Thursday, February 26, 2009

Quick Indonesian Rawon and Baked Perkedel

Did I just click "Publish" before typing anything? Sorry guys, accidents happen. Oooops. (This is not the first time, and probably ain't gonna be the last time :p).

I have a situation.
- There is a Rawon event, hosted by my blogger friends
- I love Rawon (Indonesian Black Beef Soup)
- I want Rawon
- now I really really want Rawon
- I have no time to make Rawon from scratch
- I don't have the ingredients to make Rawon from scratch
- I am lazy to make Rawon from scratch
- Heck, I don't know how to make Rawon from scratch

What to do?
Thank God for Indofood Rawon Instant Seasoning Mix!
Background music: Handel's Hallelujah Chorus

...what else can I do to make
Indonesian Beef Rawon
more of a weekday quick dish?
- Change the beef chunks with Sukiyaki style beef for record-breakingly quick cooking time
- Remove most of the frills which aren't readily available in my pantry (beansprouts, salted eggs, prawn crackers)
- Change the chilli sauce to just freshly chopped chilli
- Try to modify the fried perkedel (potato cake) side dish to the baked version, and fail miserably

Quick Beef Rawon
- 1 lb sukiyaki style sliced beef (if possible with nice marbling)
- 1 cm ginger, crushed
- 1-2 packs of rawon instant seasoning mix (depends on how intense you want the flavor to be)
- 200-400ml hot water (depends how soupy you want it to be)
- olive oil
- lemon
- red chilli
- fresh corriander
Saute ginger in hot oil, add beef, when the color turns (it happens really quickly), add hot water, rawon instant seasoning mix, bring to boil. Turn the heat off, squeeze some lemon juice, garnish with fresh corriander, serve with steamed rice and additional lemon slices and red chilli on the side.

Baked Perkedel (Indonesian Potato Cakes)
- 2 large potatoes
- 1/2 small clove of garlic, finely chopped/grated
- salt, pepper, sugar, nutmeg
- 1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 220C. Wash potatoes, peel skin off, dice to about 2x2 cm cubes, pat dry, microwave until soft (I did on high, for about 7 minutes), mash, add finely chopped garlic, season with salt, pepper, sugar and nutmeg, form into small shapes (they are originally in a slightly flattened disk shape, but I also did small balls and ovals, just for fun). Line baking sheet with foil, brush with olive oil, lay the perkedels, brush with egg wash, bake until golden brown (mine was about 20 minutes), remove from oven to let cool, serve.

Mine turned out much lighter and fluffier than the normally firm perkedels. They taste alright, but they are a gadzillion miles away from the authentic perkedel T_T.

My friend, Lily, suggested boiling the potatoes until soft (with skin), drain, pat dry, peel skin off, mash with a bit of milk, roll into shape, dip in egg white, roll in breadcrumbs, pan fry quickly and pop in the oven to crisp. I am sooo gonna try this method next time.

You can also add minced meat/spam/ham/bacon/shrimps/fish or just the classic fried shallot and chopped spring onion in the mashed potatoes before rolling.

Gosh. My perkedels rants kinda stole the limelight from the Rawon, didn't they? Opppps (again).

This post is for the folks at Masak Bareng (Cooking Together) Event (February 2009 Edition): my apologies for being such a lazy ass and using instant seasoning mix. Opppps (I realised that saying "oppps" too many times did not make me any cuter or more forgiven hihi)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Shrimps, Beef & Eggplant in Spicy Satay Sauce - Do You Like Dishwashing?

Remember those days when your mind went blank? When you had absolutely no idea what to cook? When you asked yourself "what do you wanna eat" and the answer is an annoying mental shrug?...and when you asked someone else hoping for an easy answer, you were always given the ever so helpful up-to-yous? (Damn, I hate up-to-yous).

Yep. I had one of those yesterday.

Then I remembered, when in doubt, drench anything in Lee Kum Kee's Satay Sauce, and everything shall taste delicious! OK, I got the sauce covered. Now...what would "anything" be?

