Monthly Archives: July 2010

ZA ZA Kebabs – Orchid Ave, Surfers Paradise , Queensland

I have always like Kebabs and when I find Kebabs in Malaysia, it is always a disappointment because they do not know what they are doing and often I have felt cheated.  So for that I have not touched the stuff for years. I have always been used to good old Australian Kebabs where they never stinge on ingredients especially the extras.  So I was in Surfers with Dan and suddenly I chanced upon Za Za Kebabs.  As this was not the usual place I ate Kebabs I was a bit apprehensive but I was hopeful when I saw the pile of ingredients. 

So we ordered one Kebab as we wanted to eat other stuff.  We ordered the lamb Kebab.  And as Dan saw the fella putting the ingredients he quietly enquired if I accidentally ordered two Kebabs instead of one.  We he actually asked me why I ordered two kebabs when he said only order one.

Then when the Kebab guy started sawing the meat Lamb from the Kebab heater, he was just flabbergasted.  “So much meat!??”

He was shocked with the size of the kebab because for some reason Malaysian Kebabs tend to be mini!  Size matters when you are eating a good kebab and looking at how our Kebab was assembled, it was really something our Kebab stands in Malaysia should learn.

And the taste was rather good even though I forgot to request for Sour Cream. And pineapple. 

The price AUD8.90, the taste was wholesome and good.  I wish Dan bought his own!

Doing the Tim Tam Thing!

We all love Tim Tams, and years ago I was taught to do the Tim Tam Thing with milk, but now I have graduated to doing the Tim Tam Thing with various kinds of alcohol. So yesterday we did the Tim Tam Thing with Sandi and Dan.  My Models were ever so willing to do a few shots, the more the merrier it seemed.  This has to be done in an air conditioned place or in winter. 

Step 1:

Bite two sides of the Tim Tams shown.  Do not take a big bite. Yes I know it is irresistible but do control yourself.  Our Model Dan, carefully biting both ends and showing us exactly how much he has bitten off.  This biting bit could change after a few Tim Tams are consumed in this manner.

Step 2:

Now dip it into your desired liquor or liqueur or port, we used O’Reillys Silky Oak and Yahoo Creek Fine Old Tawnee.  One can use Baileys Irish Cream and Kahlua and even Bourbon.  The choice is yours.  As you dip the Tim Tam into the Liqueur, you suck the Alcohol in through the other side. Because Tim Tams are coated in Chocolate so it is almost air tight and so the alcohol will just go through and soak the Tima Tam as well as giving you your hit. 

Lift the glass or leave it on the table as you suck!

Do this in one breath and you have to be quick. 

Step 3:

Quickly consume the Tim Tam as it is soggy and you will understand what I mean by the Truly Divine Alcoholicly Divine Tim Tam.

Step 4:

Repeat till you finish off the packet of Tim Tams. We found it was better to use Original Tim Tams and Double Coasted Tim Tams. The White Chocolate Tim tams would have been better with Baileys Irish Cream.

Shark Fin House – 131 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

It was a nice Saturday Morning, we all woke up late and took our time, the womnders of being on a holiday and not having to think to much, or worry or lose my temper though it has happened a few times too many I might add.

So off we went to Little Bourke Street in Chinatown in the city for Yum Cha with one of my best friend Frances, her husband Saxon and it would also be the first time that I would meet their little daughters Havana and Sade.

We reached there and there was already a line outside the lift. Shark Fin House operates on two time schedules a day.  So we were in the second time slot which was 1.30 to well I am not too sure. We entered the restaurant that was three stories high and it was full to the brim. Being the not too small person that I am it was a chose getting through without knocking other customers.  This was my first put off. Because everyone felt the same way.  Now in a few minutes time Saxon and Frances would come too and with their stroller, it was next to impossible to go thorough as well.  I was just imagining if somethign went wrong in the kitchen and how we might be able to escape.

So we started to eat as trolleys of Dim Sum appeared from time to time For a start, I found the Dim Sum to be rather big, and not as dainty as it should be. I have eaten Dim Sum many a time in Australia and was rather shocked to see the size of it.  First was the baked Char Siu which was encased in pastry, and it filling that I thought was rather dry and too sweet.  Nothing dainty or tasty about the first Dim Sum.  Then we got s dim sum which had a base of capsicum, topped with fish paste and a scallop steamed and then topped with cheese and then grilled.  Now to me Dim Sum should be something that can be eaten with two bites. One sometimes if you have a big mouth like me. But this one took me four bites. It was huge and while taste wise it was nice, but daintiness scale an absolute zero!

Vegetarian Dumplings was next on the list, more so on the trolley that came with a lot of things we did not like, now this is the first time I have vegetarian dumplings that had a curry puff fold and again the skin was think and it was too big.  Maybe the bigness was because this was Australia, but looking around the restaurant, there were hardly anyone non Asian except my table and a few other mixed tables. We quite liked this dumpling though, but for the price we paid which was between $7.50 to $8.50, this was something you would find in a not too fine Chinese Take Away.  Still though, the restaurant was full so I guess I was the only one complaining.

