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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Thai-style Papaya Salad

S chopped off her papaya tree .... and brought the green unripe fruits to give away. Of course, I gladly took one to make my favourite papaya salad. Today's salad was superb! Fiery spicy, sweet and tangy, and so appetising.

Looking good eh?

Two years ago at Krabi, I bought papaya salad from a street vendor. I observed her as she assembled the salad ... and it looked pretty simple. I was certain that I could replicate it at home. So what went into my salad today ....

Into my mortar were 2 cloves of garlic, 2 cili padi, 1 Tbsp palm sugar, 1 Tbsp fish sauce, 2 Tbsp lime, 1 Tbsp dried shrimp. I wedged and then crushed the tomatoes in the mortar, together with the long beans. Then I tossed my shredded papaya together with the rest of the ingredients and they were ready to eat. It was yummy. I loved it. :))

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Corn And Cucumber Salad (Tum Tang Kao Poad)

I fell in love with the corn and cucumber salad as soon as I ate it. I first ate it at C's house last year ...... and ever since then, I've been wanting to make it. Today, I finally had the chance to make it for the folks, and I'm glad they enjoyed it too.

Corn And Cucumber Salad 

In my salad bowl were .... 
3 small tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 handful of long beans, crushed
1 cucumber, julienned
1 fresh sweet corn, steamed and kerneled
1 hard-boiled salted egg, cubed 

My dressing comprised ...
2 cloves garlic
2 cili padi
1 Tbsp palm sugar
1 Tbsp dried shrimp
1 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp lime juice

Pour the dressing into the salad bowl and toss well before serving. It's really yum! The secret ingredient is the salted egg .... which gave the salad a rich and distinctive flavour. Do try this very simple dish at home. It's yummy. :))

Sunday, January 17, 2016

London Almond Cookies

CNY is about 3 weeks away .... Today's experiment is related to the festivity, a common type of cookie people make during this season ....

London Almond Cookies

As soon as I opened my bedroom door this morning, Mom rushed me to make the cookies. Not sure why she's so excited, though. Hmn ...

Anyway, I used Nasi Lemak Lover's recipe, which was rather simple : 30g toasted almond nibs, 135g roasted almonds, 170g butter, 50g icing sugar, 20g egg yolk, and 300g flour, 300g Tulip milk chocolate compound. Cream the butter and sugar, add in the yolk. When it's ready, add in the flour to form a dough.

My ingredients weighed and ready to be used ....

Then I took little balls of dough and wrapped it around 1 whole almond. I did not weigh the individual balls.  I shaped them into little rectangular squares ... and I could make about 83 pieces. When ready, I baked at 150 degrees for 20 minutes. 

I took them out from the tray and waited for the cookie to cool completely. The cookies weren't difficult to handle, they did not break easily. 

I melted the milk chocolate over hot water - I much preferred dark chocolate, but they were sold out at the shop I went to. Only milk and white chocolate compound were available. Anyway, once they were melted, I coated each cookie with chocolate and placed it in a tiny paper cup. At first I was clumsy and the cookies were hideously ugly. 

But as I progressed, I got better at it .... and the cookies looked more presentable. Lol. Anyway, I managed to yield 60 pieces of good looking ones .... I stored them in 2 containers. One would be flying to KL and the other one would be flying to Singapore. 

I was quite happy with the way the cookie turned out. And I sure had much fun making them. :)) 

Friday, January 8, 2016

Cold Pressed Juices

Cold pressed juices are a fad now, with cold juice bars shrooming all over the place. Die-hard fans speak of the nutritional and health benefits, with some people going on a juice diet or a juice cleanse.

But for now, I can't live on cold juices alone. They are more of a supplement to my regular diet, i.e. drink a juice here and day whenever I like or wherever it is available.

These juices aren't exactly wallet-friendly. A 320ml bottle easily cost more than RM10.00. That's a luxury in my books. But if I were to make my own juice at home, it would be very much cheaper.

Carrot, orange, pink guava (L) & Pineapple, orange, apple, lemon (R)

Recently,  my family has joined the juicing craze. We bought 2 slow juicers in 2 weeks. At first, Bro and sil bought one ... and then Dad decided to buy one for the family as well. These juicers don't come in cheap. No doubt there are many brands in the market, but even then, they cost at least RM2,000.

Slow juicers extract juices by crushing and pulping fruits, vegetables and even nuts. And there's an endless limit to the combination! So far, I've done bitter gourd, and cucumbers, and celery, and carrots, and lemons, and various types of oranges and apples, and guava, and pineapples, and kedondong, and even herbs like lemon basil. There are lots more fruits and vegetables which I would like to extract - like strawberry, kiwi, dragonfruit, beetroot, kale, spinach, ginger.

Sometimes, I bottle up the juices and keep them in the fridge - they last up to 3 days.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Return To Taiwan Cha Ya

Happy with the food during my previous visit, I brought CM back here for lunch the other day.

Teriyaki chicken rice, RM7.50
No comment from CM, so I do not know how she found the food .... 

Braised minced pork rice, RM6.50
I ate this, and I did not quite find it tasty ..... the braised meat and the sauces weren't particularly aromatic to me. 

