Monday, April 30, 2012

I got mail

Ever since my son, Nick left college, I haven't had the occasion to visit a campus. Last month I received an email from Samantha Mah of Taylor’s University, Lakeside Campus, inviting me to attend a pastry class at the college. I accepted the invitation because I knew that Taylor's University has an extensiive culinary course for aspiring chefs. I had no idea where Taylor’s Lakeside Campus was so I sent a text to my son’s girlfriend asking for directions as she is a graduate from there. With her help I found the place with no problem and arrived at 9.15am. The class started at 9.30am. I was greeted by Samantha’s colleague, Sharon and she led me to the classroom. I met Chef Karamvi Godrei  who conducted the class. Before the class started, Sharon briefed me that I am not allowed to share the recipes that I would learn that day. I was very disappointed, aren't you? OOPS! So what am I going to share with you today? Well, just some photos I guess.

everything you need to make a strawberry shortcake
Strawberry shortcake that I made. There should be three layers but mine only two layers
because I overfold the batter.
everything you need to make a black forest cake
The Black forest cake that I made
everything you need to make a creme caramel
The creme caramel I made
The tired "me" and my two cakes LOL!

The overall experience attending the class conducted by Chef Karamvi Godrei was pleasant and his style of teaching is clear and simple to follow. 


The classroom


Chef Karamvi Godrei and Quay Po

Here are the tips he stressed about making genoise sponge:

1)) Whisk eggs and sugar till "ribbon stage" before adding flour.
2) Sift flour over batter.
3) Do not overfold or overmix the batter
4) Do not apply too thick frosting
5) When using gelatin, always "bloom it" (let it soak in water for 15 mins) first.

For those who are interested in taking a baking course at Taylor's, you may email Samantha at PhuiSan.Mah@taylors.edu.my or click on the photo below to contact them through their facebook account. Weekend courses and single courses are avaiable for anyone wanting to brush up their skills and knowledge and learn from professionals.



Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Guest post for Ping's Pickings

When Ping of Ping's Pickings asked if I would do a guest post for her because she needed to return to her hometown to take care of some important matters, I did not even have to think but told her that I would. I was glad she thought of me and I am happy to help out in whatever way I can. This is what friends are for, right? So I did a guest post for her and it was published on her blog yesterday. If you are interested to make some macaroons (two 'Os') not macarons, do hop over to her blog to get the recipe. It is a fantastic recipe and yielded very tasty macaroons. At least that was what my Quay Lo's expression told me when he took the first bite. Another strong evidence that they must be good is, when I woke up the next morning, they were all gone! LOL!

Please click on the photo to go to the Guest Post at Ping's Pickings

Monday, April 23, 2012

Killing 3 birds with one stone

When my son, Nick chose to be an actor, 

A scene from the 7th BoH Cameronian Award
Winning play, AIRCON


a singer songwriter, 
Nick wrote this and
the music was jointly arranged
with his friend, Savy



a vocalist in a rock band, 

A big moment for Rosevelt.
They opened the show for the famous
American rock band Incubus 


I knew that Nick had chosen a tough road, especially here in Malaysia. We, Malaysians are not very supportive towards our artististic community. We are willing to spend big money to watch an international show but even if our local talent is comparable, we are not willing to spend much to see a local show. We have a mind set that local talent is not as good. If that were true, why are there so many of our local artists who have done well overseas? Then, when they have become famous overseas, they are recognized in our own country. There is truly something wrong with the logic. Don't you think?

Nick had not done any acting for about two years to concentrate on building his band’s name with his band mates in the local music scene. They had launched the first album last December.



and their song "Moment" has made it to No.1 on the MET 10 Chart
last month and stayed there for a few weeks.

