Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Italiannies @ The Gardens

We were in The Gardens to purchase some furniture for our house. Italiannies happened to be next to Gudang Studio, so we decided to try this place for lunch.

They do a set lunch menu here, prices start from RM13.90. The set lunch includes a main meal, a cup of soup (mushroom/minestrone), and a drink (Pepsi/Lipton Iced Lemon Tea). Since they had such a good deal on, we both ordered from the set menu.

Nice soft bread with a olive oil/balsamic vinegar dip

I had the mushroom soup, which was really nice. It had lots and lots of mushroom bits in it! Yum.

Hubby had the minestrone soup and he said it was really delicious. It definitely had the Italian influence. Tomatoey with chunks of vegetables.

For the main, we ordered the margherita pizza and calamari caesar salad. Good size for sharing.

8" margherita pizza - tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheese. Authentic tasting!

The calamari caesar salad - roasted button mushroom caps, artichoke hearts, roasted red bell peppers and topped with a generous amount of fried calamari.

Comfort: Nice decor.
Service: Good and prompt, so the waiter got a tip!
Price: Very reasonable for their set lunch menus. Magherita pizza set (RM13.90++) and calamari salad (RM18.90++). Other items on the menu include pasta (prices from RM16.90-RM19.90), salmon & shrimp pizza (RM24.90), sandwich (RM18.90) and house specialties (RM24.90).
Food: 9/10. Good. No complains.
Location: Italiannies, The Gardens, 2nd Floor (Robinson's side)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I cooked : Bibimbap

Bibimbap is a great dish to have, especially when you have plenty of leftover vegetables in the fridge. Bibimbap is a popular Korean dish which means mixed(bibim) rice(bap). Its easy to cook and most importantly its healthy! Click here for more info on bibimbap.

Bibimbap consist of various seasoned vegetables from cucumber, zucchini, carrot, radish, mushrooms, bellflower root, bracken fern, spinach to soy bean sprouts. For my version I used carrots, zucchini, soy bean sprouts and sliced beef. For those who can't eat beef, the beef can be substituted with another type of meat or omitted altogether.

Preparation time : approx 20-30 mins
Serves : 1-2 persons

3/4 - 1 cup of rice (depending on appetite)
1 zucchini
1 small sized carrot
2-3 shiitake mushrooms
2 handfuls of bean sprouts
approx. 200g of sliced/ground beef
soy sauce, salt, sesame oil, ground black pepper, sesame seeds, garlic, vegetable oil, sugar, red pepper paste (gochujang)

1. Cook the rice using a rice cooker or non-stick pot.
2. Wash the bean sprouts and blanch in water for about 1 minute. Remove from water and mix with sesame oil, garlic and a pinch of salt. Put it on a platter.
3. Cut the zucchini, carrots and mushrooms into thin strips.

4. On a heated pan, put some oil and stir fry the zucchinni, carrots and mushrooms. Add in salt, sugar and sesame oil to taste. Stir fry for about 1 minute and put them on a platter. For decorational purposes, the vegetables should be cooked separately. But in this case I decided to cook all 3 together.
5. Put some oil on the pan and stir fry the beef and the remaining garlic. Put in soy sauce, sesame oil and black pepper to taste. Place on platter.
6. Prepare egg sunny side up.
7. Put rice in a bowl and place vegetables and meat accordingly. The egg can be placed right on top.
8. Sprinkle some sesame seeds and add a dash of sesame oil. Add red pepper paste to taste.

9. Mix well and dig in!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Simpsons Restaurant, Birmingham

Even after our meal at Mesana in Marbella, I was still obsessed with Michelin-star restaurants. So, when Hubby got a promotion at work, we had a reason to celebrate and what better place to celebrate than a Michelin restaurant! :-)

In 2007, only 2 restaurants in the Birmingham area held a Michelin star - Jessica's and Simpsons. (For more information about Michelin-star restaurants in the United Kingdom, click here) We chose to dine at Simpsons since they were voted as the 'Best Restaurant in Birmingham'.

We made reservations a week in advance and were lucky to get a table for Saturday lunch. The place was filled with patrons when we arrived. We got a table right next to the open kitchen (yay!), so I got to watch the chefs at work. Since we didn't get to try the tasting menu at Mesana, we decided to try the 7-course tasting menu here for £65 per person. Hubby ordered a bottle of white wine to go with the food (can't remember the price but it was something stupid like £40)

Executive chef, Luke Tipping at work

Our first course (starter) - Hand dived scallops, cep compote, pumpkin purée, cep foam. I loved this dish, the combination of scalops with the cep compote and pumpkin puree was nice, but I have to say the foam didn't do much for the dish.
Second course - Fillet of red mullet, fennel and artichoke barigoule, lentils du Puy, green beans, sauce épicée. I am not a fan of beans or lentils but it went quite well with the red mullet.

Third course - Seared duck foie gras, roast banana, pain d’épice, banana purée. This was my first time tasting foie gras, so I didn't know what to expect. Lots of people rave about foie gras. But it wasn't my cup of tea although it had a nice velvety texture (maybe because I knew it was liver).

Fourth course - Roast Anjou pigeon, smoked pancetta and potato terrine, quince purée, savoy cabbage, juniper berry sauce. Really lovely dish, the pigeon was cooked to perfection.

Fifth course - Salad of poached and raw pear, fourme d’ambert, walnuts, honey and balsamic dressing. I liked the combination of cheese and poached pear.

Sixth course - Chocolate tart, red wine plums, Ceylon cinnamon ice cream. The tart was a bit too dry, but the ice-cream was reallyyyyy delicious!

