Wednesday, June 27, 2007

"Not-So" Recent Bakes

Aarrggh! Have been lagging in updating my blog, baking-related entries included. Oh well, better late than never, right? Anyhow, these are some of the by-products from my kitchen experiments...
From Left to Right: Coffee Walnut Cake, Multi-Treasure Pumpkin Tongshui and Gula Melaka Chiffon Cake.

Here's the recipe for the Coffee Walnut Loaf
Coffee Walnut Cake
Coffee Walnut Loaf (based on recipe from The Australian Women's Weekly)
35g toasted chopped walnuts (add more if you like)
125g butter, chopped
1 cup castor sugar (or substitute 1/4 to 1/2c with brown sugar)
125ml low-fat milk
2T Nescafe Gold
200g Self-raising flour
1/2t cinnamon powder (optional: add more)
2 eggs, beaten lightly
1/2t vanilla (optional)
* Whole walnuts for decoration (optional)
1. Combine butter, sugar, milk and coffee in a microwaveable bowl. Zap in the microwave until all is melted. Stir to combine evenly. Set aside to cool a little.
2. Sift flour and cinnamon into another bowl. Slowly stir in eggs, butter mixture, vanilla and chopped walnuts until just combined.
3. Pour the mixture into a greased and lined loaf pan. Sprinkle whole walnuts on top.
4. Bake in preheated oven at 160c for about 45 mins or until skewer comes out clean when tested. Cover top with aluminium foil if it browns too quickly.
5. Turn onto wire rack to cool completely.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Dinner @ Banquet, Bangsar Village II

070604 017 (Small)
The initial plan was to have dinner at Delicious but business was so good for them that there was actually a queue waiting for tables outside the outlet although it was already 9pm. We took a detour to see if there was anything else that looks interesting and lo! and behold! We saw this.
070604 006
Inside the cafe.
070604 009
View of outside from inside.
Banquet. Very charming and chic indeed! Was later told that this is the sister outlet of CafeCafe.

Their menu is somewhat limited although it does have a combination of local dishes as well as bistro type dishes. I wanted to try their Rojak but priced at RM12, I thought I might as well their other more subtantial dishes. My eyes were drawn to their Oven Baked Butter Fish with Cream of Honey Mustard because I do have a penchant for honey mustard dressing. Upon placing our order, we were told that we had to wait 20-minute for this dish (I am not sure of this is the norm for this dish though). However, the management brought us some complimentary** bubur gandum tongshui ("mat chuk" aka sweetend oats broth) which I thought was very nice of them.
070604 002
Bubur Gandum
The tongshui was alright albeit a little bit too watery for my liking. Gula melaka was used here so it gave a nice fragrance to the warm tongshui. Then came our mains...,
070604 013 (Small)
Oven Baked Butter Fish with Cream of Honey Mustard
Ah, this was excellent! The honey mustard sauce compliments the buttery fish very well. The sauce was sweet but yet slightly musky (from the mustard seeds) and the fish, so tender and smooth, reminded me of cod which I love very much. The first bite of this dish will really bring about a burst of flavour that will certainly create a "wow"! The portion was rather substantial too. The accompanying lentils salad was less remarkable but I think that was just ideal as it wouldn't be nice to try and steal the limelight away from the fish. One word of recommendation though, consume while warm. Otherwise, it might get a bit cloying.

Ok, dessert time. Always, always room for dessert in my tummy...
We had their highly recommended tiramisu (pictured on top) which I think was good, and I do have a high expectation when it comes to tiramisu... Not to say absolutely remarkable but it was good enough... No fancy ganishing or anything of that sort. Just a simple, classic tiramisu done the way it should be done.
070604 018
We also shared a lemon tart. To me, this was just average. But not too bad either.....

Ok, here comes the part that kind of marred my impression of them. The so-called complimentary tongshui given to us earlier was later charged to our bill. Didn't discover this until I got home. Ok, granted they didn't exactly say that it was "complimentary" but they said, "this is for you while you wait" and tak-kan they dared to force us to have something which we didn't order without asking us first. So I have to withdraw the initial "thumbs up" that I gave them for what I thought was a thoughtful gesture and replace it with two "thumbs down" for the faux pas.

Otherwise, go fo the fish and the tiramisu.
070604 007
Bangsar Village II (2nd Flr, I think)
Other review: Da Wheel of Life & Happiness

Friday, June 15, 2007

Simple Lunch at Ninja Jones, Northpoint Mid Valley

070604 003 (Small)
Unagi Tofu Salad
My sister, my niece and I were at Mid Valley recently having a ladies' only shopping session. When lunch time rolls around, most F&B outlets looked so packed. Suddenly, I remembered a Japanese restaurant that enjoyed good reviews from fellow bloggers with a catchy name - Ninja Jones. I knew it is located at Northpoint but I didn't know where exactly was Northpoint (initially thought it was those commercial blocks located opposite Starbucks). After circling almost a third of the perimeter surrounding Mid Valley (and after much grumblings from my sis and niece), we finally found it!

