Thursday, January 31, 2008

Mum's Place @ Damansara Perdana

Sunday night saw us in this restaurant which Heather has always wanted to bring us. Apparently a very popular home style Malacca nyonya cuisine with strong Portuguese influence.

Pictures of the restaurant owner taken with famous people and dignitaries gracing almost all the walls.

As expected, we were busy taking pictures of the place, the vase, the napkins, the forks, the serviettes, the floor, the frames... so Heather busied herself with the ordering, as expected.

Prawn Sambal Petai. Very tasty. And very spicy. And makes you have second helping of rice.

Deep fried crispy honey glazed sotong (squid). A very interesting dish with an unusual texture.

A favourite! The otak otak is deep fried, and served with a special sauce.

Lemak Kuning Fish Head. This dish was so deliciously creamy and looked so deceivingly mild but boy, it was furiously spicy. Natalie was panting by her third spoonful, gulping down gallons of ice tea in between mouthful of this. Megat started sweating halfway through his rice. But Heather happily slurping this up. A must try.

Heather's favourite fried rice. It was tasty, but overshadowed by the rest of the dishes that went best with steamed white rice. K finished it.

The cendol which I enjoyed very much. The rest had given up by then and were utterly full so I had it all by myself. The cendol, gula melaka, red beans teamed with santan and shaved ice...irresistible combination. My sweet tooth was satisfied.
Mum's Place
31-1, 33-1, 35-1, 37-1 & 39-1,
Jalan PJU 8/5A,
Bandar Damansara Perdana,
47820 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Tel : 603 7727 8443/ 7727 8449

We also managed to have a lil pre-birthday celebration for K. Heather bought cupcakes from Marmalade and decorated them with M&M's. Can you make out what she tried to write?

(This pic is shot upside down but it's supposed to say: DADDY BDAY :) :) :) )

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! We love you!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Lunch @ House + Co., Bangsar

K and myself were in KL for a short visit on Sunday and arrived back home again only early this morning. For this short trip, we were able to cover quite a number of interesting makan places.
Met up with Heather in KL as soon as we arrived and she wanted to bring us to taste the best apam in town. Drove to Bangsar but was so disappointed, the stall was closed.
She scratched her head as to where to bring us for lunch...when in KL we let her worry about that, we just sit back and relax :p

Hah, I know a place to chat and chill, she said as the heat was getting unbearable.

We landed at the Bangsar shopping mall, got up to the 3rd floor and entered a household store selling cutlery, dine wares and furniture. Thought she wanted to do some shopping but she continued on right to the back of the store. Yup, the chill out place is in this store.
Very cleverly merged into the store is a chic cafe with a very cosy ambiance.

The menu selection was very limited, so we left that to Heather too while I busied myself with the camera.

All the cutlery used in the cafe can be bought from the store, I was told.
Something to munch on before the meals.

A very substaintial grapes and pine nuts salad.

When the nasi lemak arrived I realised that I have visited this place before, in a blog that is.

I read about this place in Lemongrass lyrical's blog not too long ago. I remembered the beautiful nasi lemak presentation in her post.

The nasi lemak had a choice of beef, chicken or sotong (squid). We had sotong, absolutely delicious.

The basmati rice was a little dry but fragrantly infused with santan and pandan (screwpine leave). The sambals were just right without being too spicy.

This is one yummy nyonya curry laksa served with creamy santan gravy and loads of chicken strips, prawns and even cockles!

Wow, so absolutely over the moon! Another post from our blog was featured in the Star newspaper at the Metro section last Sunday 27/01/2008! It was the porky reviews by Heather on a Spanish restaurant in KL, the Elcerdo.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Winged Beans

Winged Beans are seasonal and we just don't seems to get enough of them. So we would always buy whenever we chanced upon them in the market.
Winged beans with sambal belacan is our favourite and most times that's how I would cook them.
Wanted to try something different this time and so winged beans with fermented bean curd was conceived.
It was a bigger hit than the sambal version and much easier to prepare.
I used a store-bought spicy fermented bean curd in a small square bottle but I think you can easily add some chopped or crushed chillies to spiced up the normal fermented bean curd.

