This is the best dish I’ve cooked to date! The chicken breast is really *poached* i.e. it’s cooked in ambient hot water with no direct heat for 20 minutes. I learned this technique in a MasterClass and it’s an exact replication of that dish.
It’s quite a simple dish but the trick to cooking it is the perfect poaching of the chicken. The way to do it is to season a pot of water with garlic scapes, rosemary and salt and let it boil.
I used garlic scapes (also known as garlic flower) to flavor the broth coz it tastes milder than garlic. It costs a lot more though at RM 19.90 / kg.
When the water has started boiling, take the pot off the flame/electric hob/heating element and slide in the crown of chicken breast. Set a timer for 20 minutes and put the lid back on. You do not need direct heat to cook this – just the residual heat from the boiled stock.
Meanwhile, I exchanged the vegetable puree that was in the original dish with a beetroot and nectarine puree. I also used raw goat milk while processing the puree. I felt that the colors look nice, and more importantly, it tasted awesome!
The sweetness of the nectarine balances out the beetroot and you get a nice red puree for plating.
The crown of chicken breast should be taken out right at the 20 minute point, skin removed, and sliced into the two breast meat that it contains. I further made three cuts to each chicken breast be faithful to the dish replication.
The last step is to grind up some nuts or cereal and scatter it on the top of the plated chicken. It looks beautiful (if I can say so myself) and best of all, it tastes great!
I’ve never tried indirect heat cooking and got it right at the first try. The beetroot and nectarine puree is smothered over the plate before the chicken breast is plated for the dish to pop (yes, you can roll your eyes right about now ) but the sweet puree was so good we ate it in other dishes too, like the king grouper in fish pastry shells.
My dear better half finished her dish and it was good to be able to do a restaurant quality dish from just watching a show. Haha! I’m putting this into Best of sixthseal.com – a category which I put very few of my posts into. :D
I went to the Phuket Shooting Range yesterday to get some range time in. I haven’t shot a firearm since my initial foray with a .357 Magnum revolver, 9 mm and .45 caliber semi-automatic handguns while I was studying in Melbourne.
I went quite often after that and got a license to own but I heard it’s a perishable skill – if you don’t practice often, you won’t hit the nice grouping you used to be able to do when you went every other weekend. I also…er, examined an Steyr M9 pistol while I was in Malaysia but I wasn’t interested in handguns this time and wanted to shoot a rifle instead.
Phuket Shooting Range had a great package for a .22 caliber long rifle with sights for just THB 890 (about RM 90) for 10 bullets. You can get a semi-automatic or fully automatic (!!!) rifle with a scope for indoor shooting and I was sorely tempted to do this but unfortunately I only had 15 minutes since the girls wanted to go catch the sunset.
Thus, I settled on clay pigeon shooting. It’s a package with 10 shotgun shells for THB 1,190 (about RM 120). I honestly don’t know if this is skeet shooting, trap shooting or sporting clays since the Phuket Shooting Range is huge and I was at a station with clay pigeons flying from two different directions and angles.
The registration process was incredibly lax – I didn’t need to hand over my passport or even prove that I am who I say I am. I just wrote my name on a piece of paper – I didn’t even sign it! You can get a variety of semi-automatic handguns from .38 caliber revolvers to shotguns and there’s even a full outdoor tactical range.
I’ve never been clay pigeon shooting before. I did see President Obama (purportedly) skeet shooting in that well-publicized White House propaganda photo as he made more restrictions to gun laws in the US though. I do know shotguns since I grew up in Sarawak (locals are allowed to own shotguns) but this is a special skeet shooting double-barreled Over And Under design (O/U) that I’ve never used before.
The skeet shooting shells are 24 gr 7 ½ inch 70mm meant for competition – the Olympics uses the same shotgun shells. I was given a short primer () on how to follow the arcs with my shotgun and shoot. The orange clay pigeons came from two directions – a bit like trap/skeet shooting in just one station.
