Monday, September 30, 2013

Recipe: Easy no-churn vanilla ice cream

Hubby asked if I would like to make him some vanilla ice cream to use in his affogato. Since we do not have an ice cream maker at home, I quickly googled "no-churn vanilla ice cream" and the first recipe that appeared was from the BBC Good Food website.

Only 3 ingredients are required - condensed milk, whipping cream and vanilla extract. According to the website, condensed milk is a magic ingredient when making no-churn ice cream - the end result will be creamy, smooth and not at all icy. After reading the comments, it seems that people have mixed feelings about this ice cream - some love it and others don't. Since it was so easy to make and I had all the ingredients to hand, I decided to give it a try. All ingredients are placed in a large bowl and beaten with an electric whisk until it resembles clotted cream, then put in the freezer to freeze until solid. It will take about 6 hours to harden.

No-churn vanilla ice cream with salted caramel and chocolate flakes


Remove it from the freezer 5-10 minutes before scooping. It has a nice, smooth and creamy texture, as promised. It is quite rich so we try not to have too much in one sitting. Not bad for a no-churn recipe which you can make in under 5 minutes.

Our kids loved it with some chocolate flakes/chips and salted caramel sauce. Also great with fresh tart fruits such as strawberries and blueberries.





No-churn vanilla ice cream
Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Makes 1l

Ingredients
600ml whipping cream
150ml sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract


1. Put the condensed milk, cream and vanilla extract into a large bowl. Beat with an electric whisk until thick and quite stiff, a bit like clotted cream. Scrape into a freezer container or a large loaf tin, cover with cling film and freeze until solid. This will take at least 6 hours.


Salted caramel and ice cream.. yum.



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Sunday, September 29, 2013

KL Restaurant Week: Machi Japanese Kitchen, Terrace at Hock Choon, KL

Is it possible to get a good Japanese meal for RM20nett? The answer is YES and we found it at Machi Japanese Kitchen in Terrace at Hock Choon. For KL Restaurant Week, Machi Japanese Kitchen is offering a 2-course lunch for RM20 nett, and 3-course dinner for RM50 nett.


All this for RM20 nett!


Machi Japanese Kitchen is helmed by Chef Machi, a down to earth chef with over 20 years of culinary experience and a serious passion for Japanese cuisine. If the restaurant interior looks familiar to you, it is because Machi has taken over what used to be Fukuharu, a place we enjoyed frequenting for its affordable set lunches.

Talking to Chef Machi, he tells us that it is important to cook with the heart and use good quality ingredients, then even simple food will taste good. I like his philosophy. :)


Lucky cat welcomes us to Machi :)



Chef Machi tells us that most of his a la carte menu consists of mainly traditional Japanese dishes as well as a small portion of fusion dishes. For his KLRW lunch menu (priced at RM20 nett), we started off with a silky smooth chawanmushi (steamed egg custard) topped with ikura (salmon roe). This is followed by the pan fried chicken chop with black truffle mayo, served with a cold somen.

Other than chicken katsu, we would rarely order chicken in a Japanese restaurant cos they usually taste too ordinary, but this chicken chop would be something I would order over and over again. Especially with that affordable price tag! The chicken is moist and juicy - Chef Machi tells us that it is important for him to choose the best produce to use in his kitchen to serve to his customers. What really stands out is the black truffle mayo sauce that he tops on the chicken, which makes this an unforgettable dish. Love eating cold somen on a hot afternoon too!

Chicken with black truffle mayo


Chawanmushi with ikura


Cold somen with dipping sauce

For their KLRW dinner menu (priced at RM50nett), diners will start with 2 appetizers - the tamago mentai yaki (Japanese omelette with cod roe and mayo) and eringi yaki (marinated grilled king mushroom). If these two items seem familiar to you, let me tell you why - they were two signature appetizers from Fukuharu days. I can also tell you that they are good and now I know why people love them so much. The tamago mentai yaki is so rich and melts-in-the-mouth. I like the crispy garlic bits on the grilled king mushrooms.




Tamago mentai yaki


Eringi yaki


For mains, diners can choose between the anago teriyaki or sashimi. Anago is a type of salt water eel, and it has such great flavour and richness to it. I do prefer this over unagi, as I dislike the tiny bones you get with unagi. Again, love the teriyaki glaze on the anago. The anago sits atop a bed of mashed potatoes.

Luckily for us, Machi gets their fresh fish shipment on Tuesdays and Fridays (we're doing the review on a Fri), so we got to try some of his freshest sashimi. For KLRW, you will get 2 thick slices of salmon, tuna and butterfish. Very fresh and delicious, especially the salmon which was rather fatty -I like! Both mains are served with cold somen.


