Friday, December 30, 2011

Baking Recipe: Raspberry Ricotta Tart & THANKS!!!

Raspberry has always been one of my favourite berry. These tiny, tangy ruby gems are a perfect size to pop into the mouth; if you crave for a snack. Plus they somehow make all desserts look so much prettier and appetizing..Don't you think?

Over this Holiday Season, I stocked up on buttery puff pastry and heaps of berries. It's been a while since I worked with puff pastry, and I won't deny further. I love it to bits. The buttery taste and how it's flaky when taking a bite into it makes me wants more every single time. If only I had the skills to make them from scratch I would. Then again, on second thoughts, I shall leave it to the 'pro pastry chef'.
My Raspberry Ricotta Tart is simple to make and fuss free. It's ultra light and fluffy too. If not mistaken, it will only require you to spare 30 minutes of your time.

I have a message to all of you foodie friends [scroll down a little further for recipe]. This year has been an exciting and wonderful year. My best friend highlighted to me that 'I am now living my life', and I couldn't agree more. I had goals set out for my year 2011 to achieve. I realised and feel that I have accomplished quite a lot. Not something that I would take for granted. Travelling down to San Francisco to attend the Foodbuzz Festival on my own[ who would have thought that I would be gutsy?!?], finally meeting Chef Tyler Florence and meeting new foodie friends. It's truly an amazing adventure.

My blog started without a single direction, and slowly evolved along the way. Though I try to post as much recipe I could, I do know that there were times that I just didn't post anything either. Yet, you have all came back and left me with such sweet comments. I cannot THANK YOU enough for all your kind words and support. Hopefully, year 2012 will bring us more exciting stories and journey to fulfill our lives. Do stay tune..There's just one more post of San Francisco that I am eager to share with you. If you did enjoy reading my travel journal, thanks for inviting me to your home and glad that you did.
For recipe: Click on image + zoom
To digress, back to this lovely Raspberry Ricotta Tart. If you are pressed for time, or don't feel like much washing up, and also like to watch your waist.. do try this tart out. If my brother and sister in-law enjoyed it [they can be fussy..]I guess your guests would too.

Plus, I have join the Virtual New Year 2012 blog hop. Make sure to pop over to Lora from Cake Duchess and check it out. I am sure it's going to be a lot of fun, even though we are all from different time zone.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cooking Recipe: Juicy Oven Baked Fried Chicken Fillet

You know how we tend to feel a little stuffed over the holiday season? That's because there is just so much good food served around the table. If you have been there.. you are not alone ;). I for one, love to throw parties and tend to over feed my friends.. LOL. Not that they are complaining, but I guess they just need to work out harder after the holiday season.

For this year, I decided that it's going to be different. I wanted us to eat slightly lighter yet packed on flavour. Also it was really nice that 2 of my friends [Thanks ladies..] who were free to join my brother, sister in-law and myself for dinner. Dinner was no frills but definitely tasty where I prepared a simple starter, main-course and of course we ended it with dessert. No perfect meal is complete without dessert.The inspiration? Dinner is very much inspired by a movie night meal. My guests definitely could get comfortable and eat with their hands if they liked. Do you see what I meant by 'no frills'?
For recipe: Click on image + zoom
In a nutshell, it's big on flavour and easy to make. Not to mention you can prepare them in advance and just pop them in the oven when it's time to eat. The Juicy Oven Baked Fried Chicken Fillet is really simple to make, and best part you don't need a hot pot of oil to fry them. See how this is suddenly much lighter? Don't frown just yet... I promise you that it is really tasty. To proof my point on big on flavour, the chicken fillet is marinated in buttermilk, smoked paprika, and some cayenne for that extra kick. Then, I added shredded mild and aged cheddar into panko bread crumbs that adds the light crunch in every bite. Then served my juicy tender oven baked fried chicken fillet with my very own light tangy dip and simple feta baby spinach salad on the side. Yummmmm..yummmmm....Till then!!


