Saturday, September 29, 2012

Chateau Bagatelle 2009

Chateau Bagatelle 2009, 12.5% vol.

Was actually paying more attention to French red after savoring a nice bottle recently. Today was a bottle ripped from a gift hamper - grapes from Bergerac, South West France, fresh and juicy of semi-dry mouth feel that's tasty to drink.

Bottled by the Grands vins de Gironde group in their 34,000 m² cellars in Saint-Loubès where bulk wine collected from their partner châteaux was blended from the different grapes to add complexity to the flavor and texture of a wine.

I couldn't tell if this bottle is a blend wine but it most probably is.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

金华, Jin Hua Fish Bee Hoon

Fried Fish Slice Bee Hoon ($3.50)

After years of pursuing clear Teochew fish soup, i suddenly have craving for the milky Cantonese version. So Ric suggested we return to the much acclaimed Jin Hua, at either stall 77 in Maxwell Market or stall 121 in Old Airport Rd.

Ever seen fish soup that milky!? That's because of the canned evaporated milk, lots of it, added to the already thick fish broth. The few minutes delay we took taking these shots actually cause my soup surface to start congealing! Wow! But instead of being just plain milky, the broth has a wonderful sea fresh savouriness.

Trying to finish my bowl, the rich broth began overwhelming the taste buds. But days later, i start missing having it. Yes, pretty sure does.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Maggi Mee Goreng !

Maggi Goreng (RM$4)

I think i'm embarrassingly Suaku (mountain tortoise) lor. Never heard of the packed instant Maggi Mee, done goreng style. It's Sedap! And for the fact that the dish was easily available in most Mamak stall in JB, i'll be looking out for the chance to have this again ;))

Our hour long journey was tiring and this tea break was well-deserving before we parted way home. 

with Teh Halia

Kota Tinggi Waterfalls Resort

Kota Tinggi Chalet House

Our host thought it be nice to drop by the Kota Tinggi Falls for a walk; as many of us had not been here for 15 odd years, and for me, it's the first visit. The waterfalls used to be a public place before admission charges were imposed, from RM$2.50 to the RM$7.50 now.

Alighting from the car, we were bombard with a foul whiff from the facing iron ore mines instead of the freshest breath of air in the forested hilly site. This is quite disappointing albeit having some of the prettiest chalet houses in a serene surrounding.

As we made our way downhill towards the waterfalls, the air improved.

According to those who had been here previously, these water slides and wading pools were newly added. Rent a rubber tube (RM$8 for 2 hours) and you could go "Whee...!", down the slide. Looked like fun.

And relaxing...

Finally, the waterfalls! While i couldn't resist bearing my foot to bath in the chilling waters; had to be very careful as the rocky floors were covered with green algae and very slippery. Wasn't much safe area for children to play, i thought. 

But i could now pictured my aunts and uncles visiting the waterfalls, many many years back - climbing up the peak to reach the water source and taking heroic photos with the rapid waters to show us, who were back home.

强记, Kiang Kee Bak Kut Tea

Batu 8 1/2, Jalan Mawai, Kota Tinggi. 81900 Johor.
Operating Hour: 7.30 am to 12 pm (or untill sold out) Tel : +607 8821290

This was a 2hrs trip from Singapore. And after hitting 5 toll stations we finally arrived at the all famous BKT stall in JB that Singaporeans flocked to every weekend, or so we were told. It must be good? Considering the long journey!

"Ok lah. If you fancy thick black BKT soup." Our Malaysian friend laughed.

Nonetheless, it is an eye-opener. Whilst driving along the main road from Kota Tinggi to Mersing, do drop in when you spotted this open space on your RIGHT - the Kiang Kee signboard (with 100 Plus print) standing with 3 longitudinal attap roofing.

Arriving here past the 12 o'clock mark was considered late; many items were sold out. We placed order for whatever we could lay hands on while the server filled the claypot before heating it up on fierce charcoal fire.

Menu and pricing were clearly displayed; so tourists don worry kenna chop lah :)

Our meal for 4 Pax (RM $70)

Chinese Tea

Within 10 mins, we were served our RM$70 portion which includes a pot of Chinese Tea. The tea was light and fragrant; just make sure the tea leaves wasn't overly brew and you'll be thankful for it after the greasy meal.

Claypot BKT, mixed meat

And true to words, a thick black broth with aromatic whiff of Chinese wine arrived at the table - looking so different from our simple BKT back home, Singapore. We had chosen a "mixed meat" pot which consists of an unusual mix of pork belly, pig's trotters, ribs and pig's tail!?  

Or you could order an entire pot of ribs only. Regardless, the fried bean curd that topped the pot was special, and tasted good as it got semi-soften by the warm soup. How do we like the soup?

