Saturday, March 26, 2011

How To Cook Steak Diane with Rustic Tomatoes...

By now I think almost everyone knows how highly I look up to Gordon Ramsay as my inspiration in the kitchen. So wanting to cook his dishes has always been something I wanted to try although it is by no easy means... But with the magic of Youtube and his cook along sessions, it's only a matter of getting the ingredients and having the equipment to be able to cook like a 3 star chef!

(note: pictures below shot with camera from phone so quality kinda sucks... sorry ya)


All you need for an awesome meal...

I happened to come across one video him cooking a dish called Steak Diane. The clip was only one minute long and it looked pretty simple to do plus ingredients all are easy to get a hold of so I thought why not try that next time I get home. Coincidently parents went out for dinner tonight and my mom said that there was a piece of steak in the freezer with my name on it. Then I went to ask my mom if the rest of the ingredients are available at home surprisingly (or rather unsurprisingly) almost everything was in stock. For what was missing, just simple substitution :).


Added some of the cut of fat for some extra flavour...

The full recipe is available here but it serves 4 so I had to portion it accordingly for 1. Of course Basically all you need is 1 beef steak (sirloin cut if possible), half an onion or shallot, 2-3 big button mushrooms (canned or fresh up to you), garlic, butter, mustard, about 50ml single cream, Worcestershire sauce, brandy and some parsley for garnish. Yeah.. I think I got everything. So let the fun begin!


Sweat em onions n shrooms...

First step is to cut the fat off the steak cos it gets tough and chewy after it gets cooked. Then flatten the meat a bit and season with salt n pepper. Then heat up a pan with normal olive oil (or normal corn oil) until it's nearly smoking before putting the steak inside. Each side should be about 2 minutes tops on the pan before taking it out to rest.


Fire was way bigger and cooler than I expected...

For the sauce, using the same pan add in the onions and mushrooms that have been chopped along with a clove of pressed garlic. Let the onions sweat a bit til it turns slightly golden then add about a knob of butter. Next step is the most fun part of the process: pour about 50ml of brandy ( I used 1 shot glass) into the pan and flambe it! Be careful when you do this to tilt the pan facing away from you and pour the brandy towards the end furthest away from you. The flame will get HUGE trust me! Oh there is a short video clip available at the bottom of my attempt! Lucky no hairs, eyebrows or even parts of the house were burnt!


After the 'show' has ended, put back the steak and cream into the mix...

Once the alcohol has evaporated i.e. when there is no more fire, add in the cream along with the steak. My mom gave me the cream which actually split so didn't look how it should which led me to add some milk into the pan. Then it looked like what i saw in the clip :D. Leave the steak inside depending on how well you want your steak to be. This you have to trail n error yourself because it varies with the heat you use as well as the thickness of your cut.


Rustic cherry tomatoes...

After that all that is left to do is plate. The recipe suggested fried potatoes with peas but deprived of both, I ended up using cherry tomatoes instead. Tossed it with some extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar (couldn't find the balsamic type), salt, pepper and a little chinese parsley.


Tried my best with the presentation, that's just olive oil...

So plate nicely and like how Gordon says: Steak Diane with Rustic Tomatoes... DONE! I think I did a pretty decent effort considering it is my first time trying this. Could've been a little more generous with the mustard and Worcestershire sauce. And I think next time I'll straight away use full cream milk instead of cream. The steak itself was just the way I liked it, with a little pink in the middle though I think I overcooked it by just a couple of minutes.


Meat was perfectly pink in the middle...

But never mind la, at least got a new dish to add to my rep sheet eh ;). Few more tries of this and I should be able to get it up to 'Presentable to others' standard :D. So next time I call for dinner, maybe can expect this la !

video
Somebody call 911?...

So hopefully after this, my 'saham' will naik eh ;).... oh I think I shall trademark this smiley --> (-:=3 ... Looks kinda cool eh?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Run, Fat Boy, Run...

A couple of weeks ago, PYH messaged me on MSN with this to say (may not be exact the exact words) :


PYH : Koci, before we get old and fat, lets do something challenging. Lets run a marathon.

Me : WTF, marathon meh?

PYH : Yes... KL Marathon... but just do half marathon oni la...*


That conversation went on awhile with me giving all sorts of excuses (though valid ones :P) why I wasn't too keen on it. Main reason was because I don't even own a proper pair of running shoes! And before you say 'wear futsal shoes la', please, you can't run 1km in those shoes let alone 21km.

