Monthly Archives / October 2011
Some weeks ago I attended a pretty special fine dining session hosted by Carlsberg Malaysia at Samplings on the Fourteen, Berjaya Time Square Hotel in conjunction with their participation in the 11th installation of Malaysian International Gourmet Festival.
That was a long sentence in a paragraph, but basically it was Carlsberg introducing Kronenbourg 1664 & Kronenbourg Blanc as the official beer of the festival.
Asahi, Kronenberg, Blanc, Savanna Dry
It was a night of food and beer pairing, with the food prepared by Chef Jochen Kern and Chef Valmurugan Subramaniam (Sous Chef of the restaurant).
Chef Jochen Kern is a German culinary expert with more than 40 years of experience in the industry, having served many dignitaries such as Queen Elizabeth II, President Bill Clinton, Dr. M, King of Thailand, Sultan of Brunei and more. With a credential like his, we knew we were in for a treat.
pan fried foie gras – om nom nom nom
We started the night with Pan Fried Foie Gras on marmalade of fresh grapes, red onion, and Kronenbourg Blanc. Two generous slabs of those liver was more than I bargained for, it was as good as the memory of my first time having it at Zipangu. There were also a couple shavings of truffles on top, le yums!
The foie gras was paired with Savanna Dry Cinder, perfectly counter the fattiness of the liver. Good stuff.
savanna dry cider infused porcini mushroom, poached black cod, Blanc
Next up was what the good chef called Cappuccino, Savanna Dry Cider infused Porcini Mushroom; and Poached Black Cod, in Kronenbourg Blanc Sabayon & Beurre du mutarde on brown lentille and potato compote. We had these with a glass of Kronenbourg Blanc.
The soup had an interesting blend of taste, with the sweetness of cider crossing with the taste of mushroom, it worked for me. Poached black cod is new to me too, and the beer infused sauce over the fish was perhaps just a tad too much smoothness, perhaps something fresh or crunchy could have made it even better, but I was just nitpicking. It was still very good nonetheless.
grilled American prime beef tenderloin
Then we arrived at the main dish of Grilled American Prime Beef Tenderloin. This slab of meat was glazed in peppered Kronenbourg lager and tomato choron with Louisiana corn crisps and tender chilly bean tomato.
Say what you would about Wagyu or Kobe beef, I still love these classic prime beef just as much. It was perfectly prepared, and of course went very well with the glass of lager accompanying the meat.
hot corossol souffle with cafe luwak, cafe amarula iced
Desserts came in the form of Hot Chocolate Souffle with cafe luwak sabayon (I just had cafe luwak in Bali a week prior) to go with Inniskillin Ice Wine, which was very cold, sweet, and aromatic, perfect for desserts.
To cap the night, we also had a cup of Cafe Amarula instead of the usual coffee or tea. Much creamier, and carries a kick on top of the coffee flavor, good stuff.
chef Jochen Kern, Siao Ling, Søren, myself, and Suan
It was a fantastic night that was only bettered by the company at our table of 5. Two other media friends, Suan, and myself were joined by none other than the MD of Carlsberg Malaysia, Søren. Whom despite his position, turned out to be a friendly chap who shared with us many topics both in and outside the industry.
Now I shall replay the memory of savoring that foie gras in my brain, on a loop.
It is often said that death and taxes are the two things you can never avoid, but for those of us who drives, you can throw in oil change as the third certainty in life.
Oil change can sometimes be such a drag, you usually have to make an appointment or get to your mechanic on working day, arrange for transportation to go back home or back to office while leaving the car there for a few hours to get it done. Then there’s also the big mystery on what sort of oil that goes into your car.
the Castrol Auto Service Locator
So when it was time for my 20 year midnight blue baby to get her service done, I went onto Castrol’s website and utilized their nifty little Castrol Auto Service (CAS) Locator.
It was a Sunday, I needed to find a place that are open for business, can get things done properly, and not too far from home. A few minutes later, I found a CAS at Taman Paramount – TG Car Auto Service, located less than 5 minutes from where I stay. Perfect.
