Saturday, April 30, 2011

No Frills Dining at Kitchen Creatures, Centrepoint Bandar Utama

Of all the people in the world, Malaysians are probably the people on earth most comfortable with the concept of 'no frills' eating. We don't care if the service is crap, or if there are rats scurrying around in the drains while we're seated on plastic chairs on the road, waiting for half an hour for our roti to arrive - as long as the food's good.

It's with this in mind, then, that the darling and I venture into Kitchen Creatures in Centrepoint Bandar Utama, with their tagline of "no frills dining." Sort of like a more upmarket mamak or a hawker centre, I suppose, minus the filth and improperly washed plates, bowls and utensils :)

So ... what exactly is no frills dining? In their words, of course!

Drinks - Coke (MYR3.50) and Limey George (MYR6.80) - which was soda, ribena and lemon.

Fish n Chips (MYR13.00) was passable, being a bit soggy on the inside. I'm also not a huge fan of the "breadcrumbs" style - give me a proper beer batter any day!

My Aglio Olio with Shrimp (MYR15.00) was a huge disappointment. The shrimp weren't fresh and were not de-veined! We had to actually devein it ourselves before eating. Making matters worse was the pasta. Aglio Olio has to be al dente (that means firm but not hard for those of you who don't speak the language of the pretentious foodie :P), but what I got on my plate was the exact opposite. Mushy pasta = no thanks.

So overall, I don't like. Kitchen Creatures does have an interesting concept: pay for the food, and not the service. Sadly to me the food isn't good - it's mediocre at best, and so it doesn't quite live up to its' own definition of no frills dining.

Kitchen Creatures is in Centrepoint, Bandar Utama, and is located directly above the Starbucks.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Baking Exploration ::: Cheese Tarts

Cheese Tarts 12

It's been ages since I very last baked my legendary Cheese Tarts that my hometown family friends that had a chance to taste it, came back ask for more, and asking if they could place order. Since I'm a big fan of cheese and cheesecakes too, I'm baking it again!!! Not forgetting I'm more of a chocoholic actually.

Egg Tarts again!

Happy Friday! We both started our day off with my warm up Egg Tarts that I baked yesterday, along with Mauritius Roasted Coffee bought from Mauritius on our trip there last year Nov-Dec. A very suitable, combination which dear's daddy mentioned. *****yummy yummysss*****

Getting back to baking Cheese Tarts.

For the pastry, I use back the same pastry as my Level 1 Egg Tart Exploration.

Tart Crust Recipe
115g Butter (softened)
70g Sugar
1 Egg
210g All-Purpose Flour
1/4 teaspoon Salt
Removable Bottom Tart Pan

Grease the tart pan with Butter. Cream Butter and Sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until mixture is smooth. Add the Flour and Salt and mix well. Divide the mixture, then use your fingertips to press the dough into the tart pan. Prick all over of the base of the tart with a fork. Refrigerate for 30minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Bake for 5mins to 10mins or until slightly golden. While it's baking prepare.......

However, this round here are some pictures of the pastry process!

After the dough is mix up nicely, it would look like this!

Cheese Tarts 1

Since it's cheese tarts and I love it more when it's a mini version, I took out my long not use mini tart molds and butter all of them before i press the pastry dough in.

Cheese Tarts 2

Taking the pastry dough smaller then a ping pong ball size, and roll it up. Oh! remember to press it flat too!

Cheese Tarts 3

Press the flat pastry dough in the tart molds, and cut off the edges so it looks like this. Now you're half way done. From Mixing to pressing out the pastry normally takes up half or more then half of the whole process of all tart baking.

Cheese Tarts 4

After the 10mins baking time at 180 degree C. This is the tart shell that can be used to do tons of tarts eg: egg tarts, cheese tarts, fruit tarts.....

Cheese Tarts 6

Now it's time for the most important part of this bloggie post!


