Friday, June 29, 2012

I am going picnic with my X

Louise, the host of "The Picnic Game" left a comment on my last year’s post on a dish called Xerem that I brought to “The Picnic Game 2011”. She invited me to join in this year's game. By the time I contacted her to tell her I will be going, guess what? What you are thinking right now is absolutely correct. Yes, I have to go picnic with my X again. 

It’s Months of Edible Celebrations Picnic Day again! 

I’m going on a picnic, and I’m bringing…

X -  Xim-Xim De Galinha 

Xim-Xim De Galinha
Adapted from By FLKeysJen
with modification.

This is a Brazilian dish with seafood and meat. This is a very delicious dish with an explosion of flavors. It is best served with steam plain rice.

2 pieces of fried chicken breast with skin on
2 tbs lemon juice
1 lemon rind
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
2 tbs dried shrimp
1 large shallot, diced
1 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs minced garlic
3/4 cup water
8 big prawns, shelled and deveined
3 red chilli, diced           
2 tbs ground roasted peanuts
1 tbs ground cashew nuts
1/2 tbs minced ginger
1 tbs canola oil

Marinate the chicken in the salt, and pepper for half an hour and brown the chicken breasts. Drain off the oil with paper kitchen towel and cut them into bite size and set aside. Blend dried shrimp, shallot, lemon rind and tomatoes in a food processor into a thick paste. Heat the oil over medium heat in a pan and add the garlic. Saute garlic till brown and add the paste and stir fry for about 5 minutes. Add the shallot, tomato, and shrimp paste and stir fry for about 10 minutes. Add in chilli and ginger and stir fry some more. Add water and lemon juice. Let it simmer for another 10 minutes on low heat.  Add ground roasted peanut, roasted ground cashew and drained chicken pieces. Let it simmer for another 10 minutes or till chicken breast is cooked. Add in the prawns and let it cooked for another three to five minutes before turning off heat. When ready to serve, drizzle the canola oil over the xim-xim and cook for a few more minutes. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

I am not dreaming, it is REAL!

Just before I left for my trip to the USA, we were watching America Top Chefs. We paid special attention to one of the competitors. We knew that my step daughter Erin had been to his restaurant in the LA area several times and had become acquainted with him. I am talking about Chef Fabio Viviani who was voted the Top Chef, Season 5, Fan Favorite. His restaurant, Cafe Firenze, is just a 10 minute drive from her home. 

Erin knew I would be thrillled if I were to get to meet the chef, so she took us to his cooking demo at his restaurant on the first weekend after we arrived in California. While we waited in queue to check in, I had the pleasure to meet this Baby Chef who was in line ahead of us. Are all chefs so charming?

Cafe Firenze is a large, noisy, but nicely decorated restaurant, and very typically Italian. As we walked into the main door, we were greeted by friendly waitresses and waiters. The first thing we saw was a huge marble bar with a wide selection of liquor and wines. More wine seemed to cover every available wall space throughout the restaurant.

Erin introduced us to the co-owner of the restaurant (and an award winning mixologist), Jacopo Falleni, before we were led to our table. He is a warm and friendly guy (also very Italian) and made us all feel very special. My Quay Lo bought their cookbook and Jacopo signed the book for me immediately. I also got Chef Fabio Viviani to sign the book. Prized souvenier!

Jacopo Falleni and Quay Po

Here are the two partners as pictured in the book with barman extraordinaire
Jocopo on the left and Chef Fabio Viviani on the right

I am glad we got a table because the room was packed with attendees. I am not surprised at all. I was told most of his fans are female and sure enough, all of us admiring ladies sat around anxiously awaiting the arrival of Chef Fabio. My Quay Lo yawned, and to no one in particular, wondered aloud what he was doing there.

As soon as we settled down, my step daughter Erin told me that I must try this wonderful Balsamic Martini. WOW!  I cannot find words to describe this drink to you. It was SOOO GOOD!!

Chef Fabio introduced himself and started to show us how to make some of his signature appetizer dishes. His demo was lively and entertaining. He was a humorous guy and I am sure all of us enjoyed ourselves watching him cook. He made cooking look so simple. 

