Rosti cottage pie with fresh Chorizo sausages, bacon, minced pork, fennel, curly kale and kidney

rosti pie topping

This is my attempt to do a cottage pie with lots of pork inside a pressure pan with a Rosti topping instead of mashed potatoes. I think it turned out pretty good despite the medley of ingredients – that’s what makes it work! :)

rosti cottage pie

You will need:

  • Rosti
  • Chorizo sausages
  • Minced pork
  • Fennel
  • Curly kale
  • Eggs
  • Flour
  • Whole pig kidney

frying rosti

I made the Rosti topping first. It’s a Swiss potato dish that comes out flat. It consists of sliced potatoes and herbs and you can make your own but we bought this packaged Rosti that had just enough to fill the pan.

rosti

I needed it to fill the pan coz it’s supposed to be a cottage pie – like a Shepard’s pie, the Rosti needed to cover all the ingredients underneath. I pan fried it until it was cooked and set it off to the side while I made the other ingredients in the pie.

bacon fryup

Next up was the bacon. I fried about 12 rashers of streaky bacon so I ended up with about 3 heaped tablespoons of fragrant pork oil.

bacon grease

Check it out! All this yield from just a dozen rashers of bacon. :)

chorizo sausages

The oil was used to fry up the fresh Chorizo sausages. I chose the fresh Chorizos as opposed to the cured sausage coz I didn’t want the flavorful sausages to overpower the taste of the pie.

fresh chorizo sausages

Plus, it was on special when we bought it so it cost just RM 31.57 for 4 sausages – about RM 8 per sausage (!!!). I also set these aside.

sliced fennel

Next, I cut up the fennel to small pieces and set it aside. I learned how to prepare fennel from a YouTube video and wanted to add it to the pie. Again, set this aside. I didn’t need to cook this so everything that needed to be cooked was given the heat treatment then set aside and the raw ingredients were just set to one side to be combined later in the cottage pie.

steamed kale

The curly kale was steamed while I was working on cooking the Chorizo sausages. Steamed kale is the best way to prepare it coz it retains all of it’s nutrients. It tastes delicious too!

kidney

I went on to cook the whole pig kidney. I didn’t slice it up or do anything fancy – it was just chucked into the frying pan with the remainder of the oil from the bacon fry up and then cooked for a bit.

broke spatula

It was a bit of a challenge to do this coz I forgot to take it out of the freezer and I actually broke a spatula while trying to fry it evenly!

pork mince

After replacing the spatula, I took about a pound of fresh minced pork and fried it. There was still bacon grease at this point! smirk

rosti pie ingredients

Now that I had everything I wanted to cook prepared and waiting set off and ready for the final combination. This is everything that goes into the Rosti cottage pie!

egg filling

I used four (4) eggs and beat them with some flour and baking powder…

raw milk

…before topping the mixture off with raw milk. This is an awesome find. It’s unpasteurized and non-homogenized milk. It’s supposed to be heated up before drinking (due to health concerns) but it tasted just fine from the bottle. Every bottle tastes different too coz there’s no homogenized treatment! I love this milk but it’s really *expensive* at about RM 9+ for 1 liter.

butter lined pan

I also used a long tube of butter and greased up the surface of the non-stick pressure fryer.

kidney pie

I then dumped everything except the vegetables into it – Chorizo sausages, bacon, minced pork, kidney.

meaty pie filling

The egg + fresh milk + flour + baking powder mixture was poured to cover all the meat inside.

setting pie

This was cooked for about 3 minutes and right before the egg mixture solidified, I put the pieces of sliced raw fennel into it.

fennel pie

I then closed the pressure pan again and let it cook until everything was done.

kale topping

The steamed curly kale was added on top and then the pressure pan closed so that it’ll retain the pie shape.

rosti topping

I left it for a couple of seconds before opening it again and sliding the cooked Rosti for the topping. It was left for another minute so the general shape of the cottage pie would be firm.

rosti pie serving

I served this just like a regular cottage pie. It tasted really good! The fresh Chorizo sausages and bacon added a lot of flavor to the pie. The minced pork filled it up and the generous bits of fennel and the curly kale topping made this into a full nutritious meal.

rosti pie

I think my Rosti cottage pie with fresh Chorizo sausages, bacon, minced pork, fennel, curly kale and kidney was quite awesome! My better half even ate more than her usual serving! :)