I wandered around the market and nothing said "buy me, eat me"....finally, I got a pack of minced beef, since it tastes especially good with satay sauce; a pack of peeled shrimps, because no defrosting, no peeling, no deveining necessary (convenience wins me all the time), and the fragrance of shrimps on this dish? Unbelievable!

Gosh, I still needed some kind of vegetables. Does eggplant count as veggie? OK, I don't care. No soaking, no peeling, no fine chopping necessary; it soaks up sauces like a sponge; it's soft and creamy; and heck! The purple would look really nice with the orange of the shrimps. Thus...

Shrimps, Beef & Eggplant in Spicy Satay Sauce

- 1 pack of minced beef (about 0.7 lb)
- 1 pack of peeled shrimps (about 15 pcs)
- 1 long eggplant (cut into bite sized chunks and pop in the oven with some olive oil until softened, I used 250C for 10 minutes)
- 6 cloves of garlic, crushed
- half an onion, chopped roughly
- 3 red chilli (with seeds for the heat)
- 2 dried lime leaves (optional)
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- a bit of grated lemon zest
- 1 pack of Lee Kum Kee Satay Sauce for Hotpot (I prefer this, its liquid form makes it easier to handle, but add bit by bit and adjust as it can be too tasty)
- a bit of kecap manis (optional)
- olive oil for sauteeing

Saute garlic, onion, and chilli in olive oil, add beef, cook until almost done, add softened eggplants, add sauce, lime leaves, grate lemon zest, add shrimps, when the shrimps are just done (pink, curled and no longer transparent), turn off the heat, drizzle lemon juice, kecap manis, and serve with steamed rice. Important: never ever overcook the shrimps.

The cooking was a blast, and now the dreaded part begins...

There were times when I really thought I was so twisted and actually enjoyed washing dishes.
I was wrong.
Who the heck loves washing dishes? Oppps, maybe there are people who really find dishwashing theurapetic, soothing, calming, the bubbles are fun, even turning them on (hello, dishwashing fetish), whatever. NOT. ME.

I just hated the idea of piles and piles of dirty dishes towering in my kitchen sink. Thus I did them, even tried to enjoy it, without success.

Will these cake shaped dishwashing sponge cuties make dishwashing more enjoyable? Aren't they just so adorable?

I just wanted to bite that chocolate cake off its rack...or maybe the green tea swiss roll...

...or take a bite off that piece of watermelon?...

Whatever it was....they did not make me feel like washing dishes. SC, dish washing is yours, suck it up.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Best Club Sandwich in Hong Kong & Cute Props Alert

I love Hong Kong's version of club sandwiches. They are generally a few pieces of toasted white bread with fried luncheon meat or ham, omelette, a slice of tomatoes, a slice of processed cheese, and maybe piece of lettuce. Not the healthiest sandwich of all...maybe that's why I love it.

The one I found in Sham Shui Po's Wah Nam Cafe is different.
In between those slices of perfectly toasted white bread, I found not only luncheon meat (spam) or ham, but all these goodnesses:
- Fried luncheon meat (spam)
- Ham (uh huh!)
- Corned beef (oh yeah!)
- Tomatoes (ok...keep going)
- BBQ Pork stuffed omelette!!!

Wow! This is the ultimate Hong Kong Club Sandwich, the best I've had so far! The flavors of all the sinful ingredients blend very beautifully...and at HK$ is one of the best deals ever! (Normally HK style club sandwiches cost about HK$30/more in other local cafes).

The next dish will remind us that sometimes simplicity is indeed the key.

Fried Eggs and Luncheon Meat (Spam) with Rice.

It's just a pile of steamy white rice, served with fried eggs and fried spam, drizzled with slightly sweetened dark soy. It's so simple, yet so bloody good. Imagine poking into that runny yolk, and tasting everything with a tinge of smokiness from the dark soy....hellooooo, heaven!