Few days later, this topic was brought up again and he told me to buy a pair of shoes for investment (though I think he meant the running):



Ok, I have to admit, the highlighted part caught my eye especially because it also entails 'so can eat more' :). And I have to admit, I do need to lose a couple (ok maybe more) of pounds. So after consulting the masses on Facebook (by that I mean putting it up as my status) and getting positive feedbacks with some even saying they are interested in running (we'll see how many actually do :P), I was more inclined to join this half-marathon. Half only la, first time join wan me to go for full 42km meh?


If Ramsay can do it, I want to do it...

So few days back, I went with Soon, who is also joining to buy me a pair of shoes @ The Curve. Reason I went there is because they had Nike, Adidas and al-Ikhsan stores all in one place. And also because I was suppose to go for the durian buffet which failed, but that's another story altogether. After scouting around, I found out that most of the proper running shoes costs RM300 upwards ! Holy shit wtf... But after getting some medical advice from (soon to be) doctors, realised that being investing in a proper pair of shoes is crucial for the long run of my feet. So... in the end after looking at all the shops, decided to get this:


My new pair of Nike LunarGlide 2...

Cost me and upwards of RM300 but I'm sure it'll be worthwhile. The rest were either: too expensive, design not nice or too heavy. Hmmm... Hopefully it doesn't rain this evening cos I wanna test out my shoes for the first time :D. For motivation, I decided to watch the movie Run Fatboy Run again :D



Oh btw, we are thinking of running the KL Marathon on the 26th of June but of course, for us it's just the half marathon. So I have roughly 3 months to get my fitness up to appropriate levels to achieve our target of completing in 3.5 hours cos apparently, after that time, you don't get a medal for finishing. And I want some sorta recognition for running my ass of for 21km k!! Will I succeed? I hope so but one thing is for sure, to lose the pounds and to be able to eat/drink more, I'll drop dead trying... haha...

Though I haven't registered for the race, I suppose by posting this post, buying a kick ass pair of shoes, and spreading the word via Facebook, it's a little too late to turn back now eh? Great way of not quitting on myself.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Durian Durian...

It's the season to be jolly again folks... And I don't mean Christmas/holiday season, I mean it's DURIAN season! Thing with this fruit is you can only go 2 ways with it: either you love it, or loathe it. I for one am part of the former group and I maintain that the latter group aren't really TRUE Malaysians :P. So this week, DonN and I went out to hunt for the King (of fruits).


They even have their own website!

And of course being gluttons food enthusiasts, eating just one or two biji wouldn't be enough. So we went to the much talked about durian stall in SS2 aptly named DurianSS2 which has its own website (located nearby the SS2 police station and can be seen from the main road)! Wanted to call more people to join the fun but the likes of Blondie (who's in Houston), May amongst others weren't available or didn't like durians. Undeterred, the both of us went to this place because not only do they have good produce but also a durian buffet! Yes, for RM20 per person (on weekends, I hear weekdays its about half the price) we get to stuff our faces with this creamy, pungent yet delicious fruit!


All of our durians were liddis: big big, yellow yellow, firm firm...

We decided to have this for dinner so around 8pm, logic being if we ate it post main meal, wouldn't be worth the money. Place is nicely lit up with plenty of tables and chairs and most importantly, its clean! When we were arrived, there were already a few tables of people eating quite a number of durians. So we tucked into our first few biji of fruits. Usually you hear of sellers giving the customers the lower standards/lousier fruit first to stuff them up before giving them the good stuff. But this was certainly not the case here.


Getting off the blocks with a quick start...

No sir, first bite I took was simply awesome... OK, it may not be as thick and creamy as a D24, but it was sweet and thick enough to warrant it as good! Don't really know what type of durian it was, didn't bother asking. Immediately about 3 different fruits were opened for us, all of it tasted different but ultimately good at the same time! DonN is probably the first person I've seen eating durians with BOTH hands! Though he only uses 2 fingers on each, probably thinking he's some sort of crab or lobster. Hence, no shots of me eating =/.


DonN eating durian like the crabby character from sponge bob...

I was impressed by the service there as well, when we finished one row of durians, the guy auto come and open up the rest of the durian for us! Now this is service la, pay 10% tax oso I don't mind, unlike certain restaurants that charge service tax for knows what reason. As we continue to sit, eat and talk, we noticed many people just come, order a few biji, eat and leave. I think by the time we left, there must've been at least 3 different sittings of people!


