Monday, June 29, 2009

Baked Potato Cakes with Corned Beef - Perkedel Corned Panggang

Some experiences are bound to fail.

Yet, I was stubborn enough to still try them. Sometimes I fail the food, sometimes I fail the photography. This time, I record-breakingly failed both. Haha, this calls for a celebration.

I blamed these failures solely to my stubbornness:
- I knew I had to follow a true and tested recipe properly (I didn't plan to fail perkedel another time), yet I chose to deviate from it. Dammit
- I knew I should not have experimented taking photographs with harsh lighting and no light diffuser of any sort, but I bloody did it anyway

So, the results:
- Ugly looking perkedels
- Ugly pictures

So, guys, please do not try these at home.

Baked Potato Cakes with Corned Beef - Perkedel Corned Panggang

After failing perkedels (Indonesia potato cakes) a few times, I kinda gave up and almost vowed never to try making them again. But my good blogging pal, Lidia, encouraged me to try her fool-proof recipe, which sounded doable and her perkedels look incredible!

I should not have trusted my ability to follow recipes. Based on my chronic fear of deep frying, I insisted on microwaving the potatoes, which made turned them into a bowl of mushy mess. Furthermore, due to my pure greed, I added too much canned corned beef, thus when I was trying to pan fry the potato cakes...potato and beef bits and pieces floated was disastrous.

Finally, I decided to throw the rest of the dough into a lightly greased muffin mold and baked 'em. They tasted decent, but nothing like how perkedels should taste nor look like.

Since I don't want you to do what I did, I am not sharing my modification of the recipe. Please follow Lidia's recipes linked above...

...and 'til my next failure.....stay delicious ^_^

Friday, June 26, 2009

Lemon Lime Cake - My Ice Cream Photo on Time Out Magazine

This lemon lime cake is only a decoy, a bait to give me a chance to gush at how happy I am....because my ice cream picture is printed in a magazine!

Oh yeah! Oh yeah!

Please excuse how lame I am, it's just....I haven't had anything of me printed in a magazine, except for my contribution to my company's publications.

So, although the picture isn't exactly big, and I couldn't even find my name on the credit list without a microscope...I am so damn happy that some people found my picture useful. Yay! The graphic designer at Time Out magazine was very nice, she asked for proper permission to print and sent me a copy of the magazine, which I totally appreciate.

The picture was originally posted

Here's the cover of the magazine:

Here's the article:

...and here's my ice cream photo, with a tiny print of my name somewhere., as a token for my appreciation of your patience, having endured my lame overenthusiasm...

Lemon Lime Cake

It's just a humble quick and easy snack/dessert made from muffin batter, disguised in a cake form and whisked more than I normally do muffins. Don't be fooled by how ugly it looks, it is one of the most popular things I've baked and forced offered to my colleagues. But then again, they are Hong Kongers. They love receiving killing drinking and eating anything that includes lemon.
- 1 cup all purpose flour (sifted)
- 1/3 cup + 3 table spoon sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2/3 cup yoghurt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp vanilla
- juice and zest of 1 lemon and 1 lime

Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl, mix all wet ingredients in another, mix them well. Pour into a lightly greased loaf pan or muffin tray lined with muffin cups, bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (based on my experience: loaf pan = about 20 minutes, muffin tray = about 15 minutes).

They are sweet, soft, moist and lemony, perfect with a cup of hot tea, while watching my current obsession.
Thanks for bearing with me, you guys!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Minute Steak with Red Wine & Raisins Sauce

I guess there's no going back.

For me, it's like...
- peanut butter and nutella
- burger and fries
- potato chips and coke on ice
- cake and hot tea

Yes, once I've tried the
beef and red wine combo, I think I got hooked.
I kept craving it and had to use the flavor combo again, my apologies, guys.

Minute Steak with Red Wine & Raisins Sauce

If only there's a nickle for every dinner menu which was decided by whether or not the ingredient was on sale...

(serves 2)
- 2 pieces of steak (I chose rib eye because...they were on sale!)
- salt, black pepper, olive oil
I learnt this easy way to do my steak from chef Michael Smith. Heat up frying pan, until really really really hot (you'll see smoke). Rub olive oil, salt and pepper on the meat right before frying. Fry each side until you reach the desired level. I like my meat medium to medium-well with a bit of brownage outside. Just flip once, let the steak rest on the side.

