Tag Archives: A Chefs Musings

September 2016 Cooking and Baking Classes

Nutty Old Fashioned Carrot Cake

Saturday September 10th 10 to 1 pm

You will learn: Learn to make one of my favorite cakes

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Carrot and Cranberry Cake with Italian Butter Cream and  Coconut

  1. Nutty Carrot and Cranberry cake
  2. Italian Butter Cream
  3. Assemble the cake as in the photo

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Price Per Person: $100 (Class will commence once there are three students)

 

Portioned Cheesecakes

September 11th  Sunday 2.30 to 5.30

Portioned Cheesecakes are easier to handle then a whole cheesecake.  You will learn to prepare;

  1. Mini Cheesecake Brulee
  2. Pumpkin Cheesecake
  3. Mini Salty Sweet Caramel Apple Cheesecake

Price Per Person: $120 (Classes will commence once there are 5 students)

 

Kluang Moon Cake

September 12th Monday 10.30  to  2 pm

You will learn;

plain kluang mooncake

  1. Kluang Moon Cake Pastry
  2. Kluang Moon Cake Pandan Pastry
  3. Home Made Lotus Paste
  4. Different Filling Using Lotus

pandan Kluang Mooncake

Price Per Person: $125 (Class will commence once there are 5 students)

This is a fully hands on class

 

 Children’s Holiday Class

September 14th  Wednesday 10 to 12.30 pm

Let’s Make Chocolate Cup Cakes and Decorate them

It’s been a while since I had a class for non grown ups.  We will be baking and decorating

  1. Chocolate Cupcakes
  2. Chocolate Ganache
  3. Chocolate Cream
  4. Chocolate Icing

Price Per Non Grown Up: $95 (Class will commence once there are 5 Non Grown Ups)

Each person will get 8 cupcakes to take home

 

French Macarons

September 16th Friday 10 to 1 pm

Learn to make these little morsels that everyone seems to either hate or love.  You will learn the fundamentals of making;

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  1. French Macarons
  2. Cheesy Sambal Filling
  3. Salty Green Tea Filling

Price Per Person: $100 (Class will commence once there are 3 students)

 

Japanese Kasutera Cake

September 16th   Friday 2.30 to 5.30

As much as I love buttery cakes, this very old cake from Japan seems to be the rage in a few hotels and top notch bakeries around town.  Let’s make the;

 

  1. Nagasaki Castella Cake – a cake from the Portuguese that entered into Japan hundreds of years ago
  2. Matcha Castella Cake

Both have no butter or oil.

Price Per Person: $100 (Class will commence once there are 6 students)

 

Murukus and Sweet Spicy Cornflake Class

September 17th Saturday 2 to 4.30 pm

A lot of people have been grumbling about the prices of Murukku some paid RM80 a tin and some pain RM100 a tin. So I think you should learn it.

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  1. Butter Murukku
  2. Potato Murukku
  3. Cornflake Mix

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This is a fully hands on session.  Please bring 3 containers.

Price Per Person: $100

 

 Hawker Favorites

September 18th Sunday 2 to 5 pm

These are some of my favorite Hawker foods.

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  1. Lor Mai Fun
  2. Lor Bak – Chicken
  3. Woo Tau Koh (Yam Kuih)

Lor Mai Fun

Price Per Person: $100 (Class will commence once there are 6 students)

 

Eggless Cakes

September 24th Saturday 11 to 1.30

 

I used to think Eggless cakes were a pain in the neck, so now I have created some easy ones that will always come out without much fear. You will learn to make;

 

  1. Eggless Red Velvet Cupcakes
  2. Date and Walnut Cake
  3. Dulce de Leche Topping

Price Per Person: $100 (Class will commence once there are 6 students)

 

 

Vegetarian Beriani Class

September 25th Sunday 2 to 4.30 pm

Let’s do two Beriani’s this Diwali.  You will learn;

 

  1. Green Beriani
  2. Mutton Beriani

Price Per Person: $90

Class will commence once there are 5 students

 

 

Please like my Facebook page, Cooking with Nicholas

 

Classes will be held at 70 Road 14/24 Petaling Jaya.  Please call 016 6827465 or email cookingwithnicholas@gmail.com to book and to make any enquiries. 

Please check my blog www.nicholaspillai.wordpress.com

                                                       

Fees are to be paid once you make a booking, if a class is canceled you will be refunded.  If fees are not paid, your name will be not be placed on the list.

 

Hello by Kitchen Mafia – B-G 1 Jalan 17/13, Happy Mansion, PJ

Hello by Kitchen Mafia is helmed by Shearson Lian a Celebrity Chef.  So let’s just start out by saying that the bar is now placed rather high.

