Pearl of the Orient

This blog is inspired by the rich cluture and food found in Penang, an island in Malaysia known as the Pearl of the Orient. The author of this blog is Japanese influenced and she enjoys travelling, cooking and ofcourse, eating.

My Photo
Name:
Location: Penang, Malaysia

I'm a little plump rabbit who lives in Penang. I hop around with a camera round my neck snapping photos of Penang and foodstuffs. If you meet a rabbit like that in Penang, that should be me ; )

Friday, December 30, 2005

Ahn-nyong-ha-se-yo! Kimchi Anyone?

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Ahn-nyong-ha-se-yo! This greeting may sound familiar to many. Korean culture has been gaining a lot of popularity since the introduction of Korean dramas and movies to the Malaysian audience a few years ago. Since then, I often wondered about Korean cuisine. Apart from kimchi (fermented spciy cabbage in the above photo), kimbap (Korean version of rolled sushi) and bulgogi (Korean barbecued meat), I have no clear picture of what Koreans eat...

To be honest, I’ve never really tried Korean food before in my life - so does most of my friends. Therefore, to celebrate the coming new year, we decided to visit the Sam Oh Jeong Restaurant at Cantonment Road to try out the Korean food there. For who would like to visit the place but are not familiar with the area, Sam Oh Jeong is a bungalow turned restaurant and is located beside a Japanese restaurant ( I can't recall the name though). You will also see a seaside (Gurney drive) if you keep on driving until the end of Cantonment road.

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Comfy little place...

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The garden outside the restaurant. Was raining that day so the driveway was wet....

Like Japanese food, you can expect Korean food to be a little pricey as well. The price of the dishes ranges between RM 10 to RM 35. The most expensive dish in the menu (excluding liqour) was kalbi gooi or barbecued beef ribs which is RM 35.

But how was the food? It’s difficult to judge whether the meal was good or bad because it was the first time for us to try Korean food. I do love the kimbap and pajeon but the rest of the dishes (especially the kimchi and pickles) may need some getting used to. I was happy to try the kimchi at first. But upon putting it in my mouth, I decided that I do not like it. Maybe I'm just not the kimchi type ; p. Anyway, overall, this experience was definitely a culinary adventure for me...

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The plate of fresh vegetables (salad, shiso, garlic and cucumber) are to be eaten with the barbecued dishes, while the little bowls of condiments around it are appetizers...

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Some of the appetizers include peanuts and potatoes.
..

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pickles and fermented vegetables...

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more appetizer pickles...

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This is Korean barbequed pork, I can't remember what it was called. It had probably costed RM 30...

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This is kongchi gooi or grilled mackerel pike. Costed RM 25. A bit on the fishy side though...

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This is kimbap, which is the Korean version of sushi. This was my favourite among all dishes. It looks and taste exactly like maki sushi with a hint of sesame oil. Costed RM20 per plate...

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This pancake-like dish is called pajeon. Costed RM 10. It consist mostly of Whelsh onions, sliced chilies, eggs and perhaps some starch. The onions made the pancake sweet and I liked it quite a lot...

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Sam ge tang (thanks FoodCrazee for the correction - hope I got the name right this time) is the Korean ginseng chicken soup. Like our Chinese herbal soup, they also used 'kampung' (village) chicken and in this dish, the whole bird was stuffed (like a turkey) with Korean ginseng, glutinous rice, dates and chestnut and boiled for 12 hours until cooked. Costed RM 30 per bowl. Tasted quite nice but could've been better if the soup had a stronger aroma of ginseng in it...

Sam Oh Jeong Restaurant
No. 64, Cantonment Road, Penang

Monday, December 26, 2005

Back to Work with Choc Chip & Nut Cookies

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Many of my colleagues are still a holidaying but not me. I'll be going back to work tomorrow. Dreading the thought of this, I decided to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies to coax and encourage myself to go to work tomorrow.

Chocolate chip cookie recipes are a dime a dozen. I know there are plenty of good ones out there but I randomly picked one from one of my mom's old magazine called Her World Cookbook which was probably published in 1993 just for the fun of it. The recipe is called Chocolate Chip and Nut Cookies.

Unfortunately, the cookies weren't as tasty as I'd expected it to be. It recieved borderline feedbacks from my siblings with additional comment that the cookie dough taste kind of normal. Anyway, here's the recipe if you'd like to try it for yourself...

