Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Coffee Break

Taking a Starbucks break from all the heavy feasting...with this Peanut Butter Creme Brulee @ RM8.50.
It was superb, a firm favourite for the time being for me at Star$ though I don't have it too often. In fact, since this (virgin) piece, I haven't had any. Not even tempted to, and let's hope I can hold my horses now that I am ramping down my food intake to prepare for a run event. Still undecided which category I am registering though I hope to go for longer distance. But 5 weeks is simply too short to prepare so means gotta shelf that for end of the year event. Hopefully I won't chicken out by then.

Back to this slice of cake, it wasn't overly sweet unlike many of the items Starbucks offer, and I can even detect Ferrero Rocher being used in the base layer. And what an awesome way to usher in the 兔年 with this, at the latest outlet of Starbucks at none other than the seafront hangout place of Straits Quay Marina Mall. A few other outlets which I hope will hurry up their store opening there, one of which is Delicious. Can't wait, can't wait.

洗尘 Dinner @ Canton-I

Since it was quite near CNY when we went for the above mentioned dinner, we got the chance to try out their special selections that were only available for a short period to cater to the CNY menu. There was a period of time when we dined at Canton-I pretty frequently, then we stopped. So now when we went back after a hiatus, realised that the set meals that we felt was quite worth the while was no longer available, thus the choices, sad to say, was limited as well. Honesty be told, I was quite disappointed when I found out about it minutes before the rest of the folks arrived. Too late to do anything but get on with things.

Another reason I can't back out was because when I booked the round table (the restaurant only has limited 2 of these), I also pre-ordered this Poon Choy. We opted for the set that came with Shark's Fin as it was more value for money with an additional RM110 because the Poon Choy alone was RM388.

Spot the "Money Bags" in the hot soup? It was a huge Treasure Pot indeed, filled to the brim with the choicest of ingredients and the bonus...refillable soup at no extra charge.

Let's peep further and what to you see? I was eyeing the 十头 Australian Premium Abalone, of course!

The Prosperity Abalone Treasure Pot revealed...per the brochure, there were 16 ingredients in this with total weight of 8.5 pounds. The top layer had 6 different items only, but as one digs further, more treasures were revealed. I remember the bottom most layer being yam and radish, which came in chunks. These added sweetness to the Poon Choy besides serving as a platform and structure in elevating the rest of the ingredients to the brim.

For the record, this is the excerpt from the brochure:
Australian Premium Abalone (Ten Head)
Australian Sea Cucumber
Japanese Dried Scallop
Japanese Dried Oyster
Premium Mushrooms
Pantai Remis Fresh Sea Prawn
Fish Maw
Roast Chicken
Roast Port Belly
Golden Money Bag
Black Moss
Chinese Cabbage
Tianjin Cabbage
Deep-fried Beancurd Skin

After the excitement of the above, this Abalone Thick Soup with Shark's Fin & Dried Seafood pale in comparison for two reasons. The first pot came over-salted, so we got a replacement pot which was just nice in taste. However, by the time the second pot was served, we were happily tucking into the Poon Choy that we neglected it, so we had to pack it home. So to sum it up, we didn't have a pleasant experience with Canton-I's Shark's Fin soup.

Fiery Dried Chili Chicken, one of the many dishes we ordered but I only managed to snap a photo of this and not the rest. Sure tantalised the palate HOT.

Some finger food for snacking while waiting for the Treasure Pot Poon Choy to be readied and served - Nam Yu Chicken Wings, so-so only.

The first of many bowls (two only) I had.
Overall it was a good meal with superb company, but we definitely found out another place which serves better Poon Choy after this, stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bunny Year Feasting Part I of Many

...started from the eve with Reunion Dinner, of which we had double simply because we had to go dine at both households, my parents and my inlaws, in that order. Mum's place was the traditional steamboat which I grew up with, and most families would have steamboat for reunion, as far as I know of, up until I got married and it was an eye-opener. My inlaws' reunion was ala non-steamboat, so it was dishes and rice. Plus a must-have of noodle which signifies longevity. Good thing also, at least I get varieties, but being a soup person, of course steamboat would be my choice, with lots and lots of vegetables. Ideal to lesson calories intake.

This was my contribution: Yee Sang. Presented differently this year with slight twist to the ingredients. Just don't fancy doing the same thing year in and year out. This was the plate of raw and preserved vegetables. Love the ring of carrot that lent this auspicious dish a splash of vibrant orange, else it was a sea of dull pale colours.

Photo of the Yee Sang here was with the addition of fresh salmon slivers mixed with lime juice and a wee bit of telseed oil to cut down the fishyness, and at the same time, make the fish taste smoother and more fragrant. Also added in the crushed groundnut and toasted sesame seeds, thus this definitely looked more appetising.

