Tuesday, 31 January 2012

La Bodega, Bangsar, Malaysia

La Bodega, is a fitting locale for tapeando, the act of eating tapas customarily tailgated by your favourite tipple. Terracotta tiled floors, dark wooden furniture, Spanish memorabilia and a low rumbling of Latin tunes have made a consistent hit with locals and expats alike. Do as the Spanish and consume at the bar. If you'd prefer something more intimate grab a cosy inside table or go al fresco on the tree lined sidewalk. With a collection of Spanish and South American wines and an agglomeration of more than 30 tapas you'll be spoiled for choice. Wines are reasonably priced ranging from 22 - 30RM for the glass and 108 - 500RM for a bottle. If Latin is the way you swing a range of wine is also at hand for take away at retail prices. One current special, worth an afternoon of quaffing, is a cheese and cracker platter with a bottle of wine from the retail range all for 100RM. For something more substantial a variety of tapas are perfect for nibbling on with your preferred inebriant or sharing a miscellany with friends. Pictured above: Tortilla Champinones - Spanish mushroom omelette; Gambas al Ajillo - sizzling shrimp in garlic oil; Queso de Mahon - deep fried cheese with a tomato marmalade; Paella Valenciana Mixta - mixed Spanish rice; Champinones al Ajillo - creamy garlic mushrooms; and... drum roll please for the vanquisher of all tapas the... Chuletas de Cordero a la Parilla (clap, cheer, roar!). The most popular dish on the menu, the barbecued lamb chops with a garlic mayonnaise are outstanding - passionately succulent pink flesh lightly charred and complemented perfectly with the creamy aromatic crown. Pair with a rich assertive red Rioja and you'll be tapeando all the way to the el cielo (heaven). Food, fun and imbibement, La Bodega offers it all. 

La Bodega
Tapas y Vinos
Ground Floor 
No.16 Jalan Telawi 2
Bangsar Baru
59100 Kuala Lumpur
+6 03 2287 8318

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Canoodling, Bangsar Village II, Malaysia

As with all of the BIG Group restaurants, Canoodling is style laden with a fun clean design. Well lit and bedecked with cooking utensils, lamps and a giant chalkboard it is simply a pleasant place to be. Serving a mix of, you guessed it, noodles, you'll fulfill your carbohydrate needs in one sitting. We tried a number of soupy noodle dishes, one of which pictured above was the Lam Mee. There were two plates though in particular that will keep me returning. The first is the Garden Greens Salad - seaweed, edamame, assorted nuts, cherry tomatoes and mixed leaves laced generously with a sweet dressing. You might consider asking for the dressing on the side if you like to have a little more control over consumed calories. The second highlight was the Canoodling Oodles of Noodles - roll up your own wraps of minced chicken, coriander and spicy green sauce in either crispy lettuce leaves or silky plush tender noodle squares. It's definitely a place to revisit to further explore the menu but I'd also return just to order the Canoodling Oodles of Noodles - try wrapping your tongue around it five times fast :-) 

2nd Floor, Bangsar Village II
1 Jalan Telawi Satu
Bangsar Baru
59100 KL
+6 0 3 2287 1566

Friday, 27 January 2012

Illy Cafe, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Illy Cafe is basically a glass box allowing you green views of the garden, pool and bar area at Terrace behind Hock Choon. Made comfortable with long sleek benches, sofas and intimate tables for two, they've done surprisingly well with such a small space. The best bit though is that they serve Illy coffee. Coming a close runner up is that they're in cohoots with a Slice of Heaven. Combine the two and you get yourself a bargain where 10RM buys you an Illy coffee and a Slice of Heaven cupcake. Coffee and cake - is there a better morning tea, afternoon snack or dinner denouement?

***  Illy cafe has just closed for renovations and will re-open in February. As coffee is not available until the 15th, A Slice Of Heaven will be offering the following deal:
- One set of any two (2) cupcakes for only Rm10
- Valid from 28 January 2012 - 14 February 2012
Illy Cafe
Terrace @ Hock Choon
241-B Lorong Nibong
Off Jalan Ampang
50450 Kuala Lumpur

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Lunch at Living Food Cafe Bistro, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

More gratifying goodness from Living Food: Tomato tapas; fresh juice; new look for the raw pancakes accompanied by blueberry non-dairy icecream in a passionfruit cup; a tasteful trio of zucchini with pesto, bon bon and cashew cream sauces; and finally a happily unsinful raw version of the Canadian Nanaimo treat! See this previous post for more delectable dishes and a detailed commentary on Living Food

Living Food Bistro Cafe
G-04 Ground Floor Menara Tan & Tan
50400 Kuala Lumpur
+6 016 888 9123

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

New Mixologist & Cocktails @ Tate, The Intermark, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Inventive mixologist, Karl at Tate, The Intermark, has been letting his creative juices flow and designing some decidedly memorable cocktails. Using some classic mixers and adding a touch of local flavour some of his newbies are a cheery change to the regular list.
Each comes with its own story...

