Saturday, June 19, 2010

kissA Koyotei Cafe

Last Sunday, we wanted to have Japanese food for lunch, and this Kiss-A-Koyotei Cafe came to mind. I had seen this place before, the few times we parked near the foodcourt of New World Park, but each time, it just slipped my mind to try it out. Finally the day came and we managed to check them out. What's even better was that for the month of June, they have Unagi promotion for 2 items. One was Unagi Don for a reduced price of RM18 from the usual RM24.

The appetiser was onion omelette, which came as a surprise to us because we didn't expect it at all. Nice touch from the restaurant!

Hot Ocha and Iced Ocha

Dh's order of Katsu Curry Rice that came with a generous serving and the pork slices were tender on a bed of rice. And then there's the red pickled radish that adds to the colour to this dish. Overall, we enjoyed this a lot.

Okonomiyaki Mix with octopus, shrimp and chicken. At RM24, this was a huge serving as well and can get quite filling with the bits of crunchy cabbage in the mixture. The plentiful of bonito flakes as garnishing on top of this Osaka style Okonomiyaki was so inviting, don't you agree?

The Unagi Kayabaki, at RM22 came as a full portion when normally it is only half. This is the other item in their June 2010 promotion which was simply so irresistable, we just got to order it. No regrets at all, those tender pieces of unagi were grilled to perfection that it's like melting on the tongue once in the mouth.

Overall, this was a fantastic Japanese food outlet with great food. Excellent ambience as well with their bright orange decoration.

Vegetarian Cheese

I was introduced to this brand of sliced cheddar cheese by a vegetarian friend, thanks CK! Of course, curiosity led me try it - Bon Appetit 100% Vegetarian Australian Processed Cheese using vegetarian rennet as starter culture. Taste wise, it is not any different from the usual non-vegetarian ones I normally use. So far I've only eat it as it is, haven't tried baking with it. If I get round to do that, shall post here to share.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bento #147 100611

This bigger box of bento was an exact replica of Bento #146, just arranged slightly differently. Oh, there's also the addition of potato chips and sauces as this square bento box was big enough for me to add that in as extras. As this was a double-decker wholemeal sandwich, I had to use this extra large bento box, else there was no room for anything else. Believe me you, I had tried to put this double sandwich in a few bento boxes before deciding to go for this.

Fruits were 3 halves of strawberry surrounding one big juicy one. On impulse, I also decided to skewer the blueberries on the foodpicks and while playing with cutters, I decided to go for this penguin!

Bento #146 100611

Managed to finish the loaf of Gardenia Wholemeal Bread with this sandwich bento. Ingredients to the sandwich were the same as previous bentos starring ham.
The silicon container housed a mixture of fresh fruits, namely mango, strawberry and blueberries.
With a gap left on the far left corner, I added in a Mint-flavour Kit Kat.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Station 1 Cafe @ Queensbay Mall Penang

Another food outlet added to Queensbay Mall on the ground floor just next to Starbucks at the North Wing. It occupies a rather big floorspace, with one shoplot and extended outside for alfresco dining as well. We went just after the lunch crowd, so it wasn't as packed. And boy was the air conditioner powerful, it was freezingly cold despite the hot weather. Service can definitely be improved because when we asked what's their Wifi password, the waitress gave us a blank look and said that she doesn't know. Funny thing was, she didn't even take the initiative to find out from her other colleagues. We could at least have expected that than just giving us negative as the answer. Well, let's move on to the food.

Black Pepper Grilled Chicken Rice at RM 12.90 was quite pleasant. The serving was quite huge, what's with the skewer of sausage and cucumber and tomato slices. Not to mention, there's the egg garnishing atop the rice.

Chicken Maryland at RM15.90 came with a lot of side dishes, namely coleslaw, corn on a cob and special salad sauce. The aforementioned special salad sauce was none other than a mixture of Thai Chilli Sauce with thousand island sauce, but the spicy sweet sauce was a good change from the normal mushroom sauce or black pepper sauce. Glad that we pick this sauce out of the three choices. Chicken wise, it tasted like pre-fried ready and just heated up upon order, definitely not good! And where's the banana fritter that is supposedly to be present to make the this platter merry?
Not a place that I would visit again for their mediocre service and average food. So much for a first time experience.

