Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dinner on Valentines Day

I'm sure you'd be wondering happened to lunch, after eating world's worst nasi lemak ever, we weren't hungry for lunch at all.

We grabbed some snacks, played Alone in the Dark on our PS3 and soon it was dinner time. About 4pm I asked my husband if we are going out for dinner or eating at home. Coz, if it's the latter then I will need time to thaw the meat. I haven't a clue of what to cook for the romantic night.

For us it's the same every other night, something to look forward to for dinner. So, it isn't any different for last night but shockingly my hubby said he'd cook for me. Aww, that's so romantic. He has done that maybe about 6 years ago when he wanted to impress me during our courtship.

This is awesome. When I asked what he was going to cook, he didn't have a clue and I know that feeling as I have the same dilemma every night when I had to cook. Then he said, "Butter chicken, I want to eat butter chicken. But I bet you don't have the ingredients for it, don't you"

"No, I have all the ingredients except yoghurt and coriander leaves." I said with a smug on my face. My coriander plant that I planted died, so there goes fresh coriander when I need them.

I quickly went and thawed the chicken. Well of course, he wasn't able to cook all alone. I was his kitchen helper and supervisor at the same time.

"Ok, what should I do first?", he asked "the chicken is thawed, perhaps you could clean and cut the chicken," I suggested "Yuck, no way, you cut the chicken. Give me something else to do" he grossed out. Then I said, "You could cut the onions, ginger and garlic". "Never mind, I'll clean and cut the chicken, you cut the onions, I don't want to cry like you", he said.

While he was cleaning and cutting the chicken, I had to cry cutting the onions. He also had to entertain the other kitchen helper who was going histerical with the chicken smell.

"What does she wants, why is she like scolding me?" He asked, "The smell of chicken is killing her, I have some raw meat for her, you could heat it up for her to eat. Then she'll leave you a lone", I took and gave him her raw meat.

I usually keep raw meat for her in the fridge, he did what I did for her. He took the meat and let it heat in the microwave while he continued cleaning and cutting the chicken. When the microwave done with her meal, she reminded him of feeding her and he did.

Once her stomach was full, she left us alone to our work.

He then marinated the chicken with salt and coarse black pepper. While the chicken is being marinated, he started to make the sauce.

25grams of butter was melted then the onions was sacrificed followed by the minced garlic and ginger. Then he added cinnamon powder, chilli powder. While that was simmering, I started the other stove to sautee the chicken.

I had to give it to him, he was juggling between the stoves like a pro and constantly asking me what to do next. He then added tomato puree and a cup of water. Letting it simmer, while he was sauteeing the chicken.

To replace the yoghurt, I had him pour milk instead. Since, he used tomato puree the dish will have it's natural sour taste. So, that's a balance for not having yoghurt. The sauce needs to thicken before adding the chicken and the chicken was ready, he added the chicken in the sauce.

He had to leave to simmer, I replace the sautee pan with a flat pan to heat up the ready made tortillas that I had. Again, he was juggling between 2 stoves.

The meal was ready, simple yet full of love. Being the kitchen helper, I helped him serve his meal to our guests. That's us, him and I....hehehe...

Our valentines meal prepared by my hubby, a day to remember and cherish by. My best valentines ever, it beats all the gifts, flowers and fancy restaurant. Having to eat a meal cooked by my hubby is the best gift ever.

Breakfast on Valentines Day

14th February being the lovers day, we had to change our routine a bit to accommodate Sparkle's groomer. Usually, her grooming takes place on Saturday evenings and for yesterday we had to change it to morning. While she was in the salon, we went to temple then we were off to have breakfast.

We used to live in USJ and normally have our breakfast at Tanjung Mamak Bistro at USJ 9. Having breakfast at a mamak will normally mean roti canai, thosai or nasi lemak. These are the standard meals always being ordered and the taste could never go wrong.

We ordered nasi lemak telur goreng for both and milo ice plus nescafe ais respectively. Our drinks came in a smug looking mugs with Tanjung Mamak Bistro written on it. Then came the nasi lemak, looked ok but tastes......

How could anyone go wrong with nasi lemak. It is one of the dishes that taste almost similar to any other mamak.

I have attached my half eaten meal coz I didn't think I'd be posting about it, sooner. The presentation was ok but the taste...there isn't any taste. The sambal was flat, just flat, it wasn't spicy or sweet. It was nothing.

The rice had too much santan and strangely the rice was grey in colour. How could that happen? They used the cheapest ikan bilis in the market, it wasn't fried properly as it was soft and not crunchy. It was extremely salty. Maybe that's why the sambal and rice had no taste. Coz, when you mix everything and eat them all together, everything has salt in it. Well, thank you to the saltiest ikan bilis ever.

The fried egg was so-so. My husband, he said "It's the world's worst nasi lemak I have ever tasted" hehehe...