A trip to the SS2 wet market (pasar pagi)

wet market

I woke up really, really early during this long weekend coz I had always wanted to go to the wet market to shop for fresh produce with my dear but never could get myself to wake up in time. I’m glad I did coz going to the pasar pagi (morning market – don’t know why people here call it this) is fun! :)

fresh vegetables

The SS2 wet market is located at an intersecting lane and you’ll see a fair amount of vendors selling all sorts of stuff from chicken to vegetables (and everything in between). Pork butchers, fish mongers, they have it all!

fresh flower car

There’s even a car that’s filled with flowers – for sale!
(the fresh flowers, not the car, I presume)

fried dough

We got some piping hot yu tiaw (fried dough) to munch on while doing our weekly grocery shopping at the equivalent of the local market (instead of the supermarkets we usually go to).

yu tiaw

The deep fried dough is awesome when eaten straight out of the boiling oil! :)

bak chang

I also got two bak chang (glutinous rice dumplings) – the Dried Oyster Rice Dumpling has dried oysters, mushrooms, pork, salted egg, dried shrimp and chestnuts for RM 5.50 while the Salted Egg Rice Dumpling has all the above except for the dried oysters and with the addition of lintel / green bean for RM 4.50.

rice dumpling

It’s really good when we ate it later in the day. However, there is only 1 small oyster about the size of my index fingernail so I thought a RM 1 premium isn’t really justifiable. I wanted to try their Pillow Rice Dumpling too but it’s a 3 day order wait. This stall has been featured in the papers and for once it’s worth the hype! Highly recommended! :)

soy milk

My dear also bought this huge take away bag of soy milk for just RM 1. There’s about 1 liter of soy bean milk inside and the queue for this is insane – not because it’s good (it’s rather diluted) but coz you get a lot of bang for your buck.

live fish

We also looked at the fresh fish stalls – some of them had specimens that are still alive and kickin’ (or rather, swimming). smirk

fresh fish

I was interested in this huge eel that we later found out was called yellow conger eel. It’s RM 8 / kg.

eel

I bought two generously long slices for RM 9. We later cooked them three (3) ways and it was really good! I didn’t know it was an eel at first, I thought it was a fish. Ling insisted it was an eel and I still thought it was a fish so we Googled it and discovered my better half was *right* – it’s a seasonal eel!

kampong chicken

We also bought two chicken legs for RM 16.50 which I thought was a total rip off! It’s kampung chicken (free range chicken) and I was appalled that just one (1) chicken leg costs RM 8+. My dear told me the price range is about right. I’m used to supermarket chicken prices (the ones reared in stacked cages PETA types are always honking on about). Hot damn, that’s expensive!

I also found a vegetable which I thought was rather interesting so I got that and lotus root, which we haven’t cooked before. It made for a nice meal with the eel done 3 ways.

pork butcher

We also bought some pork ribs (to be cooked tonight!) before we headed to one of the food stalls located right inside SS2 wet market.

hakka curry mee

I had the Hakka Mee (RM 4) while she had the Curry Mee (RM 4). Mine had a bucket-load of MSG, which made it taste really nice. The owner/cook manning the stall is one grumpy lady though. I could tell she was slightly irritated when I ordered but for some reason or other, she didn’t take the piss out of me.

food stall

The woman who ordered after me was half of a middle-aged couple that just finished jogging and the owner raised her voice and was so rude to her that I wondered why they didn’t just walk away. We didn’t get the nasty treatment so I was thinking that this must be real good food for the other couple to take the abuse. The food wasn’t anything to write home about but it’s decent and cheap.

fresh coffee

It’s the coffee that really takes home the cake though – home brewed old style with muslin cloth sieves blackened after ages of filtering the coffee grounds and with a sheen of grease (from the frying of the coffee beans with butter, lard, margarine or ghee). It’s a perfect cuppa hot strong brewed coffee that kick started an awesome day of fun in the kitchen and quality time spent together during the long weekend.

us wet market

I’ll go to the local wet market again! The prices aren’t necessarily cheaper but the produce certainly is a lot fresher! :D

5 myths and facts about diesel

1. Diesels cars are sluggish

bosch

No one can be right all the time – not even the inventor of the diesel engine.

This is one of the most common preconceptions and I must admit, I had the same thoughts myself not too long ago. You see, all the vehicles you associate with diesel – commercial trucks, lorries and such typically comes with an image of a loud automobile spewing lots of smoke and getting in your way.

