Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mint Chocolate Chips Cakes with Fresh Mint Leaves from My "Herb Garden"

Mint Chocolate Chips Cakes
Some people hate mint flavored baked goods/drinks because the minty flavor and scent reminded them of...tooth paste/mouth wash?
How many of you feel this way? I'm curious.
SC is one of them, he absolutely hates mint flavor (when it's not tooth paste/mouthwash/chewing gum/after dinner mints) and always asked me not to bake anything...minty.
I dunno...but I love it, I always order minty stuff from time to time.
I find the flavor, refreshing and cooling, especially love it for summer.

Anyway, I am the one who bakes stuff at home, so I get the final say.
Mint it was.
Mint Chocolate Chips Cakes
I used peppermint essence, but to crank it up a notch, I included quite a bit of mint leaves from my tiny and miserable "herb garden". My hands felt all minty after picking these tiny mint leaves. I love it!

Look at those tiny little green spots in the cake...cuter than green food coloring, don't you think?
Mint Chocolate Chips Cakes
(yields 6 cupcakes)
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- a pinch of salt
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp peppermint essence
- a few sprigs of mint leaves (you can use less, my plant is not really "healthy" so the leaves are so tiny!)
- about 10 chocolate chips per cake

I did this the absolutely lazy way.
Preheat oven to 180C, pour all ingredients (except chocolate chips) into food processor (since I need to break down the mint leaves into tiny spots anyway), pulse until well mixed and the mint leaves are all broken into tiny spots. Pour into muffin tray lined with paper, add chocolate chips, bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Minty fresh!

If I wasn't too lazy I'd make some minted buttercream/cream cheese frosting...but of course I was too lazy.
Maybe next time la.

What other flavors I can mix with mint?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bouchon Bistro Francaise - Overheard Something Annoying

Bouchon Bistro
Last weekend, SC and I brought baby Marcus to have lunch with a group of pretty ladies in this lovely place. We arrived early. We were seated at the gorgeous charming little patio at the back of the restaurant. There were two ladies lunching at the only table next to us. As we waited for the others to arrived, I took pictures of the menu to tweet and tease my other lunching companions. The next thing that happened annoyed me.

One of the ladies, after shooting some unfriendly glances our way, started making comments on how she was not impressed by people who take pictures during meals, she wondered, audibly, why "some people" can't just enjoy their meals without taking pictures. And by "some people" she probably meant me? She continued to make unpleasant remarks about food blogs and how food bloggers have no credibility, and she said, rather smugly, that she doesn't follow any food blog. Her words of "wisdom", loud and clear, most probably for our benefit?

She knew exactly that we were within earshot and we should have been able to hear everything she said very clearly. While I respect that everybody has the right to their own opinions and free to express them, I couldn't help feeling appalled by her rudeness. Ew. 

But, oh wells, if I had a Hong Kong dollar for every annoying person I encountered, I'd be able to buy newer, bigger, and more bad ass top-of-the-line food photography gear to wave in their face by now. 

Aaaaanyway...the lunch!
The food looks absolutely gorgeous under the most perfect soft natural sunlight ever!
Bouchon Bistro
Decent bread, lovely soft and creamy butter. 

Bouchon Bistro'
The country pate and toasted baguette with a side salad was not my favorite. The pate was not bad, but the already cold toasted baguette didn't do it for me.

Bouchon Bistro
The onion soup was absolutely delicious!

Bouchon Bistro
Sweet and hearty. Love it!

There were some other dishes that I didn't get to taste, so I won't comment, but look at this gorgeous tomato salad with goat cheese and balsamic dressing..
Bouchon Bistro
..I kinda regretted that I didn't order that ^_^'

The roast of the day was roast beef served with a side of fries.
Bouchon Bistro
The beef, despite looking beautifully cooked, was dry and chewy. The side of fries, on the other hand, was a winner! They're well seasoned, crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Delicious!

Our friends who ordered the seared salmon with spinach and lemon butter sauce both mentioned that the fish was overcooked.
Bouchon Bistro

The creamy mushroom tagliatelle looked fantastic...
Bouchon Bistro

But I always pick meat over meatless, sometimes to my detriment...Bouchon Bistro
I ordered steak tartar with french fries. It arrived looking amazing...

...and it has some really good flavors. There was a good balance of rich, creamy, salty, and acid, but the meatiness was kind of lost somewhere.
Bouchon Bistro
The fries were still fantastic though. I finished each and every single piece.

To sum up, my favorites are the fries, the onion soup, and the charming place. I'd go back for those and maybe try their dessert and pasta.
Bouchon Bistro
A set lunch costs HK$108, add HK$48 for the steak tartar.

Bouchon Bistro Francaise
F/F, 49 Elgin Street, Soho, Central
Tel: +852 2525 9300

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mochachocolata-Rita's on Facebook!

Finally! I've made a Facebook Page!
Why? Am I just being "trendy"? Is it just a carbon copy of this blog? Does it ever occur to me that my readers are already sick of me?
Hmm...good questions.
I don't know.
But I can tell you what you're going to see on the page.

