Thursday, August 24, 2006

There's Always a First Time for Everything (Vegan Pineapple Upside Down Cake & Pandan Butter Cake)

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There always a first time for everything. And this is my first vegan cake (maybe not, but I can't seems to remember previous tries). Anyway, it is a Vegan Pineapple Upside Down Cake (although to me it seems more like a crustless pie since it was kind of flat). Relatively low fat as well, only 3T of oil in the cake. But the accompanying pineapple sauce made up the fat content (hehe).Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
The cake can be serve warm or cold although I personally prefer it warm. It tasted good barely out from the oven with the sauce slathered all over.

Oh, I also baked a simple Pandan Butter Cake.Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

That's it, folks! This should be my last post for the month up till early September. Going for an outstation trip tomorrow followed by an overseas trip to Sydney. Yay!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

MyCoffee Eats: Pizza Uno, USJ

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Pizza Uno's AUSSIE pizza (small)
My first visit to this quaint pizza & pasta place was way back when it first opened quite a number of years ago (long before it started branching out). I remember my first impression was the price was rather cheap for good quality and authentic pizzas and pastas. The shop used to be very crowded to the point that you will often see a small crowd of people waiting for tables outside on the pavement. It was not a surprise that it became rather legendary especially among Subang folks. Since then I have been back a few times but much lesser recently.

I went back last week. A friend dropped by and we wanted to go another place but it was closed, so I suggested to her this "cheap and delicious pizza place".

It was a weekend night and the shop was quite crowded but not like its yesteryears. We sat outside under a big 'red' umbrella (you will see how this became an important fact later). The waitress who served us was pretty knowledgeable (thank goodness not one of those non-locals or even locals who just gave you a blank stare and a frown). She suggested some specials of the day but since it was my friend's first time there and mine too after a LONG time. we opted for their staples instead. We ordered a jug of Sangria to share (after working it out that 2 glasses of house wine would cost the same) and also a Marinara Pasta with home-made spirelli and a small 'Aussie' pizza with beef bacon, salami, capsicum and egg (see pic above).
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Sangria came first, it was rather diluted but taste-wise, quite alright. Would say, better than average (but definitely not in the same league as Prego's, which makes the best-ever sangria).
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Home-made spirelli Marinara
Both my friend and I share a similar favourite pasta, which is Marinara. Hence, we have high standards on what qualifies as a good Marinara. Pizza Uno's Marinara hasn't quite make it to our list of favourite Marinara. Firstly, the sauce was a bit watery and slightly too sweet. We like our sauce to be thick. Not a lot of ingredients too, just 2 large prawns, 2 mussels and I really couldn't remember anything else. The Aussie pizza fared better. Adding an egg to the pizza was a bit uncommon but I like it together with the salami, bacon and capsicum (and I like how the egg created a "bull-eye" effect on the pizza - hehe). It kind of reminds me of a standard Aussie breakfast fare in a pizza form.

Sadly, the price is no longer considered cheap. Sangria costs about RM30 per jug (this price is ok la), but both the small-ish pizza (about 7" or 8") and pasta costs about RM19 and RM25 respectively. We ended up paying about RM42 per person. My friend asked me, "I thought you said this place is cheap?" I could only mumbled, *ahem...*

Now what about the "red umbrella" effect that I mentioned earlier? Well, notice how all the photos taken have a red-ish tint?

Pizza Uno
USJ, Taipan Triangle 4, Jalan USJ 10/1B (Taipan Triangle), Subang Jaya.
Tel: 03-5633 0721

