AFC GRILLED : Chef Sean Connolly

An evening of good food.

Lap Cheong Watermelon Bites

An asian take on watermelon bites!

Baked Fish with Kiwi in Sweet and Sour Sauce

Add a twist to sweet and sour fish!

Semperit Pandan Cookies

Cute cookies for the festive season!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Handle-With-Care Butter Cookies


The experts have said it frequent enough ~ Read the recipe carefully before cooking!
Butter Cookies with Pearl Sprinkles

I saw the some. Overconfidence did me in. I wasn't exactly petrified when I realised I threw in twice the butter required for this cookie recipe but my heart sure skipped a beat.

It was the first time I decided I didn't need to print the recipe for reference while I prepared the necessary. Five ingredients, basic cookie.. bah, I can handle this.

I was working my way through when my brain gave me a buzz.

"Hey, Sweetie..." 
shows mental image of 'firm' round cookie dough that I had seen earlier.


Too creamy to form!

I rushed to re-read the recipe. The first line made me laugh - 1 'stick' unsalted butter. NoOoOo...! There you go, my mind was wired to the 250g slab of butter I always have in stock.

Although I messed up, it turned out pretty yum after adding more flour and sugar to "fix it". I don't really know how it's supposed to be originally but mine turned out buttery soft and fortunately, not dry. 

The dough was easy enough on the plastic icing piper I used to shape the cookie. It was all good to go after only one test-bake. Lucky me.

The Pearl and The Pipe

Recipe adapted from here ~ Little Ms. Piggys.

I'm sharing exactly what I did the other day, errors included. Tried-and-tested-only-once recipe below. Makes 55.

- 250g blended butter (room temp)
- ½ cup soft brown sugar
- 2.2 cups flour (sifted)
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 10g gold and white pearls


1) Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together.

2) Add egg yolk and vanilla extract. Mix to combine.

3) Add flour. Mix until everything is combined.

4) Wrap dough in plastic wrap. Chill overnight.
(It was supposed to be chilled for half an hour. I was sleepy!)

5) Take cookie dough out of fridge. Let it sit until it's soft enough to work with. Meantime, flour baking pan.

6) Fill cookie dough into icing piper. Use the large star tip. Pipe two straight lines (approx. 1.5inches long) next to each other onto baking pan.

7) Sprinkle gold and white pearls on top.

8) Bake in pre-heated oven at 175c for about 6-7 minutes. You know the cookies are done when the edges at the bottom start to brown a little.

Note: Keep a close watch. These cookies do not expand or brown much.

9) Wait for the cookies to cool a little before removing from baking pan. From here, handle with care.

Piped, sprinkled and ready to roll!
Added gold and white pearls for that Christmassy feel

Butter CookieTexture

Buttery Soft Cookies

Not too shabby!

The good news? It was a hit with friends.

Hope everyone had a great Christmas!


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Food Discovery : Lok Lok Food Truck


Cooks are inventors. Recipes, their creation. The diversity we find in street food is evidence of our limitless ingenuity when it comes to cooking.

The first thing that crosses my mind when I think of food trucks is Lok Lok. It's a common sight in Kuala Lumpur where I live.

According to my foodie friend, the term Lok Yat Lok means to scald or blanch continuously (again and again) in Cantonese. This refers to how food is prepared in the food truck. I guess that for convenience sake, it has been shortened to Lok Lok.  

I just call it the dip-dip truck because that's what it's all about - Dip food in boiling water, dip in sauce, then eat. I liken Lok Lok to a self-service hot pot restaurant on wheels.

The food truck looks like this:

The Lok-Lok Food Truck

Glorious Fresh Ingredients.
Notice the pot of boiling water on the left? That's where everyone dips their food.

How it works:
An array of fresh meat, seafood and vegetables is fastened to a bamboo skewer and displayed on trays. To eat, pick one up and place it into the pot of bubbling boiling water. Once food is cooked, take it out, drizzle some sauce on top and eat. This is the hot pot way.

It's not all about raw food though. Cooked food like boiled quail eggs, deep fried mushrooms and chicken gizzards are also on the menu.

