cooking belinda

I had the awesome opportunity to cook with Belinda Chee a couple of days ago! She created a hearty Fish and Vegetable Soup recipe and I helped her create the dish. It’s a contest called Celebrity Potluck organized by MAGGI and we were the second team to present a dish.

maggi celebrity cooking

I asked Belinda about why she choose this recipe – it’s something that she cooks herself at home and it’s easy to cook but tastes delicious at the same time.

maggi kitchen

The first team came up with a Seafood/Vegetable Tom Yam Soup. Peter Davis (of Mixed Martial Arts fame) cooked the first one and Sazzy Falak cooked the vegetarian version. It’s basically the same thing, except one has more protein in it, had a nice chat with Peter about MMA competitions and weights categories too.

belinda chee

Anyway, I actually cooked twice in this MAGGI Celebrity Potluck event. The first was helping Belinda out with her recipe and it goes like this:

fish vege soup recipe

Yup! I didn’t realize that the walls of MAGGI Masak-Masak Kitchen was actually hand-written with the 3 recipes from the 3 different teams. It was so nicely done I thought it was the décor!

sixthseal belinda

The trick to Belinda’s Fish and Vegetable soup is to stir-fry the thinly sliced shallots with a bit of oil in the pot first before anything else. Chopped garlic and ginger was added to the mix and sautéed for a while for that extra bit in taste.

chef muluk

The item that makes this really fast and easy are the MAGGI Ikan Bilis Stock Cubes. These are soup cubes (ikan bilis is the local word for anchovies) that produces the wonderful flavor and aroma. It’s really very versatile as I came to find out later.

tasting

I tasted it while we were cooking and it’s delicious! You just need 2 MAGGI Ikan Bilis Stock Cubes for 1 litre of water – it’s a standard, convenient pre-measure that makes it easy to scale up or down.

sarawakians

That makes it really convenient to cook delicious and fast dishes! Two MAGGI stock cubes for each liter of water, it can’t get any easier than that. It’s also surprisingly tasty since the ingredients they use basically concentrates the flavors so you get instant stock/soup/topping/whatever you can think of.

cooking belinda chee

The Fish and Vege Soup was left to simmer for 15 minutes and served to the audience afterwards. I didn’t get to eat this one coz it was all gone by the time I got down from the kitchen on the stage. Haha!

mystery ingredient cookoff

No worries though coz there’s a second cooking competition! I was paired with Belinda again and 4 other members of the media joined us for the MAGGI Mystery Ingredient team challenge to create a dish with the following:

  • 1 mystery ingredient
  • MAGGI Stock Cubes
  • Ingredients from the table
  • 30 minutes for everything

mystery ingredient

It felt like a I was in one of the popular cooking shows on TV. Heh. We got “Dory Fish Fillet” from the mystery box and there was a mad rush to grab items from the table.

ingredients table

We could only use those and some of them were nicked by other teams and once it’s taken, it’s gone, we had to make do with what’s left!

masak masak kitchen

Our well equipped kitchen island!

dory fish fillets

We wanted to make something a little different so we went fusion and decided to bake the fish fillets. We’ll just use ginger, garlic, shallots, button mushrooms and celery (I know, a lot of people went “Celery?” too, but it worked out well) to pile on top of the dory fish fillets.

baking

The fillets were sliced and then marinated – the most important part of the cooking. It was a quick marinade (more of a topping) made with MAGGI Tom Yam Stock Cubes. We crushed two of the cubes into 2 tablespoons of water (it’s very versatile – you can use it like this too) and then realized we didn’t have starch to thicken the mixture (!!!).

cooking contest

Luckily, there was custard powder on the table. It’s flavor neutral e.g. not sweet, and it coagulates the tom yam topping to the texture we wanted, so that’s perfect! We dissolved that into the hot water with 2 MAGGI Tom Yam Stock Cubes and poured the mixture on top of the fish fillets before adding MAGGI Thai Chilli Sauce and MAGGI Concentrated Chicken Stock and chucking it into the preheated oven (220 Celsius) for 5 minutes.

siamese fish fillets

We were running out of time and we thought 5 minutes wasn’t enough but that’s all the time we had in the 30 minute cooking challenge. It turned out fine coz dory fish fillets cooks really fast! We all tasted it and concluded it was delicious!

