Monthly Archives: October 2010

The Yogitree – Gardens, 1st Floor – Isetan Side

It was a brisk Monday I should say, after a tiring weekend of baking and cake decorating, my bff Sarah Carol decided it was time we went on a lunch date as we have made many lunch dates only to have something come up and is either forgotten or profuse apologetic text messages.

So today we decided it was THE DAY!

I was really not into eating anything unhealthy, and heavy, and well I am sure by now everyone knows what a pain I am when I go out to eat… it all has to do with Balance.  And it is up to the Restaurant to know what Balance I am in, at that moment or the whole lunch thing can be a horrible parody  never to be forgotten.

Carol wanted vegetables, I wanted vegetables, Rashid well he hadn’t decided at that time so off we went to Yogitree. at the Gardens.

I have passed the Yogitree a few times but had never ventured inside as I am always eating with friends who want Chinese or Japanese. So today we were going to eat healthy.  Now my version of healthy and Carol’s version of healthy can differ, as I know her well enough and she knows me well enough as well. So we entered Yogitree and there was a crowd already and it was not lunch time yet.

Ambiance wise, I should say simplicity is the key, it was bright, happy and no airs like some healthy places I have been to.  So we got our menu.

Carol Smizing....Tyra would be proud!

Now don’t get me wrong, I had the impression that Yogitree served healthy food, meaning healthy, no oil, no fat, nothing bad at all. But what I stared at in the menu was your typical everyday foods only made with good, fresh and better quality ingredients. They even had Nasi Lemak which was recommended, because they used brown rice.  They even had Organic Hainanese Chicken Rice.  Now that I had to taste as I have not had a plateful of chicken rice staring me in the face for a long long time. We’re talking years here.  Alas, it was only available on Tuesday.

So I ordered a salad, Carol ordered a salad and a pastry case thing with creamy mushrooms, and Rashid orders a steak and chips.  We got our homemade lemonade and Rashid had  Milkshake, which looked absolutely yummy.

Carols Salad appears.  It was a leafy salad with slivers of pear and duck topped with black sesame seeds.  Now while the taste was fine, I did find the dressing to be a tad bit too over powering and this made the lettuce leaves looked wilted.  Perhaps a little bit more color would have enhanced the salad that much more. Also the dressing thoroughly killed that ducky flavor, now whether this is good or bad I am not sure.

The Pastry parcel arrives and it was something like a large vol au vent, filled to the brim with creamy sauce and button mushrooms. I had half a piece and it was extremely nice and the pastry was freshly baked and so it was piping hot as well.  Now this coming from a healthy restaurant was certainly something else as for a fact I know pastry is not healthy at all, and more over puff pastry for that matter. But I loved it nevertheless.  I could have had a whole piece but the girth around the stomach made me think better.  I’m a pastry junky by the way…  will talk big about diets and all, place a plate of anything hot pastry and it will all change.

My salad was a roasted vegetable salad.  Appearance wise this was eye catching with a myriad colors of vegetables that I like. Again the chef was a little too generous with the dressing, that I felt I could have had two plates of salad with that amount of dressing that he poured on.  Perhaps Yogitree should consider letting their customers pour the salad dressing over their salad.  It’s just a thought, though I know people tend to waste. Or better still perhaps the waiter should ask if we like more dressing and serve it to us.

If you look closely you can see the dressing at the bottom of the plate. This is also probably the juiced from the roasted vegetables which consisted of carrots, squash and I believe it was Brinjal and topped with pinenuts.  Crunchy, tasty and something different as it was a cooked salad of sorts.  I like the combination of flavors.

Rashid’s steak and chips I thought did look rather sparse on his square plate.  Remove the bowl of gravy and the plate would look a trite empty.  Even if they added two more wedges and, two more mushrooms cut into four and two or three more baby French beans would have certainly made a difference.  The meat was small.  Rashid ate everything up, except the vegetables which I gladly ate.

We sat and chatted a while  as the restaurant kept filling up, I must say it was a treat in itself to be here with Carol and Rashid.  Yogitree is a nice place to hang out possibly during the Tai Tai times, when it would be less crowded and more relaxing.  There is nothing worst then trying to eat healthy and rush through your food.  I would go there again for sure with friends but it would probably be after 2 pm when things cool down.  Service was good, staff are cordial and attentive, that is important in a good meal experience.

