Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Recipe: No-Knead Wholemeal Raisin Bread

After our success in making the no-knead wholemeal bread, we decided to experiment and make a version with half wholemeal, half plain flour. This resulted in a less dense, lighter loaf which our kids prefer. Furthermore, I added in raisins, a sure winner with my kids. Again, this is a no-knead recipe, which is quick and easy.

No-knead Wholemeal Raisin Bread

Great with some butter and jam / kaya

Quick and easy no-knead wholemeal raisin bread
Recipe by Baby Sumo, adapted from here
Preparation time: 10 minutes (+approx. 1 hour rising time)
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Makes 1 large loaf

225g wholemeal flour
225g plain flour
330-350ml warm water
2 tsp dried active yeast
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp salt
75g raisins
A little extra plain flour

1. Grease a 900-g bread tin (with base measurement approx. 16x9cm) with butter.

2. Mix flour and salt and place in a big ovenproof bowl (or two smaller ones) and place in a low oven (around 100°C) for about 10 minutes to warm.

3. While the flour is warming, mix 100ml water with sugar, then sprinkle over the dried yeast. Stir once, and leave for 10-15 minutes until a frothy head has formed.

4. Tip the warm flour and raisins into a large mixing bowl, then add the raisins and stir well. Make a well in the centre. Stir the yeast liquid once, to make sure it is dissolved, then pour it into the well. Using a wooden spoon, mix the yeast liquid into the flour to form a dough, gradually adding the rest of the water. Finish off the mixing with your hands until you have a smooth dough that leaves the bowl clean. Note: The exact amount of water you need depends on the flour.

5. Shape the dough into an oblong shape and transfer into the greased tin. Sprinkle the top with a generous dusting of flour and then cover the tin with a damp towel. Leave to rise in a warm place for at least 30-40 mins to 1 hour until the dough has almost doubled in size.

6. Preheat oven to 200°C (no fan). Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes. Turn out the bread, and tap the bottom - it should sound hollow if cooked. Cool the bread on a wire rack. Serve bread with butter and jam.

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Monday, October 5, 2015

Set lunch @ Ri-Yakitori, St Giles The Gardens - Grand Hotel & Residences KL

From 16 October 2015 onwards, Ri-Yakitori in St Giles The Gardens - Grand Hotel & Residences will be offering lunch on Fridays. During this lunch period, the chefs at Ri-Yakitori have created a special Kozara Ryori set lunch menu. The set consists of 7 courses and is priced at RM78 nett per set. According to the chefs, the menu will be changed on a weekly basis so that patrons can try something new every week.

Last week, we were invited to a preview of this promotion. The menu highlights a combination of Japanese and Western creations. To start, we were served a trio of appetizers; the platter consisted of sakura ebi, chicken roll wrapped in Chinese cabbage and tomato mozzarella, the latter being an Italian creation. 

My favorite dish of the afternoon is the sashimi salada, which consists of salmon and tuna (maguro) sashimi with ebikko and mayo. Ebikko gives the salad a nice crunch and the Japanese vinaigrette dressing was appetizing.


The dishes on this Kozara Ryori set are served course by course. Next, we were served the braised radish with saba (mackarel) fish. The fish has been deep fried so it's crispy, and then topped on a piece of braised radish as well as Hatcho miso.

Ri-Yakitori is popular for its chicken skewers in the evening, and one of the dishes featured in the set lunch is the sauteed chicken served with 3 different dips. The thigh was the most moist and nicest part of chicken to eat. This reminded me slightly of the Chinese poached chicken dish. After the chicken dish, we were served an edamame gohan (rice) with pickles and osumashi soup.

The dessert set comprises of a fruit compote (strawberry, kiwi, orange juice), matcha mochi and chocolate mousse.

Met one of my cooking idols, Chef Takashi Kimura from Cilantro

To get to Ri-Yakitori, take the lift to Level 7 from The Gardens Hotel lobby.

The Kozara Ryori set lunch is available every Friday from 12 noon to 2pm. 

Opening times: Lunch 12pm to 2pm every Friday only, Dinner 5pm to 1am (last food orders at 11pm). Closed on Sundays.