Pig's Kidney

The Pig's kidney pot probably give you a better picture of the soup. Yes, it was this black. If nobody tells us, we would have took this for a braised soup dish with herbal essences. Seems odd right? But good to try.

The kidney was firm and clearly odourless with nice crunchy bite.

Pork Nerve

Clear soup from the pork nerve appeared to be our Singapore version of BKT but tasted like peppery Pig's stomach soup to be exact. Pork nerve was simply sliced pork meat with the nerve cut - that looked and tasted like firmer fats. 

Mustard Greens (Mui Choy)

I like their Mui Choy.

Braised Tau Pok

Blanched Vegetables with Oyster Sauce

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Ceres 100% Juice

Ceres 100% Juice, 1 litre ($2.35)

Used to having fruit juices in conventional stand-alone flavors, it piqued our curiosity watching these fancy juice blend from Ceres, South Africa making to our supermart. Poetically named like 'Full Moon Harvest' and 'Whispers of Summer', it's good marketing to lure in the romantics.

This Summer, the beverage tasted exceptionally refreshing compared to a glass of ice cold Coke; minus the Caffines. Took some time finishing these packs to give you a brief run-down here.

Full Moon Harvest - Pear, Peaches, Berries
Cloudy in birch color, sweet and little sour with taste of Peaches and Pear.

Thickly cloudy in pink, tasted both of sweet and sour with tinge of bitterness! Most memorable of the lot.

Cranberry and Kiwi
Clear in transparent yellow - think apple juice, tasted sharply sour on a sweet tone, like apple juice but of a more interesting streak. An effective thirst quencher.

Whispers of Summer - Orange, Mango, Passion Fruits
Looked like Orange juice, and tasted almost like it until you note the clear hint of Passion Fruits layered in Mango flavor. Sweet.

Semi transparent orangey yellow, of the color of mango. Lightly sweeten, ripe mango with a nice aroma that you get from sucking on the hairy seed of the fruit.

Clear colored and tasted like the Ribena drink. Only, this is sweeter and more flavorsome. But if you compared it to Welch's grape juice; Welch's wins hands down.

Lightly cloudy with broken orange pulps floating about in orangey yellow liquid. Bitter, tangy and a little sweet. I relate this much to an orange squash than an 100% orange juice pack.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

南极大冒险, Eight Below (2006)

I had thought this would be another juvenile plot from Walt Disney but it turned out to be a rather intense story based on a true 1958 Winter Expedition for a Japanese Antarctic Surveying Team.

Bulk of Eight Below involves how 8 sled dogs tried surviving on their own the treacherous winter and a guilt-ridden guide's attempts to get back to the Antarctic to rescue his fury paws. I too would be racked with guilt for leaving them behind.

Not in days, the pack were left on their own, but a distressing 8 months.

Based on records, an average husky can only live in such conditions for about one month. In this optimistic film, 6 managed to survive while in the actual 1958 event, it was 2 out of the 15 dogs.

An old veteran in the movie said, "Never underestimate a living spirit's will to survive, especially when they're surrounded by family."

What really stirred after watching the show was the demonstrations of bravery, leadership, compassion and selflessness among the sledge dogs - sharing the scarcity of food and watching out for one another.

Can the noble human forms took on such role in a similar predicament? I pondered. These thoughts kept me awake from sleeping the night.

Famous Norwegian polar explorer Helmer Hanssen once reported, 

"Dogs like that, which share man's hard times and strenuous work, cannot be looked upon merely as animals. They are supporters and friends. There is no such thing as making a pet out of a sledge dog;
these animals are worth much more than that."

The exact of how you would feel after watching this movie.

Eight Below Official Trailer

Saturday, September 15, 2012

同乐, Tung Lok Mooncakes

Four Seasons by Tung Lok ($53.50)
Egg Yolk White Lotus (not in pics), Egg Yolk Pandan Lotus with Pistachios, Egg Yolk Red Lotus, Mixed Nuts

This Mid-Autumn Festival i have been hinting strongly to Ric that i wanted Mooncakes from Tung Lok, having really missed their Egg Yolk Pandan with Pistachios which we last had in 2010.

Mom loves their Wu Ren (mixed nuts) mooncake so much, that we ended up having to buy more of it separately. We like its recipe which excludes the Chinese Jin Hua Ham but has loads of dried Tangerine peel!

This year, it remains my favourite from Tung Lok. The portion of salted egg yolk has increased; not that we mind at all. Now, just awaiting for that full moon night.. :)

Sandwich Recipes

Apple Sandwich with Japanese Mayo

Fuji Apple Sandwich
Quite a refreshing sandwich which Sis love putting together when she's hungry and couldn't bother scouting out take away food; you see, she's vegetarian.

