Saturday, 22 September 2012

DIY: Lychee Sorbet

This time, I decided to try making sorbet as my mum was requesting for some non-dairy dessert.  Since we have some cans of lychee sitting in the fridge, I decided to make lychee sorbet.

Lychee Sorbet
Makes about 1 litre

1 can of lychee
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 can of water

1.  Combine the lychee (with its juice), lemon juice and water.  Blend it (Depending how fine you want it.  For me, I wanted to have some small bits of lychee).

2.  If you feel that it is a bit too sour, add some sugar to balance it.

3.  Once done, chill it for a few hours before popping into the ice-cream maker to churn.

This frozen dessert is very refreshing especially during hot weathers.  The acidity from the lemon juice brings out the fruitiness of the lychee sorbet.  Lovely and addictive.

Next up, watermelon sorbet! :)

Monday, 17 September 2012

Chicken Caesar Wrap @ Viaggio Espresso & Bar, Sydney International Airport

If you happen to be waiting to board your plane and you're feeling a bit hungry, why not drop by at Viaggio Espresso & Bar @ T1 Sydney International Airport.

My airport shuttle was running a bit late.  So, my initial plan to have a nice sit-down breakfast at the airport totally went down the drain (not to forget, I had to rush to the boarding gate).

So, as I was walking towards Gate 36 (that's where the plane I need to board was parked), I saw Viaggio.  Seeing as I still have some time to grab some sandwiches/wraps, I went to check out their selections in the "Grab n Go" section and took the Chicken Caesar Wrap (AUD 9.50).

There were a few strips of Chicken Schnitzel and omelette wrapped in lettuce, topped with generous amount of Caesar dressing.  Somehow, I find the wrap really delicious although it was cold (Boring, cold sandwiches had been served throughout the workshop I attended in Sydney, which I find pretty depressing.  So, I was not expecting a lot out of cold stuff anymore).  Seasoned perfectly well, I must say.

Munching it with the view of the runway was definitely a good end to my short trip in Sydney.

Viaggio Espresso & Bar
T1 International Airport
(near Gate 32)
Sydney, Australia

Open daily, 6am - 9pm

Pork Rib Ramen @ On Ramen, Hay Street, Sydney

I came here once 4 years ago and after trying it, I immediately fell in love with On Ramen @ Hay Street.  Although there are a few other good ramen stalls around in Sydney, but I find their broth being the better one.

First thing on the menu which caught my attention (which I ultimately ordered) is the Tenderous Pork Rib Ramen (AUD 12.90).  Their signature Tonkotsu-based (pork bone broth) ramen with tender braised pork ribs, served with half-boiled egg, seaweed and marinated bamboo shoots, is just so good and yummy-licious.

The ramen is not too overcooked and is quite springy.  Tasted lovely with the soup, which I find very flavourful and packed with lots of collagen.  You will definitely want to finish every drop of that lovely, concentrated soup.  However, I did find it a bit salty after a while, which is fine as you can wash down the saltiness with a complimentary glass of lemon-infused water.

But the highlight of this bowl of delicious ramen is the pork ribs.  The juicy ribs, with edible soft bones, are braised until the meat can be gently pulled off - that is how tender it is.  Wonderfully cooked and well-marinated!  Plus, they were very generous with the ribs (maybe around 3-4 pieces, if I am not mistaken).  Definitely worth the price.

Although this shop is tucked deep inside away from the main streets, but if you walked from Central Station towards Chinatown, you will easily find this shop.  This tiny shop is very warm and cosy (despite the strong,cold winds outside).  Service is quick and friendly.  Highly recommended for a quick, satisfying meal.

On Ramen
No. 4, 181-187 Hay Street
Sydney, Australia

Opens daily, 11am - 10pm

The Tea Cosy @ The Rocks, Sydney

It's been a while since I stepped back onto the soils of Australia.  Right after I landed in Sydney, I decided to stroll around The Rocks looking for somewhere decent to have brunch.

Almost to the end of George Street, I stumbled across this tiny little souvenir shop called the Irish Design Shop.  Tucked deep inside the rear courtyard of the Irish Design Shop, lies a cute cafe, The Tea Cosy @ The Rocks.  Previously known as the "Tara Tea Room", it serves really nice Grandma-style scones.

As you enter the 180-year old heritage building, you will slowly be greeted by the wonderful smells of freshly-baked scones (not to mention, the beautiful decorations of Irish themes all over the place).  I was pretty lucky as I came just in time for the tray of scones to come right out from the oven.

