Blog Revamping

Hello... I'm in the midst of revamping my blog to make my life a little easier. So do not be alarmed as work is still under construction.

16 Oct 2012

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Ushering The Year of Ram With Pineapple Tarts Using SCS Butter

Sorry to disappoint... been slacking yet again. Yeah right. I ought to be shot for promising something that I could not deliver. However, this post is something close to our hearts. It's our love affair with SCS Butter, particularly Capn't Hook. There's always this withdrawal syndrome in him when he see his slab of salted SCS butter has grown smaller in size. Hence, I always have a block or two in the freezer on stand by. He loves it with kaya... almost an everyday affair for him spreading kaya and SCS butter on the bread that I made these days.

There are many ignorant consumer, really, even these days. Just when I thought our consumer these days are well read or informed. How I found out is based on the participants who came for classes... we tend to get questions like what brand of butter and where do we get them etc. We are surprised that many have thought butter-like-blocks labelled as "butter blend" are 100% butter. When we informed them that they're blended with vegetable oil, their reply would generally be "Ohhh no wonder they're so much cheaper!!!".

SCS Butter

And so here I am, informing you that anything that is labelled as butter blend IS NOT 100% butter. If you're making cookies especially, I doubt you could get that special butter aroma and texture for cookies made with real butter. Also, please... try not to use margarine. I have to agree to this lady who always tell me "If you plan to eat something laden with calories, make it a good one" hehe... so butter it is!

Christmas and New Year have gone by and by now, when you walk into any malls or shops, you'll be greeted by a sea of red. It's time to usher in the Lunar New Year. As Chinese is always particular with good wishes and prosperity, pineapple tarts tend to be a must in almost every household as pineapple is known as "ong lai" in Hokkien language which means prosperity come literally.

SCS Pineapple

I still remember my aunty showing my mother how to make pineapple tart once when I was really young. Maybe being wai sek (gluttony), even after so many years, I still remember the measurement for the pastry. It's just merely one pound of flour and one pound of SCS butter, no less.

SCS Butter Tart Box

In the recent years, pineapple tarts have revolved into many patterns but what is interesting this time round is SCS Butter have came up with 8 varieties of them, not only in terms of looks but flavours as well. They are Pineapple Cream Cheese, Pecan Pineapple, Berrylicious Pineapple, Chocolate Brownie Pineapple, Caramel Pineapple, Creamy Mango and Pineapple White Chocolate, Oatmeal Pineapple, and Green Tea Pineapple.

SCS Tarts collage

SCS Butter is giving away the booklet containing these recipes at selected supermarkets this month onwards. There will also be an online-driven pineapple tart contest. Just watch out for the announcements on their Facebook page. To make things easier since describing in words can be quite challenging, there are videos on how to make these tarts on SCS Butter YouTube Channel.

SCS Butter is kind enough to share these recipes so here they are. Just click on the respective picture and download them via flickr.










For the full booklet, check out the album here. Thank you SCS Butter Malaysia to make this happen.

Friday, 31 October 2014

MasterChef Australia Judge George Calombaris in Malaysia

If you're a foodie, you would have been catching up the latest season of MasterChef Australia on Lifetime (Astro channel 709) but for those who don't but is still a fan of MasterChef series, remember to tune in every weeknights at 7.00pm and 11.00pm.

In conjunction with this, A+E Networks who runs Lifetime, brought in one of the beloved judge of MasterChef Australia, George Calombaris, for a promotional tour of Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Jakarta.

I was checking my Instagram (look for babe_kl) on late Saturday night and saw George posted that he's on his way to Kuala Lumpur. Wow so late and I know he has a meet the fans session at MidValley Megamall at 2.00pm on Sunday. Anyway, I knew via Lifetime's website that they have asked fans to vote for dishes to be presented to George to try during this session. The final top 3 dishes were Nasi Kerabu, Assam Laksa and Orh Jien (Penang Style Oyster Omelette).