Location: Ri-Yakitori, St Giles The Gardens - Grand Hotel & Residences, Level 7, The Gardens, Mid Valley City, Lingkaran Syed Putra, 59200 Kuala Lumpur. (The Gardens Hotel/Robinsons side)

Tel: 03- 2268 1188

Website: http://www.stgiles.com/kuala-lumpur-hotels/the-gardens-hotel-and-residences/yakitori/

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Saturday, October 3, 2015

Den Gamle Kro, Odense, Denmark

I recently had the opportunity to visit Denmark on a business trip and enjoyed some sun, something which my Danish counterparts told me was a real rarity; they just went through one of the worst summers in recent memory, so I was pleased to find out about that.

Odense is the third largest city with close to 180,000 inhabitants but this does not show at all as the population is spread across a large amount of land. Odense is the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, author of fairy tales such as The Emperor's New Clothes, The Ugly Duckling and The Little Mermaid. You do get various reminders of this city's famous son as you walk through the town.

Hans Christian Andersen's home.

I had an opportunity to dine at Den Gamle Kro, a traditional Danish inn located in a house dating back to 1683, Food is mostly Danish in origin and service is excellent. We were wowed by the beautiful ruby red cured salmon and the steaks were cooked nicely. Dessert was a rich and dense chocolate cake complimented by some ice cream, providing a sweet end to the meal.

The entrance

Courtyard with gallery.

Cured salmon with mustard dressing and salad, 2 servings (155 dkk.)

Flambée sirloin steak with vegetables and Madagascar pepper sauce (312 dkk.)

Chocolate cake with raspberry sauce, ice cream and fruits

A shot of Linie Aquavit, a typical Nordic spirit, to close off the night.

Verdict: Food was well prepared and service was excellent. Prices are pretty steep though.

Opening hours: Monday - Friday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday and Bank holidays 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Location: Den gamle Kro, Overgade 23, 5000 Odense C, Denmark.

Tel.: +4566121433

Website: http://www.dengamlekro.eu/

*This is a guest post by The Unc.

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Friday, October 2, 2015

Recipe: Hokkien Prawn Mee Noodles

Lately, I have been craving spicy, soupy noodles so when the kids were back in school, I made Hokkien prawn mee for lunch. This is a quick version which you can make in under 30 minutes.

First, I made a basic stock using prawn shells and chicken and then added in some instant prawn noodle paste to the stock. I also added in some Vietnamese mint (also known as daun kesum) as I like the slight tanginess it gives the stock. I prefer mee hoon (rice vermicelli), but you can also use yellow noodles.

Tangy, spicy and appetizing, I love it! ;)

Hokkien Prawn Mee
Recipe by Baby Sumo
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves 1

1/2 onion, sliced thinly
A small piece of chicken breast (optional)
2-3 stalks of Vietnamese mint (daun kesum)
50-60g mee hoon, soaked in water for 15 minutes (or yellow noodles if you prefer those)
2 tbsp instant prawn noodle paste
500ml water
8-10 raw king prawns, peeled and deveined (keep the shells)
1 egg, boiled peeled and halved
1 tsp dried shrimp paste (optional)

1. Soak meehoon in water for 5 minutes, then drain.

2. In a small saucepan, bring the water to boil. Add in prawn shells and chicken and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove prawn shell and discard. You can also remove the chicken and let it cool before shredding or cutting into small strips.

3. Add in onion, prawn noodle paste and kesum leaves to the soup and simmer for 5 minutes. 

4.Add the meehoon (rice noodles) and prawns and simmer for a further 1-2 minutes. If using beansprouts, you can add them at the same time. 

5. Serve immediately and garnish with hard-boiled egg and extra dried shrimp paste. You can add in a squeeze of lime if you like it a little tangy. 

Note: I omitted beansprouts this time as I didn't have any at home. You can also use yellow noodles in lieu of meehoon, if you prefer. If you are using ready peeled prawns, just omit the step where you have to add in shells to the stock.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Family Time @ McDonald's

I have fond memories of going to McDonald's as a child with my younger brother. Our parents would take us there for special occasions, such as birthday celebrations and as a treat whenever we did well in school examinations. My favorite was the McEgg and it was something I would order almost everytime I visited McDonald's.

Many years have passed and as a parent myself now, I also love sharing quality time together with my children, in McDonald's, the same was my parents did with me.

Our children love the Chicken McNuggets; this is their default order upon entering McDonald's. We usually order a Happy Meal with Chicken McNuggets (there is nothing quite like getting a free toy with your meal) and an additional portion of nuggets and of course a sundae each, allowing us to chit chat and share the food on our table.

