Monday, August 27, 2007

A Real Sweetie

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Meet my sweetie, Julius. A 7-week mini schnauzer. Totally adorable!
Want to see more of him? More tales about him here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

And so the baking continues....

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Banana Walnut Yogurt Cake
And so the baking continues, although sporadically....

Yet another version Banana Cake, I am forever in the quest of trying new variation recipes of Banana Cake. This once is a good one! Highly recommended!
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Banana Walnut Yogurt Cake (recipe adapted from "Do What I Like" blog
100g butter (softened)
50g castor sugar + 40g brown sugar (or you can just use all castor sugar)
2 eggs lightly beaten with 1 tsp vanilla
320g mashed ripe banana with 1 tbsp lemon juice
125ml plain low-fat yogurt or normal yogurt

Sift together the following 4 ingredients:
130g plain flour
60g cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
1+1/4 tsp cinnamon
Coarsely chopped walnuts or other nuts, toasted for an extra crunch (optional) ,

1. Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
2. Beat in the egg mixture by thirds till well blended.
3. Beat in the mashed banana and yogurt till well blended.
4. Fold in the sieved ingredients, in 3 times.
5. Make a cut in the middle lengthwise using a wet knife. Sprinkle the walnuts on top.
5. Bake in a lined loaf pan at 175C for 55-60 minutes or till a skewer inserted comes out clean. If top browns too quickly, cover with aluminium foil.

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Green Tea Chiffon Cake with Wolfberries
In addition, I was playing around improvising chiffon cake recipes and came up with Green Tea Chiffon Cake with Wolfberries ('kei chi' in Chinese). Sounds healthy, eh? I like!

Monday, August 13, 2007

When craving for Japanese food... (Part II) @ Wa-raku

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Salmon Tartare at Wa-raku Japanese Dining House

Since I have just previously blogged about Japanese fast-food at Sakae Sushi, I reckon it would be apt to continue the review except this time, at a proper Japanese fine-dining restaurant.
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Interior of Wa-Raku
Wa-raku, located along Jalan Stonor (near Jalan Kia Peng further down the road from Top Hat Restaurant, in the vicinity of KLCC) is housed in an old bangalow. Minimalistic decor (think zen) yet rather charming and cozy at the same time.

To start, my friend and I ordered a few small dishes.
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Grilled Assorted Mushroom salad in a citrusy dressing
Very light in taste and portion size, I find this dish to be on the average only. Just a simple, refreshing but also forgettable salad.

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Next, we had an unique yet simple appetizer named "Neba neba something". It's basically made up of crunchy sliced jicama and four-angled beans with natto (traditional Japanese snack made from fermented soy beans) topped with crispy shredded seaweed and raw quail's egg. Mix everything together to get a really tantalizing albeit a slightly sticky appetizer. But you have to be ok with the taste of natto before hand. If you don't like natto, then avoid this.

My favourite dish of the night must be their Salmon Tartare (pictured above). Minced raw salmon with sesame seeds in light wasabi sauce and topped with a raw egg. When mixed together, the flavour is simply sublime, simply fantastic. Oishi!

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We also ordered a plate of sushi rolls. I forgot the name of this dish but it is a deep-fried reverse roll that (supposedly) has unagi (eel). When it arrived, I thought the dish was rather breathtaking. Just look at the generous toppings of fish roe. The really sparkled under the lights and looked like millions of tiny glistening gems on top of the sushi rolls.
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Twinkle, twinkle little roe...

But alas, despite its promising presentation, I was let down by the taste. In fact, I don't remember much taste at all other than an odd but strangely familiar taste that I couldn't quite pinpoint. And where is the unagi??? Needless to mention, the best part is obviously the tobiko roe.