Chocolate Chip & Nut Cookies

Ingredients A:
200g butter
90g icing sugar, sifted
1 egg white
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

220g plain flour, sifted with 15g cocoa powder
70g chocolate chips
70g toasted cashewnuts, coarsely chopped

Method:
Cream Ingredients A till light and fluffy. Fold in flour and cocoa mixture, chocolate chips and nuts till well-mixed. Grease a baking sheet. Divide mixture into small lumps using teaspoon and place on baking sheet. Bake at 170 degree celcius for about 20 minutes till cooked and golden brown. Remove and leave to cool before serving.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Tagged by a Dreamer...

I was tagged by Day Dreamer from Thoughts & Thinking In Reality. She asked me if I ever heard of the saying 'tooh for a tooth, eye for an eye'. I guess this must be the result of my tagging her with the Favourite Food Meme. This tagging business is becoming a vicious cycle don't you think? Hehe...

By the way, I do not know the name of this Meme. But luckily it's pretty short and simple. This is how it goes...

How To Tag: State who tagged you. List who you want your Santa Claus to be (the bearer of the gift). State the gift you wish to get. Then invite a few friends to join the tag, and inform them by dropping a comment in their blog

Tagged by: Day Dreamer from Thoughts & Thinking in Reality

My santa / Gift bearer: For your info, I don't really endorse santa... but if you mean gift bearer then, it could be my parents or siblings ;p...

Gift for me: I would like to have a better camera than the one I have now. I am currently using the slow like tortiose, Kodak EasyShare CX4200. Maybe the 6.2 Megapixel Nikon Coolpix S4 would be nice and affordable...

Who's next: Due to fear of getting anymore 'tit for tat' treatment from fellow bloggers, I would not tag anyone else for now - unless ofcourse there are voluntary takers ; p. Anyone for this Meme?

Day Dreamer, I've done my homework. I'm waiting for you to do yours ;p. Greenapple, I still owe you the childhood food Meme. hang on there, I'll try to complete it as soon as I can.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

A Quick Little Holiday Dinner

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My family don't really celebrate Christmas but around this time every year, we would always 'makan-makan' (Malay word for eating) and have a good time together... This year, I promised my siblings a little 'Christmas' dinner. However, I was so caught up with work till I almost didn't have time to make the dinner, but lucky I did.

I started cooking from at around 2:30pm and completed around 6:00pm. Not bad, quite fast but I cheated by using instant foods ;p. I think my siblings didn't mind my dirty work cos they told me that they had an enjoyable meal plus they gave an overall rating of 8 over 10.

The first meal I served was cream of chicken and mushroom soup. I used Maggi's instant soup mix. Just mix the soup mix with water over fire stirring constantly until cooked. Yes, it's just as easy as that. Nothing fancy about it. It wasn't a great soup but the taste was passable...

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Cream of chicken and mushroom soup

To compliment the roast chicken, I served apple coleslaw. It was basically coleslaw made of shredded cabbages, onions, mayonnaise and lemon juice with and an additional flavour of apples. Crunchy and nice. Just too bad the photo turned out ugly, or else I would have posted it up.

As for the roast chicken (above photo), I really cheated this one... It was bought from our local department store. As you know, one can easily find ready to eat roast chicken from Giant or Tesco and it doesn't cost that much. To save time, I bought black pepper roasted chicken the day before and kept it in the freezer. I know this is not fresh but it taste just as good once it was re-heated in the oven. Before I popped the chicken into the oven, I also glazed on a mixture of S&W Teriyaki sauce, lemon and sugar (all boiled together into a thick syrup) to make the chicken look more glossy and appetizing.


Next on the menu was spagetthi marinara. Marinara is the seafood tomato based sauce type of spagetthi. For the sauce, I used Tesco's spaghetti sauce. I also added chopped onions, garlic, bell pepper, mushrooms, tomato puree and dried oregano to enhance the flavour of the sauce. For seafood, I mainly used canned tuna chunks and flakes and I also blanched some prawns and squids for extra topping.

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Spagetthi marinara... In this dish, I also used Tesco's whole meal spagetthi as a healthier option. Why am I mentioning Tesco so many times? Sounds like I'm really advertising for Tesco ;p...