judges

I ate a lot of it myself coz it was so good! There were a couple of fish fillets left after we plated 3 of them for the judges (Siew Ling, the Brand Manager was one of them) and everyone came in and ate some. We didn’t have enough to serve everyone – it’s my fault guys, sorry, I was the one who ate the rest of the fish fillets. I evaded the question at the time, but it was me who ate it all. I apologize. It was tooooo good! smirk

team belinda

Our dish was presented to the judges and we didn’t win but we all got a consolation prize anyway! It was a large senduk (a kitchen utensil used for scooping stuff from liquids) which was perfect! I cook a lot more nowadays since it’s a common hobby I share with my girlfriend. I cook for her sometimes, she cooks for me sometimes. The MAGGI stock cubes will really come in handy here. I want to try out Awal’s recipe for Golden Braised Chicken with Fresh Mushrooms. It was the winner and a well deserved one! It’s so tasty that I must cook it at home – I shall be using the recipe add to my kitchen accomplishments! Haha! :)

maggi stock

It was a really fun session! Thanks for helping with the photos Sue Ann! :) I got to cook in a nice kitchen (the MAGGI Masak-Masak Kitchen is really something) and got great tips from the MAGGI Executive Chef (Chef Muluk) and I learned the versatility that comes with MAGGI Stock Cubes. The sky is the limit, it’s not just for soup, but can be used for practically anything! I can’t wait to try it in my kitchen. I’m planning to cook a nice dinner as a surprise for my girlfriend during our anniversary and I bet she’ll love the golden braised chicken. It’s always better to cook than to eat out, I believe – cooking comes from the heart.

maggi celebrity potluck

We named our dish Siamese Fish Fillets. The crunchy texture of the shallots and ginger goes really well with the baked dory fish fillets topped with MAGGI Tom Yam Stock Cubes. I’ll share the recipe we used if anyone is interested! :)

red ribbon gala 04

The Red Ribbon Gala Dinner is a charity dinner where the Red Ribbon
Media Award winners get their prizes. I was fortunate enough to be part
of this – RRMA is a biannual award and this year, it was
DaimlerChrysler who sponsored the event.

gala dinner

The Red Ribbon Gala Dinner is a very formal event organized by the
Malaysian AIDS Foundation (MAF) and the Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC).
It’s a very expensive dinner – thousands of dollars per head, as this
is a charity dinner to raise funds for the Malaysian AIDS Council.

me ely

I liaised with my primary contact at MAC – Ely Azyze, who was kind
enough to arrange everything from the air tickets to KL and the stay at
Mandarin Oriental to smooth what was a very short notification of my
winning entry due to my tardiness in checking my email. I didn’t know I
won coz I didn’t even enter the contest.

stage markers

The evening started off earlier for the award winners – I didn’t
manage to attend the morning rehearsals so I was very quickly briefed
about where to stand on the stage and who to shake hands with. I still
remember my spot – second duct tape marker on stage, and the order with
whom I was supposed to shake hands with…it was Dr. Mahathir first,
followed by Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir and the DaimlerChrysler
president.

guestbook

I got my red ribbon and handed over my invitation and signed in the guestbook…

gala speakers

The pre-public evening started with some rehearsals from the
speakers and I could see the table attendants from Mandarin Oriental
setting up the tables. The motif of every table was different, each has
a set piece on it to be auctioned off at the end of the gala and the
table decorations go with the motif.

rrma tables

Download: Red Ribbon Gala 2004 tables [sixthseal.com]

The gala dinner was held in the Grand Ballroom of Mandarin Oriental,
KL. The place was large and two big screens were also put up so that
people could see the speakers.

red ribbon table

There was a special table in the middle for the guests of honor,
which includes the previously mentioned VIPs as well as YAB Dato Seri
Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi, the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

rrma marina

Download: Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir speach [sixthseal.com]

cocktail reception

I was interviewed by an Astro Ria anchor and unfortunately, I didn’t
think I managed to get my message across due to my lack of sobriety
coupled with being slightly uncomfortable with a microphone in front of
me and a camera man standing smack dab beside me pointing the business
end of the video camera at me.

hors de overs

The evening started off with a cocktail reception at 6:30. There was
wine, beer, non-alcoholic beverages as well as hors de ours (sp?).

me meesh

I had several glasses of red wine and I met Meesh, who won the Special Mention in the Non-Traditional Awards – Blogs category.

chris me meesh
L-R: Chris, Huai Bin (me), Meesh

I also met a really nice guy called Chris, who sat at the same table
as me (he won an award as well). I think he got the broadcast media
award. He’s really friendly and was the life of the table. :) I talked
with Meesh at the staircase and we were not quite sober and took photos
of each other:

rrma meesh
Meesh.

rrma me
Me.

table 11

The dinner started after that. I was at Table 11 – the winners are
divided into two tables, Table 11 and Table 66. My table had Audrey,
the winner from The Star (Print Media), Chris and some other MAC staff.

mac gift bag

There is a gift pack from MAC (Malaysian AIDS Council, not the
cosmetics label) on every chair. It seems that they arranged it so that
there are alternate male and female oriented packs so some swapping
took place.

