Thursday, March 29, 2007

Pan Mee & Lor Mee @ Paramount Garden

I have a confession to make. I don't really fancy noodles & rice, but I make an exception when it comes to pan mee (also nicknamed Malaysian pasta). My favourite is the "mit" type (aka "tear-and-boil") and cooked in soup. I have tried a few of the so-called famous ones such as Kin Kin, Jalan Chow Kit, Taman Desa and SS19 in Subang Jaya and my personal favourite is the SS19 one.

Anyway, this place was introduced to me with the promise of a good pan mee. After trying their version, I have to say what is outstanding about them is their different variety noodles such as spinach and carrot (although you could hardly taste the difference but they sure are "eye candy").
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Spinach Pan Mee in soup
Having said that, their pan mee although not the best, is definitely above average. Reasonably good and tasty soup base, dough is chewy and not overly thick. Their dry versions are pretty tasty too as seen here.
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However, on occasions, they do not pass the "post-consumption thirst test".

This shop is also famous for the lor mee and that's what I tried this time. You can choose your own noodles such as pan mee, yee mee (I heard this version is good!) or mee suah (which I chose).
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I generously slathered vinegar over the noodles. And with tons of sambal chilli (which I like), the dish turned out to be rather yummy. However, I would have preferred if the broth was thicker. Price was RM4.00. But if you ask me, I think I prefer their pan mee.

Beside pan mee and lor mee, they also serve tom yum noodles (I heard this is good too), sizzling rice and grilled stuff.

This place is usually "full-house" during lunch time. Service is not the fastest so a wait for a table and another wait for the dishes to arrive are to be expected. However, the restaurant is clean and well-maintained enough.

Other review: Masak-masak

Restoran Paramount Garden* (same row as Restoran New Sea View)
*My colleagues call it "Xin Tian Di" in Chinese (???)

Monday, March 26, 2007

P-L-C Time @ Max! Kitchen and Wines

At the risk of sounding crude, I have to say that I had a "P-L-C" time at Max! Kitchen and Wines recently. "P-L-C**" in cantonese as in "peng" (cheap), "leng" (beautiful), "cheng" (great). *grin* Why so, you may ask? Well, I had great food in the company of beautiful ladies (you girls rock!) and all at a cheap price (what a bargain!), what more could I ask for?

I was invited to a the KLUE RSVP event held at the lovely Max! Kitchen and Wines at Tengkat Tong Shin. Since they were 4 of us, we were given a table by ourselves.

Despite the usual after-work Friday crawl along Federal Highway into KL, I still managed to reach there on-time. In fact, my friend and I were among the first few to reach.
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Bring on the booze, baby...
While waiting for my other 2 friends to arrive, we (or rather, I) helped ourselves to the free-flow cocktails sponsored by Martell VSOP. There were 2 types of fancy-named cocktails prsented but basically it's just martell + green tea, martell + fruit punch and martell on-the-rocks.
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Delicious, addictive and alcoholic, a dangerous combination, heh heh.
The fruity cocktail was rather delicious and addictive. Because of the latter factor, I prefer the green tea option. Refreshing albeit potent (slightly)!

Luckily, my other 2 friends didn't take too long to arrive (I was starting to feel famished) so without further ado, we seated ourselves at our table. Once seated, the complimentary bread basket was served in no time. The bread, probably some kind of olive flat bread (ie., ciabata, foccacia) was soft but what I really liked was the accompanying balsamic vinegar in the olive oil. The b.v was slight thicker than usual with a rather sweet taste to it. I so dig it!
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Nice bread and even nicer balsamic vinegar.

The starter was
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Appetizer: Tuna Loin, Pan Seared Rare with Marinated Fennel salad, Cajun spiced Capsicum Salsa and Chiptotle Pepper Sauce
If you love tuna sashimi, you will definitely love this dish. And I did. Buttery and tender semi-translucent flesh that melts in your mouth. However, my friend who isn't very keen on raw or semi-raw stuff, took at few bites and distributed the rest to all of us (much to our erm, delight!). The salad was fresh and well-marinated with the light yet slightly peppery dressing. The overall effect was slightly minty, peppery, crispy and crunchy; and it complemented the tuna well.

There were 2 choices of main, one was chicken and the other was cod fish. Well, of all us ladies chose the fish. And it was a wise choice!
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Cod Fish with Shiraz Braised Four Mushrooms Stew, Mascarpone Polenta & Sauteed Pea Sprout
I don't think I have ever tasted cod done this way. Usually it's either served in a light creamy sauce, or soy-sauce based (think teriyaki or chinese soy sauce). But this was a wonderful change. At the risk of sounding repetitive, the fish was buttery and tender with melt-in-your-mouth texture. Trust me, you would want to savour this bit-by-bit. I like the smokiness of the mushrooms stew. I don't really like polenta but the polenta was finely mashed/pureed in this dish that it provided a nice creamy contrast to the smoky sauce.