Friday, August 18, 2006

MyCoffee Eats: Dinner @ Eest, Westin

Back to Westin KL, I went. I had a RM50 food voucher and I was thinking to use it at Prego. But then, I walked past Eest and was taken with its impressive interior and architecture (read about the concept here). Take a look.
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Entrance to Eest. Looked more like an entrance to a club. ;-)
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The so-called "Smoker's Lounge". Can also see the chef in action here.
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More view of the interior (aka dining area)
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EEST is a Pan Asian restaurant featuring five distinct Asian cuisines - Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai and Malay with a modern and innovative twist. True enough, the complimentary edamame appetizer was not the usual steamed and lightly salted. Instead, it was lightly spiced and absolutely addictive. In fact, my friend and I liked it so much that we asked for seconds. The honey roasted sesame cashew nuts were nice too.
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Salad of scallops with banana blossom in chilli jam.
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Salmon sushi lettuce rolls with tobiko, chive, avocado
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'3-style' sea bass with holy basil. We were recommended this dish. When it arrived, I couldn't figure out the '3-style' part. All I saw was just a deep-fried fish. Not very impressed with this dish although granted, the fish was fresh and succulent (not that it counted that much since after all, it is deep-fried).
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Dessert: 'A Study of Durian' that consists of durian ice-cream, durian chilled pancake, durian doughnut, durian spring roll and durian burnt cream (aka creme brulee). I liked the ice-cream and spring roll. Others were so-so.

Westin, Kuala Lumpur

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Wholemeal Goodness (Banana Nuts Wholemeal Muffin & Walnut Wholemeal Coffee Cake)

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As a child, I used to detest wholemeal stuff. I dislike the coarse texture and the extra chewy factor, particularly in baked goods such as bread. But I grew to love it. Of course, the health benefit is an additional 'plus' factor too. Not to forget that wholemeal stuff makes you feel full faster, hence you are unlikely to over-indulge. In other words, it is kinder to your waistline.

Here are 2 recipes for wholemeal baked goods.

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Banana Nuts Wholemeal Muffin
I got the recipe from Tham Jiak. But I used about 100g of yogurt instead of 1/4 cup because at the latter, I couldn't even get my dry ingredients to combine with the wet ingredients. Also subsituted some of the brown sugar with molasses sugar. To make it more 'dessert' like, I added some brown sugar to the muesli topping. I think I will add more bananas next time too.
This muffin tastes even better the next day. Ideal for breakfast and also as a less 'sinful' tea-time dessert. Oh, one importan detail - it is fat-free.

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Walnut Wholemeal Coffee Cake (recipe link)
This cake looks simple, yet gorgeous. Taste wise, the same. It has a slightly heavy and dense texture due to the presence of wholemeal flour which if you don't like, just used plain flour entirely instead. The highlight is obviously the syrupy walnut center. I used a combination of demerara sugar and coarse brown sugar with the walnuts.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Accidental Sunday (Acar, Balsamic Chicken & Grilled Tumeric Chicken)

Accidental - yes. And I mean it in a "literal" way.

Sunday afternoons call for testing of new recipes. After all, Sunday evenings are (un)officially family dinner night. Mom gets a day off from the kitchen while SIL and I slave away to prepare dinner (although most of the time, she cooks and I bake).

These are my picks for today.
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Healthy Acar (Pickled Vegetables) Salad
- Roasted white sesame seeds
- Fine or coarsely chopped roasted peanuts
(Either dice or cut it length-wise into 1" length) the following:
1 cucumber
1 carrot
1 small head of round cabbage
200g or 8-10 ropes of long beans
Diced canned pineapples
(optional) any other suitable vegetables of your liking
1) Mix carrots and cucumber with some salt. Put aside for 1 hr. Drain.
2) Blanch cabbage and long beans in boiling water. Drain.

1) Juice of 2 lemons mixed with 2T of sugar (or more) and a pinch of salt
2) 2 stalks of lemongrass (diced)
3) 1/2 stalk of bunga kantan (diced)
4) 5 red chillis or more (seeds removed and diced)
Pulse (2, 3 & 4) in a blender or food processor until fine. Combine with juice mixture. Set aside.
Salad Method:
In a large bowl, toss all the prepared vegetables with the sauce. Add handfuls of sesame seeds and peanuts (or you can opt to add this upon serving). Transfer to a contained and chill in fridge overnight.
* If you want it sweeter, than just add more sugar when tossing the salad.