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It was a lazy cool Sunday. Have you noticed how this weather just makes you hungry all the time? Well two friends and me decided to go out for a late lunch and I decided on Hello by Kitchen Mafia because someone told me about it.  So once again having no expectations except that it belonged to Shearson Lian and also Johnny Fua, we went a couple of rounds and found a park.  And who should be outside his restaurant as we waited to go in, The MAN himself.

The restaurant was crowded because of Father’s Day so he told us we had to wait for a few minutes. So Shearson handed us three menus and we perused through it looking at the rather comical names like Apek Fried Rice and Kampung Boy Fried Rice and the likes, so we had to make sure we didn’t order something ordinary with a funny name.

So finally we were seated.  I’d like to mention that tables were quite small and I got worried because of what we ordered.  After paying and just getting ready to chat half expecting the food to take a while since the place was full… out pops the Crispy Banana Blossom with Spicy Mango Kerabu.

So of course we did the obvious and took a few photos, I mean it was less then five minutes of ordering I should say.  And before we could figure out what we were about to eat, the three main courses came.  Now we had four dished on the table coupled with three drinks and glasses of water and it was beginning to get suffocating.

We quickly took photos and and started to eat and as we were starting with the Crispy Banana Blossom, half guessing it might be the soft shell crab, the Duck Egg Calamari came.  So I told the waitress to please slow down and before we could breathe, Shearson himself comes with  the Salted Egg Butter Milk Squid and the Soft Shell Crab. He looks at the table and does nothing to ease the situation.  I got a little peeved with this because as the owner of the place and having been overseas countless times as seen on TV, he should have done something.   Don’t ask me what, I’m sure he could have figured out something!

Then we start eating as fast as we can, the Tortilla Pizza comes.

We were so overwhelmed that we had to rush to have space. In fact I had to pick my little tin plate in my hand and eat from it ala old Chinese style.  That was how rushed and how fast the food came.

My followers would know by now, I never ever have the whole list of food ordered, but this was how it was yesterday.  Everything came so fast that we were left breathless rushing through our meal.  This might have affected the whole meal experience, however in all due respect, the food was good.

So let us begin.

We rushed to finish the Banana Blossom and kerabu.  This was nice and flavor some, and frankly speaking we had trouble wondering if the kind of tempura’d Banana Blossoms was actually the soft shell crab we ordered.  It was that mysterious.  The Kerabu was excellent and the addition of thinly sliced long beans gave it that much needed crunch.  The sweet and sour taste along with that tiny  hint of spiciness gave this dish that extra kick.  This is how anything sweet and sour should be.  I was not too fond of the peanuts, I am not a peanut fan so this was just me.  I would have preferred whole peanuts so I could pick at it.

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By this time they took away our cutlery container and we were left with just chopsticks to eat the kerabu and pick at the long beans which I thoroughly enjoyed.  We couldn’t eat up the whole dish because there was no spoons and we had to move forward to the next dish as quickly as possible.

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We had to strategize this meal to make sure we still enjoyed ourselves. So friend and I suggested we eat all the small plates first.  So we started with the Soft Shell Crab with the Siracha Mayo.   The crab was well done, and crispy and juicy and when you bit the middle there was still that water sac inside.  That is always the case with soft shell crab unless it is chopped in the middle.  I think the Siracha Mayo did not do justice to the Crab.  I think the sambal belacan that came with the main course gave a better flavor. I think perhaps if they mixed the sambal belacan with the Mayo, it would have been something rather special. Ok plate cleared!

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Next!

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The Duck Egg Calamari. This was an interesting dish so to speak.  I must say by now we had forgotten what we had ordered. We knew it was calamari something but we forgot it was even duck egg.  We just ate and commented that some of the pieces were tough and hard to chew but the bigger pieces were perfect.  Perhaps if the pieces were a bit bigger, then it would have been perfect.  I didn’t taste anything Ducky with the duck egg topping and all.  I remember eating Char Koay Teow with Duck Egg once and there was a pronounced after taste.  The hint of curry leaf probably took away any duckiness.  I like curry leaves. I just enjoy eating them like this. I wish there was a bit more curry leaves.

All in all still very good.

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Next was the Tortilla Pizza with 3 cheeses as topping.  Now I must say this was what the doctor ordered so to speak. It was a good blend of cheese with just the right ratio of Parmesan, Aged Cheddar and Blue Cheese.  Nothing was overwhelming and those blue cheese haters would have never detected blue cheese at all.  As we were beginning to have breathing space now with plates and all being removed, we started to enjoy our meal much more.  I could have had two plates of this and would still long for more.

I am not a fan of heavy pizza, and while a  Tortilla base might sound fast food, it was perfect.  Had they decided to use thin crust pizza base, it would have totally spoilt  this dish.  I loved it! And so did the other two.

Now we had the main courses to reckon with.