The two dishes with cups of hot tea....just for HK$34 (USD4.3)! This is why I love Sham Shui Po!

Upon discovery of the following scene, sous chef shouted "Oh Shit!"

It's totally there's no way in heck I would miss buying these babies! Not the lack of space, not the limited budget, and none of those "you already have lots of bowl" shit. Come on, they 're just HK$5 a pop! (I think I did a good job restricting myself to just buying one of them hehe)

Look at those different shapes of claypots...they are perfect for rice/soupy dishes. We likey!

I can't believe I've missed those ceramic spoons with the pink flowers....dang! I just noticed them looking through my pictures. No worries, spoonies, I'll be back!

...and here's the most gorgeous and not affordable of all...

Oh, gorgeousness! I sing songs of praises unto thee thy thou graciousness (clearly, my English isn't good enough for this).

The vendor said HK$300 (US$38)...damn! I hated that! I don't know how to handle haggling when the price is opened too I just left, but not after stealing a shot of it while the vendor was busy plucking white hair off her head. Score!

I also witnessed a funny Hong Kong DOM (Dirty Old Man) scene in that market, read about it here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cute Props at Cemal Cemil for the Great Procrastinator

When I say "I perform well under extreme pressure", what I really meant was "I am a huge procrastinator".
Most of the time, I can't do anything unless it is at the very last minute.

Just like this week. I've promised to join various food blog events, the due dates are dangerously near, I haven't started thinking of what to cook for some events, and for the ones I've cooked, I can't even start to sort through my gadzillion failed pictures to find some decent shots to post, let alone think of anything clever to write.

I guess the desperately needed inspiration may come later when the hosts have already shunned me forever from the blogosphere due to broken promises and missed deadlines. Hehehehe, a minute late, a dollar short.

To celebrate my ongoing procrastination, I am sharing this fabulous little corner I found in Puri Indah Mall, Jakarta. The Cemal Cemil (Indonesian for Snack) corner tries to recreate and sell old and classic Indonesian snacks and accessories, such as permen cicak, permen rokok, the yellow and pale green metal mugs, and the classic green and white patterned mugs, and many more!

Being a lover of everything old, you can imagine how I was lusting over every single bit of stuff sold at that corner. It was so frustrating to know that I have absolutely NO space to keep any of them in my tiny Hong Kong flat.

Should I buy? My brain was saying NO, NO, NO! But my heart was saying YES, YES, YES!

My brain won. Dammit!

Go ahead, buy away, make me jealous.
Cemal Cemil
at Jl. Kemang Selatan I/20, Jakarta Selatan, Indonesia

Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentine's Day Dinner & More

"Love is where the yummility is"
....or whatever.
Could it be the air of festivity? the romantic atmosphere? There must be something that makes me so philosophical (again?)...mumbling phrases of (seriously twisted) love, while tip toeing around the kitchen preparing dinner.

So, what sort of food I find suitable for a night of (cheesy and corny) romance?
Something that screams decadent, succulent and scrumptious.

Salad with Duck Liver Mousse or Brie on Pumpernickle Toast
- Pumpernickle bread
- Duck liver mousse
- Brie
- Bean sprouts
- Olive oil, salt, black pepper, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest
Place sprouts in a bowl, drizzle olive oil, balsamic vinegar, grate a bit of lemon zest, season with salt and pepper, squeeze some lemon juice, mix well. Drizzle bread with olive oil and toast. Spread duck liver mousse or brie on top, add some sprouts, drizzle a bit of balsamic vinegar....and bite.

What to do with such succulence?

They were marinated in lemon juice, lemon zest, black pepper, salt and sugar, and sauteed until just pink, then set rejoin others to complete the pasta dish...

Shrimps and Bacon Squid Ink Tagliatelle in Creamy Sauce

- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- cream
- squid ink tagliatelle (or replace with any pasta)
- bacon
- shrimps (deshelled, deveined, marinated, sauteed)
- olive oil, butter, salt, pepper, sugar, lemon juice
Cook pasta as directed in the packet. Saute garlic with olive oil and butter, add cream, season. Once pasta is almost done, drain, quickly toss into the pan with creamy sauce, add shrimps, cook until the shrimps are just done, transfer to plate, add crispy bacon, squeeze some lemon juice...