Now he is back into acting and he was one of the actors in the recent play called “End of the world, now scream and run.”  My Quay Lo and I had planned to see the play but unfortunately, he was not well. Since I had to go alone, I thought it would be a good time to catch up with Yen of "Eat Your Heart Out"  and her hubby. I invited them to go to the play and she asked me to tag along to a food review at Millesime in Publika. That was very convenient since the play was one floor above this fine dining restaurant. This was like "killing two birds with one stone". We could do both and have a grand time of it. 

We were expected to be at Millesime at 5.30 pm and when we arrived, there were already other bloggers and writers present. The founder of Millesime introduced us to their happy hour promotion which is an offering of their delicious finger food on a complimentary basis, once you have ordered a drink. Nowadays in Kuala Lumpur, you can hardly even get a glass of water free. That sounded like a good deal, even better when the finger food was beautifully presented and was very scrumptious.  Millesime had indeed lived up to its reputation of being voted as the top 6 dining must-do’s in 2011 by "Singapore Food and Travel Magazine".


What I loved most was their wide selection of wines.  Wine lovers will find this place abundant with choices. 


You might want to check out their Wednesday or Friday Wine Lunch Menus. The price is affordable at Rm120.00 nett for the Wednesday Wine Lunch Menu and you will be served with delicious food and paired with a matching wine to taste.  The Friday Wine Lunch Menu offers a 5 courses of scrumptious food with the right wine to go with them and I cannot believe it is only RM150.00 nett. As for their Dinner Menu, you have three menus to choose from. Menu Degustation (5 courses), Menu Gourmet (4 courses) and Petite Menu (3 courses). In Millesime, there is no ala carte menu. The daily menu is prepared by their Chef  and offered on a pre fixe basis (one price for all)for your enjoyment. I will definitely be back for dinner one of these nights with my Quay Lo and our good friends who enjoy good food and good service.

After happy hour at Millesime, we adjourned to see the play and it was over at around 10.00pm. Since all of us felt hungry again, we decided to hunt for some food nearby and guess where we end up? Yamagoya Ramen @ Solaris Dutamas. Yen of "Eat Your Heart Out" wrote a great post on this little new Japanese ramen joint in KL. Head over to her blog to find out more. However, here are some photos which I took that evening.


We ordered two kinds of ramen and both were excellent.
They even have a little sesame mill so that you can have freshly ground sesame. How cool! I would love to have one of these in my home.




I will definitely go back with my Quay Lo because not only the ramen is good, the staff there are well trained, and service is top notch. The service of some "fine dining restaurants" that we have been to don't even come near to theirs. I am very impressed and if you like noodles like I do, I highly recommend that you check this ramen place out. I am very sure you will not be disappointed.


So with the Ramen supper we killed not two birds with one stone but three! LOL!



No fees or promotionl considerations were received
 and my remarks are purely my own.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Great minds think alike

What a co-incidence that I made salted caramel chocolate tarts a few days before I attended Chef Ryan Khang's demonstration about how to make a salted caramel cake. I would like to think that great minds think alike.

In my last post, I shared with you the recipe of the salted caramel, chocolate tart with coffee truffle. Everyone that had tasted it seemed to like it so I was encouraged to bring some with me when I went to see Chef Khang's event at Jaya Grocers Pantry the following day. When I arrived at the Pantry, there was a big crowd waiting for the demonstration. Before he started I said hello and told him that I had something similar to what he was about to demonstrate, but in a tart instead of cake and offered him one to try. He immediately took a bite and nodded with approval and said it is very delicious. YAY! The rest of the attendees heard that and asked if they could sample the tart as well. Since I still had two extra tarts, I cut them into small pieces and gave each of them a small piece to try. They all liked it and agreed with Chef Khang. Some even asked me for the recipe and I told them I would be sharing it on my blog, which I did. For those who miss my earlier post titled "She has a heart of a Buddha", and interested to get the recipe, click on the photo to go get it. It is free! LOL!



Then, a comment was posted on one of my older posts (titled "Wow I got Goosies"). It was from a reader who asked if I had been to the class, and asked if I would share Chef Khang’s Salted caramel chocolate cake recipe on my blog. She said she missed the demo so here is the recipe. All the attendees enjoyed the cake and if you are looking for a good salted caramel chocolate cake recipe, you have found it.

