Thursday, March 29, 2012

Good Food @ Italiannies Gurney Paragon

It was this card that brought us to our second visit to Italiannies. Our first time there was horrendous. Lucky that this card managed to set things right, and we are now more keen on going back to try the rest of the items in Italiannies' menu. Else, Italiannies would have gone down in history for us and be shortlisted on our banned restaurant list. Just kidding, not that we seriously have one list, but you know, we would be reluctant to revisit and hesitate for a long long time to come to give it another chance.


And well, this was what we chose: a huge 16" family pizza called Pizza Enorme! The big size aside, it enabled us to try 4 different flavours at one go. That means sampling 3 out of the 9 flavours they have on their pizza selection, talk about killing two birds with one stone, this one is double that effect. I know the maths don't tally - that's because one of the flavour in Pizza Enorme called Roasted Garlic is not found on the menu. Roasted garlic is not a standalone flavour in the pizza menu per se, but it's part of the ingredients in Garlic Chicken. Save that for another day.


So let us attack this enormous pizza together, come on now:
Top left quadrant we have the Beef pepperoni which is one of Italiannies' Signature. It has beef pepperoni, mozzarella cheese and shaved onions.
Moving clockwise direction, at the top right quadrant is Shrimp and Mushroom. Not quite the Italiannies Special with the absense of anchovies, but sumptuous enough for us.
Moving further, that is the Roasted Garlic at the bottom right quadrant. Looks plain though, but the flavour definitely packed a punch with the slightly crispy chopped garlic bits.
Lastly, there's the Tuirkey Ham and Pineapple flavour, which is similar to Tropicale in the main menu, which is a new item. Can't go wrong with this combination at all, that's for sure.

Menu stated that this Pizza Enorme(RM52.90) is great for 5-6 persons, and for each flavour, there were 3 slices each, so that worked out to 12 pieces of 16" pizza. That means an average of 2 pieces per pax, but we had 4 each, simply because this is too good!! Besides the point that we wanted to indulge in each flavour while it is hot. Also, we just had fruits for lunch, so that explains our big appetite for this Enorme Pizza. The was what we packed away.


We love all 4 flavours but if I were to chose one only, then that would be the Shrimp and Mushroom, both my favourites. Hubby would give his thumbs up for the Roasted Garlic because he is a great fan of Margherita pizza. This is not to say the other two items aren't good, but well, they are very common, you see.

While waiting for our pizza which took like 20 minutes to prepare, we ordered a piccolo size Classic Carbonara to share. It was really tiny, but good enough for sharing since it was fettuccine tossed in Parmesan cream sauce with smoked beef bacon and fresh button mushrooms. One thing I came to like about Italiannies is that they don't scrimp on ingredients. Just look at the amount of smoked beef bacon in this plate. I would even be happier if they gave more fresh button mushrooms, hahah... greedy me. But well, there were proportionately more bacon than mushrooms, so I don't mind trading some of the beef bacon with button mushrooms.



Bill came to RM24.90 ++, which was the price of the pasta. Italiannies, we be back for sure. They currently started a Buy 1 Free 1 pasta from 5pm - 11pm Monday till Friday, and 11am - 5pm on Weekends, so it's a good chance to try their pasta choices. Incidentally, it was the first day they started this promo when we went for this, as we were told.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Pumpkin Barley Tong Sui

Remember this? I managed to replicate it at home, though not 100%. Instead of a drink, I transformed it into a dessert. Quite easy to do, as I had this handy kitchen helper, who did most of the work in the second part.



Firstly I steamed the pumpkin with peel on, then once pumpkin is soft, I scooped out the flesh and mashed it while still hot (I found this method to be easier compared to removing the peel before steaming). Second part was just to boil the barley pearls in the inner pot of this Thermos Shuttle Chef for 3 minutes, then add in the pumpkin puree and keep the inner pot in the Shuttle Chef for 3 hours, and dessert is ready piping hot. Stir in some sugar to taste, and there you got it, easey peasy. Save so much energy with this efficient pot.

PUMPKIN BARLEY TONG SUI
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients:
300g pumpkin (weight with skin)
150g pearl barley
2 blades of pandan leaf (knotted and bruised)
700ml water
sugar to taste

Method:
1/ Steam pumpkin till soft, scrap out flesh and mash to get 200g pumpkin puree.
2/ Boil pearl barley with pandan leaves and water till soft, add in pumpkin puree and boil a further 5 minutes.
3/ Add sugar to taste, and serve either hot or cold. To make it into a drink, top with more water.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Pandan Chiffon Cake Is Done


Mom "ordered" me to bake chiffon cake for her for the Ching Ming prayer offerings. She wanted 2 flavours, one pandan and another, orange. But as I was squeezed for time, I did one recipe of pandan and divided it into 2 moulds since she needed two cakes for prayers at different locations. And it was 2 different sizes of pandan chiffon because I have only one set of mould, meaning one mould for each size. Probably this is an indication that I should invest in another set, but since chiffon cake moulds do not nest easily for storage, I would have to think hard before acquiring.

Thus, this brought us to the two-tiered pandan chiffon cake. I used 6" and 8" mould but did not divided the dough equally. Just estimated using eye-ball effect. Turned out to be quite similar in height. In terms of texture, it was cottony soft and moist, though the downside was that I didn't manage to achieve the brown crust on the sides.



I modified the recipe used very slightly only, in terms of omitting the pandan juice and substituting that amount of liquid with more coconut milk in order to used up the whole carton of boxed coconut milk. Also reduced the amount of sugar used.