...for maximum cheesiness, serve pasta in just one plate, provide two forks, feed each other, sip something sparkly in a pretty color, and lick....the plate clean.

The Most Perfect Steak I've Ever Done

Heyyy, good loookin'! Come to papa...
- 2 pieces of rib eye steak with nice marbling
- Olive oil, butter, dry herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage), salt, black pepper
- bean sprouts
- red wine, steak sauce (it comes with the beef, but you can choose to make your own sauce)

Preheat oven to 180C (350F), and on a stove top, heat a frying pan until really really really hot (I saw smoke!) without oil. Drizzle steak with olive oil, season with salt, pepper and dried herbs. Place steaks on the very very hot pan, try not to flip/move it around, let them sear until nicely charred (it was about 1.5 minutes per side, also depends on how thick your steak is and how done you want it to be, I love mine medium to medium well), transfer to oven and let them cook for 5 more minutes, remove from oven and let it rest for 5 minutes.

On the pan where you sear the steak, pour steak sauce (optional), add red wine and bring to boil.

Serve steak on top of a bed of salad, drizzle with sauce. Oh, and a nice glass of nice red wine won't hurt ;)

The steak should be nicely seared on the outside, perfectly blushing inside, juice, tender and luscious, with rich and smokey marmaladey sauce. Mmm...mmm...Mmmm!!!

...and when you thought you could not take any more decadence....
Choco Hoto Pots

(adapted from Nigella Lawson's recipe)
(serves 4)
- 3/4 cup dark chocolate chunks
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup caster sugar (originally 3/4 cup, which I found too sweet)
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Butter four 2/3-cup ramekins and set aside.Using a double boiler, melt the dark chocolate chunks and butter. Set aside to cool. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, sugar and flour. Add cooled chocolate mixture, and mix until blended. Fold in dark chocolate chunks. Divide mixture evenly among ramekins and place on baking sheet. Bake until tops are shiny and cracked and chocolate beneath is hot and gooey, about 15 minutes. Place each ramekin on a small plate with a teaspoon and serve.

Again, the dessert was served with something sweet, sparkly and pretty...

...blushing pink sparkling sake.

Oh what a wonderful night...everything looked beautiful...*hiccup* or maybe it was just the sake?

What did I wear? What did I get? What did I do? What did other Hong Kongers do? Check 'em out at Living La Vida Rita.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Best BBQ Pork Rice Ever & Hong Kong Park's Spring Wonders

I'm not gonna bitch about lunches at Hong Kong CBD anymore (Wah! A new and improved, angelic Rita? Not really. I guess you are tired reading about it. All my previous rants can be viewed here and here). So, instead, today I am gonna share something delicious, something happy.

Hong Kong park is within walking distance from my office. I love the place, especially these days, when the weather is pleasant, and flowers are just everywhere! It's full of comfy nooks here and there (I gushed about one of them here), and my occasional lunch pal, Loz, introduced me to this particular one.

It's a quiet corner on the way to the park's aviary, up on the hill. Walking up to this nook surely whets my appetite, plus, the place is totally worth all the climbing, even in high heels.

It has a couple of comfy benches, shaded by a group of trees, it's secluded (I should always get my camera ready, I might be able to catch some lovers in action *wink* about an invasion of privacy), and it has one heck of a view....

....a waterfall in all its glory!

Now, the food.
Hong Kong boasts some of the most delicious Char Siew (BBQ Pork) I've ever tasted. I used to love the one from Hey Hey (Cantonese for Double Happiness, a corner cafe near Southorn Sportsground, Wanchai), but that's before I tasted...
Simple Life's Char Siew Rice

Each and every bit of the barbecued pork is deliciously tender, super juicy, richly flavored, the bits of charred fat give just the right amount of smokiness and satiny sheen. They are just perfect.