Panfried dumplings, RM5.80
These still tasted good! Love the sweetness and the juiciness of the meat and vegetables inside ... yummy.

Not bad a place to eat, it's all quiet and it's easy to talk over the food. I'd come back just to eat the smoked tea duck and the dumplings. :)) 


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Nando's @ Vivacity Megamall Kuching

The Kuching food scened jazzed up a bit with the opening of Vivacity Megamall .... and I do intend to try all the food outlets here starting from Nando's. There seemed to be a perpetual queue in front of the entrance .... no matter what time it was - sometimes the queue was long, sometimes short. When I joined in the queue, there were about 5 little groups of people ahead of me. My waiting time was about 10 minutes.

As soon as I was shown to my table, the staff talked to me about Nando's Loyalty programme - I had to install an app and then flashed my ID number to accumulate my reward or "chilli" as they called it. I could collect a chilli for every RM30.00 spent on a single receipt, and redeem a quarter chicken after I have collected 3 chillies.

Well, after the meal the other day, I'm happy to say the least that the quality and the portion of the food as of now is acceptable, and I really do hope that they get maintained.

Citrus Blast 

1/4 chicken thigh, wedges and coleslaw
CM had this platter. And this were her comments when I asked her about the food: she said that the wedges and coleslaw were ordinary; the chicken tasted better than Kenny Roger's as it was juicier.

I had a quarter chicken thigh, and 3-beans salad

The size of the chicken thigh was reasonably small, but I detected a pleasantly smoky flavour in it; I had mine with Hot Peri-peri Sauce, which was tangy but not too spicy for me. There were bottles of Peri-peri Sauce at a counter which one could easily take if they wanted extra sauces with their meal. We tried the Extra Hot and the Wild Herb Sauces; of the 2, I preferred the Wild Herb Sauces which had a very subtle flavour of herbs. CM, however, thought that the Wild Herb sauce was too salty, so she liked the Extra Hot sauce better.

The tri-bean salad was a cold salad, tangy with lemon and pungent because of the onions and green -peppers; I did like it because I thought it was very refreshing. Drinks were expensive, but refillable if you ordered the soft drinks. There were also desserts which I have yet to try.

Overall, this first experience was good ... but I fear, of course, that it will not always stay this way. Kenny Rogers, too, started out really well, but over the years, the quality of the food has deteriorated tremendously. After my last meal at Kenny Roger's Viva Home Mall, KL, I was so put off that I had not visited since. So, please, please, please, Nando's .... stay great! :))


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Siobee Craze At Home

My Third Aunt - mom's sister - had retired recently. She found that she had too much time in her hands and got restless. Then, she found part-time work near her house - making siobee dumplings. The siobee filling had been pre-mixed by the business owners (I'm not sure which one though) .... all Third Aunt and workers had to do were to wrap them in wanton skin and shape them into balls. Third Aunt could wrap about 1,000 pieces a day ... and earned about RM40.00 for her day's work.

Of course, the ingredients and the seasoning that went into the siobee were a kept secret, so Third Aunt could only guess what went inside the filling. And so began a siobee craze at home .... Second Aunt started making them, and then Mom jumped in the bandwagon. Mom's recipe for her siobee filling was a combination of her sisters' and also her research from online sources.

She had made the siobee twice already in just two weeks, and today she made it a third time.

Freshly steamed 

Oooh .... it looked like those we got from the shop. But while the texture was alright, Mom's siobee was too bland. Lol. She needed to tweak her recipe a little bit more. Hmn .... so it looked like I'd be having siobee for breakfast for the next week .... and with lots of chilli sauce to flavour them too. :))

Monday, January 4, 2016

Luicha @ Sunrise Corner

I brought the folks to Hong Leong Bank at Pending. It was so crowded as there were so many people squeezed into the small banking hall. A majority of the people who came here were old and not very mobile, and there weren't enough places for them to sit and wait for their turns. There were only 4 counters operating at that time, and it was a long, long wait ... so obviously this bank is not very friendly for the seniors ....

After we have done our banking transactions, it started to pour ..... so while waiting for the rain to stop, I ate Luicha at Sunrise Corner - a coffee shop near the bank.

The rice was dry - not very good quality rice was used and could not really absorb the broth when I poured it into my bowl; the vegetables and other condiments tasted alright, but I could use with more salted radish for taste and textural purposes; the herbal broth was bitter, but I liked that it was served hot.

Overall, an okay bowl of Luicha which wasn't good enough to make me want to eat it again and again.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Shaved Ice & Rojak

CM and I went to school to settle a few things .. and then we decided to have a drink at the Jubilee Ground Hawker Centre before going home. We ate at Ah Yeo's as it was CM's favourite stall.

ABC & White Lady 
I had the ABC, which I found to be very yummy. I asked for less sugar, and indeed the ABC was less sweet .... love the bits of jelly and grass jelly and red beans and cendol and sago in milk and flavourings. ;)) 

Rojak
Cucumber, jicama, tofu, pineapple and cuttlefish, mixed with rojak paste and topped with chopped peanuts; the rojak paste was sweet and powdery and did not have the pungent, smelly taste that I liked. Nonetheless, the portion was large. 