I pressed my cheek against the stock of the shotgun, rested it against my shoulder and waited for the recoil that I thought would hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt nothing at all! There’s barely any recoil from this break open Over And Under (two barrels stacked vertically) shotgun with this particular shell.
However, I found that tracking the clay pigeons (which is automatically thrown into the air from two stations – you’re supposed to track, lead and shoot it, breaking the discs) was harder than I thought. I wasn’t very comfortable with the shotgun – I wanted to have a front pistol grip, which is absurd, that’s something for tactical use, but it would be much more comfortable. :)
Full video of me skeet shooting!
I liked the double barreled shotgun design though – it gives you two chances to break the orange clay pigeons and you can fire it like a semi-automatic. It has a very light trigger pull and you literally break open the stock and reload two shells when you’re done.
I would have loved to go on the shotgun course too – they had metal silhouettes that ping when you shoot it with buckshot but I was pressed for time so I could only go for this one. I have finally shot a classic break open O/U double-barreled shotgun at clay pigeons flying in the air at high speeds! :D
I call this the Silat Buah Edition of my continuing bread story!
1. Mangosteen sandwiches
It’s the season for mangosteens now. Mangosteens season is the end of the year and the smaller ones do not have seeds, making it perfect for sandwiches!
It’s a refreshing experiment but to be honest, not all that good.
2. Starfruit sandwiches
I saw this jar of local government FAMA produced belimbing (starfruit) jam on sale once and bought a tub of it. I then sauntered over to the fruits section and got myself 3 starfruits.
I decided to slather the starfruit jam and then cut starfruit slices on top of it to make a starfruit sandwich with real fruit.
I had to choke it down – the jam is crappy and almost inedible, full of sugar and a weird flavoring that has little to do with starfruit. Another one of my failed experiments. I still can’t bring myself to eat the jam – it’s still sitting in the fridge after another try on it’s own. Vile stuff.
3. Jackfruit sandwiches
You can get the fresh ones at SS2 night market. I found it much better than the ones at the local hypermarket. It’s one of the more expensive fruits around at over RM 9 / kg. I just slid the fruit between bread since it’s quite flavorful by itself.
It should probably be noted that seeds should be taken out before inserting into bread. It’s pretty good – especially when paired with cream cheese spread!
4. Durian sandwiches
It might be heresy to some to use the precious durian as a sandwich filling. It’s expensive (recently bought a Holo durian for RM 33 with less than 10 seeds, costing over RM 3 each) so I used the more common D24 strain (RM 6 / kg) for this experiment.
I thought since it works so well with glutinous rice (seriously, durian and mangoes are perfect with glutinous rice) I reckon it might be okay with bread.
Nope, I still consider it a waste – I had to use about 4 seeds to gather enough flesh for a sandwich – it’s good, but durians deserve better treatment.
5. Jambu sandwiches
I saw this juicy local fruit at RM 8 / kg from a local roadside stand and it turned out to be one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever made! :)
The secret is chunky peanut butter.
Jambu with chunky peanut butter has a very complex texture – the pure water squirting out of the fruit, the stickiness of peanut butter and the chewiness of bread. The flavor profile is amazing too – kinda like eating an apple with peanut butter (used to do that as a kid).
This is the tropical version – salty and buttery and sweet with refreshing bursts.
I did a lot of tongue-in-cheek sandwiches for fun but this…
…this is the eureka moment, I discovered something I’ll really continue eating. It’s truly a great fruit sandwich! :)
This blog has been running for an entire decade! I totally forgot about the 19th April blog anniversary where I usually do my annual roundup until Cynthia texted me all the way from Australia.
This is supposed to be up on the 19th of April each year and has been since 2003. sixthseal.com started in 2002 and this is my favorite post to write as it shows how much it has grown since it’s inception. :)
I was planning to do something a bit special for the 10th blogniversary – the idea thrown out on the SixthSeal.com Facebook page was to write a completely new post featuring everyone’s favorite “guest author” – veritas. However, that idea has been scrapped – I’ve not been active in that scene for a long time except for a couple of discreet incursions and I think it’ll be counter-productive to what I’m trying to do with my life.
