Sunday, 14 October 2007

A Feast of Leftovers

It is the Raya weekend vacation and I was at loose ends. So, I decided to do something that I've not done in a long while, cook. My sister looked at me askance when I announced that. Now, you must understand that my culinary adventures of late have not extended beyond anything more challenging then cooking instant noodles.

Rummaging through the fridge, I found alot of half used packets of cooking ingredients, frozen food/meat, results of previous cooking experiments and subsequent waned interest in the recipe. So, I confined myself to cook using only available ingredients in the house

Chick-Peas Pielet
I had on hand, frozen short crust pastry dough from previous pie making session; half a can of Campbell mushroom soup, frozen chicken breast meat, frozen peas. All the makings of a pie.

Pie Filling
1. Defrost everything (obviously)
2. Cut up chicken breast meat into small cubes
3. Season chicken pieces with salt, pepper and some mix herbs
4. Stir in the Campbell mushroom soup
5. Add green peas to the mixture

1. Roll out the short crust pastry.
2. Cut out circles the size of the pie casing.
( I use 4" aluminium pie casings)
3. Place the dough at the base of the pie casing and fill with pie filling
4. Cover with another circle of short crust pastry at the top.
5. Press down edges to seal. Make a small cut in the top crust to let out the steam when baking.
6. Bake for 40 minutes on 200 Celcius

My sister and I had 2 pies each for lunch. The pie tasted fine, even if it doesn't look too good.

Ok, on to dinner. Based on what we had available, I decided on Chicken Mozzarella with Pan fried three roots vegetables.

Chicken Mozzarella
(Chicken Mozzarella and Pan Fried Three Root Vegetables)
We had a packet of unused shredded Mozzarella cheese, some frozen tomato paste and more frozen chicken breast, so, next up, Chicken Mozzarella

1. 300 gms Chicken breast meat
2. Bolognese sauce
3. 1/4 cup of Mozzarella
4. Salt, pepper, Lea and Perrin's sauce for marinade

Cooking method
1. Fillet chicken meat into individual portions and flatten it. ( I pound it down with the heel of my hand)
2. Season chicken with salt, pepper, a dash of Lea's and Perrin's sauce, a sprinkle of flour.
3. Leave aside the chicken to marinade for at least half an hour.
4. Heat up the pan with some oil and pan fry the chicken pieces until golden brown.
5. Transfer the chicken pieces to a oven proof dish.
6. Spoon some bolognese sauce on the chicken pieces.
(You can use jar or canned bolognese sauce. But since I was cooked up a batch of Bolognese sauce for my next recipe, I kept some aside for the chicken)
7. Sprinkle a generous topping of shredded Mozzarella cheese.
8. Bake the open dish for about 10 minutes or until the Mozzarella melts and lightly browned.

Pan Fried Three Root Vegetables

I used 1 potato, 1 carrot, 1 onion. It serves 2.
1. Cut the onion into wedges
2. Cut the carrot into sticks or cubes
3. Par boil the potoatos, and then cut into cubes
4. Heat some oil in the pan and fry the onions until brown
5. Throw in the carrot and potatos
6. Add salt and pepper to taste
7. Dry fry the root vegetables until cooked and slightly brown
( You can also roast the vegetables, but make sure to sprinkle some oil and turn the vegetables at intervals)

Easy peasy and so yummy. The browned onions and browned sides carrots are caramalized during the frying and gives a nice smoky sweet flavour to the dish.

Cheesy Bolognese Casserole
The dish is inspired by Lasagne and the Greek Moussaka. Since I didn't have either pasta sheets nor aubergine, I made do with potatos instead to layer the meat sauce. This is a 'cheesy' version as I had alot of unused Mozzarella cheese and a whole block of Cheddar.

