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!

Monday, September 30, 2013

AFC Grilled : Chef Sean Connolly

Chef Sean, Sharon & Eve
Here we are, Eve and I, with renowned Chef Sean Connolly at Grilled, an event hosted by Asian Food Channel (AFC) and Berjaya University College of Hospitality.

I think of Chef Sean as the 007 of the culinary world with a license to grill the best eats you can ever imagine.

The evening began with mingling and mocktails. Then, we were treated to a meal prepared by Chef Sean and team. Wow! how I describe the food presentation. Technique and technicality was the theme.

If anything, Eve and I learned a lot that evening ~ one, even butter deserved the greatest attention. I'm not the bread-and-butter kinda person but the way it was curled just left my mind going, "This is so yum! Why hadn't I liked butter this much before?" Two, several new words have now been added into our culinary vocabulary, like "gravlax" (raw spiced salmon) and "pecorino" (Italian cheese from ewe's milk). Hooray, for us!

The Venue and The Setting

Feast your eyes on this amazing spread. We had both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, all a yummy affair. Dish 1 and 2 (below) is easily a crowd favourite. I loved the way it was paired. The miso broth, however, was a good strong salty flavour that I think may be a little hard to handle for some.

1. Honey Roast Baby Carrots with Rasberries and Creme Fraiche
2. Raspberry and White pepper Gravlax of King Salmon with Creme Fraiche
3. Mushroom 'n' Miso Broth with Coriander and Daikon

I am no fan of anything sashimi but this was amazing enough to convert me. The fresh scampi was simply dressed in olive oil and chili for that bit of spicy twang on the taste buds. I am talking about dish 5 below.

1. Spiced Pumpkin, Pecorino and Pistachio Lasagne
2. Norwegian Scampi Sashimi with Chili, Baby Coriander and Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3. Baby Beetroot Salad with Labne and Chili Vinaigrette
4. Slow-cooked Rack of Australian Lamb with Chanterelle Mushroom Ragout and Wild Asparagus

In between dinner, Chef Sean showed us how to cook his signature dish ~  Grilled Australian Ribeye with Miso Hollandaise and Fondant Potato. The organisers provided us with a copy of this 3-page long recipe. I was thrilled ...but also wondered if I could pull off the same in my own kitchen. We are talking about 007 against the little home cook with an electric pan as her best friend.

Butter, butter, and more butter! He's humorous!

Dinner ended with Chef Sean going round each table, personally pouring sauce over everyone's dessert as he posed for photos. It was such a sweet and humble gesture. He was so accommodating. We posed for photos twice!

Strawberry Sorbet and Goat's Milk Jelly
It's silly but I was absolutely thrilled when he said, "Aahh..a name I can spell!" when he autographed our menu. It makes no sense I know but that's what happens when you begin to lose some sanity from all that adrenaline rush.

We went home with a goodie bag containing various gifts courtesy of several generous sponsors (BMW, AFC, Meat and Livestock Australia, Glenfiddich)

I bet you want to know what's inside the bag. There's a notepad, notebook, pen, a decorative pin, coaster and some flyers. My favourite item? The bag itself!

Autographed Menu and Goodie Bag

Date of event: 24th September 2013
Venue: Samplings on the 14th, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Banana Buttermilk Streusel Muffins

I went bananas over this one. Truly I did. It was light, moist and smelled so good that I had to restrain myself from gulping it all down. "Share..shareeee" , my conscience kept bugging me.

This is a recipe I found on The Little Teochew, a home cooking website. I added a streusel top. I had pictured in my mind that these banana muffins needed to be crowned with something. It was, after all, my maiden attempt.

Check out how gorgeous it turned out.

Banana Buttermilk Muffins with Streusel Topping

With that, I hereby add this recipe to my must revisit list.

Adapted from The Little Teochew. Originally adapted from here, a Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Healthful Cooking masterpiece. Have highlighted what I did differently from The Little Teochew in purple.

Taste-wise, not overly sweet at the bottom because I did not use very ripe bananas. I knew the streusel topping would cover any shortage of sweetness. All in, deliciously light and moist. 

- 195g all-purpose flour (sifted)
- 115g caster sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 ½ Dole bananas (mashed)
Note: Bananas were just ripe~not overly, length 6 inch. 
- 2 tbsp corn oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract

Streusel Top - adapted from TahiniToo
- 1 tbsp butter
- ¼ cup brown sugar

- ½ cup crushed walnuts
- ½ tsp cinnamon

1) In a small bowl, use your fingers to combine all the ingredients for the streusel top, until it's crumbly. Leave aside.

