Monday 31 July 2006

Stewed Lamb Shank, Babe's Way

lamb shank

Actually I cooked this up sometime back but never gotten round to post it up since I was busy the past 6 months. It's kinda tough trying to recall what I've used in this recipe but it should be roughly this way. I bought 2 frozen lamb shanks, defrosted them and clean them up. Next I scald them in a pot of hot water to get rid of the scums.

I placed the cleaned lamb shanks in a container and added ingredients like soy sauce; Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce; some dried herbs like rosemary and oregano; and some freshly grounded black pepper. Covered the container and let them marinade thru the night in the fridge.

The next day, removed lamb shanks from the fridge and I chopped up some leek and onions. I have also chopped some carrots and potatoes into huge chunks. I sprinkled some cornflour all over the lamb shanks and heated some olive oil in my pressure cooker. Browned the lamb shank on all sides before adding onions and some garlic bulbs into the oil. Once they were aromatic, I added in a bay leaf, more oregano and rosemary.

For the liquid, since I did not have any beef stock on hand, I diluted some Bovril in water (ya ya I know they are no longer made from beef... guess what they are even vegetarian already!!! Sad... the taste also not as great as those days but I bought them to add to my boiboi's porridge) and add into the pot, just enough to cover the lamb shanks. Oh yeah, also poured in the left over marinade in the container. Waited for it to boil, then taste and season with salt accordingly. Dumped in the carrots and potatoes and cooked it according to the pressure cooker's instructions. For mine, I cooked them for about 15 minutes which is just about right... imagine all I needed was 15 minutes to have a very very tender meat, otherwise, I would need more than an hour and a half to slow cook it on normal stove. Woooo pressure cooker is really Heaven sent!

The lamb shank was absolutely delicious eaten with hard crusty bread and this version with Worcestershire sauce actually lent a tangy flavour that I loved.

Friday 28 July 2006

Babe in the City - KL Has A New Look

Tadaaa... I've got a new look but I've some problems as some of the codes didn't appear on the page. Need further tweaking but I would only be free next week. So in the meantime, enjoy my roast chicken.

Happy Weekend!

One Chook, Five Ways

Fancy cooking one chook and from there milk the chook right down to its bones? Yeah I did just that... can you imagine it? I roasted one chicken and got a lot of leftovers that I had to be creative to finish them up. I guess I must have bought a rather huge chook for the two and half of us!!!

I was browsing Ruth's blog when I came across her post of Perfect Roast Chicken. I read on and I was intrigued by the simplicity of the recipe and method of cooking she had adapted from Joy of Cooking, Neil Perry & Thomas Keller (does French Laundry ring a bell?). I also delved into the steps Thomas Keller had posted in Epicurious. Click here for the simple instructions.

Like Ruth, I did not use any butter or oil. I dried my chook as dry as possible with loads of kitchen towels plus I hung up my chook for a couple of hours with a tray beneath to catch the liquid dripping off it. Next, I merely rubbed the chook with sea salt and stuffed 2 bulbs of garlic in the cavity. Trussed the chook then stuffed into the oven. Voila... a really perfect roast of crispy skin but tender meat!

ruth's roast chick01

I was really amazed by its simplicity without any butter or oil rubbed on it, no herbs, no need to turn over the chook and best of all no need to even baste the chook!!! Woohoo and I got juicy meat and crispy skin as opposed to what was published in the latest copy of Flavours magazine where oil or butter is needed to prevent the chook from drying out!

My only issue is that whilst roasting there were so much oil dripped out onto the pan and they splattered all over my oven!!! It's really a tough job to clean the oven up as I have trouble reaching the nooks and corners plus those spots above the heating element. Anyone out there have tips to clean up a normal oven without self-cleansing function???

Anyway, on a separate tray, I've roasted some vegetables ie. pumpkin, onions, bell peppers (capsicum) and carrots. Just cut them up, sprinkle olive oil and sea salt all over in a baking tray. Place them inside the oven the same time as the chook but they need a shorter baking time though depending on the size of the vegetables.

