Cooking a 3-Course Meal with S&P Santan!

soup ceera

I was fortunate enough to be cooking a complete meal of three courses organized by S&P Santan in Sungai Buloh. The I <3 S&P Santan Cooking Workshop is helmed by Chef Andri Hadi – a very interesting character indeed!

chef andri hadi

I was teamed up with Ceera Noh and I have to admit I couldn’t ask for a better partner. She has solid, practical skills as a mom and seasoned a lot of our dishes to perfection.

team

I was more focused on plating and I tried very hard not to let her down by doing it professionally.

cutting onions

I dare say that our presentation was best – it wasn’t clownish and kid-like on one side of the spectrum it wasn’t sloppy on the other (did three plates for our main course before I was satisfied).

team awesome

The I <3 S&P Santan Cooking Workshop is actually a contest between all the participants. There were 5-6 teams of two in total. I humbly named us “Team Awesome”. smirk

Appetizer: Spinach Broccoli Coconut Soup

appetizer

The first dish that we cooked. I sliced up the broccoli florets and garlic while Ceera did the vegetable soup stock. We didn’t cook the fresh baby spinach but blended it into the soup later, as the chef did.

ceera hb

I also went up to do the Massimo Wheat Germ garlic bread.

butter garlic bread

It’s really easy, just butter one side with butter and twist it, sealing it in with another dab of butter.

spinach broccoli

I love the ease of the S&P Santan Instant Coconut Cream Powder. It comes in 50 gram packs of Original, Omega 3 and Pandan and we used the first for this. You can dilute it with 1 cup of water for heavy coconut cream or 2 cups of thin coconut cream but for this recipe, we just poured it into the saucepan and seasoned it with salt, pepper and nutmeg. I really liked how versatile and convenient the product was.

cooking with ceera

We worked pretty well as a team and since I proofed myself somewhat adept (at least I didn’t burn down the kitchen) – I plated up. Our spinach broccoli coconut soup is a real French style soup – thick and hearty.

layering soup

I floated a tablespoon of S&P Santan Coconut Milk on top for contrast and flavor.

spinach broccoli soup

It received pretty good reviews from the chef and heartened, we moved on to the next dish.

Entrée: Baked Cajun Chicken Wings

entree

This is something that both of us knew how to do and the chef did a demonstration while asking us to work at the same speed – no problems there.

fritter batter

We shared an oven with another group of two girls and thus we put in our chicken together. There is a great irony somewhere here.

cajun chicken

I carefully arranged my chicken wings so that the tips were facing *outside* on the baking tray. This is done so that the heat of the convection oven won’t burn the meat.

perfect wings

Unfortunately, we didn’t know that the oven hasn’t been pre-heated and when the chef came over to everyone’s station to look at their chicken, ours was the very best in the entire class. It’s browned to perfection!

cooking ceera

We made the Coconut Pandan Cheese Sauce with Blue Key Superfine Flour, S&P Pandan Santan Coconut Cream Powder and 2 tbsp grated cheddar cheese. Both Ceera and I tasted the sauce and it was good – I made sure that sufficient time has passed so that any raw flour has been “cooked out”.

coconut milk cheese

I plated the chicken in a smear of the coconut pandan cheese sauce and stood two chicken wings up, supported by each other.

same oven

…and when it came judging time, it turns out that our chicken was raw. -_-

chef andri

It needed 3 more minutes in the oven due to the lack of pre-heating (we both thought the other team had done it).

judging

Oh well.

cajun chicken wings

Here’s our dish!

Dessert: Cavendish Coconut Fritters

dessert

I learned a very nifty trick during the I Love S&P Santan Cooking Workshop. Banana fritters tastes a lot better if you dip it alternately into batter and desiccated coconut. We used 1 cup of S&P Santan Sejati Desiccated Coconut and 1 cup Blue Key Superfine Flour for the dry coating. The desiccated coconut really comes in handy as it has a longer shelf life and comes in a convenient pack.

bananas

We actually learned from the previous mistake and made sure to make two batches. I sliced up one banana for the first test batch while Ceera did the second batch.

coating fritters

Our Cavendish Coconut Fritters were deep fried for 2 minutes in boiling hot oil before we plated up in front of the judge.