Finally for dessert, I served coconut cream and fruit jelly or agar-agar. The jelly was made from 2 packets quick fix (Lobo's Coconut Agar Dessert and Thai Fruits Flavoured Agar Dessert respectively) which I bought from my previous trip to Hadyai, Thailand. The instructions behind the package of the fruit flavoured jelly gave a recipe which incorporated chopped local fruits like papaya, pineapple and jackfruit into the jelly. I added papaya and watermelon into mine. At first, I was a bit worried of how the fruit jelly would turn out cos it smelled like Fanta's green Fruitade or Wriggly's tutti frutti chewing gum but to my surprise it turned out very nice. The watermelon and the fruit jelly complimented each other very much and the taste was very refreshing with an intresting combination textures...

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Coconut cream and fruit jelly. The coconut cream jelly was very fragrant and rich while the fruits jelly was nice and refreshing...

Overall it was a humble kind of dinner. I was a bit dissapointed but... it was still okay considering that I my siblings liked the food. Last but not least, I would also like to take this opportunity to wish all my dear readers and blogger friends...

A Blessed Christmas, Happy New Year 2006
& A Wonderful Holiday!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Food Tidings from Hotel Equatorial, Penang

I recieved a little Christmas card-like promotion brochure from Hotel Equatorial, Penang today. Though just a brochure, I felt really happy looking at all the gorgeous food photos and reading about the promotions. I always have a soft spot for Hotel Equatorial, a place popularly known as EQ. I guess this fondess should be due to Kampachi, the Japanese restaurant at Equatorial which I believe (and many agrees) serves the best Japanese buffet in Penang...

Flipping through the brochure, I remembered all the luxurious meals I've sampled at EQ. To me, EQ just does everything in style. I'm full of praises over this place. I may be bias, but don't take my word for it. Do try it out this Christmas or New Year to see if you agree with Rabbit ;p...

I wanted to share the nice photos and promotions with all of you because it made me so happy. So, I scanned and edited the brochure to put it up at this blog. Sorry the fonts are a bit small though...

24 DECEMBER 2005
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25 DECEMBER 2005
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31 DECEMBER 2005
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1 JANUARY 2006
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Incase you'd like to make a reservation, please call 604 - 643 81111
**Rates are subject to 10% service charge and 5% government tax

EQ's Gourmet Shop is also offering a lavish selection of delectable food gifts like chocolates, cookies, pastries, turkey and wine. Call in for further inquiries.

Hotel Equatorial, Penang

1, Jalan Bukit Jambul, Bayan Lepas,
11900 Penang, Malaysia
Tel: 604-643 81111
info@pen.equatorial.com

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Blog Party #5: Vegas, Baby! - Unagi & Ebiko Sushi

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Hooray-hooray! The monthly Virtual Blog Party is here again and thanks to the ever wonderful hostess, Stephanie from Dispensing Happiness, the theme for the month of December is, 'Vegas, Baby!' or in other words, give in and indulge! What a great way to celebrate the closing of the year 2005!

At first, I couldn't decide what to indulge in. There are so many choices of rich and tempting food but finally I decided to make unagi (grilled freshwater eel - above picture) and ebiko (fish roe) sushi which are considered as rather luxurious grub over here. Happily I went shopping at Meijiya, the Japanese grocery store at Jalan Kelawei situated beside Mobile gas station. It was drizzling and there were some Japanese customers chatting away about something. For a moment, I really thought that I was in Japan.

I love to go to Meijiya. Though just a small shop, I guess it's the most comprehensive store selling Japanese food products in Penang. Japanese stuff can be really expensive, because of this, I always have to control myself from not buying too many things. So, I quickly scanned the shelfs and grab the stuffs I need, frozen unagi kabayaki, ebiko, wasabi... then I saw some something special. Shiso (perilla) leaves. I went Uwaa... this should be a cool decor for my sushi and decided to throw it into my shopping basket. The leaves cost RM 3.60 per packet and each pack contains about 12 leaves.

I also bought a bottle of Otafuku's spicy okonomiyaki sauce. It cost me RM 15.90 per bottle. Rather expensive for a bottle of sauce... Anyway, I just threw that in my basket as well cos I was playing along with the theme. Indulging and giving in to shopping. Hehe. By the way, the sushi recipe doesn't call for okonomiyaki sauce. I just bought it out of impulse... I quickly left the store after that cos I was getting really green eyed. I knew that if I've lingered any longer in the store I would have burst my pocket like a little child breaking her piggy bank to buy candy.

