Thursday, 20 September 2012

durian profiteroles

Ho ho ho, even the durian gets to rear its smelly head in my blog.


I am limited to non-cake baking for foolishly forgetting to bring my cake rings with me back home. Despite the passable coffee and praline eclairs I made a while back, I am still slightly apprehensive with choux pastry thanks to the monster incident during my Basic Patisserie exam. So it was with bated breath that I watched these little fellows grow in a new strange oven. Happily, they puffed up nicely with their trademark cabbage wrinkles and were wonderfully spaced so they didn't impinge on their neighbour either, just.

The durian creme filling was made by dropping chunks of soft (!) durian flesh into a thick, added 20g more yolk than usual, creme patisserie after its knocking-back session on the electric mixer. This is a very plain profiterole. I could find no fondant here and I thought of dressing it up with a crown of salted spun sugar (we eat the durian with salty rice here) but it was just too humid and I got very sticky with melted sugar.

I used a lot of vanilla in the creme too. Vanilla and durian are good together. We always buy kampung durians ay home, and sometimes get a gem of a durian whose flesh is sweet and vanilla-y. Durian consumers will understand =P.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Singapore trip

Having begun, I may well add a little more on the subject of Singapore.

My bf and I arrived at the literally named Budget Terminal at Changi Airport on the dawn of the 55th Merdeka Day (Malaysian Independence Day). We spent the day pottering about Harbour Front and Sentosa Island before returning to the mainland for the evening. There, we were joined by the loveliest couple for dinner at Maxwell's hawker centre, followed by a stroll around Chinatown and Clarke Quay. The next day was spent with the same pleasant company; we tramped all around Marina Bay and tandemed along the beach front at East Coast park. It was a sorry moment when, 10 min of musing's worth after our parting, it all came tumbling down upon me that it would be the last time I would see my friend before she began her life with her fiance.

Please pray for their upcoming nuptials and may God bless them with a long and blissful life together.

Below are a few other photos taken during my brief sojourn:

look at bee number 2 landing

gloomy day at Sentosa Island and the only beach lifeform I could find

Here is some of the food we had. First is a pretty standard ice kacang with an interesting green tea jelly on top. The strange white coloured discs are kuih tutu (my first encounter with them). They may be had plain, with a peanut, or with a coconut filling. It took but a moment to make them- some type of flour was pressed into a shallow kuih tutu mould and the resulting mound flipped out onto some fabric and steamed for 2 minutes before being transferred to a slip of banana leaf. Next to it are some oyster fritters (?) purchased at Maxwell's foodcourt. Despite it featuring in a newspaper cutting, this turned out to be rather disappointing and oily mouthful. Beside that is the reason for my wanting to plod to Maxwell's: fish head beehoon. Pity I didn't also get to try the reknowned Tian Tian Hainanese chicken rice. Last is a good old popiah, the mankuang filling nicely softened and laced with a wonderful chilli sauce.

Sunday, 9 September 2012


Since a wonderful trip to Singapore where I enjoyed a blissful kopitiam breakfast of kaya toast and soft boiled eggs at one of many Ya Kun Kaya Toast coffeestalls, I have been imbibed with a vague yearning to make my own kaya. A prodding from my bf expounding the joys of this satisfying fare later and I set to work in the kitchen. The highly acclaimed kaya recipe from my mum's guardian turned out too sweet with a very sticky texture, as did another recipe apparently used in an actual kopitiam. Finally, it was a recipe off the internet that produced the desired taste and texture: not too sweet, smooth, the good taste of santan and the fragrance of pandan (also known as screwpine leaves).

Some people quite like having lumpy bits in their kaya- it seems more authentically homemade, I guess. Myself, I prefer the silky smooth versions of this coconut custard. So, similar to the making of curds, I strained my eggs of the nasty egg white strands and cooked my kaya over a hot water (bubbling water in fact) bath, stirring continuously with a whisk. Possibly you don't need to use a whisk, as my father maintains in the old days they just used chopsticks for the stirring, but I rather not risk letting half and hour's work go into producing chunky kaya. I emphasize, half an hour's work and not a laborious hour and a half often moaned about. It doesn't take long. However, bear in mind that my water was at a rolling boil and I was using a whisk to compensate (I had to wear oven mitts to keep splash burns to a minimum)! The result is wonderful and lump-free.

