nekochan
From the people who brought us Opus and Cava in Bangsar (two places I used to spend way too much time at), they now bring us Moxie.

Situated at Plaza Damansara, it's the latest addition to the already growing F&B outlets in the area.

How different will they be? Guess we'll have to go check them out right?

In the meantime, if you want to have a look at their menu, promotions, location map, etc, go to
http://moxie.my/

Moxie
44 -44M Plaza Damansara
Jalan Medan Setia 2
Bukit Damansara
50490 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03 2095 0016
nekochan
Today, on the way back from Berjaya Hills, I stopped by Bukit Tinggi Village to get some old ginger. The ginger here is really yummy and huge! They grow it in this areas so it's really fresh.

Also got some fresh green veges like long beans, and some other leafy stuff for boiling soup and stir fry.

Cooking the Ginger
1) Get a few thumb size pieces of old ginger (I don't like using young ginger because there's not enough oomph and after a few hours, it tend to get sour, like it's going off!)
2) peel the skin off
3) take something heavy and bruise it
4) put it in the crockpot with water
5) add pandan leaves
6) add red dates (optional)
7) cook overnight

If you don't have a crockpot, you can just boil it normally for about 45 minutes or so. However, the flavour won't be as intense; you can add more ginger then.
nekochan
Today a friend came over for lunch. As it was a meeting cum lunch, I had to whip up something really quick. Still don't have any meat in the house so I made a simple pasta dish with what I had.

Ingredients
Spiral Pasta
Chopped garlic
Carrot (used the peeler to make it into carrot ribbons)
Yellow Pepper (cut into strips)
Pesto
Can of Tuna Flakes in Water
Commercial Pasta Sauce

Steps
Cook the pasta, drain

For the sauce
1) olive oil into the pan
2) add chopped garlic, wait for a minute
3) add 1 teaspoon of pesto, wait for a while
4) add the carrot and peppers with a little bit of water, and simmer
5) add some Pasta sauce, simmer
6) add the Tuna
6) add the cooked pasta and mix

Wala, a meal in about 15 minutes!
nekochan
Does anyone else wonder why drummettes are called buffalo wings? Or is it just me???






nekochan
After reading this, I'm thinking .. French-themed dinner anyone? I'm good with everything except the frog legs .. :)

Foods You'll Want to Taste While in France
Adapted From: France For Dummies, 4th Edition
http://www.dummies.com/WileyCDA/DummiesArticle/id-5275.html?cid=etipArticleLink?cid=articleFeature

Tasting the amazing cuisine of France is one of the best reasons for visiting the country. Being adventurous is key: Many of the best foods in France are rarely seen in the United States — and if they are, they taste better in France. You can put your trust in French chefs because they take great pride in the freshness and preparation of their food. Restaurant meals, with five to seven courses, last several hours, so you'll need to pace yourself (and don't fill up on bread, no matter how wonderful it is).

Café au lait (ca-fay oh LAY)
Café au laitis espresso with steamed milk (similar to a latté you'd order at any American coffee bar), and it's the perfect eye-opener for the morning or pick-me-up for the afternoon. It's sometimes called a café crème. No, it isn't American coffee — it's much better. What many French people drink for a quick pick-me-up during the day and also after meals is un espresso, a tiny cup of very strong . . . well, espresso. For decaffeinated, ask for café decaffeiné or un déca.

Croissant (kwah-SAWN)
These popular breakfast rolls are pretty much available around the world now, but if you think you know all about croissants, think again. Croissants in France, a staple at every bakery in the country, taste very different from ones you get in other countries. They're light, flaky, and irresistibly buttery.

Pain au chocolat (PAN o shawk-oh-LAH)
A kids' favorite, this delicious breakfast pastry is a square croissant filled with dark chocolate, and you're likely to find one at any bakery (pâtisserie) in the country. The French eat a light (continental) breakfast of a croissant and pastry with coffee. That way, they save up big appetites for lunch and dinner, which are multicourse extravaganzas.

Croque-monsieur (croak mis-SYER)
Croque-monsieuris ham and melted cheese on a croissant, usually served open-faced. Available at most cafes, it's the perfect light lunch sandwich. A croque madame is the same but with a grilled egg on top.

Escargot (es-car-GO)
Yes, like Lucy Ricardo (remember that episode of I Love Lucy?), while in France you need to try snails, served in their shells with lots of butter, garlic, and parsley. They're luscious, tender little treats, but what you'll taste most is garlic. Snails are a true French delicacy.

Bouillabaisse (booh-ya-BESSE)
This hearty fish stew, a meal in itself, is the specialty of Provence (especially Marseille) and the Riviera. At some restaurants, the fish — many types — is served separately from the broth. When you're served the soup, you may also be served round, toasted pieces of bread and a hot peppery sauce called rouille. What you do is spread the sauce on the bread and plop the bread into the stew or pour the broth over the bread. Then you can add the fish or consume it separately. A cousin of bouillabaisse is bourride, another authentic fish soup in vogue along the Mediterranean.

