Friday 27 November 2009

enough to put a smile on our faces...

I have some great news to share.

After much anticipation, my sister-in-law, S gave birth to a healthy baby boy, an ounce short of 10 pounds (4.5kg that converts to) in the late morning of 24 November. We are all so happy with the new addition to our family and Gavin especially, has taken to his little brother Gareth with much warmth, enthusiasm and love. Carrying the little guy in my arms was really quite a special moment. Watching Gavin kiss and stroke a swaddled Gareth is just priceless. We are a very lucky bunch indeed! Congratulations S and C!

On to other news, we have finally found a shop to start our business The Haute Food Co. Renovations have commenced and I have been running back and forth co-ordinating kitchen equipment, the shop's lighting, security systems, suppliers et al. It is exhausting work but I must admit, I am beginning to feel a sense of satisfaction watching the plumbing being fixed in our new kitchen and soon, the new cabinets and shelves being put up in the shop. It is all very exciting and I would not have managed thus far without the endless support of my family. Thanks guys!

I am really looking forward to unveil our project as I think although it is not an unfamiliar concept, I hope we'll be able to offer our customers something different in terms of customer service, menu options and retail products. I have spent countless hours developing recipes and on packaging solutions in the past months, and I am please to say, I think we have some pretty good merchandise to offer.

If there are any followers in Malaysia, please drop by and visit us when our doors open for trading in Plaza Damas, Hartamas. We envision this to happen in the next couple of weeks, early to mid December. We would love to hear your feedback.

As an endnote, I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to all my friends (near and far) who have been absolute champion cheerleaders for my cause. You are all true gems!

Tuesday 22 September 2009

Saturday 19 September 2009

I couldn't resist...

I've been promising a shift from dessert recipes but this cake is a true gem! I followed the recipe posted by Elise who also shares a plethora of recipes from cooking references she has tried and tested. It involves a bit of work but I think it is well worth it - perfect for brightening up an overcast Saturday.

As most strawberries found in Kuala Lumpur are imported and can be quite dearly priced, I reduced the quantity of fruit to just over half a kilo (ie. half the described amount in the recipe) on this occasion. The amount of sugar you add to the strawberry filling depends on how sweet the fruit are. I find though, the tartness of the strawberries helps cut through the richness of cream. And speaking of cream, I replaced the heavy cream with regular whipping cream with no detriment.

Although the cake's presentation lacks the appearance of a bountiful berry harvest (like the one Elise made), this cake is exceptionally delicious - especially if you, like me, enjoy the timeless combination of ripe strawberries and voluptuous swirls of vanilla cream.


Roast potato medley

Okay, this is not quite what I promised to post but I couldn't keep this one to myself. It is so simple to throw together and great for satisfying a carb-craving.

It is what I label as a "quick and dirty" because it's a very earthy dish that takes no time to prepare. Simply scrub the skins of the potatoes you plan on using - pictured above, I used 3 different types of sweet potaotes: yellow, white and purple-flesh, 2 types of potatoes: kipflers and royal blues, but you can use a variety of others that are available at the market. It helps if you get the tubers more or less the same size as it eases the cutting process a great deal. After cutting the potatoes into almost equal and generous wedges, season liberally with salt and pepper, then stick a few springs of rosemary about the roasting pan and a pour over good slug of olive oil.

Bake at 230C for 10 minutes until the flesh browns and blisters, then turn the heat down to 180C to cook until the 'tats are tender.

These are so incredibly good to eat on their own, or with a good spicy chutney or aioli. Or try it served with a leg of roast lamb.

Sunday 6 September 2009

A break from sweets

Not sure if I mentioned before that I was pescetarian for a while after returning from my trip to the US last year. I mainly ate a vegetarian diet rich in fruit, vegetables, pulses and legumes, supplemented with up to 3 small portions of fish during the week. However, after several bouts of passing out at the most inconvenient of times and being told it was a result of a low blood iron count, I reluctantly began eating red meat again. Things snowballed from there and before I knew it, I had a poor diet - by that I mean, I was consuming way too much processed "convenient" food.

I have assigned myself a conscious eating plan beginning of this month and hope to see it through until October. It is based on a caffeine-free vegan diet, but I will allow myself some fish once in a while. It is day 6 and I don't feel like I am missing much - well, I lie, I miss my desserts (like the creme caramel and coffee praline cake this evening), but I do feel a lot better on a whole.

Tommorow, I hope to have some time to prepare myself a salad of buckwheat, amaranth and millet. This will give me the opportunity to explore new ingredients and exercise some creative cooking - something I have been yearning for a long while.

Stay tuned.