Winged beans with fermented bean curd
1 big bowl thinly sliced young winged beans
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 pieces fermented bean curd + 1 tablespoon bean curd's sauce
1 red chili, chopped or use bird's eye chili if want more heat
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon oil

Heat wok, add oil and when oil is hot add garlic.
Fry till fragrant but not brown, add fermented bean curds, stir and break them up, cook till oil surfaces.
Add chillies and winged beans. Stir fry, add a little water if too dry then add the sugar, to taste.
The whole frying process shouldn't take more than 5 minutes.
Do not overcook, the color may change but the crunchiness should remain.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

CNY favourites

'Kam' in Chinese sounds like gold and what can be more auspicious than that. So, you'll see these at homes, offices, shops and just about everywhere during this festival. We love these miniature 'kam' about the size of ping pong balls. They are super sweet, very fragrant and less fibrous than their bigger cousins. Yummy.

These were my mum's cny favourite and we always have it during the festival. When young, this, to me was a special candy we could only get during cny and didn't realised it actually was a fruit. It was only much later in my life that I finally got to taste persimmon in its fresh state and by then I was already fiercely loyal to its dried version.

Dried figs. Not a very traditionally cny fare but I found this rather fresh dried fig recently and fell in love with it. This sundry shop keeper said they only have them during the cny period. Normally, the dried fig we get are very much drier and harder and can only be used in cooking soups but this, when washed, can be eaten as is or serve in salad thinly sliced.

Another must-have for the coming lunar new year.
What would we do without these sausages? Can you imagine clay pot rice without these?
Am I just being biased when I think that these Chinese sausages know no peers where taste and texture are concerned?
The simple act of steaming these on top of cooking rice would filled the whole kitchen with its wonderful distinct aroma. I could just eat these with boiled rice.
And to me, they meant more than just another new year's food.
They bring memories of the time we were in Seattle many, many years ago in summer, so it was long after the Chinese new year festival.
K, myself and two of our children - a six-years-old and a baby were there for about 3 weeks when K did his training.
After a few days of steaks, potatoes, pizza and pasta, I just got so homesick for rice and anything Chinese!
Mentioned over a phone conversation with Mee Fung who was in LA and she immediately sent through the post a small rice-cooker packed with a bag of rice and guess what?... yes, two packets of these gorgeous sausages and what could have been more Chinese than these.
I carefully rationed these precious commodities to last our entire stay in Seattle. To me, that was the ultimate comfort food then.
And I thank God for sisters!

This was not the family favourite until recent years when I started making it into chips. Now they couldn't get enough of arrowroot chips (I deep-fried more than 6 kg of these for the last cny). I still prefer arrowroot stew with chicken, Chinese sausage and leek but not many share my sentiment.

Here are but a few of our cny favourites and the list can go on and on. They are the little things that help make the festive season so special and colorful.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies

This is a totally outrageous but truly glorious indulgence. That is what you get when you marry cream cheese and chocolate.
Remember the cookbook I got from the MV Doulos? The Sweet Comfort Food is the title and it does exactly that - so comforting especially on a Monday. Whatever Monday's blues...out the window they go.
I had to reduce the butter and sugar contents to lessen the sinfulness of this sumptous treat.
Warning, do not read on if you are on a diet.

Chocolate and cheesecake brownies
Cheesecake mixture:
225g cream cheese
1 egg, beaten
50g castor sugar
1 tsp. vanilla essence

Brownies mixture:
200g dark (bittersweet) chocolate
30g unsalted butter
50g brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
50g all-purpose flour

1. Preheat ovento 160C/325F. Line a 7 inch cake tin with baking patchment.
2. To make the cheesecake mixture, beat all the ingredients together until smooth and creamy.
3. For the brownie mixture, melt chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. When melted, off the heat and stir well. Add sugar and mix to dissolve. Pour in egg a little at a time and keep stirring till thoroughly mixed. Gently stir in flour.
4. Spread 2/3 of the brownie mixture over the base of tin. Spread the cheesecake mixture on top, then spoon on the remaining brownie mixture in heaps. Use a skewer to creat twirls on the two mixtures.
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until just set in the centre.
6. Leave to cool in the tin, then cut into small pieces (not more than 1"x 1" :p)

Indulge but in dainty bites! Best with a strong cuppa black coffee without sugar.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Pork Rolls

K outdid himself with this fabulous dish inspired by Gordon Ramsey. Mr. Ramsey used a spinach filling, K substituted it with red cabbage and it worked very well. It takes a bit of work but really not as difficult as it seem and the result is simply sumptuous.