We only managed to devoured the thighs, wings and part of the breast. With so much leftovers, I got a wee bit creative and came out with the various ways to finish them up.

First, the easiest was to come out with was a roast chicken with mayonnaise. All I did was chopped up the meat into tiny morsels, mix in some mayo and freshly ground black pepper. Once done, I topped up onto a bed of greens and some of those roasted vegetables and the roasted garlic too. Drizzled in some extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I've also stuffed them into pita breads to make roast chicken mayo sandwich.

ruth's roast chick leftover mayo salad

ruth's roast chick leftover pita

I've also made another salad but this time I thinly sliced the breast and on the bed of greens, I've some fresh capsicums and cubed pears. A simple drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar completes this simple and refreshing salad.

ruth's roast chick leftover sliced salad

Four down and one more to go!!! The last one was a very unconventional and unimaginable way of using up a roast chicken leftovers. I made a chicken rice porridge with the bones of the chicken cavity!!! Devoid of meat after making the salads, I added the bones whilst cooking up the rice porridge which provided a very sweet and garlicky taste since I've stuffed some garlic in the cavity. When the porridge is almost done, I added in some shredded chicken meat and chopped salted duck eggs. Adjust seasoning of salt and white pepper. Topped up with more white pepper and a dash of sesame oil when serving to complete the porridge.

ruth's roast chick leftover porridge

So that was my story of one chook, five ways... hoped you had enjoyed it and thanks to Ruth for highlighting this wonderful recipe.

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Wednesday 26 July 2006

Braised Chicken With Bittergourd

braised bittergourd with chic

Following Mike's recipe of fried eggs with bittergourd, I've also braised chicken with bittergourd (the bigger variety). This is really a very homey dish that most of us will remind us of our mom's cooking. I used to dislike bittergourd when I was a kid due to the bitterness of course but my dad forced us to eat them and green vegetables whenever we sit down for dinner. My brothers and I, darn scared of our fierce dad and have no choice but gulp them down. However, we soon learnt how to love bittergourd and other green vegetables over time.

Well, if you love this dish that your mom had made it for you, this is how it is probably done by her but this is my way of braising this dish. In case you're homesick, you may wanna try cooking this where ever you're located now.

Just clean and remove the seeds and pith from the bittergourd. Slice them into sticks (about thumb sized) and rub in some salt (I was told it will remove some bitterness). Let it rest for a while before washing them clean of salt.

I've used chicken thigh minus the skin. Chop chicken into pieces and marinade them with some soy sauce and corn flour. Get ready some minced soy bean paste and some black beans (or black bean sauce) and chopped garlic.

Put some oil in a wok and shallow fry the chicken pieces to slightly brown. You may dish out the chicken, otherwise just place them further away from the centre of the wok to make way to fry the soy bean paste and black beans in the oil till fragrant. Then add in the garlic. Stir the bean paste and garlic in the middle of the wok till you can smell the garlic. Next stir the chicken pieces into the paste. Add some water into the wok and wait for it to boil. At this stage, taste the gravy and adjust the seasoning by adding some salt or oyster sauce. Place in the bittergourd sticks next and stir to mix well. Cover and braise till chicken is tender. To reduce the gravy further (if you find it contained too much), open up the cover and let it boil till you have the amount of gravy you would prefer. I usually won't add in any corn starch solution to thicken the gravy as I prefer to keep this dish over night for the flavour to develop.

Best served with steamed white fluffy rice but in the picture above, I've served it with mashed potatoes.

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Monday 24 July 2006

Bittergourd Omelette

Mike of Foodcrazee posted the recipe for Bittergourd Omelette with the pictures of bittergourd as well which I've used too for my omelette. So head on to Mike's Bittergourd Omelette for the recipe whilst I post the end result here.

bittergourd egg

Okay, my eyes all cleared up but I'm still coughing at night albeit not as bad as before. Sighhh... hopefully I could be able to update as often as I should.

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229 Posts Later...

... Babe in the City KL had turned 2 yesterday!!! Haha I'm a day late in wishing my own blog a happy 2nd anniversary.