Friday, December 23, 2011

Baking Recipe: Misletoe Cupcakes (Vanilla Buttercream+ Dark Chocolate Ganache Filled Cupcake)

When it comes to sharing the love and joy, I love turning to classics when I bake. It seems safe, but trust me nobody could resist a good old ultra moist fluffy chocolate cake, filled with ooey gooey dark chocolate ganache filling and frosted with old fashion vanilla butter cream.
I suppose you could say I am one who treasures my past, and present. While baking these cupcakes, the first thing that came to my mind is Audrey Hepburn in her Breakfast at Tiffany's advert. The whole black and white, is just so chic and classy. Since coming across the advert while I was just a mere young lady, I told myself that I would love to grow up to be refined and poise. Not quite sure if that worked out though..LOL.

Anyways, back to my Mistletoe Cupcake. Honestly, I don't know what to call them, and since I have always wanted to decorate with a mistletoe, I thought it would be a great idea to name my cuppies just as it is. For the love birds, you could say that I am creating a moment for you to get your kiss..Forgive me if I sounded lame. Then again, we are just a reserved bunch of people. So no kisses here tonight peeps! Hmmmph..[do I sense some raised eye brows?!?]
By the way, there won't be any recipe card, this time round. For recipe, please click on Chocolate Ganache Cupcake and here for the Old Fashion Vanilla Butter cream [note: do omit the lemon juice]. However, I have a virtual card to all of you readers whom I called you my foodie friend. Thanks for all the support through out the months and I do hope you will be back for more. Till then!!


Cooking Recipe: Chicken Pot Pie-Cheater's Way

Over this holiday season, it's going to be a quiet one in my family. However, that will not dampen my holiday spirits. It's the best time now that I get to cook more and not only show you that I bake, I could actually cook up a storm. And if I say so myself.. the taste is wicked. It's the holidays, so a little self praised is good for the soul.

While my parents are vacationing in Spain and Portugal along together with my god-parents, I am going to record down every single thing I cook or bake, whenever I possibly can that is.
Lately, it has been raining every single day here. I love rain, but it does make things like running errands difficult. The traffic, getting wet and possibly catching a cold is a pain. Not to mention, the weather around the world is getting stranger by the day. It does cool down and sometimes I experience very cool breeze in the evening. That's really odd.. Anyways, since it has been a wet day, I thought the best pick me up to stay warm and fuzzy is my own quick cheat Chicken Pot Pie. No rue/ roux required. Plus I have promised my brother yonks ago that I will cook him my Chicken Pot Pie.

While I am sure all of you will have your own recipe, and so do I. I do usually make a rue/roux, but this time round I switch it up since I am pressed for time. My recipe? ...again cooking without one. I say so long you know the basics, you can spice up this classic dish any how you like. I thought this one "bowl" dish will make a perfect dinner meal.
For recipe: Click on image + zoom
Instead of chicken breast and heavy cream, I have replaced these two ingredients with chicken fillet and full cream milk. I love chicken fillet, as this meat is usually near the thigh area of the chicken, and it's ultra tender. Also, I don't have heavy cream in the pantry, and since Christmas is around the corner with all the goodies coming up; I thought of eating lighter and substituted it with full cream milk. However, you can replace with Low Fat Milk as well. Works out just as good, but a note: Taste will be much lighter and not as rich compared to using a full cream milk.
No matter how you cook Chicken Pot Pie, it will be delish. The key is to use fresh simple ingredients, and use a good buttery store bought puff pastry. After all, to make our own puff pastry requires a lot of skill. I think for this part, lets just let the pro make us their wonderful buttery flaky puff pastry.

Happy Holidays y'all!!


