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!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Pumpkin Chicken With Razor Shells and Cauliflower (Slow-Cooker)


'Tis the season for giving, as it is with a number of festivals in Malaysia. This includes Chinese New Year!

Before traveling back to the husband's home town, I gave each of my friends a box of mandarin oranges. It was a Fedex same day delivery thing. We zoomed to several homes on the Sunday we had purchased it, dropped the festive-looking box off and greeted friends with 'Gung Hee Fatt Choi ' in advance.

Senior citizens hold a special place in my heart, so I usually pack a red bag of goodies for them. This may include canned mushrooms, dried food, nian gao, a packet of nuts, festive cookies, essence of chicken, bird's nest - typically food which carries good meaning or is said to contain health improving properties.

I'm sure those who celebrate this occasion would have received a little something from friends and family. My home is laden with goodies from food hampers. I am always grateful and excited to get these because it helps me save on grocery shopping.

Tips for sorting out food hampers
1) Group similar items together.

2) Arrange by expiry date.
3) Plan the week's menu to include hamper items. 
Begin with items that will expire first.

This is one of the dishes I cooked last week where I have cleared off a food hamper item. I can now mark canned 'Sea Asparagus' (Razor Shell) off my list!

Pumpkin Chicken With Razor Shells and Cauliflower (Slow Cooker)

Pumpkin Chicken With Razor Shells and Cauliflower (Slow Cooker)
- ½ chicken (685g)
- 1 large garlic clove (sliced thinly)
- 1 cup cubed pumpkin
- 1½ cup cauliflower florets
- 425g canned sea asparagus/razor shell (rinsed)
- 1 sachet Kee Hiong Chicken Soup Spices
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- ¼ tsp ground white pepper
- Handful of fresh coriander (roughly chopped)
- 3 cups hot water + 2 cups room temp water
- Additional water for boiling
1) Brush 1 tbsp oyster sauce all over the chicken.
2) Add 5 cups water into the slow cooker. Set on high. Stir the remainder of the oyster sauce and white pepper in.
3) Place spice sachet in, along with garlic and pumpkin. The chicken goes on top. Cook for 2½ hours. Never open the lid in between.
4) At the 2-hour mark and in another pot, boil cauliflower until cooked and sea asparagus for a couple of minutes. Set aside in a colander or a strainer to drain away excess water.
5) Arrange the boiled ingredients onto a deep plate, along with the chicken and pumpkin. Pour the soup over.
6) Serve garnished with fresh coriander.

Note: Equipment used for this recipe : 3.0L capacity Faber Slow Cooker.
Cooking time and results may vary between slow cookers.

Best eaten on its own or with rice. For added oomph, complete the meal with a soy sauce-sliced chilli dip.

1) Pumpkin and garlic slices. 2) Brush chicken with oyster sauce.
3) Adding fresh ingredients into the cooker along with seasoning and spice sachet.
4) Place chicken on top.

Arrange all the ingredients on a deep plate.

I will try to give an idea how this tastes like - the soup has a pleasant sweet-savoury flavour with a hint of Chinese spice aroma. Cauliflower is blessed with a natural mild sweetish flavour so it compliments this dish although it was boiled only in plain water. The razor shells, on the other hand, are mildly saltish. Combined together, it's all thumbs up for me!

Garnish with fresh coriander.

Pumpkin Chicken With Razor Shells and Cauliflower (Slow Cooker)

Out of curiosity, what kind of items would you prefer to receive in a festive food hamper?

Friday, March 6, 2015

Food Discovery : Umai-ya Japanese Restaurant


" To know if the oysters are fresh, smell to see if it's bad ," a friend advised, " and check if it's moist and juicy."

I had already eaten my lunch, but my friend was eager to pop into this Japanese restaurant just to feast on fresh oysters. I followed. We made our way to Umai-Ya which was located in Suria KLCC.

Coffin Bay Oysters

I'm not big on raw oysters, but they are too beautiful to ignore! I was excited just looking at it. 

Coffin Bay Oysters - About RM70 for a dozen.

A dozen of these yummy South Australia Coffin Bay Oysters were slurped down. 

All gone!

This was topped with some rolls to round up the light meal.

Oshinko Maki - Pickled radish Roll RM6.90

A little about the place since I'm on it. It has a cosy business feel, perhaps targeting the office working crowd. The staff was friendly and quick to attend to our needs. These are a couple of shots of the restaurant to give you an idea of the ambiance.

The Interior - Umai-ya Japanese Restaurant

Umai-Ya Japanese Restaurant, KLCC

Waiters at Japanese restaurants typically greet customers with a small bow. Here, at least. This was how we were received at the entrance.

It's a trend that was once alien to me. In the old days, saying hello and thanking customers was a more laid back affair. We didn't think too much about it if no one spoke to us either.

These days however, cheerful greetings of welcome! when we enter business establishments and polite thank-yous after paying for the goods,  seem to be catching up as normal practice.

I think it's wonderful that this culture of politeness is actively being nurtured in our society. Going along with that, how far do you think we've come in terms of customer service as a whole?


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