Red Wine and Raisins Sauce
- 4 cloves of shallot (or half an onion), thinly sliced
- red wine
- raisins (soak in a bit of water while preparing other ingredients)
- sugar, salt, black pepper

Reuse the steak frying pan, add a bit of olive oil, saute shallot until a bit browned, pour red wine, add raisins, add sugar, salt and black pepper (sugar should be the dominant component, although we should balance it with salt), until thickened, pour over steak when serving.

I served the steak with zucchini and oyster mushrooms, simply sauteed with garlic.

Now what do I do with white wine?
(I have a huge bottle left in my fridge and no seafoodness left)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Simply Tasty Long Beans Omelette

The day has arrived. The day I've always wondered about.

If only...
- If only I lost my appetite, what would it be like?
- How would it feel to wake up not thinking about breakfast?
- How would it feel to arrive at work not being excited about lunch?
- How would it feel not to be hungry at 11 am, despite the huge breakfast?
- Wouldn't it be nice if for once, I am not eagerly peeking into my lunch box or impatiently waiting for the clock to hit 1 pm?
- What would I do if I didn't search for yummy recipes all day or thought about where to go for dinner? (I should be working)
- Would the office be more quiet and peaceful if my stomach did not grumble every hour?
- Would I be the perfectly petite Hong Kong girl who fits into a pair of size 24 jeans if I didn't finish my second bowl of rice for dinner?
- Would the world be a better place if I didn't crave something sweet with my late evening bad TV programs?

Finally, it happened. The day I lost my appetite.
I was hyper, my heart was racing, I was restless, and most importantly, the whole day, there was no moment where I felt hungry, and I was not excited about food nor did I think about food at all.

What happened to me? Did I fall in love? Was I broken hearted? Not really.
Sous chef said it was probably the heat, but I can never be sure. It's still a mistery. was it? was NO fun!

No matter how great it would be if I didn't enjoy food, loving and being excited about it feels wayyy better.

Here's something simple yet incredibly healthy and tasty, to celebrate our love for food.
Simply Tasty Long Beans Omelette

Sounds weird? I thought so too when I first tried this dish, cooked by sous chef's mom. I was not a fan of long beans, but I was surprised with how tasty it turned out. I am now officially hooked.


- 3 eggs, beaten
- a bunch of long beans, sliced into 3-5mm pieces
- salt, pepper (or fish sauce)
- olive oil

Beat eggs, mix the long beans with the eggs, season well. Heat up wok/frying pan until it's really hot, then pour the mixture. Fry until you get a bit of brownage, the beans will keep the eggs moist. You can add freshly chopped chilli if you want some heat. Serve with steamed rice.

Sigh. The loss of appetite could've been a fantastic way to lose weight, no?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Creamy, Sweet, Tangy, Spicy, Hearty - Minced Meat, Pineapple & Eggplant in Coconut Milk

Somehow, the title of this post kinda reminds me of Spice Girls.
Imagine Creamy Spice, Sweet Spice, Tangy Spice, and Hearty Spice. Spicy?

Ehm, that brought back memories of another thing something I am not proud of...

When I was young, the five of us, my sis, my cousins and I, love love LOVE, a Japanese series Google V. It's a team of 5 heroic characters, fighting various world destroying baddies. We loved the series so much, we watched the series again and again (It was the time when videos were still in! Gowd, I am old) we sang the songs, we remember the tag lines, we remember which bad guys did what, we could imitate the moves/routines, the weapons, the transformation into robot, the robot's moves/routines and the final weapon (which worked every time, I am now wondering why they didn't use it straight away to kill the monster. oh yeah, there would be no series if they did that. gotcha).

We were a bunch of hopeless, geeky, nerdy freaks!

Everyone got to choose their own character. My chubby sis was goggle yellow, my girly cousin was goggle pink, both my boy cousins snatched the blue and the black, just because there were their favorite colors, and I was stuck being red. Actually, I didn't mind as the guy playing goggle red was kinda hot, although my major childhood crush was really...goggle blue.

Why am I feeling more like a loser each time I typed one more word into this post...

Anyway, that was then. My fun filled childhood.

Now, if creamy, sweet, tangy, spicy and hearty are characters out of spice girls or any group/band, I would have a major hard time choosing a character, cos I love 'em all and I like mixing 'em all up in one easy peasy dish, such as this one...

