Kampungkayell

Food, life, and fun in my "kampung,"(village), KL (Kuala Lumpur). Did I mention "food?"

Krazeeee about Krispy Kremes ;-)

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

IMG_2529 Hmmm, I wonder if I should be so glad. I walked into bootcamp today and Masta V gave me this packet with the familiar (to me at any rate) cursive and the High Glycemic Index food of Krispy Kremes.

I haven't eaten it yet but if it's as I remember, they should be soft and yielding, great flavour and SWEEEEEEEEET!

Since I'm not supposed to have carbs at night, I'll have a bit of this with my muesli tomorrow. :-)

Maybe Stu paid Masta V! Things that make me go hmmm...

Eating to Live or Living to Eat Part 2

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

IMG_1931.JPGWhen I first started eating 6 meals I had already been exercising for 2 1/2 months. I wasn't really watching what I ate but for most, it would have been a decent diet. Breakfast of muesli, lunch of a meat, a little veg and some rice and then tea was a piece of fruit and dinner again meat, and a little rice. Those were my 'everyday' foods.

Then I sort of decided to 'up' it to the next level. I had come to a point where my state of mind was "I want to do this" rather than "I have to do it." One is internally motivated, and the other is "grit-teeth-act-like-constipated" motivated.

So here we are. Some people will be like "you SURE or not?" The pictures of ribs and of the rainbow horn of cornucopia that seems to get posted seems to be at odds with the life I say I live. But I find that it's truly not incongruent. I love food crafted passionately into taste sensations. It is, along with the eating of it, the experience of creation. A "giving birth" if you will. So along with the savouring I enjoy the process of sitting down amongst friends and family and allowing the smells, tastes, textures, to envelop, enfold, and embrace me.

Also please understand that I write this of my own experience and I do not advocate that IMG_2160everyone do this but I have never felt better or more alive. I feel more grounded. My feet feel the earth move under my feet as never before and it's almost like life certainly holds more possibilities than it ever did. Sure, it still has it's challenges but rather than trudging dully through an existence, it's nice to realise that life is there to be savoured. Sipped into your mouth like a good wine, rolled around and slowly allowed to slide down your throat.

And there's the secret of life; You always swallow. You never spit! ;)

And so, here are the highlights of these last couple of weeks. And the 'also-rans.' I've included some because there is an element of grotesquerie in them or they're just plain interesting things that didn't tickle my tastebuds

Amongst the more grotesque things to have crossed the rubicon of my palate was this Beetroot juice (right) from Bermuda and Onion. Oh. My. God.

Earthy. Like earth. Sweet. Sort of. And most interesting of all, that purple. Which was the only thing I loved about it. Otherwise it tasted like they blended earth with purple food colouring and a little water. I knew it was full of anti-oxidants so I sucked it all up in one go. And then slurped up a big mouthful of coffee to forget the experience. But there are seriously better ways to get your goodness people.

IMG_2163To make up for that singular lapse in judgement (I love healthy but there is a point when enough is enough) I had this English Breakfast (left). I gave Allan my rashers of bacon and the sausages were a bit crunchy, but the rest of it was, as is attributed to Michael Caine, a "heart attack on a plate." But, what a lovely way to go. Earthy (in a good way) sauteed mushrooms, warm, soft, juicy, fried tomatoes, sunny side up eggs, and hash browns (or the more colourful, "bubble and squeak.")

I'm so glad for places like Neroteca, Bermuda and Onion, Chiaroscuro, and of course, the granddaddy of them all, La Bodega, where you can actually get breakfasts/brunches like this.

And then eating is a great excuse for hanging out with people like FBB, LL, Toyboy&Toygirl, cumi&ciki, et al. You know who all of you are.

It's become almost like the good food is and has become an addition to the good company. As food should be.

Have you noticed that the company always makes the food? Not the other way round. It certainly doesn't hurt to have good food. But lousy food doesn't always spoil good company.