I was enlightened when I saw diesel cars in Australia, Singapore and Europe performing much better than their gasoline counterparts. In fact, during my trip to Germany, I realized that a lot of people actually preferred diesel cars!

mega tower carpark

The torque generated from a modern diesel engine is quite impressive, due to the intrinsic nature of diesel. It accelerates faster than petrol cars – you can feel this when you start from a red light or step on the accelerator to overtake. The power is greater than normal petrol (gasoline) cars, as I found to my delight during a BMW diesel car drive. A diesel engine generates about 50% more torque than a comparable gasoline engine

2. Diesels vehicles are expensive to run

This is not really true, especially when you take in all the factors. It’s especially not true in Malaysia! :)

Diesel: RM 1.80 / liter
RON 95 gasoline: RM 1.90 / liter

The government subsidizes diesel here so it actually costs lower when you compare it to RON 95 gasoline. That’s even truer when you acknowledge the fact that diesel engines are much more efficient than gasoline engines.

A diesel engine requires 30% less fuel than a comparable gasoline engine!

Combined with the savings per litre, this will translate to *truly amazing mileage* when you drive a diesel car – just ask anyone driving one! You’ll get better fuel economy by a more efficient engine.

3. Diesel cars are slow

The winners of the oldest and most well known sports car endurance racing event will beg to differ. Clean Diesel cars (equipped with Bosch diesel injection technology) have been the winners of 24 Hours of Le Mans for several consecutive years. Another diesel car won the 2008 Dakar Rally for the first time. Clean Diesel excels under the high demands of motor sports.

autobahn germany

Most German manufacturers have to voluntarily limit vehicles to 250 km/h though, which makes a lot of sense. You don’t want anyone to get carried away and drive in speeds in excess of that while feeling the powerful torque of a diesel engine.

4. Diesel cars are loud and smelly

This used to be true in old lorries and tug boats, which are a familiar scene in Malaysia. However, that has not been true for a long time. A modern diesel engines actually emit very little smoke. I was surprised to see how little when I drove a diesel BMW 3 series a couple of years ago.

dresden

It produces less smoke than a regular gasoline car!

In fact, the wind noise of the Audi R15 TDI is often louder than the diesel engine so it’s almost impossible to hear the change of gear by ear, like they used to.

The new environmental standards of Euro 4 and higher diesel has some surprising figures – a two-liter diesel engine would have to idle for 100 minutes before it generates as much fine particulates as one cigarette!

5. Diesel damages the environment

The new Euro 4 and even higher rated Euro 5 standards in diesel make this statement totally untrue. Of course, combustion engines of both the gasoline and diesel variety isn’t exactly compatible with the environment.

Bosch Clean Diesels emit about 25% less carbon dioxide (CO2) than a comparable gasoline engine.

Compared with a typical diesel engine from the 1990’s – Clean Diesel’s emissions are more than 96% lower! It can meet the most stringent emission legislation worldwide, including in European countries like Germany!

clean diesel

Bosch Clean Diesel has a really good chart that shows the total carbon footprint for a diesel car is actually on the same carbon footprint level as an electric vehicle. This is coz there’s a lot of factors to consider when calculating carbon footprint e.g. the production of electricity.

ecological footprint

A lot of people have understandable misconceptions about the diesel engine due to the lorries and trucks still operating from 20 years ago. However, a lot has changed since then. Malaysia is planning to switch to Euro 4 diesel (it is currently Euro 2) and with the free trade agreement kicking into place in 2015, it would be to Malaysia’s best interest to do it before then.

Singapore will have Euro 5 by then and Thailand will have already adopted Euro 4 and with Malaysia sandwiched in the middle, changing to the more environmentally friendly Euro 4 for compliance by then would seem very likely.

dresden serene

Interesting fact: More than 50% of new cars sold in Europe are diesel cars!

berlin germany

For the end consumer, like you and me, getting a diesel vehicle is actually a pretty good choice due to the advantages it has over the gasoline engine. With electric vehicles realistically several decades away for all the infrastructure to make it possible to operate, the diesel engine is a pretty good bet. Find out more and get fun & interesting facts about Clean Diesel at the Bosch Malaysia Facebook page!