You don't get the title King of Fruits for just being pretty...

Before we could finish the durians on our table, 2 more fruits were brought to our table! One of it was so freaking huge, we only got half! Then another one came that looked kinda pale and smelt kinda green which DonN didn't like but I thought was awesome cos it was so thick that it practically sticks to your throat! Oh and the texture was so firm, like a perfect set of boobs or ass! haha.. By then, I was almost giving up edi, clearly felt like I could go into a durian comatose at any time!


Damage done... Ok to be fair, the basket was already filled a little when we got there...

One of the workers there asked why weren't we eating more and continued that there was a group that came at 6 pm and ate all the way to 10+pm! The dude kept asking us to sit and eat all the way to closing time which was about 12am! Hahaha, if we had more people ok la, but for 2 people to eat for nearly 2 hours, I think it's a pretty darn good achievement weh! All in all, I think we whacked about 5 and a half fruits.


The shop is constantly buzzing with durian lovers all night long...

So for me, it was money really well spent though I'm sure you can find other better deals elsewhere. Came back fully satisfied and very lucky I didn't burp in the LRT on the way back! Else chemical attack weh! Haha... Bottomline, if you love durians, you gotta try this place at least once. I still am quizzed why the dude from Bizzare Foods on TLC can eat all sorts of shit, but not this... NOOB!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sometimes Mixing Fire With Fire Is A Good Thing...

Usually during super this hot mid-day weather, I would probably think of eating something cool like ABC or at least something that is not spicy for lunch. But today I went against my gut feeling and instead decided to satisfy it with a big bowl of seafood tom yam, right after a 2 hour session of futsal no less!

Could well be the best bowl of tom yam I've had...

Went to this Chinese hawker shop somewhere in Sri Rampai (its pretty near to where I stay) for lunch with a couple of friends from college. Having been here once before, I initially thought of having something non spicy but after being convinced by Viki, thought what the heck, how bad could it get right?

Viki is very proud that his area has some awesome food...

Luckily this wasn't one of those times where those last words end up biting me in the ass. In fact, it was awesome! The tom yam came in a pretty big portion with 3 mid sized prawns (compared to small ones u usually get), a large handful of mussels a.k.a lala and some squid. All of the seafood is fresh, so no chance of me doing a Ramsay and calling the chef a donkey! The soup itself was in a league of its own. Full of flavour and very well seasoned, not too salty, not too sour, not too sweet and packs a load of heat! All of us were sweating after the meal and it wasn't from the heat of the day! Clearly something that has been concocted from hours of brewing and not something you get from a packet! One of those times where even if it hurts, you still want more!


Resistance is futile...

Best part of it all is, a bowl of this only costs RM6! As a comparison, I once had seafood laksa in Segambut few years back, pretty similar to this but just laksa soup instead of tom yam and it cost about RM12-15! Francis couldn't resist the temptation and even ordered a bowl after initially ordering a plate of chicken rice! If a Penang guy says this food is good, there's your seal of approval there!

Rest of the stuff here is pretty nice and dirt cheap as well! Had a bowl of pork noodles the last time I came and it only cost me RM3.50 for a medium bowl! Only thing is, I'm not too sure if I can find this place by myself should I have a craving for some seafood tomyam! Did I mention I finally played some futsal since CNY? Oh Happy days!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Look Back At That Race...

So a little over a week ago, I participated in what was my first blog related contest after successfully sending an entry about why I wanted to join this particular contest. I'm sure you'd know by now what I'm talking about due to the over posting of posts last time round. So this can be something like a 'director's cut' version of what happened. Btw, I don't think it's necessary to post pictures what we ate again right?

The Amazing Food Race...



















We arrived at the meeting point right around the stipulated time on the email for registration, briefing, etc. But in true, typical Malaysian fashion, not all the teams were there. I think the last team reached only about half an hour after later? So as a result, everything was pushed back roughly 40 minutes. After the registration was done, breakfast was served followed by the briefing. Now, I've never entered any treasure hunt race before but from my time watching The Amazing Race, I pretty knew what to expect.
The team in high spirits before the race, after however...
Points were awarded based on the quality of the post, order which we arrived at the venue (1-5,6-10,11-15), tweets and facebook updates. In a nutshell, we were suppose to: 1) get to a designated checkpoint 2) get the clue from that checkpoint and solve it for the location of the restaurant 3) Once at the restaurant, taste the food, blog a review, update Facebook, Tweet, take pictures and once all that is done get the clue for the next checkpoint. Then repeat all those steps for all 5 destinations till we get back to the starting point. Sounds easy enough eh? So after a group photo section, the race was on and sad to say, we got off to a very rough start.


