Thursday, January 31, 2013

Choux puff @ Sun Moulin, Isetan Food Hall, Lot 10 KL

My ideal choux puff - light and crisp pastry with lots of fresh cream filling. This choux puff (RM3) from Sun Moulin bakery fits the bill. A great afternoon snack. 

Worth the calories?... Definitely!

Location: Sun Moulin, Isetan Food Hall, Lower Ground Floor, Lot 10 Shopping Centre, Jalan Sultan Ismail, 50250 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Recipe: Homemade Hummus + Vegetarian Wrap

During Christmas lunch last year, I was more adventurous and served several tapas / light bites since I had extra help in the kitchen (Hubby and The Unc). Hubby is very fond of hummus, so instead of buying it from the supermarket I decided to try making it myself. I used a recipe out of a cookbook that I got from the Big Bad Wolf Sale.

Homemade Hummus with Pita bread

Our Christmas 2012 Lunch Menu

The Christmas Tapas Spread

Hummus is a Middle Eastern food dip or spread made from cooked chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans), tahini paste, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. Hummus is high in iron and vitamin C and also has significant amounts of folate and vitamin B6. The chickpeas are a good source of protein and dietary fiber and the tahini consists mostly of sesame seeds, are an excellent source of the amino acid methionine, complementing the proteins in the chickpeas. Two to three tablespoons equate to one portion of the daily recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables. Eating too much chickpeas however, can give you wind so eat in moderation! ;P

Boiled chickpeas

Hummus is the new "kaya"..

When making hummus, I choose to use organic chickpeas, it only costs about RM1 more for every 400g. Making hummus is relatively easy as you only need to soak the chickpeas overnight, boil them, and then place it in the blender with the other ingredients. At Christmas time, we served the hummus with homemade pita bread (recipe soon), but on other days, we eat it with toast... Hubby calls it the new "kaya"! I've made hummus using this recipe a few times now, and each batch will usually last for 10 days. We like its smooth, creamy texture with a hint of garlic. Other than breakfast toast, we also like to use it as a spread on wraps (bonus recipe below hummus recipe).

Even Baby D likes having hummus for breakfast

Vegetable Wrap with Hummus (see recipe below)

Homemade Hummus (ḥummuṣ bi ṭaḥīna)
Recipe adapted from How to Eat In - Adam Byatt
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 1 1/2 - 2 hours
Makes about 500g

200g dried organic chickpeas
A pinch of table salt
2 cloves garlic, peeled
Juice of 2 lemons
75ml good quality extra virgin olive oil
150ml tahini paste
150-200ml cold water
Sea salt and cayenne pepper

To serve
Extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
Parsley, to garnish

1. Put the chickpeas into a tupperware/bowl, cover with cold water and leave to soak in the fridge overnight.

2. The next day, drain the chickpeas and tip into a large saucepan. Pour in plenty of cold water to cover the chickpeas well and add a pinch of salt. Bring up to the boil and boil rapidly for 10 minutes. Simmer gently over low heat for 1 1/2 hours, until the chickpeas are soft. Drain and keep in a covered container in the fridge until ready to use.

3. Put the chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and tahini paste into a food processor and blend on full speed until the mix becomes smooth and creamy. Add the water little by little until you reach the texture you want; I used about 160ml. Season to taste with salt and cayenne pepper (a pinch should be sufficient).

4. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Drizzle with some EVOO and season with pepper before serving. Serve with pita bread, or with toast (cut into strips) or as a spread on wraps.

Vegetarian Wrap with Hummus
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Makes 2

Note: You can use any type of salad vegetables, the following is a general guideline. 

3 butterhead lettuce leaves, cut into 2 inch pieces
4-5 cherry tomatoes, chopped finely
6-8 grapes, quartered
3-4 sugar snap peas, cut into 3 parts
1/4 carrot, finely grated
2 tbsp homemade hummus (see recipe above)
2 pieces tortilla wrap

1. Spread 1 tbsp of hummus on each piece of tortilla wrap. Place all other ingredients on the wrap (in the centre), leaving some space on the side for folding.

2. Roll the wrap until a long cone is formed, then fold the ends to secure. Cut into half and serve immediately.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Valentine's @ Favola, Le Meridien KL

If you're looking for an intimate venue to spend Valentine's Day with your loved one, Favola in Le Meridien KL will be offering a 4-course set dinner for RM300++ per couple (RM380++ with a bottle of wine). We were recently invited to this Italian restaurant to sample their uniquely romantic menu. 

Nice table setting, especially love the rose petals which sets the romantic mood for dinner

Venetian masks 

Main dining area

Tealights at entrance

Over the past two years (see here and here), Favola has been a favorite venue of ours for both family and romantic dinners. The consistently good food here is what keeps us coming back, and this Valentine's dinner certainly raised the bar, both in terms of presentation and taste.

We started off with some freshly baked bread with beetroot puree, balsamic-olive oil dip and celery-apple puree. This was followed by the amuse bouche of espuma di patate, a potato espuma with beef salami floss and Parmesan cloud. I love the truffle scent that we got from this dish.