Monday, December 12, 2011

Baking Recipe: Peppermint Chocolate Cookie

Let it snow.. let it snow.. let it snow!! It's a song that I'm sure everybody know off. Since it don't snow in  Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, I thought let's make a crisp white cookie with white and red snow sprinkles.As usual, what I imagine to be, might not turn out the way I wanted. But this time round, I am absolutely satisfied. So, Caution: Lots of sweet treats coming your way this Christmas. Strap on your seat belt and enjoy the remaining days of December 2011. If not a sweet toother, do read on anyhow ;).

After all my long journals about San Francisco, perhaps I should really keep this post real short and SWEET. Christmas is one of my favourite time of the year. In my mind, I think it's magical apart from the gifts..LOL. This is indeed the best time of the year as we are surrounded with heaps of LOVE, and lots of feel good movies where they constantly remind us to be kind and forgiving. Plus there is always Santa and the Elves. Though these are just made believes, it sure does gives us a little glimpse of hope in life.
While growing up, my mom used to host Christmas parties for family and friends and she would whip up a lot of food, enough to fit a whole long yard and still manage to find time to bake her delicious chocolate cake with chocolate butter cream. She may not remember it now though, but I remembered it loud and clear like it was just yesterday. We would have roast turkey or sometimes chicken, grilled lamb chops, salad, appetizers and the list could just go on and on. One could only imagine how we managed to fit almost 30 plus people in our home. It was a long tiring day affair but a joyous one I must say.

Come to think of it, that is probably how it got me started to host parties as I grew older. I found a lot of joy sharing my cooking and baking with my family and friends too. The best part is hearing them go ''ohhhh... oooOOooo..yuummmmmmmmMMmm".
For recipe: Click on image + Zoom
On a quick note, I think this cookie would have you doing the same too. Plus the cookie is perfect to go with a glass of cold milk and if you are not selfish, leave a cookie or two under your Christmas tree. This cookie has all the Christmas cheer flavour in one tiny little package. A topping of crushed red and white peppermint candy provides the perfect finish for thin white-chocolate covered mint cookies. It's dark, chocolaty and crunchy on the inside, covered with smooth velvety white chocolate and topped with crushed peppermint candy. Let me be honest here too, this recipe is not for non sweet toothers, as I do find this recipe a little on the sweet side. But think of it, just one sweet cookie a year and what could be more of a Christmas cheer without a Peppermint Chocolate Cookie? Also this makes a perfect gift exchange. There's just something about Christmas that makes everyone happy.

Since I am not in the States right now, and certainly would have loved to take part in some cookies or sweet treats exchange, this is a virtual one for all of you foodie friends, and also to a couple of special new friends I have come to grown fond of. Here's a toast to Angela, Bonnie, Elisabeth, Emily, Gina, Nami, and Visda (no favouritism here.. just decided to arrange your names in alphabetical order..)

Till then.. and a let's all Drink and Be Merry to another wonderful year of food blogging!!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Travel: Snacking for the Soul Around San Francisco

As you might have all heard that San Francisco is a food haven? I completely agree to that statement. Also don't miss out on walking around as you never know what cool shops you might find. Though this time round I didn't get to try as much various type of cuisine as I have hoped, nevertheless I did eat to my heart content. My palate has been "teased" with various flavours, be it savoury or sweet. Don't think I would ever be able to settle for something less. LOL..
First stop, Warren Pears. Boy..oh! boy.. I couldn't stop thinking about these bad boys till right now. From my very first bite into them at the Foodbuzz Tasting Pavilion; where the oh! so sweet, juiciness and squidgy firmness of the pear still lingers in my mind and mouth till this very day. I actually went to a supermarket and bought a couple more to devour in these lovely pears. The only sad thing, is that they do not ship the Warren Pears internationally [sigh..] Hopefully they will one day and the cost wouldn't kill me.