Chef Fabio Viviani in action

Here are the dishes that he cooked and we got to taste. They were simple to do but over the top delicious!

 The focaccia bread was flavorful

Pomodoro sauce with onion, eggs and cheese. The egg was
cooked just right

gamberoni in camicia - pacetta wrapped jumbo prawn filled with 
Italian sharp gorgonzola with parmesan polenta and sauteed "spinachi"
This is an awesome dish which I would like to try soon.

Italian meat ball in pondoro tomato sauce.
Another very simple-to-make dish 
with an explosion of flavors in each bite.

deep fried prawns with homemade mayonnaise
I did not know making our own mayonnaise
is so simple.

After watching the cooking demo, eating the scrumptuous lunch, and maybe another martini or two, we all had stuffed bellies, so we called it a day. There was one last thing to do before we left. I had to take a photo with the chef for my album. Yay I did! 

As soon as we were back at Erin's home, I quickly transferred all the photos taken at the demo into my Quay Lo's computer hard disk and erased those on my SD card. As I was editing the photos I realized the photo of me and Chef Fabio was missing!!! What???  I can't believe I lost the most important photo of the event. Can I be anymore 'Lucy' than that? I was so upset that I screamed out so loud "AUNTIE LUCY!, are you kidding me???!!" My Quay Lo thought I fell down or hurt myself. He came running to me only to find out that I had lost the photo. He sensed that I was very upset and he asked Erin to quickly call the restaurant and tell Chef Fabio what happened, then ask if I could go back and take another photo with him before he leaves. He was kind enough to ask me to return to the restaurant. This time I made very damn sure Aunty Lucy didn't lose it again. I had the photo in my Quay Lo's hard disk, my SD card, and a separate USB flash drive. LOL!!

Chef Favio Viviani and Quay Po

If you would like to know more about Chef Fabio Viviani, watch this interview.
He always make people laugh. Isn't he good looking and cute? LOL!

The first dish that I tried to make at home (here in K.L.) that I learned from the cooking demo is this yummy light meal.

Pomodoro (tomato) sauce with onion, eggs and cheese
Recipe by Chef Favio Viviani with slight variations by yours truly.

1 can (250gm) plum tomatoes
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp italian herbs
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp thinly diced spring onion 
1 egg
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar 

Heat oil and saute garlic till fragrant. Add plum tomatoes and break them up. Add Italian herbs, salt, pepper and let it simmer for about 10 mins and reduced. Transfer to a bowl. Add cheese and crack an egg onto the sauce. Bake in a pre heated oven at 180 degrees C for 10 mins till cheese is melted and egg white cooked but yolk still runny.

Note: I served the dish with freshly baked crusty bread and my good friend, Wendy's brussels sprout chiffonade with hazel nuts. One bite of crusty bread dipped into the sauce followed by a spoonful of brussel sprouts, MM... MM...MM...Brilliant combination. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

What's the worst that could happen?

Hello my friends, I am back from a wonderful vacation in Sunny California. Did you all miss Aunty Lucy? LOL! 

Once again, I would like to thank my good friends from the bottom of my heart for blog sitting for me while I had a  wonderful time with my family in the USA. My splendid blog sitters were:

Alan of Travelling Foodies
Lena of Frozen Wings
Elisabeth of Food and Thrift Find and 
Wendy of Table for Two or More
You guys RRAWK!

I am very eager to share with you all the stories of my trip but my brain is not working and photos are not edited and organised yet. I am still feeling like a zombie (jet lag + exhaustion) so I thought I would share with you a post in my file which I had no time to publish before I left for my trip. Here you go:

There are so many fellow bloggers who have tried their hands in replicating the famous Hokkaido cup cakes. I used to drool over all their yummy cake photos. I did not think of making them myself because there is a bakery near my home that sells them and they are very delicious. That was actually an excuse. The real reason was, I have a fear of making chiffon cakes. I did not want to venture into making them because previous attempts did not work out.