Look, you should have smelt and tasted these Barbarian Ribs by Ribs by Vintry while we were ribbing LL a few Sunday nights ago. IMG_2182

The fact that they were meltingly tender, as only a low and slow BBQ (at least 4 to 6 hours) would have made them was enhanced by unkaleong AND Ll. The sweet, savoury glaze, the tang of summer citrus, and that unctuous gorgeousness of dissolving pork on your tastebuds all added to the experience of the laughter AND camaraderie. May I please say that I have rarely had better ribs. If anyone who has been to Tony Romas disagrees (and I'm speaking of apples and apples, so I'm referring to the aforementioned restaurant in our little neighbour down south) then please tell them that they pressure cook their ribs and it's a fake and fraudulent pass-off of true Barbeque goodness. Hence, the sponginess of the meat and the required caramelised glaze for the finish.

On that particular Sunday, I happened to notice some Strawberries in the fridge. Allan mentioned that they were selling them at RM10 for 3 punnets in the supermarket and he couldn't resist. So as an after dinner sweet-thing, we adjourned to Gasing and had some Chocolate Mousse with a quenelle pillow of whipped cream and some fragrant fraises.

IMG_2198The fact that the Mousse was also scented with some Orange Zest added to the contentment that night, I believe.

Of course, one doesn't need to indulge in expensive restaurants all the time and we believe that the true essence of good food is it's ability to make a get-together gel. A couple of weeks ago, Allan's Dad bought us dinner in No-Name Coffee Shop in Jalan Peel. It's located just next to a Shell Station.

IMG_1838.JPG It was a dark and stormy night. Our legs and butts were sore from the unending squats that Masta V made us do.

We found a parking place. Ran in and was greeted by steaming, caramelised, pieces of chicken and wings. The highlight of this coffee shop however was the rare poached beef with dry minced pork noodles ala Tong Shin Terrace. IMG_1847.JPGSucculent, pinkish, tender, flavourfully beefy, it was just the thing for a wet night.

Having done part 1 and 2 about Eating to Live or Living to Eat, I might just continue in this vein for future posts. A compendium of eating adventures, rather than a post about a particular restaurant at a time UNLESS it was so outstanding that it warrants it. What do you think?

Ribs by Vintry
120-122, Jalan Kasah,
Damansara Heights, 50490 Kuala Lumpur.

Tel: 03-2096 1645

Opening hours: Noon till late. Kitchen closed between 3pm to 6pm. Closed on Sundays and some public holidays. Call to enquire.

No Name Coffee Shop on Jalan Peel
Next to Shell Station

Bermuda & Onion reviewed here

Eating to Live or Living to Eat Part 1

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

IMG_1932.JPGIt's impossible. Or I thought it would be.

The natural pull of Kuala Lumpur is for one to practice Living To Eat. I mean, with food and colour and textures and tastes of such intensity everywhere, it's sort of difficult just to be sensible about eating. Every meal is an opportunity for an adventure. Every meal is an opportunity for a gathering for a giggle to lift you from the mundane.

I love it.

But I've also come to love and appreciate Eating to Live. My 6 meals a day are not a chore anymore. Ooo, that rhymes doesn't it? "Not a chore anymore, Cha Boh."

Yup, I've joined the ranks of the converted. I've been circumcised (not literally) to the cult of healthy eating - for the most part - and it certainly brings with it, it's own brand of fulfilment and satisfaction. There's no evangelist more fervent than a new convert. Ask all those irritating newbies from ANY religion. Much like having that vaunted cigarette after sex, healthy eating is a viable lifestyle choice. And it's not even such an alternative one anymore that is frowned on by "right thinking" people.

My morning home-made muesli kicks off my day, with a snack of a handful of nuts or trail mix or fruit two hours later, followed by a sandwich (like the one above from Yogi Tree, Gardens) or salad for lunch - usually packed with veg, a dab of home made mayo, and at least 3 to 4 ozs of some fish or chicken - then two more snacks of trail mix/fruit/yoghurt, and we're into energy gel food for the evening workout plus a dinner of meat and veg (meat the size of a deck of cards and veg of about 2 cups).