Never order nasi lemak at Tanjung Mamak Bistro, USJ9. No challenge this time as my hubby knows my nasi lemak tastes better anytime. :P

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Weekend Meal

Hehehe...I got too busy writing what happened over the weekend and totally forgot to write about what I cooked...

Well, we got home around 11pm and I straight away started cooking...hmm...before that I had to greet my hysterical kitchen helper, Sparkle the dog...hehehe...

I always enjoyed eating Wan Tan Mee but never tried cooking until last weekend. I didn't get the recipe from anywhere else but from my memory. Hehehe...yeah! When I was 16, we used to eat wan tan mee every weekend.

This wan tan mee uncle puts up his stall near my place only during the weekends. He serves the best wan tan mee that I ever tasted, not sure of any hidden ingredient that he may have used though.

Oh well! I used to watch him cook while I wait for my mee to go to be ready. I don't just watch instead I managed to squeeze the recipe out of him and I forgot about it until last Sunday when I was out grocery shopping with my hubby.

When I walked past the raw wan tan mee at the supermarket, it all came back to me. The recipe was fresh in my mind.

When I got home I had to do everything from scratch, I don't really like to buy the minced meat from the store, as they mince the skin and fat together with the meat. Mostly fat and skin actually. So, I usually buy breast meat and mince the meat myself. Yeah! I used chicken, don't really know how to buy pork.

Anyways, the fried wan tan recipe is all mine. The wan tan mee Uncle only gave me the recipe for dry wan tan mee.

Fried Wan Tan Recipe

Wan Tan skins
Minced Meat
Lea & Perrins Sauce
Parsley - finely cut

Mix all the ingredients and stuff them in the wan tan skin and fry them...voila fried wan tan is ready!!

Wan Tan Mee Recipe

Oyster Sauce
Light Soya Sauce
Dark Soya Sauce
Wan Tan Mee

Mix all the sauces and pepper. Boil water and cook the vegetable and wan tan mee al dante. Mix the mee with the sauces and gently cut the vegetable and arrange them beautifully on the mee.

Fried Chicken Meat Recipe (didn't have char siew so improvised)

Marinate breast meat with
Lea & Perrins Sauce

Coat the whole breast meat with bread crumps and pan fry it. Once done cut in thin strips and arrange gently on the mee.

Your meal is ready to eat and all done within an hour.

Sorry no photo...I got too hungry to even remember to take photos...

My hubby loved it and he requested for second round!! Meal served in an hour, don't you just love to cook!!?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Weekend Special

Long weekend came and left...*big sigh*'s back to work tomorrow...*bigger sigh*....guess what?! We went to many places over the weekend nothing exciting or special just that I get to go out over the weekend was a big thing for me. I don't really get out much during the weekend.

We had lunch outside but dinner, I insisted to myself that I'll be cooking. We went to Lowyat plaza, having to escape the crowd at Thaipusam brought me to the similar crowd in lowyat plaza. A guy with a baby stroller just ran over my foot and when i screamed in pain he gave me look like "why are you in my way" I was thinking a simple sorry will do no need to stare at me that way, it was as though I purposely put my foot under his stroller wheels.

Anyways, after that we stopped by Midvalley for shopping for our dear pets. I had to get more wood shavings for Nico the iguana and some treats for Sparkle the dog....hehehe....Then we were off to Hartamas shopping mall for some crowd free grocery shopping.

I completed my grocery shopping and it was about 8.30pm just as we were about to leave, I remembered that I needed to get a new phone for my mom and we went scouting for good cheap phones. Went to the same stall we bought a cheap good phone before, it looked open but no one was there. Thinking that the sales guy must have gone to toilet and so we waited.

It was almost to 10 to 9pm, he can't be stuck in the toilet too long. It's either he is taking a very long crap or probably died in there. I found a handphone number on one of their flyers, hoping it belongs to that sales guy, rang the number and got the boss. He told us to wait another 10 minutes and his sales guy will arrive with stocks.

We waited till 9.10pm, called him again and again he asked to wait another 10 minutes. My last final call I told my hubby, he gave us another 10 minutes. My hubby was getting rather impatient told me that in 10 minutes if no one comes we are leaving.

10 minutes was up, and I begged for another 5 minutes. Finally, the sales guy arrived. Boy am I glad to see him. Got what we wanted and we got further delayed coz my dear hubby was intrigued with a nokia phone. The very brand that he once sworn never to use. I used to use a nokia phone and he made me change to motorola then now we got a nokia phone for him.

Just before leaving the mall, my hubby asked me again if I'm cooking. I said yes I am with lotsa excitement.

Guess what time we reached home? 11pm.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Recipe!