All these cost us RM9.00.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Kuching Flavors @ Vivacity Megamall Kuching

Vivacity Megamall at Jalan Wan Alwi prides itself to be Sarawak's largest mall. So I had anticipated the opening of the new Vivacity Megamall .... but I was away when it opened and could only visit it recently when I came back. I brought the folks there one morning. We just went to survey the place, not really to shop. I was quite ecstatic to see a few newcomers to the Kuching retail scene, particularly Swarovski, Miss Selfridge, Lovely Lace.

At the top floor is a non-halal food court called Kuching Flavors which sells local Kuching hawker fare. It's somewhat like Hutong Lot 10, where all the popular KL food is gathered under one roof. Here is a concregation of popular vendors in Kuching, like IPH Roasted, Ah Mui Beef Noodles, Ah Lian Kolo Mee, Carpenter Street Kueh Chap & Carpenter Street Laksa, Ah Suan Chicken Rice, and so on ....

 Love this illustrations!!

Plenty of places to sit ... 

Over here, a prepaid card system is used. I find it a bit troublesome, actually. There were 2 types of cards - 1 for daily use, and 1 for continuous use. For daily use, a deposit of RM2.00 is charged for the card and the minimum value to buy is RM10.00; whatever money leftover from food and drinks purchase would be refunded upon the return of the card. 

I felt that I would be eating here sometimes ... so I chose to have the VIP card. I paid RM50.00 for my card, which had a stored value of RM40.00. That meant that I had paid RM10.00 for the card. So expensive. However, with every order, I got a 5% discount. There was also expiry date for the value - mine would be expired on 31 Dec 2016. 

Stall #04
Ah Mui Beef Noodles (regular)
This was RM7.00, and I got a discount of RM0.35 with the VIP card.
My cousin ran this stall with her husband, so I just had to come and give her a bit of a support! :)) The portion of the noodle was huge, but we found the flavours to be a bit subtle or bland.

 Stall #05
Lau Ya Keng History Laksa
This was laksa with chicken and prawn, RM8.30; a RM0.42 discount was given
We though that the laksa was expensive, tasted good, but very stingy with the gravy.

Stall #09
Carpenter Street Kueh Chap
Set B - mixed meat and offal with Kueh
This cost RM7.50, discount was RM0.38 cents
Portion was so-so; taste was good. 

Of all the three items, I think the kueh chap was the best. So I spent RM21.65 today, meaning that I still had RM18.35 stored. Also, I saved RM1.15 with my VIP card.

Anyway, this is an aside. I watched the kueh chap lady prepare my order and it made me amused. She portioned out some kueh and put it in the bowl. She shook the bowl a bit. Then looking at it, she thought that the portion she had just put in was probably too much. So she took out 2 pieces of kueh from the bowl. Tsk .. tsk ... tsk .... did they really have to be seen to be so stingy with the portion? I think food hawkers in Kuching have this habit .... and of course, we've all seen kolo mee vendors taking out 1 or 2 strands of noodles out from a particular bowl of noodles. Sigh .... did they have to really do that?

The other day, I went back to Vivacity Megamall and I asked whether the staff if I would get my RM10.00 back upon surrendering my VIP card .... heck, she couldn't answer me as she didn't even know! I asked her to enquire the management .... obviously they did not or had not talked about it. :))

Friday, January 1, 2016

Nastar Pineapple Rolls

Everything I make is essentially an experiment. Today's experiment is Nastar Pineapple Rolls.

Handmade by me :)) 

With Chinese New Year around the corner, I see that a lot of online vendors have started taking orders for pineapple rolls. I too, know of a certain someone who is so capable to sell container after container of these rolls during the festive season.

And so I wondered about how these pineapple rolls are made. I did some research online .... and was determined to produce a batch myself! I had all the ingredients on hand - even the pineapple jam! All I had to do was to buy a Nastar mould, which I did. I bought a plastic one.

Bake For Happy Kids had detailed 4 recipes very clearly - and I chose to make the one by Nasi Lemak Lover. I used 100g of butter, 29g of condensed milk, 9g of egg yolk, 145g of flour. I creamed the butter and condensed milk and egg, and then added in the flour. I mixed everything together and refrigerated it.

Then, I rolled the pineapple jam into little rounds. When I was ready, I piped out strips of pastry using the Nastar mould. I placed a ball of pineapple jam in the strip and enclosed it, cutting away the excess pastry.

At first, I merely put the pineapple roll on a lined tray .... later on I put it in a paper cup. The final step is to brush the roll with eggwash and then bake it at 16 minutes at 160 degrees.

I found the pastry to be alright - buttery, and it did not break or crumble easily even without the paper cup. It also looked quite dainty because the mould was considerably small. Overall, I was quite happy with the result. I would really want to make some more pineapple rolls for Chinese New Year - perhaps I'd experiment with other recipes ...............

P/S : Happy New Year 2016 to everyone! Wishing you health, wealth, happiness! 

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