Salted caramel chocolate Cake
Recipe from Chef Ryan Khang


Salted caramel chocolate cake by Chef Ryan Khang



Ingredients:

120gm plain flour (sifted)
60gm cocoa powder
120gm ground almond
200gm corn oil
100gm dark chocolate
120gm brown sugar
8 eggs (yolk and white separated)
180gm castor sugar
2 tsp instant coffee diluted with 4 tsp hot water
180gm cream

Method:

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C
In a bowl, mix together plain flour and cocoa powder.
Mix almond with cream to form almond paste and keep aside.

Melt corn oil and chocolate in the microwave.

Mix together almond paste, melted chocolate, egg yolks, brown sugar and sifted flour.

In a clean bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy, slowly add sugar and whisk until stiff peak forms.

Fold 1/3 meringue into egg yolk and chocolate mixture. Then slowly add in the rest of meringue in batches, combine well.

Our the batter into a 9 in round cake tin lined with parchment paper and bake for 45 minutes or until inserted cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before removing from cake from cake tin. Cut into three tiers. (see video how to cut the cake)

Chocolate Ganache:

Ingredients:
370gm whipping cream
310gm Lindt dark chocolate

Method:

Bring the whipping cream to boil and pour over chocolate, then stir well and place in the fridge to cool down. Stir occasionally so ganache doesn’t get too hard.
Fill some ganache into a pipping bag with a nozzle and reserve balance for spreading on the cake.

Caramel filling:

Ingredients:
130gm sugar
50ml water
2 tbs dark corn syrup
60gm butter
60ml whipping cream
a large pinch of sea salt

Method:
In a saucepan, bring sugar, water and corn syrup over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and cook for high until syrup turns dark amber.

Remove from heat, add cream, butter and sea salt. Allow to cool completely before use.

To Assemble the cake:

How to slice the cake
video

How to fill the layers
video

Use chocolate ganache and caramel to sandwich the three layers together and to cover the top. Sprinkle the sea salt on the top. (The side of cake may be covered, drizzled, or simply left un-covered).

Friday, April 6, 2012

Eye Candy

I first heard the term "Eye Candy" when I saw a post from a young girl calling my son, Nicholas, "Eye Candy". 




That was few years ago, when he was first getting into singing and songwriting. Back then, I did not know what it meant so I googled and found out the meaning. Eye Candy means someone or something that is visually attractive or pleasing to look at. Recently, there were Eye Candies at Jaya Grocers, Subang Empire. LOL!

Jaya Grocers, Empire Subang is the supermarket that I usually shop in. I like shopping there because the store Manager, Wilson, and the supervisor for the vegetable section, Janet, are very helpful people. The cashiers there are efficient and cheerful. I found the staff at Jaya Grocers understand what customer service is all about. I have met the owner, Mr. Teng, on several occasions. He is a warm and friendly gentleman who makes his customers feel very welcome. There was one occasion that I was at the meat section and he recommended that I try some imported salami. It was over-the-top delicious. Furthermore, it is a one-stop center for me for most of my baking and cooking needs and my favorite table wine. It is so convenient for me. I was very happy that now they give free cooking demos every Saturday at their cosy pantry,  one schedules for 1.00pm and another at 3.00pm. I have been to two of these demos so far and both were conducted by young promising, friendly and handsome chefs. Oh yes, they were "eye candies"! LOL! If you are interested in attending a demo, just go to Jaya Grocers’ facebook and book your seats in advance or if you are at Jaya Grocers Empire Subang, you can inform the staff there to book a seat for you.  I enjoy attending cooking and baking demos by chefs because I found that I will learn something new each time. Many of thes tips are things that you will not find in a cook book.