Cuisses de grenouilles (cweess duh gre-NOO-yuh)
Frogs' legs do taste a little like chicken, but they're saltier and more delicate. You'll find the best examples of this classic French dish in the Loire Valley.

Pâté de foie gras (pat-ay duh fwoh GRAH)
A staple of every fancy restaurant in France is goose liver pâté, which is often à la maison (homemade) and poêlé (pan-fried). Rich and creamy, with dense flavor and a delicate texture, pâté de foie gras is a quintessential French food.

Des truffes (des TROOF)
France's most expensive food, delectable truffes (truffles) are a rare kind of black fungus (like mushrooms) that need to be dug out of the ground by special dogs or pigs trained for the task of locating them. Truffle season is November to March. Truffles appearing on any dish (aux truffes) up the price of the meal by 25 or more euros ($30). Look for them particularly on omelets and pasta.

Chariot de fromage (chair-ree-aht duh frwoh-MAZH)
Ah, the chariot of cheese: brie, camembert, Roquefort, chèvre, Gruyère, and so on. At the best restaurants, the selection of cheeses is so enormous, it must be wheeled to you on a trolley. When the waiter brings it over, ask which are the best cheeses of the region ("Les fromages de la region?"), and choose which ones you want by pointing to several. The waiter will serve them, and you can eat them with a knife and fork.

Tarte tartin, soupe de fraises, ile flotant, crème brûlée, mousse au chocolat (tart tah-TIHN, soup duh FREZ, eel flo-TAHNT, krem bruh-LAY, moose oh shawk-oh-LAH)
Apple tart, boozy strawberry soup, floating island (meringue with a custard sauce), custard topped with caramel, chocolate mousse . . . and the list goes on. Having dessert in a French restaurant is reason enough to visit the country. C'était bon!
nekochan
Genting will be bringing their Chef John King from Genting Stanley's UK to cook at The Olive from 22nd - 30th November 2008. This should be a very good dining experience!


nekochan
In anticipation of my next trip to Melbourne ...

Adventures on a Chocolate Planet
http://www.travelandleisure.com.au/roaming_reporter/

Ever since the conquistadors brought back the Central American chocolate bean to the courts of Europe chocolate has retained both an exotic and an elitist flavour. (The new Spanish wife of Louis XIII decreed in 1615 that it could only be consumed by members of the French aristocracy.)

This is only reinforced in the opening this month of a new Mecca for chocoholics in Melbourne, Monsieur Truffe.

A French chocolatier of high distinction, Mr Truffe has expanded from the cramped quarters of Prahan Market into an artfully grungy shopfront on Collingwood's Smith Street. Recycled tables and chairs and an old-fashioned revolving atlas team with distressed designer wallpaper, while exquisite hot chocolate and tissanes are consumed from grandmotherly tea sets. The place has an intimate, homey feel, reinforced when softly-spoken proprietor, Thibault Fregoni, comes over to explain, in passionate detail, the provenance of the cocao beans (Papua New Guinea), and the fine gradations of caramel, honey and almond in his eponymous chocolate bars.

Monsieur Truffe takes it place in a select but burgeoning firmament of boutique chocolate shops in Melbourne. St Kilda favourite Cacao is still going strong – try their punchy Mocha – while the City's Cocoa-le-art is thriving in its second year – great chocolate mice – but current kings of the chocolate castle (and in danger of losing boutique status) are Koko Black – now in Carlton, the CBD, Camberwell, Chadstone and Canberra. For the city's most expensive chocolate (around $500 for four), go to the Chocolateria San Churro on Fitzroy's Brunswick Street and fork out for the Truffla del Oro, a dizzying mix of Venezuelan single origin chocolate, Moet & Chandon vintage champagne and 23-carat edible gold.

Of course, there's barely a self-respecting city anywhere in the world that wouldn't think to offer its own version of the cultured chocolate shop. For many years, Cafe Angelina, on Paris's Rue de Rivoli, was a personal place of genteel, if touristy, pilgrimage, for its super-creamy and world-famous hot chocolate. More recently, frequent work trips to San Francisco often involve a guilty pre-commute visit to Michael Recchiuti's artisan store in the iconic Ferry Building Marketplace. But my all time favourite is chocolate salon, Le Chocolat de H, in Tokyo's Ropongi Hills. It's hard to beat a truffle plate and a glass of red wine after an afternoon buying discounted shirts at Issey Miyake.

For those whose love of chocolate borders on the obsessive, the chocolate planet offers even more extended opportunities for the worship and enjoyment of the food of the gods. Try New York's 'sweet walks', visit Vienna's first Chocolate Museum and spend whole weekends at a time pursuing your passion in Chocolate Festivals from Virginia to New Brunswick to Dublin. As if gluttons for punishment, local Melbourne company, Chocoholic Tours, are even offering extra events by appointment during these school holidays. Get on the phone! I'll avoid the kids, and try and make it to Monsieur Truffe's tasting in late October...

Have you got a favourite chocolate shop at home or abroad?

