Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Recipe: Mushroom risotto with scallops, pancetta, samphire and Parmesan

What does your ultimate risotto look / sound like? Mine consists of these ingredients: large sea scallops, unsmoked pancetta, samphire, white button mushrooms, arborio rice and 30-month aged Parmigiano Reggiano.

Samphire is something we cannot find in KL, so I always try and cook with them (at least once) when we're in the UK. They pair really well with seafood (ie scallops) and adds a natural saltiness to a risotto dish. The crispy pancetta adds texture and also a subtle umami-ness to the dish. This risotto dish tastes absolutely amazing!

Mushroom risotto with seared scallops, pancetta, samphire and Parmesan
Recipe by Baby Sumo
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 30-35 minutes
Serves 4

250g carnaroli or arborio rice
2 small shallots, finely chopped
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3-4 tbsp butter
1.3 - 1.5l chicken stock
30g Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 pack white button mushrooms, washed and sliced thinly
90g unsmoked pancetta, sliced
1 pack samphire (70g), washed
12 sea scallops
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. In a large non-stick pan or wok, heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots, and cook until softened, about 4-5 minutes.

2. Increase heat to high, then add the rice. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, stir the rice with the onion, making sure that the grains are coated with the olive oil/butter until slightly translucent and the rice starts to crackle, for about 2 minutes. This process is called tostatura. It helps the rice absorb the stock later.

3. Dissolve one chicken stock pot in 1.2l water. Turn the heat down to medium low and add enough stock to cover the risotto, about 1 cup. Keep stirring the risotto constantly as stirring massages the starch molecules out of the rice, hence creating a rich, creamy texture.

4. Allow the stock to be absorbed before adding more stock to the rice. Keep adding small amounts of stock (1/2 cup at a time) to the rice until the rice is soft but still has a bite to it (al dente). This will take about 20-30 minutes. Taste the risotto rice occasionally to check if it's ready. If you run out of stock before your rice is ready, you can add boiling water as a substitute for the stock.

5. In a separate pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the pancetta and cook for 5-8 minutes, until they are crispy and golden. Remove from heat with slotted spoon and set aside.

6. In the same frying pan (from Step 5), add the samphire and saute over medium heat for 1- 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat with slotted spoon and set aside.

7. Using the same pan (from Step 6), add the mushrooms and saute for about 2-3 minutes, season, then set aside.

8. When the rice is almost ready (95%), lower the heat, then stir in the sauteed mushrooms (from Step 7). Take the pan off the heat and add the Parmesan into the rice (the mantecatura process) as well as 1 tablespoon of butter. Taste and adjust seasoning.

9. Heat the pan (from Step 7) with 1 tbsp oil and some butter over high heat until very hot. Pat the scallops dry with kitchen towel and season with salt. Once pan is very hot, add the scallops and quickly sear, depending on the size of your scallops (about 1-2 minutes). Remove once cooked and set aside.

10. To serve, place risotto onto a plate, then top with scallops, samphire and pancetta. Garnish with more shaved Parmesan. Serve immediately.

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Sunday, August 12, 2018

Red Arrows Display at Peterhead Scottish Week 2018

The Red Arrows, officially known as the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, is one of the world's premier aerobatics display team based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire. Representing the speed, agility and precision of the Royal Air Force, the team is the public face of the service and act as ambassadors for the United Kingdom at home and overseas and promote the best of British.

We were fortunate to be able to catch them live at this year's Scottish Week at Peterhead back on 25 July 2018. Flying distinctive Hawk fast-jets, the team is performed their trademark Diamond Nine shape and combination of impressive close formations and precision flying. It was truly a remarkable experience for BabySumoKids to watch them perform in real life.

Cruise ship Sea Cloud II (left) at the port of Peterhead

You may watch some of their spectacular formations here :)

When I grow up.. I wanna be a RAF pilot :D

Location: Peterhead Harbour, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. 

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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Boddam Chip Shop, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

On our way up to Peterhead to see the Red Arrows, we stopped by at Boddam for our dinner. This coastal village is 3 miles from Peterhead and one of its most famous landmarks is the Buchan Ness Lighthouse.