deep fryers

I did the plating and I had planned to do a quenelle of vanilla ice cream to show off my skills.

banana fritters

Unfortunately, the ice cream was way too solid and despite heating two ceramic Chinese soup spoons on the burner, I could barely make a passable quenelle. I’m glad I did it though, no one else did and I saw from the blank looks that not many knew what a quenelle is either (except for the chef, of course).

hot spoon

I also finished with a flair with some toasted desiccated coconut and a smear of caramel and passed it to the judge. We were the first team to finish.

quenelle

Although we didn’t win anything (the winner was a female duo from Weibo) it was fun to cook with someone with a Malay heritage and a practical background as opposed to my more recent and modern interpretation of cuisine. Ceera was the one who seasoned and tasted everything and I felt bad that we didn’t win.

cavendish fritters

Nevertheless, it was a fun morning and afternoon learning about the various uses of S&P Santan products. Coconut oil and milk is a source of healthy HDL cholesterol and has numerous health benefits. This is something that Australians and people from the United States are finding out and they’re using more coconut milk in their cooking. The S&P Santan products are easy to use and cater for health conscious consumers as they do not contain artificial preservatives and flavorings.

fritters

It’s a very trendy ingredient and I have a whole range of S&P Santan products at home now. I’ll share more when I cook soon!

keep calm

Do you have your own recipes using S&P Santan coconut milk? Share your recipes at the S&P Industries Facebook page and win more than RM 1,900 worth of prizes!

spinach soup

Thanks to S&P Santan and Chef Andri Hadi for a great time! A big thank you to FFM Marketing for providing the superb venue – I loved the clean and well-equipped kitchen islands. It’s open for rental too – contact marketing@ffmb.com.my or 03-61457888 for enquiries.

spinach leaves

Props to Denise and Michele for their tireless photography and cheers to my team-mate Ceera Noh for being awesome! :)

Flaming Melt @ Kota Damansara

flaming melt

I’ve watched this grilled cheese café with great interest. I live around the corner and usually eat here at night so I’ve seen it grown from an empty lot being painted and renovated to the opening day. However, I had to go back to Sibu to finalize some stuff for my late mom so we didn’t visit until a couple of days ago.

flaming melt kota damansara

The Flaming Melt is a self-service restaurant (kinda, sorta). You order at the fast food style counter with a very familiar ordering experience for quick service restaurants aficionados and the food gets delivered to your table. The service was really good for a QSR – the Japanese-style Welcomes and Goodbyes are in full effect here (and it is a Japanese custom, you just don’t holler like that in the States, diner or deli).

flaming melt menu

The friendly lady behind the counter asked us what we wanted and we asked for recommendations. We finally went with the two best-sellers:

BBQ Pulled Chicken Melt (RM 11.90)
Homemade BBQ Pulled Chicken, Mac ‘N’ Cheese, Cheddar

BBQ Pulled Chicken Melt

My better half had this (actually we each had half of each other’s order since the sandwiches are conveniently sliced in half for sharing) and I quite liked it. You can add RM 2.90 for a soda (the usual suspects) but we opted to order a la carte and get a milkshake instead. The chicken was slightly dry but I love the addition of macaroni and cheese to the sandwich!

That’s exactly how I like mine! The creamy addition of mac and cheese really made this sandwich, although I would have preferred a more generous helping. It’s still good comfort food.

Tomato Sriracha Chicken Melt (RM 11.90)
Chicken, Chopped Tomatoes, Sriracha, Cheddar

Tomato Sriracha Chicken Melt

This is as Americana as it gets. A grilled cheese sandwich with Sriracha sauce! Sriracha sauce is a hot sauce that is popular in the US. This is the green capped rooster sauce made by Huy Fong Foods, not the generic ones you actually get in Thailand (which tastes different). You can add RM 3 for your bread to be changed to wholemeal.

I was lamenting the fact that the sandwiches don’t come with some type of side starch like French fries but you can get that as a side order and the red cabbage coleslaw is delicious!

