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!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Restaurant : The Charm of Nona Bali, Penang

When it comes to food, Penang is considered a gastronomical paradise. Many food enthusiasts swear by the deliciousness of Penang's culinary fare.

I believe that Penangites are blessed with a flair for cooking, and engaging the best chefs to head their kitchen. No corners are cut in the preparation of a richly satisfying meal. The same can be said for Nona Bali, an eatery we tried weeks ago upon Evelyn's recommendation.

Peter Tait, one of the owners of the restaurant, is a charming host, a trait also seen in the other members of his team. The warm welcome and quaint Balinese decor is an ambiance of cosiness that puts diners at ease. We felt very at home.

A little about the location. Nona Bali is located along the seafront of Lebuh Sungai Pinang 5. The serenity of the surrounding area makes this a great place to come for a meal. For the romantic at heart, an evening stroll at the seafront should not be missed. Parking isn't a challenge. The place has yet to reach its full capacity as a developed commercial spot.

The View and The Ambiance

Nona Bali is tastefully adorned with Balinese artwork and pieces, which are also for sale. This is one of my favourites, a hauntingly beautiful porcelain lighted sculpture of Buddha.

For Sale - Lovely Art Pieces

Where flavours are concerned, it is no-holds-barred for the hands-on owners of Nona Bali. The freshest ingredients are used to create the tastiest blend of flavouring and aroma. You'll be pleased to know that this is an MSG-Free food establishment. 

In Nona Bali, each plate is carefully thought out with side dishes that compliment.

Be Siap Metunu - Grilled Balinese Chicken

Vegetarians are not left out. Nasi Campur Jukut delivers the oomph!

Nasi Campur Jukut - Balinese Vegetable Mixed Rice (Vegetarian)

Kukus Injin or steamed black glutinous rice can be described as a heavenly way to end the meal. It is topped with fine gratings of fresh coconut and candied coconut.

Kukus Injin - Steamed Black Glutinous Rice with Grated Coconut

Quench your thirst with Dotty Soursop. It's a delightful drink with an interesting crunch from the basil seeds.  For the uninitiated, soursop is a fruit that I would describe as pleasantly sweet, mildly sour with a hint of coconut creaminess.

Dotty Soursop - Soursop Juice with Basil Seeds

So if you're in Penang, keep Nona Bali in mind because it's a great place to go for a scrumptious meal.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The No-Bake Papaya-Banana Pie


What's great about this pie? It's healthy! This is probably the wisest decision I've made after all that festive food.

I'm not excited to see another pineapple tart, love letter or fortune cookie. Maybe just the fortune cookie ~ only because it includes a small piece of folded paper with inspiring messages. That always makes me smile. It's a good present to open.

The No-Bake Papaya-Banana Pie

The individual who came out with this recipe is to be admired. This is brilliantly easy to prepare. The papaya-banana topping has a custard-like texture. It's very yummy to tuck into.

Recipe adapted from here (Cooking At The Pacific Outpost).

Portion for one.
You will need a 4
½ inch x ¾ inch pie tin with removable base)

(A) Nutty Pie Base
- ¼ cup shelled almonds
- ¼ cup ground hazelnut
- 2 partially rehydrated dried fig (chopped)
- A drizzle
of honey

(B) Fruit Topping
- 1 medium ripe banana (sliced)
- 1½ cup ripe papaya (cubed)
- Juice of 1 calamondin


1) Blend ingredients A together. Press this down into the pie tin and along the sides to (see picture below).

2) Blend ingredients B together. Pour this onto the nutty pie base.

3) Freeze for a couple of hours or less, depending how cold your fridge is set (don't let it turn icy). Texture should be jelly-like and easy to cut through.

4) Slide the pie out of the tin and serve as is. Best eaten immediately, and alone (maybe it's just me).

1) Blend nuts together
2) Make pie base
3) Pour the filling in
4) Freeze

A Slice of Papaya-Banana Pie

What a partially rehydrated dried fig looks like!


