Thursday, October 4, 2007

Mother's Recipe

Yesterday I thought Nee could take a break and we could go out for lunch. As usual, the conversation went like this:

Nee: So, go where hah?
Greg: Donno. You want to eat what?

But as we got hungrier, the decision became easier. As usual, when my tummy reaches its peak of extreme hunger, it starts to become alive and could communicate with me.

Receiving telepathic image. Incoming...

Mother's Recipe is a small restaurant that we would return to once in a while for nostalgic local home cooked meals, the ones that our moms used to cook, fresh & original, without aji-no-moto.

We were greeted by this board at the entrance.

Alright Mama! Here we come!

For our traveller readers, this place is just a few steps away from the Fat Cat Laksa - on the same block baby! Idea: Fat Cat for breakfast, Mother's Recipe for lunch! Woohoo!

This is the contact no. & address for those of you who might need it:

Hallo! Wercome Eberybody!

Mama ran away when I asked to take a picture of her. She was so scard of me. But then later I sneaked a shot at her when she was taking orders at the next table.

Hehehe. Food Paparazzi.

We ordered the usual which were dishes which we tried and liked before:

Midin with sweet sour chinchaluk sauce (I think! Nee help!) NEE: It is actually belacan chilli sauce and had a sweet sour tinge to it. Real yummy. Can do it with other vegies like lady fingers and Kangkung
Midin is a wild fern which can only be found in Sarawak. It is the only vegie which does not have fertilisers or any chemical stuffs because you cannot plant them.
Thumbs Up! (RM5/dish)

Chicken Curry: Very well balanced. Not too spicy. Very smooth texture.
Thumbs Up! (RM6/dish)

Ikan Bilis (Anchovies) with Onions: Excellent! Definitely one of their specialties.
Crispy Anchovies and the onion is not overpowering and it gives a sweet tinge to the whole thing.
Thumbs Up! (RM5/dish)

And finally, out butt was itchy, and we thought of trying something new. We haven't had this here before:

Belachan BeeHoon. Vermicelli with Belachan (Prawn) Paste. (RM6/dish)
OMG! It was horrible! We could only taste the lime. I think they must have stocked up too much lime and was trying to get rid of them.
Definitely Thumbs Down! NEE: My tongue still salivate when i look at this dish. Yeap it is too sour and we told the Lady Boss that too. No insults taken i hope.

Sorry about this photo. It's a bit messy and it does look a bit grossed out.

Usually I would finish my plate clean. My Mom always say, your future wife's complexion will be exactly like what is left on your plate! After I found a wife with good complexion, I guess I began to be a bit more relaxed about it.

But the point which I'm trying to show here is that the Belachan Beehoon SUCKS BIGTIME! (NEE: B, Tone down a bit please! it is sour but it has a nyonya attached to Belachan Beehoon so you cannot expect our typical ones).That's why it's the only dish left behind.

It's overall a good place for authentic homey food without MSG. Nice place to come to when you miss the food at home!

NEE: By the way, Greg forgot to mentioned that this place has food that is slightly sided to nyonya cooking. It is family run and the walls have many old family photos. and i always like it when people appreciate their roots. Apparently most dishes are their mother's home cook dishes and the Mama Greg took photos confesses that she herself is not the good cook hahaha...but her sister-in-law manage to learn from her mother. We rate this place:

Service 11/15 fast enough the food comes. Only three persons serving and they are all retired and semi retired uncles and aunty. Not exactly your super friendly type but they tried. When they see us whipping out our camera, that is the first time we got chatting after like the 4-5 times eating there. The power of bloggers.

Environment 12/15 Clean and cool cause got aircond. very important nowadays in this weather. Deco plain but photos interesting.

Food 48/60 Really quite nice except for the funny belachan beehon and we had not tried everything on the menu.

Price 8/10. Slightly more pricey than usual but the portions are enough and the food is cook with care and good and fresh ingredients.
WEll, it is definetely 7.5 to 8 out of 10 kind of coffee shop.

Now Everyone Can Cook Lamb!

This is a cute wittle lamb. Aww.

It's fleece is as white as snow. Aww.

It's hard to imagine how something like that...