The first demo I attended was Berrie Pie by Chef Ryan Khang,


and last Saturday’s lasagna was by an award winning chef,  "Christopher".  I liked his recipe because it was a vegetarian recipe. I brought a friend with me and she liked the recipe too, so after the demo, she got all the ingredients in Jaya Grocers itself and was eager to go home and make the dish for dinner.

Chef Christopher is a talented young chef who won many awards during his culinary career. His roots are in modern French cuisine and his wizardry with fine-dining dishes can only be described as a palate-pampering experience. He brings with him a firm culinary foundation and a passion for creativity.  He has gained much exposure in restaurants such as Zen Satori and Nippon Tuk in Hilton Metropole London. He also conducts cooking and baking classes at The Cooking House and has been assigned to conduct public demonstrations for food companies in malls and exhibition. Here are the step-by-step photos on how Chef Christopher made the lasagna. I think these pictures will benefit those who wants to make this dish but do not know how. My Quay Lo said it was funny that a chef was needed to demo lasagna. He said every cook in the U.S. likely has a recipe for this family favorite. But I pointed out to him just how different lasagna is compared to the standard table fare that is common here in Malaysia. He thought about it and realized what an opportunity this is for a grocer here to sell into the growing desire to experience different foods here.


Vegetable Lasagna
recipe from Chef Christopher



Ingredients:

8 sheets Banila Lasagna Bolognesi La Collezione DItalia
1/2 small pumpkin
1 long eggplant
150gm spinach
40gm parmesan cheese, grated
Olive Oil

Tomato Sauce:
Ingredients for tomator sauce:
3 tbs olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small yellow onion chopped
1 stick celery, diced
1/2 red capsicum, diced
500gm tomato puree
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp ground oregano
6 sweet basil leaves, sliced
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Method to make tomato sauce:
Saute garlic, onion in oil until softened. Add Celery, capsium tomato puree and dried herbs. Cook until reduced and thickened. 


Bechemal sauce:

Ingredients for bechemal sauce:
60gm butter
60gm flour
550gm milk
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
a good dash of ground black pepper

Method to make bechamel sauce:
Heat the milk. Melt the butter in a saucepan and cook the flour, stirring to prevent lumps forming. Add the milk gradually and cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens and boil. Remove from heat and stir in the nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Preparation of vegetables:
Peel, core and slice pumpkin to about 1/4 inch thick. Slice eggplant to 1/4 inch thick. Rub both pumpkin and eggplant in olive oil and roast in a preheated oven at 200 degrees C until cooked. 


Blanch the spinach in salted water until soft but still green, drain and transfer to a bowl ofice water to stop further cooking. Chop the spinach.

To Assemble:
To assemble the lasagna, line a 7 inch square baking pan with aluminium foil, with a 2 inch overhang at the sides. Stir in 30 gm of parmesan cheese into the bechamal sauce. Spread a thin layer of sauce at the bottom of the tin and lay on 2 pieces of lasagna sheets side by side. Spread 1/3 of the tomato sauce over the lasagna sheets, cover with a layer of pumpkin and 1/4 of the bechamel sauce. Lay another layer of lasagna sheets, then tomato sauce, eggplant and bechamal sauce. Next, layer with lasagna sheets, spinach and bechamel sauce. End witha final layer of lasagna sheets and top with the remaining bechamel sauce. Sprinkle an even layer of parmesan cheese over the bechamel sauce. Cover with alumnium foil and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 20minutes. Remove the aluminium foil and return to bake for another 10 - 15 minutes or till cheese is brown. 







Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Hanging Out

As a young girl growing up in Ipoh we had no internet and no hand phones.  Our needs to socialize were usually expressed in specific terms of having a purpose that would satisfy our parent's queries. Today it is much more common to hear the term "hanging out" expressed by young people or at least from those that escape from their video games, iPhones, and laptops to meet friends in person. As adults we don't use the term "hanging out" very much. Perhaps that is because we need the assurance of purpose for everything we choose to do. Maybe we are just looking  for reasons to get  together so as to avoid stating the obvious. We need socialization. We also need to socialize in the presence of company we enjoy and have a common ground with. The study of socialization (sociology) reaffirms over and over that our existence depends on it.  As frequent readers know, I enjoy writing about meeting fellow bloggers in person. Maybe the sociologist are right, maybe my existence depends on it in some way. So "hanging out" has a huge payback.