Bento #145 100610

Another sandwich bento, but using wholemeal bread slices instead
Also using ham plus cheese, cucumber, tomato and lettuce
Skewered a slice each of cucumber and tomato as decoration
By affixing everything together using 2 flower foodpicks
The usual 2 packets of sauce so that sandwich won't get soggy
As compared to the situation whereby the sauce was to be added in while preparation
2 strawberry halves plus a fistful of blueberries

Bento #144 100609

A croissant sandwich with ham, cheese and tomoto
"Elephant" on chunky cinnamon-sugar covered banana
2 packets of sauce for the croissant sammy

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Canton-I's Smooth Congee

This, was a huge big bowl of congee and was sufficient for 2 pax. It's called the Canton-I Supreme Congee, and though we had been eyeing it for quite some time now, we decided to tick this item in the order chit to satisfy our curiosity. It was delightfully smooth with lots of goodies swimming in the thick gluey congee, namely fresh scallops, abolone slices, prawns and bird's nest. Of course, the bird's nest was just a tiny blob. At RM38, we sure had to savour each and every drop without wasting. If I was sitting in a corner, I would have licked the bowl as well (just kidding).

And to go with the yummy Supreme Congee, we had these plate of Deep-Fried Silver Fish. Each piece of silver fish was coated with batter then deep fried till crispy, then given a quick stir-fry with some chilli and salt, making this a wondering snack to go with beer. The silver fish was huge, thus it was not all flour as we really get a good bite of the silver fish with each piece. This snack platter was RM12.

Deep-fried Silver Fish, a good match for the Canton-I's Supreme Congee, just like how ikan bilis goes very well with porridge. Not a perfect simile, but you get the picture?!?

Chicago Rib House Gurney Plaza Penang

The latest addition to the row of alfresco dining experience at Gurney Place, Chicago Rib House. It was always packed every time we drop by for a visit, and for the one month since their opening, we had been there 4 times. This shows how much we are in love with their food, of course, each time we ordered different items because we were simply on a mission to check out what they offer in their extensive menu. Sadly they are still not serving pizza yet, shall keep waiting and asking (in a way, bugging them to hurry up!).

Featured here was what we had during our second visit, their Beef Burger that came with a huge serving of shoe-lace french fries. Patty was good, done excellently without being too dry, and look at the luscious cheese enveloping the beef patty, ain't that a sight to behold?!?

We only had this that was shared between the two of us as it was tea time, an in between meal, so we don't want to go too heavy. In fact, burger for tea time is quite heavy, what's more an american burger. By the way, we had this with their Take-A-Break promotion where a cup of South American Coffee was going for only RM0.95, definitely a steal, if you ask me.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bento #143 100529

A bento of jumbo sausage - smoked beef flavour atop an omelette. And then there was a red tomato, cut into quarters. Beside the blue container of banana chunks with cinnamon sugar was a casing of sauces to go with the egg and sausage.

Mango Mille Crepe

I still remember I wanted to checked this Mille Crepe from the famous shop in Melaka, but it happened to be closed for that particular day. As luck would have it, I didn't get a chance to try it till end of last year when someone started to sell it here in Penang and from what I heard, this person is selling exactly the same thing as that Melaka shop as he ventured out on his own. The one I tried was Cappuccino flavour if not wrong, and it was ordered for a friend's birthday by another friend at a party.

Though I had been wanting to try other flavours that online shop has, I was hindered by the size, it's a whopping 9", far too big for our consumption unless we want to gain a few kilograms. I didn't think I would be able to make it on my own until the May 2010 issue of Flavours magazine featured it. And then, call it coincidence or not, I chanced upon this lady's blog post, so I decided to give this a shot. Her blog is all in Mandarin, but the photo was tempting and my hands were itching to try. I was convinced that this wasn't as difficult as it looked, despite the layers after the hands-on experience I had. In fact, I got it all done in an hour, 60 minutes flat.

The tricky part was more on assembling, but once I got the hang of it, everything went smoothly without glitch. I tell you, the waiting time to let the cake set was more taxing to me than making it, because I couldn't wait to slip the knife into the soft layers to savour my very own Mango Mille Crepe.

Mille Crepe Batter (this is half recipe for 6 inches end-product)
150g All purpose flour
3nos. egg (I used size A)
500ml milk (I used UHT low fat milk)
50g butter, melted

1/ Sift the flour into a bowl, then make a well in the centre.
2/ Stir together eggs and milk in a jug and pour this in the flour.
3/ Once the flour, eggs and milk combined, add in the melted butter.
4/ Strain the mixture and leave it covered in the fridge overnight to relax the gluten.
5/ The next day, heat up a non-stick pan, then scope a ladle of batter onto the pan and swirl till evenly coated.
6/ Flip over to cook the other side, then slide the cooked crepe onto a plate to cool.

