Friday, August 31, 2012

Happy Merdeka Day 2012, Malaysia!

Happy Merdeka Day to all Malaysians! Today, 31 August 2012, marks the 55th Independence Day (Hari Merdeka). How will you spending your day?

Malaysia's national flower, hibiscus rosa-sinensis (also known as bunga raya)- you can read more about it here.

Baby D donning his "Independence Day" shirt and singing Negaraku... hehe.. how patriotic! ;)

Have a great day!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Waku Waku Contemporary Japanese Dining @ MidValley Megamall, KL

Waku Waku (わくわく) Contemporary Japanese Dining restaurant offers innovative fusion food such as Japanese style nasi lemak, spicy sushi roll with sambal, lam mee Jepun, koay teow Jepun and Ishiyaki bibimbap. I was attracted to the Japanese nasi lemak, hence we found ourselves here for lunch one afternoon. 

Japanese-style nasi lemak 

Waku Waku means "excitement or thrill" in Japanese and is located on Level 3 in MidValley. Most of the restaurant is covered in wood, and part of the dining spaces are made to look like houses. You can also see all the way into the kitchen since they operate an open kitchen concept here.

Japanese Roasted Rice Tea - Genmai Cha (RM2.90)

Cookies & Vanilla (RM7.90) - cookies, milk and vanilla ice cream blended together

You can view their menu here, but basically they have hambagu, kushiyaki (skewers), tempura, agemono, sushi, sashimi, soup, salad, noodles, rice and dessert. I ordered the Nasi Lemak Jepun without any hesitation  (well, maybe a little cos I was tempted by the hambagu). The rice is served in a sizzling stone pot, similar to the ones used to serve Korean dolsot bibimbap. The rice is very fragrant, thanks to the coconut milk but it was slightly on the wet side. It was topped with finely chopped iceberg lettuce and an onsen tamago. I especially liked the crispy bits from the bottom of the stone pot, same as when I eat bibimbap.

The condiments that came with the nasi lemak Jepun was pretty good. I like the sambal, since it is the sweet-spicy type that I usually favour. I poured all the sambal into the stone pot rice and mixed it well! Yum. There was at least 4-5 king prawns in the separate prawn sambal - pretty generous. I don't usually like chicken drumstick, cos I find it too fatty but the drumstick here was smooth and quite lean. It has been braised in soy sauce, so it's very flavorful too. Overall, I find this an interesting take on the Malaysian nasi lemak, which tastes quite healthy too.

Nasi Lemak Jepun (RM14.90)

Hubby had the Salmon Butter Rice (RM13.90), which was also served in a stone pot. The rice was topped with butter grilled salmon steak, minced chicken, cucumber puree thing, and spicy chilli flakes. Hubby commented that it was satisfying enough.


Verdict: Food here is tasty and reasonably priced, will come back for the hambagu. Need to try the hambagu so that I can perfect my own hambagu recipe at home. :D

Full set of photos can be viewed on my Facebook page here. 


Price: Approx. RM46 for lunch.

Location: Waku Waku, Lot T-015B, Level 3, Mid Valley City, Lingkaran Syed Putra, 59200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (next to Pet's Wonderland)

Tel: 03-2284 1172


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I baked: Carrot cupcakes with lime mascarpone cream frosting

This is another great recipe you can do with your kids. During one of the weekends, I got together all the ingredients for carrot cake and we (the kids and I) gathered in the kitchen for a morning of baking fun.

This is the recipe that I usually use for carrot cake but this time I added a few extra ingredients such as orange zest and walnuts and made them as cupcakes. I also made a lime mascarpone-cream frosting which is much lighter than the cream cheese frosting. I love the tanginess of the lime zest and juice in the frosting. It went very well with the moist carrot cupcakes. After our baking lesson, we enjoyed these cupcakes with a glass of cold milk each. We really loved them!