Instead of the usual sashimi, I thought of trying something different. This is a grilled whole pike mackerel.
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Grilled Pike Mackerel
The presentation is pretty awesome. The fish reminded me of a dancing dragon. Magnificent but slightly disturbing too, don't you think? Also, I didn't quite know how to appreciate this fish. It reminded me of ikan kembong bakar. Flesh was rather taut with many tiny bones. I much prefer the ayu (sweetfish).
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Unagi Handrolls
Disappointed with the earlier unagi sushi rolls, we ordered another round of Unagi Handrolls. Again, it did little to elavate my earlier disappointment. For me, good handrolls must have really fresh and crispy seaweed. Here, the seaweed was already limp and that spoiled the rest of the handroll for me. To give them credit though, my friend remarked that the handrolls were delivered rather promptly and had been sitting on our table for some time, unnoticed by me.

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Sweet ending, home-made matcha ice cream with sweet azuki beans. There wasn't many choices on the menu. Although the waitress recommended a peach ice-cream not on the menu, I ordered this instead when told by the waitress that the peach ice-cream was imported and not home-made. Although not exciting, I have always found satisfaction for my sweet tooth in the classic pairing of green tea ice-cream with red beans...Delicious!

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WA-RAKU Japanese Dining House
3 Jalan Stonor, 50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03 2145 0448

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

When craving for Japanese fast-food....

Whenever I crave for Japanese fast-food, I turn to Sakae Sushi to satisfy my craving. Having replaced my previous Japanese fast-food favourites, Sushi King and then Genki Sushi, the best thing about Sakae Sushi is you don't really feel you are dining in a fast-food style environment. The outlet I usually visit which is located in Subang Parade is tastefully done. Pretty comfortable to dine-in, especially when it's not too crowded. There is even an al-fresco dining option outside on the balcony.

Of course, they have the standard kaiten belt filled with sushi-laddened plates. And I have to give them marks for creating quite a variety of not-so-common sushi dishes. But other than sushi, I do like some of their dishes very much.
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Pumpkin Chawanmushi
Not really a fan of chawanmushi but I absolutely love all-things pumpkin! And this is a good one. Perfectly smooth and silky steamed egg custard, to the point of being slightly gelatinous and topped with the cutest mini mushrooms. The best part is of course the gem hidden within - tons of mashed sweet pumpkin which is simply divine! Good value too for RM3.90.
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Another favourite of mine at Sakae Sushi is their Sakae Salad.
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Salad topped with tamago sticks, jelly fish, seasoned seaweed, crispy salmon skins, beancurd skins, fried egg flakes, slices of fesh raw salmon and tossed together with the accompanying sweet plum sauce as dressing, it reminds me of my beloved Chinese New Year Yu Sang and certainly deserves another round of thumbs-up from me. And all this for about RM8.90 only (mind you, serving is far from meagre too).

On this particular day, I also ordered a portion of Spicy Tuna Handroll (RM1.90).
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This is much less impressive and less than satisfactory. A handroll stuffed with a wee bit of spicy tuna and shredded cucumber. But for the price, I reckon it's pretty alright too as a light bite.

As far as I know, aside from Subang Parade, Sakae Sushi has outlets in The Curve and Bangsar Village II. So try it if you haven't already.

Sakae Sushi
Ground Floor, Subang Parade

Monday, August 06, 2007

A Moment of Fame...

Got to share this bit of good news! Excerpts from one of my post was printed in The Sunday Star newspaper yesterday. To be exact, it was on page 2 (M2) on Sunday Metro (5 August 2007) under Food Blog section (the one at the bottom). I was reading the papers with my morning coffee as usual, when I came across the article. My first thought was the photos in the article looked quite familiar to me. As I started reading the article, I came across my nick (Mycoffee). The ensuing temporary confusion was replaced with surprise and delight. Although the article printed was just a summarized version and came across sounding like a raving review of the restaurant (you can check the original to compare the difference), it is still an honour to see an article of my humble blog making it to the nation's most popular English daily. ;-)

Online version of the newspaper article can be viewed here.

Friday, August 03, 2007

More Remedies for a Sweet Tooth

More remedies for a sweet tooth.....


Molten Flourless Chocolate Cake (recipe based on Nigella Lawson's but adapted to make it flourless with a molten chocolate center) and a nice Frozen Mango Cream Pie (all you need is cream, condensed milk, fresh mango and crushed biscuit base and ta-da!)