Ayam Tim (Pickled Mustard Greens & Chicken Soup)


Savoury, sweet, sour with a hint of spice and it’s snowballing flavour makes this soup one of the few tastiest simple soup to make. This dish is a derived version from the traditional nyonya ‘Itik Tim’ made using duck instead of chicken. If you are able to buy duck where you are, I suggest cooking with it as it gives a deeper flavour. Otherwise, the next best option will be chicken. 

This soup has converted someone who does not like soup to now, love it!


Ayam Tim (Pickled Mustard Greens & Chicken Soup)


Serves 4

Ingredients:


  • 800g chicken legs
  • 300g salted mustard green
  • 4 carrots (peel & cut to wedges)
  • 2 onions (cut to wedges)
  • 2 dried chilli
  • 3 cloves garlic (remove skin & bruise)
  • 2 inch ginger (sliced)
  • 4 dried salted plums
  • 3 tomatoes (halved)
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • salt and ground white pepper to taste
  • water to cover over the ingredients

Methods:


1.  Soak the salted mustard green in water for about 30 minutes to remove the salt. 
2.  While the salted mustard green is being soaked, prepare the other ingredients.
3.  Place chicken, salted mustard green, carrots, onions, dried chilli, garlic and ginger in a pot.
4.  Pour water into the pot until it covers over the ingredients.
5.  Bring to boil. Then add in the dried salted plums and simmer for about 20 minutes. 
6.  Add in the tomatoes at the last 10 minutes.
7.  Season with toy sauce, salt and pepper to taste.
8.  Serve with steamed rice. 

Crab apple avocado salad stack


Summer in London this year must have been the best we've had for the longest time. So much so that I have not been checking the weather forecast. I just expect the next day to be warm and sunny and continue being like this the day after. I'm getting used to wearing skirts, shorts and no jackets or tights. What a bliss. 


With this weather, comes simple and tasty cool food that does not make you sweat. One that is easy to prepare as well. This recipe is so pretty yet easy to make, it is perfect for a quick summer dinner after work. Even though it is weekday after work in London, having this salad on the balcony just makes it feel like holiday by the beach. Enjoy!

Crab salad served on lettuce gem leaves. This is a good way to serve the salad at a party. It's easy to pop into the mouth.

Crab, Apple and Avocado Salad Stack

serves 2

Ingredients: 


  • 120g crab meat (can)
  • 1 red chillies (diced)
  • 1 granny smith apple (cubed)
  • 120g baby plum tomatoes (quartered)
  • 1 nectarine (deseeded & cubed)
  • 1 large lime
  • 1 avocado (cubed)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lettuce gems
  • handful of fresh mint leaves
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • a few drops of balsamic to taste (on tomato)


Methods:


1.  Remove crab meat from can and drain. Place into a bowl then add the diced chillies and apple cubes.
2.  Squeeze the juice of one lime into the bowl. Season with salt and pepper and mix the crab well with some sliced mint leaves. 
3.  On a different bowl, place the quartered plum tomatoes and season with salt, pepper, 2 drops of balsamic vinegar and a little extra virgin olive oil. Set aside.
4.  To assemble, place a food ring on a serving plate. 
5.  Carefully place the avocado in the ring. Top it up with the cubed nectarines followed by the tomatoes.
6.  Gently press downwards with the back of spoon to compress the stack of avocado, nectarines and tomatoes.
7.  Top up with a generous amount of the prepared crab and decorate with mint leaves.



Sun-dried tomato pesto Spätzle

Someone's crazy over spätzle!! And yes, he's Alsacienne. Even though I've eaten spätzle before, this was my first attempt which turned out surprisingly well. I had an approved stamp from the Alsacienne so this must be a good standard. For those of you not familiar with spätzle, I would say that it is like a thinner version of the Italian gnocchi. The texture is pretty similar.