... can end up like this. (Sorry, Greg is a little gross and too imaginative, Hope your appetite is not spoilt)

As a working wife whose hubby would not cook even if he is dying of hunger (not even maggi mee), I am always in need of more time and more one-pot-settles-all dish. Aunty Agnes our good fren told me about this dish few years back and thanks to her, this is the easiest yet nice way of cooking lamb. It has prob deviated from her recipe cause I modified here and there. I normally do this if i know i will be having late meetings or seminars and would not be home in time to cook a proper meal.

This is a one pot goodness and all you need is a slow cooker pot:

3-4 pcs of lamb shank cut to about 9-12 pcs (your butcher can do this, they have machine)
2 stalk of fresh lemongrass, lightly pounded
1 big onion
1/2 medium ginger, lightly pounded
3-4 medium tomatos (more if you like it sourish)
2 medium carrots
2 medium potatos
1 teasp of mixed herbs (McCormick will do) or you have fresh Rosemary, Basils, Oregano even better
1-2 tbsp of light soy
1-2 tbsp of maggi seasoning sauce
1/2 cup of water
salt pepper sugar to taste
Celery (optional) I dont put this cause Greg is not keen on it (Greg says: YUCK!)

1) Wash and clean lamb of its blood. You can quickly boil with hot water and one piece of ginger if you are super sensitive to lamb smell. (Greg says: Aww. Poor wittle wamb)

2) Cut a big X on bottom of tomatos and and bring it to boil. This is get rid of the skin. Cut it into small pieces

3) With 1 tbsp of oil, lightly pan fried onions and ginger. Add lamb. Cont stirring and cover for a 3 minutes or so with medium fire.

4) Transfer mixture to slow cooker, add tomatos, some carrots and potatos about 1/3 portion(set some aside for later), lemongrass, herbs and sauce, water. Cover and cook at Auto Mode.

5) Before serving, turn to High and add rest of carrots and potatos. Cook til vegies are tender. Add salt sugar pepper to taste

If I do this at 8 ish in the morning, it will be more than ready by 5 pm. As George will complain, slow cooker food is lacking of oomph in taste. And Greg will usually say "Ya. ok. nice." = not absolute superb but yummy enough to eat. Well, that may be true and the lamb will be so soft that it falls from the bone. But heay Aunty Agnes raised 4 beautiful kids while working as a full time accountant. This dish had certainly save many days. Trust me, pour the sauce and meat over your rice and dig in. It is yummy. I do have another way of stewing lamb shanks that is slightly more complicated but certainly more refined. Stay Tuned!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Muffin Series 1

No, this is not an animated movie series about cute little creatures.

It would be horrible if muffins were cute little creatures cos I would be eating them.

Nee's batch of banana muffins came out like this today.

It was still warm when I walloped one. The top part was crispy and the inside was more spongy soft and still moist. Actually anything with banana taste good. And this one was perfect. It's a definitely-can-sell. Can open muffin franchise - Stuffin Muffin! 100 flavour combinations! Mix and Match and wait for it to bake! Comes in different shapes such as Classic, Mushroom and Atomic Bomb.

NEE: Muffins conjured up little cup cakes which can be eaten as breakfast or just plain snacks. There are make easy by all the instant muffin mixes, which we can find in supermarkets and baking grocers stores. But it is actually relatively easy to make you dont really need to resort to instant mixes.

American muffins can be divided up into two categories ~ the bread like muffin n the cake like ones. The bread like ones are in the category of quick bread but it is not leavened like our usual bread products with yeasts. It is lower in sugar and butter which gives the bread like texture. Cakey muffins are the common ones we see in bakeries, cafes and the high sugar and butter content gives it the cakiness and it tastes fairly similar to our usual butter cakes.

I usually make the bread-like muffins and store them in containers so that Greg can grab anytime especially when he gets home from work and dinner is not quite ready yet, and no he is still not 80 kg. My hubby is a drink-butter-also-cannot-get-fat kinda person. At least he does not look malnutritioned nowadays. If I am lazy or when he gets up late, this can be his breakfast on his way out of the door.

All you need is:
2 bowls
some measuring spoons
a fork

Banana Muffins:

This recipe calls for the muffin method.
245 gm of plain flour
80 gm of castor sugar
40 gm of brown sugar
1 teasp of baking powder
1 teasp of baking soda
1/4 teasp of salt

110gm of melted butter, let cooled.
2 large eggs
3-4 very ripe bananas.

