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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Life Revolves Around Cooking

I want to blog about my new hair colour, but my heart begs to differ. My whole mind is now flooded with recipes, egg, fish paste, mushroom, basil leaf, pumpkin and everything to do with cooking. Gosh this is frightening! What’s more, I feel sad because I can’t cook this weekend while I have a handful of new recipes to try! This is so not me :| You might ask, why not cook on weekdays instead? The answer is, I really can’t. My weekday schedule is full-packed almost every day. My office weekly meeting, my exercise regime, house chores and miscellaneous daily errands are more than enough to keep me very busy every evening. So Saturday and Sunday are the days when I can have some leisure time to cook.

Knowing that I have the interest in cooking lately, my colleague brought to office a few really good recipe books to share with me (and another colleague). I have snapped with my mobile phone the recipes that I’m interested in. So what else, I’m excited and can’t wait to try! Uggh!



Photos by Chris, using Instagram.

By the way, these two are my latest cooking assignment - Pumpkin Fried Rice with Basil Leafs and Vegetarian Minced Meat Noodles. I would love love LOVE to talk about my “assignment” as well as share the recipe out, but I need to have a proper picture first. I sometimes hate myself for being a stupid perfectionist!

Ok, end of ranting. Bye!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Kura, One World Hotel

The Japanese restaurant in One World hotel, Kura, is certainly not a stranger to many but I want to write about it anyway because I had a great dinner there recently.



This was actually my third visit to Kura but I remember my first two visits weren’t as good as the third. Uni was the first thing served on our table. The first time I had Uni was at Rakuzen and the taste was ok… but nothing spectacular. So, I wasn’t expecting much from this. But as I put the orange colour roe into my mouth, I thought “Hmm, this got to be the real taste of Uni”. The freshness and sweetness was far better than the one I had in Rakuzen! And that was just the beginning of our great dinner.

Next was my Grilled Saba Set, which, seemed to be a dull and boring choice but I can tell you, it was one of the best Grilled Saba I’ve eaten. Personally, I think it’s on par with Kampachi’s Grilled Saba or even better. The thick chunk of saba was grilled to perfection, with a little char on the skin while the flesh remained juicy on the inside. Our dinner was brought to another level of excitement when Aburi Toro was served. The lightly grilled tuna belly had a melt-in-the mouth texture and alluring taste which I think can be perfectly described in just one simple word – OISHII!

Dragon Roll and Grilled Salmon Head were not ordered by me but I had the chance to try a bit of each. But what worth a mention between the two is the Grilled Salmon Head because I got to savour the best part – the cheek. Who knew salmon cheek could taste so good? A small bit of the jelly-like cheek was enough to make me feel contented.


♥ the appetizing salad dressing.


Uni (sea urchin)


Grilled Saba (grilled mackerel)


Sashimi


Aburi Toro (lightly grilled tuna belly)


Dragon Roll


Grilled Salmon Head


Pig Head…. Err, this is not in their menu.

I have a lunch date, a birthday party and a birthday dinner to attend this weekend. So, I don’t get to cook this coming weekend. What? Me? Unhappy because I don’t need to cook? Yeah I know it sounds completely wrong but this is what I’m feeling now. Cooking is my weekend hobby now! Will I get tired of it? Maybe yes, maybe no. As long as I manage to find new & interesting recipe to learn, I think I can keep going for very long. Talking about recipe, I have a few to share! But I got no picture yet. So wait till I have a nice picture of them, I will definitely post it up :)

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Tom, Dick & Harry

...... are not my boyfriends.

It is the name of a pub & restaurant we recently visited in TTDI. Tom, Dick and Harry’s came highly recommended by Carol when we asked her to suggest a place to celebrate, well, her birthday. Yes, we are lousy friends. There are two branches in town – TTDI and Old Klang Road. The one located at Old Klang Road is the newer branch but we went to the TTDI branch instead.



The pub’s interior is very humble, with only basic furniture and fittings, just like a pub-next-door. Spend some time to read their menu as it’ll surely make you smile if not chuckle, at how they introduce their restaurant and food in a witty way.

We ordered Caesar Salad, Mushroom Soup, Six Pigs in a Blanket, Pizza, Pork Knuckle and Apple Pie. We played safe by ordering only 2 main courses and we knew we made a wise decision upon the arrival of the Pork Knuckle on our table. The portion was GIGANTIC! Luckily we had 4 mouths to sweep ‘em clean. By the way, Pork Knuckle is an out-of-the-menu dish. Probably it is very well-known that it doesn’t need to be mentioned in the menu. People will know it’s a must-order at Tom, Dick & Harry’s.