What is Project C? The Kia Cerato Malaysian launch!

cilantro

There was a lot of videos a while back where people guessed at what Project C is. I was thinking coffee or cilantro (the herb known as coriander). It’s quite an interesting shrub as all parts of the plant is edible. That’s innovation in nature!

project c

Interesting fact: 61,000 people visited the “What is Project C” website! 1 person won and walked away with a brand new Kia Cerato.

cerato launch malaysia

The Kia Cerato was just recently launched in Malaysia. It also shares some of the features – everything is innovative (was surprised at some of the nifty features of the car myself) except you can’t eat it. That’s what Project C is about. It’s the launch of the latest and greatest new car from Naza Kia Malaysia! A new benchmark for a sedan in Malaysia.

The Cerato was unveiled to the public with two variants – a 1.6 and 2.0 model (the latter comes with a sunroof and a 4.2-inch full-color TFT-LCD, amongst other features). Motor-driven power steering comes as standard with three settings – Comfort, Normal and Sport with audio and hands-free functionality.

kia cerato

On the aesthetics side, the Kia Cerato looks really awesome – there’s a “Tiger Nose” radiator grill that makes the front looks very aggressive. The projection-type lenses and LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL) makes for optimal visibility and also adds to the “cool factor”. The Smart Welcoming Light feature senses when you’re near the car (from the Smart Key) and automatically lights it up with puddle lamps and pocket lights on the door handle!

There’s also Push Start ignition, Bluetooth connectivity, a 4.3” touch screen TFT-LCD with rear camera display and a smooth 10-way power driver seat with memory functionality so you can adjust the seat to exactly the comfort settings that you want! :)

kia cerato features

Dual-zone auto air-conditioning with built in cluster ionizer, rear air vent, glove box cooling (so you can keep drinks and chocolate bars cool inside), front and rear parking assist system and an auto-defog capability that is automatically initiated when sensors detect misty conditions rounds up the standard package. That’s an awesome default package!

On the engineering side, the Kia Gamma 1.6 MPI D-CVVT engine produces 130 PS and 157 Nm of torque while the Kia 2.0 NuD-CVVT engine produces 161 PS and 194 Nm of torque, all mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with a sporty A/T knob. The fuel consumption of the Cerato on a combined cycle is just 14.7 km per liter with an environmentally friendly CO2 emission of 160g per kilometer!

I’ll show you two of the features that impressed me the most: A highly feature-packed sedan!

Air-ventilated driver’s seat

air con seats

Yup, I’m not kidding! The driver’s seat is actually ventilated so you won’t have your shirt sticking to your back on hot, sunny days. I find this a nice, innovative touch. It’s all about the little things that adds to comfort. Air-conditioned seats!

I figured the driver ought to have this since he/she is doing the hard work. ;)

Smart Welcoming Light

puddle lights

The Puddle Lamp is part of the Smart Welcoming Light feature. It automatically detects when you’re near the car via the Smart Key and activates the light. It’s not only a security feature but a practical one as well. Having the floor near your car well light and the door handle illuminated makes for a feature that’s not just innovative, but cool!

The Cerato has five-star ratings in safety for NHTSA safety tests in the United States and it was chosen as the Top Safety Picks of 2013 by IIHS.

kia cerato launch

This is truly an innovative car. The Kia Cerato 1.6 is priced (OTR) at RM 99,888 while the Cerato 2.0 goes for RM 118,888. That’s not only auspiciously priced, but very reasonable considering the features that it has. It also comes with a five-year unlimited mileage warranty!

This is innovation!

Pasar Ramadan Shah Alam – briyani gam, Roti John and enforcement officers!

pasar ramadan shah alam

The Pasar Ramadan in Stadium Shah Alam is reportedly the biggest food bazaar in Malaysia. It opens once a year during the holy month (for Muslims) of Ramadan with various vendors from established shops to home cooks offering all sorts of delicious fare for people to buy and eat when they break their fast.

honey spice chicken

There’s a big stall with lots of BBQ chicken on spits turning over a charcoal fire offering just one item – ayam golek.

ayam golek

Ayam golek basically translates to “spun chicken” (I think) – and this particular stall sells it for RM 19 per chicken or RM 10 for half. The chicken is marinated in madu (honey) and rempah (spices) and it’s one of the most popular stalls there. It tastes really good!

john bread

Roti John stalls are also very popular. It’s basically a long loaf of bread stuffed with various ingredients – anything from beef to seafood.

