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


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