As described by Karl..."the Benne Angos (first picture), is a drink I created for the Angostura Cocktail Challenge 2011. I didn't win anything, but I'm happy 'cos everybody loves my drink! That's a WIN for me. It was inspired by “Jungle Bird”, Malaysia's very own and earliest cocktail. Malaysia's lucky to have almost everything, so it's easy to source ingredients." Karl was kind enough to share his recipe with The Yum List so here's what you'll need to whip up your own Benne Angos: 

2 ½ tsp       Roasted sesame seeds
7 dashes     Angostura bitters
15ml           Sugar syrup
20ml           Fresh lime juice
40ml           Fresh pineapple juice
50ml           Angostura 1919 Rum

The final pictured cocktail is a recipe by Karl's friend, and well known New York mixologist, Audrey Saunders of Pegu Club. This was my favourite of the evening - a lychee martini topped with egg white froth -  I loved the Pisco Soury twist accomplished with the foam crest. 

Ally Meet Early (second photo) held the winning combination for my drinking companion who is a bit of a gin fan. It is a delicious blend of Earl Grey tea mingled with the traditional ingredients for a lychee martini. The story of Ally Meet Early is a lively anecdote unable to be done full justice in this space. When you visit Tate, be sure to strike up a conversation with Karl. As with all legendary bartenders, he will more than gladly spin you the tale behind the name and whip you up some tailor made-to-your-own-taste creations. 

Link to previous post on Tate, Dec 6, 2011.
Ground Floor (Look for the hat)
The Intermark
Jalan Tun Razak
50450 Kuala Lumpur

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Afternoon Tea @ The Pressroom, Bangsar, Malaysia

After a day of shopping at BSC, a fitting spot to take a rest and refuel is The Pressroom. The breezy open setting yawning out to a verdant oasis is perfect to regain your breathe and recharge your tummy. Ideally choose a table adjacent to the garden to make the most of the green views and al fresco feel.  This peaceful, familiar setting is clearly a place with a loyal following of returning customers. As we sat and enjoyed the surrounds a number of families streamed in, warmly greeted by name and children excitedly showering staff with hugs.

Afternoon Tea was what we came for and we enjoyed a set for two costing 68RM including: in-house made scones with French jam and clotted cream; an assortment of sweets - noteworthy lemon tarts; a number of finger sandwiches - egg, salmon, cucumber; and a selection of premium loose leaf teas. Coming from a line of country scone bakers with recipes being passed down through generations and having the champion community scone maker as my mother, I feel quite qualified to judge the worthiness of a scone. Best had straight from the oven, steaming hot so the butter melts off your knife, I'm yet to find a restaurant that is able to rival my mum in the scone making field. Putting my clear bias and high expectations aside, in terms of what is out there commercially the pastry chef at The Pressroom has done an admirable job. These scones are light, feathery and well risen. The jam and cream are adept complements to the moisture level and subtle sweetness of the dough. With my mum being so far away, The Pressroom offers an adequate substitute for which I'd return. 

The Pressroom
Lot G110 Ground Floor, Bangsar Shopping Centre,
Jalan Maarof, Bangsar 59100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel No.: 603 20958098
Fax No.: 603 20951089
Email: info@pressroom.com.my 

Monday, 23 January 2012

Mochi Sweets, The Gardens, Bangsar, Malaysia

Drawn to a hovering crowd, like an insect to the light, I discovered the Mochi Sweets stand in Gardens Mall. Glutinous rice flour pounded into a soft chewy casing and filled with creamy not too sweet ice cream was the cause of the commotion. After making my purchase the vendor told me to wait 30 minutes for the ball to defrost allowing the skin to turn soft before consuming. What? Wait? Sugar in my hands and I can't have it immediately? I did indeed try to wait but impatience got the better of me and I bit into my Caramel Macchiato Mochi after just a few minutes and nearly cracked a tooth. After failed attempts to hasten the defrost time through rubbing the packet and putting it next to hot food hubby took my packet and enforced the remaining 23 minute delay. Biting into the then ready Mochi Sweet I appreciated that these petite rounds of gummy goodness are worth the wait. Chomping into the quaggy outer layer to release the creamy innards is a real treat.

