Monday, December 05, 2005

Grilled Chicken Drumsticks

I finally found some time to cook last week and it took an interim of a few more busy days before I managed to find the time to upload my photos and blog about it! Work's been crazy!

I bought some chicken drumsticks the other day and decided to try A's recipe for the chicken wings we had in Sydney. Note: Carrefour's chicken drumsticks are so much bigger and fresher than Giant's! I remember attempting to buy chicken in Giant once and the whole chicken chiller smelt bad! *shudder* I meant to grill them on Wednesday night but got home late so these babies marinated for 2 whole nights before I grilled them on Friday! And all the lovely marinade had seeped into the meat, giving it a really nice taste.

While they were grilling, I blanched up some chopped zucchini, tore up some lettuce, caramelised some onions, hardboiled some eggs and threw the whole lot together with some cherry tomatoes for our fibre fix. Easy peasy!

Fresh garden salad, dotted with crispy cherry tomatoes and hearty chunks of hard-boiled egg; lightly flavoured with smokey caramelised onions.

Chicken drumsticks, tenderly grilled with a delicious ginger and garlic infused soy sauce marinade

A simple but nice meal to come home to after a long week!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Peri-peri Rocks!

I had a terrible craving for French Fries last night. So much for trying to diet! McD's, KFC and A&W didn't hold much appeal so I dragged Bro down with me to Nandos. At least in Nandos, I could fool myself into thinking the chicken there was healthier than the fried chicken in McD's whilst indulging in my French Fries!

They were having a set Peri-peri Meal for RM11.90 which comprised a Cream of Broccoli, 1/4 Chicken, Walnut Apple Rice and a Mango Sorbet to top it off.

I had a voucher for a free 1/4 chicken with every purchase of RM25 and above so naturally, we had to find enough to make up that RM25! Hurray for free things! :) Bro opted for the set above while I had a 1/4 chicken with 2 side dishes and an additional greek salad to ensure we hit that RM25!

This was Bro's set. See the happy, smiley face in the broccoli soup? :) The soup came with a slice of garlic bread, the 1/4 chicken (with hot peri-peri sauce) and walnut apple rice. The soup was terrible! It was instant soup out of a packet and wasn't even dissolved properly! Bro and I bit into a huge, salty lump of powdered seasoning! They were quite generous with the broccoli florets though.

This was my 1/4 chicken order with my Peri-peri fries! *dances* I ordered the Mediterranean rice as my other side order but they gave me Walnut Apple instead. Probably ran out of Mediterranean. The Walnut Apple rice was too sticky and starchy and a little too wet. It was chockful with raisins, mixed vege, walnuts and bits of apple and tasted a little like nasi pilaf. Peri-peri fries hit the spot! My french fry craving's sated now!

I didn't want something too spicy so I opted for Lemon & Herb seasoning on my chicken. Look what category Nando's placed me in!

Finally, Bro's dessert! I was quite impressed with the timing of the staff in bringing the dessert. Normally, in these fast-food places, they'll just bring everything with the meal and it's up to you to either watch the ice-cream melt as you scoff down your meal or eat the dessert first. But at Nandos, they actually waited till we were about done before bringing over the sorbet. I also thought it was going to be a scoop of sorbet in a cup and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was a little cup of the newly-launched Nestle sorbet!

A close-up of the sorbet with the famous Nando's chicken behind it. It was very mango-ey but a little sweet. Quite nice! It isn't easy to find affordable sorbet here!

Oh and finally, how could I forget our free 1/4 chicken?! Presentation was "excellent"! A 1/4 chicken sitting forlornly on a big empty plate! We couldn't eat it after all that food so we packed it home for leftovers. Can't let good food go to waste!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


My poor neglected blog! It's been a terrible week but I'll squeeze in some time for a quick post of TGIF on a Wednesday night! It was actually for my birthday dinner (some months back) in between our hectic schedules. We got there about 8pm and as with every TGIF, it was pretty crowded, even on a weekday!

Their funky Hollywood style menu

They were having a promo - Appetizer, Main Course and Dessert for only RM39.90! Pretty good deal but we were both not hungry enough for this. I was, however, very attracted to a Cajun chicken dish on this menu but was told I couldn't order it as an ala-carte. Why is that so, Foodcrazee?! Is it because restaurants have a set number of dishes for their special set menus and allowing a guest to order it as an ala-carte would throw the balance out of place?

We had the Ultimate Mudslide (left) and another special drink on promo (I can't remember the name now!). The drink was an interesting and refreshing concoction of mint, lime and rum (I think!), tasting a little like a Margarita.