George Calombaris and his Malaysian fans at Mid Valley Megamall
Photo courtesy Lifetime

You can see hordes of people at Midvalley and he did took a video on Instagram (@gcalombaris). He told us Assam Laksa tasted FUNKY, something I would have describe the dish myself :p

George takes a spoonful of the number 1 voted Malaysian dish, Nasi Kerabu
Photo courtesy Lifetime

We have the privilege to be invited to a dinner cooked by George and his team held at Pullman Hotel, Bangsar. When BoiBoi found out that we're going for this dinner and he had to go back to the gramps for the night, he literally "beg" his daddy to let him go in his place. Many pleases went and the daddy was happy to allow him to and there went our "date night" haha.

During the introduction, we were told by Charles Less, ‎Head of Advertisng Sales at A+E Networks Asia that viewership of MasterChef Australia S6 overtook MasterChef USA S5 by 15%. That's quite an amazing fete.


George was introduced later on amidst thunderous applauds. After some banters, he took out a list from his pocket and read out what food he has tasted so far in KL. Lots of yummy dishes listed such as nasi lemak, Hokkien mee, hor fun, rojak etc but not long enough to taste many others delicious fare we have in Malaysia. When asked which is his favourite so far and he was quick to name (fruit) rojak. He loves the flavour and various textures in the fruit rojak.

We were served the first course of Chicken Parfait with Bitter Chocolate Baklava, Coffee, Cumquat, Pickled Onion & Pumpkin Seeds which is essentially creamy chicken liver pâté which went with crunchy flat baklava. The pâté portion was quite substantially, enough to be spread on dinner roll. Sounds like a train of ingredients on the plate but each of them complimented each other perfectly.

Chicken Parfait

Next on he took to the stage to demonstrate the next course of Green Greek Salad with Stir Fry Abalone with a female student (sorry didn't catch her name) Inti International University & Colleges who is one of the sponsor. Once he's done, he turned the table around and asked her to be the judge of his dish. She gave him full marks for his effort, of course.

George with Inti Student

The whole dish basically looked green which well got BoiBoi a bit skeptical to try. He poked around and got round to taste the crispy kale and green feta puree. Nothing beat fresh stir fried abalone slices that went along with cheese puree, slivers of asparagus & peas and crispy kale.

Green Greek Salad

Main course is on next. We get to see George preparing the chicken rolls on live feed. This time round he has a male student to assist him. Once he plated up his Poached Chicken with Miso Hummus & Green Mango Salad, George got him to taste. Full marks for this dish too!

George & Alex
George introduced his Head Chef, Alex

It did sounded strange to marry a Japanese ingredient with a Middle Eastern dish. Luckily the miso was rather mild in the hummus. The chicken meat is marinaded first before rolled into a cylinder. It was then secured in cling wrap to be poached. Next the chicken is rolled with black and white sesame seeds. Loved how the sesame seeds incorporated into this for the texture. There are even "worms" on the plate :D

Poached Chicken

Earlier in the evening, we were told to ask George questions via Twitter. Before I forget the tag #askgeorge, I quickly posted my question and get on with dinner. Was totally surprised that my question got picked. I get to ask George personally the question... what inspire him to come out with tonight's dishes. Not only that, BoiBoi and I got on to the stage as well for photos opportunity :D

George replied that one would usually need to come earlier to recce the ingredients available in the country, check out the freshest ingredients and spices locally and try to use them to incorporate the different elements of the dishes. For that effort, BoiBoi was presented an autographed copy of George's cook book. BoiBoi is very proud of this and hopefully he will get round to cook some of the dishes in the book.


Lastly, dessert simply named as Chocolate Cake was served. Such simple name but you can see there are a lot of going-ons on the plate! There's the chocolate cake, chocolatey sauce, dark chocolate soil, chocolate ice cream, some yellow crumbs which I thought it was crushed honeycomb and hmmm foam which I think it's fennel but none of us could guess what it was. Everyone around the table went yuummmm mmmmmm on this one.

Chocolate Cake

BoiBoi and I would like to thank Rubini, Janet, Hui Jun, the good people of A+E Networks Asia for the most memorable invite ever for both of us. Thank you George too for being so accommodating!