Watch out for more goodies coming your way...

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Tuesday 18 July 2006

Swee San's Lemony Cheesecake

Sighhh as if with the cough is not enough, I've now contracted Conjunctivitis. 3 more days medical leave was given by my doctor to prevent me from spreading to anyone in the office which means I gotta stay away from boiboi too. Arrrghhh!!! Sighhhh it's so boring staying at home and it's so hot too! Hard to open my eyes wide wide as there are some sticky discharge. Hopefully I should be better by tomorrow.

A couple of weeks ago I've made a Lemony biscuit based cheesecake using Swee San's (of A Self-Proclaimed Foodaholic) recipe. Like she have said, it's an easy peasy recipe and I actually trusted her that this is good stuff! It's no kidding ok cos it was really good. Guinea pigs also told me it was good haha but I need a proper pie tart mold as those I have were either too big or too small for the recipe. I ended up making two of them in smaller containers and both have fillings over-flowing the biscuit base but luckily they were thick enough to hold the shape. Head on here to check out her recipe.

lemon cheesecake

I can't wait for more recipes from her. Swee San had just reached Sydney to pursue a course in Le Cordon Bleu and don't forget to check out all those delicious goodies she churned out everyday!!! Wished I'm her neighbour in Sydney so that she can feed me those goodies everyday she brought back from class haha. Thanks sweetie for the wonderful recipe.

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Monday 17 July 2006

23 Hours in Penang

Goshhh I've so many people asking me how come no updates... sorry guys, I really didn't have the mood as I'm still current nursing a cough... a night one that is!!! The moment I lie down to sleep I will ran into a coughing fit especially towards early part of the morning. I hardly get enough sleep and by day break I really feel like a zombie let alone the amount of cough syrups I've downed that causes me to be in a daze most times. I've also tried all sorts of remedies... ranging from the various cocktail syrups that hubby had precribed (he ate so much drugs that he can actually prescribed his own meds haha), bird nest soup that my dear mom double-boiled for me (super expensive!!!), double-boiled orange juice, durian (yup... "yee tuk kung tuk"), rubbing of vicks or eucalyptus oil right down to some TLC reiki session from hubby. I knew he was performing reiki on me whilst I was coughing away in my sleep... he thought I was not aware but darling I know. Thanks so much. It has been comforting.

Okie I've this long overdue post sitting in my draft folder. I better get on and finish it. Long post with loads of pics ahead.

I followed hubby to Penang on 27th June since I was on leave and had nothing better to do in Kuala Lumpur. Drove off around 1630 hours and it's pretty hot late afternoon. These pics were taken between 1800 - 1900 hours depicting how clear the sky was.

highway skyline

highway sunset

We stopped by Bukit Gantang (I think, my memory is pretty bad these days!!!) rest area and it's a beatiful place to relax rather than the ever crowded Tapah rest area.

bkt gantang01

bkt gantang02

bkt gantang04

bkt gantang03

bkt gantang05

We reach Penang approximately 2030 hours after going a few rounds looking for Cititel where we stayed for the night. Freshen up a bit before we went out to look for food. I remember going to Oriental Seafood long long time ago and they were delicious. I've also remembered Chen blogged about it, I guess it's pretty safe to eat there. Off we went and parked opposite Sunway Hotel. As we walked down the street (New Lane), I saw the signage Sheng Hiang... ehhh like so familiar geh... suddenly it strike me that I read about it in Chen's blog about this Tau Sar Pneah (Tambun Biscuit). I usually buy either Ghee Hiang or Him Heang. Since it attracted me that this place offers various flavours like orange, pandan, durian, yam, spicy prawns and the list is endless! A box of 4 different flavours (5 biscuits in one pack) roughly costs RM9.00 depending on flavours chosen with a 20% discount thrown in now for their 10th Anniversary celebration.

sheng hiang tau sar pneah01

sheng hiang tau sar pneah02

I have also got myself a box of brown sugar ones (RM3.50 for 15 biscuits) which I find them out of my expectation. I used to ate those that are hard and with thick brown sugar taste but this is totally different, it's soft and the filling is not sweet, hardly tasted any brown sugar. Pretty disappointed.

sheng hiang - brown sugar biscuit

After that we walked over to Oriental Seafood along Macalister Road. Checked out the seafood display... hmmm not much choices though, maybe it's weekday and I see only 2 other tables were occupied. Hubby picked 2 mantis prawns, some clams and a type of shellfish with spikes (sorry I've no idea what's the name and I'm lazy to search for it).