But hey, I haven't forgotten my roots and in the last week or so, I've enjoyed IMG_1920.JPGcaressing, fondling, and having my tastebuds fornicate with everything from strawberries and a little cream, to key lime tartlets, red velvets, Louis XVs, Coffee Devil's Food cake, Barbarian Ribs at Vintry, Dim sum at Duck King and Hokkien Hakka food at Lim Kee over off Old Klang Road. And of course, an impromptu get-together which featured Teriyaki Beef with Garlic Fried Rice and a Wafu Salad.

Dieting is truly for the birds. The feathered kind. One might as well be a cloistered Nun. No offence, Reverend Mother Aloysia.

One Sunday, I decided to cook. Cooking is therapeutic for me. The focus on the food, the satisying splud of meat, the krispy krunchy feel of cucumbers and onions, the oiliness of oil. It takes me away to a creative world where anything is possible. Sweet, red onions, sliced thin, with a Wafu salad dressing started off this meal with a cool, crisp, crunch, even without croutons. Yes, yes, I liked the alliterrrrraaaa-shun!

IMG_1919.JPGMy "Starrrch" as the Americans so unlovingly put it, came from Garlic Rice. Rice is so much more than 'starrrrch.' *sniff*

I ran out of Gas that day. No, not in my tummy. That was producing it quite well thank you very much.

But my two helpers at home had not reminded the housekeeper to call the gasman and as such our stoves were all out of commission. To compound matters, I had wanted to grill my Teriyaki Beef on the gas grill. And what does a gas grill run on?

Since that was also the ONLY tank of gas in the house, they cleverly purloined it in the hope that on Monday (the day after Sunday) they would be able to call the gas man and put things to rights. Needless to say my whim put a spanner in the works and I had to get clever.

Stacking my wok on the gas grill's lava rocks, turning on all the flames actually gave me a very serviceable heat to fry the garlic to a nutty doneness and then add pre-cooked IMG_1918.JPGrice, eggs and lashings of soya sauce. Not to be confused with ginger beer(watch out for it at 4:42 and again at 9:06).

The Teriyaki Beef made from tritip striploin was duly marinated in soya sauce, mirin, sake, orange zest, and ginger and then cut into strips which were grilled until char marks appeared. The required resting over, they were stacked and whisked to table. Sweet, su-su-lent, beefy, fresh (from the orange zest) and with the garlic rice and the thickened glaze, yummo, if I do say so myself. But don't take my word for it...ask the people who came! ;-)

There have been so many more adventures this last week that I needed to split this post. Rather than write a novel.

Will continue about Vintry, Ribs by Vintry, Lim Kee, and Allan's birthday desserts in the next post.

As they used to say in the banners at Rex Cinema along Jalan Sultan..."Next Change."

Angus

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

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There are a plethora of food choices in Kuala Lumpur. The one that we were invited to to do a sponsored food review is not an obvious one that springs to mind. Angus Charcoal Grill Steakhouse, as you can see in the photos above, was very quietly understated. Almost too much so when you compare it to all the other eateries around which are practically screaming at you to "COME IN AND GIVE US A TRY."

When you walk in you do get the feeling that there is a certain "no frills" eating experience to be had here. And you will be partly right. Everything has been set up in such a way that it's functional, peaceful, casual, and focused on their main object, Beef. From the "run of the mill" 200 day old Australian Beef to Wagyu and beyond (which are accompanied with seriously "let's have an extra special treat" prices). On closer eyeballing however, there is a certain understated quality about everything.