S’mores Melt (RM 10.90)
Homemade Strawberry Compote, Marshmallows, Nutella

Smores Melt

I got this one to share since I wanted a dessert sandwich to finish our lunch. They can actually serve it after you’re done with your “mains” upon request! I asked them to prepare it only when we’re done and that’s what they did, which I thought was nice in a QSR. The marshmallows goes very well with the homemade strawberry compote and it’s all dusted with sugar. I couldn’t taste the Nutella though.

Best eaten while hot, the melted marshmallows are heavenly. I just wish there were (s)more. smirk

oreo milkshake

We also ordered an Oreo Milkshake (RM 7.90) to share. Flaming Melt has a variety of shakes and sodas and this one came with a full Oreo cookie on top. It was suitably rich, while not the best milkshake I had, it did hit the spot nicely. Our lunch came up to RM 42.60 and we also got a RM 2 coupon off our next order.

flaming melt bill

Flaming Melt has a RM 8.90 breakfast special for their set of The Classic (mozzarella, cheddar) with tea or coffee on weekday mornings. It’s too bad this outlet doesn’t serve pork coz I felt that it limited the choices of their grilled cheese sandwiches. Flaming Melt is billing itself as Everything Grilled Cheese and I think they’re trying very hard to get there.

flaming melt grilled cheese

It’s the Malaysian version of Spencer Rubin’s Melt Shop – at least, the signage and color scheme reminded me of that Manhattan grilled cheese restaurant which put sinful comfort food back on the trendy food map.

Flaming Melt
17-1, Jalan PJU 5/10
Dataran Sunway, Kota Damansara
03-6150 4248

3 affordable and essential spreads for bread

I eat a lot of bread and this is my Top 3 list of essential bread spreads:

1. Cream cheese

cream cheese

This is a spreadable cream cheese that I’ve grown to love. It retails for about RM 7 for 200 grams – the same weight and price as those “mystery cheese” individually wrapped slices. I can’t say this is 100% real cheese either but it sure tastes a helluva lot better.

It’s creamy and savory! Made in Australia, the best thing about this small tub of cream cheese is that if you don’t consume it within 10 days it turns into sour cream – another *new* spread for your bread. smirk

I’m kidding, I don’t know what it turns into after 10 days coz I love the stuff.

2. Kaya (coconut jam)

kaya

Yup, this is a bread spread that we can count as our very own – made in Malaysia, something to be proud of. The word itself translates to English as “rich” and that’s exactly what the texture feels like. It’s a sweet concoction made of coconut and tastes like custard.

I usually get locally produced original ones (none of the pandan infused flavors for me) for RM 2.50. I also noticed that kaya goes better with softer bread e.g. the bran and wheat-germ types instead of 100% wholegrain.

3. Peanut butter

peanut butter

This is another staple of my fridge. I always go for chunky peanut butter – I’m not a huge fan of the smooth/creamy variety. I don’t like it cloyingly sweet either and I found this brand called Steffi’s Delight that’s made in the United States with no added sugar.

It really makes a lot of difference – it’s almost slightly salty and this brand also has visible chunks of peanuts. It’s cheaper than a lot of local brands too at RM 11 for over 500+ grams.

This kind of peanut butter works well with tougher breads like grain fortified 100% wholemeal/wholegrain. Lovely stuff, the only downside is the slightly disturbing use-by date of 2014…it’s gotta have a lot of preservatives inside for that kind of shelf life. :x

I still eat bread with the stuff in 3 delicious and dirt cheap meals with bread but have bought a couple of spreads to spice things up a little. This is just a continuation of my…er, bread story after the DBKL spectacle.

What spreads do you like and are you a chunky or smooth person? :)

You can never be too rich, to thin, or too cheesy

pizza hut ultimate cheesy pizza 7

Haha! Well, at least that’s what I believe. ;) I was invited to the Pizza Hut Ultimate Cheesy 7 Pizza launch a couple of days back. I’m a huge fan of cheese and I didn’t want to pass up the chance of checking out the Ultimate Cheesy 7 before everyone else so I arrived super early.

pepperoni

The Ultimate Cheesy Pizza 7 is made with seven (obviously) different cheeses. I tried the Extreme Cheesy 6 last year, which contains:

  • Romano
  • Monterey Jack
  • Parmesan
  • Provolone
  • Mozzarella
  • Cheddar

…and the 7th cheese debuting this year is:

Philadelphia Cream Cheese

Philadelphia Cream Cheese!