It’s filed under Satire/Parody and one of my favorite posts. It’s quite obvious what I’m talking about but I surprised myself by sustaining the metaphor for that long.
Thus, without further ado, here’s my favorite posts from the blog year (think of it as a fiscal year) in chronological order:
Kiwi fruit rice with yoghurt
25th April 2011
This is in here coz it was a major milestone for me. My then-girlfriend moved from Miri to KL to be with me and we’ve been doing a lot of cooking together. This is one of the quirky breakfasts that I make. We’ve broken up but still remain good friends. :)
The best of Northern Rivers in Australia
3rd June 2011
I flew over to the Northern Rivers region where I met people really big on organic food and low food miles and ate at their restaurants. The main event was Casino Beef Week – a cattle extravaganza in a small little town in Australia called Casino. I’ve never been to a cattle auction and street parade before and I loved the experience.
Epic weekend: An impromptu trip to Ipoh, dodgy hotels, losing my wallet and my car bumper
12th June 2011
A little bit closer to home, I went on a road trip with a friend to Ipoh and promptly lost my wallet and the rear bumper of my car. It was totally unplanned, I went out for drinks with Bonnie and somehow we ended up in Ipoh. I’ve cut down a lot on my alcohol consumption since then and while I’m not a teetotaler, I drink quite a lot less than what I imagine a social drinker downs. :)
Driving at the actual Sepang International Circuit!
15th September 2011
My first time driving a car at the Formula One circuit in Sepang. I met a friend which I later met up with in Penang too! The experience of driving at high speeds on an actual competition circuit is exhilarating!
Tim Hou Wan Dim Sum Specialists in Hong Kong
10th October 2011
I went to Hong Kong and Macau with my ex-girlfriend (the very same one mentioned in the first recap post). We had a lot of fun exploring with no itenerary and ate at the famous (and cheap) dim sum place opened by a Michelin 3-star chef. Locals wait in line for an hour on average to eat their divine baked BBQ pork buns.
The 2012 Chinese New Year firecrackers and fireworks roundup!
8th February 2012
This is MY SECOND FAVORITE POST to write during the entire year. What I do is get a bunch of fireworks and firecrackers during Chinese New Year – take photos and video it and post it up. I write about the pyrotechnics and if there’s only one post you’re going to read in this entire roundup – read this one! :D
The story of the little gangster that could
10th February 2012
This is a photo story I wrote for my ex-girlfriend’s brother. I was the subject of their high pass photography experiments too and the the photos turned out great. I wrote two versions too – one exclusively for the newly launched SixthSeal.com Facebook page.
My Valentine’s Day
15th February 2012
I got together with a girl I met while having breakfast at TDH. You all know the story.
My girlfriend just moved in with me!
29th February 2012
She moved in with me not 2 weeks after. I was totally in love and thought this was the one, that I’ve finally met someone that I can settle down with.
I even hired professional cleaners to sanitize my studio apartment, something I’ve never done for anyone.
My girlfriend just broke up with me…
11th March 2012
It didn’t work out. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. Okay, I’m tired of saying that so I’ll just say that it wasn’t my fault. It was doomed from the start and I was the last one to know about it. It really hurt and it took me a long time to recover from such a short relationship but I’ll like to think I’m wiser now.
You live, you learn. :)
I’m flying high on the trapeze!
18th March 2012
I had a lot of fun at the flying trapeze in Club Med, Phuket. In a few short days, I learned how to do a knee hang back flip and my crowning glory was being a flyer and timing it just right so I can be caught by one of the Circus GOs. It felt like I was an actual trapeze artist in the circus! :)
Happy Easter and the search for God
8th April 2012
I’ll end this with a slightly cryptic post about my spirituality and the changes I’ve made since then. It’s safe to say that it’s not a temporary thing, I am getting some serious things done with my life. :)
It just hit me that one year has just passed by since I last wrote this and I hate to use this cliched term but time really does fly!