mac bag contents

This is what it contains. Mine was the right one, since I sat
between two females, so my MAC pack was a male pack, so to speak. The
female version has lipstick, foundation and some other stuff.

rrma gala

Download: Red Ribbon Gala 2004 [sixthseal.com]

Let me introduce you to the people in my table:

audrey chris

This is Audrey and Chris.

me shaz

This is Shazlina from MAC and me. Ely was also sitting at the same table, as was a journalist from the Malay Mail.

me reporter

This is another winner of an award from Oriental Daily or Daily
Oriental, she’s an ex-journalist and seemed as inebriated as I was. ;)

coke table

The Red Ribbon Media Awards goes after the Red Ribbon Gala Dinner,
so I was admittedly not quite sober by the end of the night, due to the
free flow wine, which I took advantage of. Every dish was paired with a
wine and the dishes are specially prepared by “Asian Master Chefs”. It
sure was different and interesting.

breads butter

There were several varieties of bread and liberal amounts of butter
to soak up the liquor, er…I mean to start things off. It was alright.
It’s bread.

dinner first

This is the starter, which I absolutely loved. The martini glass
contains chicken bits hidden in shaved ice. It was like nothing I ever
had experienced. Divine. This appetizer was paired with Jacob’s Creek
Chardonnay Pinot Noir.

dinner first flash

Here’s a photo taken with flash version of the dish so that
everything can be seen. The Red Ribbon Gala dinner literature describes
it as A Symphony of Gourmet Appetizers, by Jereme Leung from
Shanghai. It’s Poached Chicken with Chilled Soba Noodle Salad with Five
Spiced Shaved Ice, Chinese Tea Smoked Egg White, Apricot Smoked Salmon
topped with Sevruga Caviar Foie Gras Terrine with Garlic ‘mantou’,
Apple and Citrus Compote. The description made my head spin.

asparagus

Shazlina from MAC who was sitting beside me, is a vegetarian, so she
got different dishes from us. Me and Chris tried to decipher just what
exactly her dish was but the results were inconclusive…All I know is
there’s asparagus in there.

dinner second

This is the second course, by Sam Leong from Singapore. It’s Puree
of Yellow Pumpkin infused with Superior Chicken Consomme and Crabmeat.
The pairing wine is Jacob’s Creek Reserve Riesling 2003.

dinner second veggie

This is what the vegetarian version is…it tasted like tapai, but richer and sweet instead of sour.

dinner third

The third course is from Jimmy Chok of Salt Restaurant in Singapore.
It’s Baked Miso Chilean Seabass crusted with preserved Chinese Cabbage
(Mui Choy), sauteed Japanese Mushroom, Fava Beans and Sweet Soy Glaze.
The wine is Jacob’s Creek Reserve Chardonnay 2002.

dinner third veggie

The vegetarian version for this course is equally puzzling but it contains beetroot.

dinner fourth

The next course is from Cheong Liew from The Grange of Adelaide,
Australia and is Medallion of Kampong Chicken, Lobster and Sweetbread
with Shitaki, Abalone Mushroom, Liver, Roast Garlic, Chicken Jus paired
with Jacob’s Creek Reserve Shiraz 2001. This was very, very good.

dinner dessert

The dessert was prepared by Bong Jun Choi of Lai Poh Heen Restaurant
of KL and it’s Chilled Snow Skin Lychee Ice Cream Delight, Warm Jasmin
Marinated Plum and Morello Cherry Praline Mousse. The presentation was
great, but the mousse was not.

rrma main award

We went up for the RRMA award ceremony after that – I won the Main Award for Non-Traditional Media, and got…

salad bowl
A specially engraved huge pewter bowl (which we affectionately dub the
salad mixing bowl, but of course we’ll do nothing of that sort) from
Dr. Mahathir

certificate
A Certificate of Excellence from Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir which has my winning blog entry Guide to HIV testing in Malaysia [sixthseal.com] as well as her signature on it.
cert marina sig

rm 2500
A check for RM 2,500 for being the main winner.

candle table

The Special Mention winners get the same thing as the Main Award
Winners, except their pewter is a plate and the check is RM 500. I
wished I got someone to take a photo of me standing up there, but the
MAC staff and all the winners were on stage so no one could.

table 11 setpiece

The charity auction for the table displays happened after that and
most of the winners left, and I made my leave soon after that. I’m
still kicking myself for not staying till the end and getting a photo
with Dr. Mahathir and Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir.

gala end

I’ll like to thank Ely Azyze and all the MAC and MAF staff for this
honor and recognition. It was a great experience. My sincere thanks to
everyone who made this happen. Cheers!

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