I had the Bruschetta Chicken Pasta which was quite nice. Sorry about the photo - forgot the flash! It had piquant slices of garlic mixed in the chopped tomato sauce and came drizzled with some balsamic vinegar, giving it a lovely tangy taste. They had pretty generous slices of chicken and the portion was so huge I couldn't finish it! It made good leftovers the next night for dinner too!

J had the Shrimp fettucine pasta which looked and tasted pretty good! It also had generous amounts of crunchy shrimp in a slightly spicy and creamy sauce. Delicious! Although TGIF's portions are really huge! A plate of pasta can easily feed two!

Sneaky J had actually told the restaurant it was my birthday so I got "embarrassed' by the crew in having to make a speech with a ketchup bottle while they sang their lively TGIF-style birthday song! It was an embarrassing episode indeed but the free ice-cream sundae they brought as a birthday gift made up for it! Hehe..I've noticed that restaurants here are pretty generous with free desserts when you tell them in advance that you're celebrating a birthday. It always makes the dinner a little more special! :)

Now, excuse me while I disappear back under the mountain of work!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Busy, busy!

Sorry for the sporadic posts here. I've been so busy there hasn't been anytime to take any photos, what more blog! I do hope to be back soon, hopefully before December!

But in the meantime, thanks for dropping by and keep up the eating and cooking! :)

Friday, November 18, 2005

Beard Papa is Here!

I was walking around Midvalley Megamall when I saw this:

And this:

Oh my! Beard Papa's coming to town!! *dances with glee* This is the very same Beard Papa that caused this in New York!

And this in Hawaii (thanks to Ono Kine Grindz!)

Beard Papa specialises in crispy warm choux cream puffs oozing with heavenly custard cream! We smelled it once in Sogo, Hong Kong and our noses led us to a long queue waiting for freshly made Beard Papa cream puffs! At HKD10 (RM5) per puff, it was rather expensive but worth every bite! Oooh...I can't wait to see it here!

Just some articles on how Beard Papa's taking over Krispy Kreme and the world by storm:
Beard Papa on the Upper West Side
NYTimes:A Cream Puff to Make New York Go All Soft at the Center

And some reviews on Beard Papa by bloggers all over the world:
Plate of the Day
Ono Kine Grindz
Eat Hong Kong

Do eat it while it's fresh and hot! Enjoy!

By the way, I have Haloscan! *points* I know...I'm still new at blogging! Hehe...have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Phuket Street Food

I was in Phuket during the Raya break for a short diving trip and just wanted to share some of my favourites from there! Just like Malaysians, they eat 24 hours too from all kinds of small stalls dotted all around the place! Due to security reasons, I didn't carry a camera so had to source the Net for some pictures to show you what we had!

There are fruit stalls like this all over Patong Beach. And the minute we arrived, I headed straight for my favourite...

Ice-cold fresh pineapple! Their pineapple is really sweet, a little like the Sarawak pineapple found here and is heavenly with a dash of their chilli sugar sprinkles! And only THB10 (RM1) for 1/4 of a pineapple!

Lots of stalls sell grilled skewered stuff all over the place too. We tried the grilled chicken thigh for THB30 (RM3) which was delicious! It's pre-grilled and they'll grill it again to heat it up, then sprinkle some seasoning over it before wrapping it up in a plastic bag. It tastes a little like our grilled chicken wings here but lots better! We also tried a sausage for THB10 (RM1). It's nice and fat and tastes just like bratwurst! Could it be their local version of bratwurst?! It's very cheap compared to sausages here!

And this was our all-time favourite, grilled squid on a stick! J loved it so much we had to source for it at 2am on our last night there just to eat it one last time before coming home! The squid (left, closest to you) will be barbequed on a tiny portable grill (be warned, it emits lots of smoke so don't stand too near or you'll be smelling of grilled squid till your next bath!), bathed with this wonderfully delicious, super-spicy and sour chilli sauce and accompanied by several leafs of fresh lettuce. It's always perfectly cooked and so juicy and tender that each bite yields easily. Ah, I still have fond memories of it! It's cheap too at only THB10 (RM1)!

And wash it all down with bottled Reverse-Osmosis water! Easily available from any of their convenience stores for a mere THB5 (RM0.50) a bottle!

I'll be off to Bangkok late December so hope to be back with more Thai street pictures!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

What kind of food are you?

You Are Chinese Food

Exotic yet ordinary.
People think they've had enough of you, but they're back for more in an hour.

Exotic?! conjures up the picture of fair ladies with long black hair and small eyes wearing tight cheongsams with thigh-high slits! Hehe...I'm a real Tiongkok girl! And I must say I do sometimes prefer Chinese over any kind of food!

