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Saturday, August 20, 2016

A Taste of Cambodia @ Grill Wine Cafe

I didn't even know there was Cambodian food in Kuching, till PH suggested we go to Grill Wine Cafe, located just behind McDonald's at Jalan Keretapi ...

The ambience at this little cafe was really nice - air-conditioned and beautifully decorated, quiet and cozy and great place to chit chat in the midst of the meal; service was good too.

We had ...

Amok ... Steamed seafood in yellow curry paste, coconut milk, kale leaves and egg in a curry cup, RM13.90

The curry was so rich and full of flavour, and so good to eat with the plain rice ... Just think in terms of our local curry or rendang. I liked the freshness of the seafood used in the curry. If seafood isn't your thing, you can choose to have chicken and beef amok. Highly recommended.

Cambodian Chicken Noodles, RM6.00

The noodles were served in a stone bowl! I so loved the presentation! It's rice noodles, cucumber, blanched beansprouts, julienned carrots in a sweetish dressing, and garnished with minced chicken, chopped roasted peanuts and sweet basil. So when you take a mouthful, you get lots of textures and flavours ... Slippery noodles, crunchy and fresh vegetables, nutty flavour of the basil and peanuts, sweet dressing. There's a deep-fried spring roll garnishing the noodle; the spring roll was tongue-burning hot and it rocked! I'd order a plate of these crispy spring rolls to snack on should I come back here the next time.

My friend chose to order from Queen Bee Seafood which was just across from GWC ...

Salted Fried Rice, RM6.50

The rice was fluffy, the whole dish not too oily. Big portion, not bad indeed.

Overall, it was quite refreshing to eat here at GWC, a change from our local flavours.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Kuching Food Festival 2016 - Round 2

Dad's gone to dinner with his old friends. So Mom decided not to cook since there were only the two of us eating. Though it was raining, I was adamant to go to the Kuching Food Fest. Mom indulged me ...

As soon as I got there, I went to buy a deep-fried squid from a stall called as Squiz King ...

2 pieces of squid on display to tempt customers

RM9.00 per piece with your choice of seasoning powder - garlic, seaweed or cheese; you also need to specify whether you wanted it to be spicy ... I wanted mine to be in the original flavour and non-spicy.


Looking a tad messy in the plastic bag ... 

I liked the squid when it was still hot; the battered squid was crispy and tasty on the outside, and the squid was thick and juicy; but it sweated a lot in the paper bag it came in so that it got soggy real quickly. By the time I was ready to sit down and enjoy my food it did not look as appetizing already. 

I also bought ...

Pork burger, RM5.00 

The pork burger was bought from Gourmet Sausage. It was just a pork patty on a lightly toasted bun and dressed in a sweetish mayonnaise. I asked for mustard to go with the burger too. I must say that I liked the burger - the combination of the sauces worked and complemented with the meat and bun. 

Aunt Mary Laksa, RM7.00, Enoki Golden Mushroom, RM5.00 and Sekama Satay, RM0.70 per stick

Mom and I both liked the laksa; the proportion of noodles and the condiments were good - there were 3 fresh medium sized prawns, a good amount of chicken, egg omelette, and beansprouts. The laksa broth was spicy, a bit licorice-y, and just rich enough. Not bad at all.

The chicken satay was also good - the meat was nicely marinated and not too tough, making it easy for older folks to eat. The peanut sauce was thick, spicy and full of flavour. Yums. We also had ketupat with our peanut sauce, RM0.70 per piece.

Enoki Golden Mushroom, RM5.00

Aside from being super crispy, there wasn't much taste to the mushrooms; I liked the drizzle of the sweet mayo but the wasabi dressing did not come through at all ...

Mom and I couldn't finish all that we had bought, so we took home the squid and the satay. Still, I wanted dessert. I decided on the OriDreamCone. But apparently, the doughnuts haven't arrived yet. Darn.

I had to settle for something else.

RM2.50 each from Puff Workshop

Hmmmn ... Soft pastry filled with cream; I didn't like these much.

Poo Cake, RM7.00

This was essentially cheese cake on a layer of crushed biscuit; the poo was made of chocolate. There were 3 flavours of cheese cake; I chose matcha over chocolate and lemon. Hee .... I haven't eaten the Poo Cake yet. It is sitting in my fridge now as I'm too full to be eating anything else ...

Second round of KFF 2016 done; I don't think I'll be going again this year, though. :))

p/s : the poo cake was kind of light in flavour - it was not rich, not too sweet, and the choc poo was hard .... I did not like it much. 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Less Than Perfect Steamed Yam Cake

Uncle A gave us a giant yam. So I decided to make steamed yam cake.

My amateurish-looking steamed yam cake ... ;P

I've never made any steamed yam cake in my life! But Mom and Second Aunt are the pros - in fact, Second Aunt's yam cake is well-known to be the best, and the most popular amongst our friends and relatives.