Want to see me tackle a particular travel topic - or just want to talk direct? E-mail me on simon.westcott@bigpond.com

More thoughts on travel, the arts and life in the bush on www.prospecthouse.com.au

Simon Westcott, a former Lonely Planet publisher, is also a contributing editor to Travel + Leisure Australia magazine.
nekochan
Dishing it out

October 14, 2008

Spitting in food is so passe. A book of waiters' rants lifts the lid on their revenge tactics.
By Kirsten Lawson.

EAT, drink and be wary. Waiter Rant is the kind of inside expose that can put you off eating out. It paints a picture of an industry rife with rip-offs and insincerity, where waiters are not so much out to look after you as to extract money, hoodwink and exact revenge.

Waiter Rant is a book by New York waiter Steve Dublanica, which grew out of his popular blog, http://waiterrant.net. It gives the lowdown on the upmarket end of New York eating, where the main preoccupation of the waiting staff at his Italian restaurant seems to be how much they can make in tips.

And if you upset your waiter, watch out.

Waiters do spit in food, Dublanica writes, although he prefers psychological revenge and power plays. Like embarrassing you by pretending your credit card has a problem, engaging in subtle put-downs in front of your dining companions, losing your reservation, seating you next to the men's room and much worse. These tactics are usually reserved, it seems, for truly objectionable, abusive customers. But if you don't tip properly, watch out.

More commonly, it's a game of subtle manipulation. When you ask what's good in a restaurant, the waiter will point you to the dish that the chef wants to move - because there is too much of it, or it's in danger of going off.

"A good server can make a customer order anything he or she feels like selling," Dublanica says, recounting an exchange with a customer who wanted pollo cardinale.

" 'Pollo cardinale's usually served in autumn, sir," I explain. 'To celebrate new year's, the chef's offering the traditional winter dishes he grew up with in Tuscany.' My explanation is complete and utter bullshit." The most difficult customers are foodies, who want to know whether the salmon is farmed, the fish frozen, the chicken free-range, the balsamic fancy.

"Foodies are usually middle-aged people who fancy themselves (as) experts on food, wine and the finer points of table service," he writes. "There's nothing wrong with being a gourmand, but foodies are not gourmands. They're gourmand wannabes. Foodies think they can watch one TV show and become the food critic for the New York Times."

Another revelation in the book is the amount of information restaurants hold on their diners. Their databases help them track not only birthdays, favourite waiters and special requests, but also record addresses, credit card details, and allow staff to keep notes on people - how good you are at tipping, how long you take to eat, whether they like you or not.

"Here's a dining tip: if you never get the table you want at your favourite restaurant, or if reservations on a special day are always hard to come by, someone at that restaurant doesn't like you," he reveals.

How to be a good customer:

- Make reservations and keep them. On a Friday or Saturday night it's not unusual for 20% of a restaurant's reservations not to show up. Not only is that rude, it hurts the restaurant's bottom line, forcing management to overbook. If you've ever wondered why your table's never ready when you show up for your reservation on time, that's usually the reason.

- If you're going to be late for your reservation, please call. After half an hour you might not get the special table you requested, but you'll still get in. An hour late? Don't even bother.

- Never say, I'm friends with the owner. Restaurant owners don't have friends. This marks you as a clueless poseur the moment you walk in the door.

- Leave your children at home if possible.

- Be polite. Say please and thank you.

- Never say, Do you know who I am? "Why? Did you forget who you are?"

- Do not snap your fingers to get the waiter's attention. Remember, we have shears that cut through bone in the kitchen.

- Do not use your mobile phone in the restaurant. Unless you're a heart-transplant surgeon on standby, turn it off.

- Please make your server go through the specials only once.

- When ordering wine, don't sniff the cork.

- The secret to being treated like a regular customer? Be a regular customer.

- If you can't afford to tip, you can't afford to eat in the restaurant.

From Waiter Rant. Behind the scenes of eating out by A.Waiter. John Murray. $35.


This story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2008/10/13/1223749889473.html
nekochan
Wild food, niche health targeting and customisation identified among ten top trends for 2009
Author: Justin Smith
Source: BI-ME
Published: 09-10-2008

INTERNATIONAL. food&drink towers today publishes its widely anticipated ‘ten top trends’ report. The third annual edition of the trends report will be officially published at the food&drink towers second birthday networking party, to be held in London.

The exclusive new report highlights a wealth of new product development and marketing opportunities for brands in 2009, which is set to be some of the most turbulent and difficult years for the food&drink industry.

Helen Lewis, author of the report and managing director of food&drink towers, said: “The annual trends report always receives the highest number of hits on the website and each year more and more people register to download their free copy. Its popularity is not surprising: staying on top of emerging and future trends is not only imperative in today’s competitive market, but it can be pretty expensive too."The whole ethos behind food&drink towers, which was established two years ago on 9 October 2006, is to make life easier for everyone involved in the industry: PRs, journalists, producers, retailers, suppliers, and even consumers. Reports like this usually come at a premium but we wanted to offer our loyal registered members a chance to thrive during the credit crunch rather than crumble, so it’s completely free.”