Meat Sauce
1. 300gm minced meat ( it can be either chicken or beef) I used chicken mince. Yup, dug out from the freezer.
2. 1 big onion
3. 1 clove of garlic
4. 5 tablespoons of tomato paste
5. 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce or 1 fresh tomato
6. Salt to taste
7. Oregano

1. 2 big potatos
2. 1 cup of shredded Mozzarella cheese
3. 1 cup of grated Cheddar cheese

Bechamel sauce
1. 1/2 cup of milk
2. 4 tablespoon of butter
3. 2-3 tablespoon of flour
( All measurements are approximate)

Cooking Method
Meat Sauce
1. Dice the onion and chop the garlic fine.
2. Heat up the pan with some oil and brown the garlic
3. Add in onion and fry till soft before adding in the minced meat.
4. Add in tomato paste, salt, oregano and some water to simmer.
(Fresh tomatoes will give the sauce an extra zest, but since I didnt have any, I cheated by adding in some tomato sauce)
5. Set aside the meat sauce to cool after it is cooked

6. Parboil the potatos. Remove the skin and slice the potatos.
7. Assemble a layer of potatoes at the base of an oven proof casserole dish.
8. Spoon a layer of meat sauce to cover potatoes, then sprinkle the mozzarella and the cheddar cheese on the meat sauce.
9. Alternate the layers of potatos, meat sauce and cheese. Top with a layer of potatos.
10. Cover the casserole with aluminium foil and bake for 30 minutes on 200 celsius.
11. Remove from oven and pour the bechamel sauce on baked casserole.
13. Sprinkle some more Mozzeralla cheese on the bechamek sauce. It's optional, but I like the sticky texture the Mozzeralla gives to the topping.
14. Put the casserole back to the oven and open bake it for 15 minutes until the bechamel topping turns golden brown.

To make Bechamel sauce
(Bechamel sauce is also known as white sauce. It gives a nice creamy finish on casserole)
1. Melt butter in sauce pan over low fire. Do not brown.
2. Stir in flour in the milk, whisk till smooth
3. Pour in milk and flour mixture in the melted butter
4. Stir and break up any lumps that forms.
5. Heat but do not bring to boil
6. The sauce should have a thick and smooth consistency

Assorted Chocolate Brownie
There was an assortment of uneaten chocolate in the fridge. Dark chocolate and white chocolate pieces, chocolate chips, chocolate coins, Hershey's kisses, Lindt...... you name it, I probably had it. I melted the whole lot down in a bowl over boiling water. Cool it and plonk it in the fridge to harden. I then crushed the chocolate into small pieces.

Brownie mixture
1. 4 lbs of butter
2. 1/2 cup of flour
3. 2 cold large eggs
4. 3/4 cup of brown sugar
(the recipe calls for cocoa powder, but I didnt have any so I just used brown sugar instead of white sugar)

Cooking method
1. Melt butter in pan over low fire
2. Take the pan off the fire and add sugar, stirring until sugar melts
3. Add in eggs one at a time, whisk vigourously.
4. Stir mixture till smooth and shiny. Then fold in the flour.
5. Stir until flour is well blended in.
6. Add in the chocolate pieces.
7. Heat the oven to 200 Celsius for 10 minutes.
8. Grease a baking tin and pour in batter mixture.
9. Bake for 20 minutes on 200 Celsius.
10. Test for doneness by sticking in a tooth pick. If it comes away clean, the brownie is ready.
Cool on a wire rack and cut into squares. Serve with a cup of tea. Perfect!

Friday, 31 August 2007

Jampagne Brunch @ Iketeru, KL Hilton

Buffet to me is synonymous with bad to mediocre food and hoards of people piling up their plates from the buffet table as though food is going out of style. It could not be more different at Iketeru. Instead of self service from a buffet spread, diners are given a menu with a wide array of choices. Place your orders with the waiter and the food will be cooked to order. You can have whatever is on the menu, as many dishes as you want. The only restriction is that maximum of 5 dishes at a time. Almost everything was yummy but the portions were tiny! The waiters were kept busy taking and serving our orders. We were tempted, but politeness stopped us from placing a standing order of 4 portions of everything on the menu.

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. And yeah, it tastes even better than it looks. My photo taking skills just does not do it justice.

Choice of sashimi on the menu is fairly extensive. We could not decide what to have, so we tried everything on the menu :P
Prawn, Octopus, Butter Fish Sashimi
Salmon and Tuna Sashimi
Ooh.. lala... Baked Cheese Scallops served on its shell, scrumpmilicious!
Baked Cheese Scallops
Grilled Scallops

Terriyaki Unagi

Buffet is available only during weekends, from 12pm to 3pm. We arrived promptly and stayed until the very delicious end! The buffet is priced at RM168++ with free flowing champagne or you can eschew the booz and stick to just food for RM98++. Be warned, drinks are not included in the buffet price. Ocha is RM8++ per person. Although the price isn’t exactly wallet friendly, I can say its well worth the quality of food and service.