So one day, she decided to spread the bread with Japanese Mayonnaise, layered with Lettuces, Tomatoes (works with Cucumber too) and Fuji apple slices - the only ingredients left in her fridge at that moment, and voila! My breakfast today.

Here's some other sandwiches we like.

Korean Seaweed Sandwich
Our favorite. Layer these ingredients on bread: Japanese Cucumber/ Tomatoes, LettucesKorean roasted Seaweed with salt and a douse of Japanese Mayonnaise (optional).

Tomato Cheese Sandwich
Put a slice of Cheese and thick slices of Tomatoes on bread. Sent them into a low heated oven and remove once the cheese started to melt. Add a dab of Japanese Mayo, or just a dash of Pepper. Serve.

Peanut Butter Banana Sandwich
Simply spread Peanut Butter over bread, topped up with sliced Bananas. This is a sinful sandwich and be warned, I've got young friends getting addicted to this sandwich ")

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Gelato on Stick

Hazelnut and Pistachio Gelato with Chocolate Dipping ($10.10)

Just one look at these solidified stick of Gelato from Stick House made me want to melt it with a warm lick! Couldn't resist the image of such creamy sensation.

But happy time was short lived as the Gelato melted faster than i wished; to slowly savor it. The sugared chocolate coating was inessential and adds to the mess - next time, just have the pure Gelato stick!

Santouka, photo by Samsung Note

Awase-Aji, Mixed Soup Ramen ($14++)

Heard some disappointing news and thought the way to stomach it was through a hearty lunch, so we went to Santouka, Central

And the pretty meat just warrant some shots right? My Note came in handy when the DSLR was not carried; not bad photo right? The camera does perform well on an all AUTO settings; and we were sitting at the darker corner of the restaurant, away from the window natural lighting.

This is hunger-inducing!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Maharaja Super Cake, since 1986

Have friend who is always raving about the good thousand layer cake they bought from Jakarta city; but couldn't remember the brand! Well, can't blame them, Jakarta has cake shops aplenty.

This week, Nic bought us a nice parcel from his work trip - Prune and Cheese flavored Kueh Lapis Cake from Maharaja Super Cake. I failed to google any info about the bakery and didn't know if this link was really them.

Prune, Cheese Kueh Lapis Cake (S$30+)

So just try recognizing these brown boxes and when you have a chance to be there, buy them!

The family like the soft spongy Prune cake that was moisten with jam at the regular layers, it is tantalizing. In comparison, the thin layer of cheese spread within the Cheese lapis cake has harden after the warm baking and does not give an equally smooth mouth feel.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Aramis Vineyards McLaren Vale

2003 Black Label Shiraz, 750ml

The 03 vintage maybe one of the densest and more powerful Reds we had. A tiny sip has that choking bitterness; no wonder the bottle recommends that the wine be taken with mouthful of fruit tart and sweet white chocolate for its tannin-laden structure. The burning 13.5% vol has also not mellow out over the 10 long years.

It was a striking vintage, no doubt. Being only the second vintage from Aramis Vineyards, it won the Bronze medal for the Royal Queensland Wine Show in 2004. We are proud to savor the characteristics of their McLaren Vale heritage.

7-Inch Square Pizza

Some cheap pizza for the weekend! Packing away from Canteen 1 of the NTU campus, the 7" Square Pizza is retailed at a discount of $1 for the undergrads here, at just $3.90. The canteen is open to public.

And this is our order with lots of cheese! Yes!

Tom Yum Pizza (Tom Yum Paste, Prawns, Squid Rings, Mozzarella Cheese) $3.90

Tom Yum is a tasty choice to go with seafood. It is yummy.

Peppers Pork Pizza (Mayonnaise Garlic Sauce, Pork Belly, Capsicum, Mozzarella Cheese) $3.90

And you surely must try some semi-fatty pork belly with cheese; they are such surprisingly good combination! With more generous toppings, these pizzas would be nearer perfect.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Mad for Garlic; Mad for Pasta

Garlic Snowing Pizza ($19.90++)
Mad for Garlic Special Sweet Garlic Pizza topped with Shrimp and Pineapple Dice.

This was what we missed out during our last visit to Mad for Garlic - the Garlic Snowing Pizza. Friends had strongly recommended this sweet tasting pizza, but besides finding it really aromatic when served up, there wasn't much surprises.

Ingredients used were ordinarily simple.

Vongole Mare Pasta ($19.90++)
Traditional Pasta with Fresh Clam in White Wine Sauce.

The surprises came in the form of their soupy pasta! Yes, soupy pasta, you heard right. The broth was full flavored and slightly spicy; totally enjoyed it.

And if you like seafood, this light pasta with fresh squids, prawns, clams and baby octopus will be worthy of your pleasure.