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Ok by now, main courses were a tad bit cold. The Salted Egg Butter Milk Pesto sauce kind of started to get the pasta all stuck together. This needs to be eaten hot or fresh from the stove.  Flavor wise, it was excellent as sticky and bunched up as the pasta was, it was nice.  I loved it and so did the rest.  I think I could have had it even without the Soft Shell Crab which was cooked to perfection I might add.  Ok.. As I am typing this, I can still remember the flavors so avidly. Well Done!

Spicy Thai Beef was next.  The fusing of flavors together with the fresh basil gave this heavy looking dish a sense of lightness.  The spiciness took it to another level.  It was a wonderful flavor and by now there were three father full boys and yet we all enjoyed it.  One little setback for me anyhow was the use of minced meat.  I figured for some reason it would be thinly sliced beef a la Pho Bo style.  The noodles were eaten rather quickly and in the end all the meat was below.  Note too, we still used chopsticks as everyone was too busy to take any notice of our need for spoons.  In the end when the middle of the restaurant long table cleared, we saw the cutlery thingy and got three spoons.  We needed it now to taste the meat and also to scoop the last dish which was the Ginger Beef Fried Rice.

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Now before I end with the Thai Beef, I have to say eating the meat on it’s own was not too enjoyable.  The mince was dry, obviously Shearson uses good quality and low fat, but it became hard to swallow and don’t forget it was cold.   Perhaps if we had eaten it together with everything in the bowl, then it would be different.  Still very enjoyable.

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Finally, Ginger Beef Fried Rice.  I like Ginger Beef.  Now as a fried rice, this was truly something else.  The gingeriness gave it a nice flavor. Now I love anything ginger, so I have no complaints.  The meat was perfectly flavored and it was not tough.  I liked it. It was a nice comfort food kinda flavor. Nice on a cool to cold morning.  The sambal belacan had a nice flavor too, but we kind of forgot to eat more of it because we were quite full.  All that rushing had taken it’s toll on the once three hungry boys.   I did find the fried egg to be a tad over fried though. Perhaps if the yolk was a tiny bit runny and so we could mix it with the rice and it would break easily into pieces.  This didn’t happen.

All in all, the food was very good.  We will go there again and REQUEST A BIGGER TABLE.

I think if you sell Tapas, you need to provide bigger tables.  I have a tendency of going over board with Tapas when I am really in the mood and could have ordered a few more, but we didn’t because I knew the table would be a problem.

I love those cute enamel plates.  I mean it made me feel very retro and gave an old feeling to rather modern food.

The staff were excellent.  Everyone had big smiles and one of the girls had the most prettiest smile I’d ever seen.  This just made up for the food piling.

Now the Coconut Latte I feel could have had more coconut.  I had it in my head that it would be served with coconut cream. I wonder how that will taste?  This might be something to try out I think.

So there you go.  Hello by Kitchen Mafia.. a sure to go again restaurant.  Well Done Shearson Lian and Johnny Fua.

 

 

 

 

Tai Tong BBQ Restaurant – Lot J 56 G, KK Time Square, Kota Kinabalu

I chanced upon this restaurant while I was doing my morning walk. It was 6.45 am and I saw these ladies arranging the tables and chairs outside the restaurant.  I took a peek and saw it opened at 7 am and what caught my eye was the Kolo Mee something which I have heard off many times but never eaten before.

So much for walking and all, I rushed back showered, and came back to Tai Tong for my first Chinese Brekkie.  As I walked in, about 30 minutes later, the restaurant was only half full and this was 7.20 am.  I walked to the counter to choose my meal and for some reason people looked up and the lady who was arranging the table came running up to me to say they serve pork. So me being me, said it’s fine, I don’t mind.

So I picked my Kolo Mee.  The taste was much like Kon Lo Mee, but perhaps this was a bit drier.  Now for the life of me, I cannot seem to find the photo.  Which is odd because I knew I took a few photos of my meal.  Anyhow, it was good, rather comforting and I knew I’d be back.  in fact I was back in the evening and they were closed.  Then I went back Sunday morning and finally saw the opening times which was 7 am to 4 pm Mondays to Saturdays.

20160409_093546So Monday, I went back. This time I had jook, and it was fish jook, because it looked nice in the photo and they used fresh fish because I didn’t want a smelly fishy jook, which the lady assured me.  And so the fish Jook came.  The aroma was was a nice scent of sesame oil and scallions and a hint of fish.  First mouthful, was wonderful. In fact while I am typing this, I am salivating.  The rice was barely visible so it was cooked properly and they did not use broken rice.  It was good.  I love Jook… I can have bowls and bowls.

20160414_130206Portions and just nice as well, and for me I found it rather filling and the price was always around RM8.50 with a drink of Milk Tea of Coffee.  And today being Monday, the restaurant was full at 8 am.

