Thursday, May 31, 2007

Simplest Banana Bread

I so like quick and easy recipes and this is one of them. To make,

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Mix 2c plain flour (sift if you want), 1c sugar, 1T baking powder and 1/2t salt in one big bowl.

Then add 1c mashed ripe banana (about 3 medium ones), 1/3c milk (full or skimmed), 1/4c corn oil, 1 egg and 1t vanilla paste to the mixture. You can also add optional ingredients such as chocolate chips or nuts here.

Still together till just-mixed but do not over-mix.

Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake for about 1 hour at 175c (pre-heat the oven first) or until skewer comes out clean when tested. Cool for 5-10 mins in tin then turn cake onto rack to cool completely.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Lunching at Genji Japanese Restaurant, PJ Hilton

Genji01a (Small)
One of my favourite (Japanese) places to lunch is Genji at PJ Hilton. Yup, they are famed for their weekend buffets (one of the earliest pioneers, from what I know) but their set lunches are pretty awesome too. And given its rather close proximity to my workplace not to mention its very soothing and cool ambience, I do tend to drop by this place for lunch whenever time (or money) permits.

Their set lunches changed every couple of months or so, but featuring more or less the same items. My favourite pick is usually their Sashimi set. I just love their fresh and succulent cuts of selected top-notch sashimis (see pic above). Their sets usually feature some pickles, braised dish of the day (example pictured above), chawan mushi, miso soup, rice and fresh-cut fruits.
One of their current selection of set lunch is a Sashimi and Chicken Teriyaki combo with a choice of soba or udon.
I have always have a soft spot for cold soba. Set on a plate of ice and topped with sprinkles of seaweed flakes, it creates such a sublime flavour when dipped in the accompanying light sauce with a dash of wasabi for the extra kick. If only they provide a quail egg as well, that will be just perfecto!

Other selections that I like include the Chicken or Beef Teriyaki Set served with white rice or their Sukiyaki Set. The latter, is quite a huge serving (I would say enough for 2 persons) and really value-for-money as the pot is chockful with ingredients such as "drool-worthy" thinly-sliced beef and varieties of vegetables. Don't miss this if you are a fan of sukiyaki!
Closer look at their Beef Teriyaki set.

Another must-fave, their Beef Sukiyaki set.
I usually look forward to the complimentary serving of home-made chocolate truffles at the end of the meal but was very disappointed during my most recent trip there. Instead of the usual chocolate truffles, they served Hudson's sweets instead. Talk about a major let-down.
VS thrt_11
Aiks! Apa sudah jadi? ??

Prices range from 40++ to 65++ and beyond.

Genji Japanese Restaurant
Hilton Petaling Jaya Hotel
No 2 Jalan Barat, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

Tel: 60-3-79559122

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Double Favourite (Pumpkin Chiffon Cake)

Pumpkin Chiffon Cake (May07)2

If you don't know by now, I love all things pumpkin. And since I like chiffon cake very much too, I decided to bake a 'different' chiffon cake other than the usual "pandan" flavoured ones that I usually bake for my family. I adapted this recipe based on another recipe from Aunt Yochana's blog. Result is rather good but with just a light taste of pumpkin (i would have prefer a stronger taste of pumpkin). Also, the pumpkin that I used wasn't very sweet so the cake turned out just a little bit too bland. So do adjust the sugar level to your preference after tasting the pumpkin. Initially I was worried that my little 20cm chiffon cake pan would not fit a chiffon cake that has 6 eggs but surprisingly, it managed to hold it all together (the cake rose just a little over the tip). Then again, this might be because the recipe uses just plain flour and no rising agent, relying instead on the volume of the egg whites for height; so make sure you beat the egg whites till stiff peaks.

Pumpkin Chiffon Cake
6 egg yolks
150g mashed pumpkin* / pumpkin puree
150g coconut milk
60 ml. corn oil

1 t vanilla essence
1/4 t salt
50 g fine sugar
180 g cake/superfine flour (sift 1-2x)

Toasted pumpkin seeds (optional)

6 egg whites
1/2 t cream of Tartar
100g fine sugar

(1) Combine all the wet ingredients in (A) together until well-mixed.

(2) Add in flour, salt and sugar and combine until well-mixed.
(3) Whisk egg white until foamy. Add in tartar and whisk until mixture is white.
(4) Add in sugar slowly in 3 parts while whisking the egg white. Whisk until stiff peaks.
(5) Add pumpkin seeds to (4) and stir to combine. Fold in 1/3 of (4) into egg yolk mixture. Blend carefully (manually). Then fold in this mixture into remaining egg white mixture.
(6) Fold/blend carefully and slowly so that mixture is evenly combined. Take care not to deflate the beaten egg whites.
(7) Pour into chiffon cake pan (ungreased) and bake** for 45 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 170-175c or until cake is done when tested with skewer.
(8) Immediately invert the pan onto a wire rack and let it cool completely (apx. 1 hr) before removing the cake carefully from pan.

* If you do not like the mashed pumpkin to contain fibres, strain it through a sieve to remove them before using it.
** To get rid of air pockets inside the cake, bang the cake pan firmly on the counter top 3x before putting it into the oven.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Emperor Noodles, SS15 Subang Jaya

I think this shop needs no special introduction. Famous for their wantan noodles, there are quite a number of outlets scattered around the Klang Valley. And even if you don't visit their outlets, their uncooked noodles are available for sale in supermarkets and pasar malam. So this time, pictures should suffice?