The original recipe calls for 10 eggs, 400g castor sugar and the coconut milk of 2 coconut milk. This is all rather loose measurements, especially the coconut milk, so I've measured it all out. I also halved the recipe- this amount makes enough to fill a standard jam jar. No need to blend the pandan leaves and squeeze out the juices either, just drop the leaves in with everything else and it does the job, imparting good fragrance and also coloring the kaya a murky green.

KAYA (for 1* 350ml bottle)
250g beaten and strained eggs
200g castor sugar

175g coconut milk
2 pandan (screwpine) leaves

  • Wash and cut the pandan leaves into two. Cutting gives them a nice edge which holds better than when they are torn, otherwise bits of the leaves will fray during the whisking leaving you with bitty pieces of pandan in the kaya.
  • Stir the beaten and strained eggs (250g is the weight of the eggs after the straining), castor sugar and pandan leaves over a hot bath (rolling boil) with a whisk until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Stir in the coconut milk.
  • Continue stirring with the whisk until the kaya reaches a slightly-runnier-than-lava consistency, around half an hour. At the point at which the pandan leaves looks like it is about to begin disintegrating, discard them.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

omnomnom@Reunion, Bangsar Village

This is an apt-sounding restaurant to celebrate the first full day my bf spent in Malaysia following his safe arrival late the night before. XD

Reunion's claim to popularity is largely due to its offerings of Hokkien mee, siew yok and, to a lesser extent, char siew. As 'street food,' Hokkien mee (referring to the fried noodles in dark sauce here) rarely finds its way to restaurants, much less in as good a rendition as found at Reunion. Naturally all three featured on our menu that night, an explicit request being placed beforehand to ensure that a serving of the siew yok be reserved for us. It was a good thing too for even as our orders were placed, we heard the doleful sigh from a neighbouring table on learning that the kitchen was out of siew yok.

The dinner started well. We were promptly led to our table in a room reminiscent of open air coffee shops, what with the white tilings, though clearly of a more refined nature. Lovely private tables on the other side of the restaurant are available, sans this nostalgic feel, but such was not our draw. Following the placement of our orders, a side nibble of boiled peanuts and pickled lotus slices were placed in front of us. The peanuts were lovely and soft, swollen to gargentuous proportions, but I found the lotus a little too acidic from my liking.

Sadly, service then took a severe dip. A call had to be made for more teacups (only half the table had been provided them despite the order of tea for all) and once more on discovering one of the clear glass cups was cracked. Happily, 15 min later, the siew yok and char siew arrived. However, to the hunger diners, the lack of rice to accompany this side dish was rather aggravating. Several reminders later and we remained riceless. Even a firm stomp up to the front desk and complaint later, still no rice appeared. Tempers were well frayed by then and two of our diners had practically risen to their feet in indignation before the rice finally arrived, cold. The rice came 15-20 min after the meat and it was cold! It had clearly been sitting around since the pork was served, just never brought to us.

After that, the food leisurely trickled in. Chinese meal standards, it felt rather a long drawn meal, as we had no more than 1 or 2 side dishes at any one time due to their staggered arrival (except at the end of the meal when satiation had been reached).

Anyway, on a more pleasant subject: the food. Besides the three already mentioned, our order included: steamed tofu in two styles, steamed Patin with minced ginger and spring onions, stir fried kangkong with belachan, and bittergourd omelette. The vegetables are standard fare, I like that the bitter gourd was sliced fairly thin, but they weren't outstanding. It felt like good home cooking. I guess the same applies for the fish, even though for me, having been deprived of tropical fish for such a long long time, its wonderfully smooth flesh was rapture. The steamed tofu was good in an unexpected sort of way: it was more egg than tofu, and wonderfully delicate steamed egg at that. Lastly, the notorious fried Hokkien mee. It was good! The noodles weren't overly gummy or sticky while still nicely coated in a lovely thick sauce, and it came complete with pork liver, fried cubes of pork fat, and sambal belachan.

The food was excellent and comparable to true kopitiam grub, just set in more comfortable surroundings but with service (perhaps only for today, perhaps only for us) enough to have you reeling.