It is served with a side of sauteed assorted mushrooms and carrot, which are subtly flavored to compliment the pork. The sauce, oh the sauce. The sauce they use is not your average sweet soy. It has a bit of nuttiness which added some extra dimension to the whole orchestra. Simply perfect.

What's more amazing is...the consistency. There has never been a day where I could find one single piece of pork which is chewy, dry, flavorless or anything less than perfect. Deliciousness every single time.

*Remember to ask for a mix of fat & lean BBQ Pork = best bits!*

The high mountain Chinese tea that comes with the meal gives the rich meal the much needed balance.

(take away order from Simply Life at Citibank Plaza, HK$38 for one barbecued meat with rice and a cup of hot tea)

After such a satisfying lunch, some calorie burning activities are seriously needed. First, climbing down the stairs...(well done!)...and...this is why I love my camera. It gives you something productive to do, instantly, at no extra cost (just perfect for the currect economic crisis).

Say hello to my new buddy here, who just came up close and personal to enjoy the warmth of the sun. For some reasons, he doesn't look too happy being shot...he must've sniffed the cheapness of my lens amongst all the super long, grey and heavy primes. What a lens snob!

I am crap at photographing beautiful flowers...but let me share some to let you know how gorgeous the park is in the spring.

Hope after this post I will still have that nook. Hmmm, I might have to mark my territory by drizzling my tea all over it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Potato Choco Chips Muffins

Inspirations come and go, but food is forever. Life without inspiration is like cappucino with no coffee, or lemon tea with no lemon, or chocolates without cocoa? W....whatt??? I guess composing profound philosophical quotes is just so not my thing.

What I was trying to say is...sometimes inspirations come from funny sources. Or at least, mine does.

There was an argument in the office...

At work, what would make us feel tinier than small potatoes?
- Job title? "Mochachocolatarita - Dung Sweeper" (Hey! That actually sounds kinda cool!)
- Salary? When it is simply not enough ( cover essential expenses, don't even think about that piece of foie gras)
- Importance? (we need everybody's opinion on this project. Oh, except you. Remove all the staples from this mountain of documents, make 100000 copies and staple them back, please)
- Workstation? (a spacious corner office with a window, or that square meter spot between the copier and the shredder?)
- The way the tea lady treats you? (instead of calling you "Sir/Mam", washing your cup and serving you tea, she calls you "junior" and asks you to do the cups for her)
- How the upper management remembers your name? (oh yeah, they don't)

Oh my! Sucks, doesn't it? What a depressing discussion!
But the good news got me thinking of a single, leftover small potato left in my spice bin at home. It's too small for a dish, but it's just perfect for baking some breakfast muffins.

Potato Choco Chips Muffins

(yields 6 muffins)
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/3 cup caster sugar (you can add more if you like it sweeter)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 small potato, peeled, diced into about 1x1x1 cm pieces, microwave on high for 5 minutes, mashed, let cool
- 2 eggs (you can reduce to just 1 egg to make it taste less eggy)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup milk (or 2/3 cup yoghurt)
- 1 tsp coconut essence (or vanilla essence)
- semisweet chocolate chips (I like lots of it, i.e. at least 10 chips in each muffin HAHA! You can reduce to just around 5-6 chips each)

Preheat oven to 180C (350F), in a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, sugar, and salt. In another bowl, beat eggs, add milk, oil, coconut essence and mix. Pour egg mixture to flour mixture, mix until just combined. Add mashed potato, mix well. You can add the chocolate chips now, but I like adding mine into individual cups after pouring the batter so that each muffin gets equal amount of chips. Pour 2 tbsp batter into each muffin mold lined with paper cup, add choco chips, pour the remaining batter and bake for 15-20 minutes of until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

The muffins taste absolutely divine. Potatoey, slightly eggy, creamy and chocolatey.

