I remember as a kid, my sis and I would follow my mum to the stockbroking firm and after that to the supermarket nearby. Outside the supermarket, 2 brothers would setup a stall in their van selling apam balik – this is a crispy pancake that’s a little bit fluffy in texture, stuffed with roasted peanuts, you can get some with sweetened creamed corn in it. My sis in particular loved their apam balik. There’s another version called ban jian kuih – similarly, it’s filled with roasted peanuts, but it’s soft and fluffy in texture, and a bit thicker than apam balik. I got this recipe from aunty lily’s blog and it was great. My many attempts before this were flops as I couldn’t get the crispy texture that goes “crunch” when you bite into it. This recipe was awesome!
- 170 gm all purpose flour
- 100 gm rice flour
- 30 gm corn flour
- 2 tsp double action baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 150 gm sugar
- Peanuts, roasted and chopped finely
- Melted butter
- Caster sugar
- Mix all the ingredients together. Add water till a watery batter is formed and flows freely down, then strain and leave it in the fridge overnight.
- Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat.
- Ladle some batter onto pan till it coats pan all over especially the edges. Drain off excess batter.
- When batter is no longer wet and runny, brush melted butter over the top and drizzle with sugar and roasted peanuts on one half of the apam balik.
- When the bottom is golden brown, fold the pancake into half and place on plate to cool. It’ll become crispy when it has cooled.
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Alan bought this sauce recipe book some time ago but we’ve not really used it much. The first time I was introduced to thermidor sauce was when we were preparing for the crayfish feast. Alan flipped through his book and stumbled upon the recipe for this sauce. This sauce is traditionally served with lobster but is also good with almost any shellfish or white fish. Since we were having crayfish we decided to try making the sauce and boy, it was good! There was however a little leftover so I decided to use it for dinner the next night and do a prawn linguine. Yum!
- 400 ml campbell fish stock (or you can make it from scratch yourself)
- 200 ml dry riesling
- 1 bouquet garni
- 15 gm butter
- 15 gm plain flour
- 300 ml milk
- 2 tsps tomato paste
- 1 tsp English mustard
- Tarragon, finely chopped
- 150 ml double cream
- 1 tbsp brandy
- Salt & pepper
- Bring fish stock, wine and bouquet garni to a boil in a saucepan. Cook until it has reduced to approximately 200ml.
- In another saucepan, melt butter till it is bubbling. Add the flour and whisk until it colour changes till a light brown.
- Remove the butter mixture from heat and slowly whisk in milk till smooth.
- Return to the heat, add tomato paste, mustard and pepper, bring to a boil. Simmer till it thickens.
- Remove the bouquet garni from the stock and pour the stock into the sauce.
- Stir in the tarragon, cream and brandy and bring it to simmer over medium heat. It is ready when the sauce thinly coats the back of a wooden spoon. Season according to taste and serve.
- A bouquet garni is made out of a bunch of herbs tied together. A classic bouquet garni has bay leaves, thyme, parsley which is then wrapped in a length of celery or leek and tied together.
- Prawns, de-shelled
- Thermidor sauce
- Lemon juice
- Bring a pot of water with a pinch of salt to boil. Add linguine and cook.
- Drain linguine and toss with olive oil.
- Toss pasta, thermidor sauce and prawns in a pan. Cook till prawns are just cooked.
- Dish up and serve with a squeeze of lemon juice.
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- 180gm white chocolate
- 300ml thickened cream
- 1 tsp gelatine
- 3 eggs, separated
- 1 tbsp coffee powder
- 2 tbsp Amarula liquer
- Melt chocolate, coffee powder and cream in a double boiler. Remove and leave to cool a little
- Place 1 tbsp boiling water in a bowl and sprinkle gelatine over the water. Fill a big bowl with boiling water. Place the bowl with gelatine in the bog bowl and stir till dissolve.
- Stir egg yolks, alcohol and gelatine into chocolate. Refrigerate till thicken slightly.
- In the meantime, beat egg whites till stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.
- Split cake into three layers. Place first layer into cake tin, pour one layer of mocha mousse over. Place second layer of cake and top with remaining mousse. Place last layer of cake on top and refrigerate overnight.
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Happy Valentine’s Day! Alan and I are not big fans of Vday and once again this year we’ve made a pact to not get each other anything – instead we’ll spend on our anniversary. However, dinner’s still a must. I’ve heard so much about Piccalilly and have been wanting to go there for some time. Finally, I get my chance to try this place everyone’s been raving about.