A week before I left for my USA trip, I went to the neighborhood bakery to buy the cakes and there was a long queue in the shop. I had other errands to run so I did not want to wait. As I was driving home, something struck me. It was advice from a very dear ex boss. He often said, "Veronica, don't worry too much. No venture, no gain. What's the worst that could happen?" When I arrived home, I went straight into the kitchen and baked the Hokkaido cup cakes. My ex boss was right. What's the worst that could happen? Here are my home baked Hokkaido cup cakes. I am very happy with the result. I think they taste better than those I bought. I am glad I ventured to try and I definitely gained. Prices at the bakery are high for a confection and now I don't think I need to buy them anymore. The ingredients are cheap and it is so simple to make them. You can do it as well if you (or your friends and family) have a taste for this soft, cream filled, confection that could please the most demanding sweet tooth.

Hokkaido Chiffon Cupcakes (北海道戚風蛋糕)
Adapted from Jessie of Hearty Bakes 
who got it from the book 不用模型做点心
(with slight modification)

Featured on Asian Food Channel (Official) Facebook Page 
on 22 June 2012

Whipped cream to fill the cup cake:

1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whip cream until almost stiff. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until cream holds peaks.

Cup Cakes Ingredients:
4 large egg yolks 
70g castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup full cream milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil

135g all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder

6 large egg whites 
50g castor sugar

2 tbs powedered sugar for dusting

Preheat your oven to 180°C. Place the egg yolks in a bowl and whisk them together with the 70g of sugar until yolks turn a pale yellow. Add the vanilla extract, followed by the milk and oil. Whisk well to combine. Sieve in the flour and baking powder and mix till all incorporated. In another bowl, beat the egg whites on high for about 30 seconds until foamy, then add 50g of castor sugar. Beat the egg whites until firm peaks not stiff peaks. Take a third of the egg whites and fold it into the egg yolk mixture to lighten it.  Continue folding in the remaining egg whites gently till you get a pale yellow batter. Fill the cupcake liners until about 3/4 full. Bake the cupcakes for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tops turn a golden brown and a cake skewer comes out clean. White the cupcakes are baking, prepare the whipped cream. Once cupcakes is baked, let them cool completely on the wire rack. Fill the piping bag with whipped cream and pipe into the cup cakes and put them in the fridge. Dust the cupcakes with powdered sugar before serving. 

This cupcakes make a very nice gift, don't you think?

If you like the polka dot cup cake liners and the cake box. You can get them at:
57, Jalan USJ 8/2B, 47610 Petaling Jaya,
Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia.
Telephone: (603)5637-6637 

Monday, June 18, 2012

You must love her

The author of this guest post today needed no introduction. In fact, some of you might have known her longer than I do. She is a talented food blogger, a good friend and for sure a rare find. You must love her. She is Wendy of Table For Two Or More. I have been her ardent reader ever since I entered into the food blogging community. When I am out of idea what to cook or bake, her blog is one that I will go to, to draw inspiration. 

Oh, I have met Wendy in person and she is as bubbly as she sounded on her blog. I am looking forward to meet her and other Bloggers from the Northern States in Malaysia again soon. So far, I have enjoyed every food bloggers gathering or individual meet up. What can be more fun than meeting with warm and friendly people with plenty of yummilicious home cooked food and bakes to share? 

Coming back to Wendy, I admire her for being very adventurous with food ingredients and her knowledge about them. You have to be knowledgeable to use them to create your own recipes and that is what she does often. Most of all, I admire her generosity in sharing valuable tips in cooking and baking with us. It was great knowing her and it is wonderful to have her footprint on my blog today.

Let us now enjoy yet another great recipe from her. Don't blink your eyes.  Hey Wendy, how did you know brussels sprouts is my Quay Lo's favorite? Do you have sixth sense? LOL!

There's one thing I know about Quay Po that I am very sure none of you knew. Do you want to know what is that?

Veron.... I'm going to burst your bubble!

........................ *drumroll*

Ta-dah! Quay Po's mom is also from Kampar. Same as me. Grew up drinking the same water source from the hills. Ahh... feels good to know that.