Next, to something more savoury. Perhaps a typical American staple food I would say. But..but.. it's just so sinful and delish that I believe I could definitely go back the next day and have another. What is this? Do I sense some guess? If you guess it to be the Hamburger, you are absolutely right!
In and Out: Double Cheese Burger
Bonnie came over and took me out for a late night supper. She brought me to In and Out Burger. Oh yeah! it's going IN alright and not coming out. I will have to let you know that I am not use to late night supper but since I am on a vacation, I couldn't care-less about all those calories or thoughts like"oh! will that add more bulk to my hips?!?" I just know that it was so good that I clearly told Bonnie that I am not sharing the burger with her. But I did share my fries and soda. Okay, I had the Double Cheeseburger, and my friends; though I know America is a fast food nation, and how fast is this food prepared a not, I have not seen myself devour a hamburger that fast. The smokey-ness of the char grilled beef pati, topped with pickle, shredded lettuce, thinly sliced big red onion, melted cheese, their secret sauce and sandwiched in between fresh juicy burger buns was delightful. Did I mentioned I had this Double Cheeseburger at 11:30pm? So now you know.
Mitchell's Ice Cream
Hmm.. what's next or should I say before the Hamburger? Bonnie and I decided to switch things around just for fun. Instead of ending the meal with dessert, we started our hunt of late night supper with dessert. I could still recall, that night was pretty chilly and the crazy two of us went to Mitchell's ice-cream parlour. What can I say.. I am a sucker for desserts and I was after all craving for some good ol' ice-cream. If you asked me now, I believe I had the Chocolate Caramel Crackle and Butterscotch Marble and the combo if I say so myself, is absolute winner. Some crunch in the ultra rich creamy soft ice-cream gives that perfect balance of texture don't you think? If you are a traveller like myself, don't be shy to ask to try all their flavours. When I saw Dulce de Leche, I definitely tasted that one, and it was just so good. Slightly salty-sweet burnt caramel. Yummmm.. yummmm......
Chocolate and White Chocolate Raspberry Swirl Ice-cream
Another ice-cream that is a must try or to be in your to-do list is Bi-Rite Creamery. I first took note of them while I was watching the Food Network channel back home and there was this lady who swears by their Sam's sundae from Bi-Rite Creamery. Since then, I knew this is one ice-cream parlour that I ought to check out while visiting San Francisco. Bi-Rite Creamery is on 18th on Guerrero Street. So it's perfect, cause there are more good food on this street.While I am not so adventurous to try Sam's Sundae, as you are to drizzle fruity olive oil over the rich chocolate ice-cream, I chose a safer route to something I know I will enjoy as much. Now why is the ice-cream so good? They use Strauss Cream to make their ice-cream and all their ice-cream is made fresh on their premises. Naturally I went with the classic flavours which are Chocolate and White Chocolate Raspberry swirl ice-cream. I really love how the Chocolate ice-cream is semi-bittersweet, rich and creamy and the raspberry add that extra zing into the lovely silky smooth which chocolate ice-cream. It came to my surprise that their ice-cream is not overly sweet. Perfect! Just how I like it.

Make sure to jot down this street peeps which is 18th on Guerrero Street. Apart from Bi-Rite Creamery, I felt like I hit a jackpot. Right across the street from Bi-Rite is Delfina and Pizzeria Defina, then on the same row of Defina right in the corner is Tartine Bakery and Cafe. If you love pastries, you must go to Tartine. Grab their eclairs or freshly baked butter croissant. It is flaky and really delish, and their eclair will satisfy your crave if you are in need of a choux-pastry, filled with fresh piped vanilla bean cream and coated in chocolate. You will notice that if you talk to any San Franciscan, these are some of the places named.
Since I am rekindling my fond memory on 18th Street, let me now show you what a great meal I had in Delfina. Delfina is a casual fine dining place, with a menu which I think they update on a monthly basis. I noticed on their menu, which is a piece of paper with all the good food listed, has a month and year printed on the top left corner. The restaurant is a little small and seating is close to one another and is usually full house [from what I heard]. So make sure to make a reservation before heading there. Luckily for Larissa and myself, we managed to get a seat since we just walked in without any prior reservation made before hand. Lucky us! Since there was only just the two of us, we decided to order 2 different main course and share them. The beauty is make sure to mention to your serving waiter/waitress of the day that you are sharing, so when they serve your dish, it would had been equally split between 2 people.