Cream Cheese Fillings
250g Philadelphia Cream Cheese
20g Butter
60g Fine Granulated Sugar
1 Egg

(for some artistic work)
2-3 cubes of Milk Chocolate
2-3 tablespoon of Blueberry Jam

Cheese Tarts 5

Beat the Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Butter, and Fine Granulated Sugar together till light, then add in the egg and beat to mix well.

Cheese Tarts 7

Using a tablespoon to spoon the cheese mixture, along with the assistant of a teaspoon to push the mixture down easily into the baked tart shells.

Cheese Tarts 8

If you are using chocolate, melt them in a double boiler and add a teaspoon or two of milk, this will make the texture of the chocolate more suitable for your artistic drawings to make your cheese tarts look more mouth watering.
This is an important note: As I couldn't find any milk at home so my chocolate texture makes my tart looks a bit................... ugly =[ Good thing I am the one making this mistake so your tart won't look like mine!

No matter if you are using Chocolate or Blueberry Jam, depending on your tart size put a dot in the middle of the tart and use a chopstick to do some twirling, simple like mine. However, if you are artistic enough you can try piping the Chocolate or Blueberry Jam and use a satay stick to draw patterns. ^.^

After you finish your art work, place all of it back into the oven and bake for another 180 degree C for 10mins.

Cheese Tarts 9

Take it out to cool for 30mins to 45mins. Since Cheese Tarts are best when served cold. After it is cool to put it in the fridge to chill before serving or consuming.

Cheese Tarts 10

There you go ready to impress the people around you that you can bake!

Cheese Tarts 12

Click here for our blog page Baking Classes for more recipes. Hope you will be inspired~

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Klang Bak Kut Teh (BKT) Crawl - Teluk Pulai (Pottery) Ba Kut Teh

I did not know that Bak Kut Teh has an entry on Wikipedia :) But anyways, supposedly it was introduced in Singapore, and then someone brought it to Klang and made it a gazillion times better. Whatever the real history though, there's no denying that it's generally accepted that Klang has the best BKT places.

Having grown up in KK and JB respectively, the darling and I are late bloomers to the Klang BKT scene. Heck, we didn't even go to Teluk Pulai BKT til recently. Better late than never, though, right?

We start off with Chinese Tea - 茶王 (literally 'King of Tea') this meal. To be honest, I can't really taste the difference between all the different types of tea. Maybe one of these days I ought to do a tea tasting - steep a few pots and then sip each cup to taste the differences. Anyone wanna join? :D

Some vegetables - onion oil you mak - just to keep my conscience happy that I have tried to balance my meat intake with a bit of greens.

The real star of the show though is, of course, the Bak Kut Teh. I personally prefer eating the 'claypot' style where everything is mixed up in a big claypot, over the 'small individual bowl' styles a-la Pao Xiang BKT.

Meaty goodness, with lots of soup to drench the rice in :)

Now here's the problem ... we found Teluk Pulai too salty for our tastes. The vegetables had too much oyster sauce (i.e. too salty). The BKT soup, although being flavorful and tasty, was also too salty to comfortably drink without worrying about my hair dropping. Heck, even the rice was salty - was it boiled in salt water?

And the price was MYR50.00 for the both of us, which in my opinion is a tad bit overpriced.

So for us, the rankings for our Klang BKT crawl up til now are (yes ... we've only been to these two places so far):

1. Fong Keow BKT
2. Teluk Pulai BKT

Do sound off in the comments if you've got any particular favorites in Klang so we can go try it the next time we're there!

To get to Teluk Pulai, take the Federal Highway towards Klang/Shah Alam. Immediately after the second tollbooth, turn left off the highway and you'll see Teluk Pulai BKT at the shophouses on your right.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Treat your Mum to a Rod Stewart* serenade on Mother's Day at Atrium Cafe!

Sing along now!

"Baby I'll try to love again but I know ...
The First Cut is the Deepest ... Baby I know!
The First Cut is the Deepest ..."