This is definitely a fusion version or my take to the traditional spätzle that is usually made with some cheesy white sauce. As you can see, my version has sausage meatballs and tomato. It's even slightly spicy which P mentioned, will be slightly too spicy for the Alsaciennes. On my taste buds, it was just the tiniest spice to excite a plate of pasta. So if you do not like spicy pasta, just omit the spicy ingredients.


Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Spätzle

Serves 2

Ingredients:


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g spatzle (or pasta of your choice if you can't get spatzle)
  • 4 sausage (remove casing and roll into balls)
  • 1 leek (sliced)
  • 1 courgette (cubed)
  • 150g baby plum tomatoes (halved)
  • 1 tsp sun-dried tomato pesto
  • 1 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 2 drops of tabasco (optional)
  • 2 triangle of La Vache Qui Rit cheese (30g)
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil to serve
  • chilli flakes to serve (optional)

Method:


1. Boil the pasta in salty water until al dente following the instructions on the pack. This will depend on the type of pasta you use. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat the olive oil on a pan and cook the sausage meat balls until they are coloured and cooked.
3. Then add the leeks and courgette. Cook for about 3 minutes then toss in the plum tomatoes, followed by the paparika, ketchup, tomato pasta and some water.
4. Let the ingredients simmer and add sun-dried tomato pesto.
5. Season with tabaso, salt and pepper. Then add in the cheese, stir till melt and well combined.
6. Pour in the spatzle and toss until the pasta is covered in the sauce.
7. Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and some chilli flakes. 

The Front Parlour | Burnham-on-Sea

We found this beach out of coincidence and thought it looked nice so we spent some time resting and enjoying the sun on the sandy beach. The sand was although different from the white sandy beaches I am used to from South East Asia, this, I thought was still better than pebbles on the beach. What was weird, was that it might have been low tide and was not much water in the sea but no one was actually near the water. P tried going close to the water but it was just muddy and odd so never ventured any further. Perhaps it was one of those beaches with sinking mud that we have seen throughout this road trip. 


After enough time spending soaking up the sun, we headed to The Front Parlour which we thought looked quaint with wafting smell of a great Sunday roast. Too bad we already had a big breakfast at Dr. Fox's Tearoom in Weston-super-Mare earlier so something small in the late afternoon would have sufficed. 

Afternoon tea of scones with clotted cream and jam.

The Sommerset afternoon tea the table behind us were having looked fabulous, I wanted one too. What a bliss to have afternoon tea on the seafront after a relaxing lie down on the sandy beach. Plus, this felt so authentic. Scones with proper clotted cream and jam with tea is one of the best ways of enjoying the sun on the English coast. It was a well spent afternoon in this charming family run tearoom. The next time I come back, it will be for their famous roast. 


The Front Parlour
6 The Esplanade,
Burnham-on-Sea,
Sommerset,
TA8 1BB, UK

Tel: +44 01278 787383

Salad with tomatoes from the garden

Just as we left P's home in France, his parents gave us a whole box of fruits and vegetables from their garden. Fresh prunes, apricots, nectarines, courgettes, lavender and tomatoes. They gave us too much that we had to freeze some of those fruits up for when we make smoothies. 

So here we are, back in London with overload of fruits and tomatoes. I love it that I know who grew these babies. As these are such good tomatoes, they are best eaten just as, or slightly enhanced with a little sprinkle of sea salt and extra virgin olive oil. With some black pepper if you like. It's really up to you but keep them as close to its original state as possible.


Tomato salad

You won't believe how tomatoes organically grown on the garden differs from those mass produced for supermarkets. It is meaty in flesh and is packed with all its original flavour and juiciness. This is when you realise that supermarket tomatoes won't cut it. 

Maybe it is time to be living in a space with garden. Do you grown your own tomatoes? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
  

Dr. Fox's Tearoom | Weston-Super-Mare

If you read my post on '30 hours road trip to somewhere', you will know how we got to Weston-Super-Mare. Although not knowing where we were, we managed to get some local tips for the best breakfast in town. Dr Fox's Tearoom was immediately pointed out to us. They even got awards for their food.

