Thursday, June 28, 2007

Gourmet Burgers

Man, once exams are over, everything is a mad rush (still) in preparation for graduation. Have been going out and eating out most of the time and cooking less these days. Hence the these few upcoming posts would be highlighting a few nice places to grab a bite whilst in Cambridge (UK).

A new burger chain recently opened, marketed itself as an upmarket burger chain called Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK). I decided on the Venison burger, with spiced red currant & cranberry sauce and salad. This gigantic thing appeared right in front of me, while I just burst out in laughter, thinking of what strategy I could implement to chow down this thing which is like 20cm tall. Mind you, even if I open and stretch my mouth to the maximum, at most I could attack 60% of the height in one bite. Trying it the civilized way with a knife and fork was the way to go for me, despite the slight annoyance that I should get my hands on it and eat it the real way. :P The meat was medium done, which is perfect with a hint of pinkness, however, I found that the spiced red currant sauce was in fact over-infused with mustard which made it too hot to eat it in one go, where I started to burst into tears as the heat goes up into my nose instantly! But it was good all the same by taking out some of the relish, think they have a flavor imbalance there which is a pity for such a nicely done burger.

On the other hand, P had the Cajun Burger, 100% Aberdeen-Angus Scotch Beef, served with smoked chili mayo, salad & Cajun relish. We ordered a portion of fries for sides to share as well. This is how the Cajun burger looked...

And the cross section (innards) halfway through the quest of eating it neatly without dropping all the contents... As you can see P has better skill in managing his burger and manage to chow it down using his hand, cutlery free, hehe

Overall, I think it's a nice place to check it out, slightly pricier than other chains, but probably worth it only once in a while for a treat. I somehow prefer simpler yet equally tasty burgers in some pubs, and even Ramlee ones which size suits me better. I was full halfway through that giant burger already :) But for more exotic types of meat and sauces, do check GBK out.

Gourmet Burger Kitchen
43-45 Regent Street

Opening times
Monday to Friday 12pm to 11pm
Saturday 12pm to 11pm
Sunday 12pm to 10pm

Monday, June 25, 2007

Mapo Tofu

Tofu has always been one of my favourite dishes as it's pretty versatile and adds different texture to dishes. There are mainly the soft, silken tofu's that are very fragile and breaks easily, or the harder, firmer version which are usually deep fried. Yet both types can still be used in soups, stews and stir fry dishes.

So here's a recipe for a classic tofu dish for those who love a slightly spicier kick to the relatively bland tofu, it's called Mapo Tofu, quite standard in most Chinese restaurants I'd presume. Getting the sauce right with a good balance of sweet, salty and hot is the key to this dish. The version I present below is a quick and simple method, do try it out! And of course, let me know how it goes :)

Mapo Tofu


2 x 400g packs of firm white tofu (in water), slice into big cubes
100g of minced pork
Garlic, 1 bulb, skinned and chopped coarsely
Spring onions, sliced coarsely
Chilli, deseeded and sliced coarsely
4-5 bulbs of shallots, deep fried
2 table spoon of preserved bean paste (tau cheo)
1 table spoon of hot chilli paste or sambal (I used a mixture of grinded fresh chilli and garlic)
300ml water
1 tablespoon of cornflour, dissolved in 2 tea spoon of water
Sugar, to taste


First, heat up the wok and stir fry the chopped garlic till fragrant and add the minced pork.
Continue stir frying till slightly browned.
Then, gently put the tofu pieces in and stir carefully around the wok and try not to break them.
Add the sauce mixture of tau cheo and fresh chilli paste.
Continue stirring for a minute or two before adding the water and let the tofu simmer for 5 minutes or so.
Do give the sauce a taste and add some sugar accordingly. You wouldn't want it too sweet, salty nor too hot. The sugar should balance out some of the saltiness and spiciness.
When you're satisfied with the taste, then add the cornflour mixture and stir the tofu around for a few seconds till sauce thickens and turn off the heat.
While it's still hot, garnish with some chopped spring onions, chili and fried shallots before serving.