Friday, February 21, 2014

Make-Believe Cheesecake | Of Love Letters and Ice Cream


I made this for dessert on Valentine's Day in a moment of "This has to be cleared, pronto!". The expiry date was drawing near.

Make-Believe Cheesecake of Love Letters and Ice Cream

The tin of month-old love letters (kuih kapit) and container of vanilla ice cream had been sitting in my kitchen for sometime and no one seemed to be eating any of it. I was on the verge of giving it away but the more I looked at it, the more I thought of "cheesecake". Maybe it was just the magical-ness of Valentine's Day. So was born this idea.

As you can see, this is really easy to make. Two main ingredients : Love Letters and Vanilla Ice Cream. You'll need a small pie tin (about palm-sized) with a removable bottom.

Crush the love letters in a bag with a bit of soft butter. It doesn't have to be too fine. Compact this onto the bottom of the pie tin. Mash the ice cream in a separate bowl until it's soft enough (not melted) for you to work with. Spread this on top. Then, freeze for an hour or so until the ice cream is set. Serve with fruits on top.

Don't worry about the love letters not sticking together. Some of the ice cream will trickle through the gaps, solving that. It will only be a little crumbly but I like it that way - not aiming for a solid base. In case you're wondering, none of the ice cream leaked out of the pan. 

To remove, tap the bottom out of the tin. I wasn't as gentle but it slid out quite neatly! I was able to transfer it onto a plate without any trouble.

My only advice : Work quickly!

1) Love Letters
2) Crush Love Letters
3) Compact a thin layer of love letters onto a pie tin, fill with ice cream
4) Freeze

Voila! My masterpiece ~ served with oranges (canned ones).
What do you think? Does this pass for cheesecake?

Love Letters and Ice Cream, and a slice for me!

Note: I made the mistake of trying to smear frozen ice cream onto the crushed love letters straightaway. It was difficult to spread the ice cream about. The crushed bits of love letters stuck to the ice cream and was spreading along with each stroke of the spoon.

Hence, my decision to melt the ice cream a little by mashing it. That worked like a charm. Once I had one layer on, it was easy to spread the rest of the ice cream right to the top. 


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Food Discovery : Ostrich Wat Tan Hor and Beef Tripe Satay

"Do we really want to travel in hermetically sealed popemobiles through the rural provinces of France, Mexico and the Far East, eating only in Hard Rock Cafes and McDonalds?

Or do we want to eat without fear, tearing into the local stew, the humble taqueria's mystery meat, the sincerely offered gift of a lightly grilled fish head?

I know what I want. I want it all. I want to try everything once." ~ Anthony Bourdain

Bourdain I am not, but I do fantasize about being as gung-ho. The truth is there are some many things I have yet to find the courage to eat. The legendary balut, crispy grasshoppers and those belly-dancing sago worms top my list of scary things to have in the stomach.   

This, I can handle (points below).

Wat Tan Hor is a popular flat rice noodles dish in Kuala Lumpur, served smothered in egg gravy with either seafood or beef slices on top. Can it sound any yummier? Yes, it can ... with ostrich meat.

Delicious is how I'd rate this version. I never realised how tasty ostrich meat is until I tried this. This was cooked to tender perfection.

Ostrich Wat Tan Hor ~ Chatterbox, 1Utama

I had another food-first when I flew home recently. I was introduced to beef tripe satay - berubut, as the locals in Labuan call it.

It began with my cousin's adamance that we order a plate of 'berubut'. The word, alien to me, sounded like something that I should run far, far away from. I kept my fears in check, in line with Bordainism but I did it by thinking about ice-cream and chocolates. When I realised it was beef tripe, I heaved a sigh of relief.

It tasted really good and is easy to bite into despite its rubbery look. 

Beef Tripe Satay (Berubut) ~ Peace Park, Labuan

I guess I don't have to conquer anything too challenging just yet, not when there's so many great stuff I haven't eaten that sounds more appealing such as mille crepe or bacon brownies. Mmmm..mmmm!

Life is short ~ make it sweet.

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