* I got 800ml out of the above recipe, and managed to get 20 thin layers of crepe, so it worked out to be 40ml per piece of crepe for me.

* I slide the crepe on cake board to let it cool down piece by piece before stacking as I was afraid they might stick together if I stack them while still hot. As the crepe was thin, it takes a minute or two only to cool down, so using 3 cake boards, I managed to do the rounds. That is, at the 4th crepe, I would transfer the 1st crepe onto a plate, then slide the 4th crepe onto the cake board that was previously occuped by the 1st crepe.

Mille Crepe Filling
150g fresh mango puree
150g whipped non-dairy cream
2.5tbsp concentrated mango juice (omitted because I don't have this at home)

1/ Mix both together till homogenous, then keep aside for spreading onto each layer of crepe.
2/ Place one piece of crepe on cake board, spread the filling, then place a second piece of crepe onto of the filling. Continue till the last piece of crepe, then put the mille crepe into the cake box to chill for at least 2 hours before consumption.

* I should have added icing sugar when whipping the non-dairy cream in lieu of the concentrated mango juice but as I was using whipped cream which was previously whipped and frozen, I couldn't do that without deflating the whipped cream. Thus my Mango Mille Crepe was faintly sweet only. Alternatively, could have added the icing sugar when blending the fresh mango into puree.

I find the height of the Mango Mille Crepe just nice for me, shall attempt with other flavours soon.

Pandan Three Layer Tea

This was an outdated post, wasn't aware of it till I was flipping through the photo folders that I have yet to highlight this tea. Also another three layer tea, but instead of palm syrup, this one used pandan syrup instead. That somewhat explains the dark green colour at the bottom of the glass.

After mixing and taking a sip, I find that I preferred the other one more because this Pandan Three Layer Tea tasted a bit raw (courtesy of the pandan) and the colour also was a bit off. Imagine drinking something brownish green, or greenish brown. Guess tea and pandan don't gel well, in my opinion.

Double Good Restaurant, Juru Auto-City

One wet evening, we ventured out not knowing where to head to for dinner but since we wanted to go to the bank, we went in that direction following the highway. Suddenly as I glanced up, this blinking signage caught my sight and I remembered I had been wanting to bring dh there since I dined at their main outlet donkey years ago, way before 2006.

This Double Good Restaurant that we went that night was their branch, and it was much more spacious than the single shoplot that I went to. It wasn't crowded as well since it was a weekday and we had ample choice on where we would like to be seated. We chose the window seat with sofa since that was the smallest table whereas the rest of the seating arrangements were meant for 10pax, you know, the group dinner sort of arrangement.

Double Good Restaurant offers 2 types of menu currently, ala carte or set dinner. Flipping through both, we couldn't decide at all since there was no pictorial guide to give us an idea of the dishes. All I know is that I wanted their famed signature dish - Indonesian Prawn. So we decided on their set dinner which has that as an item, easy as that. Within that set, there's a vegetable dish, meat dish and the curry prawn, with drinks, rice and soup thrown in. Priced at RM44.80, this set dinner can serve 2-3 pax, but greedy us, we ordered a Sizzling Tofu Dish that was at the bottom right of this photo collage.

The only choice we had to make was what green we wanted for the stir-fry vegetable with garlic, and we opted for yau-mak. That was ok, not overdone till limp.
Now to the star of the night, the Indonesian Prawn. Came served in a claypot to retain the warmth, the gravy was thick with salted fish and dried shrimps within. It tasted as good as I remembered it to be with four big prawns. I'm sure it is great to go with bread as well to soak up the gravy.
The meat dish we had was Black-Pepper Ostrich, that was served in a hot-plate. Not much slices of meat within the sea of dark gravy that was over-shrouded with onion rings and some slivers of green capsicum though.
Service was prompt, food was good and served hot, which made the dining out experience great. Total outlay was RM57 after taking into account the 5% service charge.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Day The Bear Meets The Dragon

Been sometime I didn't feature dh's coffee creation, and while perusing the photos folder, found these two recent cuties to share.

The grizzly bear

And hail the Dragon!

Honey Chicken Wings

This chicken wings dish was inspired by Jen's Kitchen Diary. The glossy look of the pieces of chicken wings in her blog was so tempting, I just had to replicate it in my home.

The result was superb, and best of all, only a short cooking time needed. Another first for me, the cooking method used I mean. I would say it was quite similar to braising, or may be a more accurate term sauce reduction? Anyway, now let the photo do the talking.