There you go :) Note that I was slightly unconventional in the version of this picture with added mushroom as well as a friend was a mushroom fanatic.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Paella Party!

Another post exam (rare) cookout. Promised R on this since last term so it's the perfect opportunity for a Spanish themed party coupled with a few jugs of ice cool Sangria after exams. I made Seafood Paella this time, and probably one of the easiest Seafood Paella recipe ever, so here it is to share with you guys to impress your friends during parties!

It's really easy, I presume this recipe is with minimal, essential, and easily available ingredients with maximum taste, speed and authenticity. :) Spoken like a true blue economist yea!

Seafood Paella


2 lemons, quartered
1-2 onions, diced into cubes
Two packs (200g) of mixed seafood (mussels, crayfish, prawns etc)
500g of Paella rice (or using Italian arborio rice is a good substitute)
A pack of frozen mixed vegetables (peppers, corns, peas etc)
1 can of chopped tomatoes with tomato juice
1-2 cubes of chicken/seafood stock
Salt to taste


First, heat up the pan with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Then add in the onions to stirfry till soft.

Then, add in the Paella rice, and swirl it around for a bit. Next up put in the whole can of chopped tomatoes. This gives the rice the red/orange-y color. Add 2-3 cups of hot boiling water to the whole mixture and let it boil.

As the frozen vege and mixed seafood are partially cooked already, you only add them last when the rice is almost ready.

It's important to check the consistency of the rice, you won't want it over mushy or too hard. You want it al dente and slightly hard in the middle for the 'bite'. So watch over your rice carefully, stir it around occasionally to prevent it sticking to the pan, add water bit by bit so that it does not overcook.

Meanwhile you can add the stock cubes for some taste. Add salt as well to adjust the taste of the rice. The rice probably takes about 30-40 minutes to cook to the right consistency.

Now when the rice is almost ready, add the frozen vege and mixed seafood into the mixture and mix thoroughly.

(*) Once that is done, you can turn the heat to maximum and leave the pan there for about 3 minutes to hopefully get the crispy, caramelized, toasted bottom found in traditional paella (called socarrat in Valencian). Once the aroma of toasted rice comes from the pan, remove it immediately, take the pan aside to let it cool.

Note that even though your paella may seem a little wet, it will absorb the excess broth when cooler, so not to worry, you'd want it slight wet when done. :)

Finally, just add the sliced lemon for decoration on top. Make sure your guests remember to squeeze the lemon on top of their rice before eating! It gives the paella an added dimension :)

There you go, the easiest, no frills paella you've ever eaten! Just like the theme of this site, we go for simple, do-able and speed, without sacrificing quality, taste and authenticity.

I'm in the process of reorganizing the site, so not only you all can refer for emergency recipes like these, there are also slightly more complicated and time consuming ones to come, for those who love a greater challenge in the kitchen :)

Comments and suggestions are definitely welcomed! :D

Monday, June 18, 2007

My List

This is the final updated list of the Malaysian Blogger listing that I'd joined recently. Do take some time to visit each of them for their very own interesting content and unique writing style. :)