The skewers are marked with colours to differentiate the price. By counting the sticks according to the markings, the seller is able to calculate the bill after you have finished your food.

Tofu, Sliced Pork Belly, Grey Oyster Mushrooms,
Enoki, Fish Balls, Long Beans ...

Dipping Sauces.
Spicy peanut, red chili, green chili , dark sweet sauce, spicy ginger garlic!

What I like to do is plonk several sticks of food into the boiling water, grab a container and fill it with sauce. Once the food is cooked, I take it all out, stand aside and tuck in! That way, I don't block anyone.

Cockles, Squid and Dipping Sauces

This Is How We Do It

Beautiful Fried Gizzard

While this is all very yummy, it may not be your cup of tea if you balk at the idea of sharing the same pot of cooking water with strangers or, if you are not comfortable dunking your food into some sort of soup that has seen many meats and vegetables before your turn.

I don't mind. I like believing that I have a strong stomach....until something happens. It hasn't.


Monday, December 16, 2013

Emping Padi Baru (Rice Flakes)


My recent trip to Melaka, a short getaway with the family, was fun and foodful. From chicken rice balls to durian cendol, we tried it all. The city is a favourite haunt for tourists. It is steeped in Dutch and Portuguese history, and has been listed in the UNESCO World Heritage site since 2008.

I stumbled across this snack while souvenir hunting at Medan Samudera, a small shopping complex that sells mainly Malaysian food products and many things that would make great mementos of Melaka. Ahem, I opened my wallet more than once!

Emping Padi Baru (Newly Harvested Rice Flakes)

Emping Padi Baru (newly harvested rice flakes) is a traditional local delicacy that is said to be more commonly found in the paddy growing northen states of Peninsular Malaysia. It is a treat that is rarely heard of these days, but not impossible to find. It is still sold in old markets up north and touristy cultural shopping complexes.

How this is made:
Freshly harvested rice (with husk) is rinsed and soaked overnight. Then, it is dry fried in a wok until it begins to snap. This is transferred into a traditional wooden mortar where it is pounded and flattened until the husk separates from the rice. Using a bamboo sieve, the husk (now light) is tossed out with several flipping motions, leaving the flattened rice behind.


Rice Flakes

There are several ways of enjoying this. This is what is written on the packet I purchased.

Instructions : Soak in hot water for a minute to soften. Mix with palm sugar and fresh grated coconut or eat with milk.

I paired mine with dessicated coconut and a drizzle of honey. It dawned on me that this snack could go a lot of ways ~ slices of fresh fruit, nuts, raisins and so forth.

Rice Flakes with Dessicated Coconut and Honey

Rice Flakes mixed with Dessicated Coconut and Honey

Another way of enjoying this is to dry fry it again, straight out of the packet. The rice flakes will be crunchy, much like biting into the crispiness of a potato chip. This is also eaten mixed with grated coconut and palm sugar.

For me, emping padi baru  would be great 'party food' because it is quick and simple to do. It isn't something I would eat in a large quantity so an appetiser or dessert would be how I would go about it.

Happy trying!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Chicken with Apples and Sweet Potatoes (Slow-Cooker)

I consider the slow cooker my best friend. Slurp worthy soups and totally random finger-licking meat recipes have been made in it.

It's like a fun game - toss into pot, wait-see and voila! Something magical happens. Food comes out tasting great even with very little seasoning. The wok, on other hand, is tougher to master because it involves playing around with flavour and fire.

So give me the slow cooker any day and I will whip up a perfectly good meal without much ado ...but if you want a taste, buzz me "hours" before you pop over!

Slow Cooker Chicken with Apples and Sweet Potatoes

This is the latest adventure on my favourite cooking utensil ~ whole chicken with a bunch of green apples. It's fairly simple to do.

Apples ...again?
, I respond in manglish. My mother would have said - Apples are good for you. Eat it. It's healthy.