Yes, this is the stuff you make cheesecakes from! I love this stuff – I remember making cheesecakes using Philadelphia Cream Cheese as a kid with my mom. I can eat this stuff straight from the tub.

Ultimate Cheesy Pizza 7

Well, I thought Pizza Hut was just going to add in the Philadelphia Cream Cheese as another topping, but they surprised me by rolling it into balls and putting one on each slice! OMG it’s cheese heaven! smirk

cheese balls

I was ecstatic when they brought out the wonderful Ultimate Cheesy 7 Pizza. I couldn’t wait to taste the balls! Wait, that sounded a bit salah. I mean, I couldn’t wait to eat the cheese balls!

me

The pizza is superb – all the cheeses comes together nicely and you get a mouthful of creamy Philadelphia Cream Cheese when you bite into the ball. I loved it!

Okay, that’s not much better but you get what I mean.

can you handle it

The Philadelphia Cream Cheese balls really adds another dimension to the previous incarnation. Kudos to Pizza Hut for making the 7th cheese into a ball instead of just incorporating it inside. Delicious stuff!

food

Well, since it was Pizza Hut, we also got a lot of sides and drinks to go with the dinner. :D

pizzas

However, the highlight of the meal is hands down the Ultimate Cheesy 7 Pizza. It also comes in Cheesy Chicken, Cheesy Pepperoni and Cheesy Hawaiian Chicken if you want to add a bit of protein to your pizza but I highly recommend you eat the regular, original one first.

crust

The Ultimate Cheesy 7 Pizza comes in a special thin and crunchy crust that is dusted with pepper, garlic and other goodies. The Italian Garlic Herb sprinkle on the crust makes this pizza perfection!

Take a look at the TVC! The people in there spread the cheese on the pizza slices before eating but that’s not the only way you can enjoy it. There are multiple ways of eating the Philadelphia Cream Cheese balls on top of the pizza – some people:

bite

Bite into it. This gives you a mouthful of cheesy goodness that’s indescribably good. Mmm…

spread

Spread it out. I notice this is what the people in the TVC do and the advantages of this is that you get a nice, even spread of Philadelphia Cream Cheese on top. However, I don’t believe in eating pizzas with knifes and forks. I’m strictly a hands-on person.

leaning tower pizza

Stack it up! Okay, this is very hard to do unless you’re willing to fight your friends for their Philadelphia Cream Cheese balls. However, I was lucky enough to sit at a table where some people didn’t want the cheese balls so I took theirs. I’m telling you, this is a bit of pure heaven.

Can you handle it? Vivy took that video – I was there, stacking it up and watching it topple over each time and mumbled – This is like the leaning tower of…

cheesie

PIZZA! – we both finished. I laughed and looked over coz me and Cheesie said it together. Great minds think alike. ;) The Leaning Tower of Pizza. Geddit? smirk

group

It was a great dinner – I haven’t had so much food, fun and laughter in a long time. Pizza Hut is more than just a place for eating pizzas. It has that relaxed, casual ambiance that gives you the perfect opportunity to catch up and bond with the people that matters to you while eating great food.

vivy

Good friends, great food. Thanks for the dinner Pizza Hut. :)

handle it

I love the Ultimate Cheesy Pizza 7 – check it out from just RM 23.90 for a regular pizza. You can only get this at Pizza Hut – it’s the ultimate dream for every cheese lover! Find out more at Pizza Hut’s website or like the Pizza Hut Facebook page to be the first to know everything…like the Ultimate Cheesy SMS Contest!

SMS Contest Prizes:
- Grand Prize x 1 winner : RM100,000 prize money
- First Prize x 5 winners : One (1) unit Panasonic Viera TH-L42U30K 40” LCD TV each.
- Second Prize x 10 winners : One (1) unit Apple iPad 2 each.
- Consolation Prize x 20 winners : Pizza Hut vouchers worth RM500 each.

Head on over to the nearest Pizza Hut outlet to find out how you can participate! :)

stack

…and see if you’re either a devourer or a spreader with the Philadelphia Cream Cheese balls. Just do what feels right to you – it’s delicious either way!