2) Preheat oven to 190c. Prepare muffin pan - I used liners ~ managed to get 16 muffins out of this batch.

3) Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda together in one bowl.

4) In another bowl, whisk buttermilk, bananas, egg, oil and vanilla together. Then, pour this mixture into mixture 3). Stir until combined.

5) Spoon batter into muffin pan (just about ¾ full). Sprinkle streusel on top.

6) Bake for 15-20 minutes at 190c. To check, insert a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean, it's ready.

Let it cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove muffins. Let muffins cool completely on wire rack.

...I don't think I waited that long....*not remorseful*

Filled it quite high, haven't we?

I think my muffins are having acne issues


Ouch...uch! Wait til it cools, will you!

Moist and fluffy center, not overly cakey!

Bye everyone. You know where this is headed..


Monday, September 16, 2013

Ayam Percik - My Version Is Flavourful Oven-Roasted Chicken

Ayam Percik is a popular barbecue chicken dish in Malaysia. The chicken is typically basted with a spicy coconut based gravy. Ayam means chicken in Malay and percik means to splash or sprinkle. Generally, it is taken to mean 'baste'. That's what this recipe calls for - frequent basting.

Roll your sleeves up for this one. It's going to take some work and patience but I assure you it's worth the trouble.

I didn't just decide to make this out of the blue. It came about out of a small fun activity on our Facebook cooking group ~ a decision to cook a local dish to commemorate Malaysia's Independence Day. I chose this recipe because I felt it reflected our love for flavourful food. Check out our cooking group to see some of the dishes that our members whipped up for the special occasion.

For now, feast your eyes on this oven-roasted masterpiece ..ahem...and yes, o-v-e-n because it was more convenient. But if you're a stickler for doing it right, then this should go on a charcoal grill.

Ayam Percik

It's not as spicy as it looks. I did not use a lot of chili for this recipe. Taste-wise, very rich because of the many layers of flavour. This is chicken with a generous amount of gravy roasted on. It was a real treat tucking into this one. I wish I made more! Here's the recipe.

- 2 pcs chicken whole leg
- 1 stalk lemongrass (Discard dry outer layer and trim off top and bottom. Smash)
- 1 tsp tamarind paste
- ¼ cup coconut milk
- ½ tsp brown sugar
- Salt to taste
- Water
- Cooking oil

Ingredients A: To marinate
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- ½ tsp salt

Ingredients B: To blend

- 4 red chili (Roughly chopped)
- 1 medium onion (Roughly chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (Chopped)
- 1 thumb ginger (Chopped)
- ½ thumb turmeric (Chopped)
- 2 pcs candlenut (Smashed)
- 2 stalks lemongrass (Discard dry outer layer and trim off top and bottom. Then, slice.)

Top : Marinate. Middle: Ingredients. Bottom: Blend.

1) Marinate chicken with ingredients A for two hours.

2) After two hours, blend ingredients B (I added a bit of water to get things going).

3) Preheat oven. Keep a roasting tray with grill on hand.

4) Heat oil in pan. Add lemongrass, blended ingredients and tamarind paste. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes until it thickens slightly.

5) Add coconut milk and season with brown sugar and salt, to taste. Simmer for a few minutes until the gravy thickens a little.

6) Lower the heat. Add marinated chicken legs, coat quickly with gravy and remove. Place the chicken on the roasting tray.

7) Cook the remaining gravy for awhile longer. Switch the stove fire off. Set aside half of the gravy for basting and half for serving.

8) Roast chicken at 190C in the pre-heated oven for an hour or more (until cooked), basting frequently with the gravy. I basted four times and turned the chicken over twice.

9) Once done, serve the chicken with rice and the remainder of the gravy.

Blend ingredients B.

Cook blended ingredients.

Coat the chicken quickly.

Roasting halfway. Time to baste!

Turn over again and baste.

Ayam percik ready to be eaten with rice.

Ayam Percik ~ A Malaysian favourite.


Updated: 17/09/13
Because this dish is a first for me (..I did it my wayYy), I've submitted this post to Our Growing Edge, a monthly blogging event by Bunny.Eats.Design aimed at connecting food bloggers and inspiring us to try new things.

This month's event is hosted by Marnelli from Sweets & Brains. Check out her amazing blog.