- 1 medium whole chicken
- 6 green apples (remove skin, cut into cubes)
- 1 large sweet potato (cut into cubes)
- 1 red chili (sliced into squares)
- 1 large onion (cut into wedges)
- 1 tomato (cut into cubes)
- 1 calamansi / calamondin (halved, seeds removed)
- Dried oregano, rosemary leaves, pinch of salt and ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp light sweet soy sauce
- ½ cup water
- Greens like lettuce or pea shoots for serving 

1) Season chicken very lightly with a pinch of salt. Add black pepper, dried oregano and rosemary. Rub evenly inside out. Stuff some apples into the chicken. Leave aside.

2) Place cut ingredients (apples, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, onions, chili) into the slow cooker. Place chicken on top of ingredients.

3) Squeeze calamondin juice all over.

4) Set slow cooker on high. At the two-hour mark, lightly brush soy sauce over the top of the chicken. Cook for another one and a half hours. 

5) Serve on top of greens of choice. Eat as is.  

From top-left, clockwise : 1) Ingredients 2) Cut ingredients are placed into the cooker.
3) Chicken is seasoned and placep on top. 4) Cooked on high, done in three hours plus.

Slow Cooker Chicken with Apples and Sweet Potatoes
served on a plate of fresh Pea Shoots


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Chicken Curry with Bell Peppers


Capsicum, that's what is written on the label but I also know it by another name - bell pepper!

I've only ever seen red, yellow, orange and green ones in our local supermarkets and often wish they sold the purple, white and brown variety too. Just imagine throwing it all together to make a salad. I think it'd look fabulous.

Anyway, I picked green and red out for a curry dish I was making for dinner. I went for chicken curry with less gravy and a stronger flavour because I was pairing it with fresh greens.

This is the result. What do you think? Looks good? ...Tastes good!

Chicken Curry with Bell Peppers

This is the recipe, if you're keen to try.
- 350g chicken fillet (sliced into smaller pieces)
- 1 red bell pepper (sliced into long thin strips)
- 1 green bell pepper (sliced into long thin strips)
- 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tbsp blended red chili
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp sweet soy sauce
- Pinch of salt and white pepper
- 3 tbsp evaporated milk
- 1 cup water
- Cooking oil
- 6 baby Romaine lettuce


1) To make curry paste, mix turmeric powder, garam masala and blended red chili together. Add a little water if it's too dry.

2) Heat oil in wok. Saute garlic.

3) Add curry paste. Fry until lightly browned.

4) Add chicken fillet pieces. Gently stir-fry to coat the chicken pieces. Then, add bell peppers and bay leaves. Mix well.

5) Add water and simmer covered for about 5 minutes.

6) Add milk. Cook uncovered for a further 5 minutes or more on high heat until the curry has reduced into a nice thick milky texture - not too watery, not too dry.

7) Serve on top of romaine lettuce.

1) The ingredients
2) Saute garlic and add curry paste
3) Add chicken, then bay leaves and bell peppers
4) Add water and simmer covered
5) Cook on high until water has reduced into a nice thick gravy - not too dry.

My Bowl of Chicken Curry with Bell Peppers

Can be eaten with rice, flatbreads or as is!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Braised Chicken with Apples and Ginger

I've always enjoyed cooking with fruits because I love working with natural flavours.

This is a yummy gingery apple dish that I made the other day to go along with rice. I ditched the common soy sauce chicken for something different and it turned out very well.

I'm definitely making this again!

Braised Chicken with Apples and Ginger

And it is an easy recipe. Just a slow simmer to bring all the ingredients together. Taste-wise, light apple sweet and gingery. I seasoned it with a wee bit of salt and white pepper.


- 600g or half chicken (chopped)
- 2 apples, one red and one green (cut into cubes)
- 1 thumb ginger (sliced thinly)
- 1 clove garlic (chopped)
- 1 red chili (sliced)
- 2 cups water
- Salt and white pepper to taste
- Cooking oil
- 1 stalk spring onion (chopped) for garnishing

1) Heat oil in wok. Saute garlic and ginger.

2) Add apples. Give it a quick stir.

3) Add chicken. Stir lightly until browned a little.

