Thursday, June 29, 2006

MyCoffee Snacks: Bakin Boys @ KLCC

Here’s a transcript of my ‘adventure’ at the Bakin Boys counter at KLCC:
Me goggling at the varieties of cookies on display.
Pretty attendant : Hi, would you like to try our samples?
Me : Um, sure. What do you have?
Pretty attendant : We have Peanut Parade, Cranberry Basket and Coconut Cabaret.
Me : Ok, let me try the Peanut one . Mmm.., (while savouring cookie) that’s
good. And how about the Cranberry one. Mmm… (while savouring
another cookie) This is very, very good as well.
Pretty attendant : Thanks. Would you like to buy some?
Me : Yeah, sure. But which should I have? All look so delicious.
Pretty attendant : Why don’t you buy 6? 6 pieces only cost you RM21+, and you get to
sample a variety.
Me : Oh, no-no. They are so huge and I will probably gorge all 6 by myself.
By the way, do they come in smaller sizes?
Pretty attendant : Sorry, at this time we only have them in 1 size.
Me : Ok, then. I will take the The Praliner.
Pretty attendant : Good choice. Are you sure one is enough?
Me : Yeah. They are huge! How long can I keep them just in case I can’t
finish them? Would they keep for a couple of days?
Pretty attendant : Sure, no problem at all. Here you are, 1 pc of Praliner for you (as she
hands over the bag containing the cookie).
Me : Thanks….And erm, I think I will also take another piece of The
Martian Fellow cookie.
Pretty attendant : Sure (as she gives me this knowing’ smile). Is that all?
(as she saw me eyeing the lone mini Banana Muffin glazed with Lime
Frosting sitting prettily on the counter).
I nodded rather unconvincingly. Quickly paid and scurried away before I gave in further to temptation!

Back to the cookies, The Praliner is described as “tantalizing pecans liberally sprinkled over a top crust that hides away layers of praline”. It was yummy, no doubt, although I am not sure about the “liberally” part as there was only one pecan sitting on top of the cookie. However, for a non-dark chocolate cookie, I think I prefer the Peanut or the Cranberry one. This is a little too sweet for my liking.
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And as for The Martian Fellow, it is described as “scrumptious portions of melted marshmallow in thick gooey dark chocolate”. I love dark chocolate and anything that contains good dark chocolate will not go wrong with me. Having said that though, somehow I wasn’t that impressed with this cookie. Delicious as it was, it reminded me of a chocolate brownie which (at the risk of sound pompous), I can easily replicate (or at least I would like to think so).
Bakin Boys cookies are soft cookies that kinda melt in your mouth. In a way, they remind me of cookie dough.
Nevertheless, I still enjoyed both cookies very much and was glad that I stay and work nowhere near KLCC where Bakin Boys is located.

Oh, by the way, the cookies didn’t even last through the night. Both of them were gone in no time. And I actually worried about not being able to finish one – what a joke!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

MyCoffee Eats: Sunday Bubbly Brunch @ Prego, Westin

Recently bought a new camera (Canon Ixus60) and have been carrying it with me almost everywhere I go. Hence, managed to take shots of the restaurants that I visited over this past weekend.

The highlight is of couse the ultimate Sunday Brunch at Prego, Westin. Infamously known as the Sunday Bubbly Brunch, it boasts a long reservation list requiring confirmation via credit card authorisation (the first time I came across such requirement in KL). Not so hard to understand since the main highlight of this brunch is the free-flowing Veuve Clicquot champagne and other spirits.

As soon as we sat down, we were served with the antipasti platter, consisting of crostini, mini servings of what tasted like cold green pea soup, some kind of stuffed meatloaf with pate, and mini bruschetta topped with sun-dried tomatoes and roasted pumpkins. I love the bruschetta!
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And before we barely warmed our seats, came the first round of drinks....
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My favourite intoxicant: Veuve Clicquote champagne
And more drinks!
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Can't say 'no' to these - absolutely delicious house sangria, apple martini and lychee martini (best ever I had ever tasted!)