First up was the RM8 a plate boiled spiky shellfish. It's my first time trying it out. Here's hubby demonstrated to me how to dig out the meat from it's shell. Then remove the hard brown cover, dip into chilli sauce and eat it. Not too bad, texture is slightly chewy and with no flavour at all on its own.

oriental - spiked01

oriental - spiked02

oriental - spiked03

Next up was a plate of siong tong yien choy (Spinach cooked in superior stock). Nothing spectacular and I don't see any century eggs in there.

oriental - yien choy

We were shown some mantis prawns displayed near the entrance and was told the large ones will cost us RM15 for one. Hubby asked for two and they came cooked "jiu yim" style where the mantis prawns are deep fried first before being fried in salt and pepper. First bite - TOUGH!!!! Second bite - SUPER TOUGH!!! Gosh what's happening??? Not fresh ka?? We asked the captain who can speak Cantonese. Goodness we kena (got) ripped off cos she told us those were par-boiled by the supplier. So they weren't fresh ones, urrrghhh kena tipu already!!!! She offered to change to the fresh ones for us but we told her no thank you!

oriental - lai liu har

The only saving grace have to be these clams fried with ginger and spring onions. Overall dinner of these dishes with one bowl of rice and a pot of tea for two costed us RM61! Dinner was not satisfactory, darn could have just ordered all the wonderful dai pai dong (hawker stalls) goodies at New Lane!

oriental - clams

We left there and head back to Cititel. Reached there about 2308 hours. Opposite the hotel we saw a large crowd congregrate along the road, I took a good look and hahahaha gosh... they stood along the road to catch World Cup's Brazil vs Ghana on the big screen hung outside the mamak shop. Duh!!! Tell me, is it real that Penangites are too kiamsap (stingy) to pay for a cup of teh tarik (pull tea)??

football mania

I stood outside the hotel and took many shots in order to get a clear one since I did not bring along my tripod. Hubby was like kekeke aiyoyo... *mad woman* and luckily that place is not near the "hotel" with loads of ahkuas (transvestites) hanging around, else sure both of us sure kena (get) chase by them with their spiky heels on their hands!

Anyway, since the night is still young, we took a walk along Upper Penang Road. Passed by Hameed Nasi Kandar restaurants but they have individual stalls places along the side walk flanked by tables and chairs. I stopped in front of Sup Hameed and took a good look at the long long list kakaka... hmmm mmmm... *ahem* next thing I knew Lilian posted her torpedo soup experience. Should have stopped by there for some bites cos the burger stall seems to be churning delicious goodies but I was too stuffed.

Not far from Hameed's I came across a colonial Malay style bungalow. The board said Ku Din Ku Meh Guest House. It was formerly the residence of Ku Din Ku Meh, and the current generation of his turned the home into a guest house. More information can be derived from here.

ku din ku meh01 ku din ku meh02

Next we crossed the street and hubby told me that's where Slippery Seniorita is but it seems like they have closed the street to the traffic between The Garage and a row of newly refurbished pre-war shoplots which housed some cafes and upmarket restaurants. Ahem... again we see a lot of people hanging around these places to watch the World Cup match... standing around or sitting on the public benches hahaha including one orang putih (Caucasian). Very happening places here.

football mania02

We walked till the end of the road where across this road is Eastern & Oriental Hotel or more popularily known as E&O Hotel stands. It's this sua koo (country bumpkin) first time entering this magnificent building. We took a tour around and hubby went to the front desk for some enquiries. He told me later that he want to stay here one day! *roll eyes* Very expensive ok per night... above RM500!!