Past Food
The yummy, the so-so and the yuckies that didn't make it to the blog, simply due to the laziness of the blog owner, such as this bowl of noodles that killed my palate...
For FB Page

Almost real time updates on stuff that I eat or made, just as these baked goods from last night...
For FB Page
...these were literally still in the oven when I posted it on the page.

Some ingredients that get me inspired...
For FB Page
...this was used in last nite's baked goods.
Can you smell the impending disaster?

Go on and like the page if you like ^_*

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cute Froyo Toppings - Yogurtime, Soho, Hong Kong

Do you remember these adorable little jewels?
Cute Froyo Topping from Yogurtime
I remember not liking them when I was a kid.
What? A kid who doesn't like sugar? Was I mad?
Well, I was the kind of kid who'd prefer a fried chicken drumstick than sweets, you see.
A budding salt lover I was.

But now...
Cute Froyo Topping from Yogurtime
Now I love them! Not that I need the additional sugar in my diet...
At first I picked them as my froyo topping because they look cute, the staff pointed out that they taste exceptionally yummy with froyo. He's right.
Love the crunch and slight savoriness of the cookie base and adore the sweetness from the sugary top.
I picked raspberry and chocolate-banana froyo that day.
Because I love the colors ^_^'
They taste more like sorbet than froyo.
But still...don't you think they look cute?

G/F, 46 Elgin Street, SOHO
Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 6165 4608

Weekend Breakfast - Cream Cheese & Kaya Sandwich with Cinnamon Coffee

Just thought I'd share my weekend breakfast...when it's not instant noodles/dimsums/Hong Kong fast's gotta be an easy sandwich.
Cream cheese kaya sandwich & cinnamon coffee
This time, it's cream cheese & kaya (weird?) on fluffy and soft honey egg sliced bread. I love the creamy, tangy and slightly savory flavor of cream cheese with anything, including with the sweet and coconutty kaya. Toasting the bread would be nice, but I was just too lazy. Heheh.

Cream cheese kaya sandwich & cinnamon coffee
I also love the addition of a little cinnamon on my sweet black morning coffee. Love the sweet fragrance. I am so not a coffee purist, obviously ^_^

How was your weekend? Delicious?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Mango Mille Feuille from Dessert Playground, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

Yesterday, we celebrated a friend's birthday and ended up dinner with this gorgeous cake.
Mango Mille Feuille from Dessert Playground
Look at them roses! They aren't perfect, the cream and layering of the cake looks a bit sloppy and some mango slices were a bit..wilted? But we think that they still look pretty damn amazing! We walked right pass the dessert store, and immediately abandoned any other cake ideas that we had and went for it. We just hoped it tastes good.

Mango Mille Feuille from Dessert Playground
And it did taste good. The layered crepes were so thin, it was so easy to cut through, it's creamy with just enough sweetness, not overwhelming, and there were bits of mango in it too. The only unfortunate bit was some mango slices with stringy bits from the mango pit, but other than that, it wasn't bad at all. Despite being totally stuffed from dinner, we still managed to make room for this sweet & creamy treat.

A cake like this costs HK$338

Dessert Playground 


Shop E, G/F, Rose Mansion, 1 Prat Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui
Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2411 1139

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Da Dong Beijing Roast Duck at Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong's Man Wah Restaurant

Dadong Duck @Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
Thanks to Mandarin Oriental for inviting me to this blogger's lunch, tasting the famous Da Dong Beijing Roast Duck. This has got to be the most elegant roast duck meal I've ever had. I am by no means a Chinese food or roast duck expert. Thus, I'll just share what we had that day, which are my favorites, and just enjoy the visuals. Each dish is gawkalicious.

The Chinese yam with preserved plum marmalade opens the meal with a sweet note.
Dadong Duck @Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
I am not used to have something so sweet to open a meal, so I was a bit taken aback.

I love the second treat, the goose liver aspic with mango and caviar.
Dadong Duck @Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
The creaminess and richness of the goose liver were balanced by the other tangy components.

The spiciness of the Sichuan style shredded duck wings was a pleasant surprise.
Dadong Duck @Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
It gives my palate a bit of a kick, getting it ready for the next courses.

I was excited to try the soup, I remember my last fond memory of delicious soup from Man Wah.
Dadong Duck @Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong

And I wasn't disappointed. The duck tongue and morel mushroom soup was downright delicious.
Dadong Duck @Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
I don't normally get excited by duck tongue, but these were bouncy yet still tender. Yummy!

I had to leave my soup mid-slurp as I wanted to catch some duck carving action from the chef...
Dadong Duck @Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong

Can't wait to taste the duckie.
Dadong Duck @Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong

Da Dong's roast duck is famous for being super lean, so I didn't hold back. Crispy skin, less fat, moist meat? Come to mama.
Dadong Duck @Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
I think I took the last remaining few pieces ^_^'

I especially love the pancakes that were served with the duck.
Dadong Duck @Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong

They were wonderfully thin and chewy.
Dadong Duck @Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong

Normally, we get cucumber, chives and hoisin sauce to go with our roast duck, but we were served with  much more.
Dadong Duck @Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
There were pieces of gorgeous pink radish (which I initially thought were pieces of watermelon - duh!- silly me), pickled vegetables, sugar and garlic puree. Interesting.  Couldn't wait to try.