Monday, 30 July 2007

Discovering Treasures From Below The Sea @ Williams

No these are not "treasures from below the sea" that Jaded brought back from below Redang! They however were some treasures we found at Williams Taman Mayang that we have been reading about. After checking all the food blogs about Williams, Jaded and I were determined to pay William a visit. Opportunity came when I took leave last Tuesday and Jaded could leave from Cyberjaya.

Our Makan Sister Time is always an adventure. We would make plans on how to meet, where to park the car....blah, blah, blah. I have checked out the blog and was thinking about the stuffed sotong and fried fish......But hey no one told us that there is NO Menu at Williams.

We found a table, sat down and an Indian guy came and asked us...
"Ada apa?"
"Manggo .... ade, orange.....ade, water melon....ade" (actually that was all we heard the first words
.... so we ended up "Ribena dengan lychee, bukan bukan... ribena longan" Jaded ordered
"Ada apa?"
"Chicken chop ade, pasta ade, nasi ade......."

Jaded looked at me and I looked back. In our minds "so how".....Then thank goodness William the saviour, no the Walking Menu came. To say that he is a Walking Menu is also doing him injustice. He could just customize up your dish there and then!!!

I asked, "Ada sotong dengan ikan?"
He said, "Ada... sotong dengan ikan pasta...."
I said, "tak mau pasta..."
He, "Ok Sotong dengan ikan dengan soo hoon"
I, "soo hoon??" Strange I thought!!.....ok lah
Jaded, "Seafood?"
He, "Ada....seafood pasta? Baked seafood penne!!!"
Jaded, "Ok!"

And those were the Treasure from below The Sea......My stuffed sotong and fish sprinkled mint sauce on a bed of soo hoon.......very verry unusual!!! (pix above) The sotong with little bits of cheese and chicken meat.

Jaded's Baked Seafood penne came really hot and the white sauce was good not too creamy .... It had sotong, prawns in it and the portion was large!! Jaded could even have Microwave Leftover Seafood penne that next next day!!!

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

After the Menopause....

Since Jaded's last posting....we have done nothing to the blog. Da List still rest with 3 entries from Jaded and 3 from me......gosh and we claim we have A LIST!!!.....

Anyway Jaded is too busy with work and with her "diving adventures"......yes into the deep blue. Guess there wont be any posting from her for a while.

I just wanna share about what happened after the Menopause...............The Musical! I went for the musical at Actor's Studio with my girlfriend. I didnt know it was a musical and hey I was truly entertained!
The show finished at about 7.30 and Dee suggested we eat at La Bodega....the easiest. I have always enjoyed the Tapas there. The best I must say.....pricey though. However this time I was surprised that they have a set menu. You pick can 4 different tapas from 6 (i think) choices together with a paella. All these for RM75.00++. I thought it was good a deal, the choices are all their signature tapas.

We selected the sauteed mushroom, the brinjal, garlic chicken and crispy shrimp with tartar sauce. I have always loved their mushroom and the shrimps were something new(to me) and they were delicious. The paella was a big helping, and it came will mussels, prawns, lalah and chicken. We couldnt finish the paella. Though this set is meant for 2 pax, Dee and I thought its good for 3 or 4 person!.

I remembered to snap the photos of the food this time.....but as you know its so dark at La Bodega....and I forgot to switch to night mode........sorry photos did come out good!!!.....
If you can see that there are prawns and mussels in the paella too.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

The Makan Sisters with other 'Chee Muis' @ De Foodland

Satuday 23 June It was a girls' night out. Having ditched husbands and kids, our group decided to adjourn for dinner at a nearby restaurant after visiting our friend who recently delivered a new baby. Oohing and aahing over new born works up an appetite. I couldn't wait to tear away to sample the crabs again at De Foodland.