Freebie - Doughnut with raspberry coulis and pistachio. Tasted like a doughnut.

Last course - Dessert delight palate. I liked the macaron the best and Hubby liked the fudge.

For those of you who do not wish to spend so much for lunch but would still like to have a Michelin experience here, then try their set lunch menu (3 courses for £30.) The Simpson's restaurant is a restaurant-cum-hotel so if you have had too much to drink and do not fancy driving home, then you can choose from one of the 4 bedrooms available.

Beware when dining at UK Michelin restaurants! A discretionary service charge is added to the final bill, in this case 12.5%!

Comfort: Relaxed setting in a lovely Grade II listed mansion.
Service: Excellent service.
Price: Expensive. Our total bill came to around £250.
Food: 9.5/10. Really great tasting food! Classic French cooking.
Location: Simpsons Restaurant, 20 Highfield Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 3DU


Friday, July 10, 2009

Restaurant Zum Braunen Mutz, Basel

We went to the Restaurant Zum Braunen Mutz on the recommendation of the Basel official tourism website. The restaurant is divided into 2 storeys; the lower floor houses the traditional brasserie (more casual and serving traditional Swiss food) and the top floor houses the "au premier" restaurant. With the Euro 2008 football fans in town, we opted for the restaurant for a quieter and more refined atmosphere.

Bro went for the 3 course menu (for Fr. 39.50) with entree, meat and dessert (sorry, no photo of dessert).

Bro's entree "Vitello Tonnato" - thinly sliced cold roast veal, topped with tuna pate, sardine fillet and caper garnish. He wasn't too impressed with this dish, he said it tasted like ham and the sardine fillet was like a giant anchovy. *lol*

His main course - grilled US fillet steak with béarnaise sauce, vegetable garnish and pommes croquettes. The beef was cooked well, but the sauce wasn't to his liking.

Hubby and I ordered from the a'la carte menu. Hubby had the tomato salad with mozzarella, olive oil and fresh basil for his starter (Fr. 16). No complains from Hubby. I nicked some of his salad.

For main course, Hubby had the "Crevettes géantes à l’indienne" (King prawns sautéed with sweet pepper strips and a spicy curry sauce served on layered vegetable rice)(Fr.34). The prawns were big and juicy, but my main course was wayyy nicer.

What did I have? I ordered from their 'special asparagus menu'. (seasonal)
Grilled scallops and king prawn served on a bed of julienned carrots and side of spargel. Scallops were really juicy (see what I mean by chefs being really stingy their scallop portions!)(Fr.36). It was delicious! Best dish of the day.

Opening hours: Lunch (11.30 - 14.30) and dinner (17.30 - 24.00)
Comfort: Nice relaxed atmosphere.
Service: Good.
Price: Quite pricey for lunch.
Food: 3.5/5. Mine was good.
Location: Restaurant Zum Braunen Mutz, Barfüsserplatz 10, CH-4051 Basel, Switzerland

Basler Lackerli

A treat not to be missed when visiting Basel. We got our lackerli from Confiserie Schiesser, Basel's oldest cafe on the Marktplatz (opposite the "Rathaus" city hall). The shop also sells chocolate (really expensive ones as they are the no.1 chocolatiers in town!). Try not to buy lackerli from "unknown shops" as they taste rather inferior to the original.

This is how the Basel city hall looks like.

Lackerli is a traditional spice biscuit made of honey, almonds, candied peel, and Kirsch. The texture is very similar to that of a gingerbread. You can taste (and smell) the spice with every bite. We finished the whole pack in a day! Lovely.

Location: Confiserie Schiesser, Marktplatz 19, CH-4051, Basel, Switzerland


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I cooked: Fish head curry

Fish head curry is a very popular dish in Malaysia. Tastes yummy and very easy to cook!

Fish head curry
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves 3-4 people

1 large sized red snapper head
A few pieces of fish meat
1 brinjal / aubergine, cut thinly
2 onions, sliced
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
4-5 cloves of garlic, diced
5-6 tbsp Curry powder (I used Baba's brand. Add more if you like it spicier)
2 tbsp cooking oil
3 cups water
A dozen stalks of curry leaf
Salt to taste

1. Place the oil, garlic and onion into a pot. Fry in low heat until garlic turns golden brown.
2. Add curry leaf and curry powder and fry for 1 - 2 minutes.
3. Then, add the water and bring to boil.
4. Add fresh tomatoes, brinjal, and fish head and simmer gently for about 20 minutes.
5. Add the fish meat and salt to taste and cook for a further 5 minutes.
6. Serve with boiled rice, cucumber and a boiled egg.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I cooked: King prawns in black pepper sauce

From time to time, I will post some recipes of food that I cooked at home. Hopefully this will inspire you to cook and try these dishes. Eat healthy, be healthy :-)

King prawns in black pepper sauce
Serves 2-3 people

A dozen fresh king prawns, peeled and de-veined
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2-3 stalks of spring onion, cut into 3cm length
1 big onion, cut into quarters
2 tbsp Delichef Black Pepper Seasoning Mix (or any Black Pepper paste / sauce you can get your hands on)
3 tbsp cooking oil / olive oil

1. Place the oil, garlic and onion into a wok. Fry in low heat until garlic turns golden brown.
2. Next, put in the king prawns and stir fry for another 4-5 minutes.
3. Add the pepper paste and 5 tbsp of water.
4. Lastly, add the spring onions and cook for another minute.

King prawns in black pepper sauce

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