And true to their words, they were very generous with the free-flowing spirits, frequently topping up our drinks. (ps. Alcoholic drinks weren't the only drinks availabe. They have a very good fresh orange juice and watermelon juice. And good coffee too, of course)

Food choices were pretty good as well. I like the fact that their chefs go around serving people different varieties of freshly baked pizzas and freshly cooked pasta and soups!
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One of the few choices of soups served - Italian Seafood Soup

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Mushroom Pizza and Pasta

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More Pizza and Pasta

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Bolognese "something"

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Some more pizza and their famous Mushroom Risotto

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Something different - Squid Ink Pizza

Pardon my vague descriptions. Frankly speaking, there were so many varieties of pizzas, pastas and risottos served that I lost count of which was which. (Those pictured above were just some of the ones that were offered). Also, I started having difficulty with my memory starting from my 2nd drink onwards...

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Food Galore (from the buffet station) . Some highlights include a whole oven-baked salmon, beef carpacio. air-dried beef and many more!

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Yummy Caesar Salad with plenty of bacon bits

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From the BBQ station: Tender & juicy lamb served with risotto. I love the lamb with the mint dressing and a tad of mustard, but unfortunately, my tummy started to fill slightly quesy so I only manage a couple bites out of this slice. What a waste...

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Dessert time: Variety of desserts
By this time, my eye lids were getting heavier and heavier, and my memory of what's before me on the dining table grew dimmer and dimmer...*lol*

But I have no problem remembering this:
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'To-die-for' Chocolate Souffle served with home-made gelati (the latter comes in several flavours; vanilla, hazelnut, pistachio and many more)

My stomach was filled with more drinks than food but I could not resist ordering one last glass of...
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Finale: One more glass of Lychee Martini, please...

After about 4 hours of pleasant conversation, good food and amazing drinks on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I left feeling very satiated and of course, very 'bubbly' indeed.....

Cost per person: RM148++

MyCoffee Eats: The Olive & sevenatenin9

After a taxing RPM (studio cycling) class at the gym on Friday, my tummy was protesting and screaming "Feed me, feed me!" Popped over to this restaurant, The Olive at Plaza Damas in Hartamas which a friend recommended.
I was famished so imagine my misery when the waiter told us that we would have to wait quite a while as 2 big tables of patrons just arrived and ordered before us with full 3-course meals. I was already dreading this when I entered the restaurant and sensed that they were understaffed that night.
My friend and I ordered a mushroom soup in the hope that it could be served first before the mains so as to appease our growling stomachs. Our hope was in vain. By the time our other friends joined us, nothing edible had arrived yet. No even a complimentary bread basket. As my other friends ordered, we saw a very appetizing pepperoni pizza (not listed on the menu though - strange!) so although I had already ordered a soup and a pasta main, I said yes when my friend suggested to share another pizza. In fact, I would have readily agreed even if he had suggested an entire cow because that was how hungry I was. And it was way past my usual dinner time, mind you.

So, we were definitely caught unaware when the food arrived all at once. Here they are:

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Home-made Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup. Nice but a tad too rich/creamy/milky.

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My friend's pasta: Fettucini Salmon in Tomato Cream Sauce (rather nice!)

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Another friend's order: Spaghetti Carbonara (this is good as well, not overly creamy)

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My order: Linguini Marinara (I wasn't too pleased with this. I like my Marinara loaded with seafood and comes in a red, thick and rich tomato sauce. This sauce is a little too thin for my liking).

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Additional Order: Pepperoni Pizza (I like my pizzas like this. Thin and rustic. Nice!)

Wanted but couldn't manage dessert after this.

The Olive Italian Cuisine @ Plaza Damas, Hartmas
Tel: 03-6203 5832
On the other hand, what I had at sevenATEnine (Ascot, Jalan Pinang) paled in comparison to my dinner at The Olive. Not in terms of quality and taste, but in terms of quantity and size...haha. What to do, my friends weren't eating and I would have felt uncomfortable to be the only person eating a full main dish when the rest weren't eating. So I ordered this:
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Smoked Duck Salad with Asian Pear
It tasted good and I like the asian-influenced dressing and the combination with the nashi pear and watercress salad. But although I wasn't expecting a big serving, I wasn't exactly expecting to see such a small serving. Probably finished the salad in less than 5 mouthfuls! haha.
Also, the menu had changed since the last time I dined there a couple of months back. It was scaled down and prices seems to be slightly higher, particularly for non-mains.