None of us was really hungry so we opted for a simple lunch despite the many delicious-looking choices on their menu. Craving for a refreshing salad after an "unintentional walk under the hot sun", I chose the Unagi Salad (pictured above)which proved to be an excellent choice for me! Pieces of succulent unagi (eel) and tofu on top of mountains of fresh vege in light dressing, topped with a light drizzle of wasabi mayo and crispy croutons.

My sis and niece chose the set lunch options,
070604 009
Katsu Don (not pork, but chicken and tasted average only), and
070604 005
another chicken dish that is fried with egg. (This was better that the former).
070604 012
When I first saw Pumpkin Pudding listed under Desserts on their menu, I knew I must try it. Tasted like chilled pumpkin-flavoured egg custard with a dash of milk. Not too bad, nice for a hot weather.

070604 007
"Ninja" in action! No sight of flying ninja though.....hehe...
070604 016
Went into the Men's by mistake (honestly!). Not fair, the Men's washroom was much nicer and interesting than the Ladies....

Ground Floor, Northpoint, Mid Valley City
Tel: 03-2288 1646

Monday, June 11, 2007

Dinner @ Villa Danieli, Sheraton Imperial KL

I used to frequent Villa Danieli quite often in the past whenever I crave for good Italian food. Then they changed the head chef and I stopped going for awhile. This recent trip was my first in quite a long white and I was looking forward to see if anything had changed since my last visit more than a year ago.
Going into Villa Danieli always reminds me of entering a rustic Italian cottage. Although it is so-called 5-star dining, you certainly wouldn't really feel so. In fact, I always find the ambience to be warm and comfortable with (as how one friend describes it) no "hauty-pouty" pretense.
You can't go wrong with the bread baskets served at fine-dining restaurants such as this. Really good bread. One has to exercise self-constraint not to over-indulge otherwise you will be full even before the first course arrives!
And that was why I chose to go straight to the main and save some room for my favourite part of the meal - desserts.
The pan-fried cod that I had. Give me a really fresh and succulent slab of premium cod fish done in any way and I will be happy. And that was precisely how I felt about the dish. All that I remember now was that I had no complaints for this dish but little of anything else about it. *lol*
Another main that we ordered that night was their Lamb Cutlets done medium rare (although a little bit too rare and "wet" for my liking if you know what I mean). Er, not usually a fan of lamb, I can only say it was "ok lar"....
Always the highlight of every meal for me - desserts. Here, we ordered that desserts sampler meant for 2 persons (although I think I finished most of it...hehe). Consisting of 5 different types of desserts whipped up by the chef, I think it was a good deal at only RM50.
And in order of preference, here's what we sampled. Warm chocolate cake (fondant), strawberry sorbet, tiramisu, a mini slice of almond layered cake and white chocolate mousse (which I found just "bleh").
We also ordered a bottle of South Africa Sauvignon Blanc to accompany our dinner. Not bad, light and fruity, just how I prefer my white wine to be.
We finished the meal with some complimentary petit fours; home made chocolate truffles which were simply divine!

So what did I think at the end of the meal? It was satisfying although pricey (as expected) but not outstanding. Not somewhere where I would actually crave for their food. I still prefer VD of the early days.

Villa Danieli
Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur
Tel : 0327179900

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

MyCoffee Snacks: Hot Roll Wraps

HotRoll (Jun07)2
Recently, I came across this stall in Summit USJ. First look, it looked like an ordinary crepe/wraps place but on closer look, what it offers were pretty interesting.
HotRoll (Jun07)1
First of all, the standard crispy crepes come in interesting savoury flavours such as Satay Chicken, Bolognese Beef and some others which I forgot now. If you don't like crispy wraps, you can opt for the Paratha Wrap, which is similar to a roti canai wrap.
HotRoll (Jun07)3
I chose the Satay Chicken which came recommended as their special. Taste wise, it as ok I guess. The chicken + peanut sauce combo was tasty no doubt, but otherwise pretty forgetable. But generally, it's not bad for a snack or a light meal. A couple who came after me ordered the Paratha Wrap and to their dismay, the serving size was much compared to mine (which they commented to the attendants). And yup, I too, felt that the Paratha Wrap was rather small in size although I am sure that it's more filling since it has more "bulk" to it. But I was happy with my portion size and the fillings were sufficient enough. One thing to note though, it got pretty messy to eat towards the last 1/3 where the skin got soaked through with the sauce and hence, was no longer crispy but soggy. Quite challenging to eat it gracefully while trying to keep all the fillings intact. *lol*

The sweet versions cost about RM4.50 and the savoury ones are RM5.50.