I first met Yen and her hubby of the blog Eat your heart out when I was conducting a cooking class in Pantry Magic, in Bangsar.  She approached me and asked if I was Quay Po and introduced herself. We chatted, and right away I knew this bright young lady was a warm and friendly person. From then on, we have visited each other's blog frequently and  exchanged comments. We recently "became friends" on Facebook and exchanged notes often. It was not long before we decided to meet up and "hang out". She asked me if I would like to meet another blogger Mei Yee of I am the Witch and of course, I indicated I would be delighted to. I always love to meet new friends, especially people who share the same passion  - food. To me Facebook and blogs will never replace meeting someone in person. We lose a lot of communication and risk being misunderstood when confined to the internet. Our tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language all are lost on the internet. Meeting Yen and Mei Yee was as expected, a sheer delight.

The night before our meet up for tea at The Sheraton Imperial...

I made some macarons with a kumquat, dark chocolate and cointreau filling  to let Yen sample it as promised.


I made sure I had enough for each person to have two and a little extra, just in case they loved them. 


Being resourceful ladies, both Yen and Mei Yee had a Starwood discount card each so we only had to pay 50% of the price per head for the high tea. However the rule was, we had to sit in two separate tables. (HUH!?)  That seemed rediculous to us and we finally need not comply after speaking to the Manager in charge. The place was rather empty and we understood why after tasting the pastry. There were not many choices served and the only item offered that we all agreed  was delicious were the mini donuts. We had no complaints about the presentation but looks can be deceiving.


My macarons became the “Star” of the day, perhaps largely because the competition was so inferior. Each of them had two and they said they love them. Yen’s hubby’s remark was even more encouraging, he stated they were much higher standard in appearance, taste, and texture than many they had purchased from commercial outlets. (What a bright and charming young man!)

We spent a cheerful afternoon together, forgetting that the food was not up to our expectation and since we did not have to pay full price for it, we did not feel short changed, for we think the ambience was perfect for a nice hang out. It was great getting to know Yen, her hubby  and meet another new friend, Mei Yee, another lovely young lady, and we all seemed to have lots to talk about despite our age difference. As if spending three hours yakking were not enough, Yen asked me to tag along with them to a happy hour cocktail food tasting for Bloggers, at Al Amar Express in the city. There I ran into my friend, Cheng Yi of Have your Cake and Eat It Too and met some other bloggers for the first time. They were a group of chirpy and fun loving people. We had a ball.


I got to sample some of the Lebanese food, their free flow cocktail drinksand wine as well. This of course led to much laughter and enjoyment. I loved their range of wine, 
affordable and good. 


All the above food was reasonably priced and everything tasted delicious.  To me, it would be great value for money. I will definitely go there again with my Quay Lo. It is a great place to meet up with friends after a hard day's work. Not only will you get great food, inventive and colorful cocktails as well as an excellent range of affordable and delightful Lebanese wine, the staff there, including the chef, the sales and marketing director, Ralph and the owner, Joseph, are all very friendly. 

The whole team knew how to please their customers and make them feel extremely welcome. I suspect that if you visit Al Amar Express just once, it likely will not be your last visit. 
Al-Amar Express

Fahrenheit88
Lot G44, Ground Floor,
179, Jalan Bukit Bintang,
55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tel no: +603-2141 3814
Opening hours: 8am to 1am Daily (opens til 5am on weekends)
Email: info@al-amar.com
Website: http://www.al-amar.com/ Facebook Page


No fees or promotionl considerations were received and
my remarks are purely my own.