Despite it's rather insipid name, De Foodland serves pretty good food. It specialises in crabs dishes. With 30+ different crab dishes, one is spoilt for choice. But we decided to stick to their 'chew pai' or classic - Creamy Butter Crab. Yummy. It was finger lickin' good. I liked that they cracked the crab shells before cooking, so the succulent white meat inside was infused with the butter cream sauce. Plus it makes it easier to eat. No need to hammer at the shell and risk splattering your dining partners with sauce or worse, have the piece of crab airborne and land anywhere else but on your plate. The sauce is thick and creamy with a hint of 5 spice powder. The chopped spring onions which was liberally tossed in was a nice offset against the 'jelak creaminess' of the sauce.

We ordered fried man tao to go with the crabs, but we didnt like the man tao at all. It was too greasy, the oil had soaked through the bread and it has a rancid smell. Urgghh.... But despite that, we were hungry enough to eat most of it.

The guiness pork was good too. Pieces of pork marbled with fat, deep fried then sauteed in the guiness sauce until it caramelizes on the meat. Yumz.

On recommendation of the Maitre'd... ( ok la captain, since this was no pretentious upclass French restaurant) we had the Special Taste Venison. She explained that it has a salty, sweet, sour, spicy taste. Wah liao, sounds to me like a potential assault on the taste buds. Expecting a burst of clashing flavours, I must say it tasted alright. I detected dark soy sauce and pepper with lashings of sugar. If they have added any seasoning for the sour taste, it must have been subtle, I couldn't really taste it.

The other dishes we sampled were the 'Four Heavenly Kings' vege and the '3 mushroom tau foo'. The vegetables still retained its crispiness, which I liked, but it was way too salty. There were times we unsuspectingly crunched on salt crystals. It was as though someone threw in the salt as an after thought. The tau foo dish had pieces of soft tau foo fried, then drowned in lots of gravy with bits of mushrooms. The mushrooms were chopped really fine. I thought it would have been nice to leave the mushrooms in bigger pieces for the dish to have some bite.

Overall, we found the food flavourful, but the chefs were too heavy handed with the salt and the oil in the cooking. Total bill came up to RM156+ for 6 adults and 1 child. Fair value for money I would say.

P/S: We forgot to take any pictures of the food. Again! As usual we were too intent on digging into the food on arrival. Yeah, I know, food blog ain't much fun without pictures. Must remember that on our next eating spree.

De Foodland Seafood Restaurant
25 & 27, Jalan 3/62B, Bandar Sri Menjalara, Kuala Lumpur. Tel No: 03 - 62744796

Saturday, 23 June 2007

The Makan Sisters Strikes @ Mizu, Bangsar Village

Ok, let's get cracking! It's time to work through Da List. AnnG read about Mizu and suggested we try that first. No arguments from this quarter, being a fan of Japanese food myself.

So Friday 22 June, we trotted along to Bangsar Village. Mizu is located on the first floor, right smack in front of the elevator.

The restaurant features a zen like, minimalist decor, with stone walls and flowing water. Like many of the modern restaurants, it has an open kitchen concept. AnnG remarked that there seems to be quite a number of chefs for a small restaurant. I would have expected the food to be served much faster, but is was not so.

Having had a huge lunch that day, I wasn’t very hungry, so I settled for a single portion of hand rolled Soft Shell Crab Maki and a plate of Salmon Sashimi to share. AnnG ordered the Mini Chirashi.

Salmon Sashimi dish came with 6 thickly cut slices of slippery smooth salmon pieces served over a bed of ice. No complaints there.

AnnG enjoyed her vinegar rice with the Chirasi. The tuna and butter fish pieces she shared with me were firm and fresh. I’ve always enjoyed sashimi for its simplicity. If it is fresh, it needs no further condiments to enhance the flavour beyond a tinge of soy sauce.

They messed up my order of Soft Shell Crab Maki. Mouth open, I was all ready to tuck into my maki, when I noticed 'Hey, where is my soft shell crab?' The maki was quite a disappointment. The fried soft shell crab was very oily, I've tasted better. And the rice in the maki is not as compact as I would have liked it to be.