For dinner, we had fish and chips from Boddam Chip Shop (yup, 3rd time that week cos fish and chips in Scotland is awesome!).

The fish and chips is cooked to order, so expect a 15-20 minute wait. After being served, we headed down to the lighthouse and enjoyed dinner with a gorgeous seascape view.

We had the regular fish supper (haddock fresh from Peterhead market, delivered daily) (£5) which comes with chips. The batter is light and crisp with lovely moist fish, and we enjoyed the chips too. We also had the Haggis pudding (£2.75) which is haggis coated in batter and deep fried while the kids had a portion of scampi each (£4). Everything was well cooked, if we had to nitpick, maybe this was a little greasier than the other ones we've had otherwise an enjoyable meal with great views.

Buchan Ness Lighthouse

Boddam Post Office

Opening times: 4pm to 8pm daily.

Price: Total bill £19.25 for 4 pax.

Location: Boddam Chip Shop, 4 Russell St, Boddam, Peterhead AB42 3NG, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

Tel: +44 (0)1779 238090

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Thursday, August 2, 2018

Chaophraya: Fine Dining Thai Restaurant in Aberdeen, Scotland

"Sawadee ka"... The restaurant manager warmly greeted us as we stepped into Chaophraya. Located on Union Street, Aberdeen, this beautiful Thai fine dining restaurant is housed in one of the city's most notable buildings, formerlyThe Monkey House, now transformed into a Thai paradise with its ornate Buddha and elephant statues.

The menu offers an impressive selection of classic Thai and signature dishes, ranging from appetizers to soups, Thai curries, salads, stir fries, noodle and rice. After 10 days into our Scotland trip, we were desperately missing Asian food so everything on the menu sounded so good!

There are quite a number of appetizers on offer at Chaophraya, so if you'd like to sample a variety, the platters are definitely the way to go. We went for the Chaophraya Platter (£9.95 per person) for 2 pax which comes with Thai chicken tacos, Thai fish cakes, chicken spring rolls, red curry battered prawns and crispy duck salad... a nice balance of spicy and mild flavours and loved how beautiful this platter looked!

BabySumoKids' favorite was the red curry battered prawns in a light tempura batter, served with sweet chilli sauce. The Thai chicken tacos were fantastic small bites; red curried chicken finished with coconut milk and served over a lightly pan seared chewy rice flour taco. I love a good Thai fish cake, and the ones here definitely ticked the boxes..spicy and tangy, perfect for whetting our appetites. The chicken spring rolls were filled with minced chicken, carrot, cabbage, Chinese mushroom and vermicelli and deep fried to crispy perfection. The crispy duck salad was addictively spicy and appetizing, with roasted crispy duck strips tossed in a chilli and lime dressing with pomegranate, spring onion, red onion, tomatoes, celery and Sriracha sauce. A great start to our meal!

For mains, we decided to go for two mild curries (also their bestsellers), the Royal Lamb Massaman Curry (£14.95) and Beef Panang Curry (£13.95). Loved how authentic and comforting both the curries taste. We especially loved the creamy panang curry, with the tender chunks of beef which has been slow cooked with green beans, chillies and finished with kaffir lime leaves.

I was craving for some tom yum soup, so the Prawn Tom Yum (£8.95) definitely hit the spot. A fiery hot and sour soup with generous amounts of prawns and mushrooms.

A Chaophyraya classic, the Suea Rong Hai aka Weeping Tiger (£20.95) features a 21-day dry-aged sirloin steak served sliced on a sizzling platter with seasonal vegetables and black pepper sauce. We would recommend ordering this medium rare. The juicy, tender steak was beautifully cooked to our delight.

You can find Thai Riceberry, the new superfood taking Thailand by storm here at Chaophraya. This purple grain is a cross-pollination between Jao Hom Nin (black rice), Thai Hom Mali and Dawk Mali 105 (two very high-quality strands of jasmine rice) and is packed full of antioxidants and minerals.