Delifrance Bistro

Delifrance has given itself a makeover and turned itself into a nice, cosy little bistro. The sibs and I were in Bintang Walk last weekend and decided to give the bistro in Sg. Wang Plaza a try. It's got nice little booths with cute "French flag" lamps casting a soft glow over the tables.

They've changed their menu too and now have a rather impressive selection of main dishes from lamb shanks to beef briskets and roast chicken, in addition to their normal tarts and sandwiches. Maybe because they're new, they're currently having several daily, lunch and dinner specials which are a pretty good deal.

Their nice new menu

Daily specials. Quite a good deal and there're two different choices of pasta toppings everyday.

Twas a Saturday so we opted for the Creole Chicken with Fettucine.

This caught our eye too! And November was the Cherry Jubilee dessert (top left). Hurrah!

We ordered a pasta from the Daily Specials (RM14.90) and a Lamb Shank (RM22.90) from the Mains so we could get the free dessert *wink*. They have a self-order form on the table where you tick what you want, bring it to the cashier, pay and wait for your food to come. This was a smart marketing move for them as the cashier's located right above a mouth-watering glass display case of fruit tarts and cakes! And Sis couldn't resist adding a peach tart (RM3.90) to our order.

The soup which was part of the Daily Special. Not sure what it was, probably Cream of Celery, out of a can. The soup wasn't much to shout about but the bit of baguette that accompanied it was crusty and chewy, the way a good baguette should be. Pity bout the size!

Creole Chicken Fettucine. What a disappointment! We expected a better presentation than this! The least they could have done was to mix it up! There were a few pieces of chicken coated in a slightly spicy, creamy, electric orange sauce which unfortunately had not much taste. A most depressing dish!

Luckily the lamb shank saved the day! This big shank came in a bowl of mashed potatoes, carrots and mushrooms swimming in a brown sauce. The meat was tender and falling off the bone while the sauce was nice and fragrant - Lovely! Our only gripe was that there wasn't enough sauce and when we requested for more, we were told that they weren't able to provide more as each dish came in its own packet from the central kitchen with pre-allocated sauce and ingredients! Quality control, I guess!

After the let-down with the soup and pasta, we didn't place too much hope on our free Cherry Jubilee dessert. However, it renewed our faith in Delifrance's desserts once again! It came in a cup - a scoop of vanilla ice-cream, surrounded by a delicious warm cherry sauce and generously topped with almond flakes. The little balls you can see in the sauce were delicious preserved cherries. They weren't the horrid tasting maraschino or glazed cherries but were soft, fruity cherries which tasted gorgeous! The warm cherry sauce was also lovely as it wasn't too sweet and it contrasted beautifully with the cold ice-cream. Ooh-la-la...

And our peach tart! Divine, as always! I have to say that Delifrance makes one of the nicest peach tarts around. The crust was nicely flavoured and the custard wasn't too sweet. It was topped with generous slices of peaches too which made it a wonderful end to the meal.

Overall, except for the soup and pasta, the food's pretty great and the desserts absolutely lovely! I saw a Delifrance advertisement in the paper the other day and they apparently have buffet breakfasts for RM9.90 at selected outlets now! I have to go give it a try one of these days! But if you do head that way, do try their lamb shank, Cherry Jubilee and peach tart! The free dessert in December is Crepe Suzette which calls for another visit next month! ;)

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Homemade Soy Bean Milk

I was bored a few weeks ago so decided to do something drastic - make home made soy bean! I have fond memories of watching my late Grandmother make soy bean milk. The whirring of the blender, the white muslin cloth, the fragrance of cooking soybean and the joy of drinking thick and pure soybean milk is a strong childhood memory which I wanted to relive while learning a traditional art.

First I put approximately 500g of beans to soak overnight. I rinsed it several times and rubbed it to try to get rid of the outer skin of the beans. It's an additional step some people omit. I'm not sure what impact it has if you leave it on but I guess it's just one of those things that get handed down while the real reason has disappeared!

Next, I blended them in batches with some water. This is the tricky bit. You have to play "agak-agak" or estimation with the water and consistency. If there's too little water, the blender won't be able to move well and if there's too much, it ends up too watery. It can't be blended too fine either, which I learnt, as too fine beans don't yield much soy milk when it's squeezed through the muslin cloth.

Then we came to the tiring part! Put a little of the blended beans in a piece of muslin cloth and s-q-u-e-e-z-eeeee hard to get as much soy milk as you can! It was hard work! I didn't have a muslin cloth so I used one of Dad's old handkerchiefs which had to be sacrificed after too many squeezes! I had quite a bit of beans which yielded one big pot of soy bean milk after an exhausting hour! You'll be left with a huge pile of dry powder-like blended beans. My mom used to shape them into patties and fry them to be eaten like vadai which is a really good idea as they are really rich in protein and nutrients.

