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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Happy Teacher's Day 2017!

Happy Teachers' Day! We had our school level celebration last Friday, and also a staff dinner on Saturday night at Mango Tree Restaurant at Crookshank Road.

A nice gesture from my class monitor of 3 days ..... :)) 

Got this from the lucky draw during our staf dinner ... :)) 

Well, Mango Restaurant has been in existence for years! And since it is no longer the talk of the town, I do wonder about the kind of food it is capable of serving. "The Tom Yum soup is good!" my friend, S said. Then she added that her last visit to the restaurant was more than a decade ago! LOL! 

 Spring roll, mango salad, pandan-wrapped chicken and Tom Yum soup

All the items above were delicious! The spring roll came first, and it did not appeal visually. However, when we tasted it, we found it to be yum - the popiah skin was still crispy and the filling was really delicious. I couldn't be sure what's in the filling - but it was delicious. Next came the mango salad - this tasted heavier than the usual Thai-style som tam, as it has whole shallots and finely shredded daun kunyit; so to me, this was more of the kerabu-style salad. Not bad, though. 

Peek inside the leaf casing ... 

Chicken thigh meat was used to wrap in pandan leaves, so the meat was juicy and tender. Taste wise, it was rather ordinary. But when eaten with the accompanying sauce, the flavour of the meat was enhanced. So it's the sauce that I liked very much. :)) 

The Tom Yum soup was thick, fiery spicy and sour - reminded me a bit of Thailand ... so yeah, the Tom Yum soup was tasty. If only the seafood ingredients they used were of better quality, it would have been a perfect bowl of soup. 

Pineapple fried rice, lamb, prawns and fish

We weren't provided with a menu, so we were not sure what the dishes were called. Of all the dishes above, we only liked the lamb - soft and tender. sweet and savoury. The rice had funny texture and the taste was off. The prawns weren't sweet and the steamed barramundi or siakap was mere ordinary.

Chicken, mixed vegetables, mango sticky rice and fruits 

Chicken and french fries were deep-fried, and a concoction of sweet soy sauce was poured over it. No one appreciated this dish. The mixed vegetables were not bad, they gave off a very fragrant aroma. The mango sticky rice was alright - just that the coconut cream was a bit too sweet. The fruits were guava and watermelon. 

Overall, the food wasn't that great. But it was an enjoyable night, just to chill and relax with the colleagues. :)) 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Pickled Kedondong

My friend, AL made some pickled kedondong the other day from the fruits of the tree that she had just chopped off in her backyard. The pickled fruits tasted good, so I asked her how she made them. She kindly shared with me how she did it. It sounded easy so I thought I too, would give it a try.

Our own kedondong tree yielded many fruits this year. We've given away so many buckets of its fruits but there are more clusters on the tree, waiting to ripen. To make pickled kedondong, I picked the unripe fruits off the tree .....

Next, I washed and peeled them and then salted them. I must have put about 1 tbsp of salt in a bag of 20 fruits .... I left it in the fridge to salt. The next day, the fruits have softened and the juices accumulated in the bag. I poured away this salty juice. Next, I put in about 6 tbsp of castor sugar into the bag. I shook the bag so that the fruits were coated evenly in sugar. These were left in the fridge till the next day .....

Ready to eat 

I love pickled kedondong - so crunchy, sweet and sour and salty. Very appetising and refreshing as well, and most importantly, they are so easy to make. As the Koreans say, the only essential ingredient in pickling is TIME. All I had to do was to wait patiently for the salt and sugar to work its magic on my fruits and after 48 hours, I could enjoy them already! Yums. :))

Friday, May 5, 2017

Hiang Mon Low Beef Noodle

It was a busy, busy week; a new batch of kids just reported for school. It's their orientation week this week and classes will begin proper next week. I have been given charge of a form class this year. There are of them in the class.

Sometimes, we went out to grab a quick lunch before going back to work that afternoon .... and a short drive away was Hiang Mon Low at Satok. My colleagues often come here for the beef noodles ...

Noodles and beef broth, RM5.00
The noodles were very yummy, after being tossed in aromatic oil, and garnished with sliced beef and tripe. A hot bowl of blanched beansprouts in beef broth accompanied the noodles.

I did not feel like having noodles that day ... so I ordered a bowl of soup ...

Beef soup, RM6.00
At the bottom of the bowl were beansprouts, and topped with meat slices and tripe, and doused with hearty beef broth 

The soup tasted good - very vibrant and yet not overpowering; I liked the tripe which was chewy and did not smell. The meat, however, I found to be too dry. Perhaps cause the cut of meat used was too lean. I also liked the sour and spicy chilli sauce that came with the soup. 

Not bad a place to get a quick bite. :))

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Post Mortem of a Failed Bake

Look at these ... 

Baked Cheese Tart they were, but with the texture all wrong. 

Well, I did not use my friend ME's recipe. I used another that I sourced online. I made the custard using the bain marie method. The custard seemed so runny - and come to think of it, I really had no idea what consistency they should be in? Should they be watery or creamy or .... how? 

I contemplated throwing them away since they looked like a bowl of cheese soup! In the end, I decided to cool it in the fridge. It did set as it chilled, and I piped the chilled cheese mixture into the tart cases then baked them at 235 degrees for 10 minutes .... 

Then perhaps because I did not know whether they were cooked or not, I did not take them out from the oven till another 5 minutes later and this could probably be the result of overbaking. 

The tarts were still edible - they tasted nice; the crust was crisp and crunchy, only that the texture of the cheese custard wasn't right. It's still a BIG FAILURE on the first try.