Awaiting the briefing...
Since non of us are familiar with KL-KL roads, getting to the first checkpoint proved quite a troublesome task for us. A few wrong turns here, a few 'ah should've taken that road' there was all it took to get us driving in circles and at times the opposite direction from the destination! Oh, if you could be a fly in the Myvi... the number of cuss words coming out... I think Erica got shocked (if u did sorry ya!) though it was nothing new to us. And thanks to Erica and her long list of contacts, we manage to find the place which was in a part of PJ none of us were familiar with therefore reaching the first restaurant a cool 12th out of 15 places. I'd expect us to be last actually... hahaha... 

Scouting the opposition...
Anyways, in all honesty the food there wasn't all THAT great. In fact, nothing special oso... wasn't bad tasting food but for a food race, I'd expected more. Although I don't know how much was the meal, anything more than RM7 per person I'd consider a rip off. Oh, for all the stops, we didn't get to finish the food let alone enjoy it. I suppose that being a race, it's expected right? Though that didn't stop me and DonN (and I suppose the other 2?) to be slightly upset by that. So off to the second place which was located in Sunway Pyramid.

Organizers put up a good effort hosting this event...
So being close to last, Yong decided to put the pedal to the metal and drive like someone from the Fast and the Furious. And this was how he drove throughout the race, I may be used to this but can't say the same for the other 2! But hey, he was relatively safe and manage to cut a whole load of time from the other teams k! Another thing that ticked most of us off was the types of riddles/clues we were suppose to solve. I'd expected more like a food knowledge quiz or food tasting challenge in order for contestants to get the clues but it turned out to be pretty simple and routine quizzes with NOTHING to do with food. Possibly because I watched too many cooking contest shows on tv d... expectations too high o.O?

DonN taking one for the team...
Any how, the second venue was much better as we had the chance to taste some authentic Lebanese food. From what I ate and drank, I certainly enjoyed every bit of it. We didn't have to bodek on that review. Possibly one of the places that I'd come back again with the guys though the location in Sunway may prove a little troublesome, than again, I'm not the one with the car. After quickly eating and submitting the mandatory post to the officials, we were off to the next venue @Damansara Uptown. Yong was bragging before the race got on that if it was anywhere along the LDP, we'd be there in little to no time!

Felt like in a reality show with all the cameras around...
Boy was he true! By the time we reached to the satay Kajang restaurant, we manage to close the gap from 12th to 5th! Of course with help from several contacts and keen observation of tweets along the way la. For me, there was nothing much to shout about for this venue as there is another same branch right behind my condo. But it is good la, for 60 sen a stick (last time I ate) pretty good value for money. And the peanut sauce is to die for! Kinda think of it, they should've use the restaurant behind my condo instead, baru la challenging finding the place! 

Enjoying every little bite I could get...
Finding the next venue was a bit of a challenge though. Luckily it was in the area where contacts were easily available but deciphering the clue proved meddling for all but DonN who got it. Though actually finding the place took longer than expected therefore costing us a place or 2. The Thai food served here was pretty decent, worth a revisit if we semangat enough to drive all the way here. Again, we didn't exaggerate on the review.

Serious faces all around... barring one...
Our last stop was a Indonesian cuisine restaurant located in the posh Bangsar Shopping Centre. By then, we were still about 6th place so we were still feeling pretty good about the outcome though the tension and seriousness in the team can be chopped with a meat cleaver! The food here was good but given the location, I'm sure it'll cost a bomb if we'd had to actually pay for what we ate. Not a place we'd revisit simply because of pricing reasons. Finishing as quickly as possible, we headed back to the starting point with just 5 minutes to the cut of time when we arrived.