E&O Hotel01

E&O Hotel02 E&O Hotel03 E&O Hotel04

E&O Hotel06 E&O Hotel05

I really love the wrought iron stand and mirror in their toilet!

E&O Hotel07

We strolled back towards Cititel and stopped by for some Kilkenny (why huh the whole island is out of Paulaner??) at Soho Freehouse. I chose to sit alfresco since it was pretty crowded in there and smoky too. We have a full view how two ahkuas seduced two locals hehehe... and they left without even finishing their beers *ahem* and a poor lady sat there all night (we saw her when we passed by earlier) waiting for a prey but sadly there was none and she left shortly after we arrived.

Went back to the room but I did not hit the sack till most prolly 0300 hours! Only woke up about 0930 hours and checked out at 1100 hours. Hubby promised to take me to one stall that sells kick ass Siamese Laksa... so off we went to Pulau Tikus. Major BUMMER ok cos after parking and fed the meter for an hour, the stall in Kedai Kopi Swee Kong was not opened. Arrrghhhh this is the second time he brought me here but both times this stall was closed for whatever reason. The first was like 3 years ago, how sad! Hubby teased and said I don't have "hau fook". Bleh... Please Penangites, tell me I did not miss anything major here!

swee kong - failure swee kong - siamese laksa

No choice lor we have to fill our tummy at the opposite shop (Kwai Lock) instead. Nothing spectacular... we ordered small bowls of prawns noodles, loh meen, Penang style chu cheung fun and some kuih (which is really lousy).

hokkien mee loh mee

chu cheung fun kuih

From the place we sat, I can see the signage of Jenni Homemade Cakes which I thought must be the one that Lilian had blogged about. After our meal we walked across to check it out but didn't buy any. Somehow we stopped at the next shop and tried to check out what they were promoting there. Ended up in there for the next 45 minutes and got ourselves checked for posture, walking habits etc at Shinkaya Biomech International which is great as hubby has fallen arch issues. He walked out with a pair of Bio Sof-aid which is a pair of insoles to help him out. So far so good and yours truly was prescribed a clean bill woohoo.

I went and used their toilet and guess what??? They actually shared it with Jenni Homemade Cake hahaha and I took a look at their kitchen which is by all means do not look homemade at all hahaha... they have gigantic mixers and ovens! The assistant did told me their cakes are nice and they have a cafe at another side of the road.

As we were leaving the assistant told us that the stall besides their shop sells delicious bubur cha cha... wooohooo something that hubby and I could never resist! Whilst waiting for our turn, the seller was scooping out non-stop, bowls of them, let alone those who came to take away packets of them. Some drove by and just order the take away without even getting down the car haha talk about drive-in fast food! BTW, I have to say that was one of the BEST bubur cha cha I've ever tasted for ages!!!!

best bubur chacha

After that we left for Gurney Drive as hubby need to meet someone at Gurney Plaza at 1330 hours. I've no idea why hubby parked by the road side where the parking boxes were drawn diagonally opposite away from the direction of traffic! The fler who issued the ticket asked for RM3 which to hubby it's pretty cheap but now we knew we have been fleeced, thanks to Lilian's posting hahaha. Hubby went KNN when he saw the parking price inside the plaza hahaha serves him right! I killed 2++ hours by walking around the mall which is basically about the same stuff we have in Kuala Lumpur.

gurney drive

When hubby was done, he said he wanna go Balik Pulau. Thanks to The Star!!!! There was a piece of news about durians in Balik Pulau the day before and he's crazy enough to take a long drive there for some durians. So off we went in search of durians...

After driving along the winding roads towards Balik Pulau, alas we saw very few stalls, well more like we weren't sure where the durian stalls are concentrated. Anyway, following the signboards, we just drive along. Siau (crazy) or not? Saw a few stalls by the roadside but they have very little durians anyway we took a turn back thinking we have by passed Balik Pulau. Told hubby that I saw a car parked by one of the houses that sells durians in front and a group of people were feasting on them. Our safest principle... to only go to places that have a crowd heh!