I'd also like to thank Abbe from Abbe's Cooking Antics! for sharing this wonderful event with me (ages ago) and for encouraging my cooking journey. A ton of hugs is headed her way.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Canned Straw Mushrooms

Canned straw mushrooms are widely available in Malaysia and is used in many recipes. My grandmother uses it, my mom uses it, I use it! That's how popular it is in my home.

It is great in stir-fries, braised dishes and soups.

I especially love adding it into chicken recipes that call for smooth thick soy sauce gravy.

To use canned straw mushrooms, drain and discard the water that comes with it. Rinse well.

I usually remove the water that is contained inside the mushroom itself. I find that it interferes with the taste of the overall cooked dish. Imagine biting into a whole mushroom... a gush of weird tasting liquid fills your mouth, diluting the flavour you worked so hard to perfect - just demonstrating how I feel about it.

So, this is what I usually do to remove it:
Slice the mushrooms in half  and rinse again. Or if you intend to cook the mushrooms whole, use a toothpick to poke a hole in it. Then, gently squeeze while rinsing to remove the water inside.

If you're not using all the mushrooms, store it in fresh water, in the refrigerator. It'll last for a couple of days or more. I don't recommend keeping it for too long.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Mini Low Fat Cinnamon Rolls

Mini Low Fat Cinnamon Rolls - Glaze Free

Jen and I were determined to make our own cinnamon rolls. This, after forking out many dollars on Cinnabon over the years. Imagine the possibilities if we succeeded....succeed in making something so obscenely delicious that we wouldn't have to buy our own anymore.

I don't know if cinnamon rolls can ever be qualified as low fat but we gave this recipe a try with some changes. For one, we made smaller rolls. Then, we did away with the vanilla glaze and made our own cream cheese topping. Thirdly, we did away with the spices.

The recipe can be found here: A low fat Cinnamon Roll Recipe with a Vanilla Glaze that is also fast and easy | Bakers Royale. Looks good, doesn't it?

Check out our adventure in photos.

Rolling, rolling, rolling

Brushing the top with a mixture of melted butter and brown sugar

There she bakes

Pipe the cream on and sprinkle bits of brown sugar
The outcome? It was good but not quite what we were looking for. We wanted bread that was milky soft. Being beginners, we couldn't really tell if this recipe would give us the texture we wanted until we tried it out.  In conclusion, we've decided to make cinnamon rolls again but with another recipe.

I thought our topping was really yum though. Here's how we did it.

Mix these ingredients together (just enough to pipe on 15 mini rolls):
This is a rough estimate.
- 5 tbsp icing sugar
- 70g cream cheese
- 5 tbsp melted butter
- 2 to 3 tbsp milk (depends how thick you want the topping to be)


Friday, September 6, 2013

Pumpkin and Broccoli Stir-Fry


Pumpkin and Broccoli Stir-Fry

Funnily, I make my meals with colour in mind. I don't mean that I use colouring. If I'm cooking soy sauce chicken, I add chili for that bit of red to pull the dish out of a single colour state. And then I say, "Voila!" and put on that proud grin because I made dinner sOooOooo exciting.

This is one of my favourite pumpkin dishes. Probably doesn't make any sense but I love the energy I get from looking at it. I feel like bursting into song .."The hills are alive...with the sound of musiccc..." ..all that orange around the greens. I tossed in some black fungus to give it more oomph, not tastewise but look-wise.

The orange sauce is saltish, pumpkin sweet.

What do you think?Too sunny?

This is the recipe.

- 1 clove garlic (chopped)
- 1 ½ cup pumpkin pieces (in cubes)
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 3 baby carrots (sliced into strips)
- 10 pcs small dried black fungus (rehydrated in water - 30 mins)
- ½ to 1 tsp tapioca flour (diluted in 2 tbsp water)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Water
- Cooking oil

1) Heat oil in pan. Fry garlic until lightly browned.

2) Add pumpkin and carrots. Season with a pinch of salt and fry it a bit. Add one cup water or more, and cook until tender.

3) Then, add the broccoli and black fungus. Stir and smash the pumpkin pieces with the spatula. Add a bit of water if it's too dry to give it some sauce.

4) Taste, add a dash of pepper and season with more salt, if necessary.

5) Once the broccoli is cooked, stir in the tapioca flour to thicken the sauce.

6) Serve with rice.

Add broccoli, smash pumpkin.

Almost done. Thicken with corn flour or tapioca flour.

Stir-Fried Pumpkin and Broccoli!


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