Emperor's Noodles (2006)4
Char siew Kon Lou (Dry) Wantan Mee
Both char siew and noodles are good. I like my char siew juicy like those in the picture. Dry char siew are just "bleh" to me. The noodles are nice too. Good 'springy' texture. Serving slightly too small though (but ok if you want to order a variety of other dishes).

Emperor's Noodles (2006)3Emperor's Noodles (2006)1
Wantan & Sui Kow Dumplings in broth
Small-ish in size but packed with fresh ingredients although soup did not pass the "post-consumption thirst factor".

0814 033_editedEmperor's Noodles (2006)2
Special Oyster Dumpling
This is a special item in their menu. Normal meat dumpling with one whole dried oyster in the middle. Not bad.

Overall, food was not bad and prices alright for its ambience (additional marks for its decor, cleanliness factor and the fact that it's air-conditioned).

Emperor Noodles (Outlet Closed)
SS15 Subang Jaya branch
(same row as Burger King, near to the colleges and Asia Cafe)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Desserts at Midori, Cineleisure (near The Curve)

Cineleisure? Is that what you call the entire mall or just the cineplexes inside? Oh, whatever... You know which buidling I mean right? The building next to The Curve that houses the Cathay cineplexes? Twas my 2nd time there and I was surprised to see more "life" in the mall other than those that centers around the cinemas.

Anyway, this is a cute little restaurant that serves basic Japanese cafe food fare (I think for I was only checking out their desserts section on their menu).

But they have 2 entire pages devoted to desserts and most sound yummy particularly if you are a fan of green tea ice-cream, azuki beans paste, black sesame, etc....
Japanese Rice Balls in Azuki Bean (red bean) Paste topped with green tea ice-cream
I love azuki bean paste and they were rather generous with it. So no prize in guessing whether or not I like the first dessert. Having said that, although their green tea ice-cream was nice, it tasted somewhat commercial. Also, the rice balls are a little too tough to chew.

Soft-serve ice-cream with sweet potato (underneath) and black sesame topping with azuki bean paste and a touch of milk.
Next to azuki beans, I love black sesame paste. And following that, sweet potato. So again, unsurprisingly, I like the 2nd dessert too. The soft-serve ice-cream although smooth, was a bit on the bland side. So, the black sesame added a nice touch of flavour to it. I am not sure if the sweet potato is an excellent idea to add to this dessert but at the very least, it stops it from being too boring.

Generally, both desserts are pretty alright. What I like is the fact that both weren't too sweet (in fact, those who are used to high doses of sugar might not like this). Oh, and not forgetting they have my favourite ingredients...! However, the pictures in the menu are a bit misleading. Actual servings size were rather disappointing in comparison. :-p

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Month of Birthdays! Chocolate Cookies & Cream Cake

April, I nickname it the month of birthdays. At least 5 important birthdays happening during this month itself, out of which 3 are of my nephews and niece (talk about precise family planning - hehe). But out of all these birthdays, I only managed to bake 1 birthday cake for one of my nephews.

Choc Cookies&cream Cake (Apr07)2
Chocolate Cookies & Cream Cake
(1) 1 prepared sponge/chiffon cake, sliced evenly into 3 layers
(2) 1 tube of chocolate cream cookies (such as Oreos or any other brand), coarsely crushed with cream
(3) Prepared butter frosting (see below for recipe), divide into 2
1. Add (2) into 1 portion of (3). Coat evenly.
2. Spread the above evenly in between the sliced cake layers.
3. Coat the remaining frosting evenly all around the cake. Decorate as wished.

Chocolate Butter Frosting: (based on recipe from Cookie Madness)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup plain flour
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
250g butter
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled
1. In a saucepan, stir sugar, flour and cocoa powder until well-mixed. Add milk and stir until smooth or evenly-mixed.
2. Turn heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and starts to boil.
3. Reduce heat to low, cook for another 2 minutes, stirring all the while.
4. Remove saucepan from heat; cool completely.
5. Beat softened butter until creamy on medium speed. Gradually beat in cooled milk mixture, vanilla and melted chocolate until fluffy.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I love Paris in the Spring time!

Paris Food Review:
Paris (Part 8): The Rest of It (Food Review) Part 2
Paris (Part 7): The Rest of It (Food Review) Part 1
Paris (Part 6): Buddha Bar
Paris (Part 5): Memorable Meals
Paris (Part 4): Meals - Outside Paris

Paris (Part 3): Meals - Home-cooked Meals
Paris (Part 2): Desserts & Snacks
Paris (Part 1): Breakfasts

love Paris in the spring time! Lots of sunshine, shopping, and good food. Here are some of my favourite things from Paris. Will upload the rest soon...!
Eiffel Tower 2 (9-03) (Custom)
One hasn't really been to Paris if one hasn't seen this landmark with his/her own eyes at least once.

Pierre Herme 02
The REAL Thing! Pierre Hermé's signature dessert - Ispahan
Pierre Herme desserts! A must in Paris. Pictured above is Ispahan - fresh raspberries and lychees sandwiched in between rose-flavoured macaroon biscuits in a delicate rose petal cream.

Laduree (Custom)
Macarons! Another must when in Paris. Pictured above are from Laduree.