Some findings from the report include:
• “With consumers becoming more aware of the negative impact on their health of artificial ingredients such as trans fats and artificial sweeteners, products must be open and honest about the ingredients they choose to use.”
• “Beauty may only be skin deep but the food and drink industry has cottoned on to our desire to be beautiful for longer. Anti-ageing, anti-blemish, anti-this, anti-that products are all appearing on shelves, some making fairly grandiose promises.”
• “As well as making life easier for people on the go, the notion of ‘instant nutrition’ is also predicted to make an impact on NPD in food and drink over the next year. Instant nutrition refers to the idea that people can purchase a product that provides a couple of portions of their five-a-day in one serving, or that is packed with more antioxidants than they’d get eating three platefuls of vegetables.”
• “One in three consumers are becoming more self-sufficient by growing their own fruit and vegetables.”

“In 2009, there will be plenty of opportunities for innovative, fast-thinking, reactive and flexible brands. Despite the credit crunch, the food and drink industry does have options. Consumers are increasingly choosing to stay in and cook a ‘special meal’ rather than pay restaurant prices," said Lewis, also a freelance food and drink journalist.

"We’ve covered many stories about this on the news pages at food&drink towers, and expect plenty more headlines along the same vein in 2009. There is, therefore, room for healthy, ethical, premium and unusual brands, but they must keep their promises and above all, should guarantee high quality and full flavour to avoid losing out to the competition."

The top trends for 2008 are:
• Artificial intelligence
• Beauty foods
• Cost-cutters
• Fast-food nation
• Grow your own
• Meet more unusual meat
• Niche health targeting
• Customisation
• Performance boosters
• The personal touch

Registered members of food&drink towers can download the report, free of charge, at http://www.foodanddrinktowers.com/

Registration is free and once registered you can access the daily news stories, press release archive, features, competitions, events information and much more on the food and beverage industry.
nekochan
Which chopping board is worse for spreading germs?

From http://health.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=165896

We always endeavor to bring you the latest information and we would like to update advice given in our chopping board story. Do not put wooden boards in the microwave to clean.

The test
Whether you are slicing, dicing or carving, a good chopping board is an essential piece of kitchen equipment. But have you ever wondered which kind of chopping board is best to use? Plastic, marble and wood are all popular surfaces.

Our reporter Leila McKinnon finds out if they're as clean as they look and if they harbour any hidden germs?

It's not about being houseproud — it can literally be a matter of life and death. Bacteria like salmonella and E.coli breed on your board — these can cause serious food poisoning and even be fatal.

But does what your board's made out of make a difference?

Back in the '90s, Europe's environmental health investigators decided wood was unhygienic and plastic much cleaner. It became the rule in restaurants and canteens for wood to be given the chop. Instead everyone was picking up the plastic and chef Aaron Ogden says that's still the way it works at the city college in San Francisco where he trains the next generation of chefs.

"The wooden cutting boards … they get broken and cracked so we've gone to a plastic cutting board, it holds up much better for students. They can clean them very well and they don't harbour lot of bacteria," he says.

Well, that's Aaron's theory. But is he right? And where does marble come into the picture?

Leila visits microbiologist Dean Cliver at the University of California. He's studied how bacteria behave on different surfaces.

Professor Cliver and his assistant Edward are going to help us out with a little experiment using marble, wood and plastic chopping boards.

"What we are going to do is put on some harmless E. coli let it dry in place and try and wash it off with common dish detergent and then afterwards see how much stayed behind. So we'll put the same amount on each board, in the middle, and then we'll give it a little time to soak in and dry off before we try to remove it," says Professor Cliver.

After 15 minutes the boards are handwashed in hot water and detergent. Next, samples are taken from the middle of the boards, where the bacteria were applied.

Edward also takes samples from the edge of each board.

Now, we need to give them time to multiply.

Leila: "Okay in the incubator with those?"
Professor: "Yes, at 37 degrees, and tomorrow afternoon, hopefully we'll know what the answer is."

Will that answer show wood's wonderful, marble's marvellous or that plastic really is fantastic?

We'll find out when the bugs have had time to breed.

Results
The boards have been contaminated with E. coli — genetically modified to become fluorescent under UV light.

We're looking at the amount of white stuff that's grown on top of our gels.

Marble board: few signs of bacteria.

Professor Cliver: "That was from the inoculated area and there are relatively few colonies."

Wood board: thin layer of bacteria.

Professor Cliver: "This is from the wood board and here we have colonies, more or less wall-to-wall, but in a thin layer."

Plastic board: more bacteria than the others.

Professor Cliver: "The plastic has a heavier growth than the wood and much more than on the marble board, so this one is the least clean after having been washed.

So plastic's out. We're down to two.

When just the middle of the board is sampled, marble wins. But for samples from the outer parts of the boards, it was a completely different story.

"The one that has too many colonies to count is from the marble board," Professor Cliver.

On the smooth marble, bacteria had spread everywhere, contaminating the entire surface.

Whereas, for the wood the bacteria grew only where they were applied — they didn't spread, leaving a much cleaner surface overall.

ConclusionSo on our chopping board scorecard, plastic comes a definite last and that's because bacteria are able to breed in the cuts left by knives.

