Sunday, July 27, 2014

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri 2014

Wishing all readers and friends celebrating this special occasion, Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri :) To everyone else, enjoy the holidays!

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Recipe: Moist Banana Muffins with Chocolate Chips (Nigella Lawson)

A friend of ours passed us a huge bag of bananas over the weekend - I think there were at least 30 bananas in there! We kept them in the fridge to slow the ripening process, but we had to use them up quickly before they went bad. Hence banana muffins and cakes made an appearance almost everyday in our house this week.

Moist, Sugar-Free Banana Muffins

The first recipe that we tried was Nigella Lawson's banana muffins recipe from her "How to be a Domestic Goddess" cookbook. My daughter was tasked in making these muffins, and this recipe seemed apt since it's from the "Children" section in the book. Furthermore, these muffins have no added sugar as it is sweetened by the bananas and honey. We also sprinkled some extra chocolate chips on top. The bananas also keep the muffins very moist; you can store it in an airtight container for up to 4 days. They're great just eaten like that, or for a touch of luxury, we cut it in half and slather Bordier butter all over it!

Easy to make, healthy and delicious! My daughter made these a couple of times this week, and the whole family loves it. We also made sure that we gifted some of these muffins to our friends who presented us with the bananas. :D

Hubby also served it with warm custard one of the days. YUM!

By the way, in August 2014, I will be co-hosting "Cook Like a Star" with Mich and Zoe, and the chosen chef is Gordon Ramsay! Do join us by cooking your favorite Gordon Ramsay recipes :)

Moist banana muffins with chocolate chips
Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 23-25 minutes
Makes 14

4 tbsp unsalted butter
4 tbsp clear honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large, very ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp dark chocolate chips (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 190°C (no fan). Line a baking tray with 14 paper baking cups.

2. Put the butter, honey and vanilla extract in a pan over low heat, until butter is melted. Remove and set aside for a few minutes.

3. Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Mix the melted butter mixture with the mashed bananas, and then mix it into the dry ingredients. Don't overmix, just stir a few times until the flour is incorporated.

4. Fill the muffin cups about 2/3 full of mixture. Sprinkle dark chocolate chips on top. Put in oven and bake for about 23-25 minutes,or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave in the tray to cool for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

5. Store in airtight containers. These muffins will keep well for 3-4 days.

Note: Your child can do all the steps in this recipe, however for younger kids, you may want to do Step 2 for them as it requires melting in a pot over a hob.

* I am submitting this post to "Cook-Your-Books #14" hosted by Joyce.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre Rehabilitates & Releases "Ninja The Turtle" #ReleasingNinja

On June 27th 2014, YTL Hotel's Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre released Ninja, the young green sea turtle it rescued and nursed back to health. Present at Ninja's release were various wildlife bodies such as Sabah Wildlife Rescue Unit, WWF Malaysia and Reef Check, as well as hotel guests and over 30 primary children from Gaya Island's Kampung Gaya School, invited as part of the resort's initiative to educate and raise awareness regarding marine conservation and the importance of preserving the rich ecology of Borneo. We were fortunate to be a part of this momentous event.

Scott Mayback, Resident Marine Biologist releasing Ninja back into the sea

Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre is Malaysia's first turtle rehabilitation centre and Ninja is the fourth turtle to be taken in by the resort. She was first discovered on April 4th, after the resort's Turtle Hotline received a call from Dr. Nathan Sen, the Assistant Director of Sabah Wildlife Department. He and his team had discovered a farmer who had the turtle in his possession. In Sabah, turtles are a protected species, carrying a fine of RM50,000 and 5 years imprisonment if found capturing them.

Gaya Island Resort's Marine Centre is located at the private Tavajun Bay

We say hello to Ninja :)

Gaya Island's Resort Manager Mr. Kirinjit Singh addressing the guests

Dr. Sen rescued Ninja and transferred her to Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre. At this point, Ninja was emaciated and suffering from septicemia. She was put under the care of  the centre's resident Marine Biologist, Scott Mayback. She was kept under surveillance and given various medications including antibiotics and topical medications to remove barnacles. Within 3 months, her weight improved from 7.7kg to 8.6kg and her appetite and colour returned.

Scott Mayback and Dr. Nathan Sen 

Ninja is deemed fit and able to survive in the sea by Marine Research Foundations's Dr Nick Pilcher on June 27th and was released at the Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre.

Ninja being released back into the sea... Bye Ninja! 