You may follow George Calombaris @gcalombaris on Twitter & Instagram and Facebook Page.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Review: 2014 Parent's Day Menu @ Hakata Ippudo Ramen


Seems to be happening now to celebrate Parent's Day rather than separately on Mother's or Father's Day which is a good thing to consumer as we now get to enjoy many promotions for over a month rather than just 2 days :D

So went on to Hakata Ippudo Ramen to check out their Parent's Day menu. The outlets at Pavilion KL and The Gardens have this special menu that goes for RM99++ that is good for 3 person. For this menu, you'll get to enjoy 2 appetisers which you can select from 6 choices; 3 bowls of ramen which you can choose from 3 options plus 3 glasses of soft drinks or juices. Value for money definitely I would say ;-)

There's no secret that we love our ramen and virtually tried quite a number of them around town. Capt'n Hook loves the strong broth taste, hence if by any chance there's a ramen place around, we will definitely be heading there for dinner. So by now, we have a few favourites and are so happy that we can find Ippudo at The Gardens and the latest outlet at Bangsar Shopping Complex. Don't need to weave through the traffic jam to Pavilion KL.

To start off, BoiBoi picked Curry Cheese Harumaki and the Buta Karaage as our appetisers. All of us love the Curry Cheese Harumaki. To me, it reminds me of curry puff but this comes as deep fried spring rolls with a filling of mild curried potatoes, mince pork with cheese.

The Buta Karaage turned out to be deep fried pork loin which is juicy on the inside but yet crispy on the outside. Best when dipped in the special sauce.

There were 3 types of ramens to pick from but the waitress recommended us to order all the three so that we can share and taste all of them. How sweet of her and pretty wise choice I would say.

Let's get the low down of ramen here in Ippudo. One can pick the texture of the ramen ranging from soft, normal, hard to very hard. Apparently, normal and hard are KLites' favourites. They even have straight or crinkled noodles. As for the broth, all of them have the basic cloudy white tonkotsu (pork bone) broth. The variations would have different ingredients added changing the basic flavour completely such as the addition of miso paste, spicy miso paste or fragrant garlic oil. The toppings have the standard pork loin slices, kikurage (black fungus strips) and spring onions. You may add soft boiled egg or chashu separately.

As for the condiments, there will be a bowl of fresh garlic that comes with a garlic press, sesame seeds that came in a grinder and Togarashi. Try the broth on its own first before deciding if you need to add any of these.

They started us off with the mildest flavour, Shiromaru Motoaji with the basic tonkotsu broth paired with normal thin noodles. The broth is not overpowering at Ippudo, just nice for me but for someone like Capt'n Hook, he pressed in one pip of fresh garlic. I took a sip and gee the fresh garlic took the broth to another level. We were given the soft straight noodles here, nice.

The next bowl of ramen, Akamaru Shinaji. This bowl has a special miso paste and fragrant garlic oil added to the tonkotsu broth. This miso paste is mildly spicy and we loved it that the garlic oil is so fragrant that Capt'n Hook does not need to press in any fresh garlic. I quite like the normal noodles texture.

I have some comments written by BoiBoi on his phone while we were in the midst of eating and he emailed to me so that I could put up here, so those in block quotes and in blue were written by him ;-) atta boy!

Akamaru Shinaji ramen is a bit spicy here. Well, it consists of pork belly (of course it's obvious), thin noodles, some kikurage, spring onions and special blended miso. This tastes better when sesame seeds were grounded over. Mmmmm.........spiciness during the cold weather is best.
Our last bowl is Kataka-men which has spicy miso, minced pork & some chopped cashew nuts over tonkotsu broth, paired with hard wavy noodles. Personally, I quite like this combi but would opt for normal noodles as I find the hard noodles a bit high on the al dente side. I would say adding extra grounded sesame seeds lend a nuttier taste to the broth.

This is "The Spicy" ramen among the three. It seems to be Ippudo's original tonkatsu broth with spicy miso, cashew nuts and ground pork. It too also has pork belly and some garlic. Good for keeping away Dracula. Actually, it's not that spicy though. My spiciness level is divide the nasi lemak sambal by 2 and add some garlic anddd voila! You got that spiciness.
When we first tasted Ippudo's soft boiled eggs not long after their opening, we got disappointed with the over cooked yolk. When we gave Eddie, the Outlet Manager, the feedback, he quickly got us one egg to try. Needless to say, the egg fans in the family were mighty glad to report that this time round the egg was made perfectly. It has soft white with runny yolk... BoiBoi called it lava overflowing heh!  Photo was taken by him.