I got to experience the flying trapeze at Club Med, Phuket – it was a natural calling, being attracted to all things with an adrenaline factor in it. It’s one of those things that looks easy but it’s actually quite hard. I was at the flying trapeze almost every single day, aching in muscles I didn’t even know I had, wanting to perfect my technique and be a flyer.
The Circus GOs (Gentle Officers) are really big on safety so they see if you can actually do it – hang on a trapeze and then pull your legs up to hang upside down on a slightly raised training trapeze – before they let you go up the real thing.
This is the real thing.
It’s high but they have a safety net and lots of contraptions to ensure that you don’t fall. This here is my first attempt – a 3:30 minute video where I managed to hook myself on the flying trapeze – it’s very long and rather funny, so I’m posting it up, but the rest of the painful journey is on the SixthSeal.com Facebook page.
You have to let go and trust that the trapeze will hold you (and your hands and legs won’t fail you) while you hook your legs over the bar and then back into the holding position. There is actually an “audition” of sorts – they won’t let you be a flyer unless you can pull it off perfectly within the stipulated time-frame.
I also managed to do a back flip landing where you swing your legs in and out until you achieve the inertia required to rotate a full 360 degrees in mid-air backwards before landing on the net.
…but here’s what I got my certificate for – being a flyer. It’s all about timing, doing things when it’s asked of you without hesitation. I was one of the two that made it (the other girl who managed it was not an amateur) so it actually looks easier and has a higher drop-out rate than you imagine. You need to be interested and dedicated.
I only managed it on my second try, I nearly reached the catcher’s hands on the first try but nearly isn’t good enough.
Basically, what you do is use chalk to powder yourself up to your elbows (this is to ensure a better grip for the catcher) and hang upside down on the bar on your knees. When you look backward and see the catcher, he/she grips you and you let go of the bar. There’s an element of trust in it as well, which I have in spades – I always trust that there will be no rocks under the sea when I go cliff diving – and the fear of heights, which is why a lot of people don’t get past the basic hook, but I managed to do it.
My entire body was sore every single day and I had cuts and abrasions all over by the time I achieved this but it was all worth it.
A big thank you to Kelly, Kelsey, Kory, Phil, Hsein Ming, Dennis – all my Circus GO instructors in the Phuket village of Club Med – for being so patient with me. :)
I was so ecstatic that I was on a pure adrenaline high for several hours. It was liberating. Watching the video again made me feel that I can do whatever I want to if I set my mind to it. It was the highlight of my trip. :D
Yup, that’s 9 solid years of blogging – something of an achievement, I’ll like to think.
It has become somewhat of a tradition to do a recap of sorts, followed by the best posts of the previous year (from the 19th of April 2010 to the 19th of April 2011) – the blog year – something like the fiscal year – instead of the Gregorian year. :)
I started blogging back in April 2002 – I was still in university in Melbourne then and decided it was a good way to let my friends see what I’m up to instead of emailing each of them individually. I was studying computer science so the first incarnation of sixthseal.com does not have a CMS per se but is updated via HTML (no CSS back then) code written manually.
I changed to Movable Type a few months after and only switched to WordPress recently. I started blogging about basically everything and anything I find fun. I think it was the first blog at the time which had daily updates with photos. I even had a webcam turned on 24/7 so that anyone who logs in can see a snapshot of my room or me every 5 minutes – yes, even when I sleep.
I wanted to experience all that Australia has to offer so I went travelling a lot and I attended a lot of events. I covered everything from the Melbourne Open tennis match to concerts. However, it was during one exhibition – SEXPO 2002 – a sex lifestyle exhibition that I realized the potential of my blog. I got an email from the organizers after I posted the coverage asking for my permission to link my post from their official sexpo.com.au website.
They also wanted to give me a media pass for next year so I could gain access to the backstage and get many other privileges.