Given that Angus Charcoal Grill Steakhouse is Japanese owned and operated, that quality should not be a surprise. It also includes a varied wine selection with 138 labels stored in a purpose built-in wine 'cellar.' I've put 'cellar' in quotation marks because I still have this idea that a cellar is meant to be dark and cool and lit with a single, incandescent light bulb. Nowadays, wine 'cellars' tend to be climate controlled environments which are light, airy, and surrounded by glass.

There are 6 Angus's in the region; in Kuala Lumpur, in Indonesia, and in Singapore.
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The cutlery above has a fantastic heft to it. When you hold it, it falls beautifully in your hand. Much like a good piece of metalwork should. And look at the tang of the knife, it's not stamped. It's forged, baby! It's very much a Lexus in the way it's quietly, unostentatiously, confident. The quiet, which was intended, I'm sure, was unfortunately disturbed by an F1 event down on the main concourse by the Porte Cochere entrance. But the way the staff were trained, down to the answers that Julian, the restaurant manager gave, spoke of a certain tick tock clockwork of Swiss/Japanese precision cocooning you.
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Julian says "we would like you to try our set lunch menu." After a hard day's work and a harder workout, I was ready for anything. Just bring on the food! Oh my! Seafood bisque. That's what it smelled like. Julian said "it's cream of carrot." I sniff again, and the unmistakeable salty scent of the sea assails my olfactory passages. "It's cooked with a chicken stock." I suspect that there's a bit more to the chicken stock than he's letting on, perhaps a leaf or two of wakame, but hey, a food establishment must be allowed it's trade secrets. The "Cream of Carrot" was creamy without being greasy, pureed to a silken texture and the perfect start to an evening.

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The Brioche shaped dinner rolls were warm and inviting. Pillowy soft on the inside and hot enough to melt the butter that Anna and Allan slathered on it. Being mindful of a challenge this month I nicked my pat of butter with my butter knife and scraaaaped it on the little bit I tore off the nipple of the roll. The rest, I passed to Allan.

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I feel this gust of a breeze at my elbow and when I look up AND look down again, there's my next course. There's that quiet, Japanese efficiency again. This time, it was a salad artfully arranged to maximise it's volume and wonderfully flavoured with a wafu dressing. Cold, crisp, and salty hits of bonito flakes prepared you for the next course.

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Now, in a restaurant, named after a breed of bovine famed for it's succulent meat, you wouldn't go to look for seafood. Not that there was anything majorly wrong with it. It was delicately flavoured grilled salmon (everything in Angus is charcoal grilled) and it was glossily presented. But hey, where's the beef?

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Chicken thigh (deboned) and breast and all the other dishes are plated on lovely brass plates on gorgeous wood grained liners. All the veg is trimmed to within an inch of their lives, much like someone who's had a brazilian or a boyzilian as the case may be.

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Then your eyes fall on this gorgeous, tanned beauty. A voluptuos flank, with tan lines criss crossing her entire body, we fell to with those forged knives. It was partly due to the sharpness of the knives but also to the wonderfully, aged beef that it just sliced apart like cool butter which was warm, juicy and beefy. Slipping it into the mouth was akin to rolling a creamy, buttery, savoury confection rolling on your tongue which melted away all too soon on a chew or two and making it's way unctuously down your throat only to leave you wanting more.

They all came standard with an Apple Soy Sauce which was unctuous enough to be somewhat silken but far from the stodgy sludges that come with steaks in other establishments. I spooned the slightest amount on as I believe that if you're going to eat Beef, you should taste the Beef and not anything else. The sauce should enhance the experience of that animal that gave up it's life for your enjoyment. Not mask it.

Having said that, I was pleasantly surprised and added a little more.

And that's why you come to a place like this. For the beef! That's why it's called Angus Charcoal Grill Steakhouse. This Australian beauty is yours with the set lunch for only RM52. Yes, that includes the soup, the salad, this voluptuousness, and a dessert.Set lunches start at RM33.