Creamy, Sweet, Tangy, Spicy, Hearty Minced Meat, Pineapple, and Eggplant in Coconut Milk

- 1 lb minced meat (I used pork, but chicken will work too)
- 1 pineapple, remove core, cut into bite sized chunks
- 1 eggplant, cut into bite sized chunks
- a box of 200ml coconut cream
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 4 cloves of shallot, thinly sliced
- 3 red chilli, chopped
- olive oil, salt, pepper, sugar
- 1 sprig of spring onion or corriander, chopped (garnish)
- crispy fried shallot (garnish, optional)

Saute garlic, shallot, and chilli in olive oil until fragrant, add minced meat, cook for a while until it changed color a bit, add eggplants and pineapple, add seasonings, cook covered until eggplants are cooked through, add coconut milk, mix well, garnish with freshly chopped corriander/spring onion and crispy shallot. Serve hot with steamed rice or between two slices of bread of your choice.

Creamy, sweet, tangy, spicy, hearty.

Now tell me, who was your action hero childhood crush?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Easy Sop Buntut - Indonesian Ox Tail Soup

I can't believe what just happened!!!
All the crap I've been typing for several hours has gone!

I was having one of those really uninspired days, where my mind goes blank and believe it or not, I almost started by writing a couple sad versions of "What does one write when one has nothing to write? Writing about having nothing to write?"...then thought better of it and wrote paragraphs after paragraphs on how I grew up with sop (soup) back home in Indonesia. Yawn.
It was pure crap.

I guess the universe didn't want me to inflict such a lethally boring article to my readers' soul (who are probably bored to the bone at work, or at home, refreshing their Facebook or Twitter pages every few seconds, seeing one boring update after another, or even none), so when I clicked "Publish", I was faced by the feared "Page cannot be displayed" error message.

I always pride myself of being the "click-save-after-every-little-update" girl, I thought I would never be those who lose an unpublished draft, no matter how painfully boring it was. I was (again) wrong. I lost that boring draft. Thank God.

What the heck did I wrote?

"I didn't like sop then, but now I do."
Imagine that sentence being stretched into a 2,000 word article. Yawn. A long yawn.

But, oh dammit, I lost the recipe draft too!

Easy Sop Buntut - Indonesian Ox Tail Soup

- 1 lb ox tail (chopped into chunks)
- 1 large onion, chopped into chunks, or 6 shallots
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped into bite sized chunks
- 1 cup straw mushrooms (totally optional, you can also use potatoes)
- 2 cups of chicken stock (or use powder/cube)
- olive oil, hot water, salt, pepper, nutmeg (use quite a lot of it, it's the dominant spice in this dish)
- 1 sprig of spring onion, chopped (garnish)
- crispy shallot (garnish)
- juice of 1 lime (garnish)

I used pressure cooker to dramatically reduce the cooking time. Of course, it also works without a pressure cooker, it should taste even better.

Saute onion/shallot in olive oil, add ox tail pieces, brown them a bit, add carrot chunks, potatoes (if using), add chicken stock (add water if you want more soup), add salt, pepper, nutmeg, cook in pressure cooker for 25 minutes. If you're not using a pressure cooker, bring to boil and cook until meat is tender, at least 1.5 hours, the longer the better. Once the meat is tender, add mushrooms (if using), adjust seasoning, garnish with spring onion and crispy shallot, squeeze juice of 1 lime. Serve hot with steamed rice and you can do perkedel (Indonesian fried potato cakes) as a side dish.

Don't let the clean and clear looking broth fool you, it is bursting with flavors.

Now please please please tell me I am not the only one who's lost a boring draft? Misery loves company (Wah! How evil).

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Banana, Rum and Raisins Cake - Help! Cake Storage Tips Wanted

If a cake could kill, I would've been killed by this loaf of cake. Why? Was it just too damn delicious?
I wish.

OK, it was delicious when it was freshly baked, cos let's face it. Banana + Rum + Raisins? It'd take a lot to ruin such a winning combo.

The disaster happened the day after. I baked this large loaf for my daily breakfast at the office. Two thick slices each morning with my hot coffee. Yum. At least, that was the plan.

Previously, I never stored any cake in the fridge, cos based on my experiences so far, nothing good came out of that. But in this summer heat, I thought I had to rescue the cake from getting ruined too quickly. The next day, I happily took out the cake out of the fridge, transferred two slices into a bento box, and carried it to work. Hopefully, all the initial deliciousness would be restored by the time I reach my office.