2-3 cups red cabbage thinly sliced, lightly saute with red wine vinegar
1 big onion thinly sliced, lightly saute
2-3 mushroom (optional), thinly sliced, lightly saute

Mix them all together, season with sugar, salt and pepper to taste.

1. About 400g pork chop, sliced (similar to unrolling a swiss roll) into a flat sheet and flatten further with a mallet.

2. Lined the bacon strips on a piece of glad wrap or foil. Place the flatten piece of pork on top of the bacon.

3. Arrange the filling across one end of the meat.

4. Using the foil or glad wrap as a guide and support, roll the meat and bacon with the filling in the middle (like making a sushi roll, the bamboo mat for rolling maki would be very good for this job).

5. Secure the roll with toothpicks. Wrap with foil.

6. Steam for 25 - 30 minutes on high heat.

7. Remove from heat and when cooled slightly, remove foil. Keep the remaining liquid for later use.

8. Heat a frying pan, add 1-2 tablespoon oil. Lower steamed roll carefully onto pan and brown all over.

9. Rest for 5 - 10 minutes before slicing.

10. Prepare the gravy by deglazing the pan (used to fry the roll) with the liquid (from steaming) and balsamic vinegar. Thicken with a teaspoon of butter and season to taste.

11. Serve rolls with a dash of gravy, baked potato wedges and fresh salad.


K and Jo

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

H & H Kopitiam @ Jalan Damai

We have been coming to this 'yong tofu' joint for more than three months for our once a week sisterly get-together breakfast routine and it's only now I managed to take some pictures.
It serves very simple ordinary dishes but with the freshest produce.
The fish stuffings for all the tofu and vegetables are freshly made everyday and has a very springy bite without the rubbery bounciness of the commercial fishballs.
This is the closest to home-cooked you could get anywhere. The 'yong tofu' come in a very light fish stock.

My must-order every time i come here. I really don't mind having this everyday. The ever so fresh vegetables are cooked just right with a bit of crunch still and the soup, light yet flavourful.

The 'kon lou' noodles are also done very lightly without being too oily or salty.

This chinese-style chicken curry is what keeps me coming back for more. The gravy has just the right consistency laced with santan and spices. It is not overly spicy and goes so well with the yong tofu.

This kopitiam is located along Jalan Damai at the single row of shops between the Esso petrol kiosk and the SMC. If you are coming from the Damai area going towards Dah Yah Villa, the shops are on your right, right after the Esso station. The kopitiam is open for breakfast and lunch daily.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Nian Gao 年糕

Let us kick start the Chinese new year season with this traditional sticky cake.

When we start getting this special cake, we know for sure the season of Chinese new year is here. This dessert is synonymous with CNY as fruit cake is to Christmas. It is a must-have in all Chinese households during this festive season.
Chinese love auspicious sounding food during this most important season of the year. Nian Gao has the same connotation of 年高, which literally is 'year high' - means something like getting higher in the year. When this cake is given as a gift, it brings with it the wish that everything in the year will improve and get better (higher).
An old legend related to this dessert is that the Kitchen God is fed with this cake. The stickiness of the cake would glue the Kitchen God's mouth and that, hopefully will prevent him from reporting anything unfavourable about the family in heaven.

This cake is seldom eaten as is but can be prepared in many different ways.
The simplest method and the way my mum liked it best is to pan-fry thin slices of the cake coated in beaten eggs until soft and golden.
My children like it deep-fried, sandwiched between two slices of yam (taro) dipped in a light batter.
The dessert above is my favourite way to eat this cake. Steam the cake till soft. If the cake is freshly made omit the steaming. Cut it into bite-size cubes with a thick thread and roll the cubes in freshly grated coconut. Simpl yet so delicious.
Pit Fung gave us the above cake specially ordered from a lady who makes it every year. The texture is unbelievably smooth and it is also kurang manis (less sugar). It is wrapped in banana leaves which gives it a very alluring aroma.