1) Put all dry ingredients in a bowl. Sift them well.

2) Whisk eggs into the cool melted butter. Mix well.

3) Mash bananas. This is a fantastic way of getting rid of too ripe bananas. You just mashed them with fork or a potato masher. Mix into wet ingredients in (2).

4) Pour wet mixture to the dry ones. In about 15 strokes or so mix the mixture. It will look lumpy. Do not mix them again til smooth. Lumpy batter is good. No overmixing. Overmixing will create dry, stringy muffins as you have over developed the gluten in the flour.

5) Scope into muffin pans or muffin cups to slightly more than 2/3 of the cup height. Preheat oven to 170 deg cel with fan. Bake for about 25 minutes. Test for doneness with toothpicks

Good breadlike muffins should be:

Should almost double in size during baking.
Should have a dome top
Feels rather light for its size.
Inside is light yet moist.
Recipe can be used for other flavours. But the balance between wet and dry must be good. Say if you use jam like strawberry, you can slightly increase the flour. If you use butter cubes, you must add liquid like milk or buttermilk to make up for the liquid bit.
Can use other fats like oil instead of butter.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Our Sunday Laksa Ritual

Laksa is the first thing that comes to my mind when I wake up on a Sunday morning. It's the first word I utter when my eyes open.

Both Nee and I like simplicity and consistency. Simplicity and ease in deciding where to eat. Consistency in sticking to the same thing when it's good. Another word for that is just being plain lazy.

So every Sunday has become our Laksa day. It makes things simple because we don't have to think about what to eat and where to go. (How to blog like this. Eat also lazy.)

I don't know where the word Laksa comes from. I've always thought because it was spicy hot (Lak), you'd stick your tongue out and go 'sa sa'. Silly I know.

Nee says: Laksa is very Sarawak Kuching dish. The most authentic ones are here. Similar to curry laksa from KL. But our Laksa is more reddish and generally lighter than the curry ones. This Laksa practically has no curry.

This is the laksa stall that we go to every Sunday at Fat Cat coffee shop. The price just shot up by 5o cents a few months ago. I'm sure you can see that in the picture. Bloody petrol prices is affecting everything. Even laksa uses petrol.

This is the laksa lady who 'mans' or should I say 'womanises' the stall. She has a very good memory. Don't even think of playing memory game with her. You will lose.

Hawkers in general have very good memory. They actually remember what you wear and not your face. So next time, wear something flourescent flashy and the food will come fast.

Legend has it that the laksa here descended from the original grandmaster at Chong Choon cafe (Abell Road). From there came two descendents, one opened at New Chong Choon (Green Heights) and the other at Fat Cat. The earlier one sucks.

The Fat Cat laksa here is the best that we've tasted so far in Kuching. It is the only one where we can have many times without feeling jelak.

The beehon is just nice, not over cooked. It seems to have been drawn out as soon as it reaches the cooking point. Therefore it still maintains a certain degree of elasticity and bite, instead of being soggy soft.

We find the original Chong Choon laksa too spicy. The laksa soup here at Fat Cat is just nice and well balanced, in taste, texture and colour. I usually drink until got 'sook sook' sound come out. Drink until dry dry. Maybe it should be called LakSook.

The only drawback here is that the lady give too little condiments (meat, prawns). But maybe it's because laksa doesn't need a lot as it can kill the taste. By the way, I find that big prawns do not go well with laksa. It doesn't absorb the laksa well enough. So we don't usually order the special.

I also hate prawns with its shell, head and legs attached in a laksa soup, like the one at Golden Arch. Some people like it. I find it too strong, intrusive and overpowering. If the laksa soup tastes good on its own, then it doesn't need too much of anything else like santan or curry spices like the one at Foody Goody.

By the way, if you plan on eating at Fat Cat, you might want to bring your own drinks from home. A lot of times, the food arrives first before the drinks. Even when you've finished your laksa, and the snails have gone home, there's still no sign of the drinks.

We got fed up waiting for the drinks last Sunday. I approached the lady owner but she no hiu. She was busy doing the drinks herself and didn't even look at me. So we just took off. Maybe they can drink our Teh-C-Peng Special and soya drink themselves.

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