A meal is never complete without desserts and here, the dessert was
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White Chocolate Fondant Tart with Milk Chocolate Creme Brulee and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Well, the dessert was ok but unmemorable. The white chocolate fondant tart tasted like a rich sweet whipped cream in a heavy chocolate biscuit pie base. The milk chocolate creme brule tasted like a mini chocolate tart. It would probably be better off being a just a plain chocolate tart, with a rich and intense chocolate filling but alas! Again, the tart shell wasn't very well done here. A little too thick and coarse, perhaps? The berries used for garnishing were also too sour. Maybe it was meant to be so, to cut through some of the sweetness of the desserts, but it was overly so to the point that I actually cringed when tasting it (and I can usually take pretty sourish stuff). The ice-cream was alright though.... Oh, and by the way, coffee was pretty good.

Service was prompt and attentive enough throughout dinner. After dinner, we congregated outside for more drinks (yes, it was still flowing, so-to-speak) and photo-taking (the polaroid girls were very nice and tolerant with us, demanding lot). Thanks to KLUE too, for organizing such a fun event. I will definitely come back here again to try out other stuff on their menu.
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Another great thing happened during the event. By chance, I met Foodie Lianne, another fellow food blogger. What a lovely and bubbly lady! Lianne, I do hope to see you around more often. :)

Read about her even more interesting coverage of the dinner here.

Max! Kitchen and Wines
27 Tengkat Tong Shin, Kuala Lumpur
Tel No: 03 - 2141 8115

Other reviews:

** A typical Cantonese slang used to describe a common criteria in purchasing something (e.g., cheap, looks good with great quality)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Old Favourite: Sunday Buffet Brunch @ Kampachi, Equatorial KL

Despite the many, many options to choose from when it comes to Japanese Buffet, Kampachi at Equatorial Hotel Kuala Lumpur has always been my favourite. Some say that they were the proprietor of the now infamous weekend Japanese buffets and during their hey days, one had to book at least a week in advance.

True, they do not have the greatest variety but what they have on their buffet spread is of very good quality and quality is rather consistent. Over the years, prices have gone up a little but it is still as good. My ultimate favourites are their fresh sashimi, soft-shell crab rolls, beef sukiyaki (super yummy!), simmered root vegetables, matcha ice-cream with lots of azuki beans, and their sesame peanut mochi...slurp.....

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Selection of fresh sashimi

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Soft-shell crab roll and California Handroll (the seaweed for the latter wasn't crispy enough...ceh!)

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Egg-roll stuffed with grilled unagi (eel)

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Yellow-tail Fish Head Broth with mushrooms and tofu (good!)

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Boiled/simmered root vegetables (my favourite is the pumpkin - so sweet and yummy!)

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Freshly steamed Chawan Mushi (so silky)

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Assorted Tempura (they limit you to 6 pcs of prawn per person at any one time. Probably due to Malaysian's typical kiasu attitude)

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Pan-fried Rice Dumpling and Potato Salad

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Beef Sukiyaki with additional egg (my fave! so, so good!)

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Grilled Unagi (New addition. Another favourite of mine. Wish I knew later for I only found out that they have this dish towards the end of the buffet when I was already very stuffed!)

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Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice with no added sugar (sweet and refreshing)

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Green Tea Ice-cream topped with lots and lots of azuki beans, they way I like it!

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Sesame Peanuts Mochi (Another must-have. Best to eat while still hot)

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Fresh-cut fruits

Ahh...., bliss........

All this at RM75++ per pax. My only qualm this time is that they actually charge their free-flow green tea at RM3 per person. Not to say it is pricey but then it should have been included as part of their buffet price, like how they used to do it. Geez...., must everything come at a price now...?

Kampachi Japanese Restaurant
Equatorial Hotel Kuala Lumpur

Monday, March 19, 2007

Boiled Cakes (Classic Moist Chocolate & Eggless Fruit Cake)

No, I didn't mean to say that these cakes do not require baking but rather, the preparation method involves only boiling instead of mixing using the cake mixer. Just dump and boil - literally...

Not too long ago, I had the chance to sample a Fruit Cake baked by my sister's MIL. It was simple and it was delicious. No complicated flavours. In fact, my mom raved about it (and that speaks a lot since my mom hardly praised any cakes). That made me realised that I have never baked a proper Fruit Cake before so I set about baking one. I had numerous recipes in my collfection but finally decided on this one by Yochana based on its simplicity (surprise! surprise!). This recipe does not require soaking the fruits overnight or keeping the cake steeped in alcohol over a period of time. Simply boil, bake and eat. Of course, this will not qualify it as an authentic Classic Fruit Cake but it was good enough for me.
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Boiled Eggless Fruit Cake
The cake was moist although it has a dense texture. Not really the same from what the auntie's moist and fluffy rich fruit cake. This is more like a moist mixed fruits quickbread. My mom didn't quite like it because (1) it was overly spiced (I guess I was too heavy-handed with the spice); and (2) it was not fluffy. Hmmppff..., next time, I shall just bake a mixed fruits butter cake for her.