Carrot cupcakes with lime mascarpone-cream frosting

Baby C is a natural in the kitchen. Baby D who hasn't even turned 2 loves giving mummy a helping hand in the kitchen. He will hold the spatula and give the batter a good mix :D (clever boy). This is an extremely kids-friendly cake. (not much mess either)

Personally, I think these are best eaten slightly warm (take them out of the oven and cool for 30 minutes) but they can also keep for several days in an airtight container stored in the fridge.

Carrot cupcakes with lime mascarpone-cream frosting
Recipe by Baby Sumo
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 22-25 minutes
Makes 8

For the cupcake
125g self raising flour, sifted
A pinch of salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
125g soft brown sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
120ml corn oil
130g carrot, peeled and finely grated (approx. 1 medium carrot)
Zest of 1 orange
25g walnuts, chopped into small pieces
25g sultanas
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the lime mascarpone-cream frosting
100g mascarpone cream, softened at room temperature
25g icing sugar, sifted
50g whipping cream
Zest of 2 limes
Juice of 1 lime

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line muffin-tray with 8 cupcake liners.

2. Place the flour, salt, ground cinnamon and nutmeg into a large bowl and stir in the brown sugar. Add the eggs and corn oil to the dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in the grated carrot, orange zest, sultanas, chopped walnuts and vanilla extract.

3. Fill the cupcake-liners to 2/3 full and then bake in the pre-heated oven for 22-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in centre comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool for 10 minutes before frosting.

4. Meanwhile, make the frosting. Beat the whipping cream with icing sugar until stiff peaks. Add the mascarpone cheese, lime zest and juice and mix well.

5. Using a star tip nozzle, pipe the frosting on the cupcakes. Serve immediately, these carrot cupcakes are best enjoyed slightly warm.

The purple flower is called bunga senduduk ungu.

Full set of photos can be viewed on my Facebook page here. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I cooked: Surf 'N' Turf (Steak & Scallops)

Surf and Turf (or surf 'n' turf) is a term used to describe a main course in American cuisine which combines seafood and meat. I had my first surf 'n' turf in Hard Rock Cafe, London - the dish was a combination of steak and grilled prawns and it left a lasting impression.

We were craving for a good steak, so for date night, I decided to cook Hubby a surf 'n' turf dinner. Steak (his fav) and scallops (my fav), we get the best of both worlds. We managed to get our hands on a lovely Australian Black Angus tenderloin plus some huge Hokkaido scallops.

There are quite many components in this dish and the sequence in which you should prepare this dish is to start with boiling the potatoes, followed by cooking the steak and resting it, then the mushrooms, asparagus, scallops and finally the jus.  For the steak, I adapted Heston Blumenthal's perfect steak recipe which calls for flipping the meat every 15-20 seconds to develop a crisp flavorsome exterior without overcooking the centre  - I say adapt, cos I flipped it every 1 minute. It is important to rest your steak for at least 10 minutes after cooking and your steak will be juicier and tastier.

Not only was it a very balanced meal, it was very delicious as well. The steak was tender and flavorful, and the scallops were plump and juicy. I certainly know how to keep my man happy! :D

Hubby called this "surfing pigs" ;P
Pan seared scallops with crispy bacon on a bed of sauteed oyster mushroom

Tenderloin steak (medium rare) served on a bed of creamy truffle mash potatoes and topped with asparagus and crispy garlic bits and a natural jus

Surf 'n' turf (steak & scallops)
Recipe by Baby Sumo
Preparation time: 15 - 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves 2

2 x 200-250g steaks, 1" thick (I used tenderloin this time)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2-3 Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
A large knob of butter
1 tsp milk
1 tbsp truffle oil

8 stalks Thai asparagus
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

80g grey oyster mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
A handful parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

8 large Hokkaido scallops
1 streaky bacon, sliced thinly and fried

200ml beef stock
1/2 tsp cornstarch, diluted with 1 tsp of water
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the mash potatoes:
1. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil, then add the potatoes and cook for 12-15 minutes until soft. Mash with a potato press into a large bowl. Add butter while hot, and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with truffle oil.