Bonding over nuggets and ice cream

Our family enjoys spending quality time together at McDonald's, bonding over food and ice cream. During our last trip here, one of our discussions was how best to eat McNuggets. Us parents like them with the BBQ Sauce provided, Baby C likes them naked with no sauce, and Baby D was showing us his new way of eating them - dipped in ice cream sundae :P It is nice seeing our kids sharing the chicken nuggets with each other and how much they enjoy eating them.

Recently McDonald's have launched 2 new sauces that heighten the McNuggets experience - the creamy French Cheese and sweet Honey Mustard - Dip 'em and share 'em!

For more info, please visit McDonald's website.

*This is a sponsored post.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tokyo Kitchen, Ikon Connaught, KL

A couple of weeks ago, we checked out Tokyo Kitchen in Ikon Connaught. During lunch time, they offer some pretty affordable Super Value Set Meals (price starting from RM8.90, up to RM16.90).

Items on the set meal include chicken teriyaki, Sapporo ramen, Wagyu yasai itame and kaisen yasai itame. Hubby ordered the chicken garlic fried rice set (RM8.90) while I had the yaki soba (RM12.90) set; both comes with chawanmushi and miso soup as well as refillable green tea. The food was tasty enough and good value for money.

We also ordered a plate of salmon sashimi (RM11.90 for 3 pieces), however it was quite thinly sliced and not fatty enough for our liking.

We enjoyed the California roll (RM6.90 for 4 pcs); love the generous coating of tobiko on the outside and the filling includes cucumber, crabstick and avocado.

To fnish off our meal, we ordered the daifuku mochi (RM7.90), which came in 4 different flavours - red bean, peanut butter, pandan and black sesame.

After our meal, Hubby drew Baby Sumo on one of the wooden wishing boards and hung it at the restaurant entrance. ;)

Super Value Set Meals available from 11am to 5pm only.

Parking available inside Ikon Connaught, rate starts from RM1 for first 2 hours.

Price: Total bill RM56.55.

Location: Tokyo Kitchen, Lot G-01 & GR-01, Ikon Connaught, Jalan Puncak Gading, Taman Connaught, 56000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

GPS Coordinates: 3.081713, 101.731177

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Recipe: Tutti Frutti Chocolate Birthday Cake

Every year, we would ask the kids what cake would they like for their respective birthdays. On Baby D's birthday wish list, he stated "chocolate" and "blueberries" as the criteria for his birthday cake.

Tutti Frutti Chocolate Birthday Cake

Yet again, Hubby was in-charge of baking the cake and I was to decorate it later. I found some cute digger candles in the bakery shop, which I thought the boy would like. Hubby made our trusted two layer chocolate cake recipe, which I sandwiched and topped with lots of fresh cream. The cake was decorated with chocolate chips in the centre, followed by blueberries and whole strawberries, and nicely finished with the digger candle in the centre.

Birthday boy loved his cake

We sang Happy Birthday 5x cos he wanted to blow the candles again and again ;P

Tutti Frutti Chocolate Birthday Cake
Recipe by Baby Sumo, adapted from here
Preparation time: 30-40 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Serves 8

For the cake
150g self-raising flour, sifted
25g good quality cocoa powder
175g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
175g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
1-2 tbsp milk

For the whipped cream
200g whipping cream
1/2 tsp icing sugar

To garnish
100g blueberries
4 whole strawberries
2-3 tbsp chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan. Grease and base line 2 x 18cm sandwich tins with baking paper.

2. In a large bowl, place flour, cocoa powder and baking powder and mix well.

3. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until it is creamy and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Then, add the eggs one at a time, and beat well, repeat until all eggs are used. Mix in the flour mixture from Step 2. Add a little milk if the mixture is too stiff - it should fall easily off a spoon.

4. Divide the mixture between the two tins and level the surfaces of the cake mixtures.

5. Bake on the same shelf in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the sponge springs back when pressed.

6. Leave to cool for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Peel off the baking paper.

7. Using an electric mixer, whisk the cream until stiff. Place 1 cake layer on the cake board, then place 1/2 of the cream on the cake. Put the other cake layer on top, and finish off with the rest of the cream. Arrange chocolate chips in the centre (in a circle), then followed by the blueberries and strawberries.

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