making roti john

I found one called Papa John with a fearsome queue – the Roti John is done up like an assembly line with a cook at the back and the French loaf sized sandwiches were flying off the table as soon as they got there.

roti john

We got the aptly named Extravaganza for RM 8. The regular ones are half the price but this contains generous slices of oblong burgers in addition to the minced meat (you can choose chicken or beef) that comes with the normal ones. It’s made a lot like a large Ramly burger.

briyani gam batu pahat

Nasi Briyani Gam are also very popular with lots of stalls selling this special that hails from Batu Pahat, Johor. It’s a type of spiced rice that’s strained with a muslin cloth and served with chicken, lamb or beef. The kambing (lamb) is the best and goes for RM 8.

pasar ramadan saman

Funny thing about this stall is that it has no licence and *enforcement officers* were there giving them the good news. smirk

enforcement officers

These enforcement officers roam around the bazaar to look for infractions – you need a special monthly (Ramadan lasts for a month) license in order to set up shop. This one didn’t have the proper license and I heard them negotiating with the enforcement officers, who fined them. It’s still one of the most popular ones though so I bought mine there…while the enforcement officers were writing the ticket. I reckon they’ll need the additional business. ;)

murtabak singapore

There’s also a stall selling durian crepes and Murtabak Singapore (a type of filled roti canai). It’s RM 10 for 6 pillows and it tasted really good. It’s supposed to be made with D24 durians.

durian crepes

It didn’t even last the trip home, we ate the last ones in the car. It’s supposed to be kept cold and it’s yummy when eaten chilled.

fresh dates

I also bought some fresh dates on a branch (quite expensive though) on a specialty date store that also sells various Iranian dates.

smoked duck

There’s also a stall that sells smoked duck – lots of the birds were hanging from a hook.

chicken percik

Ayam percik is another seasonal must have and my dear got a skewer for RM 3.50.

ayam percik

It’s marinated and chicken grilled over a charcoal fire with a unique sauce but it tasted horrible coz one side was burnt. I chose that one coz I thought it’ll impart some nice caramelization (like our honey spiced chicken) but it ended up being tough and bitter instead.

burung goreng

I did like the deep fried quail though.

fried quail

The deep fried quail is simply called called burung goreng (fried bird) and just cost RM 4.50 for an *entire quail*! It’s small but delicious, if you like quail meat and it’s served with spices too.

itek mandi minkak panas

The other good buy we made was at the stall that sells itik mandi minyak panas (duck bathing in hot oil). It’s apparently very famous – they had a bunch of articles in papers featuring the duck. The duck cost RM 38 each, which is about right (ducks cost about twice that of chicken) but we had bought so much stuff that we couldn’t even manage half. The man was kind enough to sell us a quarter (chose the duck leg portion) for RM 10.

oil bathed duck

I thought duck bathing in hot oil is a really funny and quirky name too and the guy manning the counter was very educated and spoke English with an Oxford accent!

egg chicken

There are ready made meals too but we didn’t buy those coz we already had a nasi briyani gam kambing.

sea coconut

Of course, being Ramadan, drinks are big at the bazaar too (since the fasting Muslims do this month includes not drinking during daylight hours). Sea coconut drinks are popular as well as the ubiquitous cendol.

cendol tapai

I couldn’t resist this cendol stall that sells the shaved ice with palm sugar concoctions by the jug. There’s various toppings you can make too – tapai (fermented rice), pulut (glutinous rice) and durian.

cendol jugs

One jug of ice cold cendol costs RM 6 with a topping (went with glutinous rice coz they ran out of fermented rice). I loved it! We got it in a huge plastic bag to go and I drank it for the next 24 hours. :D

my john

There was a massive traffic jam going back coz of all the people rushing back to break fast so we ended up eating the Roti John in the car in anticipation of the long drive.

feast

We had a veritable feast when we got back! My dear promptly got food poisoning though and had to sit on the toilet a couple of hours after that. I was fine though, it’s the luck of the draw I guess, some of the food has been sitting there for hours.

huge cendol

Pasar Ramadan Stadium Shah Alam is very congested starting from 6 pm onwards and it opens at 3-4 pm. I still love going there though – it’s always very interesting to get different dishes to go at the food bazaar to eat at home. I spent a lot there coz I didn’t realize how the little things would all add up!

whole grilled lamb

There are no seating arrangements and people don’t eat there coz it’s still fasting time but there’s such a lot of delicious things on offer that you’re bound to get more than you can eat. :)

Redeem your first flight to exotic locations!

siem reap

Siem Reap

phuket

Phuket

patpong

Bangkok

club med bali

Bali

…and many other places just by signing up! It’s a proper card for travelers! :D

boat

You have credit cards for gas, food and other dedicated stuff. There’s even dedicated cards for travelers but usually they don’t go across the board in airlines e.g. they’re fixed to a particular airline. Travelers like me like the flexibility to choose so this one is perfect for me.