Marble came in second because bacteria spread everywhere. Marble also loses points because it's tough on knives.

In the final wash-up, it was wood that blew the competition out of the water. This is no surprise to Professor Cliver. In many similar experiments, wood's always been a winner.

Leila: "Why is wood so much better?"
Professor Cliver: "It's a very porous material and the fluid is drawn into the wood by capillary action and if there are bacteria in the fluid they go in and they never come back alive."
Leila: "So the wooden boards kill the bacteria?"
Professor: "Well, they die off slowly. It may take a few hours, but all the same, they aren't in a position to cause any trouble."
Leila: "So wood's the way to go?"
Professor: "In my opinion."

But the professor adds a rider — be sure to choose a tight-grained hardwood board. If the wood's too soft, those pesky bacteria can multiply in deep knife cuts.

So it's official — wooden chopping boards are back in from the cold. They're knife friendly, they kill bacteria and if looked after properly, they can last for years.

Fast facts
Whatever board you choose to use, do you know the best way to keep it germ-free? For plastic, spray it with a mist of vinegar followed by diluted bleach or hydrogen peroxide. To care for your wooden board, don't' soak it for hours, a quick scrub will do.
nekochan
The inaugural edition of The Miele Guide, Asia’s first truly independent and authoritative restaurant guide will launch on 31 October 2008 at a star-studded dinner held in Singapore. The 2008/2009 edition of this new annual guide will then be available at major bookstores throughout Asia on 1 November 2008.

Written by expert food lovers who know and love Asia, this 2008/2009 edition will be the first restaurant guide to measure the best restaurants in the region by Asian standards. At the same time, as it sets new benchmarks in the Asian culinary sphere, the very best restaurants in Asia will fittingly be given the credence due to them with the launch of the Guide.

Starting with this first edition, The Miele Guide will annually publish a list of Asia’s 20 best restaurants. These restaurants will be numerically ranked and profiled in-depth. In addition, the Guide will list the other 300 best restaurants from across the region, categorised by country, city and cuisine. This first edition evaluates restaurants in 16 Asian countries—Brunei, Cambodia, China (including Hong Kong and Macau), India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

The 2008/2009 edition and this year’s list of Top 20 Restaurants will be unveiled at The Miele Guide Dinner, a chic gala event hosted at the Grand Hyatt Singapore on 31 October 2008. The Dinner will be attended by approximately 350 guests, comprising of a veritable who’s who of Asia’s F&B scene. All chefs and restaurateurs whose establishments have been methodically selected to be in the 2008/2009 edition have been invited.

The slim, elegant and affordable Guide, which will retail at US$15, will be for every traveller, foodie and business person looking to dine in Asia.
nekochan
I saw this article yesterday in http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2008/9/21/sundaymetro/2042104&sec=SundayMetro and can't wait to try it out on my next trip to Penang!!!

Organic bakers
PENANG By HELEN ONG

Jesse Tan, 29, has got more than just good looks in common with his identical twin brother Jerry: they are both organic bakers.

Working from the rustic little family-run Rainforest Bakery in Chulia Street, the brothers are starting to make a name for themselves by providing decent hand-made organic breads to Penangites which, once tasted, are never forgotten.

“Home-made bread is heavier, and the tastes and textures are completely different,” Jesse instructed us. “We use different methods to bring out certain unique fragrances”.
It all started when father Tan Boo Geok opened up the Rainforest Restaurant, a cafe-style eatery attached to the Olive Spring Hotel which is connected to the bakery. It was one of the first places in town to serve affordable, authentic western food like home-made soups, Lassi, salads and fresh or grilled sandwiches to backpackers.

“Our foreign guests kept commenting on the many different types of breads that they miss from back home,” he explained.

Jesse enrolled on a local baking course, after which he started making his own bread. However, this was not enough and he took off for London where he learnt a lot about organic baking.

“‘Organic’ does not just mean the ingredients used, but also the method of making the breads as well. We don’t use enhancers, preservatives, improvers or conditioners,” he explained.

They stick to tried-and-tested traditional methods which rely purely on good basic raw material: flour, salt, yeast and water. That is why the breads are heavier, with more body and uneven textures, a more satisfying experience altogether.

Over the next three years, he toured Europe, working and spending time in as many different types of bakeries as he could in countries like France, Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic €“ all places which are of course famous for their baguettes, ciabattas and brot (bread).

“Whenever I hit a town or city I would try and get into a local bread shop and learn from the head baker,” he added.

A few years ago, he finally returned to the family business in Penang, where he brought Jerry up to date on what he had picked up abroad.

Nowadays the brothers share the title “Chief Baker”, producing fresh bread every morning from the premises in Chulia Street.

They introduce a new type of bread or roll every month, experimenting with different flours and ingredients, and continue to receive feedback and ideas from expatriate friends and guests who visit their establishment from all over the world.

“Jerry and I discuss new ideas between ourselves and give each other feedback,” he said.
The Rainforest Bakery is open from Mondays to Saturdays from 9am to 8pm. If you’re interested, give them a call at 04-261 4641.

Helen Ong is a self-confessed foodie who loves to hunt down the best of Penang. She is the author of the book Great Dining in Penang.

