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!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Semperit Pandan Cookies


Chinese New Year is days away! Many would have returned to their hometown for the Reunion Dinner on the eve. The same can be said for me.

In the old days, when we used to 'open' house, there would be a rush to order festive cookies and stock up on tidbits.

A practice known as "open house" (rumah terbuka) is common during the festivities, especially during Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Deepavali, Chinese New Year, and Christmas. Open house means that all well-wishers are received and that everyone, regardless of background, is invited to attend.

Kuih bahulu, kuih kapit, semperit cookies, pineapple tarts, kuih makmur, mini popiah rolls and prawn crackers were annual favourites.

Other than Kuih Makmur, I've never tried to make any of the rest. It happens to be my favourite ~ not only as a nice treat, but also because makmur means 'prosperous' in Malay.

Semperit Pandan Cookies

Anyway, I was motivated to bake these cookies after the girls in our Facebook cooking group invited me to join their Chinese New Year marathon baking adventure.

I chose Semperit Cookies because I find it pretty, and although this is supposed to be in pandan green (following the recipe), I chose to go with no colouring and just a red bit of glace cherry on top. This is how I've always remembered it in my younger days.

This recipe is adapted from Kuali and Resepi Planta (video).

Changes made: Omitted the use of colouring, glaze and dragees. Decorate with glace cherry. 

Semperit Pandan Cookies (about 140pcs)
- 200g margarine
- 125g wheat flour (sift)
- 100 icing sugar (sift)
- 230g pure cornflour (sift)
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tsp pandan essence
- Glace cherry bits

1) Using an electric mixer, beat margarine and icing sugar until fluffy.
2) Add egg yolks. Beat until combined.
3) Add pandan essence. Mix well.
4) I used a baking spatula for this one. Add all the flour in, in stages. Mix until combined. 
5) Line baking tray with baking paper.
6) Fill cookie piping syringe (pictured below) with dough.
- Pump out, twist and press down a little. Repeat on top and break to make a double layered flower. (Flower 1 pictured below)
OR - Place the syringe near the baking tray. Pump and let the dough ooze out from all sides. Break. (Flower 2 in picture below)

7) Bake in a pre-heated oven.

Do a test bake. Bake time for my oven: 14 minutes at 148C for double layered flower cookies. Single layer, about 10 mins. Leave on baking tray for about 5 minutes before removing to cool completely.

These are my findings. Do not allow the cookies to brown. Cookies should be the melt in the mouth kind (but in no way too delicate). If it feels a bit dry, it means that it's been baked a little too long.The glace cherry bit makes all the difference! ;)

Cool and store in an airtight container. It lasted well over two weeks for me.

1) Cookie piping syringe. Nozzle with a twist! 2) The ingredients.
3) Beat icing and margarine until fluffy. Add eggs. 4) Added the flour. Phew! Tiring.

Pump out, twist and press down a little. Repeat on top and break (Flower 1).
See the double layer?

Place the syringe near the baking tray.
Pump and let the dough ooze out from all sides. Break (Flower 2).

Semperit Pandan Cookies

Semperit Pandan Cookies redy to go into the oven.

The dough begins to melt a little.

Semperit Pandan Cookies fresh out of the oven with nice folds.

There you go, an easy-to-do festive cookie for the New Year.

Semperit Pandan Cookies ..nom, nom!

With that, we at Sweet Home-Chefs wish you Gong Xi Fa Cai!


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Flame Seedless Grape Chicken In Soy Sauce


Grapes are so delicious with chicken. I fell in love with the combination after trying out a roast grape chicken recipe, from a home cooking magazine I had subscribed to, many years ago. I make it almost every festive season now, but it just dawned on me a couple of weeks ago that it could probably go well in a stir-fry too.

It was an afternoon reflection on what I should do with the flame seedless grapes I had purchased out of impulse, that led me to try cooking this in another way.

"Roast grape chicken ........again? " The word 'again' echoed without enthusiasm in my mind.

I started imagining about a glossy dark soy dish. By dinner time, it was on the table and all of it devoured. This is it:

Flame Seedless Grape Chicken In Soy Sauce

What do you think?