We had another prawn based Dim Sum, this too was big, and not very attractive and if you notice, almost every plate had an uplift, which was Cabbage Leaves.  I did not taste this because by now I was losing interest.  The Prawns Stuffed Mushrooms were next, again no attempt to neaten then prawn meat onto the mushroom, it was plonked on with a teaspoon., topped with salted egg yolk and steamed.

Squid tentacles was next and this was a cost saving dim sum as usually squid meat was used to make the various Dim Sum dishes but often enough the tentacles would not be used, so they spiced the tentacles and deep fried it.  Little Sade who was teething enjoyed it thoroughly.

Char Siew Pao, hmmm…. Well you cannot go wrong with this but again BIG… We ordered two baskets and it took a lot of time to finish it.  I found the meat too porky for my liking and the meat was too big. Loh Pak Koh served here was too sticky for my liking and it did not really go down well with the Australians on my table.  It was not even finished.  The others thought it was not cooked. 

The Char Siew was also horrible, to the extent of insulting.  Big pieces of meat on a plate firstly was not appetizing, and did not even taste nice.  By the way we ordered Har Gau when we started ordering the in the beginning of the meal and it still did not come after asking for it twice.   The Prawn Cheong Fun was fair, the Pork Cheong Fun, now I have eaten better Pork Cheong Fun, in small stalls in Malaysia.  This was big pieces of char siew steamed together with rice noodles. 

Dessert  was fruits. No one can go wrong with fruits. Almond Jelly was served with canned mixed fruit, and we also had rock melon sago which looked as bad as it tasted.  The saviour of the day to me was the custard tart and the Coconut Tart. 

Finally the Har Gau came, it was so so, we were full and not interested anymore.  Verdict for Sharkfin Dim Sum… don’t bother.  It was a waste of time because I am sure there exists much better restaurants serving these glorious morsels in a more dignified way.  I personally feel the this place is short of staff and the few staff they have No Spik the English well. The good thing was I was with friends I had not seen for a while.  That really made my day.

Hopetoun Tea Rooms – 282 Block Arcade, Collin Street, Melbourne

After we finished Caffe Duomo that day we walked through Block Arcade  and chanced upon a really picturesque Tea Room that was filled with ladies. I had never seen anything more beautiful in my life, I swear. These photos do no even do justice to what we saw that day.

Hopetoun Ladies Tearoom was set up in 1891 and was purchased at a price of 18 pounds by the Victorian Ladies Work Association. I am sure in those days neatly dressed ladies of leisure would frequent this tea room, dressed in white frocks with very pretty hats. This is place where proper ladies practiced etiquette and they had their convivial chatter.

Sadly we did not go in but as the cakes were laid out Melbournites alike stood in awe.  It was simply breathtaking to see these beautiful desserts. I will make it a point to go there when I am there again in August.

Caffe Duomo – The Block Arcade – 282 Collins Street, Melbourne

Melbourne Day One was an adventure for Dan and Me. For one I had to play tour guide in a city that I barely knew although I heard enough of It. In fact Dan k new more places then me thanks to his checking up on things and the wonderment of GPS.

We had a wonderful breakfast at Gianni’s. We were so famished that no one thought of taking photos that moment, so I promise I will go again just so you know about this wonderful place called Gianni’s.

So around 11ish, we were walking around Collin Street and we even found a Selangor Pewter, and so we went to check out the place and even questioned the poor girl about her knowledge on Pewter. She was rather good with her answers and then we walked on chanced upon Block Arcade.  Dan was quite awed by the architecture and the oldness of the building and I have to say it was very well restored.  And then…. We chanced upon all their eateries and cafes, and it was so clever how the Melbourne council has used up backlanes to create cafes and restaurants. This is something they have been doing over the last 10 years or so and no we were standing in front of one of their clever utilization of space within the city.  It was not only the Asians that were clicking away, even the Melbournites and probably other Australians were clicking away.

That day, I think it was the slight gloominess of the weather, that brought a lot of people together in the middle of a working day. Caffe Duomo was where we found lots of people that day.  We found a table right at the top of the whole block of cafes and restaurants and so that gave me a birds eye view of the whole back lane. It was just bustling.

Now our rather pretty wait staff came to take our order and while we were not really hungry, but she managed to sell us cookies and tea.  And her choices of cookies were spot on.  Now this article today is not so much about the food we ate but just enthusiastic staff who work and sell with passion. It really makes a difference to ones meal experience. She did not sell us something we did not want but she managed to sell something to us that actually tasted nice.  We even took a photo of her. 

We ordered green tea and chamomile tea.  We should have ordered coffee but I guess at times some of us are more in a tea mood.  And then she recommended Yo Yos and a Raisin Muesli Cookie.  I did have my reservations about the Muesli Cookie, but it was just fantastic.  Both cookies made our day.  We sat there and absorbed the Melbourne Cage Culture that day.  And in the end we even ordered more cookies. A Pastry with Jam and a Chocolate Chip Cookie .  What made it special was her enthusiasm and bubbliness that made our siomple little tea so special. 