For the tenderloin steak:
1. Remove steaks from fridge at least 1 hour before cooking to allow them to get to room temperature.

2. Clean the steaks under running water and pat dry with kitchen towel. Rub the steaks with olive oil and season both sides with pepper. I avoid seasoning them with salt at this point as salt encourages the juices to come out (and we want to keep the juices in, well, to keep the steaks tender and juicy!)

3. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a deep frying pan, and wait til the oil/pan is smoking hot. Place the steaks in the pan (leave some space between both). After every 1 minute, flip the steak. Cook to desired doneness - 2 minutes each side for medium rare, 3 minutes each side for medium and 4 minutes each side for well done.

4. Remove from pan and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes. Remember to season the steaks with salt before serving.

5. To make the sauce, add the beef stock to the same pan used to pan fry the steaks. Add any other juices you get from resting the steaks. Add cornstarch to thicken, then season with salt and pepper.

For the mushrooms:
1. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Add the garlic and fry for 1 minute. Then, add the mushrooms and saute for 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the parsley and give it a quick stir, then remove from heat.

For the asparagus:
1. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Add the garlic and fry until golden brown, around 2 minutes. Then, add the asparagus and cook for 1-2 minute (cooking time depends on how thick/fine your asparagus is). Remove from heat.

For the scallops:
1. Clean the scallops and pat dry with kitchen towel. Season both sides of the scallops with salt.

2. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan over high heat and wait until it is smoking hot. Place the scallops in pan in clockwise direction (this is purely for reference, so you can remember which ones you put in first when flipping to cook the other side) and sear for 40 seconds on one side before flipping over. Cook for another 40 seconds, then remove from pan. It is better to undercook scallops than to overcook them. Usually they take about 1-2 minutes to cook.

To assemble:
1. Using a 9cm round mould, place mash potatoes on the plate. Top it with the steak, followed by the asparagus. Use a small spoon to drizzle some sauce over the steak.

2. On the other side of the plate, place the sauteed mushrooms followed by the scallops and bacon bits. Serve immediately.

*This recipe was featured on Asian Food Channel's Facebook page on 28 August 2012.  This was also featured on DailyBuzzMoms "All About Asparagus" on 3 April 2013.

Full set of photos can be viewed on my Facebook page here. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Hokkaido Gantetsu Ramen @ Changi Airport Terminal 3, Singapore

After spending the morning travelling from KL, we finally land in Changi Airport in Singapore. We decided to explore the dining options in the airport before heading into the city. 

I remember that there was a Ramen Champion in the airport. It is located in Terminal 3. Upon entering the restaurant, you will be given a card each (which will be swiped when making purchases and you give it to the cashier upon exiting). 

There are 4 different ramen vendors in the restaurant - Taka No Tsume, Gantetsu, Ramen Riki and Ikkousha (which has recently been voted as Singapore's first Ultimate Ramen Champion 2011). At that time, I was not familiar with any of these brands so I just picked one at random.

Our choice was Gantetsu which hails from Sapporo in Hokkaido, Japan and I was drawn to them since I favour Hokkaido style ramen noodles. In Japanese, Gantetsu means stubbornness and it is said that Chef Masaki is stubborn and adamant about using only a specific ingredients such as a special miso from Hokkaido, salt and soy sauce. Gantetsu has been awarded winner for best ramen for 3 conservative years in Sapporo. 

Gantetsu's King Cha Shu Ramen

Menu at Gantetsu

After placing your order, you will be given a buzzer which will vibrate when your ramen is ready. 

Miso, salt and soy sauce are important ingredients in Gantetsu's Ramen

We picked Gantetsu's King Cha Shu Ramen (S$15) and it was good for two to share (since we just wanted a quick bite as it was late afternoon). The ramen noodles is topped with a broth which has been boiled for at least 6 hours, cha shu, shredded ginger, bamboo shoot, beansprouts, egg, seaweed and spring onions.