I have got an additional review here! Yayyy. This is a lava egg (lava egg = runny yolk) that has been broken into 2. Bad news for Humpty Dumpty.

My BoiBoi has the comical side of him of commenting on Ippudo's on a whole as I did asked him how did he liked it this time round. Other than the food was yummy...

The service was a whopping 9 out of 10 (GR8). They provide music, air conditioning of course otherwise I would have sweaty armpits. Hehe...
*rolling eyes*

Please note that this special Parent's Day menu is only available at Pavilion KL and The Gardens outlets going at RM99++ until 15 June 2014. We'll be sure to head back for another round before promo ends. As for Bangsar Shopping Centre outlet, as the menu and concept are totally different, the sets available are different as well. We can't wait to give this outlet a try soon, very soon ;-)

We have heard someone commenting The Gardens outlet is very hot but happy to announce that the issue has been addressed. So please give it another go :D

Thank you to Eddie for being the perfect host and Sharyn of Ippudo Malaysia for the invite.

Hakata Ippudo Ramen

Pavilion KL
Lot C4.07.00
Connection Level 4 
Tel: +603 2110 6233
Opening hours: 11.00am - 11.00pm

The Gardens Mall
Lot T-218 Level 3 
Tel: +603 2201 6238
Opening hours: 10.30am - 10.00pm

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Yoo... Hoo... We're Still Alive

Hello there, if there's still anyone reading this blog of ours haha. Sorry for the absolute long silence. It has been liberated to have a long blog holiday :p but I guess we have to crawl out of our cave to continue our journey here. Other than not blogging, I have also stopped checking my emails so if you have sent me any emails or invites and did not receive any replies, thousands of apologies. I just do not have the energy. So sorry...

We have to stop blogging by the third quarter of last year as we were busy packing to move. You have no idea how much stuff we have hoarded over the past 13 years even though I constantly spring clean my stuff. That too I have been very careful what to buy after a major kitchen cabinets spring cleaning 4 years ago. Instead of my usual "asking myself 3 times if I really really needed the item before every purchase" I have been doing like dozens of questions just so I don't take up so much storage space! Crazy crazy!

Capt'n Hook have more rubbish stuff than ever including decade old gadget boxes complete with manual, cables etc. Imagine it's not only packing but sieving through all his stuff, awww gawwddd! His study room alone took us weeks to sieve and pack up.

Anyway, other than packing and moving. The next phase was cleaning, shifting, unboxing and organising. The last one is a major headache! Not helping when we have lesser storage space and lesser usable space than before. Took me like 5 months to properly organise and moving the boxes out of the way. I still have a couple of areas to tackle grrrrr...

The best thing though is now we no longer staying so far away to the south of Kuala Lumpur. Our friends used to teased us that they needed to bring their passports along when they visit us duh. We are now located on the northern part of Kuala Lumpur with easy access to many places. Such a relieve now I would say. 

However, we are still busy than ever because it's BoiBoi's UPSR year. Loads of extra classes and homework. Sighhh can't imagine how time flies, when I started blogging, BoiBoi was turning 2 years of age and he's 12 this year, slightly taller than me at the moment. Scary...

Anyhow, it's good to be back and let's see what's in for us for the rest of the year ;-)

If you're still with me, thank you so much! 

Monday, 16 September 2013

Merdeka Open House 2013: Treasures From Sabah & Sarawak Round Up

This year Malaysia celebrated her 56th Independence Day but the establishment of Malaysian Federation was only marked on 16 September 1963. This day commemorates the day where Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore joined together to form Malaysia. This was the main reason why I've pushed the 8th Merdeka Open House to today in celebration of the union with the theme Treasures From Sabah & Sarawak. It's a pity as I did not push hard enough to email past participants to invite them to take part hence there is really just a handful of entries.

Just wished this could have been a real open house rather than a virtual one as I imagine how delicious it would be to taste dishes from Sabah and Sarawak as I've never been to that part of the country personally. I've heard so much of the cuisine from friends and relatives who have been there. For this open house, participants need to cook a special dish from Sabah or Sarawak and post up the recipe and a bit of write up about the dish.

