Sunday, 31 October 2010

Home Sweet Home 2010 - Part 3

Entered in retrospect, I only just realised that I have forgotten to make these entries of simply delicious food I had back home in September! Perhaps I was too busy enjoying the food that I have forgotten to share them but I must share them as they are just - simply delicious!

 'Kari Laksa' with a squeeze of lime juice...hmmm hmmm hmmm...there are many varities of laksa in Malaysia and this is the curry variety. Laksa is a coconut curry soup made of ground dried prawns and laksa leaves, served with noodles, tofu, prawns, fish sticks and sometimes chicken strips. Then garnished with coriander and served with sambal chili paste. There are even different varities of curry laksa in different parts of Malaysia! The dish tastes of chili spiciness and sandy texture from the grounded shrimp. Absolutey amazing! This dish is one of my favourites everytime I go home. It was introduced to me by my father. He found this in the Inanam district of Kota Kinabalu. I also like this coffee shop because I can order either small or big bowl of curry laksa. I must say that, a small bowl is quite enough to fill me up ;)

Dragonfruit, commonly found in Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand and sometimes Malaysia. Normally we find the variety of dragonfruit with white flesh, but this trip back home, we found some with purplish red flesh! This is a fruit rich in vitamin C, fibre and other minerals. The flesh is sweet with a hint of sour and has a slight crunchy texture due to the black tiny seeds. Very refreshing to eat!

Next stop, a popular destination for students, working class people and everybody else for a chat, meet up with friends or just simply a nice place to relax -Papparich. Serving 'Malaysian traditional delights' in a modern way.

 Red Bean Ice- Red bean dessert in blended ice and soya milk. Three of my favourite dessert/drink blended into one nice cup of drink! Very refreshing and cooling!

Cincau Ice- Grass Jelly served in blended ice, evaporated milk and topped with a swirl of fresh cream!
 Nasi Lemak- Literally translated into 'fat rice'. Traditionally served wrapped in banana leaves which gives it a very fragrant smell. This dish is served with cucumber slices, half a hard boiled egg, sambal chili paste, fried ikan bilis, roasted peanuts and fried drumstick in curry sauce. The rice was boiled with coconut milk, ginger and lemon grass which gives a very nice fragrance and taste. This is a national dish of Malaysia and mostly served as breakfast in coffee shops or sold at roadside stalls.

 Roti Bakar- 'Grilled toast'. Instead of using the toaster, this in-house-made bread is grilled on hot iron rods, giving it a crisp outer layer while retaining the softness of the bread. This one is served with a very thick layer of crunchy peanut butter = YUM!!!

 Roti Bakar served with evaporated milk. Again, YUM!

The very famous 'Iced Milo Dinasour'. Milo is a very popular drink in Malaysia, made of chocolate and malt powder, produced by Nestle.This particular drink is named 'dinasour' because of the amount of milo used to make it! It is made with many tablespoons of milo mixed with hot milk, then ice added to it. On the very top, many more tablespoonfuls of milo powder are added!

Fuchow noodle with fried chicken strips and minced pork. My favourite noodle dish! Found this in a foodcourt, not the best of the best fuchow noodle, but this will do as it is not easy to find in KK anymore!

Wonton Noodle -Dumplings stuffed with minced pork and chopped prawns, served with rice stick noodles. 

Beef tripes, beef meat and beef tendon served with rice stick noodles in beef broth. Very delicious! A popular dish in Kota Kinabalu, you can almost find one or two or more shops serving this dish in every district!

Last but not least. Mom's home-made rice wine prawn soup. Rice wine is a special Hakka wine made from fermented rice starch converted to sugar. Expecting women often takes soup made from rice wine during pregnancy up till a month after giving birth. According to Hakka tradition, this soup is very nutritious for expecting mothers.

Really cannot wait till my  next trip back home :)

Chez Giovanni, Newport

Chez Giovanni, Newport.

My friends and I like exploring new places for food and this time we went to an Italian place to celebrate my birthday. Chez Giovanni is a family owned and runned restaurant which has won many 'Restaurant of the Year' Awards.

The restaurant was decorated in a homely atmosphere and looks like one of those taverns in Italian countryside. They serve several dishes which are not easily found around Cardiff/Newport. 

 We started off with Escargot, King prawns wrapped in smoked salmon, caviar and garlic mayo, and Funghi Trifolati.

 Main courses include choices of different meat with a selection of different sauces.

  Duck Rosa - made with cointreau, cream, ginger and rose wine. This creates a very rich sauce that matches well with roasted duck breast.

 Duck Arancia - Sauce made of wine, orange and honey. The duck breasts were grilled to give a very crisp surface and very juicy and succulent meat. The orange gives a tangy flavour to the sauce, perfect for a duck dish!

 Lamb shank with redcurrant jelly infused sauce. The lamb was grilled until the meat falls off the bone and there is a hint of rosemary to the sweet-tasting sauce. I would say a 7 out of 10 for the lamb.