I started with the normal combo of duck, hoisin sauce, cucumber and chives.
Dadong Duck @Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong

And then I just went crazy. I added everything onto my duck and pancake. Well, I held back on the garlic puree. I had a date that night, you see.
Dadong Duck @Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
Obviously, avant garde food presentation isn't my thing. I should just leave it to the pros.

The next item isn't an alien. It's a super mega delicious braised sea cucumber.
Dadong Duck @Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
While it's a delicacy for most people, I am not a big fan of sea cucumber. I think I've just tasted too many bad sea cucumber dishes, I kinda forgot how could they could be when done right. This one was a more than good one. I cured my sea cucumber phobia instantly. Tender with a bit of a bite, and deeply flavorful. Hmm, those leaves look familiar. It's the trendy thing to do in food presentation, isn't it? While they do make plates look gorgeous, I don't think they necessarily improved the flavors.

The duck gizzards and duck parts in the sauteed four delicacies were a bit too chewy, but I was blown away by the champagne and sour plum jelly. They added the bit of sweetness and tang that brightened up the whole dish.
Dadong Duck @Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
I am not a big fan of garnishes that are not supposed to add value into the dish, apart from making it look pretty, so, I was a bit disappointed by the mint leaves and the wedge of lemon.

The braised cabbage and chestnut might look a tad humble, but don't be fooled.
Dadong Duck @Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
The braised cabbage was rich, thick, almost creamy and satisfying. The chestnut was sweet and tender. Both are really good, I'm not sure about the pairing though. It was rich on rich. This dish filled me up instantly, but I couldn't help it and finished the whole thing. It was that good.

We were served more than 20 year old superior pu-erh tea!
Dadong Duck @Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
It's nothing like the average pu-erh. Love it. I am not good at tea leaves reading. Did it say anything good?

The starch of the meal was this goose liver fried rice.
Dadong Duck @Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
The bits of goose liver were inside this pile of deliciousness. Love the idea.

We were oohing and ahhhing when the next dish entered the room in a dramatic manner.
Dadong Duck @Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong

The dry ice gave the illusion that we were going to enjoy a cold dessert, so I was really surprised when I tasted something warm.
Dadong Duck @Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
The coconut cream has glutinous rice dumplings filled with red bean in it. The flavors were subtle, not sickeningly sweet or creamy.

The petit four were sweet yellow bean cake, sweet rice dumpling, glutinous sesame roll and fresh milk rolls.
Dadong Duck @Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
The fresh milk rolls look adorable, but my favorite was the sweet rice dumplings (top left), it has a mix of sweet and savory.

As expected, I had a major food coma after this decadent meal. It was great to meet fellow bloggers, some have posted their detailed reviews, click through to check out their posts: Edena of Ed Eats, Jason of Life as a Bon Vivant, Patricia of Su Yan Tian Shi, Amy from Yummy Mummy Asia and Wilson from WOM Guide
Dadong Duck @Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
Man Wah
25/F Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
5 Connaught Road
Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2825 4003

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Gulai Kambing - Lamb "Stew"

Gulai Kambing
What's with the quotation marks on the "Stew"?
Because I didn't exactly stew the lamb ^_^'
I was not in the mood for any stewing, it's a weekday night! I need something quick and tasty.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Oven Grilled Sate Ayam (Chicken Satay)

Oven Grilled Sate Ayam
I've tried charcoal grilling sate in my tiny Hong Kong flat before, read all about the madness and the recipe here. But this time, there's a baby in my tiny flat, and I am just too lazy busy to be fiddling with charcoal grill, I just made oven grilled sate to satisfy my sudden sate craving.

Were they good? Not too bad. Nothing compared to charcoal grilled sate, but enough to make my brain stop saying "sate sate sate sate chocolate sate sate sate fried chicken sate sate sate..." at least for a few days.

I'll deal with the chocolate and the fried chicken cravings later ^_^

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Steamed Chicken in Shrimp Sauce

Steamed Chicken in Shrimp Sauce
Oh no. I might be addicted to shrimp sauce.
It makes every single stupid simple thing taste so bloody delicious it's just unbelievable.
This one's just an easy and simple steamed chicken dish, which would be as boring as my weekdays without that magical touch of shrimp paste, which some of you might think is stinky.
I love stinky.
It's like a perfume to me.

- 2 boneless chicken thigh fillet, skin removed, cut into bite sized chunks
- a sprig of scallion, chopped
- 1 or 2 pieces of red chilli, chopped
- 2 tsp shrimp sauce (I used Lee Kum Kee)
- pepper, sugar, oil, 1 tsp corn starch
Mix chicken meat with shrimp sauce, pepper, a bit of sugar, a bit of oil and corn starch, marinate for at least 15 minutes if you have time (the longer the better). Before serving, steam for 10 minutes or until the chicken chunks are thoroughly cooked. Serve with warm steamed rice.

Stinky delicious.
I meant fragrant.