Unfortunately, they didn't recover.
They dried out and hardened. I mean ROCK HARD. I could kill being hit on the head by that loaf. Hmmm, maybe not exactly subdural hematoma lethal, but at least it could inflict some serious bruising and swelling.

I tried microwaving cakes before, and again, it could never recover anywhere close to when they were freshly baked. Is it just mission impossible, or am I doing it wrong?

When I got home, I took out the rest of the loaf, placed it on my kitchen table and wait for it to return to room temperature, as advised by some online resources. It did return to room temperature, but the texture never recovered. It stayed persistently hard.

The recipe is the same as my previous soft and moist banana cake, I just added 2 tsp of rum and a couple handful of raisins.

Guys, helppppp! I desperately need some true and tested cake storage and reheating tips T_T

Whatever it takes, I'll try it. long as it doesn't involve storing the cake in my underwear drawer.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Beef Shin in Red Wine with Baked Potatoes in Cheese, Garlic & Herbs

I hate wine.
Red. White. Rose. Champagne. All of them.
To those who appreciate it, wine might taste fruity, chocolatey, oak-ish, sending them back to a chateau in France or a valley in California, whatever. To me, wine tasted sour, bitter, and smelt weird.
Oucchhhhhh! (Got hit by gadzillions of saute pans thrown at me by avid wine fans. Opps)
I'm sorry but it was my truth. Was.

Sous chef, recently enlightened by the great health benefits of a glass of red wine a day regime, which apparently is greater than a cup of broccoli a day, started bringing crappy cheapest-of-the-bunch bottles of red wine home, and insisted that I drink half a cup a day. Boy, it was a torture.

Later on, I thought I've found a great way to enjoy ruin wine. Ehm, by mixing it with loads of sprite and ice. All the sugar I drank probably exceeded the health benefits of red wine, antioxidants and all. Opps again. But after my recent cheddar cookies and red wine experience, I discovered that to enjoy wine, I gotta drink it with something I love, something that's gonna make the wine sweeter, something which magically gets rid of all the sourness and bitterness. Something like what I had last night.

Beef Shin in Red Wine

(adapted from
- 1 kg beef shin (you can change this to other parts of beef, the original recipe called for chuck steak, but I only had beef shin :p)
- 4 cloves of garlic (peeled, crushed)
- 1 whole onion (cut into large chunks)
- 2 sticks of celery (cut 1 cm thick pieces)
- 1 carrot (cut into 1 cm thick pieces)
- thyme (I used dry)
- 3 bay leaves (I used dry)
- chicken stock (I used powdered version, 3 tsp)
- red wine (the recipe called for 1 whole bottle, but I used just 1-2 cups of Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon, just until it's fragrant)
- bacon (I skipped this, cos I didn't have any, but it's still delicious)
- olive oil, hot water (just enough to cover everything), salt (1 tsp), black pepper, sugar (2 tsp)

I used pressure cooker, so "slow cooked" beef turned "fast cooked" beef. Hehehe. In the pressure cooker, I sauteed garlic and onion, threw the beef in, threw the rest of the ingredients, close the lid and pressure cook for 20 minutes, adjust flavors before serving. If you don't have a pressure cooker, simply bring to boil and cook on low heat until the meat is tender.

I served this dish with...
Baked Potatoes in Cheddar, Garlic and Herbs

- 2 large potatoes, halved and sliced thinly (about 3mm thick pieces)
- grated cheddar cheese (or parmesan, just enough to cover the top of the potatoes)
- italian mixed herbs (oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme)
- 4 small cloves of garlic, crushed with skin
- black pepper, salt, olive oil
- lime/lemon zest (optional)

Preheat oven to 200C. I lined a baking pan with foil (lazy to scrap bits and pieces off the pan), scatter potato pieces (if possible in 1 layer), drizzle olive oil, season with salt, pepper and herbs, grate cheese all over, bake until the cheese's golden brown and the potatoes are soft. Grate lime/lemon zest when serving.

Cheers to good health and better sleep!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Savoury Cheddar and Black Pepper Cookies plus Red Wine, My Almost Perfect Sunday Evening

Is there anything more perfect than...
Delicious savoury cheese bites + a glass of red wine (cheap french merlot from a supermarket downstairs) + hilarious Sunday nite TV shows (
Gourmet Secret Agent at 8, Beautiful Cooking at 9.30) + a sous chef who is not really into savoury snack (which means I get to finish all the cheese cookies myself) + a starry, breezy, perfect 26 degree Celcius Sunday night?

