Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Belated Thanksgiving Feast

Roasted herb and lemon stuffed "turkey" (chicken)

Like this post, my masak-masak friends (Sheila, Chin Yin and Sim) had our thanksgiving feast in March... which was in a nutshell--way overdue.

Though you may say that we Malaysians can have our food around the clock at any time of the day. So can we celebrate the feast of roasted turkey (or chicken) in this case, any time according to our own calendar. The dinner was scheduled in the evening of 28th March 2009 in conjunction with the Earth Hour Malaysia.

Orthodox or lack thereof, we had prepared all dishes for this feast the way it has always been--slow, enjoyable and full of natural goodness to be thankful for. Now, let's just cut all the chase and look at the menu, shall we?

Rustic five mushrooms soup as starter.

For starter, we had rustic mushroom soup with fresh garden salad. Forget about the Italian 3 mushrooms soup, we used 5 variety of mushrooms--button, brown, oyster, enoki and shiitake cooked in chicken broth and then blended into country style soup with mushroom chunks. Chin Yin, the salad expert, prepared visually-pleasing salad (mix greens and top with cottage cheese) that was not only good to see but even better to consume.

The fresh garden salad was not only colourful but was crisp and fresh in every bite.

Then, the beautiful farfalline (far-FALL-lay) pasta with spring vegetables was served as pre-entrée. Hands down to Sheila because pasta dishes are always her expertise. Sim on the other hand was busy mashing up the cooked potatoes resulting in creamy and savoury mashed potato.

Sheila's famous farfalline cooked to al dante as always.
A Sim made this mountain of mashed potato that was so good that we almost licked the serving bowl.

The lead role of the feast was none other than--tadaaaaaa the "turkey" (chicken). We roasted chicken instead of the traditional turkey because the latter is much bigger and more difficult to cook bird, so we let it slide. The stuffing recipe was a combination of Jamie Oliver's and Sheila's + Chin Yin's. It was roasted for longer than we expected but the final product was gorgeous and succulent none the less (pictured above).

This time around I was busy at work, so the ladies cut me some slack and let me prepare the dessert instead. When it comes to thanksgiving dinner dessert, most people would opt for pumpkin pie or anything cranberry and pumpkin-y. But I was never good at observing the tradition. My mantra is "shop locally eat seasonally" . So the first fruit that comes to my mind when I think of exquisite tropical fruit and a spring-y fare was dragon fruit. So, I decided to make Italian panna cotta with a tropical twist topping--dragon fruit with lime zest.

Panna cotta was made with mascarpone cheese (Italian cream cheese) and whipping cream, topped with freshly grated dragon fruit and lime zest. I was thankful that it turned out great and people were asking for second serving.

Italian dessert with tropical twist--panna cotta with dragon fruit and lime zest.

After chomping away the feast for two hours, we observed the earth hour we all pledged. Instead of staying in a house of no electricity, we all went out for a breezy stroll and we were all thankful for the goodness that the earth has to offer. It is about time that we human being paying the due respect of mother earth by conserving the environment.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

SK II Photography Competition 2007

Photo with SK II spoke person, Fauziah Latiff.

This post may be a bit old but I have to keep my promise to unveil the answer to my previous post and so here it is. I hope you are reading, JL.

Well, I took some cam-whoring photo shots with a SK II product to participate in the "SK II -- My Constant Companion" Photography Competition in August 2007. And guess what? I won the first-runner up prizes which include some real cash (can't remember RM800 or RM1000) and loads of SK II products.

The award ceremony took place at Isetan Garden and it was a celebrity-studded event where local media, artistes and fashion designers such as Fauziah Latiff, Charmaine Poh and the like made their appearance.

I was very very honoured and excited to be first-runner-up in this contest and despite teaching for almost 9 years now I still had stage fright sharing my story and photography in public. But it was all good. I wanted to thank my lovely hubby for being my plus one to the event and also snapping these precious photos.

This experience has given me a big boost of confidence and has encouraged me to pursue my passion into photography and I hope to share more beautiful photos in the years to come.

Sharing my SK II story and photography

I was pretty nervous speaking in public... :P

Receiving the prize from Fauziah... it was surreal!

Fauziah, the winners and Isetan Garden manager

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Lemon and Dragon Fruit Cupcakes

It is said that the kitchen is the best place for a foodie's eureka, I couldn't have agreed more! Two weeks ago, I was enjoying some "me" moment with a juicy and succulent organic dragon fruit and while I was scooping the flesh from the exotic-looking mega-magenta fruit, I saw a fresh lemon sitting on the kitchen counter.

And then I suddenly had a eureka moment--how about a sweet treat with those dynamic duo--lemon and dragon fruit??? The lemon will give the cake an oomph while the dragon fruit would give the treat its natural moist and sweetness.

Lovely pink swirl effect after the dragon fruit is folded into the batter.

Without much hesitation, I whipped up a basic cake mixture and folded those fabulous duo into the batter before hitting the oven. The result is--vibrant colour and ultra moist cake that goes perfectly with an afternoon tea.

My focus group members (aka people whom I shared my latest invention with, all right, all right, my culinary guinea pigs) all gave a thumbs up for this pretty treat. I simply can't wait to whip up yet another batch of these gems!