Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Formosa Restaurant @ SS2

It's the eve of New Year's Eve.  In another 2 days, a new year will be upon us.

I always get a bit nostalgic during this time of the year.  It's like I'm trying to grab the last few hours before the year ends to think and reflect on what has happened, or didn't happen, this whole year.  As I looked through my Flickr folders, the nostalgia dipped one notch further when I looked at my food photos taken at New Formosa Restaurant.

Wayyyy before I started food-blogging, this restaurant has been one of my favourites.  I've been going to this place for my lunch for years (something like more than 16 years!).  My top favourite lunch item here is their Seafood Porridge.  I almost always order this on almost all the occasions that I have been here at lunch, usually with friends and colleagues.  Their service crew recognise me by sight and they know what I want when I tell them "my regular order please!"  The seafood porridge here is really the most delicious comfort food ever - piping hot smooth rice porridge brimming with fresh seafood - fish fillets, shrimps, clams, fishballs, squids, jellyfish... drizzle some soysauce and shake some pepper over the porridge and you'll have a most fulfilling lunch - delicious in its simplicity.

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As much as I associate seafood porridge with New Formosa, their Stir Fried Butter Eel is another one of their signature dishes.  Soft succulent eel fillets encased in a light crispy batter and delicately fried to a golden brown. Curry leaves and bits of chilli padi give this dish that extra "ooomph".  Eat this with white rice or just by itself as an indulgent snack.

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At a recent dinner here together with my dear Kahcheh, we wanted something simple & light yet nourishing and immediately this item jumped up from their menu as our mutual choice - a delightful Tofu dish - braised with mushrooms, fungus and angled loofah.

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If you like innards, try their Pig's Intestines with Pineapples.  The tender intestines, cooked in a sweet sour gravy with chunks of pineapples and bell peppers were refreshingly different - the intestines were not fried , hence less oily & chewy.  The gravy had none of the cloying sweetness of sugar overdose in typical chinese sweet-sour dishes.

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One of Chef Lee's signature dishes - Bamboo Yam Rice - a must-try for carbs lovers.  I just couldn't resist this, more so when I was told there're yam cubes in the rice.  Yes, I'm a yam-lover.  The rice was made more fragrant with bits of dried shrimps, fried shallots and chopped spring onions.  I can just eat this alone.  No need for any accompanying dishes, really.

We were joined by Mrs Jeanie Lee - a most gracious and warm host.  When she saw our "paltry" dishes on the table (by her standards it was paltry but there were only 3 of us - how much could we eat?!), she immediately bustled into the kitchen and asked Chef Lee to come up with a few more dishes!  Minutes later, this was served on our table...

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Huge succulent prawns cooked in their signature style.  One word: divine.

When she found out that yam was our favourite, magically this dish appeared...

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Pork Ribs braised with Yam.  If we were not already so full, we would have asked for white rice to mop up the gravy, deliciously thickened by the soft powdery yam, divinely infused with porky lardy goodness from the tender ribs.

In Mrs Lee's books, we were not allowed to leave her restaurant without tasting their desserts.  I love how the Taiwanese love their yams.  Yams are a mainstay in their menu - in rice dishes, in main courses and even in desserts.

Their signature dessert: Pumpkin Yam Pudding with Gingko.  I like their sans lard version.  It's definitely healthier and it made me feel less guilty indulging in this.  It's also very light on the sugar content: a definite plus point in my books.

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In New Formosa, one dessert is never enough.  Go for a 2nd one.  Go for their refreshing Aiyu Jelly - very light, very lemony, absolutely addictive.

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The charming Mrs Lee explained how the Aiyu Jelly was made... from something like this:

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It's fascinating to learn how Aiyu Jelly is made from the gel of seeds of a type of fig found mainly in Taiwan.  By placing the seeds in a bag submerged in water and gently rubbing them, a slimy gel will be produced which is then allowed to set into a jelly.  Sugar and lemon/lime juice are added in and there you have it - the yummy Aiyu Jelly!

There are so many more well-loved authentic Taiwanese dishes on their menu to try.  I think I want to go back there soon for my seafood porridge - I haven't had it for some time.  It used to be a favourite lunch item for me before my office relocated.