This post is dedicated to small potatoes everywhere. Cheers!
Huge goodnesses can come from a small potato.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Easy Tasty Minced Meat and Mushrooms in Spicy Worcestershire Sauce

I am very partial to cheap and cheesy souvenirs. Fridge magnets, souvenir t-shirts (think "My friend went to Hong Kong and all I got is this lousy t-shirt" or "I was lost in Hong Kong" or any tee from Hardrock Cafe), shot glasses, mugs, plates, key name it, I probably got it.

These days, I have a new souvenir-related habit. I buy less souvenir tees. However, I buy LOADS of cute props from everywhere. Cute tableware, adorable plates, place settings, table runners, tiny little baskets, vintage looking glasses, cups and bowls....
whose job descriptions are:
- looking pretty in pictures
- never to be used to eat/cook at all times (some of them are so teeny tiny, it is just impossible to cook/eat with them)
- occupying/taking over my tiny flat (Ialmost can't see my living/dining room floor anymore, and don't even think about the kitchen. Man, I need a new flat!)

Let me show off share some of my favorite new finds from Jakarta...tiny wok (Rp.5000) and a pair of gorgeous fork and spoon (Rp.1000 each). My, oh my, how adorable! could I ever resist them?

Minced Meat and Mushrooms in Spicy Worchestershire Sauce

On weekdays, when 24 hour is never enough, minced meat is the way to go. No butchering, no slicing, no nothing, pair it with anything, and it always tastes great no matter how I screw it up. This time, I am pairing it with red chilli, fresh shiitake mushrooms, and Worcestershire Sauce (it took me years before I could pronounce this right. We used to call it kecap inggris back home). I love the balance of flavors soy and worcestershire sauce in this easy and tasty dish.

(serves 4)
- 4 cloves of garlic (crushed)
- 4 red chilli (chopped)
- a pack of shiitake mushrooms (remove stem, sliced, you can adjust the quantity)
- 1/2 lb of minced meat (beef, pork or chicken)
- light soy, dark soy, sweet soy, and worcestershire sauce
- olive oil
Saute garlic and chilli until fragrant, add minced meat, add mushrooms, season to get the perfect balance of salty, sweet and acidity. S
erve over steamed rice or noodles.

By the way, my brilliant Indonesian blogger friends, a group of super talented photograpers, host a monthly Still Life Photography event at multiply. I've learnt soooo much about photography from this event and I always enjoy admiring the technically brilliant and/or the creative shots and settings from everyone. This event is in Bahasa Indonesia, but I think language is not really a barrier for us to appreciate great works of art, eh?

Here are my two initial submissions for the second challenge, Books:
It's a book I am currently reading (Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. I guess I am pretty outdated hehehe - alllllmost finished though), borrowed from Hong Kong Public Library. This photograph was taken beside my living room window, on a small wooden table. The background is a baking sheet, the bookmarks are a fork and a knife, and the book is placed on a roasting rack.
Is it my eyes or does Bourdain look kinda hot in this tattered book cover?

Below shot was taken in the kitchen, the book was placed in the oven (which is dark and dirty)...and I don't think you'd wanna see how I contorted myself to take the shots...

...I never thought that I could be so....acrobatic.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Chinese Sausages & Preserved Duck Rice - Maximum Flavors, Minimum Effort

I was contemplating posting another eating spree from my Jakarta trip, but I changed my mind, fearing that I'd piss off my fellow Indonesian bloggers living overseas, who might be missing the posted food absolutely terribly (hehe joooking!). Plus, I need to get my groove back.

If I stayed off the kitchen for too long....
- the cooking skill downgrade might cause more kitchen disasters (entertainment for some of my readers, but not so much for my patrons)
- I will have less budget for fashion, as more money will be spent on dining out (NOOOO!!! I need shoes. More shoes!)
- my pricey kitchen appliances might be depressed due to lack of activity and might need to go on some kind of therapy
- my credibility in front of sc's parents will dramatically go south
- my coworkers who normally get some free baked goods will stop helping me at work...
...and my life will effectively be ruined.