Saturday, June 24, 2006

Clearing Leftovers! (Pandan Walnut Chiffon Cake, Light AnzacBiscuits, Apple Cheddar Muffins, Raisin Cinnamon Swirl Bread)

First of all, I have to confess the recipes of choice today were picked based on some leftover ingredients that I have used before and needed to finish up before they spoil.

1st leftover ingredient: 3/4 packet coconut milk
Finished product: Pandan Walnut Chiffon Cake
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It has been awhile since I last baked this. This is a thoroughly tried and tested recipe and my favourite chiffon cake recipe among a few others that I have tried. Recipe is by Amy Beh (try searching on Always "gone in no time", it remains as a huge hit among my nephews and nieces. Basically, this cake is always baked for them. In an attempt to add a new twist to the recipe, I added some walnuts to make it more interesting.

2nd leftover ingredient: About 1/4 packet of rolled oats
Finished product: Light Anzac Biscuits
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Have been wanting to bake myself some Anzac Biscuits since I received some from a BBM event some time ago. The recipe that I used here is a "lighter" version from Cooking Light. Not bad!

3rd leftover ingredient: 1 apple and some leftover cheddar cheese block
Finished product: Apple Cheese Muffins
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Ah, need to use up the remaining cheddar cheese block before it starts to ferment and go to waste. Coincidentally, I have one (not-exactly-fresh) apple in the fridge that no one wants. Just perfect for this recipe. Slightly sweet and salty at the same time, it provides an interesting change to the usual sweet muffins that I baked.
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Filled with apple chunks!

And also a "No-Knead" Raisin Cinnamon Bread after coming home from the Sunday Bubbly Brunch (check out the post above)
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Friday, June 23, 2006

Mirror Image (Chilled Orange Yogurt Cake)

For all cheesecake fans out there (myself included), I found a recipe that is far less worrisome (particularly for the health conscious) in the form of a Chilled Orange Yogurt Cake. Looks like a chilled cheesecake. Taste almost like a cheesecake (although the sour tang of yogurt is unmistakeable), but far less distress-causing in terms of calories than a normal cheesecake.

Recipe found here from Tazz In The Kitchen blog. Go on, try it!
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ps: However, I would not recommend yogurt-haters to try this cake.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Life's Hard without a Bread Maker Machine (Sunflower Seeds Bread)

Life's hard without a bread maker machine. My family had been deprived of fresh home-baked bread every morning since my bread machine broken down. The thing is, I am convinced it is not totally broken as the motor and the kneading blade is still working. It is only when the dough becomes heavy (e.g., mixing the liquid with flour), the kneading blade could not move. :-I But unfortunately, I have no idea how to fix it.

In the mean time, if we want bread, it has to be hand-kneaded. And this is the task that I dread the most. Try kneading bread dough on a hot afternoon in a hot kitchen and you will know what I mean. The amount of sweat is similar to 1-hour of gym class. And each time I hand-kneaded a bread dough, I would swear that was the last time that I will do so.

Anyhow, here's my latest (or last) attempt. A hand-kneaded Sunflower Seeds Braided Bread, recipe from a talented baker on KC.
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Can see the braid properly as it is covered by the sunflower seeds.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Happy Father's Day (Asian Tiramisu)

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Asian Tiramisu for Father's Day
Have always wanted to make a tiramisu. This is not exactly a classic Tiramisu, but rather, an improvised "Asian-version" from Kuali. Decided to use try this recipe as I happened to have all the ingredients on-hand (does not require mascarpone cheese or sponge fingers). Coffee liquor flavoured cream cheese layered on coffee and liquor soaked chocolate sponge cake topped with dessicated coconut; it provided a different twist to the classic tiramisu.
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To be honest, I was quite disappointed after tasting it on the 1st day (after leaving it in the fridge for a day). I found it slightly too bitter. But then, from the 2nd and 3rd days onwards, I grew to like it. The flavour seems to develope more. But because storing sponge cake in the fridge tend to dry it out, I reckon I should have soak the sponge cake with more coffee & liqour mixture. Oh, I did doubled/tripled the alcohol content more than that specified in the recipe, including adding coffee liquor to the coffee mixture for soaking the cake.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Something To Munch On (Sweet Potato Sago Jelly & Banana Oatmeal Cookies)

These days, I have been lazy when it comes to baking. My preference is for simple recipes that do not require much effort. But at the same time, it has to be 'something different'.