New Formosa is located at the quieter part of SS2 - parking is not much of a problem - and that's definitely another plus point.

New Formosa Restaurant
46 Jalan SS2/24
46300 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-78751894/7478
Business hours: 12.00noon-3.00pm; 6.00pm-10.30pm

Time flies

It's the final week for the year.  Where did my 2010 go??  I honestly can't believe the year has just flown by and 2011 will be dawning in a few days' time.

It's good to be on leave during this time.  And half the week is gone already.  It's nice not having to be up and out of bed when my alarm goes off at 6am.  I get to lie in for a bit, just a bit.  I'm out of the bedroom by 9'ish, latest.

Somehow the days get by very quickly.  I go to the wet market, take my time to buy a week's worth of foodstuff.  I groom my two furkids.  I bake.  Experiment with new recipes, tweak them, make do with whatever I have in the fridge/larder.

Like how I mixed fresh cream with kaya and chopped nuts for the filling of this swissroll.

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I sit by my verandah to enjoy the fruits of my baking.

It's even nicer if there's some rain to accompany me.


I meet up with friends for lunch and spend hours catching up.  I go home and bake some more, more cakes to bring home to mom tomorrow.  A day trip to Ipoh - and that will take care of my Thursday.

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I book a 2-hour massage for the next day.  And after that there's a New Year's Eve dinner to go to.  But before that, bake another cake to bring over as dessert.

Lunch with family on New Year's Day - the meats are marinated and waiting in my fridge.

Is it any wonder that my days fly past so fast?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Magnolia Sherbet - Lift Your Senses

With all the heavy hardcore eating during this festive season, what would be a most refreshing and light dessert?  After a heavy meal, the last thing I'd want is another rich and heavy sweet.  What comes to mind (and desire) is the brand new Magnolia Sherbet.

Magnolia Sherbet:  Think "refreshing", think "nutritious fruity", think "tantalising", think "healthily yummy" - Yes, all those are perfect descriptions of the new Magnolia Sherbets! 

Sherbet Group Photo Hires
*Photo courtesy of Magnolia Sherbet

Available in 4 tropical flavours - lychee, mangosteen, melon & orange.  Not only are they light and creamy, you get real fruity chunks wholesomely packed in those cute 85ml cups.


There's even a little spoon packed inside - makes eating the sherbet so much more convenient!


The best thing is that these little cups of sherbet are so light on the palate and nutrituous, it makes the indulgence a little bit "less guilty" and healthier!


I tried all 4 flavours and I must say all of them are good but My Favourite is the Mangosteen!


Just look at this - isn't that the most divinely luscious & delectable scoop of sherbet ever?!


These 4 flavours are available at all major supermarkets, hypermarkets and large provision shops, retailing at RM2.50 (WM) and RM2.80 (EM).  For more information on Magnolia's range of yummy tasting icecreams, please visit them here.

OK, now I need to go and get my Mangosteen fix!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Food Porn: Home-made Siu Yook

Siu Yook (regardless how it's spelled) = Roast Pork.

Feeling kinda "hypoporkinaemic" whole of last week - thanks to GFAD who spammed Facebook and Twitter with her home-made Siu Yook, I got 2 slabs of pork belly and made these yesterday.  Just to satisfy some cravings, hah!

(Read about my 1st attempt and 2nd attempt at Siu Yook!)



Another angle...


Slice 'em up...



Then chop 'em up!



They tasted good with some instant noodles!


D Legends Bar @ TTDI

If you are in the Taman Tun Dr Ismail neighbourhood and would like to have a drink, chill out with friends in a friendly casual bar/restaurant, give D Legends Bar a try.

Newly set up some months ago by a group of buddies, the outlet is run with Hans at the helm - a cheerful down-to-earth personable young man.  When you speak to him, you get a deep sense of passion and commitment from someone who's very much into the F& B business.  The pricing in D' Legends, ranging from beer to food, is really very reasonable and when I asked Hans how they expect to make run a profitable joint, his answer was a nochalant "It really depends on how much money you want to make, at the end of the day! And how happy you are."


I like his philosophy.

So what kinda reasonably-priced food are we talking about?  Top on their list is this...