Traditionally, nian gao is made of only a few basic ingredients - just glutinous rice flour, sugar and water. Mix them together well and knead. Divide the dough, place in lined (with fragrant leaves like banana, lotus, pandan or like those we get in the shops - just cellophane) containers and steam for 3-4 hours. Depending on the sugar content in the cake, some can be safely kept for days without refrigeration or months in fridge.

My grandparents used to make these cakes in the olden days to sell .
They made them from scratch. Started with the grinding of soaked glutinous rice in a hugh stone grinder.
2 hugh cylindrical slabs of stone, one piled on top of the other. The top slab has a hole in the centre and a handle with which to move the stone that required a lot of muscles to turn.
One hand spoon the soaked glutinous rice into the hole and the other hand would turn the stone in a circular path. The grinding takes place between the two slabs of stones and the final produce comes out in a milky solution.
The ground rice would then be tied into a bag and hang to drain out some of the water used to ground the rice.
They also used the same machine for grinding soy beans for tofu making. I am biased I know, but then, everything used to taste so much better - my grandparents made the best tofu I have ever tasted. Silky smooth with the most exquisite smoky aroma.
Cooking with firewood is something we have sacrificed for convenience
I remember the hustle and bustle in the kitchen at the back of the shop house (they lived upstairs in the shop) a month or so before Chinese new year with rows and rows of metal containers lining up to be filled and steamed.
A gigantic triple story bamboo steamer atop a big wok that sat on a hugh furnace fed with fire wood working non-stop and the aroma that filled the kitchen was intoxicating.

If you are still with me, thank you for putting up with my memory lane ramblings . Our grandparents are no more here but the fond memories they left behind are sometimes still so vivid!
Better stop here and leave you with these sweetness before I get started on a novel...


Friday, January 11, 2008


This, I allow myself to have only one at the end of a long day. Received this gift during the Christmas season and I have been selfishly hogging it since. And now with the contents half gone and guiltily admitting gluttony, I decided to share them with you :p.
This Austrian gem comes from Salzburg. It is called Mozartkugel, named after the famous composer, Mozart who was born in Salzburg.
It is made with an outer layer of rich dark bitter chocolate (super velvety smooth) enclosing within a layer of light praline cream and a layer of dark praline cream. Right in the center is the finest marzipan with pistachio nuts.
That should give you an idea what will-power I had to exert restraint on myself from pigging out the whole content in two sittings.
Truly heaven in a bite.
Lucky for me K doesn't share my passion for chocolate.
Enjoy and have a lovely second weekend of 2008!


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Ong T W's Steamed Fish

Here is another recipe from K's colleague, Ong. Since the roast pork turned out so good, K decided to try his steamed fish recipe too. It is very simple with very easily available ingredients.

Simple Steamed fish

Place cleaned whole or a fillet of fish on crushed ginger on a steaming plate.

If using whole fish place some ginger in the belly too.

Steam for 8-10 minutes depending on the size and thickness of fish.

While fish is steaming, heat 2 tbsp of oil and fry 2 tbsp. each of sliced shallots, minced ginger and garlic (separately).

Lift out the shallots, ginger and garlic from oil when golden and fragrant.

Add 1 tbsp. each of light and thick soy sauce into the same hot oil, let it sizzle and off the heat.

Pour soy mixture over fish, sprinkle some sliced chillies on top and steam for another 2-3 minutes.

Serve fish garnished with the fried shallots, ginger and garlic.

He also whipped up this ever-popular kerabu pakis, yumzz...

Our simple dinner ended with a special dessert from my brother, Tet Mui. He and his family went to Macau (thanks to Air Asia) for a holiday and brought home some delicious tidbits like this crispy roll with sea weed and meat floss.

One of the posts from our blog was featured in the Star newspaper last Sunday (6/1/08)! We learnt about it only last night thanks to Sonyart. Read about it here.

K and Jo