Enough exaggeration.

I didn't feel like doing anything complicated. The risk of a disastrous dish is too high, and I've never been much of a gambler. Fortunately, we received some Chinese sausages and preserved duck meat from sc's mom. Oh yeah, I could do a dish with maximum flavors and it requires minimum effort.

Chinese Sausages & Preserved Duck Rice

The red ones are the regular Chinese sausages, and the darker ones are the liver sausages. That reminds me, I should put on some sunblock when going out, or I might get as wrinkly as these sausages.

If you don't eat pork, you can opt for this preserved duck meat. Once steamed, they go tender and tasty, infusing loads of flavor into your rice.

(serves 4)
- 2 pcs red Chinese sausages (each piece to be cut into 3 parts)
- 2 pcs dark (liver) Chinese sausages (each piece to be cut into 3 parts)
- 1/2 piece of Chinese preserved duck breast (cut into 4 pieces)
- 200ml chicken stock
- sesame oil
- a bunch of fresh corriander (chopped)
- salt, white pepper, sugar, dark soy sauce
- 2 cups of rice
- water

Pour 2 cups of rice into rice cooker, pour chicken stock, add water up to the required level as indicated on the rice cooker, drizzle some sesame oil, add a pinch of salt, white pepper, and sugar. Wash and wipe dry pieces of sausage and preserved duck meat. Place pieces of sausages vertically into the rice, place the preserved duck meat on top of the rice, and start cooking. Once the done, pour some dark soy sauce, add freshly chopped corriander and mix well (leaving some fresh corriander for garnish).

If you don't have a rice cooker, you can do it in a regular sauce pot with a lid (a non stick one would be better), or a claypot.

The rice comes out richly flavored by the sausages and meat, smoky from the dark soy, and satiny smooth from the oil. The freshly chopped corriander added the needed freshness.

Watch out, people. I am officially back. Man, it feels good!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Ragusa Ice Cream Italia, Jakarta

The moment I stepped into this place, I instantly fell in love. It was my first year of university, with my classmates and seniors, getting assignments, exams, projects and deadlines off our heads. It totally helped.

It's just the kind of place we'd all adore. It's charming, fabulously old (Since 1932. Wow!), and indeed one of the city's iconic place. A couple of swanky new places which have been sprouting around it does not shake its popularity.

Ragusa is famous for its ice cream. It's light and refreshing, perfect for Jakarta's balmy weather.

My sis and I went there after a day of shopping (again?) in Pasar Baru, trying to avoid traffic jam, and resting our exhausted feet. I ordered a Chocolate Ice Cream Soda, which came pink, thanks to my sis who thought Chocolate starts with an S (Soklat, as it might be pronounced in Javanese accent) and wrote (S) on the order form (the code for Strawberry). I can't blame her. This is what a day of crazy shopping could do to you. It's not all euphoria, it too, could get you a bit delusional.

We also ordered a cup of classic Mocha Ice Cream. Just sounds so perfect for my blog, innit?

We gossiped (oh, I meant share valuable experiences) for hours, and just enjoyed the cool ambience. The crowd; the group of gentlemen just beside our table; the singer who did a beautiful rendition of the golden oldies such as Let It Be Me, Love Me Tender, and Only You (oh...all my songs!); the jamu gendong lady and other street food vendors delivering foods from outside the shop; the servers in neat uniform; the parking attendant who were downing a bowl of steamy noodles by the street; the sun setting behind the trees; the sound of the rain just outside the door....truly a feast for our senses and soul.

We were still stuffed from the huge lunch of noodles earlier, but we couldn't help ordering two servings of our all time favorite...

Krupuk (crackers) drizzled with palm sugar syrup and peanut sauce

We had to leave before we were tempted to order another plate of these bad boys.

Ragusa Es Italia
Jl. Veteran I/10"
Central Jakarta
Tel.: (62)(21) 384 9123