D Legends Pork Burger (RM15)


A thick fat minced pork pattie - it's like 3x thicker than the bun, full of flavour from the herbs and spices, hand-made by Han's kitchen crew, headed by none other than his mom and aunt!  Top that thick fat pattie with a slice of melting cheese... it's burger heaven!

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You can get a variety of Indian-influenced starters in D Legends...

Samosa (RM8)
Indian-style chicken curry puff, served with mint chutney

My friends love their Chiken Tikka (RM12) ... they have perfected the art of grilling chicken breastmeat to NOT result in a dry or hard texture.  At first, I didn't realise it was chicken breast because the Chicken Tikka cutlets were juicy, tender and fabulous with the masala spices marinated in them!


Prawn Tapas (RM14)
We absolutely loved this!  Succulent pranws in a thick creamy buttery sauce flavoured with lots of garlic & other herbs, we practically mopped the whole dish clean with the slices of French loaf.


Mushroom Tapas (RM10)
Another winner - fresh mushrooms saute'ed in olive oil before being cooked in a garlicky creamy sauce.


If you want something a bit more "substantial" to go with your drinks, try their D Legends Pizza (RM18) ...
thin crust pizza topped with chicken ham, sausages, onions and chilli and generous amount of cheese!

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I like their funky deco... walls adorned with artsy sketches of famous artistes... MJ's my favourite

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Oh, for all you gals out there, here's more incentive for you to chill out at D Legends. 
For Ladies Only: every night, pay only RM50 nett for 3 cocktails of the night... choose from the list below:

Monday:  Batidas (Havana rum, fresh lime, fruits - choice of strawberry or passion fruit)
Tuesday:  Martini (Bombay Sapphire gin, Dry Vermouth, Olives, Lemon twist)
Wednesday:  Cosmopolitan (Absolut Vodka, Triple Sec, Cranberry juice, lemon squeeze)
Thursday:  Margarita (your choice of original strawberry or green apple flavour: Jose Cuervo tequila, triple sec, lime juice)
Friday:  Long Island Tea (Absolut Vodka, Havana Club rum, Bombay Sapphire Gin, Jose Cuervo tequila, triple sec, lemon juice, coke)
Saturday:  Mojito (Havana Club rum, mint, lime, soda)
Sunday: Sex on the Beach (Malibu, orange juice, cherry syrup)

D Legends Bar
24 Jalan Datuk Sulaiman (same row as Devi's Corner & Mama's Kitchen)
Taman Tun Dr Ismail
60000 Kuala Lumpur
Open:  5pm onwards (weekdays); 4pm onwards (weekends)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Can we have MORE cake?

Can we have some more cake, please?

Yes, that was what my colleagues asked me this morning, after they have tasted this Crazy Nuts Cake which I made last night...


A simple soft moist chocolate cake, coated with more chocolate and sprinkled with caramelized hazelnuts and almonds...

The texture looked a bit dense here because the cake was just removed from the fridge and you know how chilled chocolate cake would be.  Leave it a bit longer at room temperature for the cake to "fluff out" and the texture will be softer!  Anyway, I'm glad everyone loved this ;-)

And while we are talking about cakes, here's my Fruitcake, which is now on Version 3...


... meaning I have revised the recipe 3 times since I first made it!  Hmmm.... I think this should be just right now :-)  As you can see, the cake is not too heavy on fruits... so you actually eat some CAKE and not just mixed dried fruits!  The chopped almonds and walnuts give a nice crunchy bite to it.  And those bits of red you see there - those are not the usual sickeningly-sweet glaced cherries... those are cranberries!

I like to cut my Fruitcake into small pieces and nibble on them slowly.... more so to avoid over-pigging-out!  It kinda makes sense, right?  Smaller pieces, less cake, less calorie-intake... but then, how about MANY MANY small pieces?  Yeah, I know... it kinda defeats the purpose too :-P


Monday, November 29, 2010

Academy of Pastry Arts Malaysia

The spate of baking I've been doing lately... (like the cakes featured in my 2nd last post here) and last Saturday, a chocolate cake, 2 fruit cakes and 35 muffins emerged from my oven ... this could be inspired by a recent visit I made to the Academy of Pastry Arts Malaysia.