Coming home, I instantly started with the sushi. It's pretty easy actually. All you need to do is to prepare the sushi rice. I have the sticky rice recipe here. I would also recommend that you cook the rice according to the instructions on the package (if any) and that you cook more than a cup of rice to prevent the it from sticking to the pot.

As for the other ingredients, I used frozen unagi kabayaki and ebiko. Ebiko can be eaten as it is but the unagi needs to be re-heated. You can use an oven or microwave to do this but be sure to grease the pan cos you wouldn't want your unagi to stick to the pan now do you? To make my unagi more glossy and tasty, I brushed a bit of oil and tare (unagi kabayaki sauce) before I popped it into the oven at a low temperature of 175 celcious for 10 minutes. Also be sure to monitor your unagi from time to time. Due to the sweet sauce, it can get burnt easily and we don't want that to happen as well...

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Ebiko sushi - gunkan or battleship style...

For the prepared sushi rice, wet your hands with a little water mix with vinegar. Place a large tablespoon of rice onto your palm and shape it into a long ball (like a nigiri sushi). A nigiri mould may come in handy if you're not good with your hands. Once done, just assemble everything together. Cut the unagi and place it on top of the rice ball to make unagi sushi. Cut a strip of nori seaweed, wrap it around a ball of rice and spoon in ebiko (you can use tobiko if you can't find ebiko) to make ebiko sushi - gunkan style or battleship style sushi.

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To add a little festive mood into the food, I used a special nigiri mould to make these star shaped sushi...

As for cocktail drinks, I decided to make jasmine green tea with lime. It's jasmine green tea mixed with some lime juice and honey. It is very refreshing and is great for washing away any fishy after taste from the sushi.

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A refreshing drink of jasmine green tea with lime...

And so, how did my siblings, the panel of food critics find the sushi? The results I got was 'oishii' and 'oishii' (oishii means delicious in Japanese) all the way. I think this is because unagi and ebiko have always been their favourite foods.

Friday, December 16, 2005

A Little Comfort in the Night

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Warning: This post is a bit on the melodrama side. If you easily get sick at such things, please do not continue reading…

These few days, my little brain had been working overtime. After my presentation, I was greeted by some unexpected news. Good or bad? Well, I don’t know. It was good to hear that the boss was happy with my work but because of this, more trainings, projects and challenges await me next year… which means less time for blogging and cooking… : (

I guess being a professional cook will stay as a dream for at least another few years. A lot of people ask me to pursue my dream and I would like to do it but I am not a rich Rabbit that's all I can say...

I was thinking about all these things while walking back to the car park after having dinner at some hawker stalls at Batu Lanchang. The night was really dark and quiet despite some cars passing by with headlights shining. The atmosphere really reflected my dull mood.

As I walked, I saw some fluorescent lights glowing by the corner of the street. A little cart stall was selling something outside some flats which stood behind a market. I hopped over to have a look. A lady was selling steamed ground nuts and chickpeas, which as a popular snack of yester years. I decided to buy a bag of each since it was hard to come by such stalls nowadays.

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The lady at her stall selling steamed ground nuts and chickpeas...

Still gloomy, I munched on some warm chickpeas as I walked towards the car. The chickpeas were nice and soft. I decided to try some of the ground nuts. They were good too. They don’t make steamed ground nuts like these anymore, I thought.

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Steamed chickpeas, piled up in a mountain... healthy stuffs...

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Steamed ground nuts in a basket, soft and sweet. Cost RM 2 for a bag of 'em...