500g chicken wings (about 7 pieces of full wings)
1/2 tsp salt
3 shakes of black pepper
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp paprika *I omitted this*
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp cooking wine *I used Shao Xing*
1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1/ Rinse chicken wings then add the marinates and place in fridge for at least 2 hours.
2/ Heat up wok with 2 tbsp oil over medium fire, pan fry till chicken wings are evenly brown on both sides.
3/ Combine sauce ingredients together in a pot and bring it to a boil.
4/ Add chicken wings to the pot of sauce then lower the fire and let the wings cook till water dries up without covering the pot.
5/ Remove the chicken wings and serve.
Please help yourself to a piece of these finger-licking-good chicken wings.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bento #142 100525

Quite a wholesome bento, in fact, a rather heavy one as breakfast. Of course, that would also mean a longer preparation time, think I took 20 minutes to pack this.

Steamed RICE Cake

Made this at the spur of the moment while flipping the pages of Alex Goh's latest book. Very happy with the result as in I got the big smile on the Steamed Rice Cake, and that in turn, reflected as a bigger smile grin on my silly face. Taste wise, I didn't quite like it as I was after the cottony soft texture. But this was one of the easiest simpliest recipe I had seen that yields the 'huat' factor.

I made 2 batches (ya, despite only 6 pieces) because I used my biggest pot to do the steaming and each time, I can only fit 4 pieces maximum. Funnily though, the first batch gave me a 4-split at the top, while the second time round, I got a 3-split only.

I did half a recipe only just to try out, so listed here, all the ingredients were halved:
160ml water
60g castor sugar
2 blades of pandan leaf - knotted and bruised *I added this, was not in the original recipe*
100g rice flour (Erawan brand)
30g plain flour
1tsp double-action baking powder

Batter volume = 300ml
Made 6 pieces

I also did some changes to the method as I wanted to incorprate the fragrance of pandan into this.
1/ Bring water, sugar and pandan leaves to a boil till sugar is dissolved, then leave this to cool.
2/ In a big bowl, mix rice flour, plain flour and double-action baking powder together.
3/ Add the syrup solution to the flour, then sieve this.
4/ Pour into cupcake mould lined with paper liner and fill till 90% full.
5/ Steam in a pre-heated steamer for 15 minutes on medium fire.
6/ Leave to cool completely before consumption.
* I can still detect the hint of the baking powder despite adding the pandan leaf.

Adapted from Alex Goh's , page 54

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Recipe: Easy No Bake Char Siew

While blog-hopping, chanced upon Table for 2's recipe called "No Bake Char Siew". The list of ingredients was minimal, thus I set out to give it a shot! Thanks Wendy for your easy recipe.

This was what we had for dinner, Char Siew with rice plus some fresh vegetables to go with the thick syrupy sweet char siew sauce. Despite no marination needed, the Char Siew was flavourful, and oh, did I mention, fast to do as well? All in all, I only took 1 hour to transform the fresh meat into yummy strips of char siew.

600g skinless pork belly [I used 400g]
2tbsp Lee Kum Kee light soy sauce
1tbsp Lee Kum Kee dark soy sauce
1tbsp Chinese Rose Wine (Mei Gwei Lu)
100g water
3tbsp sugar

1/ Arrange the pieces of pork belly flat in a heavy based pot.
2/ Put in soy sauces, salt and rose wine, then add enough water to cover pork belly.
3/ Bring to a boil and lower heat to smallest flame before covering pot to simmer belly for 30 minutes.
4/ Flip to simmer the other side of the pork belly.
5/ Check for doneness after 20 minutes to see whether the pork fat has turned softer. Else simmer for another 10 minutes.
6/ When pork belly has slightly softened, turn to high heat and add in sugar.
7/ Remove pot cover and cook until gravy is greatly reduced to a syrupy consistency before turning off the heat. *Be careful when reducing gravy, it'll burn easily due to the high sugar content.*
8/ Leave char siew in pot to cool down. When char siew has totally cooled down, some oil can be seen and the gravy's consistency is that of thick honey.
9/ Slice char siew (ONLY when cool because if it is still hot, meat will crumble).
Dh found this char siew good, but he suggested trying to char those edges a bit because those were the precious part he likes. Will try this recipe and give it a light roast in the oven to burn the edges.

This is how Chinese Rose Wine (Mei Gwei Lu) looks like, it is a clear spirit. The bottle in which it came was cute as well, reminds me of those kungfu movies where the kungfu master will drink this to get drunk and high before executing his moves.

The other 2 helpers in making this easy fuss-free char siew.