4) Add chili, then water. Bring to a boil and simmer covered on low heat for 20 minutes or so, stirring once in between.

5) Taste and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Let it cook for a couple of minutes to round the flavours up. 

6) Serve garnished with chopped spring onions.

1) Saute garlic, ginger and apples.
2) Brown chicken.
3) Add chili.
4) Add water and simmer covered.

Braised Chicken with Apples and Ginger
garnished with chopped Spring Onions

Enjoy with rice!


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Reality Bites : Exclusive Preview (An Original AFC Production)


Eve blessed me with invites to the exclusive preview of Reality Bites, a reality show accounting the ups and downs of Malaysian celebrity chefs Johnny Fua and Sherson Lian as they manage the fine dining kitchen of Elegantology Gallery & Restaurant. It's a tough environment to work in. Elegantology is owned by esteemed fashion designer Beatrice Looi, setting the standards high.

Me with Chef Sherson Lian (Far left) and
Chef Johnny Fua (Far right)

Great Dinners Of The World Event 2012
Remember AFC's Great Dinners of the World? That's where I first knew of these chefs. I later met them at an event organised for fans.

Anyway, check out photos of my 20th November evening at the event (below).

A variety of delicious finger food was served. I was humoured the moment the waitress attempted to share the name of the dish with us. It was such a mouthful. I wondered at that moment if I should have brought a tape recorder along. I couldn't possibly remember any of it!

I miss the days when food were just simply labeled "sweet and sour sausage" instead of "sausage a l'orange seasoned with a pinch of fleur de sel and black peppe--eur " <-- I am totally making this up to illustrate a point. 

We were then introduced to citrusy Martell cocktails which tasted really good. The name was as challenging. I shall not mention it. Martell is a patron of Elegantology, lending more sophistication to what I already call a very high class restaurant.

I left the event learning a thing or two about presentation. The show? Watch it and judge for yourselves.

The Scene

Chef Johnny Fua (bottom left) / Chef Sherson Lian (middle right)

Reality Bites airs this 10th December on the Asian Food Channel (AFC). Who's as excited as I am? Oh, who am I kidding. My enthusiasm for cooking shows (any) is forevermore ~ looking forward to the drama!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Prawn Green Curry


This isn't authentically Thai so I've done away with the word from the name of the recipe ~ Thai Green Curry.

Prawn Green Curry

I am hooked on red chilies. The non-spicy kind, that is! It's in my shopping cart every marketing week.  Fresh red ingredients liven up any dish, don't you think - gravy in vibrant colour, that touch of liveliness in garnishing. I liken it to adding a ribbon onto my plate of yum.

Green chili is an undeniably underrated ingredient in my wok-king activities. I plonked a packet of fresh ones onto the supermarket pay counter the other day before I could wonder whether I really needed it.

I figured doing this often could cajole my mind into accepting that, "Hey, green chili isn't so meh after all".  

Oh, what can I say. It turned out to be a very exciting ingredient to have around and I am psyched to explore further.

This is my recipe for delightful, sweet-savoury curry.  It's lovely with rice and bread.   

- 16 medium prawns (cleaned, leave tail intact if you wish)
- 4 kaffir lime leaves
- 1½ tsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- Pinch of white pepper
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp shrimp paste (lightly toasted - in the oven or dry fried on pan)
- 1 cup coconut milk
- ½ cup water
- 3 tbsp cooking oil
- ½ red chili (sliced) and some fresh coriander for garnishing

Green Curry Paste ~ To blend:
- ¼ cup fresh coriander (roughly chopped)
- 5 green chilis (roughly chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (roughly chopped)
- 1 large onion (roughly chopped)
- 1 stalk lemon grass (sliced thinly)
Blend all these ingredients together into a paste.
Use a bit of coconut milk to get things going if needed.

1) Ingredients to be blended into green curry paste (excluding lime leaf)
2) Roughly chopped and ready to be blended
3) Coconut milk
4) Green curry paste
5) Green curry paste, fish sauce, ground coriander, brown sugar, prawns, kaffir lime leaf


1) Heat oil in large pan. Add green curry paste, shrimp paste and ground coriander. Stir-fry to combine well, preferably until the liquid has reduced into a thick paste.