"Saving a single turtle requires team effort," says Mr Mayback. "For rescuing and rehabilitating Ninja, I need to thank Dr.Sen, Sabah Wildlife Rescue Unit's Dr Diana Ramirez who helped with the medical treatments, and Dr. Pilcher, without whom the turtle rescue centre would not have been founded. I hope that we can continue to not only help turtles and other sea life in need of care, but also motivate and inspire the public so they can also support and value our rich marine eco-system."

The event ended with Mr. Mayback carrying the turtle into the waters of  Gaya Island Resort's private Tavajun Bay, where she was released into her natural habitat. Ninja is estimated to be 7-10 years old; green sea turtles generally live up to approximately 80 years old, so we hope that Ninja lives a long, healthy life.

Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre's turtle rescue hotline can be contacted at +6013 899 9509. The public is encouraged to call the hotline should they find a sick, injured or illegally kept turtle in Sabah.


Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre is now home to several other baby turtles. Baby C and D were excited to see them and show them some love :)

Us :)

Joyous moment :)

A delicious Thai-inspired lunch awaits us at Feast Village after the turtle release event.

Many thanks to YTL Hotels for the kind invitation to this event.


Location: Gaya Island Resort, Malohom Bay, Pulau Gaya, Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, East Malaysia.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Recipe: Stir Fried Minced Pork with Thai Basil (Pad Horapa Moo)

Hello everyone! Sorry for the lack of updates as we were away on a family staycation last weekend :)

This Thai dish, pad horapa moo (minced pork with Thai basil) is perfect for busy weeknights. My kind of fast food, as it takes under 20 minutes to prepare and cook, and it's very delicious!

In Thailand, they usually use krapow, also known as holy basil. I didn't have that, so I substituted with horapa (Thai basil). The minced pork is cooked until golden, then seasoned with fish sauce, brown sugar and oyster sauce. We love Thai basil (and we have an abundance of it growing in our garden), so we added about  1 1/2 cups of it. This dish is usually served with white rice and a fried egg on top. To keep it authentic, we did just that :)

We absolutely love the taste of this dish - the minced pork was very flavorful and slightly spicy. Of course, you can adjust the spiciness level by adding or reducing the amount of chillies used. We used about 4 since we were serving this to the kids as well.

What do you usually cook on a busy weeknight or do you opt to eat out? :)

Stir fried minced pork with Thai Basil (Pad Horapa Moo)
Recipe by Baby Sumo
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 11-13 minutes
Serves 3-4

350g minced pork
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-6 bird's eye chilli, deseeded and minced
1 onion, diced
2 tbsp cooking oil
1/3 cup water
1 tbsp fish sauce
1/8 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 1/2 cup Thai basil leaves, washed

Rice, for 4
4 fried eggs (see Step 4 in this recipe)

1. In a wok, heat oil over medium high heat. Once hot, add the garlic, chilli and onion and cook for 2 minutes, until the garlic is lightly golden and fragrant.

2. Add the minced pork and cook for about 5 minutes, until it is lightly golden and cooked through. Add water, fish sauce, brown sugar and oyster sauce and cook for another 1 1/2 - 2 minutes, until the sauce has slightly reduced. Taste seasoning. Finally, stir in the Thai basil leaves until slightly wilted.

3. Serve immediately with white rice and a fried egg.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Recipe: Plain White Loaf (Wu Pao Chun Champion Toast 金牌土司)

Every year, I make a resolution to make more bread for my family but on the other hand, I have a love/hate relationship with yeast (I don't always have luck with it and sometimes the yeast is dead and our bread doesn't rise and we end up with a brick).

Recently, I saw many of my blogger friends making the plain white loaf (recipe originating from the famous Taiwan's Master Baker Wu Pao Chun), also known as Champion Toast. It looked so good, I knew I had to try it too!

Plain White Loaf.... perfect to be eaten anytime of the day!

Making this bread is very easy as I can use my KitchenAid to knead the dough. The dough rose beautifully, and for the first time, I felt really happy baking bread.

The bread tasted delicious and the texture was great -so soft and fluffy. We bake this almost everyday now, and enjoy this as our daily loaf. Most days though my kids and Hubby would eat almost 3/4 of the loaf before the end of the evening when it's hot out of the oven. That's how much they love it!

My son assists me everyday when he is on school holidays :) My lil baker boy.

Champion Toast... yeah!