Salty-sweet, tastes really yum! I had this with plain rice, but I bet it would be great with butter rice or springy noodles too.

Soy Sauce Flame Seedless Grape Chicken

- 530g chicken (chopped into smaller pieces)
- 150g flame seedless grapes (halved)
- 1 large onion (sliced)
- 1 thumb ginger (julienned)
- 1 red chilli (chopped)
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
- 1 tbsp dark soy (thick salty-sweet variety)
- 2 tbsp pure leatherwood honey
- 6 dried cloves (aka bunga cengkih)
- 3 tbsp cooking oil

1) Heat cooking oil in pan.
2) Saute onion and ginger for just awhile, along with dried cloves.
3) Add chicken. Stir-fry until lightly browned.
4) Add dark soy. Stir-fry until cooked.
5) Add chilli, grapes and honey. Stir to combine all the flavours.
6) Switch the heat off. Toss in fresh coriander. Mix and serve.

Note: I use a non-stick pan. Work quickly and keep stirring (to keep the ginger and onions from getting burnt). No water was added.

1) Ingredients. 2) Adding soy sauce into the mix.
3) Adding the grapes. 4) Finally, toss in fresh coriander.

Flame Seedless Grape Chicken In Soy Sauce


Monday, February 2, 2015

Food Discovery : The Brunch Affair at Signature at The Roof


There is a special feeling about dining at sky level, I mean way up at the top of the building. This is what makes Signature such a lovely place for Sunday brunches. Signature is a gastrolounge located at The Roof of First Avenue in Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya.

It's bright and serene. Well, I found it serene in a way. Ideal for long chats and loud laughter, with an uncluttered view of the outside world. It was really sunny that noon so the curtains were drawn when we were there. I was here with three other people, whom I considered all to be both friend and family.

Signature at The Roof

The Signature team cuts no corners with food.  They had us at soup starter. And while we were still oohing and aahing over their mushroom soup, they had to wow us with main dishes that had us reaching for our cameras! Here is a look at the food that arrived on our table.

Mushroom Soup

This, as you can guess, is the big breakfast. Don, a big breakfast fan in our group, testifies that this is one of the best he's had. I had a taste and I agree!

Big Breakfast RM26


Giant Meatball "Bomb" Linguine was oozing with delicious tomato gravy. They certainly aren't stingy with the sauce. Don't be surprised to see me make my own giant meatball one day. I am so enamoured by it that I know I have to!

Ground Australian Ribeye Meatball stuffed with Egg, on a bed of
Linguine and Roma Tomato sauce RM39

How the meatball looks like inside!

Scallop Black Aglio Maki is strongly flavoured, tasting something similar to tom yum. It was gorgeously plated with a topping of Tobiko Caviar.

Grilled Scallops wrapped in Seaweed with Tobiko Caviar
on a bed of Squid Ink Spaghetti RM45

Pan seared Black Cod is an equally appealing creation that is no less tasty even in it's dressed down state.

Pan seared fillet served with Edamame, Garlic and Chilli Olive Oil RM55

As you can see, food is served in generous portions. There is no feeling that the price is too expensive. It was just apt for me considering the quantity, the effort made and the ambiance. Beautiful presentation and rich flavours, this is the Signature standard.

That's just the food. I bet you're curious about the drinks, right? We tried two varieties of something called 'lifejuice', which an interesting concoction with health benefits.

50 Shades of Grey is a blend of Earl Grey tea, coconut milk, agave nectar, Himalayan Salt and hazelnut. Mmm....yum!

Pasion is passionfruit with mango chokkanan, pineapple, turmeric, lemongrass and agave nectar. How fragrant!

Lifejuice RM15

We were also treated to a small taste of these fruit juices.

More Lifejuice

To sum it up, the food was good and we were well taken care of. The staff was cheerful and their laidback demeanour, to me, made the perfect Sunday feel. There is none of that hoity-toityness that sometimes accompany high-end establishments.

I had such a wonderful time that I'm looking forward to a second visit and I sure hope you enjoyed reading about my food adventure because I look forward to sharing more about this place! 

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