20160411_133752I went back for Lunch that day with a friend.  She had Won Ton Noodles with Char Siu and Siew Yok  plus a plate of Siew Yoke Fan while  I had fried Won Tons.  and I picked at her food.  Lunch time was crowded.  Meats were very nice and not skinny sliced pieces.and the rice was cooked with good quality rice unlike what we get here in PJ sometimes.  I also found the portions much bigger for lunch. A bit too big for me. 20160411_13380620160411_134139

Won Tons were freshly made.  It had a nice bite and enough good filling and not fillers like many others.  I do wish they’d give more veggies though. Seems like I am the only one wishing for more.

Then my next visit for breakfast, by now the ladies were quite friendly and they recommended me to try their fish noodle soup.  I did ask a lot of questions about it before saying yes and she assured me I’d like it. and so when it came, ohhhh my God… it was just fantastic.  The Hum Choy was cooked till it was soft and the flavors were infused very well in the slightly milky sauce.  And the fish just gave that added flavor.  I was hooked.  In fact I had it almost every single time I went there and I went there quite a bit.  I ordered it for lunch and found the portion a little too big for me. I even asked if I could have the breakfast size and pay lunch time rate but she said no.  Still I finished the whole bowl at lunch as well.  This had to be the best thing to happen.

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I did try to be smart and changed the Mee Hoon to Koay Teow but somehow the flavor wasn’t absorbed as well. Mee Hoon rules.

Friend had Char Siew Fan.  Meat was a plenty, and they gave a nice tasty soup as well – with a bit more vegetables.

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All in all I was never ever disappointed in this place.  For some odd reason, quite a few photos are missing. Hmmmm…..

I will look for them and load it later.

 

 

 

 

Welcome Seafood – GF, G-15 – G-18 , Asia City , Jalan Coastal, Kota Kinabalu

I seldom enjoy seafood unless it is sashimi. I am sure everyone who knows me or reads my blog knows that. So when the boys decided to take me for  seafood one night while in Kta Kinabalu. I cringed but smiled and said ok.  There were three of them anyhow so I guess I was outnumbered.

When we got there, I noticed there were many shops all lined up selling seafood.  This was not anywhere near the sea I can tell you that. I mean the sea was just walking distance, but still, I’d expect it to be near the sea.  So we walked pass many shops, some full to the brim, some quite full, some quite empty and Welcome Seafood was right at the end of the row. Why we parked right at the first shop still baffles me.

Looking around the restaurant while waiting for a server, it was nice to see all the different races sitting together and having a meal without any consequence.  The ambiance was pretty ordinary.  We were sitting outside and I don’t think there was an air conditioned section because that’s what I was told by three people who wanted to smoke.

Anyhow, they ordered since they knew best.  Looking around again, everyone seemed happy. There were some Koreans around as well and they seemed happy as well.  All in all everyone looked happy. I was just hoping everything would not be so fishy and prawny that I would be sick.

20160406_213958Soup arrived. I wanted Hum Choy Soup with seafood of course.  The soup looked refreshing so to speak and didn’t look like a bowl of boiled seafood.  I just didn’t want to taste anything fishy even though it was seafood.

The soup was really good.  They used Sea Bass and it was nice biteable pieces and not fishy at all.  The vegetables remained crunchy and still a tiny bit salty.  It was truly tasty and I could have had it on its own without anything else.  The slight tinge of sourness gave the soup that bit of kick.  I was hooked. I finished the soup when everyone stopped picking at it.

20160406_214143Next was the Clams.  Clams I don’t mind  but they need to be big because I have no patience fossicking through small clams and finding them empty.  It still baffles me how people eat those small clams you get around this side of Malaysia because it is a capital waste of time to me.

The clams had that bit of spiciness that was enough to want you to pick up the empty shells and lick it or suck it, whatever you might do in these situations.  I didn’t do any of those things of course, but I might have.  The sauce was good enough on its known and the freshness of the clams added to the just right flavor.  I think we could have ordered a bigger portion.

The Butter Prawns tasted nice. I didn’t pick at the prawns because I didn’t really like to mess up my fingers.  The sauce tasted nice with the rice.  Everyone sat and tucked in properly while I picked at the curry leaves.  It was tasty trust me.  I wouldn’t have minded if the prawns were peeled and perhaps a bigger size. These were just too small to mess around with.

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Ok I am fussy!

The fish was very good.  Although I am not one for fish with bones and all the rest, this was nicely fried and the fish was fresh. The Thai sauce that was poured all over it simply lifted it to another level.  This was enjoyable.  I cannot seem to remember what fish it was for some reason, but it would be something I would reorder.  Again I think the fish was a bit small, but it was crispy and tasty.  Size matters ok.

