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


By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

Doesn't it strike you as glorious and amazing that everyone has a story?

Can you imagine if you had the time to talk to and learn from every single one of all the billions of people in the world, what riches you would glean from that endeavour?

I do.

Every single person, every single voice, has a unique story all their own. Each minute of their experience in this human existence as valid as the next person's. The blogging phenomenon brings this home every time I click on a new blog.

Spencer Tunick captures this in his photographs with eminent clarity. Truly, a picture paints a thousand words.

Consomme & Chinese New Year

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

The Dragon's Head

All the four Lions
Sans martial artists
The God of Good Fortune's Headdress

My family and I had lunch at Lai Poh Heen in Mandarin Oriental as well on the 3rd day of Chinese New Year and as part of their Visit Malaysia Year activities they had a Lion Dance and a Dragon Dance. Unfortunately, I was a little too late to catch the actual dancing but there were some yummy types with tight sweaty bods running around, I tell ya! ;-)

If you've never made Consomme, you have to try it at least once in your life. Gorgeous crystal clear soup. Literally. But BOY was it hard work. First I had to make the stock. Any good stock will work. But make sure you don't take any short cuts. I used lots of oxtail (about 2kg's worth), aromatics (carrots, celery, onions), some peppercorns, bouquet garni, and lots of water to cover the oxtail. Boil then simmer for 3 to 4 hours. After which, you plonk it in the fridge and chill it overnight. Make sure you make space in your fridge for the pot BEFORE you start anything. The fat will float to the top and you will be able to skim it off. Fat is the enemy of consomme; it must be skimmed off as MUCH as possible. And there'll be a lot of it from Ox Tail. The reason why I chose oxtail is there's meat on the tail which you can use to garnish and lots of bone to make the consomme slightly gelatinous. Yum!

After that I found this clarifying technique using a "raft." Here's the link, complete with pictures. I'd suggest you print it out if you're truly interested. It's very good and takes you step by step.

The raft truly floats to the top and your resulting consomme glows like a jewel with the same clarity. The word "crystal" comes to mind. I had to dilute the stock as it was soooooo rich. The best part was when I refrigerated it and it gelled (as the pic above). It's delicious served cold or warm.

Chinese New Year

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

Although I'm Portuguese Eurasian or Geragok (as some refer to us) our family celebrates Chinese New Year.

And because of my "rojak" (mixed Malaysian salad) background I was just reflecting on how we celebrate the occasion.

My partner being Chinese must go back to his family's place. And I've got to be at my Mum's and Dad's. Since we both want to celebrate and be together we've worked out a system where we run over to his Mum's place for a bit and then come back for a later dinner over at my place. Needless to say, this is not recommended behaviour for those who are worried about their girlish figure, since, to be polite, you have to stuff yourself at BOTH places.

In any case, because I was cooking this year, it got me thinking about how diverse and accepting our families are. Allan and I have been together long enough for his octogenarian Grandmother to be referring to my mother as his "Mother In Law." His Grandmother's words.

For one thing, I'm Eurasian but as a family we celebrate Christmas, Chinese New Year, and to a certain extent Raya (Ramadhan) because of my cousin. At CNY dinner this year, we had Yee Sang, and then went full fledged western with Consomme, Beef Wellington, and Passion Fruit banana Souffle.

On top of that my Mum asked us if our friend, S, who also happens to be gay, would like to come.

Although it get's somewhat crazy now and again, it's good being part of my family.