Rainforest Bakery
Chulia Street
Penang
nekochan
One of my favourite things to do during the month of Ramadhan, when my Muslim friends fast from dawn to dusk, is to visit the food bazaars around the suburbs, have a little walk around and then take away the food that I like.

Today, we went over to BB's place to 'buka puasa' (break fast) with her. After watching Broadway Parodies Lagi Lah at KLPAC, we went to the Section 17 Ramadhan Food Bazaar. We got there around 6pm so lots of food was finished by then but we still managed to get a good selection which included murtabak, satay, roti John, various types of keropok lekor, roast chicken, cucur pisang, as well as some desserts - the pink sago thing with coconut, onde-onde, tako and more!

We took this back to her place and soon everyone came over. We had a great time over good food and great conversation. So much better than going to break fast in some hotel which would have cost us like around RM100 per head.

Hmm...wonder which Food Bazaar we should head to next week ....???
nekochan
Chef Anton Mosimann will be returning to The Olive @ Genting for this year's Michelin star dining. Actually, it looks like they are only bring him back unlike previous years which saw the program stretch out with various Michelin star chefs over a much longer period. And Chef Mosimann is only coming for 4 days.

Having had the opportunity to taste his Mosimann's food last year, it was something that made my tastbuds go "wow!" I decided that's how I will judge my meals these days; it must make me want more of the same dish, it must make me want to return to the same restaurant / outlet to try other dishes and at the end of the dinner, I want to go "Wow!"

I wonder what Mosimann will be cooking this year?

For more information, visit
http://www.genting.com.my/en/fb/michelin_star/index.htm

To learn more about Anton Mosimann go to his website. It contains information not just about his restaurant, but also the Mosimann Academy (you can learn to cook there!), party catering services (You can hire him for a party!) and more ...
http://www.mosimann.com/
nekochan

Buka puasa (breaking fast) with a twist!

The fish 'buka puasa' by nibbling on you ... then you 'buka' by nibbling .. no, not on them :), but on real food. I wonder if fish is on the menu?
At RM80 nett it's not a bad deal, considering the prices of 'normal' buka puasa dinners around the Klang Valley especially in hotels.

nekochan
Looks like there's going to be a food fest up at Genting Highlands Resort in the coming months ...

July 1-14: There's the Perak Food Fest at Restoran Kampung
July 1 - Aug 8: It's the Food and Fruits Fiesta at First World Cafe. They normally put out some pretty decent durians so it's all you can eat durian plus other Malaysian fruits.

But what I'm looking forward to is the Middle Eastern Food Promotion at Restoran Kampung. The food they had last year was really interesting and I got to try different types of middle eastern food, all at the buffet. If it's not to your palate so much, don't worry, the really great thing about the lunch (only) buffet at Restoran Kampung is that you also get to take the food from Resort Cafe which is joint to it and they serve mainly chinese food there.

I think Restoran Kampung is my favourite eating place at Genting because the food is always very tasty there. They also normally tend to cater for the tourist groups so the Indian food there is delicious too.

There's also rumours of there being a Sarawak Food promotion in August and I'm sure with the 8 of August 2008 thing, there will be some special promotion too. This is Genting afterall ...

The biggest rumour is that Anton Mossimon, the Michelin star chef will be coming back to The Olive again. Now that's something worth waiting for ...and driving up the hill for :)

More on the July promotions at http://www.genting.com.my/en/rwbnews/2008/fb_july2008.htm
nekochan
Secret diners' business
From The Age
June 14, 2008

Leanne Tolra joins a growing crowd of foodies at the city's 'secret' speakeasy restaurants.

Mrs Feng is a formidable host, a dedicated vegetarian and one of Hong Kong's growing band of "secret" restaurant owners. "You see my son," she demands as soon as we are seated. "He is 11 years old, he is strong and he's never eaten meat. He eats only my cooking."

I'm thinking he's a little on the pudgy side, actually, and can see my companions are in agreement. But we are so intrigued by the venue, the woman herself, the elaborate-looking plates of food arriving at our table (and the thrill of being let in on a "secret") that none of us spares him more than a polite glance before his mother answers the phone and he makes his escape.

The phone rings incessantly - and Feng flicks furiously through her booking diary each time. For a speakeasy kitchen, as Hong Kong's hidden dining venues are known, it seems pretty high profile.

"I am very popular, so I am scared they will try to close me down," she says.

Veggie Palace has been in this location, on the second storey of a commercial building just outside Kowloon's central business district, for almost 12 months. It is Feng's second restaurant. Her first, Veggie Culture, is in Causeway Bay and has been operating in a residential building for almost six years. She began cooking for her husband's art students. As her reputation as a vegetarian cook grew, students began to make bookings and a restaurant business blossomed. Feng says the previous owners of her second restaurant "lost millions" but she's tantalisingly reluctant to say how.

Rents have been driven so high in this city of almost 7 million people that restaurant owners have gone up and underground at the same time. This avoids exorbitant ground-floor rental prices and the prohibitive cost of a restaurant licence.