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After dinner, we adjourned to the bar and were treated to a UCC (Japan's premier coffee blender) "Gold Special" coffee. Anna had a cup of this mild roast brew. And I must admit, I prefer this to anything that Starbucks has to offer. That concern serves burnt coffee, people. What's wrong with all of you? Besides wifi and a comfy, airconditioned place, I can't believe so many people, me included, actually drink the coffee there. Mind you, I only drink the coffee to have an excuse to use their wifi. That's my excuse anyway. What's yours?

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A customer had also ordered this ice lemon tea which suffered a momentary detour so that I could satisfy my photographic food pornography moment before it went on it's merry way twixt his/her lips with nary a realisation that his/her drink had been manhandled. The tea was frozen into cubes and more warm tea with lemon infused syrup was served in that tall vase on it's right. What a pretty picture.

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I come back from my sojourn to the bathroom only to find this delectable delight placed in front of me. Chocolate Sponge, layered with white chocolate mousse and then another layer of chocolate sponge and topped with a passion fruit mousse and garnished with squiggles of chocolate syrup and passion fruit coulis said hello to my tonsils. Of course, it had to take the scenic route past my tastebuds which welcomed the view thoroughly.


djwdfm.jpeg Syphon coffee being put through it's paces


You need to order the coffee if for no other reason, it's scintillatingly entertaining watching it percolate through that percolator. The bartender boils the water using an alcohol flame, then mashes the coffee with a little water, sets it into that funnel up above and sits it into the bulb down below. With a rush and a gurgle, all the hot water is sucked up into the funnel where it sits with the coffee for about 20 seconds and then it slowly trickles back into the bulb.

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Angus also has a fully stocked standard bar and is open from 1130 till 4pm (3pm last orders) for lunch and 6 to 11pm (10pm last orders) for dinner.

“This article was done on behalf of Venusbuzz.com in conjunction with the UOB Lady’s Card promotion at Angus Charcoal Grill Steakhouse. Please check "http://www.venusbuzz.com/uobladycard for more details of the promotion”

Angus Charcoal Grill Steakhouse
Pavilion KL
6th floor
Tel; 0321456015


Favourite Eats

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

Instead of the usual post per restaurant, I thought something different...

So here's my experiment; one post about my favourite eats through the last couple of weeks. Including the ones that I cooked myself. This is most definitely NOT a halal post.

Hatyai Street

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Honest to goodness trotters. Braised or deep fried. Sweet, succulent, juicy and decently priced. Won't break the bank. You can get away with around RM35 per person for dinner. And look at that rich braising liquid. It's like a mahogany nectar raining down on the braised trotters.

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We happened to bump into the owner Vivian and she whisked out a whole passel of dishes for us to stuff down our already overstuffed gullets that night. The highlight of which were these deep fried prawn heads. Omigod. These crunchy, savoury, rich, little morsels were like peanuts. You could just keep on eating them. And on. And on. And on.

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A Devil's food cake we taught in our class. Moist, chocolatey, and above all EASY!

Hatyai Street
No. 63E, Jalan Ara
One Bangsar, Bangsar, 55900 Kuala Lumpur Tel: 03-2283 3116

El Cerdo Redux


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Spring lamb. Little Kafka couldn't bring himself to eat it because he had visions of bouncing, cute little fluffy lambs in his head. I, on the other hand, believe there's a certain order to things. I believe that we should be respectful and not waste what we buy. AND we should know the provenance of our food. Also ask to ensure that all livestock is killed humanely, I also believe that this lamb did not give up its life for naught. It was tender, juicy, beautifully spiced, delicate, and all around just meltingly flavourful. I know the rest of us that night went almost reverentially silent when this little morsel passed our lips. Surprisingly, it was SO delicate it didn't even taste like lamb.

El Cerdo 43 & 45, Changkat Bukit Bintang 50200 Kuala Lumpur.

Mum's Pork Chops

AND, my fave thing...Mum's pork chops.

Mum used to make these pork chops quite often. It's SOOOOO EASY!

