shop front because the tables with air-conditioning looked cramped and stuffy to me because it was lunch hour, the peak period.

Our meal started off with this lobak, with a touch of chili sauce in the form of the character "7" in mandarin.
Then came the Koay Teow Th'ng, average only.

This dry ramen caught our attention while checking out their menu, but the price of RM5.70 made me blink my eyes in disbelief. Ouch for the price, we were glad we tried this, it was finger chopstick licking good. The amount of ingredients such as slices of seared pork and a half-boiled egg made the price justifiable. The addition of the egg made the gravy thicker and that, coated the QQ ramen very well. It would have been a wonderful sight if not for the messy sides of the bowl.

Another side lines we ordered, the crispy duck. Eating it was a breeze because it was boneless, and the sauce that came with it was special. It was honey with some ngoh-hiong powder, certainly new to me.

We would be marking this place on our eatery list, that's why I took a photo of opening hours. Ramen and cripsy duck, when shall we meet again?

BBQ 2009

It all started with a request from my niece to host a barbeque for her in celebrating her 9th birthday. However, we made a pact with her that if she make sure she remains in her class for next year, we will grant her that wish. Needless to say, she did pretty well in order not to back-slide, so a promise is a promise, she played her part and now, we shall honour our words.

This was just a small family gathering of 5 adults and 4 children, thus the fare of food prepared was not much. We started this early as well because the kids came over for a swim before the barbeque, but much as we can plan, the weather didn't cooperate despite me checking the forecast a couple of times. A few days prior to the day itself, on the actual day and the few days after also, the forecast wrote "No Rain" throughout the day for morning, evening and night. Well, guess it was fated to be a wet evening and this day counted as one that fell in the 5% in which the weather forecast was not able to predict accurately. No complaints since we had the barbeque at home, we were sheltered and the rain provided some cool respite.

Cherry tomatoes on skewer to go with the home-made thousand island dressing. I had in mind to do a creamy sweet corn mayo dressing, but it was not meant to be, no can of creamy sweet corn in the cupboard.

Because of the rain, I had to quickly deep-fry some chicken nuggets for the hungry energetic children to munch on as swimming burns quite a fair amount of energy. Lucky thing also I made a batch of Soya Sauce Chicken Wings using this recipe. This way, we just need to heat up the chicken over the amber and it ensured that the inner parts of the wings were cooked. So while waiting for the rain to stop, the adults snapped up some of these pre-cooked chicken wings. Only 2 pieces of the Soya Sauce Chicken Wings were left for me to try out this new method for the barbeque, and glad to say that it was a good method. Need to make mental note to prepare more to take into account of some pieces being eaten before they get a chance to get to the barbeque pit.

The other style of chicken wings we had was with tandoori marination. For this, we bought a pack of premix (forgot to snap photo of the packaging for the brand) and it was so easy to use, just need to add a few tablespoons of plain yoghurt to get it right. Definitely going to get another packet of tandoori mix soon. We also marinated some beef cubes in tandoori flavour to make kebabs skewered with traffic lights bell peppers, canned pineapple rings and yellow onion. Sorry no photo for that, simply delish to indulge in them that all's forgotten when it came to the camera.

Also missed snapping a shot of the pork ribs which was so succelent and done just right. The waking up early to get to the market in order to secure nice meaty ribs was well worth the effort. Of course, credit goes to the person who specialises in marinating (plus massaging) them and grilling them to perfection -> none other than hubby dearest. I bought 3 pieces of the pork ribs and gave special instruction to the butcher to leave them at their length, which was about 30cm each, so eating them means involving all fingers. Yummy, yummy, YUMMY!

Other items were the must-have of bacon-bananas, this time I used back bacon so it's not as oily as streaky bacon. And then there's the pear corn-on-cob plus some garlic bread in addition to some pumpkin wedges. Our barbeque normally kicks off with sausages, then the wings before being followed by the red meats because by the time we get to the ribs, the fire would be just nice. That's the barbeque-r's secret. *wink*
As snacks, I served some corn chips to go with beef chilis. Sunquick cordial drink for the kids while beers were for the above 18.
That wraps up the nice cosy family event we had on December 10th.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Of Hot Plate Rice and KFC's Hot Rods

We kinda fall in love with one stall in particular at the newly opened food court in Sunway Carnival Mall's basement, so barely less than a month since our first last visit there, we went again. While we had the the Sweet Sour Chicken that time, now we opted for the Black Pepper Chicken instead. This was so good, no words would be able to describe it to give it justice. One simply has got to taste it for yourself.

This on the other hand, was such a BIG disappointment. It should be more aptly called Hard Rocks instead, tasted so hard like rocks, yucks!!! It certainly wasn't hot to begin with, so what Hot Rods, so baffling. Only consolation was the sauce that made it at least bearable, a complete waste of money - there goes my RM4.35 before tax.

Lao Jie Chang Kopitiam

Had dinner at Old Town Kopitiam last Wednesday, ya, after tea time at Secret Recipe. Both eateries were just opposite each other, each occupying a corner lot at the mall we went to. Of course we didn't have them after one between, we went to do some grocery shopping.

His choice of Chicken Char Siew Rice, very awesomely wholesome. All thumbs up for this.

Her choice of Curry Mee, so spicy, ouch!!! Notice the same topping of char siew used in all our 3 main items?

Lum Mee which was Yum Mee per Old Town Kopitiam's banner. First time trying, fair passing mark in my humble opinion.

The dessert that came with the set dinner, mango pudding. A saviour to neutralise the burning sensation on the tongue left by the fiery hot curry noodle.
Not in the photos were the drinks that we chose since they were our usual order. No point repeating, eh.