2) Add coconut milk, half the water, kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce, pepper and sugar. Mix well and simmer covered for five minutes or so  (at least until the gravy loses it's vibrant green and enough for all the flavours to come together).

3) Add prawns and remaining water. Stir lightly until it is cooked. (Add more water if you find the gravy a little too thick for your liking)

4) Serve garnished with fresh red chili and coriander.

1) Fry green curry paste, ground coriander and shrimp paste with oil
2) Add the coconut milk and kaffir lime leaf
3) Lastly, add the prawns
4) Stir lightly until prawns are cooked

Prawn Green Curry ~ Garnished with Red Chili and Coriander


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Cheesy Omelette


And then there are days I'd wake up hungrier than usual for no apparent reason. I'd be staring half-heartedly at the cereal box and chocolate malt drink.

Typical Malaysian breakfasts would flash across my mind - nasi lemak (coconut milk rice with spicy anchovies) , roti canai (a local flatbread served with curry), fried noodles and the sort!

I started dreaming about Eve's cheesy omelette. Pretty sure I was still undecided when it dawned on me that I was already whisking a couple of eggs. How did that happen....

Eve's version is made with a ton of yummy ingredients - onions, ham, mushrooms. I made something to satisfy the rumbling tummy that had growled me into submission.

Cheesy Omelette
This is what I had for breakfast in the end, a fuss-free cheesy omelette.


- Two eggs
- 1 stalk spring onion (chopped)
- 1 pc cheese slice (smokey bbq flavour)
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Cooking oil

Cheesy Omelette In The Pan

1) Beat two eggs in a bowl with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Stir in chopped spring onions.

2) Heat oil in pan. Pour egg mixture into pan. Wait for the egg to solidify a little.

3) Place cheese in the center. Once it begins to melt, fold (not necessarily in half) and turn. Should be done in seconds. Lift and serve.

Note: Serve garnished with spring onions if you like.

Cheesy Spring Onion Omelette
How cheesy!


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Barley With Sweetened Condensed Milk


Barley, the dessert!

Barley with Sweetened Condensed Milk

I've a couple of tricks up my sleeves when it comes to barley.  Unless I'm boiling barley water for someone under the weather, I prefer not sweetening it with the likes of candied winter melon or rock sugar while cooking. Plain is the way to go. This gives me a lot of leeway to flavour it however I please, be it sweet dessert or savoury treat.

I'm sharing an easy recipe today. This is probably the quickest dessert I've ever made (if you already have cooked barley on hand) and it's great eaten anytime of the day. Oh, let me put it this way - I call this an "up-to-you" recipe.


- Cooked barley with a bit of barley water (while still hot/warm)
- Sweetened condensed milk
- Lemon zest

Left: Barley grains (to be rinsed properly and soaked for an hour)
Right: Boiled tender - takes about 40minutes


1) Scoop a few spoonfuls of cooked barley into a bowl or cup. Add some barley water.
2) Stir in sweetened condensed milk (to taste).
3) Serve with a pinch of lemon zest or chill in fridge, if you prefer having it cold.

Note: The portion, the thickness of the soup, warm or cold, the is entirely 'up to you'.

Barley with Sweetened Condensed Milk and a pinch of Lemon Zest



Thursday, October 31, 2013

Food Discovery : Gurney Drive, Penang


Food is a many-splendored thing. There's just so many ways it can be cooked and enjoyed. Traveling gives us a small glimpse of what's out there. You don't have to go far to realise that there's no end to it.

I went on a local food adventure recently and if you were to ask whether I've cooked any of these, in all honesty, I would answer no. I have not even attempted to 'char' (fry) kway teow although I have regularly fried pasta and rice vermicelli!

Gurney Drive is a well known food haven. Stalls open in the evening. We were one of the few who arrived early and enjoyed the peace of surveying the area before finally deciding what to eat.