Hot Wrap
LG Summit USJ (near McDonald's)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Baking Cookies: Ebony & Ivory

Choc PB Chip Cookies (Jun07)a

Ebony: Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

The school holidays are here again. As a treat to the little ones at home, I baked some cookies to keep their sweet tooth satiated. Nothing works better than classic chocolate chip cookies. I baked 2 types using new recipes and nick-named them Ebony (Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies) & Ivory (Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies). The former was soft and chewy, and the Peanut Butter chips very, very addictive. The latter was one of the more successful crispy-type CC cookies recipe that I have tried, mainly due to the amount of shortening used (I think). However, you should note the shortening is basically flavourless so that the end results are less fragrant than one that uses all butter. I would suggest increasing the butter:shortening ratio (through test & trial) or increasing the amount of vanilla essence (or use premium quality vanilla paste) to give the cookies more fragrance and flavour.

Recipe for Ebony (Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies) based on Cookie Madness recipe.
1/2c butter softened
3/4c sugar
1 large egg
1t vanilla
2c plain flour
1/3c unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 + 1/8t baking soda
1/4t salt
1 generous cup (or more) of Reese's Peanut Butter Chips (optional: mix with chocolate chips)

Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt and add to creamed mixture. Add in in peanut butter chips. Chill for about 30 minutes and drop by tablespoonfuls onto silpat or baking sheet lined with non-stick paper. Bake at 175 celsius degrees (pre-heated) for 8-10 minutes. Cool on sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring them to wire rack to cool completely. Store in air-tight container.

Crispy CC Cookies (Jun07)
Ivory (Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies) based on recipe from The Canadian Baker
1/4 c softened butter + 1/4c shortening
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 /2 T vanilla
1c plain flour
1/2t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 c semisweet chocolate chips
(optional: 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans)

1) Cream butter with shortening and slowly add in sugars. Cream until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
2) Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Add into (1). Mix till just combined. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
3) Chill for about 30 minutes and drop by tablespoonfuls onto silpat or baking sheet lined with non-stick paper. Leave some space in between cookie doughs (it will spread) and lightly flatten with fork.
4) Bake at 190 celsius degrees (pre-heated) for 8-10 minutes, or until edges are golden but center still looks slightly underbaked.
5) Cool on sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring them to wire rack to cool completely. Store in air-tight container.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Continuing the Hunt for Great Pan Mee (Desa Sri Petaling)

Continuing from my previous post on Pan Mee, my friend (who is even more a pan mee afficionado than me) told me that she found a new favourite in Desa Sri Petaling which she claimed is even better than my current favourite (Lian Heng in SS19, SJ). With a claim like that, obviously I must go and try this pan mee out. So I persuaded my friend (not much effort needed actually) to take me there for I am totally clueless to look for the place myself.

The place wasn't too hard to go to actually. Arriving for lunch on a weekend, the no-frills (I don't even recall seeing a signboard if there is one) restaurant was pretty crowded but at least there was no queue in waiting. I ordered what my friend ordered, one pan mee in soup with hand-shredded dough with one additional "sui-kow" (meat dumpling).
Less than 10 minutes later, we were served with our bowls of steaming goodness. And what a big bowl it was! I double-checked with my friend whether did we mistakenly ordered the "big" size but was told this is the normal serving size. Definitely a plus for the big eater but for me, I think I only managed about 1/2 a bowl or 3/4 at most.
Back to the pan mee, what I like most about it is the texture of the noodles. Just the right amount of chewy/springy/thickness, it was good. Instead of potato leaves vegetable, they used either kai lan or choi sum (I think but I forgot which for sure). The soup was pretty tasty but overshadowed by the "overly" generous sprinklings of crispy and crunchy ikan bilis. If you like lots of ikan bilis in your pan mee, then you will love this for sure!
And the must-have to go with pan mee and also another mark of a good pan mee, is the accompanying chilli sauce. I like mine with lots of pounded green cili padi and a dash of lime. Just like the one that they served here so their chilli sauce definitely gets thumbs up from me!
Not forgetting their sui-kow too. One fat, meaty dumpling, it was pretty good for a simple sui kow. Generous filling, thin skin, not overly laddened with pepper and other msg. Would recommend this if you visit this shop. Apparently, their deep-fried ones are also very popular too!

So, did this shop become my new favourite place for pan mee? Like the texture of the pan mee, the crunchy ikan bilis and the sui kow but otherwise, I still prefer my old favourite... Or at least till my next hunt for good pan mee (want to try the one in Klang next).

Directions: (my apology for the vague directions)
From Sg. Besi, go straight along highway until you see a left turning to Desa Sri Petaling. Turn left and go straight, You will see a commercial/business square on your left-hand side. Drive towards that direction (turn left, go straight and then left again to enter the square). The shop is located along the 2nd road inside the square, somewhere in the middle.