Thursday, August 29, 2013

Mediterranean Beans Salad Recipe

I was at El Fresco the other night for light dinner and gave the salad bar a try when I fell insanely in love with the Mediterranean Beans Salad. As I nomed my way finishing the salad, I started thinking about how easy it can be to make this at home!
My light but yummy dinner at El Fresco.
So I did a little research on-line, mix and match from all different recipes I found, choosing those ingredients that I prefer to make my very own homemade Mediterranean Beans Salad!

What you need:
1 can of chicpeas, 1 can of kidney beans, 1 can of corn kernels, 1/2 medium size onion chopped, half tomato chopped, half green capsicum chopped. fresh parsley chopped (I used dried one cos no parsley was available at the supermarket that day), olive oil, 1/2-1 lemon, salt, pepper

What to do:
1) Rinse chickpeas, kidney beans and corn kernels and drain.
2) Chop onion, tomato and green capsicum finely and put into a mixing bowl.
3) Add in the chickpeas, kidney beans and corn kernels.
4) Add in one-11/2 tablespoon of olive oil.
5) Squeeze lemon juice onto the ingredients.
6) Now add in the chopped parsley/dried parsley, then salt and pepper to taste. 
7) Stir everything up and the super easy salad is ready to be served! :)

My salad turned out to be really really delicious! Of course, if there is a second time, I would use fresh parsley in stead because the dried parsley just doesn't give the real aroma the salad needed. Deardo and I enjoyed the salad with some homemade Nando's oven-baked drumsticks for a healthier dinner. We have some leftover which I kept in the fridge and finished up the next night!
Mediterranean Beans Salad + Nando's Chicken = pretty perfect isn't it? 
To me personally, the salad is not only a great side, but also great to be eaten just as a main. It is indeed tummy-filling, tastes really good, low fat and pretty nutritious too! Of course if you could use fresh ingredients it would be even better, but that really defeats the purpose of making a quick and easy salad, isn't it?
If you are thinking of making your own Mediterranean Beans Salad, here's my advice: do not need to follow all the ingredients I use! If you dislike tomato, replace it with red capsicum; if you dislike capsicums, replace it with celery! Just make sure that you follow the only rule: make it colourful! :)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Singapore in 2 Days

Deardo and I are aware and are still feeling sad that this year we won't be able to travel anywhere overseas due to the wedding. The wedding has taken away most of our savings and don't even think about honeymoon right after the wedding!
So when Deardo asked me if I wanted to tag along as he attend a training in Singapore last week, I jumped into the opportunity! I mean, all I need to worry about was the flight ticket, to have some money to spend on food and get boss to approve my short-notice leaves application!
We arrived at night and thank god for Ah Ku who picked us up and bought us a super yummy crab dinner, then the famous Chinatown porridge for supper... We definitely had a great start in Singapore!
Oh how had I miss you? 
For the next two days I stayed in the hotel while Deardo went for his training in the same hotel, doing things like a real 'tai tai'.
We had breakfast at the hotel's Executive Lounge, which is at the 29th floor of the building, looking down at the concrete jungle of the lion city. The food, though with limited choices, were awesome! Service too was superb I felt like such a VIP!
Really awesome breakfast to start my days! :)
And as Deardo went to his day-long training, I would go back to our room to watch Friends which I brought over from home. I'm re-watching the series since I didn't watch the complete series when I was younger and certainly enjoying the show A LOT!!! Then during lunch time, I would go down to the gym and work-out a little bit before taking a shower and going back the lounge for tea time! I am so crazily in love with their biscoti! So yummy and go so well with coffee! :)
Biscoti that I thick-facely asked for on the second day even when they were not at the buffet area. :p
We only had one full night in Singapore and we did A LOT OF WALKING. Actually, I think that is something I'm gonna miss about Singapore. They make sure there are pedestrian walkways everywhere and most importantly, it is extremely safe to walk in the city, even late at night! You have no idea how cool it was strolling in the city! We went from Orchard Road to Suntec City, then to Marina Bay Sand, then made our first visit to the gorgeous Avatar city of Singapore Gardens by the Bay!
If only I could go there again and go up the towers! 
Bubbling up my feet after the walk... 
I used to hate food in Singapore when I was younger and it's funny how now I kinda always look forward to the food there. While I still strongly believe our hawker food such as Bak Kut Teh, Wanton Mee, Fried Kuey Teow, etc are much better than theirs, it is undeniable that they have some really good foreign cuisines, especially Japanese.
Beef Noodles at the Food Court at Marina Bay's Shopping Centre is one of the best I've ever eaten! 