Caesar Salad – I was surprised by the fried egg on the top! Definitely something different from our usual Caesar salad. But whether it is fried egg or hard-boiled egg, fried calamari or grilled chicken, the utmost important rule in salad is to have more greens! Please, feed me with more greens! I’m a cow!


Cream of Fresh Mushroom Soup – thick and creamy enough, with a lot of my favourite mushroom chunks.


Six Pigs in a Blanket – the name is too cute it makes you feel bad eating them. Guiltiness aside, the mini sausages wrapped in bacon were a bomb when eaten together with the mustard sauce. All gone in seconds. We left one for Uncle Johnny who came late though, haha!


Honey Ham, Bacon & Pineapple Pizza – While the mini sausages were superb, the pizza failed to amaze me.


Pork Knuckle – here comes the superstar of the night! As I always said, I’m not a pork person but that night I took up the courage to try it albeit it looked absolutely sinful. The flesh was tender and juicy but my favourite part got to be the crispy skin. I did not help much in finishing up the pork knuckle but I helped to sweep clean most of the mashed potato at the bottom.


Apple Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream


How can you not order beer in a pub?



And now I know pork and beer are good friends. Forgive me for being a noob in everything related to pub. I’m in my late 20’s but yet, I’m still pretty much a pub-virgin.

Time to explore more pubs? Never mind, I’ll leave it to Carol, our tour guide :)

Friday, March 02, 2012

Five Treasures Porridge

Rice and porridge – which one you like better? I’d go for the former anytime. So it’s not surprising that I couldn’t cook a tasty porridge because, well, I didn’t know how to and wasn’t at all interested in learning something that I didn’t love to eat.

One Saturday afternoon, however, I vowed to cook an ultimate lip smacking porridge after being teased by Chris! So, challenge accepted!

My sure-win strategy #1 - get a good porridge recipe from sifu (read: my dad).
He briefly explained to me the preparation steps and the ingredients needed to make the porridge. Then, I was left all alone in the battlefield…

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1 hour later

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A porridge bursting with flavours! The combination of dried scallop, dried oyster, dried shrimp and dried shredded cuttlefish has really infused a lot of seafood sweetness into the porridge. Besides, the mushroom chunks were really nice to the bite. Need not to say, Chris licked the bowl clean and asked for more! So, I made it? Really? Woo hoo, mission accomplished with 5 stars rating!

Here’s my winning porridge recipe ☆



Ingredients:
- Rice
- Dried mushroom
- Dried scallop
- Dried oyster
- Dried shrimp
- Dried shredded cuttlefish
- Water

Seasonings:
- Oyster sauce
- Salt
- Ikan bilis cube (optional)

Steps:
1. Wash and soak all dried seafood ingredients for at least 30 minutes. Do the same for dried mushroom but add a tablespoon of sugar into the soaking water. The mushroom will reconstitute quicker and nicer with the added sugar.

2. Drain all ingredients but save the soaking water for later use. Cut mushroom into dice. If you are using bigger dried oyster / dried shrimp, you may also want to cut them into smaller pieces after soaking.

3. Heat up some oil in the wok, add in all seafood ingredients and mushroom, and stir-fry until fragrant. Add a dash of oyster sauce. If you prefer, you may also add a dash of Shaoxing wine just right before you turn off the heat. Scoop out and set aside.

4. Wash and drain rice. In a big pot – put in rice, stir-fried ingredients and soaking water. Add in sufficient amount of normal water for cooking porridge. Bring it to boil.

5. When it starts to boil, turn to low heat. Let it simmer until it becomes grainy and the liquid thickens. Stir occasionally and add water if needed.

6. Add salt to taste. For an extra boost of flavour, add in ½ cube of ikan bilis stock.

Remarks: To prevent the boiling bubble from spattering out, don’t fully cover the pot. Leave a small space between the pot and the lid. Remember to keep an eye and stir occasionally, especially when the porridge starts to thicken to prevent the porridge from getting burned.

This porridge has been our favourite weekend meal for weeks. Chris is so addicted to it, hehe. This big success has lifted up my cooking passion. So, you’ll probably see me chopping and stir-frying in the kitchen more often now. Perhaps I can tone up a muscle or two while doing so?

Happy cooking! :D

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