Mochi Sweets
Japanese Luxury Deli
Food Court @ The Gardens

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Zaini Satay, Ampang Jaya, KL, Malaysia

Who knew that this humble satay stall in Naan Corner has a legendary history? Zaini happens to be the grandson of the famous "king of satay" who began Majid Satay way back when Dang Wangi was known as Campbell Road. As Zaini tells it, his grandfather started out carrying satay around on a kandar stick (pole slung over the shoulder to carry two loads on either side) and quickly grew a reputation so fine that he expanded internationally with Majid Satay branches even arriving to London. Today a few grandchildren remain who carry on the tradition and we are lucky enough to have one of them right here in Ampang. Zaini has been cooking up satay for loyal customers for the past 25 years, but, as the saying goes, there is always a great woman behind the scenes. Zaini's wife is the lady behind the marinating and sauce making which takes a whole day of preparation. This satay recipe has been passed down through the women in the family for more than 60 years! Zaini's wife says she uses no MSG or belachan and that the secret to the top-notch taste is talking to the satay as she prepares it. She whispers to the satay to be tasty and to sell well so that she can send her kids to school. These sweet susurrations seem to work as if you ask many a local where the BEST satay is in town, without hesitation you'll hear "Zaini at Naan Corner". I found the satay sauce creamy and sweet. There was no oil puddling on the top as I've seen with many and it wasn't too spicy either. The satay sticks - chicken, beef, lamb and intestine were all cooked perfectly with a nice crispness to the outside and juicy tenderness within. Most days they are open from 6pm until midnight, but this place is popular so if you want to be guaranteed a few sticks of goodness, don't arrive too late. 

Zaini Satay
Naan Corner
Jalan Kolam Ayer
68000 Ampang
 +6 03 4257 4520

Friday, 20 January 2012

Nerofico 3rd Anniversary, Damansara, Malaysia

Nerofico celebrated its third anniversary last Wednesday evening with free flowing drinks, captivating canapes and a lively line up of entertainment. Living up 100% to the vibrant atmosphere it already has a reputation for, the fabulous host Shelah! guided guests through a sneak peak of the upcoming divertissement scheduled for this year. Storytellers, slam poetry, superb jazz, DJs and comedy clubs are all things to get excited about in 2012. All of this served in a smoke free environment - what more could you ask for?
For further commentary visit a previous Nerofico post here.

Ground Floor Wisma Perintis
47 Jalan Dungan
Damansara Heights
50490 Kuala Lumpur
+6 03 2089 5312

From Backyard to Table with Chef Ian Hommel

A true practitioner of eating sustainable and local, chef Ian Hommel of Vermont, USA, shares with The Yum List, a little on how he got prepared for the winter... 

"A cat will look down to a man. A dog will look up to a man. But a pig will look you straight in the eye and see his equal." Winston Churchill

A few months ago I was preparing myself for a long Vermont winter. The winter can be especially brutal if not prepared properly. My plan was to fill my basement freezer with an abundant supply of hand made local food. Having products like these on hand take some of the sting out of winter. As I'm typing this, the smoker is full and the temperature is hovering at a brisk -8 degrees Fahrenheit. It doesn't matter where you are from, that's cold!  I have five pounds of cured pork belly smoking away for my later enjoyment.  This cut of pork has a story dating back a few months ago...

During the fall I became friends with a local farmer named James.  He is the proud owner of Little Bear Farms here in Jericho, and lives right next door.  He and I share the same standards in sustainable local products.  One morning James called me asking questions about the procedures in breaking down a whole hog. I gave him some important precautions and procedures. That's when he asked, "It would be great if you could help!" I was out the door with my equipment faster than lightning.  Arriving on scene he made the determination to keep one of the female pigs for springtime piglets.  James loves his animals.  These were the happiest pigs around.  Their diet consisted of two pick-up trucks of pumpkins per week and piles of hay.  His method of slaughter was extremely humane.
Many farmers have slaughterhouses come pick up their animals for processing.  This has a large host of problems associated with it. First, when the animals are picked up, they can sense the change in routine, and become worried and scared in their new environment. I know, it's sad to think about. The next problem is one of greed on the part of some slaughterhouses.  James posed an excellent question; "How do you know that what you've sent is what you're getting back?"  He has had a few negative experiences to the point that backyard butchery is the only feasible concept.  James was very organized. 

Believe me when I tell you that the two pigs died instantly.  No lingering, suffering or any nightmare scenarios you read about in corporate farming practices. In one instant, done.  I remember the smell of iron was thick in the chilly morning air. To me, this was the soul of the animal.  After about thirty minutes it was time to hang the pigs for cooling.  