Dr Fox's Tearoom (image via Geograph)

Off we went, getting lost in town and doing things we don't normally do. Have sweets and fudge at nine in the morning, played all the nostalgic arcade games and receiving those tickets we used to collect tons of just to get a free doll. It was such a fun morning remembering the childhood fun times. Pacman and Pinball were one of them. Too bad they didn't have Street Fighter where I used to fight my brother with Chun-Li over his Ken. Those were the times where iPads or games on the phones were non-existent.

Playing arcade games

Once we were done being a child again, we got ourselves some grown up breakfast on the seafront. The breakfast was great. Omelette were cooked well. Better yet, they sell their own jams which we did buy one for when we get back to London. Our time having breakfast in the sun was very pleasant.

Full English breakfast and cheese omelette



Dr Fox's Tearoom

Knightstone Island,
Seafront, Weston-super-Mare,
BS23 2AD, UK

Tel: +44 (0)1934 707411 
  

Sergio’s Italian Restaurant | Bristol


Our visit to Bristol was impromptu so we had no clue what we should do or where we should go while here. We left it all to chance and instincts while exploring this city. It was interesting to explore a city this way. There were no expectations so all we saw were new and exciting and thoughts formed then were original.

The one thing we saw the most were graffiti all over. Some were very impressive. Of course, we spotted some Banksy as well. And very near to where the Banksy was, we found a quaint little family run Italian restaurant. The staff were so nice that they accommodated us so well.


The evening was beautiful thanks to the delicious food and smiles exchanged.


We ordered the Monk fish farcito wrapped in Parma ham with red pepper and saffron sauce. The meaty monk fish was well cooked and moist though I think it was a tiny bit salty for my liking. The saltiness was to P's liking though.



As for the other main, we ordered the Mixed Impepata in tomato sauce. It was a generous portion of mixed seafood; mussels, scallops, calamari, tiger prawns. This plate was so flavourful and each piece of seafood were cooked to perfection. None of them were overcooked. This shows the chef's skills and freshness of seafood. I had to ask for a spoon to scoop up all the sauce goodness.


Dessert in an Italian restaurant is always a Tiramisu for me as it shows the authenticity of the restaurant. The tiramisu past my test with flying colours.



Smile..

Lovely warm service in a cosy family run restaurant serving well cooked food.

Frown..


What's to frown when it's mostly smiles.

Will I return?


Yes of course.


Sergio's

1-3 Frogmore Street
BS1 5NA Bristol, UK

Tel: +44 0117 9291413


30 Hours Road Trip to Somewhere

A spur of the moment weekend road trip is always fun. I love the spontaneity! Well it is not just all smiles. I do get a little grumpy at times when we get into distress of getting lost in the middle of nowhere. But the smiles float to the surface again, after a little quick release of angst. Thank God P’s patient with me. Before I get into this little distress it was all happy and exciting. Let's start the journey.



BRISTOL


On a late Saturday afternoon, we thought lets go on a little road trip to somewhere. Yes, somewhere. We weren’t sure where we were heading until just minutes before entering the town on the Sat Nav. Bristol it is! It wasn’t too far from London so it’s very doable for a short weekend break. When we arrived at Bristol, we came across many interesting things even though only for a few hours. There were mismatched architecture in the newer part of the city, the Old City being our favourite with more character. Lots of Street Art were everywhere. We even spotted a few Banksy. Our dinner restaurant find was a romantic cosy little Italian Restaurant called Sergio's (review post to come).

Tips: Make sure to wear flat shoe if you are planning to explore Bristol on foot. It's pretty hilly.