The thing that really piqued my interest is the ability for you to convert your points to various airlines!

(actually, that wasn’t the first thing that caught my eye – it was the name in the sample credit card – the generic name they used is my brother-in-law’s name)

standard chartered worldmiles

The Standard Chartered WorldMiles card earns you 1 WorldMiles Point for every RM 3 local retail purchase or RM 2 overseas retail purchase. You can then convert the points on a 1:1 basis with three different frequent flyer loyalty miles/points (of which I own all three, amongst other frequent flyer cards).

1 WorldMiles Point can be converted to:

  • 1 Malaysia Airines Enrich Mile
  • 1 Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Mile
  • 1 AirAsia BIG Point

This is the ultimate selling point for me. I honestly got so excited that I want to make this my regular primary credit card.

kuta bali

As you all know, I travel quite a bit. It’s a hobby of mine. I’ll go so far as to say it’s my lifestyle. Thus, having a credit card that allows me to earn points for holidays and vacations and even convert those points to an airline of my choice is an *irresistible* attraction.

There’s even a 15% discount on Asiatravel hotel and land packages!

You use your credit card for large purchases, grocery shopping and bills anyway, so why not be rewarded while you’re at it? The best thing about the Standard Chartered WorldMiles card is that you get 25,000 BIG Welcome Miles instantly!

beach

You’ll need to sign up to the AirAsia BIG Loyalty Programme (it’s their frequent flyer miles card) and once you have a BIG account, you’ll get 25,000 BIG Welcome Miles credited within 5 working days upon approval of your credit card application. It takes less than 5 minutes to sign up for a BIG account.

I agree, this is really, the credit card that takes you to more places, more frequently! It’s good when your credit card gives you more holidays indeed.

bali

You can use the complimentary 25,000 BIG Welcome Miles to redeem AirAsia flights to Melbourne, Kathmandu, Seoul, Hong Kong, and many more. Thus, your first flight could very well be redeemed!

The 25,000 BIG Welcome Point promotion runs until 31st December 2013 but it’s good if you can get the credit card earlier so you can use the points on the various AirAsia promotional periods since the prices of tickets can fluctuate. I reckon you might as well keep it there for use when you’re planning a holiday!

kayaking

You’ll definitely see me using this card as my primary credit card. I just love to travel and for all the cards I’ve seen, this is the best one for travelers! The promotion is only open to new card applications so I’m going to go for it. Sign up for the Standard Chartered WorldMiles card here. I know I just came back from a holiday, but I want to go for another one.

You can never be too rich, too thin, or have too many vacations. ;)

Preparing fennel, cooking kale and an all-fruit Cape gooseberry, avocado, date and apricot wrap!

fennel

We got a nice bulb of fennel while grocery shopping during the weekend. It was primarily due to the placecard they had – it sounded good so I bought it. It’s not the cheapest thing at RM 31.90/kg and my love is so good that she knew the fennel I was holding would be around RM 6 before I went to the weighing machine.

fennel price

It turned out to be RM 6.76 but close enough for government work! smirk

I like this vegetable – I had to watch a YouTube video to know how to properly cut it (there’s a bit of root inside that requires a wedge cut with a sharp knife) and I gave it to Ling raw to see if she liked it for my next cooking experiment.

cleaning fennel

It tastes like liqorice, you know, the black candy that’s sold in a long string. It’s due to the strong aniseed flavor, which can be quite intense when eaten raw but goes away when you cook it.

kale

The bunch of curly kale is a US import and quite expensive at RM 52.49/kg. The two stalks we got cost RM 20 and it felt pretty light to me. Kale and fennel are things we haven’t tried before so I wanted to cook it.

curly kale

It was done two ways – I already knew I wanted to steam mine but my dear stir fried hers with some shallots and oyster sauce and I must say, it tasted really good! This kale in this dish alone costs RM 10 though but well worth it.

