Saturday, March 31, 2012

I cooked: Jamie Oliver inspired roast chicken with chicken giblet/natural jus gravy

Ever since moving back to Malaysia, roast chicken is not something that I often cook. We prefer to have roast beef as it is a guaranteed 100% success every time (moist and tender meat). Don't get me wrong, roast chicken is not difficult to cook, but I often find the roast chicken that I cook here is not as moist as I would have liked it (It's a case of "It's not me, it's the chicken"). 

This time, we made roast chicken a la Jamie Oliver (with the lemon), using free range chicken ("choi yin kai"). It turned out moist, and the lemon is infused into the meat. Since I usually use all the juices from cooking in my gravy, the gravy tasted of lemon too (hence not recommended to use the lemon if you do not like lemony flavours). My mum recommends that I use Holland chicken the next time for even more moist meat.

I did not use all the root vegetables like Jamie did, as my parents prefer to eat steamed vegetables versus roasted vegetables. But I have prepared them that way before and they're delicious, so try the full recipe if you like.

The gravy is made using chicken giblet stock (adapted from Delia Smith), with the addition of natural juices from roasting.

Jamie Oliver Inspired Roast Chicken
Preparation time: 5-10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Serves 4

Chicken, approx. 1.6kg
1 onion, peeled and halved
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 lemon
Thyme and rosemary
50g butter
Olive oil
Freshly ground salt and pepper

For the gravy
Chicken giblets from the chicken, washed
300ml water
1/2 carrot, cut into chunks
1/2 onion
1/2 celery stalk, halved
4 whole black peppercorns
A few parsley stalks

1. Remove chicken from the fridge 30 minutes before roasting. Preheat oven to 240°C.

2. Prick the lemon several times using the tip of a sharp knife (before that I placed the lemon in the water for boiling the potatoes). Push the onion, garlic and lemon inside the chicken's cavity.

3. Place chicken in a roasting tray, then rub olive oil, salt and pepper all over. 

4. Smear the butter over the top of the chicken, to give it a nice crispy skin.

5. Place the chicken on a roasting tin and put in the preheated oven. Turn the heat down immediately to 200°C and cook for 1 hour 20 minutes. 

6. Baste at least twice during cooking to keep the chicken moist.

7. Remove the chicken from the oven, and leave to rest for 10 minutes before carving.

8. To prepare the chicken giblets stock, place everything in a pot and bring to the boil. Skim the surface to remove any scum then gently simmer for 30 minutes. Strain the stock and remove the fat from surface before using.

9. To make the gravy, place the juices from roasting and chicken giblet stock into a small saucepan. Add 1/2 OXO cube to flavour it further and then add 2 tbsp of cornflour (mixed with 2 tbsp of cold water) to thicken the gravy.

Roast potatoes (recipe here)

For the full Jamie Oliver recipe, click here.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Cocktails & Wine @ Tate, The Intermark Kuala Lumpur

Float like a butterfly, Sting like a bee...

A friend was visiting KL and staying at Doubletree by Hilton, so we suggested that he looked out for Tate since it's a cool watering hole. He eventually found it and liked it, so much so that he went back there two days in a row! (not sure if he's been back since our visit together)

We visited on a weekday night and it was fairly quiet at the start, then started filling up around 11pm. It stays open til 3am or later, depending on whether there are still customers around. Hubby and his friend also enjoyed a game of pool or two while I sip on my wine and cocktails and snacked on popcorn. ;P

The Bar

More private seating area

Pool table

Tate here, Tate everywhere

Complimentary popcorn

We popped open a couple of bottles of Beringer Founders Estate Chardonnay (RM120). 

I think you shouldn't leave Tate without trying their cocktails. Karl tells me that they have been making a few new additions to the menu. However, earlier on I saw Karl getting his blow torch out to make a cocktail and I told him "I want that one cos it looks cool" LOL. It turned out to be a lemon meringue martini (RM34), which is very fun to drink IMHO. I also tried the Pina Agave which was pretty nice and refreshing, thanks to the agave nectar and cucumber content.

Some blow torch action!

Lemon Meringue Martini (ketel one, luxardo limoncello, lemon juice, sugar, fresh milk foam)

Enjoying my cocktail

Another bright idea by The Big Group

Read my previous review on Tate here.

Location: Tate, The Intermark KL.

*All photos taken with iPhone4s.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Banana Leaf Rice @ Devi's Corner, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur

We were in Bangsar Village to run some errands, and instead of heading to our usual lunch spot, we crossed the street to Devi's Corner for some banana leaf rice! It is our first time dining here, however we have heard good things about Devi's Corner - they are also the proud recipient of the "Best Hawker/Mamak" in the Time Out KL Food Awards 2011. 

We were here on a Friday afternoon, and gosh there was a long queue all the way from the restaurant, down the stairs and out the door. (They serve banana leaf rice in the upstairs portion of the restaurant only) It was super busy! But luckily, they have a very good system and we were seated before too long. The tables here are communal, so you'll most probably be sitting next to a stranger during your meal.

Service is efficient, as soon as we sat down, our orders were taken and then a couple of minutes later a banana leaf was placed in front of us, followed by scoops of rice and all the different vegetarian dishes and condiments. There was deep fried bittergourd, spiced cauliflower, mango chutney (Hubby got a nicer piece with lots of mango flesh whereas I got the seed and skin only :() and a green vegetable stalk-dish. There was also a choice of 3 different sauces to top on our rice, I went for crab curry which was quite spicy but very rich and pretty yummy with the rice. I thought that the vegetable choices during this visit were average (not sure if it gets rotated on a daily basis) but the poppadums and curry sauce were good. 