Been wondering how to pamper your mum this coming Mother's Day? What better way than to give her an awesome serenade by the World's Greatest Rod Stewart Tribute Artist, Rob Caudill, all the way from Las Vegas! He'll be featured 'live' at the Atrium Cafe in Pyramid Tower Hotel during the upcoming Mother's Day Hi-Tea Buffet showcase.

It's not just music to the ears though, it'll also be music to the tummy (both mum's tummy and yours), because the Hi-Tea Buffet at the Atrium is awesome. Whether you're a carnivore or herbivore you're sure to find something delicious among the dozens of dishes available on offer.

Start off by tossing your own caesar salad at the salad bar, then help yourself to the appetizers. Do pay extra attention to the smoked salmon which is particularly delicious - unlike many other places that overload on the salt.

Once that's done, go for the gado gado for a little taste of Indonesia.

Hot appetizers on offer too!

Many higher-end buffets have à la minute-style cooking counters, where chefs will whip up mini dishes for you upon order - and Atrium is no exception. There's a Chicken Kebab station ...

... a roast meats/carving station - the prime rib on offer was nice, if a tad bit overcooked and dry for my tastes (I prefer my meats a strict medium rare) ...

... a pasta counter where you can mix-and-match your choice of pasta with your sauce preference ...

... a bubur (porridge) counter ...

... a freshly made roti jala counter - where I must mention that the chicken curry they've whipped up to go with the roti jala was exceptional ...

... and finally, a HK Wantan Noodle counter. Forget those crappy places that hand you a bowl of noodles and expect you to blanch them yourself - here in Atrium the chef will cook up your choice of noodles to perfection!

Of course there are also the standard buffet-style dishes - btw that guy in the black is Jason from :)

Special mention goes to the Salted Egg Fish, which was a lot better than most other seafood/dai chou Chinese restaurants that I've eaten at. Definitely make a bee line for this dish, you won't be disappointed.

There are also potatoes and vegetables for mum, or any other members of the family's daily quota of greens:

And if dad is in a mood for an Indian taste, there's Lamb Briyani and Chicken Tikka:

Otherwise, the rest of the dishes are all pretty good! My personal favorites (other than the Salted Egg Fish) were the Grilled Lamb Cutlet with Rosemary and Mint sauce, the Pan-Fried Salmon Fillet with Citrus Butter Sauce, and the Roast Duck with Plum Sauce.

Don't overeat, though, because you absolutely must make room for the desserts, which are delightful for buffet standards.

There's a self-service ais kacang bar with an ice shaving machine ...

... but I really do recommend skipping that and making a beeline straight for the desserts proper, starting with the delicious bread-and-butter pudding (one of the house specialties).

The rest of the desserts are no pushovers either, though. Many buffet places make an afterthought of the dessert (thus causing it to be a disappointment), but Atrium's selection of sweets, cakes and pastries are good.

I particularly enjoyed the chocolate cake which was moist and chocolat-ey and not at all dry. Or you could go for the sweet strawberries and cream/chocolate sauce if you're counting calories (though the better choice would be to splurge and then hit the gym later).

So the food's good, the ambience is nice, and mum gets to sing along with the World's Greatest Rod Stewart tribute artist. Is there possibly any better way to celebrate and show your love and affection for her? I think not!

The buffet hi-tea runs from 12pm-4pm on weekends and is normally MYR55++, however the Mother's Day showcase with Rob Caudill (who will be singing at 1.30pm and 2.30pm) costs MYR98++ per adult, half price for children. That's still cheaper than 'high-end' buffets such as Le Meridien's Latest Recipe, and to be honest the food's comparable - both in quality and variety.

Hats off to Atrium for providing a great buffet with lots of food choices and charging a very reasonable amount of money for it - thanks also to Virgillia and thenomadGourmand for the invite!

Atrium Café, Pyramid Tower Hotel
Call 03 7495 1888 for reservations!