20160406_214534The slices of onions and bits of slivered mango and chilly, tossed into the sweet chilly garlicky sauce gave the flavor an uplift. The whole dish was polished clean.

20160406_214550I needed my Veggie fix.  Everyone I knew I Kota Kinabalu didn’t eat vegetables.  When I go out with any of them, I would be the one picking the vegetables from their plates and eating it.  This seafood and Siew Pak Choy medley was perfect for me.  At  least the prawns were peeled and the fish complemented the vegetables very well.  I ate all the vegetables because no one really wanted it.  I love my vegetables.

Then dessert came.  I was told this is only in Kota Kinabalu, but I am sure it is available here in West Malaysia as well.  This was a nice end to a rather heavy meal so late at night. This jellied coconut was just the right temperature and it was just nice sweetness. This I enjoyed as well.

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They remove the coconut water and jelly it with agar agar as well as adding some coconut milk before pouring it back, so the hot jelly mixture hardens and also gets infused with the coconut flesh inside.  The result is rather incredulous.

It was truly satisfying I must say of the whole meal.  I would still prefer to eat before 7 pm at the very latest but I don’t think I ever did when I was there.  Still it was a good experience.

I would go back for sure for seafood. These are many places there as well.  And strangely it was so close to where I stayed.  Everything can be so close in Kota Kinabalu and you only realize it when you drive around and suddenly you’re back home.

 

My Burger Lab Revisited

I haven’t been to Burger Lab for a little more than two years ago.  First of all it’s often crowded and back then they didn’t even have the upstairs yet and another reason was the last time I waited there with a friend at 4 pm to be the FIRST! And by 4.40pm the line was two shops long and I got thirsty and the Free Water was outside and I asked one of the girls if I could have a cup of water seeing that no one on the whole row sold any drinks and she promptly said NO!

 

So that was major PUT OFF 2!  So hence the long break before revisiting.

 

Today’s visit was more so because of the Salted Egg Fries.  As most of you know, I just love anything salted egg, so when this opportunity came up I went along.

 

Now Friend was dying to taste the Portobello Mushroom Burger as she never had the chance to try it when she was at Tavern Kitchen and Bar in Kota Kinabalu.  So she was most excited of the prospect of finally tasting it.

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I was more worried of having to line up because we went at 6.45pm. I hate lining up!

 

I was pleasantly surprised that although the place was busy, I was fourth in line.  And within five minute order done and sat down and low and behold…I turned around and the line was already outside the door.

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Food came rather quickly too. The kitchen seems bigger and much busier now with many more staff.

 

We had Vivien’s Husband and A+ Burger… I wanted my sauce separated as I do not like wet burgers.

 

And of course the Fries with Salted Eggs.

 

Vivien’s Husband hasn’t changed since the last time I ate it. Kudos to the consistency of Burger Lab.  In fact the Buns have improved too.  In my last blog which I wrote in 2012 about Burger Lab I did say the Burger buns looked cheap and nothing special…  well this has changed.  The trademark Charcoal Bun is now darker and firmer and does not look dead.  The Bun has a slight bite so to speak.

 

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Friend examined the burger like a mother in law examining her daughter in laws cooking…  she looked up and said it was nice and ate it like a happy child.  The mushroom is coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried and it has a slice of cheese and a pineapple ring.  It has a mango mayo of sorts, but Friend didn’t mention anything about it.

Mine was a simple burger.  A wafer thin crispy grilled cheese with mushrooms and caramelized onions and of course the patty.  I did find the patty a trite thin.  I have been to Burger lab when it first opened and many times in between till the last water incident so I can truly say so.  But burger was a burst of flavor but unfortunately my caramelized onions slipped out of the burger and I only found it after I finished the whole thing.  While I grumble the patty was thin, It was still good and was just enough to fill me up.  Anything more and I would have been too full and moody.

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Now the much awaited chips.  For some reason I had this thing in my head that it was chips coated with salted egg, much like hum tan tofu, or hum tan prawns. I really do not know why.  Of course I was negligent for not reading the menu, but I’d like to say that I couldn’t find fault with it.  Aside that it might have needed a bit more salted egginess.  It was just fine.

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I’m proud to say the Burger Lab deserves accolades for its growth.  It now has four outlets, Seapark, Taman OUG, Cyberjaya and Bandar Sunway.  I remember the time when they first opened nervously in an area not known for its food and beverage prowess.  It has come a long way.  Their menu is more extensive now with salads and desserts both I have to try out when I get my whole gang involved.

 

Kudos to you My Burger Lab…  you were a bunch of young people and now you have matured into respectable business men in the Malaysian food scene.

 

Cooking and Baking Classes for June 2016

Rolled Pineapple Tarts

Sunday June 5th  2 pm to 5 pm

I’m doing two types of Rolled Tarts now  only because I have a nice recipe. You will learn two types of Rolled Tarts.  Please look at the photos.