DonN hard at work resisting temptation...
So the race was officially over and all we could do is sit and wait while the results were tallied. Yong practically crashed and stoned on the chair while I was finishing up the blogposts. In the mean time, there was also an individual contest going on whereby they gave each team a plate of tortellini and a sheet of paper with a list of ingredients. We were suppose to taste the dish and check as many individual ingredients we can taste. Now this la the challenges I was hoping to face the WHOLE race. Felt like a contestant on Hell's Kitchen/Masterchef weh! Though it was suppose to be an individual challenge, we gave a collective input and as a result, our answers were almost the same with a few variations due to uncertainties. 
Yong trying to act cute...
Soon after, it was the time we were all waiting for: the results! First was the runner up in the individual contest. I was shocked for 2 reasons when my name was called. Firstly, cos I manage to actually win something for the first time! Second was, if I was the runner up, got someone with a better palate than me meh?? Then they announced the winner: Yong! ZOMGBBQ!! Yong mehhhhh... aih... but never mind la, at least it stayed in the team right (if you want details on how he actually won, ask him la :p)? As a reward, I got RM100 makan voucher from Modesto's while Yong pocketed a cool RM400 makan voucher from a selection of places. So while we didn't get first or 2nd, we can consider ourselves to be 3rd place overall la (FYI, they didn't announce any rankings after 1st n 2nd). 

Unplanned shot that turned out well...
As a whole, given the circumstances, I thought we did pretty well actually. After reading some of the winners blogs and comparing with ours, I think they won only because they had better picture quality. I feel that DonN did a good job posting rather entertaining reviews which merited high scores. Also, we felt it was a bit unfair (though due to time constraints can be understandable) that all the venues were in the PJ area. Then again, shouldn't complain la. If somewhere in the near future there is this sort of race, it's safe to say we know what to do and what not to. And besides, being the only other team to win something, pretty darn happy weh! Lastly, even if the race/event ended, hopefully our friendship stayed intact... there were some tense moments along the way XD.

P/S: As you might've noticed, there were no post-race pictures... mainly cos we were too freaking tired to take/pose for any. And there actually is some Nuffnang appointed photographers and cameraman for the event though any pictures or videos are yet to be found online... anyone know why or where I can get a hold of em??

Saturday, January 15, 2011

MAXIS OM NOM NOM RACE – DANCING FISH

BEHOLD!!!! The final destination! *insert suspense song*. We are SO close to the ending of the race, we can smell it! Can’t wait for the race to end and for the organizers to announce the results!! The guys are in serious desperation, and in need for a new replacement for their prehistoric mobile phones. THE HEAT IS ON! Everyone of us feel like A-team, full of action and always on the run!



Updates? Here you go:

One by one getting stressed, but still in high spirits and enthusiasm

Yong Hsin broke all the road rules according to Akta Pengangkutan

Erica got blister on her foot due to the running

Shi En has a face expression ala Gordon Ramsay… still haven’t called anyone a donkey yet

The Myvi is still in once piece man

After half day throughout the race, only wanna on the radio… let the music heal our soul!




Final destination – DANCING FISH RESTAURANT

Finally! A fine dining restaurant with a super cozy and air-conditioned atmosphere. Perfect restaurant to finish the finale of the race! Woah man…. Restaurant fine dancing concept that serves Malaysian and Indonese delicacies, with jazz music as the background. Chill out stylo milo.




RICE – Nasi putih and nasi kunyit. The rice served is flufy, and the nasi kunyit is especially fragrant… goes well together



AYAM PANGGANG – Roasted chicken with black sauce. Chicken was nicely roasted, and the black sauce nicely caramelized and coated on the chicken. Great dish to go with your nasi-nasi!



DANCING FISH – Look at that! Looks like the fish dancing…like, danced into a big pot of hot oil to be fried and be finally served to us…haha! Check out that colour, fried to perfection! The fish is super crispy on the outside, moist and tender on the inside. Deep fried to the point that you can eat the bone like eating muruku. The presentation itself is a wonder piece of conversation.




ICE-CREAM – Strawberry and durian ice cream. The strawberry ice cream is sweet and slightly sour, just like real strawberries. Same goes for the durian.. quite smooth actually and not too strong.



LEMONGRASS JELLY WITH SOUR PLUM BURST – The name sounds so yeng wei…this dessert is sumthing new to us. The jelly has a tangy fruity flavor that melts in your mouth. The sour plum balls explodes in your mouth, giving a delightful burst of flavours that mixes well with the jelly. We want more please!



Location:

Lot T120, T121 & T122

285, Jalan Maarof, 3rd Floor, Bangsar Shopping Centre

Tel: 03-2095 6663

Verdict: Real cozy ambience to chill, with a fine-dining concept without break your wallet.


BOOM BOOM PAU! DO YOU FEEL LUCKY NOW, PUNK?

Don
Erica
Yong Hsin