Tepanyaki @ Food Republic, Wisma Atria
This was our second visit as it was pretty unforgettable the first time we went end of last year. We never expect food court Tepanyaki to be so fantastic, really! Their gravy and I suspect some Sakae made the Tepanyaki extremely delicious!
Our sets of dinner! 
The generous amount of vegetables! I LIKE!!! 
I also love the fact that they aren't stingy at all in the vegetables to balance things up! :)
Hi! We are here again in less than a year time! 
The set that we had comes with a meat (lamb or beef), dory fish and prawns with vegetables cost us S$13.90 each and I think with or without converting back to RM, it was totally reasonable! 

Daikokuya Ramen @ Paragon Shopping Centre
We were looking for a place for early dinner before heading to the airport when we decided to give this restaurant a try. I do know that Singapore has a lot of famous Ramen chains now but I'm not sure if this is one of them.
Mentaimayo Gyoza, S$6.80.
Cha Shu Cha Cha Ramen, S$16.
Original Miso Ramen, S$14.90.
I think the Cha Shu Cha Cha Ramen is definitely quite good and something very different, but not too fantastic. I also love how they give their Gyoza a Mentaimayo twist but the gyoza weren't oily juicy enough lor... Surely, there must be better ramen in Singapore, right?

While we didn't begin the trip with shopping in mind, we couldn't help but bought some stuff in Singapore. I mean, the price for the branded stuff there are so much cheaper compare to the ones in Malaysia so why should we hold on to our wallet? :p
It was definitely a much needed break for me after a long long time. Though very short, I truly enjoyed the luxurious time I had in the hotel, love the little shopping, the food and most of all, the safety of the city! Singapore however, is sadly turning into a foreigners-invaded city where everywhere you go only two out of ten are real Singaporeans. Even hotel staffs are from China or the Philippines who either can't speak proper English or speak English with a heavy accent.
While I wished I have more time and money to stay longer and shop more, but for the time being, it was a great great Singaporean getaway for me!!!! :D

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Best Thai Food @ My Elephant Thai Restaurant, Happy Mansion

The other weekend when Deardo and I were deciding where to go for dinner, his sister called and asked if we want to join them for a Thai dinner and we went! Honestly, I love Thai food, but now I rarely eat them because Deardo is not a fan of Thai food... He is a fake Asian/Ang Moh lar, I tell you! :p
Anyway. it turned out he has already been to My Elephant for lunch and it is actually a very famous restaurant that I've never even been to! We went to their original shop at Happy Mansion where the likes of Lai Thai and Food Foundry are at too. That area just seems to have a lot of nice and famous restaurants isn't it?
It was very packed and noisy although the restaurant seems a bit too simple to be so famous with cheap-looking furniture. We didn't have a reservation so the waitress told us we can have the table but must finish our meal in less than an hour! Phew~! Good thing the food came quite fast!
Here's a look of what we had that night...
Green Curry Chicken (small), RM19.
Gai Tod Gratam Prik Thai, RM16.
Stir-fry Kailan, RM13.
Tom Yum Chicken (small), RM12.
Panaang Tauhu, RM15.
GJ Woon Sen Tofu (small), RM15.
Personally, my favourite has to be the Tom Yum Chicken! Their Tom Yum is so far, the first one in Malaysia that I think is comparable to the one I had in Bangkok. It has a balance of sour, sweet and spicy with obviously some milk in it too! Plus, they use chicken thigh, not breast! :) The Green Curry Chicken was impressive too, very milky and delicious. The only complain I have is that they use chicken breast. Another must try is the Gai Tod Gratiam Prik Thai, which is simply some deep fried chicken which looks more like cucur but definitely much crispier and flavourful! Love it love it love it!!! Because we have a baby having dinner with us, we ordered this GJ Woon Sen Tofu, which is more like a sour soup, which turned out to be one of my favourites that night! A really good option to those who are not fans of Tom Yum or spicy food!
Refillable rice for 4, RM12.
Pandan Cooler, RM3.50.
The only dish I thought was a bit of a letdown and not so worthy of the price was the Panaang Tauhu, which was too sweet to my liking.
Oh nom nom nom...
Giving me that 'why so amaze' look?
Me with the 'it's just you who don't know how to appreciate Thai food' look!
Together with three drinks (one of them RM8) and 10% service charge, the bill came up to RM128.70, which to be still pretty reasonable. I certainly fell in love crazily with the food there, although I was quite taken aback at the beginning, looking at the setting of the restaurant and the 'we are famous so if you wanna come in you come or f**k off' service. I don't know about you, but in my opinion, this is so far the best Thai food I could find in KL! :)
They also have branches in Hartamas and Aman Suria!