Also, I tried out 2 recipes by Gina from KC. Oven-baked Balsamic Chicken and Grilled Tumeric Chicken.
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Oven-Baked Balsamic Chicken (family size serving)
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Oven-Baked Balsamic Chicken (small serving)

And then, the 'accident' happened. I was re-heating up some of the marinating sauce in the microwave. Only wanted to heat them up a wee-bit but I forgot the time and over-heated them so by the time I removed it, it was steaming hot. I brought it to the dinner table and was standing behind my SIL when she suddenly turned, bumped into me and caused the sizzling 'sauce' in the bowl to spill onto my left hand. My left wrist was scalded. For the next 30 minutes, I was seeing 'stars'. Oh, man..., it was painful even though the burnt area was small. Within hours, blister the size of a 10-cent coin formed on my wrist. Ouch! Not to mention I now bear discoloured burnt marks on my wrist...*boo-hoo*
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This picture was taken 'post-accident'. I was still in pain, hence my hands were shaky. Couldn't be bothered with the lighting too.

Back to the chickens, I prefer the Tumeric to the Balsamic Chicken. Nicely crisped skin with juicy meat, highly fragrant and delicious. The Balsamic Chicken was alright too but I was already taken with the flavour of the Tumeric Chicken.

So there you have it, my 'accidental' Sunday.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Let's Go Green (Pandan Custard Red Bean Buns, Pandan Chiffon & Kiwi Apple Jam)

Theme of the day - the colour green! As in pandan leaves and kiwi fruits. Get it???

Ok, bad joke aside. All I wanted to make for today was the Pandan Custard Red Bean Buns. But since my maid plucked additional pandan leaves from our garden, I used the extra to make one of my family's all-time favourite, the Pandan Chiffon Cake.

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Pandan Custard Red Bean Buns
Rather simple to make. Just use your favourite 'sweet dough recipe'. After the first proofing, divide into 50g rounds. Rest for 10 mins.
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Wrap each with about 30g ready-made red bean paste. Arrange in a greased pan and let it proof for about 45 nins. Prepare some custard with pandan juice. Pipe onto the buns. Brush 'un-piped' area with egg wash. Sprinkle top with dessicated coconut. Baked in pre-heated oven at 180-190c for about 18-20 mins, or till done.

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Pandan Chiffon cake.
I usually reduced the sugar from the qty stated on the recipe for my chiffon cakes. But this time, I accidentally forgot to add the portion reserved for the egg yolk mixture. That is like 50% of the total sugar portion required for the recipe! I was screeching like a mad woman when I saw the bowl of sugar sitting on my counter about 5 minutes after I put the cake into the oven to bake. Was half-tempted to just dump the entire load in but then I thought - what the heck, let's just give this severely sugar-reduced attempt a try. And surprise! It was good. The lack of sweetness was evident but only subtly so. I think from now on, I would bake my chiffon cakes with this sugar ratio.

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I had some extra time to kill so decided to make this simple & easy Kiwi Apple Jam, using the microwave. The jam can be done in less than 15 minutes. Recipe found from this cute blog.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

MyCoffee Eats: Lunch @ Kluang Station

This is another kopitiam that I have been wanting to try.

I finally did but sadly, I wasn't impressed at all.

First of all, the food seems to take ages to come. Granted it was lunch on a weekday but the place was slightly less than half-filled. Secondly, the half-boiled eggs were more like quarter-boiled eggs. Not a pleasing sight so I didn't take any photo. We sent it back. Minutes later, they gave us another plate. Alas, the eggs were slightly more than 'quarter-boiled'. But we were famished so we just swallowed our disappointment and whacked it. Surprisingly, the toasts were the last to arrive, (after our nasi lemak and mee siam). We actually ordered a toasted bun but were given plain toasts instead. Again, we were famished so we just had that instead.