I cooked the soy bean milk with lots of pandan leaves to give it a lovely fragrance. You'll have to keep stirring to make sure the bottom of the pot doesn't burn and to prevent the "skin" from forming on the top. Add your sugar as you cook. You'll know when it's cooked when it's lost its "greenish" smell and taken on that familiar soy bean fragrance. When it's cooked, take it off the flame to cool and there you go, home-made pure soy bean milk! A healthy, preservative-free treat that's delicious icy-cold from the fridge! Go give it a try!

Warning: It's quite a bit of work though! Anyone knows how much one of those soy bean milk making gadgets cost?! Heh...

An Ode to the Humble Pau

Oh, steamed green little mound,
So warm, soft and round,
Filled with a sweetish pandan paste,
That's so fragrant and lovely to taste,
One of my favourite breakfast foods,
It never fails to put me in the mood,
How I love my pandan pau,
Makes me long for one right now!

Okay, forgive the bad poetry! But I couldn't help waxing lyrical about my favourite pau (steamed filled bun)! I don't like just any pau but it has to be this green pandan-flavoured pau filled with pandan flavoured paste from the nearby coffee shop.

There's just something about the fragrant pandan paste within that had me hooked the first time I tried it! It isn't too sweet and has a very lovely smell...which could entirely be due to flavouring and colouring! Plus, I do love the greenish contrasting hues of the pau and its filling, don't you?!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Scrumptious Wedding Dinner

I finally got the pictures to a wedding dinner I attended last month. It was J's good friend's wedding and the lovely couple had hosted a dinner in his hometown, good ol' lil' Muar! It was catered by my dad's friend's restaurant and I have to say, was one of the most elaborate and scrumptious wedding dinners I had ever eaten! Enjoy the pictures!

1st Course - A beautifully plated lobster.

What a grand entrance it was and the lobster on each table created quite a stir! The lobster pieces were steamed then mixed with a fruit and mayo dressing before they were placed back into the shell. The shell was surrounded by lovely siew mai (I think!) filled with chunks of pork and prawn, and some pink prawn dumplings.

2nd course - Sharks Fin Soup

Despite the recent controversy about sharks fin soup, lots of people still serve this costly Chinese delicacy at wedding dinners. And this were real good sharks fins! They call it pao chi (in Hokkien) which basically means that the fins are in pieces as opposed to slivers. This ensures that it doesn't break apart in the soup when stirred and each diner is assured of a generous helping of large pieces of fin in their bowls.

3rd course - Steamed pomfret

The quintessential fish course was a steamed large white pomfret, generously covered with mushrooms, lettuce and tomatoes. This style of steaming is called Teochew steaming and uses preserved plums to give it a tangy, salty and light broth.

4th course - Suckling pig

This restaurant is famous for their suckling pig and has been featured in Singapore foodie programmes before. Singaporeans come in droves on weekends just to eat his well-seasoned and beautifully roasted suckling pig. This was a whole piglet with a lovely crisp skin. I don't really eat suckling pig but I really love the papaya and cucumber pickles surrounding it!

5th course - Stewed Goose Web

This is another expensive Chinese delicacy - Stewed goose webbed feet. This was my first time trying it. It was rather interesting, a little like stewed chicken feet although I found it quite hard to eat politely and delicately with all those bones! Not quite formal dinner fare!

6th course - Ying and Yang Prawns

These were prawns done two ways - 1 side was butter prawns and the other salad prawns. This restaurant does pretty good salad prawns. He fries the prawns before mixing them with a light, tangy mayo and pineapple salad. It's crunchy and creamy - yummy!

7th course - Braised Sea Cucumber

Yet another Chinese delicacy! This was sea cucumber which had been cut into pieces, stuffed with minced pork then braised in a fragrant sauce. It was nice! Sea cucumber doesn't have much taste of its own and absorbs the flavour from the braising sauce. It was a little crunchy which contrasted nicely with the soft pork.

8th course - Or-Nee

Ah, the final course! Chinese generally have 8 courses for wedding dinners as the number 8 signifies prosperity for the happy couple. Or-Nee is a traditional Teochew dessert made out of mashed yams, slices of pumpkin, gingko nuts, red dates and drizzled with a thick, super-sweet syrup. It was really too sweet for me. I think the yam is cooked with lard to give it the smoothness and fragrance. A high caloric dessert!

I asked Dad what the significance of this dish was as the groom's family weren't Teochews and he said it was probably to symbolise a sweet marriage which lasts forever (hence the stickiness of the dessert!). Chinese's all about symbolism!

It was definitely a wedding dinner to remember, thanks to the lovely couple!