Now that you have read how to prepare the dish and I know you'd be wondering how it tasted. Well obviously it taste better than Dave's Deli's cheapo chicken chop. I would say I'd charge the same to my customers and they wouldn't mind paying the price for a good meal.

Here's the recipe....

It’ll be good if you could marinate the chicken the night before, as it’ll make the chicken taste so much better but if you are in a rush like how I was then go crazy and marinate just minutes before cooking it.

Since, I go on estimation basis it’s a bit hard for me to determine how much of the ingredients I used on the meals I prepare. Once you have learned the taste of each ingredient you’d know how generous or stingy you should be when using these ingredients.

2 – 3 Boneless Skinless Breast Pieces --> reason I use breast piece instead of the traditional drumstick is because the breast piece do not contain that much fat as compared to the drumstick piece
Lea & Perins Worcestershire Sauce – I just simply love the smell of the sauce
Meat Tenderizer or Salt (Meat tenderizer already contains salt)

Bread Crumbs for the crunchy taste
Corn Flour for the normal taste
The Kentucky Flour for different taste
Oil enough to pan fry

Just make sure don’t throw in extremely wet chicken on the flour then you’ll have too much flour on it.

1 can Tomato Soup of any brand – I like my chicken very saucy so I used one can for 2 persons, besides my husband eats for 2 so technically I’m cooking for 3.
1 Onion
– how spicy you want it, it’s up to you
Fennel Seeds
– crushed not powdered (sounds like shaken not stirred…hehehe)
No Salt required

If you have read my posting yesterday then you’ll know how to cook the dish. Just serve main with coleslaw or salad and French fries or mashed potatoes as side dish. I used mashed potatoes coz I don’t want to eat too many fried stuff, since the chicken is already fried why should I fry the potato….la la la la la

There you have it Chicken Chop – Hmm…why do they call it Chicken Chop the chicken isn’t even chopped. Traditionally people use the mallet to bash the chicken to tenderize it. Shouldn’t they call it Bashed Chicken with Tomato juice? *shrugs* just a thought.

I don’t think you need the recipe for mashed potato and coleslaw do you?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Cooking!

Finally, I get to cook my meal. It was a good thing I bought boneless chicken even though I already have some in the freezer. At least I don’t have to waste time on defrosting.

First things first, I have to marinate the chicken. I quickly heated up some water in the rice pot for the potatoes. Yup! I use the rice pot for more than just cooking rice. I find that when you need to boil food, rice cooker is still the best.

I hurried along to clean the chicken, as the time now is 8.45pm. Marinated the chicken with Worcestershire sauce, pepper and meat tenderizer. Many might say you needn’t use meat tenderizer for chicken well that saves time from bashing the dead chicken meat to tender it.

While that’s marinating, I started with my coleslaw, something simple just took some mix vege with some mayonnaise and store it in the fridge to cool. Now for the sauce, cut one onion; heat up a little oil in the skillet. Throw in the onion and let it simmer. Add in Tomato Soup, yes! I didn’t use tomato ketchup instead tomato soup, it tastes much better and isn’t as sour as tomato puree. Simmer the sauce and add basil, marjoram, oregano, crushed fennel seeds and paprika all to taste. The more herbs the better.

While the sauce is simmering, I cleaned 2 russet potatoes, cubed them and threw them in the rice pot. Checked on my sauce, stir a little, taste it…hmm…needs more herbs. When everything’s in and taste is good, sauce is done.

Now for the chicken, heat up the pan….yup! I use the pan to fry my chicken so that it’ll be pan fried with less oil and not deep-fried. I floured the chicken and it’s ready to go into the oil for some pan-frying.

While all this is happening my trustee kitchen helper was getting restless…it’s my dog, she ensures my kitchen floors are squeaky clean. Anything that drops, she’s the super mop and I make sure I don’t drop anything that she shouldn’t eat. She loves the smell of raw meat, I usually feed her some plain cooked meat to satisfy her hunger in the kitchen.

The time is 9.15pm; my hubby came for a visit, meaning he came to steal some food that can be eaten and isn’t raw. By then I have already drained the potatoes and started mashing it. To his delight I handed over that task to him and gave the ingredients that needs to be added with the potatoes. While he’s doing this I was busy frying the chicken, once he’s done I gave him the honour of preparing the garlic bread. I had some French loaf and bought garlic spread at the supermarket.

I completed everything with my 2 helpers right at 9.30pm. And the meal was served.

The Journey Home

The minute the clock turned 5pm, I was ever ready to go grocery shopping to win my challenge with my husband. Sharp 6pm, I left the office to the supermarket. I needed to buy some extra ingredients that I didn’t have at home.

I got what I need and the time was 7pm…ya I took an hour to do my shopping that includes walking, getting what I need and don’t need, walking to the parking and finally leaving home.