This white loaf is perfect for making French Toast. We would always save a couple of slices to make this for breakfast the next day!

Plain white loaf (Wu Pao Chun Champion Toast 金牌土司)
Recipe by Baby Sumo, adapted from here
Preparation time: 15-20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Makes 1 loaf (11cmx20cm)

375g bread flour
30g caster sugar
3/4 tsp fine sea salt
20g salted butter, cut into small cubes
1 tsp instant dry yeast
240g cold milk

1. In a mixing bowl, place the flour, sugar and yeast. Mix well. 

2. Then, add in salt and milk to the mixing bowl. Using low speed with hook attachment (speed 1 on KitchenAid) mix into a dough, about 2 minutes.

3. Add in butter, then knead using low speed for another 15-20 minutes until you get a shiny and smooth dough.

3. Shape the dough into a bowl and place back in bowl. Cover the mixing bowl with a cloth and proof until doubled in size, about 1 - 1 1/2 hour. To test if it has sufficiently risen, press a finger into the dough and withdraw it quickly, the indentation should remain.

After first proofing

Test to see if it has sufficiently risen

4. Gently punch the centre of the dough with your first to deflate it. Divide dough into 3 balls. Flatten each ball, then roll into a rectangle shape (like rolling a swiss roll), and place into a lightly greased 11x20cm Pullman tin. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for another 1 hour, until the tin is 90-95% full.

Place dough into Pullman tin for second proofing

5. Cover the Pullman tin, bake in a preheated oven at 190°C (fan-forced) for 30 mins.

Perfect white loaf for breakfast! This one has got raisins.

Note: If you intend to add filling to the bread such as raisins, cranberries or nuts, add them in Step 4 while you roll the bread into rectangle shape. Also note that it is normal for your Kitchen Aid to be very noisy and hot after kneading for 10 mins.

Bread with Bordier butter = simple irresistible!

Freshly baked, spread with some homemade roselle jam

French Toast with bananas, apricots, caramel sauce and maple syrup. Oh and some crushed Maltesers as well.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Kaiseki @ Fukuya Japanese Restaurant, Jalan Delima, KL

I can't believe that after all these years, I have not taken Hubby to Fukuya Japanese Restaurant in Jalan Delima for their kaiseki lunch. He's had a good meal at Fukuya KLIA and I myself have eaten in this restaurant a few times and enjoyed it, so I was confident that he would love it as much as I did.

Fantastic kaiseki meal at Fukuya KL :)

Since we made a last minute reservation, we were seated at the sushi bar since the restaurant is fully booked. It sure is good to see this restaurant doing so well!

Fukuya's specialty is the Kaiseki menu which consists of fresh seasonal ingredients (air-flown fresh from Japan twice a week) paired with artistic presentation. The food is prepared according to the strictest traditional methods. The mini kaiseki, served at lunch is priced at RM65++ per person and consists of an appetizer, soup, sashimi, grilled dish, simmered dish, fried dish, shokuji and dessert. It is served course by course, though at times, it came out a little too quick for our liking.

A kaiseki meal sure is a feast for the eyes and palate. Even though I've eaten the kaiseki here a few times, I still feel impressed every time the dishes come out. Like this appetizer - WOW is the word to describe it. In the centre is their signature uni (sea urchin) tofu, surrounded by other delicious bites such as fried fish, eggplant, salmon roll and grilled scallop.

Ah sashimi, my favorite course - thick, fresh slices of salmon, tuna and hamachi (yellowtail). More please :)

Premium chawanmushi - so so smooth, delightful to savour.

Grilled cod with mayo sauce- so happy that today's fish is cod. Topped with the mayo sauce, it was moist and flavourful. I really enjoyed this!

These came out together - crispy tempura, wrapped in shiso in a light batter, miso soup, simmered chicken with radish, and rice with salmon flakes.

Loved this! 

Sushi bar action

Fresh melon for dessert

It was a great lunch for sure, this certainly will not be the last time we'll be visiting Fukuya :)

Opening times: Monday to Saturday; Lunch 12.00 pm - 2.30pm, Dinner 6.30 pm- 10.30pm. Sundays 6.00pm - 10.00pm.

Price: RM65++ for mini kaiseki, available Mondays to Saturdays.

Location: Fukuya Japanese Restaurant, No 9 Jalan Delima, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (next to Levain Boulangerie and behind the Indonesian Embassy)

Tel: 03-2144 1022


GPS Coordinates: 3.145626, 101.72061

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