The Devonshire Tea (AUD 12 per person) consists of two freshly-baked scones with all natural double thickened cream and gourmet fruit jam, served with any choice of drinks.  As I was too early, there were only limited choices.  I went for the Apricot scone and Raisins scone.

The scones, they are really huge!  I must admit, they definitely tasted slightly different from the ones I had before - more crumbly.  I love the Apricot scone as it is sweet and has slices of apricot in it.  However, I was not very fascinated with the Raisins scone as the raisins were a little bitter (or maybe I was just too bloated to have another bite).

Their jam are all homemade with fresh ingredients.  With so many choices available, I went straight for the Staff's Pick of Pear & Vanilla jam.  It was definitely a wise decision as the jam is really good, although on the sweeter side.  I just couldn't help licking off every bit of the jam off the knife.  You know it was made from the real thing as you can feel little bits of the pear.  Pairing up with that double cream and jam on the scones, it is just so wonderfully tasty.  Yum yum.

For drinks, I ordered the Barry's Imported Irish black tea.  Served loose in a pot dressed in handmade tea cosies, it was a pretty sight.  Unfortunately, I didn't really like the tea as much as I wanted as it sort of gave me quite a numb feeling after a drink or two.  I shouldn't have been so adventurous and stick to the usual English Breakfast or coffee.  Well, at least I know what Irish tea tasted like.

Enjoying tea by the sidewalks was definitely a very relaxing and enjoyable treat, while getting some sun to warm the body.  But if you come here during the weekends, it would be more lively as you can enjoy the sights and sounds of the famous weekend "Rocks Markets".

The good thing about The Tea Cosy is that they put up a sign right outside the store to let you know when the next freshly baked scones will be out, so that you will know when to come back and get your hands on those scones.

I will definitely return here again for the scones and jam.  Word of advice, the portion can be quite big for a small eater (I couldn't finish it myself), so do bring along a partner to share.

The Tea Cosy @ Irish Design Shop
33 George Street

Open Thursday & Friday (10am - 4pm) and Saturday & Sunday (10am - 5pm)

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Thai Dinner @ ala Thai, Solaris Dutamas

It's been a while since we had Thai cuisine and after walking around Publika @ Solaris Dutamas, we decided to give this Thai Restaurant, ala Thai, a try.

For starters, we had a bowl of clear tom yum soup, with oyster mushrooms.  I find the soup a bit too sour, but was not too bad.  Unlike the usual red tom yum soup, this is not very spicy.

For mains, KS ordered the Pineapple Fried Rice while I ordered the Phad Thai Noodle.  One thing worth mentioning  is that you are allowed to specify the level of spiciness you want - how thoughtful.

The Pineapple Fried rice was quite nice and fragrant with lots of chunky pineapples.  I like how they prepared this dish and used turmeric spices (kunyit) in moderation without overwhelming the flavours of the fried rice.

The Phad Thai Noodle is also delicious and not too oily.  I like how the dried shrimps adds a nice saltiness to the sweet noodles.  The only complain I have is that the strong fishy smell it came along, probably due to the dried shrimps not washed properly.  Otherwise, the Phad Thai would be close to perfect.

For desserts, we ordered the Thai Cendol and Pumpkin Custard.  Nothing special to shout about although I felt it was a little bit disappointing.

The restaurant is pretty warm and cosy.  I totally love the ambience, with its nice decorations.  On top of that, being on higher grounds, it was quite breezy if you dine outdoors.  Service is also very good and they waiters are very polite.

Ala Thai Restaurant,
D4-G2-9, Jalan Dutamas 1
Solaris Dutamas,
50480 Kuala Lumpur.

Tel: 03- 6211 1855
Open:  11am - 11pm daily

Friday, 7 September 2012

Bar-B-Q Plaza @ Mines Shopping Mall

Last weekend, KS brought me to try out Bar-B-Q Plaza @ Mines Shopping Mall.  Bar-B-Q Plaza has been here in Malaysia for quite a while already and there seems to be quite some hype over it.  Thinking it was time for me to find out what's special about it, I insisted to have lunch there.

Bar-B-Q Plaza is a self-cooking Mongolian and Japanese-style barbecue restaurant that originates from Thailand.  Somehow, the name is a bit misleading as it it is not the usual barbecue that you would expect.  Their cooking method is a combination of barbecue & steaming, which is in a way a healthier and better option since the cooked meat will maintain its juiciness and will not be too heaty.

We decided to go for the Pork Supreme Set (RM 31.90) that comes with fresh slices of pork, bacon strips, chicken slices, squid, shelled prawns, udon, baby corns, carrots, sliced cabbage (which is refillable), lettuce and sliced tomatoes.  For the hungry stomachs, the supreme set also comes with two bowls of rice (which unfortunately, were not cooked with sufficient water).