stir fried kale

Back to the fennel, I wanted to add it into this new all-fruit wrap that I did for breakfast but I totally forgot about it. It was still an interesting experiment though.

fruit wrap

You will need:

  • Natural dates with branches
  • Avocado
  • Nutella
  • Apricots
  • Tortilla wraps
  • Cape gooseberry (known here as Physalis)

apricot avocado dates wrap

The interesting bit about this all-fruit wrap is that everything except for the Cape gooseberry can be split in half and has a seed inside – the avocado, the apricot, and the dates.

avocado

I like eating good dates – these are Tunisian ones still on the branches, semi-dry and premium ones sold under the “Black Amber” label.

dates on branches

I basically put the avocado (with bites taken out of it coz we were hungry) on first and then added the apricots and dates.

fresh apricots

All of these are split in half by hand and the pit thrown away. I just arranged the halves of the respective fruits on the tortilla wrap.

physalis

The Cape gooseberry is sprinkled down the middle for an acidic, citrus-y bite. I’ve seen a lot of high end Japanese bakeries use this as a decoration and the shroud (the leaf like things on the side) is *not edible*. I wonder what the people eating those pastries whole would feel like. Heh.

Physalis (which is what Cape gooseberry is marketed as here) is a nice berry though – it’s yellow and the larger it is, the sweeter it becomes.

cape gooseberry

I finished off the wrap by putting a bit of Nutella on top of the avocado (it tastes great together) before chilling it in the fridge for 5 minutes and wrapping it up.

The dates provides the saccharine sweetness, with the apricots bringing it’s own mild nectarine fructose into the mix, and the avocado gives off a smooth mouth-feel with the Cape gooseberries there for a sour bite.

avocado nutella wrap

I can’t say it’s a successful wrap coz there’s not enough “moisture” inside – I think adding yoghurt would do wonders for it. It’s still a nice experiment even though I totally forgot about the fennel.

I used all of it for a nice cottage pie, as well as my version of the kale – coming up in the next post! :)

The first headphones-only event in Malaysia

french house kl

I was at Maison Francaise a couple of days ago for a launch. The restaurant, literally translated, means “French House”. It’s located on Embassy Row and serves pretty decent Black Angus Carpaccio – thin slices of marbled beef topped with slivers of cheese and finely diced tomatoes.

black angus carpaccio

Oh, and they had really good organic pumpkin juice too but that was not the reason I was there.

headphones

The MICHELIN Primacy 3 ST Media Launch in Malaysia was the first to incorporate the use of headphones for the entire event. I was quite puzzled when I walked into the dark room and was handed a pair of noise-cancelling headsets with blinking LEDs.

headphones only

I was given a short primer on how to turn it on and adjust the volume and set down for the presentation.

michelin primacy media launch

The headphones are meant to illustrate the “ST” bit of MICHELIN Primacy 3 ST – the Silence Tuned part. These new types has a unique tread pattern that makes it run much more silently than all its competitors and the headphones used for the entire duration of the launch is a great idea to showcase this.

headphones wearing crowd

It was such a great idea that when I recorded a video of the interviews done with limo drivers who had gotten an advance set of these tyres, I didn’t realize that I could hear it coz I was on headphones but the rest of the room is silent.

I present to you this video I took. Haha! Apart from the occasional coughs and clearing of throats, the entire room was silent – coz everyone was on headphones. I was on them too and though it was recording as usual, not realizing that there isn’t any sound from the room at all. No worries though, it has subtitles coz the people were speaking dialects like Hokkien. ;)

headphones only event

The MICHELIN Primacy 3 ST tyres have several advanced features that provides you with silence, comfort and safety:

EvenPeak Technology
Gives you a ride 8% quieter than average of competitors with a greater variation in the size and position of the tread blocks, the noise power is spread across a wider frequency range, making no peaks of noise power.

CushionGuard Technology
Keeps the ride smooth, steady and comfortable. Cushion vibrations when the tread blocks contact the road surface using supple FlexMax compounds and absorbs bumps in the road using shock absorbent sidewalls.

michelin media launch

FlexMax Technology
With FlexMax technology, the tread adapts to the irregularities of the road surface for better connection and grip. FlexMax chamfer prevents the tread block from distorting and losing contact pressure under the centre of tread blocks, ensuring maximum rubber contact with the road when needed most.