All Stars Sports Cafe review

all stars cafe

All Stars Sports Cafe is a sports themed restaurant
and pub located in Mid Valley Megamall. It also has sports memorabilia
and plasma TV’s dotted throughout the place tuned to satellite/cable
sports channels.

all stars rock climbing

The restaurant presents itself with a life-sized rock climbing
figure hanging from an outcrop on top of the dining area in front.
There are also various sports related autographed photos and posters
adorning the walls.

all stars back

All Star Sports Cafe also has a pool room and seating arrangements
at the back of the restaurant (or front if you walk in via Mid Valley
Megamall). The place serves alcohol and has an emphasis on western
food, but also a menu with eastern cuisine.

all stars beer

Maisel’s Weisse (Dunken) beer (RM 26). This
imported beer is served from a 0.5 liter glass beer flask that pours
into a perfect 0.5 liter glass. The dark beer tastes sweet, with a
strong malt aftertaste – it tastes like Guinness Malta.

all stars beer bread

The beer comes with a serving of bread – hot buns with a German butter and a knife to butter it with. I found that rather odd.

all stars four seasons platter

Four Seasons Platter
RM 40
The ultimate snack! Combining the unique tastes of Honey Crab Balls,
Soya Spring Roll, Hong Kong Sharksfin Egg and assorted Vegetables with
Prawn.

all stars crab

This is the first entry in the Four Seasons Platter appetizer – the
plate is HUGE and long, easily occupying two tables. It’s crab meat and
some other stuff wrapped in a roll.

all stars prawns

This is the second feature of the Four Seasons Platter – prawns with sweet mayo sauce. It’s the best part of the platter.

all stars rolls

The third component of the platter is deep fried soya spring rolls. It’s not that great.

all stars chicken

This is the fourth part of the Four Seasons Platter – chicken. It’s just boneless chicken, but it’s very well flavored. Nice.

all stars salmon

Grilled Norwegian Salmon
RM 32.50
Imported fresh Norwegian salmon fillet served with ratatouille and crusted potato.

all stars salmon dish

The salmon was cooked to perfection – pretty in pink!

all stars sandwich

Grilled Turkey Ham Cheese Sandwich
RM 13.50
Toasted sandwich with ham, turkey slices and cheese.

all stars sandwich dish

It’s a good club-type sandwich, filling and not too painful for healing tongue piercings to chew. ;)

all stars surf turf

Surf n Turf
RM 42.50
Our petite sirloin steak and a big juicy tiger prawn, topped with home made garlic sauce.

all stars surf turf dish

This dish is really good – it’s a medium rare sirloin steak served
with a large tiger prawn on top, allowing the prawn juices to seep into
the steak. The garlic sauce goes very well with this unusual pairing,
bringing out the best in both the seafood and the meat.

all stars eeva cherie

I was at All Stars Sports Cafe with Cherie and Eeva…

all stars midvalley

…and then all three of us got lost while stoned in Mid Valley. ;)

Explosive Diarrhea

I woke up today having to run to sit on my porcelain throne. I
barely made it. In fact, I think maybe I didn’t after all. *cough* I
haven’t expelled such a large volume of watery feces with such force
for a long time and I’m looking back to dinner last night to see what
went wrong. I had:

King Island Dairy Roaring Forties Blue Cheese

d_cheese.jpg

This one is not very likely because I’ve eaten from the same wedge without problems yesterday.

Superior Gold Tasmanian Smoked Salmon

d_salmon.jpg

Vacuum packed and sealed package, so it doesn’t seem to be the offending party as well.

Coles Croissants

d_cross.jpg

It’s bread. No mold, so not very likely.

Frozen cooked prawns from the Coles deli

d_prawn.jpg

I’m putting my money on this one. Are you supposed to eat prawns
labeled as “frozen, cooked” from the deli straight off the package? It
came in a ring of about 40 prawns and it even had a small indent in the
package for dip! It sure looked like it can be eaten without any
further cooking. Well, the prawns still looked a bit raw and tasted
raw, but there was a dip bowl built into the ring! Why would someone do
that if it’s meant for cooking?

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