The world is small. During my first meet up with QP, we chatted as she sent me back home to PJ after a smokey BBQ at Reese's. And we are both glad that we had that bit in common. It's always heart warming to know someone came from the same place as I did. First time meeting her and we yakked and yakked all the way until I reached.

Ok now, back to the blog post..

Last year, I tried making this, but it wasn’t nice. I didn’t read the details and cooked it over high heat and it smelled awful. How awful, hmmm…. Sulphurous? Like… bad vegetables almost rotting?

When I got my hands on the beautiful green balls again, I reread the whole thing carefully. It should be cooked over medium heat, but then the stoves we have here seem to be hotter than those in Western countries. And I learnt that brussel sprouts should never be overcooked, if not, it’ll be smeeeeeeeeeeellly

So, I cooked this over medium low heat this time and boy! These were good. The lower heat retained the fresh taste of butter. I also changed the apple cider vinegar to lemon juice as I find the vinegar to smell rather offensive in this dish. I also added sugar to the hazelnuts to add another dimension of taste to this cooked salad. Crispy, sweet, crunchy, buttery with a light hint of saltiness… delicious!

This recipe is pretty easy to do, just there are some details that one needs to take note. This amount serves 2 as a side dish, but I can just finish this up all by myself.

Brussels Sprouts Chiffonade with Hazelnuts
Recipe source: WendyinKK
Idea derived from : The Family Kitchen

150gm Brussels sprouts
½ Tbsp butter
¼ tsp salt

10 hazelnuts or more, chopped
½ Tbsp butter
½ tsp sugar

1 tsp lemon/lime juice

1. Wash and trim brussel sprouts. Cut into half lengthwise and slice thinly to create chiffonade.
2. In a cold pan, on medium heat put in butter. When butter starts to melt, turn heat to low. (don’t wait for fully melted).
3. Put in brussel sprouts chiffonade and spread it around. Do not toss them. Just leave it there for 1 minute. After that, lightly toss it and cook until slightly wilted. Put in salt and toss it. Taste to see if it’s salty enough and to check its doneness. Should be crispy but cooked. If it taste sulphurous, it’s overcooked. Place cooked brussel sprouts into a serving plate.
4. In the same pan, put in butter and chopped hazelnuts.
5. On low heat, sauté hazelnuts until they are very very slightly golden (you will notice it is no longer as white but turns to a cream colour). Put in sugar and cook until the sugar melts.
6. Pour hazelnuts and all that is in the pan over brussel sprouts.
7. Pour lemon/lime juice over just before serving.

Friday, June 15, 2012

A guest post from Elisabeth of Food and Thrift

Elisabeth, my dear friend, whom I have not met in person, but have been friends with since I started blogging in mid 2010 is doing a guest post for me today. It is a great feeling to have a friend's presence in my blog. She is one of the first to leave a comment on my blog and be a follower. That means a lot to me and I will always be grateful for her frequent visits and leaving encouraging words on my posts. Elisabeth is a great friend and I will not trade her for all the Bling Bling in the world. To me, friendships and readerships are keeping Quay Po Cooks around. She is definitely is one of my friends cum readers who is instrumental in keeping this blog alive and kicking.

Here is one of my favorite cakes From Elisabeth of Food and Thrift. Enjoy!

I am honored to be guest posting for my dear friend... Veronica, of Quay Po Cooks food blog...which is a very diverse kind of a blog that you would want to see. It always starts with Veronica's stories from friends she has met, or of a fabulous restaurant and talented chef review, or her lessons with the famous chef's, making delicious cakes. She always speaks highly of everyone, has an abundance love for her family. A very lovely, and talented person. The "Lucy" version, is a little hard for me to get, because I don't think she messes things up, or get into trouble with her sweet Western husband...that would have to say..."Lucy, dju got some splaining to do!"...on the contrary, he puts Veronica on the "pedestal"...even when she gets her Lucy "moments"
At any rate, I honestly think she has a darn good sense, and always has everything in their proper order. I met Veronica, shortly after I started my blog, a few months later... and has kept in touch, since than. She always mentions how much I helped her with advice, which I appreciate so much but honestly, we all need advice, and occasional help from friends. That's what friends are for...( a line from a song, which I can't remember right now)