So here's the round up:

My utmost supportive friends, Nate and Annie, from House of Annie, who were based in Kuching for a while but now back home in San Jose, California, USA. Nate mentioned that a friend had shown them how to make this Dabai Paste while they were still in Kuching. This "Sibu olives" is technically not a true olive but is only grown in central Sarawak around the town of Sibu. It's a pity that we might be able to taste this only in Sarawak as I was told these dabai doesn't last long when fresh hence it can never get travel out of the state. I know one day, yes one day, I will get to try some of these babies.

Ardent cook cum masterchef, Wendy (Table for 2 or... More) had submitted Fish with Iban Eggplant. The special eggplant was sent to her by a fellow blogger who resides in Sarawak. It is always great to see something new, what more than cooking something new and learn to love it too.

Ayam Likku

On my front end, I did 3 Borneo dishes for dinner in one shot and had a great time exploring the dishes and getting to know the dishes as well. The first is Ayam Likku which is literally galangal chicken, famous in Tawau. Surprisingly it turned out very delicious and I supposed if bake the chicken after cooking ala ayam percik would render a crispy skin :p but that would have been bastardising the recipe already!

Sambal Bawang Kampu

Another surprisingly delish dish was this Sambal Bawang Kampu. Totally different from our usual sambal as this sambal does not have any chillies except for the fresh green chillies to be stirred fried with the spring onions. This recipe is a keeper.

Stir Fried Manicai with Egg

Next, a recipe loved by Sarawakians using manicai. Simple and pretty straightforward, Stir Fried Manicai with Egg but absolutely tasted amazing.

Well, that's all for the round up for this edition of Merdeka Open House. Thank you for all the participants for submitting your entries for this virtual open house.

Check out the different themes from our previous round ups:

2006 - Malaysian Recipe Long Forgotten
2007 - Muhibbah
2008 - Mee and My Malaysia
2009 - My Sweet Malaysia
2010 - Food From Our Heart
2011 - Makan Through Malaysia
2012 - Uniquely Malaysia

Selamat Hari Merdeka & Selamat Hari Malaysia!

Friday, 13 September 2013

Merdeka Open House 2013: Stir-Fried Manicai with Eggs

Was first introduced to this Stir-Fried Manicai with Eggs in my earlier days of blogging when I used to stalk blogs belonged to Sarawakians. They were literally crazy over manicai which in Cantonese is shue tzai choy or in Malay cekur manis. One of them, Eddie who lives in USA literally have a box of these plants growing in his living room and he really took care of the plants like babies :p

I've never got around to cooking this dish cos preparing the vegetable is ermmm quite time consuming. The plucking and picking the leaves that is. I do love manicai in soups and especially so in pan meen. Hates it when they serve pan meen soup using substitute vegetables.

And so I did a bit of search and what more from a pretty lass with beautiful voice, Kelly Siew, who is a native of Bintulu. She had carefully listed down the steps to do with the leaves which I would never have known to salt the leaves to squeeze out the liquid before using. The reason for doing so is to get rid of the certain bitterness from the leaves.

Being the ever careless cook, I tend to forget to add ingredients hehe yeah even at work. Can you imagine the amount of times my boss would roll her eyes over this carelessness! And so I did the same with this dish which was so simple to make hahahaha... sighhh I've forgotten to add the water even though I've measured and place next to the pan, can you believe it? Darn fail!

Anyway the verdict from Capt'n Hook was good and I thought so too. I think I like my manicai slightly crunchy with a bite but would have gone if I had added the water. So in my recipe, I would say water is optional. You can even use chicken stock if you wish. I've also omitted chicken powder nor MSG since I don't use them in my cookings.

Stir Fried Manicai with Egg

Stir-Fried Manicai with Eggs
Serves 2 - 4

200 g manicai (plucked weight)
1 Tbsp salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
50 ml water (optional)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp soy sauce

Pluck manicai leaves, wash and soak like the usual way you would do it. Drain and mix in the salt, tearing some of the leaves in between. Set aside for 10 minutes. Squeeze out the liquid from the manicai. Rinse out the leaves with a few washes of water and squeeze them dry another round. Set aside.

In a hot pan, heat up the oil. Add garlic and fry till fragrant. Stir in the manicai leaves. Add in water now if using. When it's quite dry, make a well in the centre and pour in the eggs. Let the eggs set before stirring them all together. Stir in soy sauce and mix evenly before dishing up.