As the Fruit Cake was done in no time, I decided to try another easy recipe that uses the boiling method.
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Boiled Classic Chocolate Cake (FAVOURITE RECIPE)
Recipe courtesy of Rusti, I was so glad that I decided to give it a try. As described, it was EASY, moist, fluffy, reasonably rich and just simply delicious! This will definitely be one of my top favourite recipes for a simple, plain and fast chocolate cake!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Jackson's Burger, Sec.14

Jackson's Burger. They have been around as long as I could remember. I first had this while I was still in secondary school and recently one of my aunts told me that she used to have it when she was a secondary school student herself, and er..., she's definitely a number of years older than me. So you can imagine how long they have been around.

In fact, I had forgotten about this place ever since I finished secondary school until my company moved into that area. I remembered that I was pleasantly surprised to discover them still selling from their van not far from my office when I first moved into that area.

On the other hand, I have been told that their standards had since dropped. Could be true for there was hardly any crowd at their van even during lunch time period. Then again, if that's really true, how come they are still around right? So I decided to judge it for myself.
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I got myseld an original Beef Burger priced at RM2.50 or 2.80. Now, I couldn't remember how much I used to buy it for but RM2.50 is definitely affordable, no? The original is a no-frill version. A homemade beef patty sandwiched between 2 soft, fluffy and slightly sweet pan-fried buns; lightly topped with some onions and cucumbers with chilli sauce and maybe some mayo. Darn, I couldn't remember how it used to taste (blame it on my aging brain) but that didn't really mattered. What mattered was that it was definitely fingers-licking-good and it satisfied my craving for their burger! Mmm, mmm, mmm.....!

Besides Beef Burger, they also sell the standard Chicken Burger and "not-so-standard" Fish Burger. Oh, and they sell hot dogs too.

Other review:
Go Blog (Directions to this place are clearly provided here)

Monday, March 12, 2007

Wonderfully Martha's (Marble Buttermilk Pound Cake)

Having recently (and finally) acquired Martha Stewart's The Baking Handbook, I wasted no time in putting it to good use.

By default, I had actually used a recipe from this book before but that was when I loaned it from another blogger's website. This cake looked so wonderful in the book, simplicity at its best.
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I daresay mine was not too bad compared to the original either. The only problem I had was that there were bits where it was slightly underbaked, probably due to my oven's (unreliable) temperature. Anyone knows where I can get a good oven thermometer? About time I get one and lay my suspicions to rest.

Speaking of her chocolate chip cookies (as mentioned above), another variation that I have tried is to turn them into Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies. Just add strong coffee powder to the mix and lessen the vanilla. In addition, I froze the dough by rolling them into a log with cling wrap and keeping them in a cylinder tube. When you want to bake them, just slice and bake. The ones below were baked for a friend. I tried one piece and it tasted yummy with the addition of coffee powder although it was more crispy than chewy this time (probably because I baked them longer this time). I hope my friend thought so too.
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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Sweet Corn Buns

Regular readers would know that my family are big time bread consumer. We could actually consumed up to 2 loaves a day. Anything bread/bun recipe that I tried is usually popular with them - whether nice or not. Luckily for them, the recipe that I tried this time is truly good. One look at the photo attached with the recipe, one could see that the bread is yummy, fluffy and soft type. And true enough, it was. Even the next day.
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Soft & Fluffy Sweet Corn Buns

Recipe here.

Monday, March 05, 2007

A Quick Post for a Quick Dessert!

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Another quicky recipe. This dessert can be done is less than 10 mins. Not the first time that I did this but always a yummy and easy recipe especially when you have guests arriving in less than 30 minutes! This time I added a bit of orange cordial to give it some orange flavouring and coloring so that they looked like mandarin oranges (since it was still CNY). Also, I added whole roasted pistachio nut (de-shelled of course) to the red bean filling. Yummy and ready in less than 10 mins!
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Snowy Orange Redbean Pistachio Mochi

Mochi Skin
100g Japanese Glutinous Rice Flour (those used for Japanese Mochi)
180g water** minus 1T
1T orange cordial
2T sugar or adjust to preference
** If not using flavouring, just use 180g of water.

Red bean paste
Roasted whole pistachio nuts
- Prepare filling first. Roll about 1 generous tablespoon of redbean paste into a ball. Stuff 1 nut into the ball. Roll again.

Corn Flour or dessicated coconut

1. Mix orange cordial in water.
2. Put glutinous rice flour in a deep microwaveable dish. Pour in water from (1) and stir well until it becomes a watery paste.
3. Add sugar and still to dissolve.
4. Cover and microwave on HIGH for about 2 mins. If still watery, zap it for another 30 mins
5. Remove and stir quickly with a pair of chopsticks.
6. Dust hand and work area generously with corn flour. Take about 1 - 2T of dough. Flatten into a round with palm or fingers. Try to make edges thinner than center. Work quickly and be careful as dough will be quite hot.
7. Wrap the skin around 1 prepared redbean ball. Knead the edges shut and roll into a ball. Dust generously in corn flour.
8. Serve immediately or keep in fridge. You can warm it up again before serving by zapping in the microwave for about 10 secs.