Verdict? Everything was 'so-so', I thought. My kopi was average and so was the mee siam, although I liked the 'sambal' which was sweet and spicy. And I find them rather pricey too.
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My 'kopi' and 'mee siam'

Kluang Station
Ikano Power Center (opposite Harvey Norman)

Monday, August 07, 2006

Surely Not? (Fat-free Banana Chocolate Chip Bread)

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Fat-free? Surely not? But yes, they are. No butter, margarine, shortening or oil of any kind. And, if you exclude the eggs (if you are concerned, just use 2 egg whites instead of one whole egg) and chocolate chips. But then, the amount of fat that these contribute is negligible, right? I would like to think so. And no thanks, please don't come and enlighten me.

Anyhow, they are good for breakfast, particularly when toasted until just a tiny bit burnt around the edges. Really!

Based on recipe by "Everybody Likes Sandwiches"
3 medium to large ripe bananas, mashed
2 large eggs (or 2 egg whites + 1 egg)
1 1/2 c plain flour
3/4c sugar (1/2 granulated sugar + 1/4T organic molasses sugar)
1 t baking soda
1 t pure vanilla paste
1 T cinnamon powder
6T semi-sweet chocolate chips
Topping: 2T sugar (white + brown/molasses) mixed with cinnamon and 2T chocolate chips.

Mix mashed bananas with eggs and combine thoroughly. Add flour, sugar, baking soda, vanilla paste, cinnamon and mix well. Add chocolate chips into the batter. Pour batter into a greased and bottom-lined small loaf tin (about 8x4 inch). Sprinkle with toppings. Bake at 180-190c for 40 minutes (cover top with foil if top browns too fast) or until skewer test comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Another Cookie, Another Rave (PB Filled Chocolate Cookie & Orange Choc Chip Madeleine)

I seems to be having luck when trying new cookies recipes recently. Almost all were really good! And I am not saying it just because I baked them... (ahem...)

Anyway, here's the latest recipe that I tried,
Chocolate Cookies with Peanut Butter center. ~ (FAVOURITE RECIPE)
Chocolate? - Checked!
Peanut Butter? - Checked!
Cookie Ecstasy? - Checked!!!
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Based on this recipe. (Sugar reduced . Also, used Van Houten Cocoa Powder. Anyone knows where to get 'Dutch-processed Cocoa Powder' in KL?)

In addition, the kids have been requesting me to bake some madeleines. They like the previous batch that I baked for them. To try a new flavour, I substituted vanilla with orange oil and added chocolate chips. Funnily, these were less popular than the plain vanilla ones. I guess they are less of a fan of orange than vanilla. Oh well, at least I don't have to fight with the kids for these madeleines. *grin*
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By the way, in the interest of 'good photography', the first picture was taken outdoor to catch the last of natural sunlight before dusk sets in. When my mom saw me, she said alarmingly, "What are you doing crouching on the lawn?" And typical of her, she added, "The neighbours would think that I raised a mad daughter..." Maybe a little mad, but also talented - yes?

Refreshingly Good (Chickpea Coconut Pudding)

Yum, yum, yum. I like chickpeas. Love to get them freshly steamed with a hint of spice from 'kacang puteh' stalls but sadly, they are not so easily available these days. Chickpeas are also great lightly tossed with mixed vegetables salad. They are really pretty versatile. But it was my first time coming across it being used in an Asian-styled chilled pudding when I saw this recipe. Naturally, I have to give it a try.
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And I wasn't let down. It was good! An ideal dessert to eat on hot afternoons! My mom couldn't stop snacking on these. Do givc this recipe a try. Here are my comments on the recipe:
- I halved the recipe but added an entire can of chickpeas (rinsed).
- Texture is very soft. It won't hold in your hand.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Was it the Sun? (Golden Egg Tarts, Coconut Custard Buns)

Was it because of the sun? It must be. Pictures taken today are more goldenish yellow than usual.
Take a look.

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Golden Egg Tarts
I made a mistake when making custard fillings for my buns. Instead of wasting it, I used the egg-milk mixture to make egg tarts. Had to improvise from the previous try, but still good.