The noodles are curly and springy and I found the broth to be rather satisfying. The flavouring was just nice, and we slurped up every last bit of the broth. The ramen came with 5 thick slices of cha siu pork which was lean but flavorful. Possibly the most generous serving of cha siu I've ever come across in a ramen - a whopping 200g! The seaweed used for this dish is also unique to Gantetsu. It also came with 2 egg halves - definitely a generous bowl of ramen.

Good to the last drop

Gantetsu also has an outlet in Eat Paradise in Isetan, 1Utama Malaysia, so I'd definitely be visiting their outlet there to try their ramen.

Sunrise in KL

On the way to KLIA -we saw a rainbow! ;)

Almost there

Verdict: Broth is nicely flavoured and ramen had nice texture. Cha siu comes in very generous portion.

Full set of photos can be viewed on my Facebook page here.

Opening times: 10.30am - 11.00pm

Location: Gantetsu, Ramen Champion, 65 Airport Boulevard, #B2-58 Terminal 3, Singapore Changi Airport, Singapore 819663

Tel: +65 6214 2958

Nearest MRT: Changi Airport


Sunday, August 26, 2012

I baked: Chocolate chip whoopie pies with Crème Chantilly

The first time I tried a whoopie pie was in Pique Nique, Singapore. An American creation, a whoopie pie   may be considered either a cookie, pie or cake. It consists of two round mound-shaped chocolate cake/cookie/pie with a sweet, creamy filling. It is also sometimes called the "Big Fat Oreo".

According to food historians, Amish women would bake these desserts (known as hucklebucks, or creamy turtles at the time) and put them in farmers' lunch boxes. When farmers would find the treats in their lunch, they would shout "Whoopie!"! It is thought that the original Whoopie pies may have been made from cake batter leftovers.

I made these chocolate chip whoopie pies by adapting my chocolate brownies recipe, hence the texture is a cross between a soft cookie and chocolate brownie (a bit chewy and moist). For a simple filling, I made Crème Chantilly (vanilla flavored whipped cream). These chocolate rounds are actually pretty good eaten on their own but it wouldn't be a whoopie pie without the filling! These were a special treat for my kids since they are on school holidays at the moment - they were delighted to see and eat them!

We like to call them "mini chocolate burgers"

Baby D loves the crème Chantilly

School holiday treat

Chocolate chip whoopie pies with Crème Chantilly
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 11-13 minutes per batch
Makes 12-15 whoopie pies

For the whoopie pies
110g butter
50g unsweetened chocolate (I used Hershey's)
2 eggs, beaten
200g caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
125g  plain flour, sifted
1/2 tsp baking powder, sifted
1/4 tsp salt
20g chocolate chips

For the filling:
200g whipping cream
1 tbsp icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 180°C (or 160°C fan forced). Line 3 baking trays with greaseproof paper. 

2. Melt the butter and the chocolate (broken up into small pieces) together on top of a double saucepan.

3. Once melted, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Stir in the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract, followed by the sifted flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until well-combined.

4. Drop the batter in large spoonfuls on the baking trays. (First time I made it was using a tablespoon, and it came out rather big, like 9cm in diameter each, for a more dainty appearance use a teaspoon for to get 4-5cm diameter). Or alternatively you can pipe them for uniformly shaped rounds. Leave space about 4cm between the batter as they will expand during baking. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top of each round.

5. Place tray in the preheated oven and bake for 11-13 minutes. It should be firm to the touch. Cool on the baking tray for a few minutes, and then place them on a wire rack to cool completely.

6. To make the creme chantilly, place the whipping cream, icing sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl and beat until stiff.  Put in fridge until required.

7. To assemble, pipe whipped cream onto one of the chocolate rounds then top with another round. And voila, a whoopie pie! You can eat them straight or put them in the fridge first.. either way it tastes really good!

I am submitting this recipe to Bake-Along No.31: Whoopie Pies hosted by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and Lena from Frozen wings and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids. Check out all the other whoopie pie recipes here.

Full set of photos can be viewed on my Facebook page here. 

*This recipe was featured on Asian Food Channel's Facebook page on 13 Sept 2012.
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