Soon it was lunch and the boy staffs pulled out the menu of the day and presented it to the customers.  I thought the way he explained it was really good and appetizing. Sadly we did not stay for lunch because we found another place. Photos later!

Gin Ger – 1st Floor Central Market (Pasar Seni) Kuala Lumpur

Today I went to buy some gifts for my friends kids in Australia and ended up in Central Market, somewhere I have not been since my friend Sandi was here last.  It has changed I must say, looks neater and move inviting.

Brian and I walked around window shopping wondering what I should get for another friend and while doing all that we were also looking for a place to eat. I felt peckish once again, just picky picky food so we walked up the stairs and ended up at the Food Court but somehow everything looked rather bulky and unappetizing to two people who were not that hungry.

So then we walked out and went into Gin Ger.  This restaurant has been around for some time because I have eaten there a few years ago, nothing much has changed although they are doing some renovations so in we walked and sat down and almost straight away we were greeted by our rather polite wait staff.  Gin Ger is suppose to be  Thai Restaurant, but somehow now it has become a South East Asian Restaurant featuring foods from this part of Asia.

We chose our drinks and Brian had a Lime Juice and I saw Calamanzi Juice. I know Calamansi is a kind of lime as well so I wondered what the difference was, so that was the reason I ordered it.  So while our drinks were coming we picked our foods and it was the medium starter plate and Brian wanted and Ice Kacang.

So drinks came and while Brian’s was Lime Juice alright, mine was something else. I wondered why it was such a hideous green color, and realized Calamanzi was actually preserved tamarind fruit and its powder made into a drink. While I am ok with it but why the strange name?  I am sure I am not the first person to have picked it and realized it was something else. Anyhow, it was a trifle too sweet and not cold so I asked for ice and was politely given a bowl of ice.

We were asked if we wanted our Ice Kacang – A dessert, to be served with our food, so  since we were not fussed up about anything so we said ok. So in three minutes our Ice Kacang came.  Now I did expect something high, but Gin Ger’s version comes in a rather broad bowl.  It was a myriad of colored jellies, and tinned sweet corn, red beans and Crushed Peanut Brittle on top.  That was something different for me of course.

Somehow first mouthful, we know now the sudden increase of sugar in this country has affected the sweetness of many desserts.  The Ice Kacang lacked something we thought and after a while we realized it was the sweetness.  The jellies did not have sweetness, and so most of the sweetness came from the peanut brittle.  It was pleasant so we finished it.

Then our Platter of Starters came.  It was rather pretty with lots of colors and it consisted of Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls, Top Hats, Thai Fish Cake and Corn Fritters.   The good thing is, we had three dipping sauces. And it was all totally different so you could mix and match.  I did think the Thai Fish Cake lacked a fishy taste because it was rather hard and not flavored as much as I am used to making it or tasting it in other places.  There was no lemon grass taste as well.

The top hats were nice, crispy and daintily presented in Chinese Tea Cups so they stood up very nicely. It was actually quite packed with ingredients.

The Vietnamese Spring Rolls, were different from what I have tasted before.  The skin was thick and I think perhaps more ingredients should have been added to make it more wholesome.  It was nice and it even had a prawn in it.  There was too much skin for my liking.  The sauce for the spring roll was a little too hot for me but it was bearable.  The Corn Fritters were very nice.  I liked the burst of flavor when you took a mouthful and I had it all without any sauce. Gin Ger was not stingy with their corn as well.   It was nice and light and I enjoyed this meal very much.

The Bill was RM57, so it was not too bad and we were not left feeling heavy and lousy.  I do recommend in Gin Ger.  They have a lot of different foods on their quite extensive menu.  I have had a few things before and I was quite pleased.

Bread and Scone Class

I had a Bread and Scone Class a few weeks ago and I had three happy, tough ladies who worked with a lot of zest and power and after all their hard work, we had really nice breads to sample and they took home some too.  I like to give my students a freehand on what they want to do, because at times in the chaos of telling everyone what to do I can also forget certain things and to me the result when one is able to explore their own creativity is truly something else.

May and Jenny Mixing Dough

A Dainty Jessica

My three ladies for the class was Jenny, Jessica and May who is my regular.  May has been to many of my classes and so she knows how I do things and so like all the rest she knows she has to work in the class. It was a fully hands on class, so everyone worked from start to end.

We made Olive and Sun Dried Tomato Bread, Poppy and Melon Seed Bread And Scones.  So after all the hard work of kneading and forming dough, everyone say down and had the different breads with butter and like proper English ladies, they had Hot Scones with butter and my Rose Petal Jam.  I was too lazy to beat the cream that afternoon.

We made the Poppy and Melon Seed Bread into different designs and it ended up being very pretty.

Very photogenic breads indeed.