The usual way that I take home was horrifically jammed up, had to take a different unknown route. I knew there should be a link somewhere that leads to where I live, heading towards that area I missed a turn…damn!

Never mind, I shall use my trustee GPS that came with my phone. My trustee GPS wasn't so trustee, it kept asking me to take a U-Turn…as stubborn as I am, thinking I could outsmart the dumbass GPS, I went on straight instead. I saw the signboard leading to Federal Highway, that’s fantastic…with a big grin I smartly headed that way only to realize that it was horrible that way too…sigh…so much for not taking the usual way…so much for outsmarting the traffic…sigh…

The lousy dumbass GPS can’t even find any other way instead kept asking me to make a U-Turn…I know another way through Federal Highway so I headed that way home. Only after I took the turn at Hilton did the GPS link me correctly to the way I was heading. Just imagine if it was someone who doesn't know the alternative way would be going in circles. That was the longest route home, traffice was horrible all the way home.

My stomach was growling and my bladder was full...where is home? I felt like I was dying...yeah I'm a bit like a drama queen. I finally reached home at 8.30pm…it took me 1.5hours to reach home…I could have gone to Ipoh for dinner instead…sheesh!! Curse on whatever that caused the jam everywhere last night.

My hubby was home already, waiting for me, he just asked me to heat up the leftovers and cook some rice. I said “What about the Chicken Chop”, “You just got back and you must tired” he sympathized…I agree I am tired but no way am I giving up on my challenge. Any other day, I can let him go without food even if I have to but no today. I’m cooking!!

Before I could do anything else, I had to greet my ecstatic dog that was so excited to see me home. She's like that even if I were to step outside just for a minute, she'll greet me with so much of excitement like there's no tomorrow.

Once she settled, I ran to the toilet and relieved myself....that felt good. I was in so much of pain due to the full bladder...

1st note to self always pee before leaving any place, even if u don't need to pee just visit that god damn toilet.
2nd note to self don't bother taking new routes especially when it's horrifically jammed everywhere or when you have a challenge to complete
3rd note to self GPS is lousy just learn the roads
4th note to self never accept a challenge on a weekday even if you do...just say you'll complete it on a weekend...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Challenge!

My pet iguana needs more wood shaving, having to work in a mall it never crossed my mind that I could purchase it from the pet store of the mall. Instead, I went to Subang Parade, not that I live nearby it or anything like that. It’s so happened that we were in the neighbourhood and remembered that Subang Parade had, <-- you see that “HAD” Pet’s Wonderland. Well what do you know, not only that they closed their business in One Utama they are also closed in Subang Parade. Oh well, just to make our trip and parking fee worthwhile we decided to dine there.

It has been awhile since we last dined out, we weren’t sure of where to eat. We headed to the mall directory. Hmm….”Let’s eat at Eden.” My hubby suggested, unfortunately they have closed down too…business everywhere seems bad isn’t it.

We finally narrowed it down to Dave’s Deli. Looking at the menu I was contemplating between Chicken Snitzel or the ¼ Roasted. Knowing that the Snitzel will take awhile, I settled for ¼ Roasted. Just my luck, they don’t have any at that moment and I will have to wait so I decided to take what my hubby was having. Chicken Chop!

Huge mistake, not only that presentation looked like garbage it tasted like one too. The tomato sauce that supposed to be tasty was actually a cheap ass high starchy severely diluted salted sauce just thrown over the chicken. The chicken was over bartered and over fried as the meat was rather tough. The raw tomato was simply chopped and thrown over the chicken like rubbish and not forgetting the low-grade peas. The 15 pieces of fries probably was fried together with the chicken as it was also over fried.

How difficult is it to fry fries? Or the Chicken? Or to make that bloody sauce? Or to create a more appetizing meal? The meal wasn’t cheap for that cheap looking meal. They charged us RM14.50 before tax and they served us crap. No wonder Restaurants are closing down due to their cheap ass meals. Even a roadside stall serves better meals, just blanco the fact that they may be located next to the biggest drain in KL.

Watching me complaining over my meal, my hubby challenged me to prepare the same tomato based Chicken Chop at home. When it comes to cooking, I don’t say NO! I took the challenge and I can bet you, my Chicken Chop will taste better than Dave’s Deli anytime!!

Meals need to be prepared with love, you have to love what you are doing and automatically the results will be superb! I can see why the Chicken Chop was like garbage coz the person preparing it may have felt she/he is working in a crappy place. There’s something restaurant owners should adhere, they should make sure their waitresses, chefs, cashiers, bus boys and every single employee of theirs is well trained to enjoy their work. When they are made to feel like a maid that’s when the performance drops and in restaurants business you can’t afford to have bad performance coz it shows in the food they prepare and serve thus leading to closing down of business.

Well, I’m all geared up for tonight’s big meal and I have 8 hours to burn at work!! I’m so excited!!