I felt a bit better after snacking but I can that tell my dilemma is not over. Mood swings do effect my cooking. I can’t cook when I’m feeling down… which reminds me, Virtual Blog Party is due tomorrow. Let’s see how my cooking will turn out this time…

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

You Are What You Eat Meme

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Cream colored ponies, and crisp apple strudels, doorbells and sleighbells and schnitzel with noodles. Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings, these are a few of my favorite things…

I had been tagged by Rorie from Milk and Honey with this Meme called You Are What You Eat. In this Meme you have to list out your top 10 favourite foods. Sounds like an easy task at first glance but believe me, it’s not. Many times I was in a dilemma of choosing which food like best among the many wonderful choices I had in mind. For example, I love mayonnaise. Anything with mayo makes it extra appetizing but this time I was force to leave this food out of my list because I liked others better? I don’t really know. Somehow I felt a pang of guilt and felt sorry for poor mayo. I kind of imagine a little bottle of mayonnaise crying at one corner whilst I am typing this post…

Well, as much as you like it, you can’t choose everyone. But if I can choose, mayo would probably end up in the 11th place in my heart where favourite food is concerned. Hope you feel better now mayo... Anyway, in order to make this Meme interesting, well start from the least to the first and off we go with the 10th most favourite food…

My 10th Most Favourite Food: Chocolate
I hadn’t loved chocolate so much until just recently. I started getting hooked on Lindt, Milka, Ferrero and Ritter Sport after my recent trip to Germany. I would mostly prefer milk chocolate rather than dark or white chocolate.

My 9th Most Favourite Food: Ice cream
Ice cream is also my recent favourite. I really love the creamy ice cream served in Germany. There are so many flavours there. They even have Nuttella flavour. My favourite flavours are green tea, vanilla and butter scotch. And I love yoghurt ice cream too.

My 8th Most Favourite Food: Strawberries
I just feel happy when I look at strawberries. They are such pretty little things, don’t you think so? I love the sweet fragrance of the fruit. I never fail to sniff at a box of strawberries and adore it’s cuteness whenever time I pass by the fruit section of the department store.

My 7th Most Favourite Food: Cheese
I can’t say no to anything with baked cheese on it. Pizza and lasagna are good examples. Sandwiches and burgers taste better with cheese and cheese cakes are simply wonderful.

My 6th Most Favourite Food: Senbei
I love the savoury taste of the shoyu (soya sauce) that goes well on the crunchy senbei (Japanese rice crackers). Even better if it comes with a piece of seaweed on top or wrapped around it. Simply irresistible!

My 5th Most Favourite Food: Chicken
If there’s a choice to choose between meats like beef, lamb, venison, pork, turkey, or chicken. I’ll choose chicken. You can say it’s my favourite meat. I love it fried, grilled and baked.

My 4th Most Favourite Food: Seaweed

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Be it nori, hijiki, wakame or any other kind of seaweed you can bet I like it. I have a special fondness for seaweed. Sometimes while walking along the beach, I see some of unrecognized species of seaweed washed up by the shore and I felt that it’s such a waste. I was always tempted to bring them home to cook but the fear of being poisoned always put me off from doing such things.

3rd Most Favourite Food: Pasta & Noodles
Pasta and noodles are like brothers. I can’t mention one without mentioning the other. I love the taste and texture of pasta and noodles. Spaghetti, macaroni, fussilini, vermicelli, soba, udon, ramen... the list is endless. This is a bit embarrassing but I have to admit that I actualy have asoft spot for instant noodles. They are one of my comfort foods.

2nd Most Favourite Food: Surimi

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Surimi are mostly made out of process seafood. Crab filament (crab stick), fish ball and kamaboko are examples of surimi. There are so many choices of surimi lately. Although it’s not really a healthy kind of food but I almost can’t live without these. They taste so good in soup or even barbecued. I wonder if surimi are categorized as junk food? Uh oh, does that make me junk since this is a you are what you eat Meme : (… but who cares. I love surimi a lot – yummy : ).

My Most Favourite Food: Seafood

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And finally, the fairest food of them all, seafood. Yep, I love seafood. Especially salmon, cod, tuna, prawn, fish roe (e.g. tobiko), crab (did I tell you that I'm allergic to crabs?), lobster and scallop. I love to have my salmon smoked or sashimi style with some shoyu and wasabi. I love my sushi with lots of tobiko. Another seafood that I love is bonito. Be it in flakes (katsuobushi) sprinkled on my takoyaki (Japanese grilled octopus ball) or okonomiyaki (Japanese savoury pancake), or as soup base (dashi) for my noodles, I simply adore the aroma of bonito.