The rest of the ingredients which were added last, namely the Pok Choi (crispy crunchy bits in strips) and sauce mixture. Thereafter, it was tossing time using chopsticks, the higher the toss, the better. After tossing and helping ourselves to a bowl of Yee Sang each, we would heap on the crunchy strips in our individual bowl, some sort like garnishing before consumption. Taste better because this way, we can maintain the crispies else they would turn soggy too fast.

Instead of chinese pear strips, it was thin slices of chinese pear. This provided more bite and made the Yee Sang taste so much better, though presentation wise, it didn't look as appealing. It was a happy meal, that was the single most important factor, so presentable or not, it didn't quite matter.

Price of a box of Yee Sang has sky-rocketed to about +/- RM20, what a huge increase that took place from the first time I bought one, which was about RM10ish as far as my memory could recall. The perils of inflation, which no one can escape as long as one is still breathing.

BBQ December 2010: Part II of II

This was the sequel of the BBQ series, exactly one week later, and on Boxing Day. As there were little ones around, the menu was more kid's friendly. Thus the pearl corn on cob and Japanese sweet potato. This time round, we had two different flavours of chicken wings instead, and no ribs at all since our family members are small eaters unlike friends who have gastronomic appetite.

Sausages were skewered on pre-soaked satay sticks to facilitate little hands in consuming them, as they can grip better than fork. It was kinda fun for them as well because it resembles lollipop a bit, what's with the long stick. For something more solid, we had this box of beef burger patties to make up the red meat selection.

These were my kitchen helpers in the chicken wings department. I was only left with one packet of this buffalo wings marinate, so no choice, I had to combine it with another packet of different flavour. Turned out edible, but not as great because the one in greenish packaging was not that strong in taste.

The other marinade for chicken wings was done based on my gut feel. I used a bit of all the available oriental sauces in my pantry which I think can go well together. It turned out dellish, but definitely not something I can recreate because I added in some Master Sauce that had been stored and repeatedly reheated for a full-bodied flavour. That, as the name implies, definitely added some depth to the chicken wings flavour.

BBQ December 2010: Part I of II

We hosted not one but two bbq parties near the rear end of year 2010. Donkey years ago we only held one but split it into two session, the earlier slot for family members while the later half for friends. Why not combined, one may ask. Well, my parents are early birds, thus they will leave early to retire for the day while our friends are busy folks, they have multiple agendas for one day, so starting late suits their plan. Furthermore, we can chat till late at night over drinks, be it a cuppa or alcohol. Down side is that have one single party to cater to two different crowd drain us bad, we would be too tired to enjoy the whole session. We can feel our energy level dwindling fast as the night progresses. Now exhausted no more, two different parties is the ideal provided we can find the time to fit the double eating into the short December month.

Now back to the first one we hosted for friends on 19-December, a Sunday. Christmas was the season for the celebration, thus the red and green cutleries plus a wooden tag for a touch of festival.

Food wise, I made sausage kebabs for a change from the boring frankfurters. This way, I managed to incorporate vegetables into the menu without the need for another dish. Definitely balanced up the nutrients a tad of this otherwise zero-value processed food.
Chicken wings was marinated overnight for better flavour and taste. Same goes for the pork ribs, which we did in two flavours. The ribs needed more work, first was tenderising using pineapple juice but in the end, we used Coca-Cola as that was easier to buy. Then the next day, we marinated the short ribs in Guiness Stout and Barbeque sauce separately. Both came out very juicy and tender, perfectly grilled to retain their flavour. Superb if I must say. Can't really recall what other items we had, but those were the major ones. Not much photography of that night, too busy hosting and of course ~ eating.

A Cup of Abundant Wealth

So many photos for far too many blog post topics, I don't know where to start. Should I start from where I let off last year, but by the time I get to the current ones in February, it would all be stale news and history by then. Or should I start with the most current photos and go backwards in time? Hmm..I don't know.

Still reeling in lazy mode, hope this strong cuppa will perk me up and help me make the best decision as to which direction I should be heading (definitely not the bed for more Vitamin Z though I seriously need to catch up on that as well).

Meanwhile, enjoy this home-brewed Cappuccino which carried the CNY theme of "ong lai", which equates to "Bring Forth the Wealth". I know today is 5 days post Chap Goh Meh, but guess anytime of the year wealth is welcomed, not necessarily during CNY only, right?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Spring Cleaning Plus A New Look

Didn't realise it has been two solid months of no-update on this blog, even CNY had came and went. Certainly took me great effort to jump start my almost stagnant 'engine' which had been left cool for far too long an unintended period. After dusting away the virtual "cob webs", it is time for a brand new look for the Hoppy Bunny Year.

Feel dotty already?