Thanks to Jade Wong of Mustard Tree Communications, (through the kind recommendation of FBB) I spent a delightful afternoon at the Academy.  The moment I walked through the glass door, I was bowled over by the wonderful aroma of BAKING... you know, that oh-so-delicious aroma that can only come from baking a concoction of butter, flour, eggs, sugar and goodness-knows what else (yummy stuff, of course!)

The Academy houses an impressive 8,000 sq ft which had been assigned to a Chocolate Room, Bakery Room, Pastry Kitchen, Pastry Room, Weddine Cake Room (with ceiling mirrors!), Chef's Lounge and classrooms.


The Academy's main focus is to train students through their Certificate programs:

* 3-month Certificate Program in Pastry & Bakery (Full time)
* 3-month Certificate Program in Pastry & Bakery (Part time)
* 3-month Certificate Program in Bakery (Full time)
* 9-month Certificate Program in Pastry & Bakery

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Students and participants will be personally trained and coached by pastry and bakery champions ensuring hands-on teaching, practice and repeated exposure to the best pastry techniques, pastry tools and ingredients.  Believe me when I say they use only top-notch ingredients (like Varlhona chocolates) and the Academy is fitted-out with the most modern state-of-the-art equipment.


Helmed by the affable and charming Chef Guillaume Lejeune as the Director of Pastry Studies, who comes with more than 13 years of international experience in teaching, demonstrating in Hospitality Institutes as well as hands-on experience within Michelin starred hotels and restaurants in France, the Middle East and Asia, you know you are in pretty good hands!

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Existing professionals and pastry enthusiasts can also go for short-term courses whereby you can learn how to bake:

* Cheesecakes
* Chocolate for Beginners
* Chocolates & Pralines
* The Art of French Pastries
* Tea Cakes, Cookies & Bars

Their fees are very reasonable, ranging from RM150 (half day), RM250 (full day) to RM500 (2 days).


On the day I was there (together with a few other bloggers), we were treated to a short lesson on "How to Bake & Decorate a Gingerbread House"!

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Actually, to save time, the ginger bread house pieces were already baked and ready.  After the informative demo by Chef Lejeune, it was our turn to decorate our houses!  The "cement" used to glue the walls and roof of the gingerbread house is made from beaten egg whites + icing sugar.  Chef Lejeune showed us the technique of creating "icicles" that should hang from the roof beams...

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Sift some icing sugar over the house for that "snow" effect... and then proudly presenting my handiwork...


... standing next to WMW's house...


As Christmas is just round the corner, you may be interested in their "Christmas Delights" class on 13 & 14 December 2010 (one time only!).  We were treated to these Christmas delights baked by Chef Lejeune and his students...

Stollen - so fragrant with spices and dried fruits!

If one is not enough for you, have a whole basketful!


How about some Christmas Cookies? Cardamom honey and Lemon Cinnamon flavoured...

Academy Pastry Arts

A beautiful and ingenious way to stack up your cookies...


Tell me, can you ever, ever resist something like this...


Chocolate Moelleux - sinfully rich chocolate cake with a moist melted centre, topped with raspberries and edible gold bits!  Such luxurious indulgence!


I am definitely going to sign up for some classes soon because I want to learn  impress people by making Petit Fours like these... haha!


Thin chocolate shell holding a dollop of whipped ganache (passionfruit + vanilla), biscuit joconde, guimauve (that square of yellow spongey melt-in-the-mouth delight), topped with chocolate fan-like shaving and raspberry - heavenly!

Another variety is this... the Strawberry version:


It was a wonderful decadent afternoon spent at the Academy, in the charming company of Chef Lejeune and Hanne Landgraf (Customer Relations Executive) and fellow bloggers WMW, Jason, Li Chuen and Edwin...

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I can't wait to go back there and get my hands-on sessions!


The Academy of Pastry Arts Malaysia is located in Wisma Thrifty, right across the Petaling Jaya Hilton:

Lot 2-A, 2nd Floor
Wisma Thrifty
19 Jalan Barat
46200 Petaling Jaya
Contact:  Mobile +6017-3252395
Tel: +603-7960-3846 / Fax: +603-7960-3848

*Thank you, Jade - for this lovely experience!