Unfortunately, there was a server incident where sixthseal.com went down and I didn’t have the backups so you’ll notice that the posts are all missing comments. T_T It’s one of my biggest regrets but hey, at least the posts are (mostly) intact.
sixthseal.com is one of the longest running blogs in Malaysia – it has just reached it’s 9th anniversary on the 19th of April 2011. That’s 9 years of blogging almost every day! It has become a way of life to me and more than that – it has become an extension of myself, my most prized “possession”. I have come to think of it as a “son”, a legacy that would carry on, hopefully forever.
It’s like a diary – a life journal where I can look back and see what I was doing at what year. I want to be able to show my children that too. In fact, I’ve already found myself doing that – if I can’t remember what date I did something or when something happened – the first thing I’ll do is to search my blog. :)
It’s kinda ironic – the blogger behind sixthseal.com is 30 and taking hair treatment sessions at Svenson while the actual blog has only turned 9 years old. Oh, and Svenson just told me that everyone reading sixthseal.com can drop in for a free consultation at any of the Svenson centres nationwide – call ahead at 1-800-22-8333 to make an appointment – do it before it’s too late! Thanks for the blogiversary gift to the readers! :)
It was a year of travel for me – I’ve been to a lot of places inside Malaysia, went to Europe TWICE (first trip was a more traditional experience while the second involved the lesser travelled Latvia and Georgia, Korea, Vietnam, heck, there were so many I can’t remember all of it!
However, you’ll notice that there are periods which mean more to me – it’s usually the times when I travel or during the CNY period when I’m home with my family. This really makes me miss Sibu. I started and (nearly) ended with posts on my niece – those were the highlights of my year. Here’s to my niece – Kara. Your uncle loves you. :)
Happy 9th birthdaysixthseal.com – you have become something like a son to me. :)
I wanted this video to be as real as possible. I really punched the wall and that caused the various scabs from my Krabi trip to open up and stain the walls with blood. You’ll notice (if you have eyes like a hawk) that I was wearing a Band Aid during some of the scenes.
It’s not that visible though since Cindy (who has just about anything in her condo) has one that is flesh colored. I only put it on coz it won’t stop bleeding and it’ll keep on dripping…like on her floor. Anyway, we had a lot of ideas for this actually:
Particleboard fake wall This is something that you can actually punch through. Plywood would splinter while particleboard will have the same effect as the original video. Trust me, I’m from Sibu – Timber Town. :p
However, due to time and budget constraints we couldn’t do this.
Simulated bar fight Actually the only reason we didn’t do this was due to logistical issues. We didn’t have a breakable bottle prop but it’s easy to use some blunt object to the same effect. However, it is highly unlikely that any bar would let us use their premises to do even simulated violence so we scrapped this. Sigh.
Self immolation I REALLY WANTED TO DO THIS. I searched high and low for heptane – the only safe way to do this. Of course my definition of “safe” means there is a better than 10% likelihood of not getting third degree burns and a 50% chance of actually pulling it off. I read that heptane is used in anti-bacterial washes so I went to a lot of pharmacies until a kind pharmacist told me that it’s not used in Malaysia.
I called up several chemical suppliers but none of them will sell it to me.
Heptane produces a warm flame just like gasoline (it’s also added to the petrol you pump at the gas station) instead of a sissy blue flame. The trick is NOT to douse yourself in it (that would send you to the hospital or the morgue) but to saturate a piece of mop (or something like that) with it and have someone run it over your body.
It will feel warm but it won’t burn you per se. It’s the vapors that burn in this scenario, not the liquid. However, you have to remove all your hair though so I shaved my pits and wanted to shave my head but alas, no heptane.
This video was actually shot over two weekends – the first weekend was spent doing the storyboard and we actually completed filming in 5 hours. We had another 2 ½ hour shoot the next weekend where we roped in strangers to help us and it turned out pretty good.
This is one of Cindy’s quirky notes around her house. I haven’t had my Vitamin C but I did get a good dose of Vitamin B from the Guinness that I drank.