Anago teriyaki


Sashimi


For desserts, you will get a choice of green tea ice cream, black sesame ice cream or yuzu sorbet. Perfect way to end our delicious lunch!

Excellent green tea ice cream 


Refreshing and tart yuzu sorbet with a lovely fragrance



For those interested, today (29th September) is the last day to make your bookings for their KLRW menu. Check out their menu here.



Price: For KL Restaurant Week, Machi Japanese Kitchen is offering a 2-course lunch for RM20 nett, and 3-course dinner for RM50 nett.

Location: Machi Japanese Kitchen, Terrace at Hock Choon, 241-B, Lorong Nibong, off Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur. (behind Hock Choon Supermarket)

GPS Coordinates: 3.159981, 101.728742

Join their Facebook page here.


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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Dorsett Grand Subang - The Emperor, Cafe Aroma & Tanjung Wellness Spa

During our family staycation at Dorsett Grand Subang, we also had dim sum lunch at The Emperor, lunch at Cafe Aroma and spa treatments at the Tanjung Wellness Spa. This staycation was all about fun, food and relaxation!

The Emperor Restaurant at Dorsett Grand Subang serves authentic Cantonese cuisine. I got to try some of the signature dishes during a food review here and we are back for dim sum the following day with the kids. On weekdays, you can order off the a la carte dim sum menu and on weekends and public holidays, they do a brunch buffet for RM60++ per adult.


Dim sum feast!


The dim sum items that we sampled are mostly traditional, and well executed. For example, the steamed siew mai Emperor style (RM10) and steamed fish ball (RM7) are the kids favorites. They also love the steamed bun with BBQ chicken (RM6) and they were delighted that they could have their favorite salted egg custard bun albeit with squid ink coloured skin.

Steamed Prawn Dumplings with Coriander (RM10)


Steamed fish ball


Steamed siew mai


Steamed buns with BBQ chicken


My favorite item from this dim sum lunch was the crispy waffle paper prawn and mango roll (RM13) as I love the combination of the prawn and mango flavour ie sweet & savoury that works well. I also like the deep fried prawn roll with cheese (RM9).


Prawn and mango roll


Steamed Rice Rolls with Fresh Scallop (RM20)


Steamed Squid Ink Buns with Salted Egg Custard (RM13)


For desserts, we tried the chilled avocado with cream (RM12), chilled honey dew and sago with ice cream (RM8) and chilled sea coconut with longan. Would have loved to try their baked egg tarts but was way too stuffed. :P




Pork-free.

Opening times: Lunch: 12:00 noon - 2:30 pm (Mondays to Saturdays)/ 10:30 am - 2:30 pm (Sundays and Public Holidays); Dinner: 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm.

**********************

Café Aroma offers both Asian and Western dishes for lunch and dinner. We came here for a light lunch before we checked out from the hotel. Hubby tried the char koay teow while Baby D insisted on having wantan mee for lunch. Hubby enjoyed the CKT, pretty good for a pork-free version and Baby C liked the wantans served with the wantan mee. I ordered the oven baked cod, which I really enjoyed - a big slab of cod, which was nicely cooked and came off in flakes.



Virgin Mojito


Char koay teow


Oven-baked cod


Nasi briyani


Wantan mee




Pork-free.

Opening times: Lunch: 12:00 noon - 2:30 pm; Dinner: 6:30 pm - 10:30 pm 


**************************

A session at the spa makes a staycation complete. Tanjung Wellness Spa offers a holistic approach to relaxation and revitalization for the mind and body. Since this is a family staycation, we took turns to visit the spa / babysit the kids. 


 

I had the exfoliating massage (RM188 nett for 60 mins), a relaxing massage to release tension and unblock congestion within the skin. First, a layer of Osmium's signature blend energy oil is applied all over the body, followed by the Mother of Pearl Scrub which is gently massaged to exfoliate, whiten and revitalise the skin. The treatment finished off with a 15-min soak in the ultrasonic bubble bath, rather unusual but this is supposed to be good for improving blood circulation. My skin did feel silky smooth and my body relaxed after the treatment. 

Hubby, on the other hand, had the Energy Massage, a strong deep tissue massage designed to relive muscle tension. (RM288 nett for 90 mins). A revitalising experience. 

Hot tea, before and after treatment





Operation hours are from 11:00 am 11:00 pm

You can read our hotel review here.

Location: Dorsett Grand Subang, Jalan SS12/1, 47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia.