Gurney Drive, Penang

We placed our order on four yummy dishes. Too much? You could say we gleefully stuffed ourselves full. The multitude of flavours made it a joy to dig in.

A little about the dishes. Fried kway teow is wok stir-fried on high heat with prawns, cockles, lap cheong (Chinese sausage), bean sprouts and spring onions. It is a soy sauce based dish.

The ever popular Char Kway Teow

Oh Chien is the simple omelette, cooked with small oysters. It is eaten with a lime based chili sauce which gives it oomph to stand out from regular breakfast omelettes.

Asam Laksa , on the other hand, is a sour and spicy fish noodle soup. Tamarind gives the soup that sour tang. The soup is cooked with fish and laden with fresh ingredients, chiefly, julienned cucumber, lettuce, onion, red chili, mint leaves and pineapple. Crunchily rich!

Oh Chien (Fried Oyster Omelette) and Asam Laksa (Spicy Sour Noodle Fish Soup)

We settled on Pasembur to complete the day's food adventure. This typically consists of boiled egg and various batter-fried seafood which is served with vegetables like cucumber, potatoes and chinese turnips. Beancurd and crispy crackers are also key ingredients. The salad is then topped with a generous helping of spicy sweet potato and chopped peanut sauce. 

Pasembur (Salad of fried seafood and vegetables served with a sweet, spicy sauce)

The place was packed with people within the hour of opening. It was nice timing on our part to drop in just a little earlier.

The crowd comes in!

I hope you have been as enlightened as me on this food journey. I leave you with one of my favourite quotes.

Secrets, especially with cooking, are best shared so that the cuisine lives on.
~ Bo Songvisava


Monday, October 28, 2013

Stir-Fried Barley With Snow Peas


Barley, to me, is a very exciting ingredient to work with. Besides boiling it for the water, I use it in stir-fries and to make desserts. I'll share some of the ways I enjoy barley as we go along. For now, feast your eyes on this.

Stir-Fried Barley with Snow Peas

This stir-fry came about because I had boiled way too much barley the other day, an overzealous attempt to clear the grains before the expiry date! I'm trying to stay on the "dont-waste-food" track.

My earlier plan of fried rice for dinner was shelved. Boo hoo but on a brighter note, this was an equally yummy change ~ fried barley < -- if it can be called this.

This mild savoury mix with a tangy lemon scent is good as main or as a side. Feel free to double or triple the ingredients as this is a very small portion.

Ingredients :
- 1 clove garlic (chopped)
- ¼ red chili (chopped)
- 8 pcs snow peas
- cup cooked barley
- 1 to 2 tsp olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Pinch of black pepper
- A grating of lemon zest

1) Heat olive oil in small pan.
2) Saute garlic until lightly browned.
3) Add snow peas and chili. Stir until almost cooked.
4) Then, add the barley. Stir-fry and season with salt and black pepper (to taste).
5) Mix well and until peas are cooked. Serve garnished with a grating of lemon zest.

I don't know if it's weird that I snack on this for tea too. 

1) The Ingredients
2) Stir-fry
3) Add cooked barley and season!
Olive Oil Stir-Fried Barley with Snow Peas



Thursday, October 24, 2013

Food Discovery : Ice Ball

Ice balls or Ais Kepal, as Penangites call it, is a treat from days of old. It was made popular in the 70s but has been around much earlier.

What it is, is a bowl of ice shavings patted into a ball, slathered with syrup for taste. Very easy to make and so satisfying in humid weather.

Ice ball seller pouring the syrup on.
Check out the ice shaving machine.

I had my first taste a couple of months ago when I was in Penang for a holiday. Check out my mango flavoured ice ball. To eat, suck or bite into the ice (obviously). They've included a wooden skewer, I think, for dainty eaters.

Mango Flavoured Ice Ball


Today, shaved ice is a more complex dessert with tons of topping varieties ranging from ice cream, nuts, fruit, jellies to whatever one fancies. But simplicity works best when the day is too hot to make much of an effort. 


Sweet Home-Chefs Copyright © 2013-2017 Template Designed by BTDesigner · Powered by Blogger