So, there you have it my top 10 favourite foods. I can’t say that it’s a complete list because I love so many foods, but it should be a general overview or a summary of what I like most (at least for now). I would like to end this Meme by tagging some of fellow bloggers who enjoy eating as much as I do. I tag:

Boo_licious from Masak-Masak
Day-Dreamer from Thoughts & Thinking in Reality
FoodCrazee from
FoodCrazee
Greenapple from
My Felicity Corner
Jellyfish from Le Crappo


Hope they’ll have fun doing this Meme. I can't wait to know what are their favourite foods. This’ll be super interesting. I’m such a busy body sometimes… *Sings* When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I’m feeling sad, I simply remember my favourite foods and then I won’t feel so bad!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

December 2005 - Food Blog Events

We are at the last month of the year again. The whole world is getting ready for Christmas and then preparing to welcome the year 2006. How time really flies when you're cooking, blogging and working at the same time. Anyway, the food blog events for this month includes:

Will keep this post updated if there are any IMBB or SHF events this month... and oops! I almost forgot. The results for the IMBB/SHF - Virtual Cookie Swap event is out. Head over to Domestic Goddess to find out who are the 12 proud cookie winners. Congratulations to all of them for their great effort. Glutton Rabbit didn't win this time but we have someone else from Malaysia who did. Big congratulations to Boo_licious from Masak-Masak! You did us proud! Malaysia Boleh!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Tamarind Brasserie - Parkroyal Hotel, Batu Ferringhi Beach, Penang

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After the major presentation to the big boss from Europe, all tensions were immediately released and I was really in the mood to celebrate with food. So, together with some friends and colleagues, we went to Hotel Parkroyal at Batu Ferringhi beach to have a hearty buffet dinner together.

Thursday’s promotion at Tamarind Brasserie was Flavours of The Middle East, Mediterranean and South East Asia. The buffet starts from 7:00 pm to 10:30 pm. The price is RM 68.00++ for adult and RM 34.00++ for children. The spread is a vast selection of creative cuisine from Algeria, Turkey, Morocco, Spain, Italy, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.

The food was really a feast to the eye as much as it was to the tummy. Unfortunately, most of my photos came out bad (due to lighting and lousy camera). I did try to use Photoshop to correct the blurred photos but it still failed quality control that I had no choice but to discard them. This will explain why there are no photos of main dishes…


Previously rated as 4 star, Park Royal Penang had recently undergone renovation and is now rated a 5 star hotel. It's really an elegant place. I love the ambience and scenery and I was really impressed with the decorations they had set up for Christmas. They even had a fake Santa paddling on a trishaw full of presents and this is so Penang! Great idea! Santa should do this more often if he’s planning to shed some of those jelly…

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The view, looking out from Tamarind Brasserie...

The evening was spent eating, eating and eating. I was so fascinated by the appetizers that I ate more appetizers than the main dish or dessert. I also had minestrone soup, pizza, lasagna, pasta, satay, char koay teow (with large prawns), grilled prawns and salmon. Really nice. I wish I could sample every single dish they had there but my poor stomach finally surrendered after the grilled salmon. I only manage to have ice-cream for dessert. I had to forgo the other yummy desserts. Could you believe that? I was a bit disappointed with my poor planning skills but nevertheless, I had a great time…

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Salads and appetizers...

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My platter of appetizers. From left, glass noodle salad with prawns and Thai chilli sauce, piped potatoes (some sort of Duchesse potatoes maybe?) and tuna salad...

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Another appetizer, barbecued meat (char-siew) with cherry tomato salad...

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Yummy desserts! Various kinds of puddings, jellies and cakes...

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Another decor called Santa's Hut. It's a miniature house made out of polystyrene decorated with real gingerbread cookies...

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A cute little breadman, decorating the roof of Santa's Hut...

For your info, Parkroyal's Tiffin Restaurant received the Malaysia Tatler's 'Best Restaurant' award for 12 consecutive years. Do check out the place if you're interested...


Grand Plaza Parkroyal, Penang
Batu Ferringhi Beach
11100 Penang
Malaysia
Tel: +60 4 881 1133
Fax: +60 4 881 2233
E-mail: http://penang.parkroyalhotels.com/s14206/email.html or granplaza@pen.parkroyalhotels.com

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Chicken Salad with Apple, Celery and Rosemary

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I think I must have gone nuts. I have a major presentation due tomorrow and here I am blogging away about something I cooked during the weekend. Anyway, I went shopping at Giant in Penang Plaza the weekend before and I came across something interesting at the veggie corner. Fresh herbs! Grown locally by Genting Garden at Genting Highlands and I think that's why it was very affordable too, at only RM1.99 per packet.