The trend began nine years ago and some locals say it increased during the SARS scare in April 2003. People were afraid to eat in public restaurants and preferred the idea of small, private ones.

"In Hong Kong, to have a restaurant licence, one-third of the floor area must be allocated to the kitchen," Feng says. This makes it difficult to generate enough income to make ends meet.

So the speakeasy kitchens operate under "club" licences, with less rigid rules. They must comply with fire and hygiene regulations, guest numbers are limited and guests are required to be club members.

There are dozens of them in the city and hotel concierges are the best source of local knowledge. Some hotels offer guided tours or will happily direct tourists to these not-so-secret locations. Our guide is the Langham Hotel's Winny Mui, a savvy young woman with a sense of fun and a built-in radar. She takes us to three speakeasy kitchens in a single afternoon. Each could belong in a different city.

Mui negotiates taxi fares and makes many phone calls as we near each venue, delaying arrival times as we linger and negotiating menus for us.

Our second stop is Le Marron, a French restaurant in Causeway Bay. We wander along laneways, past street vendors and take a clunking, claustrophobic ride up several storeys in a residential lift. Our guide presses a doorbell and we are transported to provincial France. Lace curtains divide dining compartments. Faux antique chairs and tables, gilded wallpaper, elegant artwork and muted lighting set the scene.

Le Marron is owned by a partnership that includes an artist who lived in France for 20 years and an interior designer. Its manager, Toh Yeung, says patrons make bookings a week ahead and know to ring the doorbell when they arrive.

We drink French wine with dishes such as marinated foie gras, scampi sashimi glazed with white truffle oil and rare herb-crusted tuna. For dessert we are served a 20-year-old liqueur to accompany a souffle laced with Grand Marnier.

One more taxi ride through the city to central Hong Kong and we arrive at Club Qing. Ornate, solid timber doors with heavy latches open to reveal one of the city's more famous speakeasy kitchens. Club Qing is decorated in the style of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911AD), featuring dark timber antiques and Chinese artefacts.

Owner Any Lam was running an IT business when the SARS crisis hit. His passion for Cantonese food, love of antiques and interest in tea set him on a new career path. Lam says about half his customers are local, the other half are international visitors. "We have had some publicity in the media and on internet blogs," he says.

Lam changes his menu every three months. Most dishes arrive with an accompanying beverage, either a delicately brewed tea or an infusion of fruits and herbs. There's a strong Cantonese bent with an international twist: a single prawn is topped with Italian pesto and served on a banana leaf with slivers of lemongrass. It arrives with a lemongrass-and-lemon-leaf tea, and the unorthodox combination works.

This is clearly our guide's favourite venue. She cleverly saved herself for these dishes and is delighted with the ricepaper-wrapped banana served in a katafi pastry "bird's nest", flavoured with rose tea. "Eat first, then drink," says Lam, as he serves us a ginger infusion blended with soda water.

Mui says tourists love the thrill of the secret and the exclusiveness of the speakeasy restaurants but she believes the food has to speak for itself. She says each of the three restaurants we visited has a cult-like following and international guests return frequently.

Other speakeasy kitchens of note in Hong Kong include Xi Yan, a four-year-old venue in a commercial building in Wanchai, which serves contemporary Chinese food; Yellow Door Kitchen, which claims to be Hong Kong's first private kitchen; and Da Ping Huo. Both Yellow Door and Da Ping Huo serve Sichuan cuisine.

Interestingly, a number of these venues have their own websites, which invite tourists, encourage bookings and display menus and location maps. Sort of spoils the secret.

Leanne Tolra travelled courtesy of the Langham Hotel, Hong Kong.

For information on some of the better-known speakeasy restaurants, see http://www.marron.com.hk,
http://www.clubqing.com and
http://www.yellowdoorkitchen.com.hk.

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/news/food--wine/secret-diners-business/2008/06/12/1212863812034.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap2
nekochan
Perhaps something more affordable, Aussie Maeve O'Meara offers one-day meanderings mainly around her hometown of Sydney - check out the Indulgence Safari, for those with a sweet tooth (me! me!).

Maeve also organises week long gourmet safaris to various Australian and International destinations (like Greece, Bali and Vietnam) AND if you want to indulge in more, like shop, spa and stuff yourself, there's her Gorgeous Safari where you will be pampered by massages, facials, shopping and feasting. Now THAT's a safari! :)

For more information, visit http://www.gourmetsafaris.com.au/
nekochan
I came across this site, Gourmet Safari, which organises culinary tours to Italy, France, Spain and Morocco. Imagine cooking in a farmhouse in Tuscany, drinking wine in Provence, having an authentic paella in Spain and tasting the delights of Morocco.

Going on this would definitely be a dream come true and I'm going to add this to my list of Dream Journeys ....

http://www.gourmetsafari.com/
nekochan
It was too good to resist, dinner cooked by Curtis Stone, the Take Home Chef. The question to answer was, "Why would you like to have dinner with Curtis Stone?" Why?? Well, who wouldn't want to have dinner with a guy who had just been voted one of the sexiest men alive and he cooks too?? Anyway, I said that Curtis Stone has made a mundane chore like cooking exciting, inviting and sexy! (somewhere along those lines anyway). I mean, if I had to choose dinner with Curtis Stone or Gordon Ramsay, who do you think I'd choose?