The Arthur’s Day Man of Action contest is still on. Just film a video and post the link to Guinness Malaysia’s Facebook. Each qualified entry will automatically win two passes to Arthur’s Day. w00t! I can’t wait! =D
I love this song to bits! I’m a huge fan of Eminem and when Cindy suggested that we team up to do Eminem feat. Rihanna – Love The Way You Lie, I was more than intrigued. The first time I watched the video, it provoked a very strong emotional response. It’s just one of those music videos you wish you directed. Pure ingenuity distilled into a 5 minute AV clip.
I’m very proud of the final production but let me just ramble on about how this materialized. I have watched this video countless of times and gotten the gist of the story behind it. It’s has a theme that most of us can relate to and the powerful message behind it acts as a warning against how relationships can go really bad and raises awareness of domestic violence.
The all star cast features Eminem and Rihanna singing with inter cuts to scenes of Megan Fox and Dominic Monaghan (best known as Charlie from Lost) – a chronological mashup of how they met and their current situations and attempts to salvage it. Megan Fox donated all her earnings to SOJOURN – a charity for battered women and their children. It is ultimately about empowering women.
Anyway, back to our filming, I realized that we hit a snag coz my sunburn from Krabi was starting to peel really bad at the time. It had to be peeled off before we can start filming so I started with the storyboards.
The camera angles are replicated almost exactly as in the video and although there were some scenes that we cannot do e.g. setting myself on fire (it requires heptane to be even remotely safe) and the bar fight (don’t have a breakable bottle prop) we managed to somehow do the video and still remain true to the original.
There are multiple shots from multiple angles and it took 5 hours of shooting to complete the video. I tried to edit the video myself but Windows Live Movie Maker does not have the capacity to do this so I engaged Haze Long to help me with it. She’s really good considering there are over 100 video files and managed to capture the essence of what we wanted.
The spitting scene in particular was rather hard to do – it appears that normal saliva does not propel in an arc that we wanted so Cindy used water inside her mouth to do it instead. She has the exact same outfit as Megan was wearing in the video and had to dry it with a hairdryer several times due to the number of takes we had to do.
Special thanks to Fresh for being our videographer!
I present to you – our finished production:
It was a lot of fun to do this project and see it come to life. I am very proud of the final cut and even though it was a lot of work as well, the satisfaction of doing a video that came out as good as this is nothing short of nirvana.
Here are some outtakes from the video:
This is how we know spitting doesn’t look good on video.
I had to blow out Cindy’s candle while not appearing in the frame and what made this really funny was Fresh’s deadpan comment at the end. Heh! We both laughed so hard.
The reason we did this video is to participate in the Arthur’s Day Man of Action contest. This involves you getting creative (like our video – we did the parts in between so it sounds like Eminem and Rihanna is singing about us) and filming a music video involving your favorite artist or band.
Just post the video on YouTube and the video link at the Guinness Malaysia Facebook page with your name and video title (it must start with Arthur’s Day 2010:) and you’ll get a chance to win a trip to Dublin to visit the famous St James Gate Brewery and have a pint of the black stuff – it’s as fresh as it gets, any closer to the source, you’ll be drowning in the vat. ;)
Oh, and each and every qualified entry will automatically win two passes to Arthur’s Day (which requires no further introduction)! Everyone knows about the legendary Arthur’s Day and you don’t want to miss it – I went to the last one and enjoyed it thoroughly. Arthur’s Day to me is an outdoor concert with great music and smooth pints of Guinness. It’s the ambience that pulls me rather than the lineup! You can purchase your tickets at the site.
There’s also a Man of Vision contest going on where you play Robert Langdon and decipher clues in an image at the same site!
Anecdote: The original video has Dominic’s hand with “Cindy” and a 555 number. We used “Megan” for this video as a tribute to this coincidence.
Watch it in full screen for the best experience! You want to go to Ireland? The winners will be announced 21st September. You’ll have to top this video to do it, else watch out for blog updates involving titles like “Top of the morning” when we win the contest. ;)
It is with great sorrow that I draft this letter to you. I am afraid I can no longer turn the other cheek to your constant and prolonged disappearance. You have been trying to avoid me for the better part of two weeks and I am deeply saddened to inform you that if this continues, I will have no recourse but to buy a new one.