 Thank you Veronica, for giving me the opportunity, to guest post...while  you are vacationing in beautiful California, USA!
New York Cheesecake
adapted from : Joy of Baking

2 cups (200 grams) of graham wafer crumbs or finely crushed vanilla wafers or gingersnaps (process whole cookies in a food processor until they are crumbs)

1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar

1/2 cup (114 grams) unsalted butter, melted


32 ounces (1 kg) (4 - 8 ounces packages) cream cheese, room temperature (use full fat, not reduced or fat free cream cheese)

1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar

3 tablespoons (35 grams) all purpose flour

5 large eggs, room temperature

1/3 cup (80 ml) heavy whipping cream

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1 cup (240 ml) sour cream (not low fat or fat free)

2 tablespoons (30 grams) granulated white sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Tips:  Sometimes the surface of the cheesecake cracks.  To help prevent this from happening do not over beat the batter, especially when creaming the cheese and sugar. 

Another reason for cracking is overbaking the cheesecake.  Your cheesecake is done when it is firm but the middle may still look a little wet. 

Also, make sure the springform pan is well greased as cracking can occur if the cheesecake sticks to the sides as it cools.

Grease, or spray with Pam, a 9 inch (23 cm) springform pan.  Place the springform pan on a larger baking pan to catch any leakage while the cheesecake is baking. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) with rack in center of oven.

For Crust:
In a medium sized bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter.  Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and about 1 inch (2.5 cm) up the sides of the springform pan.  Cover and refrigerate while you make the filling.

For Filling:
In bowl of your electric mixer place the cream cheese, sugar, and flour.  Beat on medium speed until smooth (about 2 minutes), scraping down the bowl as needed.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well (about 30 seconds) after each addition.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the whipping cream, lemon zest, vanilla extract and beat until incorporated.  Remove the crust from the refrigerator and pour in the filling.  Place the cheesecake pan on a larger baking pan and place in the oven.

Bake for 15 minutes and then lower the oven temperature to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C) and continue to bake for about another 1 1/2 hours or until firm and only the center of the cheesecake looks a little wet and wobbly.  Remove from oven and place on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla extract.  Spread the topping over the warm cheesecake and return to oven to bake for 15 more minutes.  Remove from oven and carefully run a knife or spatula around the inside edge of pan
to loosen the cheesecake (helps prevent the surface from cracking as it cools).

Let cool before covering with plastic wrap and refrigerating.  This cheesecake tastes best after being refrigerated for at least a day.
Serve with fresh fruit or fruit sauces.
Makes one - 9 inch (23 cm) cheesecake.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Pasta Kerabu by Frozen Wings

The first friend that I approach to do a guest post for me was Lena of Frozen Wings. I am very grateful that she agreed to do this for me while I take a vacation back in USA to visit with our family there. For those who has not visited Lena's blog yet, you don't know what you have missed. There are so many yummy food photos and wonderful recipes, some are original and only Lena can come up with. For those who are a regular readers of her blog, I don't think I need to do much introduction, do I? Like me, you would have subscribed to her posts so that you will not even miss one.

Here is a guest post from Lena of Frozen Wings and after reading it, see if you can resist to not check her out.

Hi, a happy day to all! I guess most of you are already aware that quay po is away on vacation and yet you guys are dropping by to read, so many thanks! I'm Lena and I blog at frozen wings. Just like many of you here, I'm also a keen  reader of quay po cooks but she knows that i'm always late to her blog and will try to catch up with her posts whenever i can. I enjoy reading her stories, see what she has been cooking and always feasting my eyes looking at all the beautiful food photos and of course it brings nourishment to my eyes too looking at those so called 'eye candies'! Arhahahaha! Quay po, thanks very much for inviting me to do a guest post for you.