Anyway, one fine Tuesday evening, about 150 diners congregated at the Hilton Kuala Lumpur Ballroom to "spend the evening" with Mr Stone. I was very pleasantly surprised upon registration to receive a copy of Curtis Stone's latest book Cooking with Curtis: Easy, Everyday and Adventurous Recipes for the Home Cook which I was told he would autograph later. The book is great with fantastic photos by photographer Craig Kinder.

We were ushered into the Ballrooom and proceeded to our assigned tables. I met some lovely dinner companions for that evening and we had some great and crazy conversations. Amazing how food can bring people together :)

With much fanfare, Curtis arrived and proceeded to give us a demo of a similar dish he would serve that evening - tagliatelle with lobster. He made it look SO easy and I'm sure it tasted good too.

Onto the dinner that we were served .. there were 4 courses all in all ...including
Salad of Grilled Portobello Mushroom topped with Ricotta and Semi Dried Tomatoes

Skewered Shirmps marinated with Garlic, Olive Oil and Lemon

Homemade Tagliatelle with Tomatoes and roasted chicken breast (originally this was chicken sausage)

and Chocolate Cheese Cake.

Sounds yummy? I'll let some the photos speak for themselves (do excuse the colour of the shrimp and pasta course - they dimmed the lighting in the ballroom and i don't really like using flash when taking photos of food ..)

The night ended with an autograph session by Curtis Stone and while I'm not normally a person who would be bothered lining up but seeing I was there and everyone else was lining up anyway .. and with D looking at me at disbelief that I was actually going to line up .. I did line up, and got him to sign my copy of hisbook Cooking with Curtis: Easy, Everyday and Adventurous Recipes for the Home Cook . Astro, the organisers were even nice enough to provide a photographer to take Polaroids of us with him.

My question to Mr Stone that night was "Have you tried durian yet?" to which he screwed up his sexy face, smiled and said, "Yes, but I'm not sure if I like it .. but I'd like to try it again~!"

It was a real fun night and I look forward to more .. in the meantime, if you still can't get enough of Curtis Stone, here's a few links you may be interested in ..

Curtis Stone website (also features his kitchen range - i want the Bump and Grind!!!!)

TLC: Take Home Chef Fan website (it's got recipes, videos, etc too..)

And Curtis, if you're reading this, I'll take you home anytime!!! :)

nekochan
Elicia Koay
Sinfully Yours

email: lpkoay@pd.jaring.my
Mobile: 012 295 5563
nekochan
Another recipe from our Executive Chef .. also another winter warmer and really really easy to make .. instead of cognac, I have also thrown in other liquors which are normally sweet ...

GLUHWEIN

Ingredients
12 bottle red wine (Beaujolais)
1.2 liter water
0,3 liter cognac
7 pieces whole cinnamon
8 pieces of whole lemon sliced
5 pieces cardamom
4 pieces cloves
300gram sugar

This is a special drink you serve during Christmas in Switzerland and Germany and is available at the ski slopes around those countries, the drink will be served in a cafe latte glass with a small piece of cinnamon and a piece of sliced lemon.

Method
Add all ingredients in a suitable pot and heat up the wine. Simmer for 5 mins. and switch off the heat. Then cover the pot with a lid and keep it aside for 30 mins. DO NOT remove the lid.

Once the 30 min.are over, remove the lid and heat up the wine, till you reach nearly the boiling point before it becomes to boil strain it through a strainer.

To serve:Add one thin slice of lemon and 1-2 pieces of cinnamon stick into the glass and pour the wine over, serve it immediately.
nekochan
I don't normally add recipes but this is from our Executive Chef and it's really really yummy ...
it's his personal recipe ...

Egg-Nog Recipe

Ingredients
3 egg yolk
18.5 gram fine sugar
1 pinch of salt
0, 25 liter liquid cream
0, 75 liter cold milk
0.5 dl sherry cream (use Harvey's Bristol sherry cream) or "Baileys cream" as an option
3 egg white

Garnish:Cinnamon powder, fine chopped nuts (hazelnuts, pecan nuts, walnuts), and a pinch of nutmeg

Method:
Add the egg-yolk to a mixing bowl and whisk till white in color, add in 12, 5 gram of the sugar slowly step by step (keep the rest of the sugar for later) and whisk again.

Once combined well, add the milk, cream, and salt and place it in a suitable whisking bowl and whisk it above a hot Bain Marie till it will be creamy. Then remove it and cool it down.

In the meantime, whisk the egg white till firm then add slowly the remaining sugar, eventually add the egg white mix to the cooled mix and combine slowly (with a wooden spoon) or a rubber spatula, make sure the egg white is well added under the mix to make it as fluffy as possible. At the end add the sherry cream and adjust seasoning

Serve it in pre-organized cold punch glasses and sprinkle with cinnamon, mixed chopped nuts and a pinch of nutmeg.