Once Upon A Time
Money Making Blog
Bubba Stuff
Little Raymond's
quaint melody
Seraph Chronicles
Route Brumeuse
Coder's Talk
Reggae And SKA
Art Of ApOgEE
Coretan Pengalaman Mat
Diet & Detoxification
Karma Kameleon
Hsien's Dirty Little Secret
The Rojak Blog
My Life Online
Fun Stuffs
Donny's Bits
Nicholas Chan's Blog
dream of's DESIGN
strike freedom 115
Truly Malaysia
It's another new day
Lisan's Scribbles
Ramblings of a 22 years old
The Towering Joe
Life's a Breeze
Life's Roller Coaster
In His Time
in His time
The New Sanctuary
a life full of surprises
Sketches of Life
Shannon's Old Space
Pikey Dude
SEO & Online Marketing Blog
I am Who I am
yung . silent whisper
Simple Life
One blog.One girl.One story
The World Through My Eyes
Why Malaysia?
Giddy Tigers
Make Money Online: Exploring The Dark Side of Blogging
Xilly's Blog
Malaika Xiao Yu
My Home Recipe
SQKIKI�s Simple Tech
Nukilan Jejari Azhad
Just My Lil' Organic Life
Oooh La La...
Weird World of MerapuMan
Fibre Art
The World at My Fingertips
Organic Income
Organic Parade
Shopping Flavor
Daily postings of a chung ling student
Something about LAI
KennyP�s Technology Blog
Women Mumbles
Lyon & Wien
Under The SUN
Crumbs In Life
SotongZai's Flow In the Ocean
Christene's Kitchen
[ Wood ] [ Earth ] [ Cheap ] [ Flight ]
Ah Ling's blog
Memoirs.:*CRoSs mY hE@Rt
vivivava Design
My Mothering Corner
Shoppingmum�s Home Office
My Filling Station
Shopping Mum
All about Beauty
Shoppingmum and Kids
Notes from my heart
Joy Montessori
wahlau's online hut
Cedric�s Asylum
mott�s mutterings
Just My Thoughts
Incoherent Ramblings
Make Money Online with Malaysia Love AGLOCO
Funky Cookies
Earn Money Online
PabloPabla's Whatever
Make Money with Blogging
Paris Beaverbanks
Free Links Giveaway
Free Blogger Templates
Making a Living
How to be a Better Blogger
My Women Stuff
Hochiak! Delicious Asian Food
Best Recipes
Champagne Tastes on a Beer Budget
Daryl's Discovery Journey
The fluff must go somewhere

Kitchen Experiments
Elliottwave Signal
Internet-Crazy Blog
Newopps Blog
Make Money Online Review Center
Little Penang
Healing tips and home remedies
Ornamental Fish
Grasp! Seize! Get hold of it!
Life Snapshot
Mental Freedom, Por Favor
Eat. Live. Be Merry!
Funny Junk Addicting Flash Games Pictures Video Clips
mott�s island
Clinke Bidding Directory Blog
Easy Home Cooking
Pink Poison Store
Show Me Health Biz
The Undeniable Beauty - Revamped
An Anonymous Journal
Blank Canvas
She Rambles On
Money Online | Adsense Money | Tips For Adsense
Belajar Cara Membuat Blog Wordpress
Usahawan Internet
Peluang Perniagaaan Internet
Made In Penang
Syaf The Geek
snapshots of life with Cheng Leng
Blogging Through Depression & Life
Trying to Save Money
novatech personal playground
Little World Of Thoughts
Sumber Dekorasi & Laman Anda
Sleepy As Usual
blogs">thoughts ---> blogs
Share Everything In Life
Value Bookshop�s Reading Notes
Tips and Tricks to Happy Parenting
life is beautiful
Adino Online
Penang Homes
A Mom's Diary
Health Freak Mommy - It�s hot
Tracking Movies
Voice of a Glass Doll
Online Article Directory
Wise Life Advice
Kaklong Online Portal
Down Memory Lanes
Sleeping Princess
Online Bisnes Forex Marketing Blog
Pigeon Card
KCLau�s Money Tips
The Great Swifty Speaketh
Mr & Mrs. Imran
If fate allow our destinies to meet
From chopstix to steak knives
Where's My Noose?
Duke Amiene Rev
Mum & Kids In Wonderland
Yum-Yum Cuisine
Software, Web Development and Technology
just another ordinary story
Mummy In Vain's Little World
How To Solve Your Question
F�LLi�g L��V�S
add this to my life
Free Encyclopedia
High Paying Keywords
arshad's photojourney
Lovelymummy's Bay
My Yummy Cruise
Home Sweet Home
Lovely Mummy
OnlineBisnes Malay Blog
Purest of e2wen
MyAnimes MySpace
Blog Badruzamani.Org
Parenting Life
Forum Newbie Bisnes Internet & Blogger
Mohd Sufian
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
hcfoo's blog
Culinary Cravings
The Sanctuary
Welcome To cHrIstInA_YY's Pink World
Defying Destiny
Dead Boredom Seeking Freedom
An amazing & adventurous journey
Fluffy's Day Off
My Fairy-Tale