When i first received the invitation from quay po , i was excited but on the other hand, i was feeling a little nervous too cos then i had to figure out what to cook..well, i think it's pretty normal to be at that state when you're cooking for someone's blog and not our own. At that time, i was actually had in mind of making Bee Hoon Kerabu ( Rice Vermicelli Salad) at my own blog so i thought maybe i can save that for later and make a Pasta Kerabu for the guest post. Kerabu is a mixture of vegetables in Malay language, i myself would also consider it as a salad and the use of ingredients in kerabu dishes are mainly favoured by the malays and also chinese such as lemongrass, shallots, torch gingerbud, lime juice to name a few. There is no heavy cooking required in this dish. After cooking the pasta, the rest is just mixing it in into the pasta..err..unless you think cooking the pasta is heavy job, then you can forget about making this dish. haha! No doubt the bee hoon  kerabu is more popular and common compared to a pasta kerabu, i thought i just want to make a little twist to the traditional ones just like some may like a fried spaghetti or a tom yum pasta. You can always use bee hoon if you do not prefer pasta.

By the way, i just received a text message from Quay Po saying that she may need to extend her vacation in the states, she's having a wonderful time in her cowgirl outfit riding horses and catching butterflies in the park with her quay lo and may need me to blogsit here for a little while..believe me? no? Have a good week, everyone!

This one is with sambal, the one at the back is without.

150gms angel hair pasta
chicken breast meat 180gm or more, steamed and shredded ( reserve the stock)
2 torchginger bud, sliced thinly
4 pieces kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
7 onions, sliced
1 stem lemongrass, white parts only
1 small bunch of mint leaves
8-9 tbsp calamansi lime juice
1.5 tbsp fish sauce
hot chilli paste /sambal belachan/ chilli flakes - optional

1. Cook the angel pasta according to the packet instructions, drain and set aside.  I cooked mine for about 3-4 minutes.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the pasta with the rest of the ingredients and taste. You may want to add in more lime juice
if you prefer it to a little more sour and or additional fish sauce. If it's a little dry, you can add in the stock from the steamed chicken.
You can also save some sliced torch gingerbud, lemongrass and some onione for top garnishing.   

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A guest post from Alan of Travellingfoodies

When I first started blogging two years ago, I only had a point and shoot camera. I did know anything about photography and how to take good food photos. Alan's blog, Travellingfoodies inspired me to learn to take good photos. You will understand why I said that when you read on and see those fabulous photos of the dessert taken by Alan for this guest post. I feel so honored that he agreed to do this for me. I can assure you will not only be bewitched by his photos but also by his style of writing. I always wish I could write like him and my photos will attain the same standard someday. Whenever I visits his blog, I will always learn something new on dessert and pastry making from him. If you did not get enough from this post from Alan, hop over to his blog and I am sure you will enjoy your time there. If you love baking, I am confident that you will be back there again for more valuable tips from him. Now don't blink your eyes for the fabulous dessert he shared here with us today. (drrrrummmm rrrroll)

DSC_7769 s
This is a guest post at Veronica's blog "Quay Po Cooks" whom I got to know through the numerous Aspiring Bakers bakealongs. From a fellow blogger to a friend, this lady beams with so much postive aura and sunshine, it is infectious! I love reading her blog, where every recipe entails a story, heartwarming tales of her family and friends which often reminded us of our very own. Through the lines, she shares with us her moments of euphoria and sorrow, causing one to can't help but let out a giggle or shed a tear as we read along. Her words are often simple, yet enriched with much sincerity. In short, this woman writes from her heart. When Veronica invited me to do a guest post on her blog, I knew I couldn't say no. In fact, it would be such an honour, as a repayment in kind, for the very many wonderful reads. Thank you for letting us in your life. :)

I asked Veronica if she had any preference for the recipe and she indicated that she'd hoping for something sweet, since pastry is my forte. I am flattered but surely sweetness cannot be the only dimension presented, especially for a woman who has led such a colorful life, After much deliberation, I'd decided to share with all of you a recipe which I feel aptly encapsulates the essence of all that Veronica's been through. Oh yes, if you have gone through her blog like I did, you would know that this woman has gone through quite a bit over the years. Read on and you would know why...