You will learn;

  1. Two types of Pastries
  2. Two types of Rolled Tarts
  3. Pineapple Jam

This is a fully hands on class.  Please expect to do some work.

Price Per Person: $95 (Class will commence once there are 5 students)

 

Sunday June 12th 2 pm to 5 pm

Zaku Zaku Croquant Puff with Salted Egg Crème

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I was asked to do this class for a student who had tasted this in Japan.  I made it and he loved it and all but I didn’t think much of it. So I decided to take it to different heights.

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So here it is.  Come learn to prepare Zaku Zaku Croquant Puff and the Salted Egg Crème.

 

Price Per Person: $90 (Class will commence once there are 6 students)

 

Puff Pastry

Saturday June 18th  2 to 5 pm

Learn to make Puff Pastry from scratch.  It is quite easy once you get the hang of it.  You will learn;

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Sausage Rolls

  1. Puff Pastry
  2. Sausage Rolls – the real ones
  3. Tuna Foldovers
  4. Old Fashioned Sardine Rolls

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Price Per Person: $100 (Class will commence once there are 6 students)

 

Nasi Dagang Class

Wednesday June 22nd 2.30 to 5.30

Learn to make Nasi Dagang and its accompaniments.

You will learn to prepare;

  1. Nasi Dagang
  2. Ayam Percik
  3. Sayur Loteh – A wonderful spicy sweet salad
  4. Gulai Ikan Tongkol

Price Per Person : $110 Class will commence once there are 6 students

Please email cookingwithnicholas@gmail.com to book a place or whatsapp 0166827465.  Classes are held in 70 Road 14/24 Petaling Jaya.

 

 

January 2016 Cooking and Baking Classes

Saturday January 16th 10 to 1pm

School Recess Food

Nutrition is always an issue for school going kids.  Learn to make some easy fridgeable foods for school recess that withstands the heat and still looks good. This is even good for breakfast and also during breaks.

  1. Granola Bars
  2. Chicken and Cheese Muffins
  3. Mini Bread Fritatas

Price Per Person: $100 (Class will commence once there are 5 students)

 

Saturday January 16th 2.30 to 5.30

Bak Kwa Class

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Learn to make Chicken Bak Kwa for Chinese New Year.

Parts of the class will be held outdoors so please wear something comfortable in case it gets hot.

Please bring a container to take your Bak Kwa home.

Price Per Person: $80. (Class will commence once there are six students)

 

Sunday January 17th 10 to 1 pm

Sweet and Fruity Bread Class and other old tea treats.

I like Fruity Breads, but not so much the sweet part, but at times it is nice.  You will learn to make to make a European Sweet and Fruity Bread, an two old fashioned tea favorites all using dried fruits.

kugelhopf

  1. Kugelhopf – only because I want to show off my new mould
  2. Florentines – the days when sugar was loved
  3. Eccles Cakes – Fruitiness Encased in Puff Pastry.

Price Per Person: $110 (Class will commence once there are 5 students)

 

Sunday January 17th 2.30 to 5.30

Sweet Little Teatime Treats

Sometime I just like nice pretty little things for Tea.  Learn to make;

Japanese Crepe

  1. Japanese Crepes
  2. Cream Puffs
  3. Butter Tarts

Price Per Person: $100 (Class will commence once there are 5 students)

 

Saturday January 23rd 11 to 1 pm  

Heart Stopping Roti Jala Desserts

Roti Jala or Net Pancake is not only good with curries but also as a dessert.  Today you will learn two desserts using Roti Jala.

  1. Roti Jala Recipe
  2. Roti Jala with Durian – Serawa Durian
  3. Roti Jala with Sticky Rice and Mango

Price Per Person: $110 (Class will commence once there are 6 students)

 

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Classes will be held at 70 Road 14/24 Petaling Jaya.  Please call 016 6827465 or email cookingwithnicholas@gmail.com to book and to make any enquiries. 

Please follow my blog www.nicholaspillai.wordpress.com

                                                                

Fees are to be paid once you make a booking, if a class is canceled you will be refunded.  If fees are not paid, your name will be not be placed on the list.

 

 

 

 

Dutch Pancakes

It was a chance whatsapping with Fong Mei Leng about our Jelly Pursuits, and then she suddenly says she’s off to make her Dutch Pancakes.  Now I have vaguely heard of this but never ever made it in my life.  I don’t think I have eaten it as well.

So while whatsapping I googled it and came across a few recipes but the one that fitted my Samsung Screen properly was Martha Stewart’s Dutch Pancake Recipe.

You cannot imagine how quickly you can make this pancake. The longest part of this recipe it preheating the oven.

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So here goes….