Big question.. what did we order? We ordered the Veal Raviolli with Citrus Sage Brown Butter Sauce and Roasted Liberty Duck. Let me see how should I put it down in words for you.
Veal Raviolli with Citrus Sage Brown Buttersauce
These little pockets maybe small, but they are filled in full on flavour. The filling which is a mixture of veal and possibly some pork, is just so tender and seasoned really well. The raviolli is cooked just to perfection and the sauce is absolutely divine. You cold taste the brown butter, lemon zest, and sage. It was so good that I think to satisfy my crave, I will need to at least have 20 of these little devils.
Roasted Liberty Duck
Well I never had the chance to cook duck breast. And if I ever have the chance, this is definitely one dish that I would love to re-create. The duck breast is lean, and if over cooked, it will be rubbery and dry. However, this Roasted Liberty Duck is fantastic. The pomegranate sauce drizzled over this crackling juicy tender duck gives that extra zing. Makes it all light yet wholesome. You could just taste everything that is put into this dish. The balance of crunch from the slightly salted duck skin really gave it texture and topped with some fresh pomegranate, adds that little juicy pops. The combination of POM juice used is just brilliant. A classy dish indeed.

Lets continue walking together with me in my memories right now and another place to take note of is Union Street and Chestnut Street. From Japan town, walk two blocks towards Filmore Street and grab bus no. 22. While you are in the bus, absorb some of the view and look out for Union Street. There are some nick knack shops, small boutiques and if you are as crazy like me over Cream Puffs, then you are at the right place.
There are two little gems to check out while you are on Union Street. One being Pacific Cream Puff. This quaint little corner shop in blue, only specialises in Cream Puffs, or giant size profiteroles in my eyes anyway.Sadly I didn't take a photo of my Cream Puff, as I just couldn't wait to sink my teeth into it. By the time I was done, it hit me that I didn't snap a photo for you. No worries, I think the photos above is good enough. Be sure to pop over to get yourself some lovely piped fresh cream puffs if you're there. Yummm... [Why am I drooling while describing my food adventure to you? Oh! my.. I got to go home and make me some puffs.]

Another place I heard which was good and if you are into cuppies, is Take That Cake. It's along Union Street too. Not to despair, I have a cuppie prepared to share with you. See how much I go through to write this food journal for you [can you support me a little more now?..LOL]. Not complaining at all, since the walking burnt off pretty much what I ate before I hit the next stop [or so I thought..hmmmm]. The other cupcake shop I hunt down was Kara's Cupcakes on Scott Street .
Fleur De Sel
I never had cupcake as breakfast before, and let me tell you this is the first of such by myself. I walked in, and couldn't decide which to choose. So what's the hype over Kara's Cupcake? I think what I am drawn towards to is their light, fluffy and super moist cupcake. I think I could hear myself going.. mmmmMMmm..oooOOoooo...mmmMMMMMmm, and chomp away my cuppie. I chose Fleur De Sel. It's a chocolate cupcake with caramel filling, dark chocolate ganache frosting and fleur de sel. Sprinkled on top of the dark chocolate ganache frosting is some sea salt. What a perfect balance. It just tones down the ultra richness of the cupcake..finger licking good. It's pretty orgasmic.
Well, all good gastronomy do have to come to an end. After a long day of shopping and walking around along Chestnut Street, I thought of having tacos at first. Instead I walked in Pacific Catch. I am certain I made an absolute right choice at the end, because on my very last day in San Francisco, I went back there to grab my lunch since I know I will not be coming back anytime soon. I am sold by their idea of combining bold sauces, spices and cooking preparations of Asia, Latin America and Hawaii with local California ingredients to create a new kind of fish house. The end result, divine, delish and left me wanting for more.Needless to say, I am now hooked to their secret spicy rub covered sweet potato fries, and still crave for them. And they serve it with Jalapeno tartare sauce. One word, YuMMMMMmmmmie!!