This is my third entry for 8th Merdeka Open House 2013 Date & Theme: Treasures from Sabah & Sarawak.

Merdeka Open House 2013: Sambal Bawang Kampu

Sambal Bawang Kampu

Out of the three dishes I've made for 8th Merdeka Open House 2013 Date & Theme: Treasures from Sabah & Sarawak, this Sambal Bawang Kampu came out unexpectedly delicious! Just that they're a tad salty so I've adjusted the recipe a little. This recipe also came from Her World CookBook Vol 78.

This sambal has no red chillies but aromatics like shallots, garlic and galangal. What's so unique is the sambal is stir fried with loads of spring onions (that's where the bawang name comes from) and green chillies! Kampu is actually Kampung!!!

I've used much less green chillies than I should but I really think the freshness of the green chillies add a whole lot more dimension to the dish. So essentially the spring onions and green chillies are the star of the dish together with the sambal. This is something that I will make again and again as Capt'n Hook seems to agree with me, other than too salty because of the sheer amount of dried shrimp, this dish is a winner.

Sambal Bawang Kampu
Serves 3 - 4

200 g spring onions, cut into 5 cm lengths
3 green chillies, slice thinly at an angle
50 g dried shrimp, wash and rinse until water is clear then soak for 30 mins
4 shallots (40 g), thinly sliced
1 cm galangal, minced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cm piece belacan (10 g), roasted
2 Tbsp tamarind water
1 tsp palm sugar
2 Tbsp vegetable oil

Heat oil in a pan and fry dried shrimps will lightly golden brown. Stir in galangal, garlic and shallots. Fry until fragrant. Crumble in the belacan and stir. Add tamarind water and palm sugar.

Add in green chillies and spring onion, stir to mix well quickly. Dish up and serve with rice immediately.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Merdeka Open House 2013: Ayam Likku

Ayam Likku

My first entry for 8th Merdeka Open House 2013 Date & Theme: Treasures from Sabah & Sarawak would be this Ayam Likku which is actually Galangal Chicken. I've first discovered this recipe in Her World Cook Book Vol 78 which has the theme Food Journey Across Malaysia.

This was introduced by Amber Chia who says that this Ayam Likku is a very famous dish from Tawau, Sabah. It's a traditional Bugis dish where the main ingredient is galangal (likku).

As I browsed through the ingredients, sounds simple enough to prepare. However, I was a bit concerned when it need to cook coconut milk with the chicken for 45 minutes... won't it split? As I was cooking, then I realised that the coconut milk was merely the liquid to get the chicken cooking and as it cooks, it actually turn into oil which in turns will saute the aromatics as it continues to cook. Brilliant I would say!

Capt'n Hook said this chicken was really delicious which is quite rare lol when it comes to my cooking as my low salt nature really turns him off! He loves how aromatic the gravy was. Anyway, I've reduced the recipe size using 2 chicken legs instead of 4. So the recipe is my take with observations and whatever not.

Ayam Likku (Galangal Chicken)
Serves 2 - 3

(A) Finely minced:
5 cm galangal
1 stalk lemongrass
2 cloves garlic
4 shallots (40 g)

2 chicken legs
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
125 ml thick coconut milk
1/2 Tbsp turmeric powder
Sugar & salt to taste

In a hot pan with lid, heat up the oil and saute (A) on medium high heat until the aromatics are properly fried through and smells fragrant (takes about 15 - 20 mins).

Pour in coconut milk and turmeric powder, mix in well. Season with salt and sugar (remember to taste). Slip in the chicken legs and coat them evenly with the mixture in the pan. Cover the pan and simmer on low heat.

You'll need to stir and scrape the aromatics at the bottom of the pan to prevent burning and sticking every now and then. To add a little colour to the chicken skin, do cook them skin down and turn them around when done.

I've used free range chicken so the cooking time was about 25 minutes. Serve hot with rice. Yums!

Last Day of Submission for 8th Merdeka Open House 2013

Just a gentle reminder that today is the last day of submission for The 8th Merdeka Open House 2013 Date & Theme: Treasures from Sabah & Sarawak. Dead line is midnight but as usual late comers are welcome as well, will slot in when I can.

Thank you ;-)