Tel: 03-5031 6060

Website: http://www.dorsetthotels.com/malaysia/subang/

GPS Coordinates: 3.079216,101.595294


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Friday, September 27, 2013

MIGF 2013: Nook, Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral

Interactive and fun dining experience...

Malaysia International Gourmet Festival (MIGF) is back for its 13th year, and this year, the theme is "Cool Chefs - Cooking with Attitude!". Nook in Aloft KL Sentral is a first-timer in MIGF and we were there yesterday to try out their Festival Menu, which is available from 1-31 October 2013.

Nook is the all-day dining restaurant in Aloft KL, serving pork-free International and Asian cuisine. The interior is modern with a raw industrial vibe.




"Is your chef from Sarawak?" was the first question I asked after browsing through their Festival Menu, as the first two courses come from that region. Turns out Executive Chef Steven Seow hails from Ipoh but he saw MIGF as a good opportunity to showcase some great cuisine from East Malaysia. I was eager to try out his menu as it is not often that you see a MIGF menu focussing on Malaysian Cuisine.

The Full Festival Menu at Nook (4-courses) is priced at RM280++ per person with wine and beer pairing and RM180++ without. They also do a light menu for RM160++ per person with wine.

We started off with the smoked scallop umai sushi, duck confit with pomegranate and yogurt sphere. The scallop umai sushi came served covered with a glass, and when we lifted it, we got a whiff of the smoky lemongrass. It looked fantastic on the plate and tasted great too. Umai is a local delicacy from Sarawak with a method of preparation similar to ceviche. The umai is topped on sushi rice with some ebikko and on the side, there is a pipette filled with soy sauce which you drip on the sushi. Fresh and tasty. On the side, there is also a duck confit, topped with crispy duck skin and a yogurt sphere (some molecular gastronomy going on here too). What a way to start the meal!

Smoked scallop umai sushi, duck confit with pomegranate and yogurt sphere


Colorful and attractive looking starter

A few drops of soy sauce... and it's ready to eat!



The starter was paired with the Villa Maria Chardonnay, NZ

Two laksas in a week, that is a new record for Hubby. This time, we are having a luxurious version of Sarawak laksa, which is served with lobster and abalone. Just the sight of this makes my mouth water. The server comes with a teapot filled with the laksa broth and pours it tableside. Here, Chef Steven have opted to use organic soba noodles topped with beansprouts, chicken slices, coriander, lime, sambal belacan and some shredded omelette on the side. The lobster is simply grilled, and the flesh is meaty and juicy. The abalone on the other hand is thinly sliced and cooked in some butter and herbs so it is cooked right.  Though I have never tried Sarawak laksa before, this was a really good bowl of laksa which I devoured to the last drop.


Luxurious sides to this Sarawak laksa

The organic soba noodles work well


Sarawak laksa is said to be best paired with beer, so here we have the Leffe Blonde

Wagyu beef cheeks are extremely delicious when braised, and Chef Steven is using them in his dry beef rendang. The beef cheeks were flavourful and very tender. It is served with a turmeric coconut rice, which I was told is a dish originating from Sabah as well as acar jelatah and quail egg. The accompanying wine was Madfish Shiraz from Australia.

Wagyu Beef Cheek Rendang, Farm Vegetables, Achar Jelatah, Turmeric Coconut Rice



Tender pieces of meat... yum


Madfish 2009, Shiraz, Australia


The eight treasure ais kacang is a dessert which evokes the playful side in us. A bowl of shaved ice with a myriad of toppings such as sago pearls, cendol, mango, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, lychee, sweet potato, peaches and a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream. Five different syrups are served in syringes - pandan infused with apple syrup, salted gula melaka, milk infused with cornflakes, rose syrup with strawberry and orange and lime. There is no right or wrong way to eat it - you can either squeeze it all over the ais kacang, or alternatively scoop some ice and topping and then squeeze the desired syrup on top.





When I complimented Chef Steven on his creative and interactive menu, he replied, "Aloft is seen as a trendy, fun hotel, so I tried to introduce some playful elements into our MIGF menu." And guess what, it works.

For me, NOOK's MIGF "Malaysian themed" menu excited me in terms of taste, presentation and also had the fun factor. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience.


Price: The Full Festival Menu at Nook (4-courses) is priced at RM280++ per person with wine and beer pairing and RM180++ without. They also do a light menu for RM160++ per person with wine.

Location: NOOK, Level 1, Aloft KL Sentral, No 5 Jalan Stesen Sentral, 50470 Kuala Lumpur.

Tel: 03-2723 1154

Website: http://www.starwoodhotels.com/alofthotels/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=3758

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