  Filetto Giovanni - sauce made of peaches, cream, white wine and mushrooms. Steak cooked medium-well was tender and absorbed all the flavours of the sauce. The cream and white wine creates a thick and rich sauce while the peach gives a citrus twist.

The lovely Angelica gateau, not only beautiful to look at,  but also very delicious to taste! Ordered to make from Patisserie Valerie, a confectionary shop that sells hand made cakes, gateaux and patisseries. They have many Cafes around the UK but also make cakes to orders online. 

The Angelica gateau is absolutely delicious, not too rich and not too sweet, just nice after a heavy meal! Made of thin chocolate roulade sponge layers, chocolate cream, fresh cream and fresh strawberries (plus other fresh seasonal berries). Verdict - 10 out of 10 for a cake! yum!

NB: Many thanks to Michelle P. for getting me this cake. And to my friends who celebrated my birthday with me :)

Monday, 25 October 2010

Disney's The Lion King

The Lion King show brought us to London, and London is where you can find good food!

Disney presents The Lion King
 Day 1-

After a 3 hours long coach journey from Cardiff to London, we were absolutely starving. Hence we 'rushed' to London's Chinatown in Leicester Square in search of food.  Because I was too hungry, I did not take any photos of the food in that restaurant. My point for this is that we had lunch at 14:30 and set off to our pre-booked dinner at 16:30!!

Belgo Central, Covent Garden - One of the few Belgo restaurant branches in London. Self acclaimed best Belgian restaurant! Indeed, it deserves to be called that!

Apple Beer
Mussels in Mariniere sauce

Pawel Kwak Beer - paired with pork belly

Roast duck breast

Slow cooked shank of lamb

Bouchee of wild mushrooms

Pork Belly cooked in Brugs beer

Vanilla Creme Brulee with Tuile Biscuit
As a starter, we all shared a pot of fresh Marineire mussels (house special) where the mussels were steamed with cream, white wine, garlic, celery and onion. Verdict - absolutely 10/10 for seafood lovers! I could have asked for a plate of linguine or some nice italian bread to dip into the sauce.

For main course, I had the slow cooked shank of lamb 'served with roasted winter vegetables, creamed mash and a DeKoninck beer and balsamic juice. The lamb was roasted till very tender that the meat just falls off the bone is you cut into it. The meat has fully absorbed the aromatic sauce made with beer and balsamic juice. It was so good that I finished the dish even after having lunch about 2 hours ago!

The roast duck breast was 'served with light spring onion mash and plum beer jus'. The duck was cooked to a perfect pink and ooze with sweet and aromatic plum flavour. The meat was soft as it was cooked to the right colour (as we often find over-cooked duck meat very hard and tasteless).

The autumn special - Pork belly cooked in Brugs beer 'with spinach and butternut squash served with Rodenbach Grand Cru cream sauce. Paired with Pawel Kwak Beer. The Rodenbach Grand Cru cream is a 'rich winey beer' brewed in a brewery noted for its production of barrel-aged sour beer in Flemish tradition. The pork belly meat was juicy and tender as this part of the pork is made of layers of fat and meat. While the top part of the meat -skin, was fried into crispy crackling. The different textures of each layer of the meat give different dimensions of taste which creates an excellent dish complimented by the Belgium style sauce.

Bouchee of wild mushrooms 'cooked in orval beer and tarragon cream sauce with asparagus and button onions. A good choice if you would like a vegetarian dish. The wild mushrooms were cooked in nicely baked pastry, served in a rich sauce.

Day 2 - Lunch at Leong's Legends, Taiwanese restaurant in Leicester Square.

Warm Soya Bean milk

Sticky rice with shredded pork

Braised pork belly with rice

Taiwanese 'mini kebab' with pork

'3 cup chicken'

Shanghai Buns
When they say pictures say a thousand words, it works for these photos of food we had in the Taiwanese restaurant.

To start the day with a nice warm  bowl of soya bean milk just warms your stomach ready for the day!

The braised pork belly was delicious, even though not as nice as the ones I had in Taipei, Taiwan, last month, but still one of the best I tried in UK so far. Again, the layers of fat and lean meat blends well with the sauce, and served with rice. A very appetising dish indeed! If it weren't that nice I wouldn't normally think of eating that layer of fat pork skin. NB one should not have this dish too often as it is not so good for the diet and blood vessels!

The 'Taiwanese mini kebab with pork' is actually made of braised pork, slices of vinegar pickled vegetable and crushed peanuts, wrapped in bun. It's quite a unique dish with slight sour taste from the pickled vegetable and crunchiness from the peanuts.

The '3 cup' chicken is stir fried chicken cooked with rice wine, soya sauce and sesame oil then shimmered in clay pot. This dish is full of spice and is best served with rice.

Last but not least, the Shanghai Bun, is one of many famous Shanghai delicacies. It is made flour dough stuffed with minced pork, and as you bite into it, soup flows out of the bun into your mouth. Dipping the little buns into black vinegar with shredded ginger is a must to accentuate the bag of flavours in the bun!