Bristol's oldest pub, The Hatchet Inn


WESTON-SUPER-MARE


When we left Bristol, we were not sure where to go except somewhere along the coast. Then we decided to head to.. I can’t remember where.. But the Sat Nav stopped working mid-way through a narrow dark alley with no sign. What was worse, our iPhone battery were dead! Great! What a timing. This was when our instincts were put to test. Luckily we end up in some small town (Weston-Super-Mare) by the coast. It was practically dead at 1am. Found a Premier Inn and hoped they have a room to shelter us, two lost souls. Fully booked!! Why? It didn’t seem like the most interesting of towns to be. Oh well, what do we know. The receptionist was kind enough to let us charge our phones and wait in the lobby for a little while. They did sort of ask us to leave when my phone was charged to about 80% cause they had to clean the area. Okay. Never mind. We parked the car in some grassy open parking space and slept in the car. Yes, we slept in the car! Best thing was, we weren't the only one. There were about 3 people in their sleeping bags on the grass.

By morning, we found out why they were sleeping on the grass. There was some concert where Jessie-J will be there. The queue to the concert got longer and longer as the hours past. Well, all we wanted was to walk along the beach. Curiously, it was almost empty then we saw a danger sign that says ‘Sinking Mud’! First time to come across this on a beach. Better not walk too close to the sea then. We asked around for the best breakfast place and was recommended the award winning Dr Fox’s Tea Room (review post to come soon). 


BURNHAM-ON-SEA


Next stop! Again, somewhere along the coast was our plan. We found Burnham-on-sea on the map so we headed there. It seems like a nice place and we spent a few hours soaking up the sun on the beach. Just where we were parked was what looked like a quaint little Tea Room / Café called The Long Parlour (review post to come soon). We had an afternoon tea break there and was pleasantly surprised with it. The roast smelled really good but too bad we had a big breakfast and only wanted something light. The traditional Somerset tea came with scones with clotted cream and jam was really lovely. If I ever come back again, I am sure to try the appetising looking food too.


SIDMOUTH 

Later, we headed southwards. Sidmouth is a charming seaside town beneath the red cliffs. It is also on the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site. Besides its natural beauty, it is enchanting with its attractive independent shops, and the town itself exudes calmness. It is no wonder 60% of the residence are over 65 of age. A relaxing town perfect for retirees. Even though we are far from being 65, we still enjoyed its serenity and beauty. Dinner was in The Black Horse Pub (review post to come). 

Duke's Brew & Que | London

“Come, let’s go to this place with really good barbecue ribs! It’s almost always fully booked and packed with people.”


Unconscious of where I was heading to, we walked along what looks like a quiet residential area, minutes from Haggerston station. It was a converted pub that serves traditional deep-south American style barbecue. They use American wood smokers to smoke their meat. There is also a good selection of locally brewed beers that goes very well with the food served.



Since the ribs are the most famous here, we ordered the pork ribs. It had a dark sticky glaze and came served with refreshing home-made slaw, very finely sliced. The side order of fries was crisp and fluffy. The BBQ ribs reminded me of the coffee ribs I used to have in a restaurant back in Malaysia when I was a teenager. It was sticky and good, tender on some and over cooked on some. Apparently it was not as good as it used to be. Well, I must say that the ribs was although nice, it wasn't the best. I have had better ones. Depth of flavour was also lacking. I hope it was one of their off days as I have heard really good things about their ribs.

We also ordered a pulled pork slider which I found it dry and lack flavour. Pulled pork can be really wonderful if made well. Unfortunately, not this one.


A flight of 3 beers where each was a third of a pint was perfect to sample a few different beers for those of us who can’t decide which. We had the Sandford Orchards Devon Mist cider, Kernel Simcoe Pale Ale and Beavertown Smoked Porter. The porter was the best of all we tried. It had a chocolate and coffee hint which pairs really well with the ribs. I highly recommend ordering this porter if you are ordering the ribs.


Dessert of Peanut butter Chocolate Tart was hard and felt like eating a slab of butter with a slight peanut taste that just came straight out from the refrigerator. It is rare for me not to finish a dessert but this was really not my kind of dessert to end a decent meal. The vanilla ice cream with praline though, was good.



Smile..

Food was reasonably good, though I was a little disappointed from the rave review I received.
Great selection of beers. Generally a pleasant place for drinks and some nice food.

