Thursday, November 22, 2007

IT'S RAINING CHOCOLATE MEN!

Oh oh here she comes...she's the chocolate men eater!



Feast your eyes on these...here's how I churn out my army of little chocolate men!


Chocolate Men Cookie

8 oz butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg yolk
2 1/2 cups plain wheat flour
12 oz chocolate chip
1 egg white

Method

Pre-heat oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Beat butter, sugar, vanilla essence and salt until creamy and fluffy. Blend in egg yolk and mix well. Fold in flour and chocolate chips. Divide dough into 2 portions and chill in fridge for an hour. Then cut out cookie into desired shapes. Brush surface of cookies with egg white and bake for about 30 minutes. Remove once done and let cookies cool down before storing in an airtight container.

APPLES IN MY CAKE


Fancy a slice?



Apple Cake & Muffins anyone?



I can't recall when I last had some 'kick back' time but this afternoon was one of those rare days. After I had completed my lastest assignment this morning, I decided to treat myself by trying out a new recipe from Chef Wan's Sweet Treats book.

With only 3 eggs available in the fridge, I had to look for a cake recipe that could be made with what was available at hand. So the Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting recipe (page 146) looked promising but then again, I didn't have any bananas or cream cheese in the house! Clever old me decided that I would substitute this with grated green apples instead...and forget about the frosting. So my 'reworked' Apple Cake recipe went like this:

225g unsalted butter (I cheated and used salted butter but omitted the salt called for in this list)

1 cup castor sugar

2 eggs

1 cup grated apples (I used 2 Granny Smith green apples)

1/3 cup yogurt (I used Liteyo Green Tea & Aloe Vera Yogurt which I happened to have)

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 3/4 cups all-purposed flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon powder


Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time followed by grated apples. Then add in the yogurt and vanilla essence to the mixture together with cinnamon powder. Sift flour with salt and baking soda before folding these into the batter. Pour into a greased and floured 22 cm cake pan. Bake for 50 minutes and then remove from oven to cool.


Note: I misread the instructions and poured the 2/3 of the batter into a loaf pan instead! The rest I divided into a 6-cup muffin pan ;-P This essentially changes the cooking time of course. I baked the first loaf for about 30 minutes or thereabouts - once the skewer inserted into the cake came out clean, I removed it from the oven. The muffins went in for about 20 minutes.


All in all, it wasn't a very successful attempt. The overall texture of the loaf turned out nice and soft but I noticed a sticky layer just above the bottom crust which according to Chef Wan's notes indicated too much liquid - I figured it must be the grated apples which of course had more water content in them compared to mashed bananas! Luckily the muffins fared much better. But the taste-wise the cake was delicious!

Friday, November 16, 2007

ONE UP ON CHINESE

Soup's up at Zuan Yuan

Delectable bacon rolled with foie gras


Steamed cod with spicy ginger flower sauce



Woo-hoo...'woo kok' with sweet miso paste



Classy Chinese accents sparkle at Zuan Yuan





From professional shipbuilder to captain of a five-star Chinese kitchen. Folks, meet Meet Chef Louie Hoi, executive Chinese chef of One World Hotel’s Zuan Yuan restaurant. The affable chef discovered his culinary vocation by coincidence after he started helping out at a family member's restaurant during the 1980s economic downturn. Today, Chef Louie Hoi is the man in charge of Zuan Yuan's maiden appearance in the 2007 Malaysia International Gourmet Festival (MIGF).

Zuan Yuan, which means ‘diamond garden’ in Chinese, simply exudes classy sophistication - thanks to its plush interior of polished silver leaf ceiling, sleek ebony doors and ornate displays of Chinese objects d'art.

The menu emphasises modern Cantonese cuisine coupled with some classic Teochew delicacies. Even the Dim Sum comes with a slight twist – Taro Dumplings (woo kok to you and me) with its scrumptious Scallop and Miso Sauce (RM11++ per plate) filling are worth returning for. More delicate in taste but no less delicious are the Steamed Teochew Dumplings (RM10++ per basket). Pity about the rather thick Cheong Fun but the filling of Gooseliver & Char Koay is quite unusual and worth sampling (RM8++ per plate).

Fortunately, the Zuan Yuan’s MIGF starter of Cold Sliced Seared Tuna and Phoenix Roll with Home-made Mustard Sauce made up for the earlier hiccup. Chef Hoi artfully blends Japanese and Chinese cooking influences to enhance the tuna’s inherent sweetness and poached chicken’s succulence. Complementing it was a zingy-tangy-sweet sauce concocted from Chinese yellow mustard, mirin and myriad flavourings that the chef naturally declined to reveal.

The South Sea Harvest dish of Double Boiled Nga Kan Shark’s Fin infused with Pigeon Consommé is memorable for its clear, salubrious broth laced with shark’s fin. Tender minced pigeon meat and chopped water chestnuts add interesting textural dimensions
to the overall ensemble.

An exquisite treat fit for a king is the Pan-fried Imperial Treasures in which Scallops were rolled with Bacon and Foie Gras, and glazed with Mint Sauce. Dark, intense and zesty, the rich, velvety smooth gooseliver and crisp bacon were fully embraced by the succulent scallops.

The Oriental Phoenix creation or Ostrich Fillet with Oriental Spiced Black Pepper Sauce is complemented by a soft, succulent disc of fried egg white and a robust ginger and black peppercorns sauce. Giving it a nice balance are some Chinese wolfberries and sautéed celery.

Taking a leaf out of our local Nyonya culinary heritage, Chef Hoi proffers Steamed Cod Fillet with Aromatic Ginger Flower Sauce. Imagine the cod’s indulgent smoothness matched with a mildly sweet and spicy sambal of red chilli blended with fresh torch ginger flower, lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves.

Zuan Yuan’s Signature Fried Rice is a ‘must have’ for die-hard rice lovers. Redolent with dried scallops, diced prawns and asparagus, and beansprout stalks,
the fluffy rice has no trace of greasiness in it.

Chilled Treasures in the form of Chilled Aloe Vera infused with Lemon Grass is a guilt-free, tangy and herbal jelly. A most welcome change from the usual coconut milk and sugary broths that other Chinese restaurant have.

Priced at RM99.80++ per person (food only) and RM120++ (with wines), Zuan Yuan’s distinctive MIGF menu has proved to be a real gem.

ZUAN YUAN (non-halal)
Lobby Level One World Hotel
First Avenue Bandar Utama City Centre
47800 Petaling Jaya Selangor
Tel: 7681 1111