Thank you Carol and Rashid for a wonderful lunch and excellent company.

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Today’s Special – Macaroni Medley…

Today’s Macaroni dish is something a little different. It is like a Kung Poa with a lot less punch so to speak and I actually used black sauce. I bet when Carol reads this, she will just fall off her chair.

My Macaroni today even has chicken pieces, luxury compared to the last few days. So it’s kind of a complete meal so to speak with my carbs, my vegetables and my protein. And today’s dish has sauces like oyster sauce, and the two types of soy sauce, dark and light, and sesame oil as well.

I must say the last few days I just tend to feel a lot lighter then usual. I don’t have that horrible gluggy feeling that I have been going through for a while now and just now I tasted some Nasi Lemak Rice that Eda made for one of our food suppliers, the feeling came back almost instantly.  Also I like everyone to note that I eat these macaroni only once that is around 2 pm.  At night I eat whatever leftover vegetables my mum has leftover from dinner. So I am still eating but a lot more vegetables.

So before I waffle on, here is today’s recipe.

Macaroni                                              1 cup – boiled with a little salt till al dente

Chicken Meat                                       200 gms – marinade with some soy sauce, pepper and salt

Vegetables:

Red Capsicum                                      1 cut into large cubes

Carrot                                                  1 small – sliced

Onion                                                   1 – o be cut into segments

Long Cabbage                                      5 leaves – to be roughly chopped

Garlic                                                   2 to be sliced

Sauce Mix – to be mixed separately

Oyster Sauce                                        1 tbsp

Dark Soy Sauce                                   1 tbsp

Soy Sauce                                            2 tsp

Oyster Sauce                                        2 tsp

Pepper                                                 1 tsp

Olive Oil

Method:

  1. Heat oil, throw in onions and sauté till it is slightly browned. Do not use on high flame, just strong enough to color it.
  2. Add in chicken, sauce mix and sliced garlic.  Sauté till chicken is slightly cooked.
  3. Add some water to the bowl and clear out any leftover sauce.  Pour into wok.
  4. Add in carrots and leave to simmer for about three minutes.
  5. Add in Capsicum and give it a quick stir.
  6. Add in Macaroni and Cabbage. Stir quickly. Season if necessary.
  7. Remove and serve.

Payasam – A step by step process of a very easy Indian dessert

I have always liked this Indian dessert called Payasam. But funnily enough, every time I have eaten it, it is always a big disappointment.  The taste would be wrong, not rich enough, not enough ingredients, or it would be thick mush. It is like they could never get it right although it is so easy to make.

I had nice payasam strangely enough in Fiji at Raju’s Healthy Hash Café. Now let it be known, Raju is actually Doctor Raju, who owns a large two storey building in Nadi Town and I think he is rather clever too as there are no Indian restaurants around that I noticed and it is a place where its simple dining and they serve rather nice roti and an assortment of curries which are different then what we get here in Malaysia.

His café is upstairs facing the street.  Now at lunch time the place suddenly filled up so quickly so we left so others could have place.

Each tray was for one person

While it is suppose to be a vegetarian café, somehow they seem to have snuck in some chicken curry for the meat eaters as well.  The photos you are seeing are some of the curries we ate that day with roti. I will do a step by step recipe for roti. I just love the stuff and it is quite easy to make so I am told.

And the payasam part of it came by accident as they happened to be making some and my friend Angela who is well known and a regular over there took us in so we each had a small cup. And for the first time, the payasam was perfect. No stinging on ingredients, not thickened with sago, it was just right. And from that day on I have been craving for payasam.  So yesterday, while Eda was cleaning the cupboards, out come a box of Payasam Vermicelli that was going to expire in two days time. So I did not waste anytime and got into making it.

Here is the step by step as there is no particular recipe.