I have to say though, my San Francisco gastronomy trip is coming to a close. But wait.. wait.. I am not done, because this is something that I think should be talked about solely on the next post and perfect to conclude my trip. So stay tune!


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Travel: Meeting Nami from Just One Cookbook and Japantown (8th November, 2011)

I am so excited to share with you this post as I have been planning this a long time with Nami @ Just One Cookbook. I'm sure her name is NO stranger to all of you food bloggers. If you don't know her, no worries. It's time for me to introduce her to you and do pop over her lovely website for some wicked Japanese and other Asian dishes recipes. Her recipes and step by step photos are easy to follow for any of you who is interested in Asian dishes.
Nami & Myself
A little about Nami and how it all began. I spontaneously dropped Nami an e-mail wondering if she will be attending Foodbuzz Festival 2011 and asked if she would love to meet up. Of course I looped in Elisabeth in this meet up as Elisabeth was staying back in SF for another 2 days. When she replied my e-mail, I was thrilled to know that she agreed to meet. So many e-mails sent to one another back and forth, and we nearly didn't even have the chance to meet up as Nami's daugther suddenly caught a cold. Nevertheless, all went well even though it was only for two hours and the meet up session was on.

The moment of meet, greet and get to know one another has left me constantly thinking of her. Few words to sum up Nami. She's a real sweet lady, courteous and genuinely friendly. I am truly honoured to have met her. Wished we had more time right Nami?
Elisabeth & Myself
Naturally, we went to a nearby bakery, have a cuppa and some freshly oven baked pastries and chat away. We walked to La Boulange Bakery, a French inspired bakery which is about 2-3  blocks walk up hill from Hotel Tomo.
It's like a "halo" shining above the sweet treats.. oh! my..

Left to Right: Cherry Raspberry, Hazelnut, Lemon, Chocolate, Coffee, Strawberry, Vanilla, Passionfruit Mango
I just couldn't resist. Had to snag a juicy plump tuna cheddar sandwich and box of  french macarons to try. I really liked them a lot. Especially the tuna sandwich. Maybe because it's one of my favourite sandwich of all time and it is served in a sour dough bun. A perfect breakfast of quick lunch. Delish!
Oh! I nearly forgot to tell you that I checked Elisabeth and myself into Hotel Tomo, in Japantown. To be specific it's located on 1800, Sutter Street. This is quite a quirky hotel, where each room interior decor is inspired between a cross of  what you see in IKEA with some hint of Japanese element.
Just another random shot I snapped..
Simple, comfortable, clean line furniture adorn the room. The focal wall on each room has a different anime themed wall paper. That to me was the unique part of the room. Plus after much hotel review reading from Trip Advisor, this hotel is highly recommended by a lot of families with children as they have a stay quiet along the corridors starting at 11:00pm policy and the area is generally a safe neighbourhood. Do take a note of this though. Hotel Tomo is not located in the middle of the city. There's a bus stop right outside the hotel and, you can take bus no. 2 or 3 which takes you down back to the city. Alternatively, you just walk 2 blocks to the right of the hotel towards Filmore Street and grab a bus no. 22 which takes you to Union Street, or all the way to Chestnut Street. There are lots to do and my favourite past time, is trying new food places. If I were to choose, I wouldn't mind staying in Hotel Tomo the next time round while I am in San Francisco. The staff is friendly and I am fortunate enough to have become close friends with Larissa, who's the customer service hotel manager. She a real sweet heart and we did manage to squeeze in some food adventure. Larissa, if you are reading this post, this is a shout out to you too!

Well, I hope you peeps have enjoyed my San Francisco posts so far. There are a couple more to go.. and I think those will interest you a lot too. Till then!!

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