The 2 recipes below seems to fit the bill.

Banana Oatmeal Cookies (low-fat)
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Recipe from Baking Sheet. And this has the added advantage of being 'healthy' as it is low in fat. The kids at home do not fancy them so I brought them to my office. Ideal as snacks when feeling hungry in the office. They are soft and chewy, almost cake-like. The banana was pretty evident on day one, but subsequently it mellowed till it became hardly noticeable. On my next try, I might try adding more banana and reducing the sugar level (find it slightly too sweet).

Sweet Potato & Sago Jelly
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This didn't exactly turn out well. The sago layer was too hard! However, the sweet potato layer tasted rather nice. Recipe from Kuali.

Monday, June 05, 2006

2 Bread and a Muffin (Raisin Plait, Oatmeal Carrot Bread and Sweet Corn Muffin)

Bad news for me! My bread machine died on me after faithfully serving me for 1 year and 4 months. Rather short-lived, wouldn't you say? Then again, it was used almost every day to make bread for my family. The brand is Empress and I got it for quite a bargain from Cosway. About RM199, I think.
Due to this, I have to manually knead the bread dough. I think till I have a working bread machine again, no more bread-making for me.

Raisin Plait topped with Cheddar Cheese (recipe from Alex Goh)
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Oatmeal Carrot Bread (recipe based on Alex Goh's)
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Sweet Corn Muffin (recipe here)
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Sunday, June 04, 2006

Cookies Baking Day (Crispy Ginger Cinnamon Oatmeal & Puffy Cheese Cookies)

Suddenly in the mood to bake cookies instead of something heavier, say a cake. Picked these 2 recipes.

Crispy Ginger Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies
Original recipe found here.
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I really like these cookies. Crispy and not too sweet. Perfect for office-snacking. I added about 1/2tsp of ground ginger and 1/4tsp of cinnamon powder. I think I will double them up the next time for their taste were only faintly evident.

Puffy Cheese Cookies
Original recipe here.
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I sprinkled sesame seeds and shredded cheese on top of the cut cookies prior to baking. These cookies puffed up during baking resulting in a really puffy and crispy cookies. Taste wise, you will feel as if you are eating puffy cheese sticks. Not a bad thing though.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Busy Saturday (various)

I was so free this afternoon. No gym classes to go and no other appointments. Naturally, I did what I like to do best, that is making stuff in the kitchen.

Here's what I churned out:
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Cheat Chinese "Lo Bak Kou" aka Steamed Radish Savoury Cake (Chinese Bread Pudding Cake)
Cheat as in the dough is made entirely from day-old white bread soaked in slightly salted water. Tasted quite like it as well except that I think I over-steamed it a bit and the texture was a bit too hard for my liking.
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Also boiled some Walnut Cream Sweet Soup (tongshui). Recipe is by Betty Saw in one of her Kitchen Recipes book but it was not similar to those really thick and creamy type found in Hong Kong. But still decent though.
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About 1 full cup of whole walnuts (or about 125g)
1/2 can of evaporated milk
400 ml water
1/2 cup sugar (or to taste)
1. Blanch walnuts in boiling water. Strain and let dry. Then roast them in the oven till golden brown.
2. Add walnuts and water into the blender and puree till fine. If you want a smooth mixture, strain it. I prefer mine with un-strained.
3. Put puree and evaporated milk into saucepan. Bring to boil. Then simmer for 1-2 minutes before adding sugar to taste.
4. Stir till sugar dissolve and bring to boil again. You may want to stir it constantly.
5. Simmer for another minute. Serve warm.

The night before, I marinated some guava slices. Original recipe can be found here. (FAVOURITE RECIPE). These are seriously good. I can't stop snacking on them. Highly recommended! Well, at least they are healthy snacks.
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