London Escapade

London was on the menu last week for a great break from Cambridge, tying it in with watching Les Miserables, the musical! The best part was getting center first row seats, as I booked it real in advance during the Easter term. 3 words, a must watch (!) and it's my favourite musical thus far :)

But before theater, a group of us paid a visit to C&R, the Malaysian restaurant in the heart of Chinatown for a quick bite. Brought R there as she has not been before and I was keen to introduce this place to her as the food there is quite authentic. This is the Kampung Nasi Goreng (Village Fried Rice) that P had. Nicely done with the rice dry and separated well, fried with chilli and seafood and some cabbage.

R and I had Wah Tan Hor, as you'd probably have guessed, since it's my favourite noodle dish when eating out back home. It is flat rice noodles (kuey teow) fried with vegetables, fish cakes, thin slices of pork and seafood, all covered in a starchy eggy sauce. MmmmM bliss :P

Unfortunately, I had food poisoning soon after dinner, and thankfully it was much better before the show start after spending some quality time in the loo. :S

Seems like this is a recurring theme as my brother had the same experience a few month ago after having dinner there. Sadly the food quality in terms of cleanliness has gone down tremendously, so do be careful if you are still going there for dinner. Food there is still great though.

C&R Cafe Restaurant
3 Rupert Court
London W1D

Friday, June 15, 2007

Authentic Sri Lankan Food

Rice Boat is one of the newer additions to the bustling food scene here in Cambridge. It serves Kerala cuisine, a state in southwestern India. As both my supervisor and course mate were Sri Lankan, rest assured it should be the authentic stuff I'm trying.

On the menu, you find some familiar items from Malaysian cuisine like Biryani rice, Chapatti, Pratha and assorted curries. You can check out the menu here. This is something I tried with the recommendation of my supervisor. It is called Puttu, which is ground and powdered rice, steamed in a bamboo tube, with a pinch of salt and a little grated coconut. Sounds pretty healthy eh? It is made of wild/red rice, hence looks a bit brown as shown below. I have just scooped a tablespoon of curry on top of it for picture purposes :) Apparently the way to eat it is the crush it with the back of your fork till it is mashed up and mix it with curry. Don't underestimate this little thing, it is REALLY filling!

But it was an excellent experience trying out a new cuisine, broadening my food horizon again :D

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Casual Calais (Part 2)

After lunch, we walked around to check out the town. When one (for me at least) visits a new place, it's always a must to track down the local supermarket as it's the easiest way to find out what are the local specialties, don't you think? We went to a local supermarket called 'Champion', instead of the larger Carrefour, and we stumbled upon a few treasures - chocs and alcohol!

As I was rummaging through the stack of dark chocolates (I need at least a 70%), guess what I found? The new trendy Chilli Flavored Chocolate by Lindt! Have tried a small chunk before in a market in Spain, but think I preferred the ones with crystallized ginger pieces in Green & Blacks, despite being a chilli lover. :P Nevertheless, P got the one with lychee flavor whilst XJ got the chilli one just to check it out.

Next up is time for the French coast. We were hanging about too long around the supermarket hence this was a rather rushed affair. Here's a cool pic of the P&O ferry that we took across the English Channel, with XJ taking one of it at the same time. Sandy beaches and gentle breeze, how I wished we did lunch the french way with a crusty baguette, cold meat and a chunk of good brie, just by the seaside. The sand was really smooth and soft, just like the ones in my hometown ...