Frown..


It is recommended to not have the Peanut Butter Chocolate Tart.


Will I return?


Yes, more so for the beer and maybe to try that ribs again hoping it will be better.


Dukes Brew & Que

33 Downham Road
De Beauvoir Town
N1 5AA London, UK


Tel: +44 (0)20 3006 0795

Duke's Brew and Que on Urbanspoon
  

Kipferl | London

Tucked in Camden Passage is an Austrian coffee house serving authentic food, home made cakes and Viennese coffee. In a relaxing atmosphere, it is a lovely place for brunch or food all day. We found this coffee house one sunny Saturday morning and were charmed by it that we had brunch here. What a great way to start our day.

Breakfast


Fascinated with the colour contrast

Bacon and scrambled eggs was such a tasty breakfast with good bread, well cooked bacon and buttery scrambled eggs. Tomato was good though I prefer it more roasted. But that is just me being picky.

Soft boiled eggs were perfectly soft and runny

Apple strudel and cappuccino

All the food and service here were good but the only dissappointment was the Apple Strudel which we thought did not live up to the expectations of the popular Austrian pastry. Maybe it was one of their strudel off days.


Smile..

A good coffee house for a relaxing brunch with good food.

Frown..


The apple strudel can be better.

Will I return?


Only if I am in the area.


Kipferl

20 Camden Passage
N1 8ED London, UK

Tel: +44 (0)207 7041555

Kipferl on Urbanspoon
  

Arepa & Co. | London

image via Arepa & Co

Walk along the canal and finding independent cafe like this is always great. Who knows there is Venezuelan food tucked far in along the canal. They serve simple home made Venezuelan breakfast which was a good change to the typical English breakfast. They even play Latin tunes! What a way to brighten up my morning. I could imagine myself having these local breakfast while on holiday in Venezuela. Still day dreaming..


Menu

 Tequeños is a kind of cheese pastry served with sugar cane & tamarind sauce. The sauce had a very nice and unique taste to it. Very interesting.

Venezuelan breakfast with pancake and cornbread 


Okay the plates does not look the prettiest but hey, it is home cooked style breakfast afterall so they could get away with enamel plates. So long as they taste good, which it did. 


 Chicken, guacamole, cheddar and plantain. Yum!



Smile..

Good, simple, no-fuss food with Latin music playing in the background. They even serve fresh guava juice! This is enough to keep me coming here. 


Frown..

None.


Will I return?

Yes of course. Already did.



Arepa & Co.

58A De Beauvoir Crescent,
London N1 5SB, UK

Closest station: Haggerston (overground)


Arepa And Co on Urbanspoon

It's Durian Season!!

It's durian season! Lucky me. It has been years since I last had Malaysian durians. I think they are the best I've had. Thai durians just never cut it for me.

DURIAN, the king of tropical fruits

LOVE IT or HATE IT! It's never in between, the same concept for Marmite. The king of tropical fruit sure is unique. The shell of the fruit is hard and thorny, it needs skill and metal hands to open these bad boys. The smell itself is so potent, it could kill insects that fly by (joking). Although it being potent, I actually do quite like the smell. Once you pass that exterior, the fruit is yellow and soft, the texture can almost compare to those of ice cream. Yes, ice cream... so creamy.




I have a friend whose mum freezes the durian fruit when in season so his dear son (my friend) will get to eat his favourite fruit to his hearts content when he goes home to Malaysia during durian off season. I've tried one of his frozen durians and it was pretty good when it's defrosted in the fridge, with the flesh still cold. It definitely eats a lot more like ice cream.

If you are attempting to freeze them, make sure to wrap it in an air-tight container and a wrap with a few layers of cling film so the potent smell does not escape into your freezer and perfume all that is in the freezer.

 Empty durians!

Mangosteen

Rambutan

Durian stall is located on
Jalan Anson, Penang, Malaysia.
(only open during durian season, usually around June / July)