The payasam vermicelli is from AKS – do check www.aks.com.my

So here goes:

  1. As the box indicated, dry fry the vermicelli as shown.  It should be on low flame and not too hot or the vermicelli will burn.  Dry fry till it become a darker yellow.  I did not see any difference, but that is what the box said.
  2. Soak 1 cup full of sago pearls.
  3. Heat a frying pan, with a dollop of ghee, and slow fry a handful or cashews, remove from heat and then fry a handful of raisins. Golden raisins are a better choice as it looks more pleasing instead of black bits all over your payasam.
  4. Now it the left over oil, you are suppose to add in three or four cardamoms and let it pop before pouring in 1 litre of milk.  I just poured a whole box it. By the way I forgot to add in the cardamoms so I will show it later.
  5. Next I threw in the noodles and the raisins. I also forgot to show it clearly but I think you get the picture.
  6. I added in sugar to taste, roughly about 4 soup spoons.  Once it is boiled, simmer on low flame.
  7. Add in the sago pearls, and stir through to prevent burning.
  8. Since I forgot to add in the cardamoms, I heated a pan with a bit of ghee and three in a few cardamoms. I let it pop and then poured it over the payasam.
  9. Continue cooking till sago pearls are clear and vermicelli is cooked
  10. It will take about 30 to 40 minutes.  And you may have to add in some water to prevent it from thickening. The gravy should be a nice thick and pourable consistency, much like thickish batter.  Add in a pinch of salt.
  11. Serve it hot
  12. Mum asked for more…. There was none! I had all of one bowl, they ate the rest.

Nick’s Quirky Cooking Quotes

Cooking is like Sexthe hardest is the preparation, the cooking is five minutes long…maybe six…..and then you wash up!

Macaroni Mania Continues… Today’s special – Vegetable Combo Macaroni

Today I wanted something different but I still had to have lemon grass in it for some reason. So today’s recipe once again has lemon grass three days in a row.  Vegetables was the essence of today’s dish.  I wanted heaps of mushy and also fresh looking vegetables and I did still have balance Basil Leaves since Yus my helper gave me a whole tree yesterday.

What I found from the flavors was something rather interesting. And as I am typing this, I have lips that feel like they have been botoxed!

You see, I wanted something a tiny bit spicy, and as most of you know I cannot have spicy food but still the Asianess of me does make cameos from time to time so today, Eda was food processing chilly and she always keeps the last bit and mixes it with water so we do not waste all the chilly that gets stuck in the bottom, so guess what I did.  So now I have an upper lip that could give Angelina Jolie a run for her money!

My ingredient list does look funny and I would like to see if anyone can guess what vegetable is on the left hand corner of the cutting board.  And yes… I even added some orange peel in today’s recipe.  I wanted something Thai, but did not what something Thai,  you know when you want something but don’t want it.  So no limes and calamansi, I decided on orange peel.

I added some black soy sauce, something I almost never do unless I am making black sauce chicken or noodles and that too I have had complains that it is not black enough. My friend Sarah Carol calls me a Racist Chef!  I just do not like my food black.

Today my brother ate too so hence the portion is much bigger.  So here is today’s recipes.

Macaroni                                  1  cup  – boiled till al dente

Vegetable List:

Bean Sprouts                            1 handful

Leeks                                       a small bunch – to be cut into 3 cm lengths.

Mystery Vegetable                   a few pieces – TELL ME WHAT IT IS

Basil Leaves                             ½ cup

Tomato                                    1 large – sliced

Lemon Grass                            2 stalks – to be sliced

Orange Rind                             1 tbsp

Olive Oil

Chilly Water                             to your liking

Garlic                                       2 or 3 minced

A pinch of sugar

Fish Sauce                                to taste

Thick Soy Sauce                      1 tsp or a bit more – don’t like blackened  food.

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a wok, add in garlic.
  2. Add in chilly water. Once it boils, add in Mystery Vegetable.
  3. Leave Mystery Vegetable to cook as it takes a while to soften. (Clue One)
  4. Once it is softened, add in orange rind and lemon grass. Season at this stage.
  5. Leave to simmer and then add in tomatoes. Add in a bit of Thick Soy Sauce.
  6. You can smash the tomatoes in the pan.  If there is no liquid, then add a little water. Add in leeks and Basil leaves.
  7. Add in Macaroni, and stir through. You may increase the heat at this time.  Season again if necessary.
  8. Add in bean sprouts, give it a toss or two and its done!