Last year Vday we were at Gondwana before they changed management to Piccalilly. I have to admit that to a certain extent I was expecting to walk back into a restaurant with relatively similar deco and food menu. Yeah, I kinda didn’t do my research so was taken by surprised when I walked into the restaurant. The setting was different – elegant, sophisticated, but yet comfortable and relax. I vaguely remember Gondwana being a little less spacious as more tables were squeezed together to cater for more customers. On the other hand with Piccalilly, the deco made the room look bigger and more spacious, and there weren’t as many tables – hence catering for a smaller group, making one feel special to be part of this group of exquisite diners.
The food was absolutely divine! I can’t even begin to describe how wonderful every dish was! At Piccalilly’s, they practice Assiette Dining – which is a French word meaning ‘Selection’. In other words, they only offer entrée size dishes and no main dishes whatsoever. Customers can either choose from a selection of savoury and sweet dishes up to their satisfaction or choose the option of a 3, 4, 5 or 6 course which was obviously priced a lot cheaper than hand-picking the same amount of meals off the menu yourself. With the set courses, it’s not like some restaurants where they give you a selection of dishes and you pick what you want, but here you can pick anything you want from the savoury and sweet menu. In addition, with the set courses, there is the option of having wine matching service provided by the Maitre’D to suit each individual meal you’ve selected.
We were advised that the 4 course was equivalent to having a 3 course of entrée, main and dessert, hence Alan went for that while I went for the 3 course. Stunning is the best word to describe the night – the food and service was far above expectations. Staff were friendly, courteous, professional – exactly what every hospitality staff should be like. We had complimentary bread throughout our meal, as well as an amuse and a pallet cleanser on the house. The food was all about presentation and flavours – what is the signature ingredient of each item, what’s the best way to bring out the natural flavour of the main ingredient, how to enhance but yet not mask or overpower this main ingredient – all these and more questions were answered in every dish. To ask me to describe the dishes I had would be an insult as words will never do the chefs any justice. All I can say is that I’ve finally found a place where I can say is comparable to Marque IV.
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Gong Xi Fa Cai everyone! Happy Chinese New Year! For those of you who’ve been (and also those of you haven’e been) following my blog, I just want to take this opportunity to wish you all a prosperous year of the rat! May the year 2008 bring with it abundant prosperity, great health and overflowing happiness to all of you!
I haven’t had the time to blog as I’ve been flat out with CNY preparations – making and baking cookies the weekend before CNY, and then preparing for reunion dinner and a CNY party at my place on sat. Busy, busy, BUSY!! But it’s all good fun! I haven’t properly celebrated CNY in M’sia for 4 years (I think) and it’s really very sad to be away from family and friends during this time of the year. This year we gathered a close group of friends for reunion dinner – which was just a really small affair as we all had work and classes the next day (yeah, it’s really sad…no public holidays for us!) The big one was saturday night! You’ll be surprised how many people there are who haven’t gone home for CNY or have just returned from hols as classes start a wee bit earlier for them. Due to space constraints, we had to stream our guess list very tightly and it was indeed an accomplishment to fit 20 people (and a dog) in a small living room! it was potluck and the arraignment of mouth watering food on the table was enough to make anyone forget the misery of not spending CNY with family and friends back home!
Unfortunately, my designated photographer (Alan) didn’t do a good job hence I don’t have many photos in the slide. But I can tell you we had yee sang, prawns, duck, chicken, vegetarian dish (lo hon zhai), tofu, dumplings and the list goes on! How could we forget the cards – poker, Big 2 and blackjack, and of course mahjong! CNY is not CNY if there are no cookies, no food and no gambling ! It was great just having people over and celebrating together. The sound of laughter, the continuous chatter and the overstuffed tummies made this night memorable. It’s been a long time since I’ve had such fun!
The song in the slideshow sounds a bit corny but wut-the-heck, it’s Chinese New Year! I used to hate these songs, and still do, but what is CNY without these bubbly, bouncy songs filled with blessings and wishes for the coming year! Once again, Gong Xi Fa Cai! :)
PS: Don’t worry, you’ll only be listening to this song for 15 days!
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Definitely one of my all time favourites! This dessert looks amazing served as a slice or in cups, tall glasses, cocktail glasses and any other way you can think of!
I used sponge fingers instead of making my own sponge cake for these beauties but the recipe
for the tiramisu cream is the same as my previous post. Enjoy!
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