For a place that is touted as fine dining, I really don’t see anything fine about it except the prices. The bill came up to RM95.46. Quite steep, the quality of the food was ok, but nothing spectacular, but service was generally not satisfactory. I stuck my hand in the air and waved for about 5 whole minutes before anyone took notice of it. Considering they had quite number of staff and it is supposed to be a ‘fine dining’ restaurant, it was unacceptable. The captain spied us taking photographs and came over to re-arrange AnnG’s bowl of Chirashi just so. Weird. I would rather she paid more attention to serving customers.

Would I come back here to dine? Perhaps for lunch. Bangsar Village is a stone's throw away from my office and they do pretty good value sets. But suffice to say that for a place that is labeled as fine dining, I’m not particularly impressed.

Mizu Japanese Fine Dining
LotF6, First Floor, Bangsar Village, No1. Jalan Telawi Satu, Bangsar Baru, KL. Tel: 03-2283 6988

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Da List

Ok, here is Jaded's choice of must tries. (In no particular order of preference)

1. Niji Teppan Sushi
45G, Jalan 1/6D, Medan Putra Business Centre, Bandar Menjalara

If you want to eat a decent Jap meal without busting your budget, this is a good place to try. I love their Salmon skin maki and the cripsy fried softshell crab. The sashimi is also good value for money, RM19.90 for 6 pieces of fresh thick salmon cuts that just glides down your throat.Don't take my word for it, read other people's review of the place

2. Checkers
19, Lorong Setia Bistari 2,Damansara Heights, 50490 Kuala LumpurTel: +603-2095 3304 Operating Hours: 6pm ~ 10pm, close on Monday

Tucked in between a row of shophouses in the quiet and affluent neighbourhood of Bukit Damansara, is this real gem of a restaurant if you want a hearty carnivorous meal. They serve generous hunks of pork, beef, lamb or whatever is your order. Vegeterians and dieters, forget about going there. The meat is well marinated and flavourful served with mash and gravy and various condiments and sauces to enhance the meat. I've tried various dishes courtesy of my fellow diners and my fav is still Porky's Best. Best ever pork ribs this side of town. For RM39++ you get 2 huge slabs of pork ribs, corn on cob, salad and mash. Forget about going to Tony Romas at Sunway Pyramid. Beef ribs? Bleh! Oh, and remember to call them up to make reservations. Otherwise, you can forget about dining there.

3. Mizu
L6, First Floor, Bangsar Village I, Jalan Telawi Satu, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur. Tel No: 03 - 2283 6988

Walk on water here! Ok, I am not refering to their food but their deco. A glass pane walkway over water leads into the dark interior of the restaurant. I had the lunch set there, my recollection is hazy at best but overall impression is good food for a reasonable price. Lunch came up to RM30++ per person. Not bad. Will try it again and be more specific in my comments.
Here is what masak masak has to say about Mizu

Here's the AnnG's list.
Mine generally is "i wanna try list" (also in no order of particular perference).

1) Champs
Centre point
What caught my eyes after the Japanese buffet at Momo was Champs banner. The exact words were "Baby Pork Ribs" and I told Jaded we must try this place. I hope it wont disappoint us. When I read "Pork Ribs" i imagine succulent juicy pork ribs ala Tony Romas maybe???

2) Korean BBQ
One Ampang
Actually I dont know the name of the shop but there are many Korean BBQ restaurants at One Ampang area. Both Jaded and I wanna eat Korean BBQ, so the best place is to go to the hub.... at One Ampang. There are Korean mini market here, Korean pubs, Korean "Western Food'?!! .....except I havent seen any handsome Korean men at One Ampang ..... And this Korean BBQ opens until late at night. The last time I went there at 10.00pm the kitchen is still not closed.

3) Red the Japanese place
Jalan Kasah, Medan Damansara
Read once somewhere, that this place serves modern, fusion Japanese food. Food is on the steep side I think. Well this place we will go when we wanna give ourselves a treat. Maybe when we have slimmed down......that would give us long enough time to save up some ringgits!!!

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

How it all started

We decided that a "List" is needed so that we dont need to crack our brains the next time we wanna have dinner together.We are great at finding and talking about all the great places for food. DYC would read about great food in her favorite blogs and I would have checked out the Saturday Star. But everytime we end up eating at the same old places to namely Chilis ....... boring.So the birth of this personal blog for the "makan gang" namely...... DYC and me...... ha ha ha!!!..... This blog is meant for our "LIST"!!!