PANDAN CHIFFON CAKE
Source: Kevin Chai's [Chiffon Cake Is Done] page 045
Yield: One 8" round 2" height and one 6" round 2" height chiffon cake
Ingredients:
Egg yolk batter
6 egg yolks (A sized eggs weighing 60g each with shell)
2 tbsp pandan juice *omitted but the volume of 2 tbsp was replaced by coconut milk*
150g coconut milk *I used one box of 200g coconut milk, refer photo below*
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp cooking oil
1/4 tsp pandan essence *I used pandan paste*
few drops of green coloring *omitted because pandan paste has green coloring*
80g castor sugar
140g plain flour

Egg white foam
6 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
100g castor sugar *I used only 70g*

Method:
1/ Combine everything in the egg yolk batter list in the order from egg yolks till plain flour to get a smooth batter. DO NOT overmix so that gluten in flour is not formed.
2/ Whisk egg whites till frothy, then add in cream of tartar, followed by sugar gradually at high speed till soft peack stage.
3/ Remove some egg white foam and mix it with the egg yolk batter, then mix this into the rest of the egg white meringue till homogeneous.
4/ Bake at 170 degree Celcius for 40 minutes or until the skewer-test comes out clean.
5/ Remove Pandan Chiffon Cake from the oven and invert the cake to cool it completely before dislodging from the mould.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Home Made Egg Tofu

Following the story of the soya bean milk in the earlier episode, actually I told aunty partial truth only when I bought the soya bean milk from her. I mentioned I wanted to make tofu and not tau hua as intended because I can't bring myself to tell her the truth. In other words, I will be making my own tau hua and not frequenting her any more for tau hua, so she gets less sales done. Well, it turned out that when she heard I wanted to make tofu, so willingly shared her recipe with me. Not only that, she even gave me tips to get a smooth end product. Thanks for your big heart! And that's how we get to this dish.



I quartered her recipe to using only 2 eggs, and it was enough for the both of us for one meal. Another fast nutritious recipe under the belt, here's spreading the love further. I only lightly seasoned this since it's my first attempt. The soya bean milk taste is apparent, and it's very good on its own, or can be served with some minced meat sauce.

HOME MADE EGG TOFU
Source: Mobile van soya bean milk seller
Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients:
2 A-size eggs (total is 120ml)
150ml unsweetened soya bean milk
1/2 tbsp corn flour mixed with one tsp of water *this will make tofu more springy in texture per aunty*
1/2 tsp flounder fish powder

Method:
1/ Mix everything together, then sieve onto an oiled-tray (I used a bowl) ready to be steamed.
2/ Bring water in steamer to a boil on medium fire, then put in the tray of egg tofu.
3/ Open the lid of the steamer every 2 minutes to release the steam to get a smooth texture for the egg tofu.
4/ Egg tofu is ready once there is no liquid in it. Garnish as desired and serve.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Home Made Tau Hua

Chanced upon this extremely easy recipe to make Tau Hua from this blog, so the next morning, I set out to the wet market to get some ready made unsweetened soya bean milk from the mobile van that I usually frequent. Or rather, I asked the aunty to pack the sugar syrup for me separately because I bought extra soya bean milk for just-in-case scenario. What's more, the sugar syrup comes useful at any time.



It can't get any easier than this, and after chilling in the refrigerator, the Tau Hua set perfectly smooth. I served mine with ginger brown sugar syrup because that's the way I like it. Clear sugar syrup or brown sugar syrup, it is equally yummy, up to individual preference. Another thumbs-licking factor for this recipe is that it is so much healthier without using gypsum powder as the coagulant.

HOME MADE TAU HUA
Source: Qi Qi in the house, thanks!
Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients:
1/2 tsp agar-agar powder *click here for the brand I used*
600ml unsweetened soya bean milk at room temperature

50ml water
100g dark brown sugar
thumb-size ginger (smashed)

Method:
1/ Pour 300ml of soya bean milk into a pot and heat it up over gentle fire on the stove.
2/ Mix the agar-agar powder into the other 300ml of soya bean milk, then add this mixture to the pot.
3/ Stir the contents in the pot, and once soya bean milk boils, remove it from fire and remove any froth that appears on the surface.
4/ Sieve into a container and let it set in the fridge till firm before serving with syrup.
5/ As for the syrup, bring water, brown sugar and ginger to a boil in a pot till sugar dissolves and it is ready to be used.

Friday, March 9, 2012

好煮意 Sar Hor Fun

Tried out this new makan place earlier today for breakfast, and I was full till tea time! As I went there alone and wanted to check out a few of their items, I ordered 3 items of single serving each. Greedy me... This could well be shared with another pax with one more bowl of noodles and it would be good enough.



They only specialise in a single item, which is Ipoh Hor Fun (and the related fares of taugeh, chicken, wanton soup, fried wanton and vegetables). Chicken was tender and not overcooked. served with ginger sauce, they both paired very well. There was a single whole prawn in each of the wanton, and for the price of RM3.50, there were 5 pieces swimming in the delicious broth. Can taste the prawn in the broth as well, but some might find it too strong a prawny aroma. I had to consume the soup fast else the aroma gets too overwhelming when it cools.


This, is an interesting drink called Pumpkin Barley, which I had it hot since it was a cold rainy morning. Just what I need. For RM1.80, the price is a little high end, but I was game to try something out of the ordinary. My guess would be the shop added pumpkin puree to get this concoction, and I like it, both the taste and combination. Might try replicate at home at a tiny fraction of the cost for this nourishing drink. Another item in the drinks section that caught my fancy is the Pumpkin Milk, so I will be back to check it out to compare which is better, ahhah... By the way, both noddle and chicken were RM3.00 each, so total I parted with RM11.30