Dinner was at a restaurant near the seaside, and here's a snapshot from our dining table of the beach, it's probably about 30m away.

This is a really colorful picture of the Salmon pate salad that XJ and A shared. Slices of hardboiled eggs, celery hearts, prawns, Salmon pate, on a bed of mixed leaf salad. Pretty good stuff especially given the simplicity :)

P and I ordered Salmon with special cream sauce which was recommended by the hostess. Served with rice and some salad, their mushroom cream sauce went really well with salmon, although it's nothing out of the ordinary nor special.

A ordered something more unique to satisfy her seafood cravings. Turns out to be sting ray (ikan pari in Malay) in a creamy mustard sauce. Mustard was too spicy for her, but its overall good. Must say the only way I knew to do a ikan pari was ikan bakar style - wrapped in banana leaves, marinaded with loads of chilli and spices before grilling/BBQ them upfront.

After dinner, it was time to rush back to Cambridge before we ended up stranded in Calais, missing the last ferry back, hehe. It was a fun road trip and my first ever in the UK, looking forward for more to come, perhaps visiting British towns this time, like Cornwall, for more seafood and authentic Cornish Pasties!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Casual Calais (Part 1)

What do you do when you have a car for the day in Cambridge (UK)?

Yup, you can easily just have dîner and be a mordu de la plage (beach bum) by the French coast.

And yes, we did just that. This is probably what post exam euphoria does to you ...

The choice was between Brighton and Calais for a road trip to a seaside. And com'on, the idea of going to France for a day trip just won hands down!

Geez, such a posh French snob I hear you say :P

Hence, Calais we went. Hopped across the coast by a ferry at Dover.

Seagulls were aplenty and thankfully they didn't go around screeching 'MINE MINE MINE!'. Here's a cool snapshot of them, taken on the deck of the ferry where they were struggling against the strong gust of wind.

Calais is just a tiny town that hustled and bustled probably due to the port and transport connection with the UK. This is the colorful and rather medieval looking town hall and it was madness as a wedding was going on at that time and the car drivers were just yanking their honks which drove noise pollution to a whole new level.

It was way past lunch time upon our arrival hence déjeuner was a rather rushed affair to maximize our time in France. Nevertheless, we managed to try out a few interesting dishes at this place called L'Hovercraft, starting off with XJ's french makeover of the classic British ham and cheese toasties ...

A piece of toast buried under layers of bacon and ham, topped with a bursty sunny side up egg, covered with cheese and baked till pipping hot, sinful but beautiful.

Next up was xY's gammon steak (jambon), which is nicely chargrilled to perfection, with french fries and salad for sides. It's somehow totally different from the British version which is too salty for me, and this was just the right level for me.

I've ordered something more conventional for fun, just to see if the French can do better in terms of roast chicken and steamed green beans than my college. While you may say that's not a fair comparison, surprisingly from the color of the green beans, you'd know that it's super overdone and soft as a lifeless jelly. However, the roast chicken was nicely done with crispy skin, so its all forgotten, haha

Beach side was great as well, with a postcard-like photo of a sweet French couple by the sea...

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Wii went for formal

Been catching up with sleep lately, and I think I'm finally charged up to enjoy the post exam celebration. Doesn't help with the gloomy and cooling British weather that encourage drowsiness even at 11am in the day. Anyway, this is the post exam formal that I hosted for Yan who is visiting in Cam, introducing her to the art of drinking and penny-ing. Hehe

Terribly sorry for the sub par photos, but taking photos was not allowed during the formal with the Fellows around, hence the the secret snapping may not be optimal. This was the best menu of Easter term for Selwyn's formal in my opinion, so its good that we manage to secure tickets especially during the post exam season.