Butter                                                2 tbsp + 1 tbsp – I used salted as always

Plain Flour                                      1/2 cup – loosely the way I do it, unlike Martha’s                                                                       who said to compact it.

Milk                                                   3/4 cup

Eggs                                                   3 large

Vanilla Essence                              1 tsp

Salt                                                      1/2 tsp

Sugar                                                  1 tbsp although Martha’s said 1/4 cup. I didn’t have                                                                castor sugar so I used normal sugar

Lemon Slice

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 or 200 C
  2. IMG-20151116-WA0014Place your Ovenproof Skillet or whatever you call this.  I bought this in India for something Indian and ended up making Dutch Pancakes
  3. Place all the ingredients except the Lemon Slice into the blender and whizz it for about a minute.
  4. In the meantime take the tray and skillet out of the oven and brush with butter.  Place it back in the oven again.
  5. Then in about two minutes, pour the batter into the mould.  Just till it slightly to the top.
  6. Pour out the rest onto the hot skillet.
  7. Bake for about 15 minutes and check.
  8. The ones in the mould should be lose enough.  one or two might erupt because of the heat and steaming process.
  9. Remove from oven. If the skillet is at the bottom shelf, place it on top now.
  10. Remove the Dutch Pancake Balls, and eat it like that or dust a little icing sugar on it and squeeze a little lemon juice.  Since I did not use much sugar, I had it with a bit of butter and I dusted some icing sugar so it would look a tad bit more photogenic.IMG-20151116-WA0017
  11. The Skillet one, once out of the oven made me realise we can do many things with it to make a complete meal.  By adding topping and for me CHEESE… it would be totally different.  This can be a wonderful breakfast carb as well.  IMG-20151116-WA0019

Fong Mei Leng’s Dutch Pancake were much more prettier then mine…  Looks more Spunky Dory don’t you think?

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She used a spunky dory machine as well and hers looked like this.IMG-20151116-WA0022

Gorgeous I might say!

Thank you Fong Mei Leng for mentioning Dutch Pancakes today.  I might have it tomorrow as well.

The Gurkha Restaurant – 27 First Floor, Jalan Tun Tan Siew Sin, Kuala Lumpur

A sudden spontaneous trip to Kuala Lumpur especially to an area I consider rather seedy and I wouldn’t even think of going happened on Sunday.  Despite the rain and all the foreigners around I braved it with my Nepalese friend Diwash and walked through the throngs of people that at one split moment I felt I was in Bangalore.

So here I was right in front of the restaurant that looked like some 70s flashback and I trodded up the stairs… and behold.. I was in Nepal.  The restaurant wall were covered with Nepalese art and photos of Heroes of yesteryear, Kings from a hundred years ago as well as Heroes from History.   I was told who was who and what they contributed to the country.  It was a nice setting.

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The restaurant is rather well spaced and since it was early by Nepalese eating times, we were the only ones there.  So we ordered.

The first time I had Nepalese food was in Melbourne about 10 years ago.  The second time was early this year when a little shop opened near my house and I excitedly went quite often and then the CLOSED!  Just like that.

So I was quite excited because this restaurant had a bigger variety then the one that was near my house.  So of course we ordered Momos.

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Now Momos are like little Xiu Long Baos minus the finer skin and of course this has a slight spicy flavor.  It is pure meat and is always eaten in tens. That is ten pieces per person.  This I learnt from Santosh Ghimire my neighbor.    Momos are usually made with Pork, Chicken or Vegetables.  I have so far only eaten Chicken  Momos.

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Now the difference between a Momo and a Xiu Long Bao is there is practically no soup within the dumpling.  The meat is heavier because there is nothing added to it except pure meat.  I could never eat ten momos at one seating, but I could manage five if I had nothing else to go with it. I think they look so luscious in the photo above.

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The next was Chicken Chaumin.  This is a Nepalese version of fried noodles.  So far I have had three different versions and they all tasted equally nice.  There is that slight spiciness from the chillies as well as a bit of sourness and the slightly charred taste (Wok Hei) gives it that last bit of kick and flavor.  I wish they would add a bit more vegetables because mine just had too much chicken I feel.  But then that’s just me.

I am keen to know what noodles they use in Nepal because they use the normal noodles we have available in the markets.  I am sure it is different.  I once had Buffalo Chaumin but it was like eating chewy rocks!  I did think the chicken was a tad bit too fried that it became a trite dry.  But if complemented everything.

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Chicken Choyla was the next dish.  Bloody spicy is the first word that comes to mind.  I like picking and since it came with toothpicks on the side, I was quite excited.  I had a pair of chopsticks though.  It needed to go with rice that’s for sure.  It was salty as well because it was meant to go with liquor on a cold night.