A few sprigs of english parsley. The cheap English bushy one. Not the flat leaf. One small onion. One egg. 2 decent sized pork chops bone in (about 2.5 to 3cm). Nice and thick.

Sprinkle salt (about a teaspoon each) on both sides of chops and leave for an hour.

Blend parsley, onion, and egg and add a pinch of salt. Pour on top of the marinated chops and leave for another 30 minutes.

Blend stale white bread in the blender and spread it on a large plate. Take the marinated pork chops and and make sure some of the parsley/onion/egg mix on the chop and put it on the bread crumbs.

Press in firmly so the crumbs sticks thickly to the chop with the parsley onion mix.

Heat a non stick pan over high heat till hot. Take the pan off for about 15 secs and allow it to cool a bit. Turn fire down to medium low. Chuck in a glug of oil and put back on the fire. Use a large enough pan so it doesn't crowd. Leave it on medium low for 8 mins per side. Check the chop at 4 mins to make sure that it isn't burning. If it it is nicely caramelised before the time, flip it and allow the 8 mins on the other side before flipping it back to cook for the requisite time again.

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My cherry tomato mozarella basil salad, Mum's pork chop and baked beans

Allow to rest for 10 mins then eat with baked beans and your yummiest salad. That Golden Brown crust is what you're going for. A small, slice of juicy, tender chop, slathered with an oozing spoonful of a potato-ey tomato-ey beans. That's my perfect bite.

This recipe came out of Mum's 45 year old Kenwood Stand Mixer recipe cum instruction book. It's something she used to make for us ever since I was a little boy. And it brings back all sorts of memories of her.

Mum, I miss you but you're always with us. In our hearts and lives. Allan's keeping me in check and he misses you too. So does Dad. But we're all doing good and we live exactly as you taught us. You'll be pleased to know nothing much has changed. The fruit drawers are still full although really only 3 of us eat. The freezer is still full. And the veg drawer is still full. And we still have 3 fridges and 1 freezer for a household (including helpers) of 5. Except Dad now does the shopping and picks up RM15 organic sesame oil for our stir fries. I don't think we'll ever learn how to shop for just what we need. :-)

But he's learning as are we all. :-)

And we're all happy.

Hot Cross Buns

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

Hot Cross buns
One a penny,
Two a penny,
Hot Cross buns

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I caught a glimpse of hot cross buns that Dad bought, laid out on the table. He's very sweet. He goes to church on Sunday mornings and picks up all sort of 'SOMETIMES' food to eat. :-)

Then I had to run into the office to pass some stuff to customers.

At that point, I felt this urge surge through me. "Let's make Hot Cross Buns" the Voice in my head said. "It's Easter week after all."

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So off I went on my quest of High Protein/Strong White/Bread Flour. And a quest it was too. Tilting at windmills ala Don Quixote might have been easier. From TMC to Bangsar Village. In and out of the car sifting through the flour section, the organic section. Eventually, I found it in BV. In a clear packet, no big brand like CAP SAUH on it or anything. Just a small little label with a barcode saying "HIGH PROTEIN FLOUR."

*choirs of angels breakout in* HALLELUJAH!

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So there we were...High Protein Flour, Orange Sweet Potatoes (for a potato dough), cinnamon, and a pinch of ginger, fruit macerated in brandy and rum, and a modified Brioche recipe for a quintessentially Easter treat. Hot Cross Buns.

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Except with the recipe I used, they wouldn't cost 2 a penny! ;-)

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Addendum

Cumi&Ciki sang this and reminded me of the whole rhyme;

Hot Cross buns
One a penny,
Two a penny,
Hot Cross buns

If you have no daughters
Give them to your sons
One a penny
Two a penny
Hot Cross Buns

And as an aside, if they're not 'Hot' anymore, what do you call them? Chillin' Cross Buns? Cold Cross Buns? Cross Buns? Things that make you go...hmmm...Maybe I should (credit to Allan) call them HAWT Cross Buns ;-)