Starter was Beef Tomatoes with Mozzarella and Basil Vinaigrette. The melted mozzarella was pipping hot and goo-ey, perfect dressing to a rather light starter.

Highlight of the day was the Blackened Pork Chop with Herb Butter, pieces of pork chop seasoned with black pepper and herbs, pan fried till crispy and dressed with a generous chunk of herb butter, as you can see below. Side dishes were new potatoes, sweet corn and pepper slices, which make the whole plate rather colorful and nice.

I like this shot of Pecan pie in particular, thanks to P's skilled photography skills. I've never eaten Pecan Pie before and heard about it ages ago from Yan, so this was rated sub par by her, which I agree as it was too sweet for my liking really. Think Selwyn's gotta stick to what it does best, Bailey's/Raspberry/Strawberry cheesecakes. :)

After formal, we were a lucky bunch of Wii-tards and managed to secure the Wii for a whole night of boxing, fishing and tennis action :D

Monday, June 04, 2007

Last TRIPOS ever


It's over. Finally
Very surreal and it only began to sink in Tripos is REALLY over (forever) a few hours later ...

Nevertheless, I can hardly imagine a life not being a student anymore!

No, this is not a post about quarterlife crisis :P

Imagine all your life you've been just going to school, handing in homework, slacking off, skipping classes, juggling squash balls, drawing smiley faces in exams (out of desperation to write something), and only working your butt off when necessary ... Now this is ending so soon, ironically when it's probably your childhood dream come true of not having to study LOL

Anyways, let's divert the sentimental emotions to our beloved topic of food, yea? Better allocation of resources and energy (oh, you economist) :)

Post exam celebration lunch was at d'Arry's Wine Shop in the center of the Cambridge town. This is what British cuisine is all about, despite it's understated reputation of only beans on toast and fish and chips.

d'Arry's reinterprets British cuisine with a refreshing twist. It brings simple British favourites like Fish & Chips, Shepherds Pie, and the basic chips to a whole new level. The decor is quite unique, offering the dining in or al fresco (outdoors) option, but I prefer the indoors with the cozy tables and cute candle light holders made out of wine bottles. It boasts a large wine collection, which I have not tried unfortunately.

I was feeling adventurous and tried the 'Spinach, Mushroom and Blue Cheese Crepe Wrap' (£5.50), which is spinach sautéed with mushrooms wrapped in a crepe with Gorgonzola. It was served with thick cut chips (which I absolutely loved!) with a light salad and salsa as sides. It was pretty light although the cheese was strong, counter balanced with some good ol' chips fried till brown and crispy. I like how the way they stack it up too.

Another dish we tried was 'Bacon and Barbeque Chicken' (£8.95), which is chicken breast wrapped in bacon, BBQ sauce and melted Cheddar cheese, served with chunky chips and lightly steamed sugar snaps and green beans. Great balance in terms of flavours, I suspect a hint of pineapple juice in with the BBQ sauce, tasting slightly like sweet sour sauce but with a tinge of cheesy goodness, all baked till perfection.

d'Arry's strongly promote their home made puds (short for puddings) all over the restaurant signboards and menu, so we decided to check it out, ordering the 'Double Chocolate Brownie with mixed berry compote and white chocolate sauce, topped with Vanilla Ice Cream' (£4.95).

True to its name, it lived up to it's expectations. One phrase to describe it -- out of this world! The brownie was generous and warm, filled with bitter sweet chocolate and ooze the aroma of good quality cocoa, buried under a melting scoop of Vanilla ice cream, dressed in the mixed berry compote which consists of blue and black berries. Impressed with the effort at flavour mixing, as the slightly sour compote balances the sweetness of the brownie and ice cream, whilst slight bitterness of the choc came into play as well.

It's a nice place to go for a meal. But given that it's pricier than the average restaurants, save it for special occasions :)

Time for a good rest and hibernation to recuperate. Though I never believed in sleep debts ...

2 - 4 King Street
United Kingdom