YES. There IS!
Well, what is it?

It would've been even more perfect, if...I did NOT need to work the next day.
Yuck, I hate Mondays.

Anyway...these deliciousnesses helped easing a very reluctant me into the dreaded Monday.

Savoury Cheddar and Black Pepper Cookies

(source: Epicurious)
- 1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp (2 mL) baking powder
- ½ tsp (2 mL) salt
- black pepper, Japanese chilli powder (I added until I can see black and red speckles on the dough)
- ½ cup (125 mL) cold butter, cut into small pieces
- 2 cups (500 mL) grated cheddar cheese
- 3 to 4 tbsp (45 to 60 mL) ice-cold water

I threw everything into a food processor (with a metal blade) and pulse until the dough clumped together. Take the dough out and lay on a working space, shape into a log with about 4 cm diameter, wrap with a plastic cling wrap and refrigerate for one night.

Preheat oven to 200C (400F), slice the log, each 5mm thick, this yields a softer bite, or thinner if you want it crispier. Lay the sliced dough on a lightly greased or parchment paper lined baking sheet, bake for about 10-15 minutes (or until slightly golden), cool on wire rack. Although it keeps well, I think they taste the best when freshly baked, so just bake a small batch for each serving.

I like my cookies soft, so I sliced em thicker. Savoury, cheesy, peppery, soft, rich, and they made the normally hideous wine tasted beautiful.
Damn, I should've taken Monday off.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Malaysian Bakuteh at Restoran Kee Heong - The Dumbass who Brought Cup Noodles to A Food Paradise

Who's the dumbass who brought 8 days worth of cup noodles and soy joy supplies into a food paradise?
Ehm, me, myself and I.

I knew that Malaysia is heaven for food lovers, but learning that a colleague even brought a rice cooker for this work trip, I was worried that we were gonna have our exhibition in a venue that's in the middle of nowhere, with no nearby restaurants, no minimarkets, the only protein we could get might be the mosquitoes who happened to be unfortunate enough to fly by us, and getting our daily intake of fibre might involve gnawing some old tree trunks by the venue. Plus, we were worried that our ass might be super glued to our exhibition site (which normally runs from early morning to the next morning) and we wouldn't have time to even look at the mosquitoes and the trees.

As always, I couldn't be more wrong.

There are plenty of good food near the stadium where we held our exhibition, and after the event, our graceful local host, Mr. A brought us to fantastic places to indulge, and one of them is...

Bakuteh at Restoran Kee Heong - Klang

The first thing which caught my eyes were these cute tea sets and hot metal tea pots on gas burners.

...then the friendly regulars who didn't get pissed seeing me pointing my camera to them, they even made V signs for my benefit.

Wasn't it just too hot for hot tea? Yes. But we really needed the hot tea to neutralise what we were about to eat.

The metal pots contains hot water, it is for you to refill your tea pots. Handle with care.

We were given a basketful of tea leafs packets, we selected Pu-Erh, an all time favorite.

...and the chilli padi. These are not for the faint of heart. They're super HOT!

I haven't tried a Dry Bakuteh before, and I heard this place makes an exceptionally delicious one. I saw this pot, and I had no doubt that I'd love it. Even when the meat pieces were long gone, we were still scraping the pot and clean the sauce.

We also ordered a large pot of Bakuteh (braised pork in spices), pictured at the beginning of this post, all the goodnesses were hidden under the humble pieces of lettuce. Super tender, juicy and flavorful pork meat, tofu puffs, and beancurd sheets. They were perfect with plates of fragrant onion rice.

By the time we almost finished, I was drenched down to my undies, gave up and ordered iced tea. Lame, eh?

The owner told us that if only we were there earlier, we could've enjoyed the imperial cut of meat, and the special soup, which is strictly for regulars. Wow. Maybe next time.

What happened to my cup noodles? They didn't go to waste, they were adopted and will be enjoyed by our colleagues from the Philippines.

Restoran Kee Heong
Tel: +60123243838
Klang, Kuala Lumpur

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hey, Good Lookin'!

Wow! I feel so honored! Who doesn't love winning something? I never thought I had a chance!

Originality category winner

Here's the picture that did it....the
flaming volcano pizza from Papa's Cafe, Kuta Beach, Bali

I guess my blog did look kinda good in it.
Congrats to all the other winners, your photographs are amazing and I still have A LOT to learn before I could take pictures such as yours.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the breathtaking photographs at
the result page and the album.