At Chaophraya, you will also find a selection of Thai Reimagined dishes ... miang kham (£2.95) is one of our favorite appetizers, so we gave their version a try. In lieu of betel leaves, they use nasturtium leaves topped with palm sugar, coconut, and chillies for a delicious bite.

For dessert, we shared the Chocolate Bombe (£7.95), Chocolate Box (£7.95) and the Mango sticky rice (£7.45). Desserts are less Thai, with the exception of the latter which is a classic Thai dessert - sweet mango with sticky rice and coconut cream.

The Chocolate Bombe, a chocolate sphere served with a warm caramel sauce is filled with peanut mousse, peanuts, toffee and chocolate. Rich and sinful!

Chocolate Bombe

The exquisite Chocolate Box features a dark and white chocolate mousse with a lemongrass centre, topped with toasted coconut ice cream.

Great service paired with delicious Thai food, it's no surprise Chaophraya is well-loved and highly popular with the locals.

Opening times: Sunday - Thursday 12.00pm - 2:30pm & 5.00pm - 9.00pm; Friday - 12.00pm - 2:30pm & 5.00pm - 10:30pm; Saturday 12.00pm - 10:30pm.

Location: Chaophraya, 1 Union Terrace, Aberdeen AB10 1NJ, Scotland, United Kingdom.

Tel: +44 (0) 1224 061180


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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

3S Curry House, Taman Desa, KL - Banana Leaf Rice

A couple of months ago, we visited 3S Curry House located in Desa Business Park for some banana leaf rice with our friends.

We ordered five sets of banana leaf rice which came served in a metal tray and rice piled on a banana leaf rather than everything on the banana leaf as we are accustomed to. We also ordered one plate of mutton, chicken varuval and fried bittergourd, however they served us individual portions instead so each of our banana leaf rice came up to RM15 each. A basic banana leaf rice usually costs RM7 here.

We did not quite like the mutton as the meat was quite fatty, however chicken was good. Three types of vegetables were served, I liked the cabbage best. The BLR meal also comes with pappadums and rasam.

Overall, a decent BLR meal though I wouldn't be rushing back here anytime soon as there are many much better ones around KL. However, it's a good place to catch up with friends as it is not too busy and they serve a pretty nice masala tea (RM4.50).

Opening times: Mon-Sat 8am - 10pm; Sun 9am - 5pm.

Price: Total bill RM107 for 5 pax.

Location: 3S Curry House, 30G Jln 2/109E Desa Business Park, Taman Desa, 58100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Tel: 016-328 2710

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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Oiso Korean Restaurant, Cheras Leisure Mall, KL

Oiso (which translates to "welcome") is one of many Korean restaurants located within Cheras Leisure Mall. The menu comprises of Korean homecooked food such as stews (kimchi jjigae, sundubu jjigae), noodles (janchi guk su, jap chae,), kimchi fried rice, bibimbap, sam gye tang (ginseng chicken soup), kimchi / seafood steamboat and more.

I didn't have to wait long for my beef bulgogi (RM25.90) to arrive. The bulgogi was served on a sizzling hot plate and comes with rice, seaweed soup and three types of ban chan (side dishes). The ban chan are refillable and our visit it was kimchi, beansprouts and burdock root. The kimchi was a little too mature for me (very sour), the kind I usually use when I'm making kimchi jjigae.The bulgogi was a good portion, with slices of tender, flavourful meat along with glass noodles, onion and carrots.

Hubby had the bibimbap (RM21.90), aka Korean style mixed rice topped with vegetables (cucumber, mushroom, bean sprouts), fried egg, seaweed and your choice of protein (chicken / beef / seafood). The gochujang sauce is served on the side, so you can adjust it to your preferred spiciness level. Mix well and enjoy!

Overall an enjoyable Korean meal here... will definitely return!


Opening times: 10am to 10pm.

Total price RM60.05, including 2 drinks.

Location: Oiso Korean Traditonal Cuisine & Cafe, Lot 2-23, Level 2, Cheras Leisure Mall, Jalan Manis 2, Taman Segar 56100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (near GSC Cinemas) (Parking RM3.30 per entry on weekends)

Tel: 03-9134 0093

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