Aperitivo - espuma di patate, salame filo manzo e parmigiano nuvola

This was followed by the trio of antipasto trio - maine Lobster, seared chermoula crusted tuna with rose pickling radish and tomato sorbet. The salad of Maine lobster was tossed in an appetizing citrus dressing, and whetted our appetites for more. The tomato sorbet with herring pearl caviar left a lasting impression and was my favorite dish of the evening. The sweetness from the heirloom tomatoes and saltiness from the caviar worked wonderfully together as well as being really refreshing.

Antipasto (appetizer)

Salad of Maine lobster

Herring pearl caviar on tomato sorbet

Ah, for me a visit to Favola is not complete without scallops, so I was delighted to see scallop as an entree for their Valentine's menu. The king scallop was perfectly cooked and served with a morel cream, wilted spinach, more morels and a truffle crisp filo. I can't get enough of the scallops... delicious!

Primi piatti (entree)

For main course, diners can choose between the salmon trout or warm beef terrine. Of course you can order one of each and share it with your loved one. Both plates arrived at our table looking like a work of art. The salmon trout which has been cured for at least 6 hours felt a little salty on first bite, but it really grew on us and we were relishing it by the time we got to our last mouthful. The prawn sausage was rather good and I do like the splash of colour on the plate, especially the squid ink mayo.

Duck terrine, chicken terrine, foie gras terrine... we've tried them all before, and now we can add beef terrine to the list. The moist beef terrine was served with smoked Italian sausage as well as pan fried foie gras, boiled purple potato, arugula puree, charred baby carrot and grape compote.

Pan seared cured salmon trout with prawn sausage, pumpkin tortellini, squid ink mayo and sugar snap pea

Warm beef terrine, Italian smoked sauge and pan seared foie gras  

Dessert was a cherry soup with yogurt ice cream and chocolate wafer. Another visually arresting dish as well as cherries being one of my favorite fruits, this got a big thumbs up from me. The yogurt ice cream made with the Pacojet was really smooth.

Hubby even got a heart-shaped wafer on his!

And why not make Valentine even more special by presenting this beautiful and delicious heart-shaped cake to your loved one? Aptly named "The White Knight" (cleverly named by Hubby!), this dark moist chocolate cake is layered with white chocolate cream (Price: RM150nett for whole cake). This is not part of the set dinner but can be ordered separately from the Latitude 03 with 1 day notice; promotion from 11 Feb – 17 Feb 2013. Other than the White Knight, there is also a Chocolate Guanaja Cake, which is made from 70% bitter dark chocolate cream, crispy hazelnut praline flakes and walnut brownies (Price: RM 150 nett for whole cake / RM 12 nett per slice).

Chocolate Guanaja Cake

Prime will also be offering a 5-course set dinner for RM380++ per couple (RM480++ with a bottle of red wine), including fresh oysters, morel consomme, Tournedos Rossini and Wagyu sirloin or Boston lobster.

Opening times: Sunday to Friday: 12.00pm to 2.30pm (Lunch); Monday to Sunday: 6.30pm to 11.00pm (Dinner)

Location: Favola, Level 8, Le Méridien Kuala Lumpur, 2 Jalan Stesen Sentral, 50470 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Tel: 03- 2263 7434

Parking: RM8 for the first 2 hours, RM5 for every subsequent hour.

GPS Coordinates: 3.135685, 101.686524


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Recipe: Pan Fried Nian Gao with Grated Coconut

Nian gao is a popular Chinese New Year dessert.  It is considered good luck to eat nian gao during this time because nian gao is a homonym for "higher year." The Chinese word 粘 (nián), meaning "sticky", is identical in sound to 年, meaning "year", and the word 糕 (gāo), meaning "cake" is identical in sound to 高, meaning "high or tall". As such, eating nian gao has the symbolism of raising oneself taller (do better) in each coming year (年年高升 niánnián gāoshēng).

It is also believed that nian gao was an offering to the Kitchen God. He would eat it until his mouth is stuck with the sticky cake and he cannot badmouth the human's family to the God of all Gods.

There are many ways you can serve nian gao, traditionally it is sandwiched with taro or yam and deep fried. However, my favorite way of eating it is really simple and requires NO deep frying - simply pan fried until the outer layer is crisp while still sticky and soft inside, and then coating it with freshly grated coconut. The nian gao used in this recipe is courtesy of Hilton KL. For the past two years, they have presented us with carp nian gao for the occasion. They're not too sweet and texture is just nice.

I like to pan fry the nian gao with a teeny bit of salted butter, to give it a tinge of saltiness which will go well with the sweet cake and freshly grated coconut. How long you pan fry it depends on how "cold" and "hard" your nian gao is after taking out of the fridge and also how thick you slice it, but as a general rule, 2 minutes each side or until the nian gao looks soft. This is best served warm, but it always disappears really quickly off the plate as it is really good.