Other reviews: Memoirs of a Chocoholic, PeteFormation Foodie Adventure, thenomadGourmand, So What's Up?.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Deep-Fry Exploration ::: Fried Crispy Chicken Skin

Sometimes sinful food comes to mind.
Sometimes it gets worst when you can't really find it anywhere to satisfy your cravings.
Sometimes when you order it seems the price is so expensive.
Sometimes you just wonder if you can actually cook it yourself!

Here is my attempt to do something that is pretty popular in Japan & also Taiwan dishes... "Fried Crispy Chicken Skin" Between, I spot that Sushi Tei do have them once and a while, with limited servings. **sad**

Deep Fry Chicken Skin

1 cup of Chicken Skin
1 teaspoon of table Salt
1 teaspoon of Grounded White Pepper

1. Defrost the full cup of Chicken Skin, beware as it takes around 5-6hours.

2. Run them over tap water to give it all another rinse.

3. Pat dry with kitchen towel then lay them flat on an oven rack to dry them a little more for about 30mins.

4.Mixed Salt and Ground Pepper up before gently rubbing them on one side of the skin.

5.Heat oil to 325°-375° (Medium to Medium High). Put keep it throughout frying process. Don’t crowd your pan it will cause the heat level to drop significantly.

6.Deep Fried the seasoned chicken skin until it is golden brown.

7.Scoop them up with the deep frying strainer and place it on kitchen towel.

8.When cooled, keep it in the air tight container, it can be kept for a few days outside and probably longer when it is kept in the fridge!

You know what... I would suggest to add
2 tablespoons of Cornflour
and mix all in a zip seal bag before adding in the chicken strips and shake again!.
Also, slice them into about 2cm wide strips!

Will try this again with these 2 above suggestions... ^^

Wondering how i get so much Chicken Skins?!?!?!?! I actually have been peeling off, cleaning and washing all my chicken skins, then keep them stored them up in the freezer.

****Crunch Crunch Crunch!!!****

There are actually ways to use them in your dishes. I love mine porridge and stir-fry vegetables top with chicken skin strips.

Click here for our blog page Cooking Classes for more recipes. Hope you will be inspired~

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Toilet Humour at T-Bowl Concept Restaurant, Sunway Pyramid

So anyway we came across this little restaurant/cafe in Pyramid named T-Bowl. It's a "concept restaurant" that, obviously, is based around the experience of dining in a toilet. Pyramid is the third outlet - the other two are in Queensbay Mall (Penang) and in Sungai Wang. We're irresistibly drawn towards the cute white turd in the window and drop in for some drinks and desserts.

The toilet theme continues inside - the tables are a large sink with items you'd find in a toilet (toothbrushes, etc) layered with clear glass on the top, and the seats are ... well ... toilets. Probably custom-made lookalikes and not real toilet bowls though.

The Honey Lemon (MYR2.50) seems reasonably priced on the menu, but the urinal-shaped mug it comes in is very small. Thirsty drinkers would easily finish off the drink in 3-4 mouthfuls.

The Mocha Blended (MYR6.90) is of a more reasonable size. You can see a toothbrush in the sink below the glass :)

There aren't that many ice cream choices, we go for the Donut Delight (MYR5.90) that continues the 'things you'd find in a toilet' game with a serving shaped and coloured like a fresh turd.

The Dragon Fruit & Longan Snow Mountain (MYR8.50) was just OK.

So, the verdict? "Concept Restaurants" like this one straddle a fine line between presenting a genuine concept (providing a unique, different and interesting dining experience), and being nothing more than a gimmick to appeal to our natural curiosity to try something 'new.'

Based on the taste and quality of the drinks/desserts, T-Bowl sits firmly entrenched in the "gimmick" half. Nothing we tasted would qualify for even a 'mediocre' rating, so it's also a case of curiosity killed the cat. Perhaps one visit would be okay for the novelty factor, but definitely set your expectations as low as possible before stepping in.