There were a few choices to choose from, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary and a few others. I decided to buy a packet of rosemary. It smelled great! I was so excited and delighted with the buy that as soon as I got home, I quickly stored the herb in my fridge to preserve it's freshness. This is not a good sign. Stuffs that goes in the fridge are almost always quickly forgotten and later end up being burdensome. I often find myself in a situation where I had to force myself to cook the something before it spoils. And this is exactly what happened to the poor rosemary when I found it last weekend...

I didn't have any good recipes for rosemary at hand, so I decided to do a search on the Internet. Went to Google Search and typed in "rosemary + recipe" and the results came out. I thought the recipe in the first result sounded quick and easy so I off I went into the kitchen to fix it.

The recipe was from The Gourmet Connection Magazine Archive. It's called Chicken Salad with Rosemary. When I told my siblings that I'd be making this and that the recipe also calls for celery, one of them said, hey, I heard celery goes well with apples so why don't you throw some in. I said okay and did what she said, I lessen the celery and added in some apple cubes. The recipe also calls for sour cream which I did not have so, I just substituted it with a bit more mayonnaise and added a twist of lemon... and voila! I have my own version of the salad and the taste was not too bad.

The salad earned a rating of 7 over 10 with additional comments that it would have taste better if the celery had been more thinly sliced. In normal occassion, my siblings would usually run away from veggies like celery. I did not know why they were so willing to eat it this time. I guess it must be the recipe! Yeah!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

November 2005 - Food Blog Events Round-up

November is definitely the month for me. Despite my busy schedule, I have managed to sqeeze in some time to participate in a few of the nicest food blog events on the Internet. I started off by making cupcakes in the event called Hay! Hay! It's Donna Day: Self Frosting Cupcakes. It was overall really delightful because I also happen to be the winner of this event. Check out the round-up here:

Next, I baked chicken pies to bring to the monthly Virtual Blog Party. It was my the first pie attempt and I was really pleased with the results. Khang Wei from Tangerine Taste liked the recipe and also made this for his girlfriend. It was his first attempt in baking too. Really sweet of him yes? Anyway, see what fabulous dishes other bloggers have brought to the party this time by visiting the below link:

Now, I'm really hoping that my Gingerbread Bears will win the joint SHF/IMBB event called Virtual Cookie Swap. They'll be giving away a great cookie book called 'Cookie Sutra' to 12 lucky winners.

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Getting a little political here aren't we?...

The round up is already out and I could see that competition is really really tough. Come on and join in the vote! Just read through the round-ups and e-mail your top 3 favourite cookie recipes to this address, cookieswap@gmail.com...

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Stir Fried Chinese Sausage With Pear

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There was an interesting fruit recipe recommended by our resident chef, FoodCrazee, not long ago called 'Stir Fried Taiwanese Sausage with Pear'. I decided to give it a try as it sounded pretty simple and yet special.

The recipe mainly calls for Taiwanese sausages, snow pear, celery, sesame oil and a little seasoning. Unfortunately, I ran out of Taiwanese sausages but had plenty of Chinese sausages (lap-cheong) in the larder. So, I just altered the recipe a little by replacing Taiwanese sausages with lap-cheong. The recipe also called for snow pear, which I do not have and believe I have never seen it before in my life (maybe someone can help me?). Therefore, I also replaced this ingredient with gong pear which is found abundantly in my fridge. Just for your information, gong pear is the yellow, lightly speckled and plump and juicy type of pear.

I served the stir fry 'donburi' (Japanese term for one meal or bowl dish) style in a bowl on a bed of warm rice with a little soya sauce. The meal was quite good and the combination of textures were really interesting. The sausages were chewey, the celery crunchy and the pears soft on the outside but slighty crunchy in the inside.

My siblings, didn't want to try the dish. One of them did took a bite but decided that she didn't like the taste. So, I guess this is not a dish that everyone would like. But I like it. Before this, I didn't even know pears can be cooked as a savoury dish. But now I know. Thanks for sharing the recipe FoodCrazee!