While it did claimed that the Supreme Set is sufficient for 2-3 person, I begged to differ.  Even with the bowl of rice, I was only able to meet the 70% mark - plenty of room for more snacks.  So, if you are a big eater, you probably need to order some side dishes or go for a larger set.

The way to eat it is to first pour some chicken stock over the hot plate before greasing it with pork lard (didn't really grease well with that).  Then, you can place the meat and seafood to slowly grill on the hot plate.  While waiting, you can add the vegetables and udon into the soup.

It is pretty interesting but I find the grilling part not to my expectation as it did not grill well to get the golden brown.  Also, the chicken stock was, unfortunately, pretty disappointing as it was not very flavourful and tasted more like diluted soup.

What I liked the most about Bar-B-Q is the dipping sauce, which combines a few ingredients such as their special barbecue sauce, freshly cut chilli, minced garlic and freshly squeezed lime juice.  Their barbecue sauce, which is a vegetarian-based sauce specially concocted from Bangkok, is sweet and tasted like the dim sum sweet sauce.

Depending on your liking, you can mix any of the ingredients for your dipping sauce.  For me, that is a lot of lime juice and garlic with that special barbecue sauce.

Without the dipping sauce, the meal would have been pretty bland as the meat have not been marinated with any seasonings.  Well, in fact, that is the intention of Bar-B-Q Plaza.

This branch, which just opened in Mines Shopping Mall in July 2012, is pretty comfortable and clean.  Service-wise, they are pretty quick to refill the cabbage (although I must admit the amount of cabbage reduced after each refill) & soup.

All in all, this place is not too bad.  At least they serve really fresh ingredients and you get a chance to taste the natural flavours of food.  But will I come back for it again, well, pretty hard to say.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Double Chocolate Chips Ice-cream Cake @ Heaven Premium, Puchong

If you like ice-cream cakes, why not try Heaven Premium's whole ice-cream cakes.  With a thin layer of sponge cake, the ice-cream cake is fully packed with a lot of smooth, creamy ice-cream.

We ordered a 1kg Double Chocolate Chips as it was highly recommended by many people.  And it was not a bad choice.  There were many chocolate chips and the ice-cream is very creamy and chocolatey.

The only complain I have is the layer of cream that they have coated the ice-cream with.  A bit too sweet and seemed to be a bit annoying as it overwhelms the texture and taste of the ice-cream.  But after removing that bit, then the ice-cream cake tasted lovely.

I love how nicely decorated the cake is, with strawberries, chopped nuts and lots of drizzled chocolate.  For any celebrations, this will be a nice treat.

You can self pick-up the cake from the factory at Puchong or for a small fee, it can be delivered to your doorstep (as long as it is Klang Valley).

(Cakes need to be ordered in advance as the cakes are freshly made on the day itself.  Visit their website for more details on how to order)

Heaven Premium Ice Cream
No 12, Jalan BP 5/10
Bandar Puchong
47100 Puchong
Tel:  03-80524577 or 014-3399855

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Kaya Puffs @ Sin Eng Heong, Ipoh

If you think kaya puffs (加央角) is just something very ordinary and it would have tasted pretty much the same, then you have definitely not tried the kaya puffs at Sin Eng Heong bakery, Ipoh.

You know you are at the right stall when you see a very long queue, that doesn't seem to move very much.  In fact, we have waited more than 30 minutes standing in the queue waiting for this sweet, crispy treat.  My friends have already finished their rounds at buying the taufu-fa and the salted chicken, and yet, it's not even our turn to put down the orders.  But at least, the wait was worth it.

The kaya puffs are very fluffy and crispy, loaded with a generous amount of fragrant kaya paste.  Made based on the family's secret recipe, the kaya paste is very unique - smooth, creamy texture.  Although on the sweeter side, the kaya puffs are very yummy.

 If these kaya puffs tasted so good hours after purchase, imagine how good it would have been if it was eaten freshly straight out from the oven.  Sold in a 5-pieces pack or a 10-pieces box, each kaya puffs costs only RM 0.80.

Just a word of advice, do come early so that you can beat the crowd, otherwise, you'll have to endure a long, boring wait.  Not to forget, an assurance that you'll get hold of this little, tasty treat.

Kedai Biskut Sin Eng Heong
64-66, Jalan Mustapha Al-Bakri (Jalan Clare),
30300 Ipoh, Perak
Tel: 05-2439659