So, with Mom watching over me, I made my very first steamed yam cake ever. I used Nasi Lemak Lover's recipe - using her exact measurement for the yam, flours and seasonings. However, I used only a handful of sliced shallots, 3 tablespoons of crispy fried minced dried prawns, 50g of mushrooms, 50g of Chinese sausages and 50g of minced pork and I omitted the sesame seeds.

I also used 500ml water as specified .... but after the mixture went into my wok, I found it to be too dry. I didn't know what consistency I had to achieve .... so here I called Mom to help me out; Mom added some water and some shallot oil till the flour mixture softened ....

Then we pressed it onto a cake tin and steamed it for 45 minutes; the result - hmn .... the cake itself was quite delicate in flavour; quite yum, but the texture was a bit firm; it would be perfect if it were a bit softer .... so I would probably add at least 300ml more of water to the flours should I repeat this recipe next time .... After thinking through, I would say that the water volume would depend on the variation/brand of rice flour used ....

For the topping, I had some chopped deep-fried shallots, crispy fried minced dried prawns, and about a tablespoon of stir-fried minced preserved radish, spring onions an chopped chillies.

Overall, the cake was tasty; I actually liked the rich flavour of the minced mushrooms and the slight sweetness from the Chinese sausages; and the ratio of the chopped ingredients, yam and flour was good. If only ... sigh .... if only the cake was a bit softer to the bite.

This evening, however, my less than perfect steamed yam cake was a hit with my church group sisters who finished one whole plate! A sister said that the firm texture of the cake made her chew longer and thus she was able to savour more of the flavour in her mouth! Lol!  

Care for some? 

After making this cake today, I sort of know what kind of consistency to look our for; and I am confident my next steamed yam cake would be more perfect than this one ... ;P

Friday, August 5, 2016

Kuching Food Festival 2016 - Round 1

It's that time of the year again when food stalls are abundant in Kuching. We went to the Kuching Food Festival this evening ....

It was early and not too crowded yet, plus there was a bit of rain earlier so that could be a deterrent for some people 

Long, long queue here .... I think it was for the salted fish ice-cream. What a novelty ... I did not queue up for it though; next time maybe I'd try this.

I sent the folks to a table in the shade, while I do the buying - in the rain! After a short while, we were ready to eat. To make eating more comfortable, I always arm myself with wet tissues; often the tables are dirty and needed to be wiped; Kuchingites are still not very civic minded and do not give two hoots about clearing and cleaning tables after they've used them; I even bring my own plastic cutlery and containers. It makes sharing food much easier. 

I opted to have Lamb On The Go .... this stall was by BCCK ... 

Lamb On The Go with Basil Sauce, RM10.00
Lamb was served on pita bread; Well, you can see that it looked kind of sorry for something that cost RM10.00; for it's just untoasted pita, lamb, your dressing of choice and an unappealing dollop of chopped cabbage -  could not detect the flavour in the cabbage but it should have been pickled; I actually liked the taste of the tender meat and the sharp herbal dressing ..... only that I think that the whole piece of pita sandwich could have been jazzed up with lettuce and tomatoes and what not .... 

The folks were more conservative in their choices ..... 

Sambal Fried Kueh Tiaw, RM6.50
Fried on the spot, this tasted alright, though Mom said it wasn't aromatic and flavourful enough 

 Glass vermicelli noodles, RM5.00
This was from Mango Tree - a bit sweetish, not tangy at all; none of us liked this; I wouldn't buy this again ... 

Sweet and tangy chicken feet, RM5.00
Also from the Mango Tree stall, the chicken feet were crunchy but the folks found it too hard; I did not quite like the sauces ... but overall, alright too 

MJ Teochew Oyster Omelette, RM12.00
This was really yum .... plump oysters, small portion, but very satisfying; we all loved this .... 

 Pondok Satay
RM0.70 per stick of beef and chicken satay, ketupat was also RM0.70 per piece; the peanut sauce was nice too

For dessert .... I bought this egg pancake with ice-cream; this was from Meow King as recommended by my friend J ... 

Egg pancake ice-cream, RM7.00  
The egg pancake was nice - crispy and chewy at the same time; not too sweet too; 2 scoops of ice-cream was served together with it and some toppings too; I liked it :)) 

Halfway eating, dad's cousin came by ... and we all sat there to catch up over food! What fun it was! Of course this evening, there were some hits and misses ..... and then, there was plenty to try still - but it would have to wait till next round; I would be interested in Aunt Mary's laksa, coconut ice-cream, GE sausage, toppoki, kimchi fried rice and kimbap, a Japanese cream puff and maybe the choux ice-cream! Till next round .... :))


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Fried Chicken

Who doesn't love a good piece of fried chicken? Well, I sure do. The last time I had cravings for fried chicken, I headed to KFC at The Spring .... but then the chicken tasted funny. They were powdery in texture and were so bland. Yuck! They tasted like they were not fresh. Disappointed, I decided to feedback them about the quality of their food. I've not gone back to KFC since - nor do I have any inclination to go back anytime soon - so I wouldn't know if they've improved. 