We stopped by this stall number 118 around 1730 hours. Aha the seller is a Chinese man... he started telling us the type of durians he have... aiyoh hard to understand the various names in Hokkien. Anyway I knew he opened hoong har (red prawns in Cantonese) and woo loe (water gourd) for us to try. Wahseh then hubby heard the seller spoke Hakka to his wife. After all the customary "tiaus" (hehehe fark in Hakka... seems to be common greetings for some Hakkas), conversation went smooth. Hubby is a Hakka lor and somehow the seller became like long lost buddies... They started opening more delicious species number 11... without us asking for the price! For hubby he doesn't really care as long as he gets to eat the durians he has been craving for.

To sum up about the durian, since it was the beginning of the season, there isn't much to choose from and according to the seller, this year sees an unusual rain fall that affected the taste of the durians during their growing stage. Of the three species... the best IMHO was the woo loe that tasted bittersweet in thick creamy yellow custard consistency. The hoong har was so-so only which is on the sweet side and the flesh in reddish tone is firmer. Number 11 seems to be bitter with loads of thick flesh small seeds variety. It has a very pale cream colour which doesn't really look appetising haha but looks can be deceiving. In the end, we packed a few more durians in plastic containers (hurrahh... no lingering smell in the car hahaha). I think we have in total about 8 durians it costed us RM120 which is not bad considering the quality. Over here they went by RM8 - RM12 per durian unlike in Kuala Lumpur, they go by the weight.

balik pulau durian stall 118 hoong har

woo lou 11

So Penangites, if you're craving for some, do drive up and look for stall number 118 hahaha and enjoy the durians. BTW the stalls here so nice one wor... serves mineral water FOC!!! Anyway the seller must have thought that I must have been a deprived child of some sort cos I was clicking away at the durians like siao char bo (crazy woman) and so sua koo (country bumpkin) from the big city!! The length to go all for the name of blogging...

We stopped by a layby as we go down hill. We saw this place when we were on our way up. The view from this hilltop is certainly very scenic. I checked the signage nearby and it says Hutan Simpanan Kekal Bukit Relau. At 1818 hours, the sun was about to set, the scene was simply breathtaking. There are some stalls here too...


hilltop02 hilltop03 - hutan simpanan kekal bukit relau

hilltop06 - makan places

They have interesting lamp posts too.

hilltop05 - penang bridge lamp posts

hilltop07 - modern lamp post

We left the island after the lips smacking durians and wonderful view. As if the durian feast is not enough... hubby turned into Bukit Tambun at 1705 hours for a seafood dinner after the disappointing dinner the night before. Goshh my pants bursting from the seams already!

He picked the last restaurant... Gee Seng which he claimed one of the popular ones around the area.

bkt tambun - gee seng

We had orh jien which is not very good... too much flour in the egg batter but the oysters are darn big and fresh. The chilli dip was fantastic though that saves the dish.

gee seng - orh chien

Next up a stir fried bamboo clam in some kind of bean sauce with ginger and green onions. Funny that there is so much sauce for this dish... is this a Penang style? Usually in Kuala Lumpur, bamboo clams are dried fried. Anyway this dish is lovely, the sauce was great.

gee seng - bamboo clams

Lastly we have a couple of super fresh mantis prawns to compensate hahaha we have them steamed in a style not familiar to us. They were steamed in soya sauce with loads of garlic and ginger as oppose to Kuala Lumpur way where they are usually steamed with garlic, ginger, chopped red chillies and some sprinkling of salt and pepper. Now this is utmost delicious okay as compared to Oriental's... very fresh and taste the sea smell hahaha yeah it was that fresh and they are so much cheaper too!

gee seng - lai liu har

So we have the 3 dishes above with a pot of Chinese tea and all these costed only RM31.50!!! We left round about 2000 hours.

There... the end... 23 hours in Penang!

p.s.: Sorry if there are mistakes in this post cos I'm too lazy to cross check now.

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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