Before getting started, we had to remove the hair from the pigs. The hair and skin of a pig is incredibly durable. Within a few swipes, my carbon steel knife was dull.  I had to sharpen my knife every ten minutes.  Our goal wasn't to remove every hair from the animal, but to make the process of breaking the animal down that much easier.  This gave us the opportunity to go over the animal inch by inch.  This proved to be pretty helpful.  

After a quick break, it was time to spray the pigs down with water and use a light bleach solution to sterilize the skin prior to gutting and break down.  Again, this gave us time to formulate a game plan to expedite our efforts.

As with the production of any animal, it is very important to not pierce the intestines or any part of the digestive track.  One false move can spoil the entire effort.  This takes great care and a steady hand.  Once complete, the gut sack falls out on its own.  This was a huge relief. We now could see our starting point and get really excited about the rest of the afternoon.

Now that the pigs are clean, gutted and split it was time to start skinning.  This process was smooth and fast. I had a very sharp flexible boning knife that worked perfectly.  This was the last step before breaking the animal down into primal and sub-primal parts.

Working from both sides of the animal we took great care to use every part of the animal. I collected the heart, kidneys, liver and cheeks.  These are incredibly delicious and often underused.

The rest of the afternoon went like clockwork.  Before we knew it, the job was done.  We carefully packed all the meat up and enjoyed a celebratory drink.  We all know that the gifts these pigs gave us will be appreciated for months to come.  I stuffed my freezer with pancetta, maple bacon, cheeks, shoulders and about five gallons of pig stock.  A few weeks ago I had cured pork chops from these animals. You could almost taste a hint of pumpkin in every delicious bite.  I am definitely looking forward to next fall!  

Along with pigs, James raises chickens and turkeys.  A few days ago he dropped off an amazing looking chicken.  We got talking about the different preparation methods for chickens when I remembered a true gem.  I haven't had chicken galantine in years. This is another great way to use the whole animal.  Essentially, galantine is the whole chicken ground with inlay and stuffed back into its own skin and poached in stock made from it's bones.  If you take your time the process is quite easy.  First, skinning a chicken and keeping the skin intact can be a little problematic for some.  Use a sharp knife a cut along the spine of the bird. This is your starting point..

With the edge of your knife, work down the inside of the bird.  When you come to the leg and wing sections, cut around the bottom joint and remove the skin as you would a tight sweater. keep working till the skin is removed in one piece.  

Place the skin on a plastic wrapped baking sheet and place in the freezer.  Remove both breasts intact and set aside.  Remove the meat off of the legs, thighs and wings.  Flip the breasts over and remove the tenderloin. Heat a heavy bottom pan with butter over high heat.  Brown the breasts on all sides and set aside to cool.  In the same pan add..

1. One Tablespoon Minced Garlic
2. One Tablespoon Minced Shallot
3. One Cup Madeira

Reduce this mixture till almost a paste.  Refrigerate this immediately.  Combine the leg, thigh, tenderloin, wing and liver into a meat grinder set to the smallest die.  Transfer the ground mixture to a food processor and add the Madeira paste, whites of two eggs, salt, pepper and pate spice.  

Pate Spice
1. One teaspoon ground cloves
2. One teaspoon ground nutmeg
3.One teaspoon ground ginger
4. One teaspoon ground coriander
5.Two teaspoons cinnamon
6.One Tablespoon ground white pepper

Puree this till smooth.  At this time add .75 cup heavy cream.  Fold the cream in with a spatula.  When you are ready, remove the skin from the fridge and place it on your cutting board 

Place half of the mixture lengthwise across the skin and arrange the seared breasts side by side..

Place the other half of the mixture on top of the breasts.  Gently roll the galantine so it almost resembles a chicken burrito.  Wrap the galantine in cheesecloth and tie off both ends.  To add support, tie tow strips of cheesecloth around the center.

Place this in the fridge.  Cover the chicken bones with water and proceed to make chicken stock.  This is going to be our poaching liquid for the galantine.  Ideally, you want to poach this at a temperature between 160-180 degrees F/ 71 to 82 degrees C.  To my surprise, my little crock pot held the temperature perfectly.  Gently poach this for 45-50 minutes.

Cook to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F/ 71 degrees C.  Remove from the heat, cover and chill in the poaching liquid overnight.  To serve the galantine, remove from the gelatinous chicken stock, remove the cheesecloth, bring to room temperature and slice thin.  This is a very elegant presentation for all occasions.

It pays to take time out our busy lives to make some incredibly delicious food.  If possible, make it a habit of bringing the family together to make something outrageous everyone can enjoy.  Eat within your means, and eat within your season.  Items on this blog are just some of the things packed into my basement freezer. Others include..


Crack Pie

Sun Dried Tomato and Pesto Yeasted Bagels

Happy winter everyone!!