Banana leaf rice (RM7)

Nice poppadoms - crispy and addictive!

Cauliflower and bittergourd

Green vegetable stalks and mango chutney

We also ordered a mutton curry (RM10) to share. The portion was fairly large and meaty (not too much bones) which is a good thing, and the mutton was tender.

Verdict: Good and fast service, decent banana leaf rice. 

Full set of photos available to view here.

Location: Devi's Corner, 69 Jalan Telawi 3, 59100 Bangsar. (opposite Bangsar Village II)

Tel: 03-2282 7591

GPS Coordinates: 3.130178, 101.670946

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Favola Italian Restaurant, Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur

Our first dining experience in Favola went well, so we had no qualms about returning to try more from their extensive menu. Once was for a food review and another time for dinner to celebrate our anniversary since Favola was open on a Sunday. 

It was our first encounter with burrata (this was some months ago), a cheese very similar to mozzarella (it is afterall made of mozzarella plus cream) but creamier. We're definitely big fans of burrata now after trying it here. Simply prepared with sliced fresh Roma tomatoes, rocket leaves, Parmesan cheese and truffle shavings, it is one of our favorite Italian starters. It is slowly gaining popularity in KL, as I have seen and tasted it in several other Italian restaurants in KL this year. 

Burrata with fresh Roma tomatoes

Bread at Favola

All sorts of olive oil

From the crudo bar, we also had the octopus antipasti, which has been blanched, sliced and marinated with garlic, chilli flakes, sea salt, olive oil and served with black olives, sprouts, radish and cherry tomatoes. What a beautifully vibrant dish!

Octopus (RM40)

Wouldn't have thought of trying the soup here at Favola, but Chef Antoine picked the zuppa di vongola (RM40) for us to sample. The soup is made from stock, chilli flakes, thyme, rosemary and garlic - it has a slight kick from the chillis and was very tasty. Plus love the fact that the soup came with fresh clams (which I like very much) and Merguez sausage. I wouldn't mind ordering this next time.

Ah can't go wrong with mushrooms. The garlic and thyme roasted giant portobello was topped with spinach and Lombary Taleggio cheese. YUMMMM!


Of course that was not all we had... we now move on to pizzas! Usually we would just go for meat or vegetarian pizzas, but the Venetian pizza (RM55) which was laden with seafood such as lobster, scallops, prawns, clams, and calamari turned out to be great. The pizzas are cooked in a wood fire oven, see how the crusts are slightly charred. The tomato base also not too overpowering and just went nicely with the rest of the ingredients. 

Venetian pizza - 10 inches of goodness

The beauty of this lunch was that Chef Antoine picked all the dishes for us. I think a lot of it wouldn't normally be ordered by us as we are quite "safe" when it comes to eating out, usually sticking to what we know. We certainly enjoyed all the new things that we tried including the BBQ Cod Fish (RM90) and Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder (RM90).

The cod fish is as it should be, the flesh coming off in flakes served with a tangy sundried tomato dressing. It is quite pricey though, especially if one does not have the Starwood card.

The lamb shoulder was slow cooked with tomato jus, olives, rosemary and garlic. I would have preferred if the meat was a little more tender, but Hubby enjoyed it and didn't have a problem finishing almost the whole portion.

For pasta, you can choose your pasta and mix and match with your favourite sauce. We had the spaghetti polpetta (RM40), one of Favola's signature items. The meatballs are made using Wagyu trimmings and cooked in a fresh basil tomato sauce. The meatballs were very good, tender with a nice bite. I certainly enjoyed this.

For desserts, Chef Antoine prepared a trio of dessert samplers for us. We had the chocolate mousse topped with strawberries (cant remember now if this was the zuccotto), tiramisu and raisin cake with oreo ice cream. Loved them all, and the tiramisu was much better than our initial visit to Favola.

Raisin cake - moist


Chocolate mousse with strawberries - light

On our second visit, photos turned out a little darker as we were seated in the corner where it was quite dimly lit and am not a fan of using the flash (esp when I'm not doing a review as it draws too much attention).

We enjoyed the seared jumbo sea scallop (RM55) the last time we came, and proceeded to order one EACH this time. Yes, we had four scallops each to ourselves LOL. This time, it was served atop some grilled mushrooms which I much prefer since I love mushrooms and scallops! If you ever visit Favola, this is a must-order!

Since we enjoyed the risotto here the last time, we decided to order risotto again, but with a different topping. We had the risotto verde pisello (RM75) which is green pea risotto with seared Wagyu chuck flap tail. Have to say this was also very yummy, and the beef was nicely cooked.

The Manzo e Patate Ravioli (RM50) was decent, but did not really stand out for us. We did not really taste the black truffle in the sauce (we had high expectations since it was mentioned on the menu) but the pasta itself could not be faulted.

Beautiful wall of masks

Full set of photos available to view here.

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

Service: A little slow during our 2nd visit, quite difficult to get the waiting staff's attention even to refill water or make our order for desserts.

Location: Favola, Level 8, Le Méridien Kuala Lumpur, 2 Jalan Stesen Sentral, 50470 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Directly opposite KL Sentral station and next to KL Hilton)

Tel: 03- 2263 7434

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

GPS Coordinates: 3.135685, 101.686524


*Part of this meal was an invited review and the other was paid fully by us. 
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