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Coconut Custard Buns

Friday, August 04, 2006

MyCoffee Snacks: Bon Bon's Famous Durian Cake

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Ah, durians, how I love thee.
Some people say you are stinky,
But I think you smell heavenly.
Although your body is so thorny,
But your golden yellow flesh is "oh-so-lovely".
Ah, durians, how I love thee.

Haha, sound so cheesy, I know. But I truly love durians! In fact, to the horror of some, I can have a meal that consists of only durians and steamed white rice and nothing else. For those who shudder at the sound of this, you don't know what you are missing. It's your loss, I kid you not. (hehe)

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A close second is Bon Bon's famous Durian Cake. This cake is seasonal too, as it is only available during the durian season. After all, it is claimed that only good quality durians are used in the cake. I don't doubt it as it really feels like eating fresh durian in a cake. Generous chunks of delicious durian flesh interlaced with feather-light whipped cream in between layers of cottony soft sponge. The sprinklings of toasted almond flakes provided a nice contrast to the cake with an addictive crunch. This cake truly rocks, man!
Those in the know would not be surprised that at its peak, the order list for whole cakes could stretch to 2 weeks. And if you are lucky, you would get to order this cake in individual slices when you dine-in (strictly subject to availability). When the demand is high, take-aways are not even allowed. My only gripe is that the slices seem to be shrinking in size over the years.

Is the cake worth all the fuss? Definitely!

Bon Bon's Cafe
(adjacent to Atria Shopping Complex, Damansara Jaya)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

MyCoffee Eats: Lunch @ EatWorkShop

I stood by my promise, my promise to return to Eat Work Shop to try their lunch menu.

Followng my first foray to this "not-much-known" eatery recently and subsequent rave over my dinner there, I have been restless in wanting to make a return trip, particularly for lunch. I finally did, and dear readers, you get to read about my largely satisfying lunch there.

Surprisingly, I feel that their lunch menu offers a wider variety than their dinner menu. There are quite a good selection of light bites, salads, sandwiches & burgers, pasta as well as fuller main courses. I was later told that a different chef presides the kitchen during lunch time. In other words, you can't order from their lunch menu during dinner time because the chef would be different.

As much as I would like to order the Baby Ribs, but I didn't want to risk falling flat on my face later at work (from dozing off - hehe). It was a weekday lunch after all. So my lunch companion and I shared:

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Spicy M Pasta
To me this is a lightly spiced version of Pasta Marinara. Pretty chockful with fresh seafood, and I like the slightly thick and creamy chilli tomato sauce too. However, I would fall short of calling this dish 'spicy' though.

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Grilled Fish Sandwich (Forgot exact name but if I am not mistaken, it sounded something like "Blackened Fish" sandwich or something - no?)
When asked, the waitress told me that this is served on toasted focaccia. But when it arrived, it didn't look like it. But focaccia or not, it was mighty tasty. Lightly seasoned grilled fish with just a tad of (homemade?) tartar sauce sandwiched between toasted (focaccia) bread, served with thick potato wedges which were also done just right, neither soggy nor lame. Another thumbs up!

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One thing lacking from their lunch menu is a desserts section but you can just take your pick from their cakes counter. We debated between the Chocolate Banana Cake and the Tiramisu and finally settled on the latter. The Tiramisu was served in a glass. Layers of mascarpone on top of a brownie-like base, and finally topped with a generous sprinkling of chocolate powder, sliced fresh strawberries and a piece of what tasted like peanut brittle. It was a creamy and a luscious version of Tiramisu but sadly, sans alcohol which to me, is pretty vital to a seriously good tiramisu. The brownie-like base was also kinda feeble to the otherwise luscious dessert. But don't get me wrong, it was still a rather decent tiramisu.

So that concludes my lunch at Eat Work Shop. If my office is nearer, I would be a regular face at the restaurant. Luckily, I stay nearby so I would definitely find more opportunitites to make more visits.

9 Jalan Peguam U1/25, Glenmarie Business Park, Shah AlamTel: 03-5569 7763
(Closed on Sundays)