Nepalese food tends to be a bit salty.  Chicken Choyla had onions and chilies and had a nice refreshing tang to it.    Actually while I grumble that it was spicy,  as I am describing this, my mouth is actually salivating.  I did find the meat a little over fried.  I wonder if it is necessary to do that.  But it was something different.

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Pork Sekuwa was next.  At first sight… PUT OFF!  The sight of fried pork pieces with fat and skin didn’t do anything for me.  First mouthful, well it was piping hot.. so we didn’t get much flavor.  Second mouthful, simple ingredients, but everything blended well.  Again this dish would go well if one was drinking that night.  I say simple ingredients because there was not a trace of spice or anything foreign, just salt and pepper and fried on a high flame.

Mind you portions might be smaller then we are usually used to.  So order a few things.

I hope to go there again. There are a few dishes or more that I would like to try.  You can check them out at this website http://lojeenaglobal.com/gurkha_restaurant_drink_details_menu.php

Enter the place with an open mind.  A lot of us tend to look down on the foreigners foods, but trust me, I have been surprised and today I was surprised.

Braving the honking taxis and buses to get there and walking through the rain (because I never run in the rain for fear of falling and looking like a big heap) was worth it.

Simplicity is of the essence here, but the food was really good.

I hope to go again this Thursday! If I do, I will add the photos and explanations to this story.

Biskut Arab or Ghee Cookies

20150718_214135The first time I ate Biskut Arab or Ghee Cookies was when I was invited for Hari Raya to my friend Abdul Rahman’s house.  I remember that day like it was only a few years ago.  Abdul Rahman lived quite faraway from where I lived but I remember he would pray at the mosque in my area which meant he had to leave  his part of town quite early in the morning to reach here in time (didn’t occur to me back then of course).  Thinking now, it was a big sacrifice for him.

So after prayers he would come to my house or I would wait somewhere and we would get on a bus.  I never took buses back then, so it was kind of an adventure for me.  It was so exciting I have to say.

I cannot even remember where he lived, because the bus ride was so exciting and we talked and talked so I really and truly cannot tell you where he lived but I am pretty sure it was like a long house.  Rows and rows of half wooden houses and we would get off the bus and I would plod along with him, through these rows and rows of houses and there his mother Mak Cik, would be there to happily greet me.

And then the cookie trays would come out and of course I have no shame at all, because I love home made cookies.

Long time ago, the Malays always made their cookies differently, it would as my mum would say a Malay Village smell, and Mak Cik’s cookies along with my Aunty Shina’s cookies.  You never get that scent or smell in Malay cookies anymore unless it comes from a village far away.  Only one other person came close and that was my other friend Muhammad Aidil.  His mother and sisters gave me cookies reminisce to the good old days only because he was from a village in Johore. The smell, the scent of each cookie was just indescribable.

I was told a few years ago, this smell was created because all the flour and sugar and anything dried that needed to go into the making of cookies were dried in the sun before the baking took place.   People do not do this nowadays.

So this year my friend Hafiq gives me a recipe book.  He made wonderful Rendang Tok and Peanut Sauce from this book.  And I, made this cookie.  I had to change a few things because somehow it would not come out right if I followed the recipe to a T, so here goes.  The end result was the closest I have ever tasted to Abdul Rahman’s mums Biskut Arab.  Still hers tasted better, probably because no one really bothered about sugar back then.

  • Plain Flour                                           2 cups + ½ cup
  • Ghee                                                    ½ cup
  • Castor Sugar                                       ½ cup
  • Icing Sugar                                          1/3 cup

Method:

1. Dry fry the flour for a few minutes in a non stick pan till it is a light light creamy brown.  Make sure it is on low flame. Leave to cool and Sieve it before use.

2.  Preheat Oven to 170 to 180 C.  Grease two cookie sheets.

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3.  In a bowl, mix in Ghee  with both sugars.  Gradually add in flour 1/2 cup by 1/2 cup till you are able to combine the dough and it is still soft but till in one piece. You may use up all the flour or a little more of less depending on the temperature of the day.

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4.  Make round balls, place on a greased tray and bake for about 20 minutes.  I always start at the lowest rung and work my way up every 5 minutes or so.

5.  Remove when it is done. Cookies might not be very brown of perhaps it is just me not liking brown cookies. Leave to cool and gently remove from tray. Cookies should melt in your mouth.

6. I place some in the fridge just so it will harden.

Cookies were just divine. sweet though, so you can cut some sugar but do be careful as cutting down too much sugar might affect the texture.

You may modernize these cookies with a bit of Maddons Salt Flakes to kill the sweetness.

All in all I loved it.  It made me think of Mak Cik and Abdul Rahman… and the late Aunty Shina.  By the way Mak Cik also made unforgettable Beriani.

You see food always brings us all together regardless of belief and creed.

Selamat Hari Raya everyone.