What to do with so many tarts? Sigh ... I gave some away to my colleagues and they happily helped me eat them. 😄

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Making My First Loaf of Bread

I've always wanted to bake my own bread. That would be easy these days, with the bread machine readily available. Our bread machine, which we rarely used, spoiled. The last time when I tried to use it, it wouldn't bake. So Mom took the dough out and baked it in the oven instead.

Since then, I've never baked another loaf of bread. However, I still desired to make bread from scratch. Just for curiosity's sake. Heh. So the other day, I stumbled upon this recipe by Yi Reservation. Of course I was inspired and decided to give it a try. The bread turned out to be fantastic and I was really happy!

The texture and taste was great! Mind the holes - this is the only part of the entire loaf with gaps :))

Looking at the results, I was so excited! It was so easy to make and I really can't wait to make more! 

The night before, I cooked 20g of all purpose flour with 100ml of milk to get water roux. This I cooled and placed in the fridge. Early this morning, I took it out from the fridge to bring it to room temperature before use. The first step is to mix the water roux with 330g of bread flour, 80ml of milk, 50g of sugar, 1/2 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of yeast, and a beaten egg. When the ingredients incorporated .... 

 The dough mixture ....

I let the dough rest for about 30 minutes before I kneaded in the butter .... 

 After the butter is kneaded into the dough. Knead till all the butter has been incorporated.

Again, I rested the dough for an hour. After an hour. I divided it into 3 portions. At this stage, the dough was very easy to handle - warm, soft and supple. I kind of enjoyed playing around with it. I started folding it .... I think I folded it however I liked and as many times I liked. I sure did not count. Heh ... check the original website for the correct way of doing it.

Then I placed the dough into my loaf tin to proof it for the last time ....

Last proof 

Just before baking, I brushed the loaf with egg wash. I baked it at 180 degrees for 15 minutes ... and saw that it was getting browned too quickly. So I covered it with a piece of foil and baked for another 20 minutes. 

Fresh from the oven, looking very amateurish :)) 

I think my loaf tin was too big, so the bread did not rise as high as I hoped. Probably I needed another 1/3 of the original recipe to fill the entire tin. Not sure, experiment next time. Happy :))

Monday, May 1, 2017

Putu Mayung Uncle @ Petanak Wet Market

On Sunday, Mom woke me up .... so after a round of breakfast, we went to Petanak Wet Market. It's not my favourite place to go but I got excited when I spotted the Putu Mayung uncle. Business here was brisk and he was perpetually surrounded by people ...

 Putu Mayung Uncle

I could see steam coming off the tray of Putu Mayung or String hoppers

And I had to buy some ... 

Putu Mayung with a generous amount of freshly grated coconut and brown sugar, 
5 pieces for RM2.00

I asked Uncle if he sold here at Petanak Wet Market every Sunday, and he said yes. Heh. So now I can come here to buy it whenever I felt like it.

Back at home, I eagerly unpacked the Putu Mayung and ate them. I thought they were pretty tasty .... Dad, however, thought they were a bit dry. Well, Dad loved Putu Mayung very much ... and if he was in KL, he would buy it for breakfast every day. Hmn .... so I guessed Dad could be right.

That said, I still wouldn't mind buying these Putu Mayung from time to time. :)) 

Saturday, April 29, 2017

田鸡 - My First Leap

Those who want frog or 田鸡 sit at Table 1. Those who do not shall sit at Table 2. Those are the instructions given by my friends, when they organised a retirement celebration dinner for my colleague's wife, a lady whom we all know quite well.

田鸡 or Tian Ji is a species of frog that is edible. Its Chinese name literally means "Rice Field Chicken" . Since I hadn't eaten frogs before, I thought I'd take my first leap - heh - I mean my first try. So I sat at Table 1 together with the other frog enthusiasts. Hmn .... it won't be that scary, I thought. Many people said that it tasted like chicken - or better than chicken, in fact, as the meat would be sweeter and more succulent.

We ordered our frogs cooked in Kung Pao (宫保) style - meaning I was expecting the flavours to be bold, spicy ....

Frogs in Kung Pao Sauce ... 

I picked up a tiny piece of meat with my chopsticks gingerly, checked it a bit and popped it in my mouth. The meats' juices exploded as I bit into it .... and my tongue and brain registered textures and flavours that were somewhat unfamiliar. The meat was bouncy, yet tender, and had a slightly fishy taste. Though I did not quite like it, I went for a second piece. This time I picked up part of a leg - part of a drumstick. This piece of meat had the same bouncy texture .... but no fishy taste. At the same time, I couldn't detect any of the sweetness from the meat. Perhaps it was overpowered by the strong flavours from the sauce.

After 2 pieces, I have had enough. Heh. My first taste of frogs hadn't been that impressive. According to my friend, the best way to appreciate the flavour is by cooking the frogs in shredded ginger with clear broth. Hmn ... he must be right. Heh. 

No one at my table praised this dish too. Perhaps it was really not cooked in the right way. Anyway, my favourite dish of the night was Venison and Kailan Stirfry ....

 I love red meat!!
Thin slices, tender and nicely flavoured with shredded ginger, paired really well with crunchy kailan ....
But everyone else's favourite was ...

Hakka Yong Tau Foo
The meat filling was very tasty - salty and full of flavour; I liked the zing from the chilli dip as well.

That night, our dinner was at You Fook Restaurant at Desa Moyan, located about 20 km from the city centre along Jalan Batu Kawa-Matang. Overall, the food was not bad. I'd bring the folks here for dinner next time. :))

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