Have you got a favorite way of eating niao gao? Do share. :)

Pan fried nian gao with freshly grated coconut
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10-15 minutes
Serves 4-6

350g nian gao
1 tbsp butter
1/3 grated coconut

1. Remove nian gao from fridge, and cut into thin slices. I usually slice them about 1 cm thick.

2. Heat some of the butter in a frying pan over medium low heat. The butter should just be enough to coat the pan. You may need to cook them in several batches.

3. Place the nian gao in the pan, without overlapping. Cook for 2 minutes each side, there will be "bubbles" forming on the skin - this is normal and will give the nian gao the "crisp" texture.

4. Remove from pan and repeat with remaining nian gao until all are cooked. Serve immediately with freshly grated coconut.

* I am submitting this post to Chinese New Year Delights 2013 hosted by Sonia aka Nasi Lemak Lover.

*This recipe was featured on Asian Food Channel's Facebook page on 1 February 2013.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

'F' Concept Dining by Buffalo Kitchens, Bangsar

After lunch, we stopped by at 'F' by Buffalo Kitchens for some desserts. This restaurant / cafe / bar is located opposite Bangsar Village on the first floor (above Chawan restaurant) with a menu comprising of  Asian fusion and Western appetizers, seafood, noodles and rice as well as homemade burgers. 

Nice place to chill and enjoy a cuppa

Some wine related quotes

We ordered an affogato as well as English breakfast tea to go with our desserts. An affogato is a coffee-based beverage, whereby hot espresso is topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. For desserts, we picked the homemade tiramisu (RM18) and chocolate volcano with vanilla ice cream (RM18). We enjoyed both desserts very much.

The tiramisu's presentation was nice, with a cute heart shape dusted on top. The chocolate volcano was freshly baked upon order, so there was a little wait for it but it tasted really good, with ample amounts of rich chocolate lava.


English breakfast tea


Chocolate volcano with vanilla ice cream

Beautiful chocolate centre

'F' stands for... anything you desire

Lego army in Bangsar Village

Opening times: Mon - Fri: 11:30 am - 12:00 am; Sat - Sun: 9:30 am - 12:00 am

Location: 'F' by Buffalo Kitchens, 69-1, Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar, 59100 Kuala Lumpur.

Tel: 03-2201 1710

GPS Coordinates: 3.130232, 101.67101

Friday, January 25, 2013

CNY 2013: Tai Zi Heen, Prince Hotel & Residence KL

Chinese New Year is a time for families, friends and co-workers to get together for a reunion dinner. From 14 January to 24 February 2013, Tai Zi Heen will be featuring special Chinese New Year set menus, a la carte dishes and Yee Sang. 

Known for its combination of authentic dishes and modern creation Cantonese fare, Tai Zi Heen at Prince Hotel & Residence Kuala Lumpur is offering three Chinese New Year set menus specially put together by Chef Michael Wong. The set menus are priced from RM1188++ to RM1888++ per table of 10 persons. 

Toss to a year of new beginnings, luck and prosperity with a selection of Yee Sang is available during this period.  We started off the meal with the Vegetarian Snow Pear Yee Sang, which was refreshing and light.

What I love most about yee sang are the colours! So appetizing.

Snow pear has a nice crunchy texture

The yee sang ceremony begins.

Tossing to a good year... 6th one this year ;)

I found it a little unusual that the Stewed Dried Oyster with Fatt Choy and Lettuce was served after the yee sang, usually this is one of the last courses to be served. Nevertheless, this auspicious dish was delicious, enjoyed the flavorful sauce with the lettuce.

If you do not want to take shark's fin, there is also double boiled soup with abalone, bamboo pith, black mushrooms and vegetables in the RM1888++ set menu. The diced prawns, scallops and grouper gives this soup a lot of textures.

Braised Shark's Fin Soup with Diced Prawns, Scallops and Grouper

The roasted chicken dusted with crispy garlic and five spice salt was a favourite with many of us. The chicken meat was moist and the skin was VERY crispy. It makes me wanna eat the skin off the whole chicken. ;) This was served with a sweet plum sauce that goes well with the meat.

During the last CNY review, we got to try this Chef's Special Baked Cod Fish and it was really good. We were served this again this year and I still liked it very much. The topping which is made of garlic, mayo, seasoning, cheese and bacon was very flavorful and went well with the white, flaky cod fish. It was served on a bed of greens and goji berries. I had two big pieces of this fish.. yummy!

Stir Fried Glutinous Rice with Chinese-style preserved duck

Dessert was warm almond puree with glutinous rice dumplings and deep fried Chinese New Year cake with thousand layer puff pastry. Not a big fan of almond puree but I ate the glutinous rice dumplings with black sesame filling. The thousand layer puff pastry was really good, the filling is a mix of corn and salted egg yolk. The batter for the nian gao was very pisang goreng-like. :)

Black sesame glutinous rice dumpling

Deep fried Chinese New Year cake (nian gao)


Opening times: Lunch; 12.00 pm - 2.30pm, Dinner; 6.30pm-10.30pm.

Location: Tai Zi Heen, Level 2, Prince Hotel & Residence Kuala Lumpur, 4 Jalan Conlay, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Tel: 03-2170 8888


GPS Coordinates: 3.150179, 101.714516


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