StabiliGrip Technology
StabiliGrip technology uses self-locking bands inside the small grooves to minimise tread block deformation, improving handling and cut through water in the wet.

michelin primacy3 launch

MICHELIN Total Performance
At MICHELIN, we don’t just improve tyre performance one aspect at a time, but deliver all performance factors together. This means that you’ll experience the silence, comfort and safety of MICHELIN Primacy 3 ST tyres, whilst also enjoying 25% better longevity.

Yup, all the new performance enhancements comes with no degradation of longevity – in fact, it provides 25% longer lasting tyres when compared to the previous iterations. These are not tests done somewhere in Europe, which can cast doubts on their functionality here, but actually done on drives inside Malaysia!

michelin primacy 3 st

The Stabiligrip and FlexMax technology combines to achieve a 1.6 meter shorter braking distance in wet conditions compared to its predecessor and a staggering 2.9 meters compared to the average of leading competitors!

As drivers, I’m sure you all can fully understand the significance of even a single meter – it is a very practical and useful feature which you might thank the heavens for someday.

michelin primacy 3

On to less morbid topics, the new MICHELIN Primacy 3 ST is available in 16” to 19” sizes in Malaysia and distributed at all TYREPLUS and Michelin authorized dealers nationwide. It’s priced from RM 480 onwards.

maison francaise

Surf on over to the MICHELIN Primacy 3 ST site for more videos on how their technology works or Like the MICHELIN Facebook page and see photos from the unique launch event! :)

Herb marinated thigh with grilled Portobello mushroom, okra and chicken couscous

This is a completely home cooked meal that we made from scratch *together*! :)

chicken couscous rice

Of course, we didn’t rear the chickens, plant the mushrooms or made the couscous but other than that, everything was done properly and it turned out to be a wonderful meal! I wanted her to have a good impression of couscous since I like it so we made that with chicken essence from cooking the chicken!

couscous chicken

You will need:

  • Chicken leg/quarter – drum and thigh (one per person)
  • Herbs (fresh is better)
  • Portobello mushrooms
  • Fresh milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • Okra
  • Couscous

I didn’t take the traditional photo coz some things were done on the fly. I also decided against using the OXO Chicken Cubes and went with the flavorful chicken goodness that the pressure pan cooker produced.

chicken

The chicken leg (cut that includes the drum and thigh) were selected very carefully – my dear choose two of the best on offer, with a larger one for me. Strangely enough, this cut is called Chicken Maryland in some places, but for me, that is a dish, not a quarter cut of chicken.

marinated chicken

It was then marinated with a variety of herbs and spices for a full 24 hours while wrapped in an air-tight bag inside the refrigerator.

frying chicken

The chicken was then taken out of the bag and then fried with a bit of oil inside a pressure pan. The bits of garlic and lemon used to marinate the chicken is also fried alongside but save a bit of the juices for the end.

grilled chicken

The pressure pan was then closed and the chicken allowed to cook for 30 minutes with a turnover at the middle. That’s her part, cooking the chicken. I did the much easier couscous and BBQ mushrooms. ;)

chicken essence

I bought store-brand Tesco couscous. I wanted to go for the whole wheat version but at her suggestion went with this instead. You’re supposed to add 1.5 parts of water to 1 part of couscous.

cooking couscous

However, I decided to use 1 part water and the remaining 0.5 parts were composed of an equal mixture of fresh milk (which I find makes couscous taste better) and the sauces from the pressure cooked chicken.

couscous

I cooked the couscous and let it stand for 5 minutes before fluffing it out to individual grains using a fork. It turned out fine except for a little caramelization at the bottom, which was discarded.

Oh, and we also blanched some okra (lady fingers) in hot water and ate most of it before leaving two (2) each for the dinner plates. smirk

portabello mushroom

The Portobello mushrooms are the huge teacup sized ones that cost RM 4-5 each and should only be cooked for a minute or so to retain the awesome juiciness of these flavor absorbing beauties.

grilling mushrooms

The couscous was infused with the natural flavor of chicken derived from the juices during pressure cooking and tastes absolutely wonderful! It’s a bit like chicken rice, except it’s couscous.

xx hot peri peri

I didn’t think the dish needed any other flavoring but put in some Nando’s XX-hot Peri-Peri Sauce anyway. I reckon our version tastes better than Nando’s any day! :p

chicken couscous

It was an awesome collaboration in the kitchen that resulted in a delicious dinner!

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