My Elephant Thai Restaurant
Block C-G4, Happy Mansion,
Jalan 17/13, Section 17,
46400 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 010-220 1283

Friday, August 16, 2013

Super Easy Chawanmushi Recipe

Chawanmushi is one of my favourite Japanese dishes that I've set quite a high standard for them whenever I try them in different restaurants. I find most of them out there a bit too bland to my liking, while there are definitely some that are quite good.
I always know that it is actually a dish that it very easy to make, but I've never bother buying the right ingredients until recently when I finally bought Dashi stock and made them over the Raya long weekend. So here we go!

What you need: Approximately 1-2 eggs depending on how many portion you are making, water, Dashi stock, light soya sauce, Mirin or Sakae (optional), Shrimps, crab sticks, chicken cubes and Enoki mushrooms (you can choose to put any ingredients you like into the dish, some recipe have sliced Shitake instead, so it's totally freestyle!). 

What you do:
1) In a bowl, lightly beat an egg. Be sure not to have too much bubble yet.
2) Add in generous amount of water (you need the water to be about 3 times more than the egg to have smooth steamed egg).
3) Add in about 3 tablespoons of Dashi stock. Then some light soya sauce to taste. I didn't manage to buy any Mirin or Sakae, but if you have, add a dash of it in it too.
4) Now in a ceramic Chawanmushi cup (although I used a ceramic baking bowl), lay down your main ingredients.
5) Pour the egg mixture over the ingredients.
6) Steamed the dish in a pre-heated steamer or wok with water for about 20 minutes and you are done! 

I used two eggs for the two big portion of Chawanmushi I made and that makes the dish tasted really 'eggy' although it still turned out to be flavourful and smooth. I considered this as 90% successful! :)
I was so glad the egg was smooth and tasted really good! :)
It goes really well with rice, especially on a night where I made it a full Japanese dinner with some Japanese Curry Chicken with rice and my signature Potato Salad. Vivian was with us so that explained why I actually made such big dinner!
Our yummy home-cooked Japanese dinner! 
I certainly think everyone should try making their own Chawanmushi! It's so easy to make and more economical compared to eating those at the Japanese restaurants outside! So happy trying guys! :D

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Another Breakie Place @ The Red BeanBag, Solaris Dutamas

By now you probably think I'm too obsess with Publika, isn't it? Well, well, well... Let me warn you, this is not the last food review from that awesome mall! :p
The always-crowded cafe located right outside Publika
I've heard of The Red BeanBag from Lea who first recommended me to the really awesome Coffee Societe. The Red BeanBag is actually growing into one of the famous breakfast places in the city so we made full use of the last fasting weekend to pay the place a visit. Fortunately, there weren't that much people and we got our table right away! :)
Simple yet rugged decor. 
Although the food menu only comes in one page, I had difficulties choosing the right one because they all sound good! We first ordered The Atlantic and My Crustacean Cousin then decided to add on their Specialty Baked Eggs later on.
Latte, RM9.
The Atlantic, RM22. 
My Crustacean Cousin, RM29. 
Specialty Baked Eggs, RM18. 
I personally love The Atlantic a lot! The toast was very well done, smoked salmon was fresh and the Hollandaise sauce was really yummy! While Deardo isn't very used to the pressed Tagliolini pasta used in My Crustacean Cousin, I thought it tastes not bad and the scallop was pretty fresh! As for the Baked Egg, which comes with egg, lamb bratswurst, potatoes, sundried tomatoes and cheese was pretty yummy, especially when you try it on the toast that comes with the dish. The only problem is, you feel a little sick after eating too much of it because of the cheese and the half-cooked egg. You see, I've already had two poached eggs in my dish earlier, so I was really feeling muak man! :S The latte was not bad too, although I still think Coffee Societe's has better coffee.
Us trying out another breakfast place! :)
While I personally think the food are not fantastic but still slightly above average, the same cannot be said about the service there. It is quite obvious that at least two of the service staffs were really rude and looked like they are so sick of servicing any of the customers and at least one were not well-trained and appeared to be very blur... Honestly, for such a famous cafe, that must really change or it will just scare people away. I mean, hey I paid for the bloody 10% service charge! 
Everything, together with the 10% service charge and 6% government tax, came up to a total of RM90.50, which is quite okay. But because Deardo was really unhappy about the services, we don't know if we will be going back or not...

The Red BeanBag
A4-1-08, Solaris Dutamas,
Jalan Dutamas 1,
50480 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-6211 5116