My brother reckons, I should have added some meat or prawns. Well you try it and see.

And to the person who can be the first to tell me what the mystery vegetable is, I will bake you a set of Chocolate Muffins and you can pick it up from my house.

Going Balmy on Macaroni – Today’s Special – Kerabu Macaroni

Yes, I’m going crazy with my Macaroni.  Today’s creation is Kerabu Macaroni or Macaroni Salad Asian Style.  I don’t know how it came to me to do this but I was preparing to cook it when suddenly I saw my garden and realized some of the herbs needed to be picked, so there you have it. Easy as hell tasty too and if you want more chilly go ahead and add it in.

I was worried that the macaroni would not absorb the flavors as it is made of durum wheat but I was wrong. The flavors infused so well.  I will try something like this again.  As usual I had no vegetables in my fridge.

 

 

 

 

The recipe:

Macaroni                                                 ½ cup – cooked till al dente

Daun Kesum – Vietnamese Mint  ½ cup

Basil Leaves                                            ½ cup

Lemon Grass                                          2  stalks – to be sliced

Onion                                                        1 small – to be minced

Sambal Belacan                                   about 2 tbsp

Lemon Juice                                        2 tbsp or a little more

Sugar                                                       a pinch or two

Salt                                                           to taste

(Clockwise) - Lemon Juice, Daun Kesum (Vietnamese Mint), Salt, Onions, Lemon Grass, Sugar, Basil Leaves, Sambal Belacan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Method:

  1. Mix the sambal belacan, lemon juice, sugar and salt into a large bowl.
  2. Add in lemon grass and onions. Stir through.
  3. Add in macaroni.  Stir and taste. If you need to add in more sauce ingredients, do so now.
  4. Lastly add the leaves and stir.
  5. Eat immediately.

Note: You may cut down the leaves if you fine them a little spicy

Pasta for Rice… My No More Rice Movement

For a while now I have been noticing that every time I eat rice, I feel sick. It happens almost instantly as I finish the last spoonful and the horrible stuffed up gluggy feeling takes hours to go away.  I only eat about half cup of cooked rice and yet the feeling makes me feel like I have eaten a whole kilo.

I am sure this has something to do with some allergies because I also find myself using my puffer more when I consume rice.  I am asthmatic and somehow rice always makes me reach for my puffer.  It is worst when I have sushi, which I tend to go all out especially if I am with another greedy for sushi person.

So today, I will start taking more pasta, because I find when I consume pasta, and even if it is copious amounts, I never ever feel horrible, in fact I feel lighter then when I eat rice.  Strange phenomenon but somehow I have been suffering from this a fair bit now.

I love rice, I love nice lumpy rice and I can even eat it plain without anything going into it.  But today, I have made this decision to stop consuming rice unless I am in a social situation.

So today I cooked my first Asian Inspired Macaroni. Please take note, it would be a good idea to ensure a good ration of vegetables to go into your Macaroni or anything pasta related.  My ratio is one part pasta and two parts vegetables. This will ensure you have a good amount of fiber to go with your carbohydrates.

As you all know by now, I am a lazy cook when it comes to cooking for myself so rest assured, recipes will be easy and today’s recipe is what little things I found in the fridge.

So here goes.

Macaroni                                  ½ cup to be boiled al dente with salt

Capsicum                                 1 small – to be sliced

Tomato                                    1 medium – to be cut into segments

Onion                                       1 medium – to be sliced

Choy Sum Stems                      small hand full – I had leftover so I used it

Lemon Grass                            1 stalk – to be sliced

Chilly                                        1 – to be sliced

Olive oil                                    1 tbsp

Minced Garlic                           1 tbsp

Blackpepper

Soy Sauce

Method:

  1. Heat pan and add in olive oil.  Sauté garlic.  Add bit in a tiny of water. Throw in chillies and lemon grass
  2. Add in all the other vegetables and sauté. Add in seasoning.  Do not over cook.
  3. Add in Macaroni. Stir fry, season with black pepper and taste. Increase heat to gie it a bit of Wok Hei
  4. Serve hot.