But who said you needed to go to KFC to get awesome fried chicken? I went to The Kimbap at Brighton Square, and I must say that I loved the Daebak Chicken! They were absolutely delicious! Succulent and full of flavour - sweet and savoury and spicy and so satisfying .... I still think about them today! 

The Kimbap's Daebak Chicken, RM18.00 for 6 pieces
Quite pricey, but so good to eat. I reckon it was better than 4Fingers Crispy Chicken! Lol! 

Yesterday. however, I decided to cook my own! How easy it was! I bought fresh chicken. cleaned and marinated them with a little salt, pepper and some aromatics - well, I had actually pounded garlic, ginger and shallots and squeezed the juices out to marinate the chicken with. 

Then, I used a fried chicken flour premix - there are plenty of brands in the market, pick your favourite. I mixed 2 tablespoons of the flour with water - making a runny batter. Then I threw all my chicken into the batter. Then one by one, I took each piece of chicken out and coated it with more flour premix. Then, they were ready to fry! 

Yummy Fried Chicken, homemade with a little help from the instant flour premix

Guess what? The chicken was superb! Much better than KFC's and so much cheaper than The Kimbap's .... hmn ... homemade is still the best! :)) 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Mom's Birthday 2016

It's Mom's birthday, and I baked her a Sicilian Orange Cake. I used Nasi Lemak Lover's recipe ... and the cake turned out really great! I was really happy with it, and it boosted my confidence in baking.

The cake turned out great! It was dense and yet not hard, very fragrant because of the orange rind :)) 

Today, I used her exact measurements, except for the sugar. Instead of 200g, I used 150g of castor sugar. Still, I found the cake a tad sweet, and would reduce the the sugar content a little bit more the next time - probably to 130g; however, I do not know whether cutting down the sugar would have any impact on the texture or taste .... hmmmn ... does anyone have any idea?

Anyway, Mom liked the cake .... so did my colleagues when I shared with them some. Happy. ;))

I brought Mom and Dad to Chef At Home for dinner that night ... I'm glad I did because the folks enjoyed the place, the service, and the food. Of all the dishes we ordered, I enjoyed the Caesar Salad and the Aglio Olio.

Fresh vegetables and balanced flavour ... yums ... 

Aglio Olio
Al dente pasta, very aromatic and flavourful, served with beef bacon 

We also had the Pan-grilled fish with garlic butter and the mixed grill ... The meats were tasty and the portion was generous. The price was reasonable .... and the folks are already talking about coming back ...... 

Anyway, Chef At Home is opens from 4 pm and is closed on Tuesdays. Will be back. 





Sunday, July 10, 2016

Failed Attempt At Baking The Perfect Brownies

This blog is becoming an avenue for me to record my failed makes or failed bakes. Lol. After my failed attempt at making lek tau suan the other time, I have in fact cooked the dessert at least twice over .... and I think I have figured out the way to make it the way I liked to eat it.

Well, for over 3 weeks now, I've been feeling terrible, in that my body ached so bad. Then I felt an incessant pressure on my chest. I had felt uncomfortable and ceased all my activities and dragged myself to the doc's, convinced that I was having a serious illness .... but doc wrote it off as gastritis. What? Since when did I have gastritis? With some medication, in fact, I finally felt much better yesterday ..... and attempted to bake a brownie.

I used Poh's recipe - there's this show on Hypptv called Poh & Co; Poh who was a Malaysian is now a celeb cook in Australia, and in episode 6 of season 2 which I watched online, Poh made this brownie which looked easy - or so I thought. I followed the exact measurements and method, but substituted pecans with walnuts .... but the result was far different than Poh's .... Lol!

My brownies ... the tops were crumbled ..... and the insides were gooey; and overall, I found the confection sinfully sweet! 

Anyway, to take it positively, there's going to be something I can learn from this failure. Firstly, I whisked the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer, and I think that caused the tops to be flaky and crumbly. The cloying sweetness was probably due to the quality of the chocolate that I used - not that of the 70% cocoa content that was in the dark chocolate; so if there was already sugar content in the dark chocolate, I could by right reduce the amount of sugar that went into my cake; if I were to repeat this recipe, I'd cut down the sugar. Then, the gooey texture was because it wasn't set in the fridge for 4 hours (according to my friend ...) . 

My failed brownie was still edible though. It was difficult to handle, for it made a mess when I cut it. I served it in little paper cups. They were too sweet, so had to be cut small. I shared them out with friends and my students. Nothing went to waste, thankfully.

Common reactions : "Very nice, actually..." Yeah, I know. It was just sweet and didn't look pretty ...


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