Castrol Auto Service at Taman Paramount
The one thing about workshops & car service centers that tells you about their work quality is the cleanliness of the place. I always believe that mechanics who don’t even bother cleaning their own shop most likely won’t care about your car better than do to their own workplace.
If this was the only measuring stick, this CAS at Taman Paramount already scores a passing grade. The place is spotless and well equipped.
For a service center, the trust factor is very important, and CAS was definitely up to task, read on.
there’s an airconditioned waiting room too
I told the mechanic to give the car service with new Castrol EDGE with Titanium Fluid Strength Technology fully synthetic 5-40W engine oil. If you love your car, you would want something like this, the benefits include:
- maximizes short and long term engine performance
- sustains maximum performance for longer, even when under pressure
- improves engine efficiency, independently qualified
- delivers unsurpassed protection across a variety of driving conditions & temperatures
- reduce engine deposits to help maximize engine response
Shortly after that, the car was driven onto the platform and jacked up. The old oil is drained into a container for recycle (a good thing). The mechanic then changed the oil filter, and poured the Castrol into the car.
For those who aren’t into chatting up with mechanics, there is a fully air conditioned waiting room complete with water cooler and TV at the service center.
After the oil change, the mechanic did a check up for the car and showed me a couple areas of concern (a leaky front shocks, rear wheel bearings that’s a bit loose, a swell up oil pipe) that I should get looked at next time. After all, the car is 2 decades old, I guess it’s up for a bit of maintenance too.
Very good service, I was quite impressed, and will certainly bring the car back there again. If you want a place you can trust to service your car, look no further.
From September 15 till November 15, 2011 when you make an oil change using either of the following product:
- Castrol EDGE 5W40, EDGE Sport 0W40 & EDGE Sport 10W60 (4L)
- Castrol EDGE 5W40, EDGE 0W40 & EDGE 10W60 (4L)
- Castrol Magnatec 10W-40 (4L)
I want my Ipad 2, wish me luck!
After the service, you’ll get a scratch card like on the photo above. Scratched to get the code and then text “CAS ICNUMBER CODE” to 39993, answer a question via SMS again, and if you get it right, you stand a chance to win, it’s that simple.
I did mine, so wish me luck! 😀
Other than the Castrol Auto Service, Service & Win, there’s also the Experience the Strongest contest that you should check out. The ultimate prize for this contest is a trip to EUFA Euro 2012! Now that’s something to look forward to.
For more information, head to www.facecbook.com/castrolmalaysia and their corporate site at www.castrol.com/my
Take a look at the photo below and what do you see?
In the frame t here are two very sleepy cats, the bigger one being our resident alpha (castrated) male – Cendawan the Bengal, with Belimbing, one of the two kittens we rescued from the neighborhood.
happy moment – brrrrrrrrrrrr good morning!
And if these cats could speak and label a photo, both of them would title it “My Happiest Moment”
Nothing beats a lazy evening nap right next to the window facing the garden with running water from the pond. Especially if you are a cat.
a slightly failed attempt in forcing a Happy Moment out of Tembikai
The photo above, on the other hand, is a slightly failed attempt to get Tembikai to cooperate with Haze in executing a good Happy Moment capture.
So picture one – score!
Picture two – maybe not so much…
Which brings us to the Happy Photography Contest by Olympus. The idea is simple, we want to freeze those happy and awesome moments in our lives, but barring a technological break through in cryogenic and time freezing nonsense, we have photos.
The mechanic of this contest is as follow:
- Write a blog post titled “My Happiest Moment”.
- Include a photo in your blog post that describes your happiest moment. It can be a pre-existing photo, or you can go out and shoot something that represents that moment
- Download this file containing Olympus Happy Photography logo variations, choose one of the colour variations and include it in your blog post as well
- Upload the photo of your happiest moment and submit the permalink of your blog post in this form.
And by doing that, you stand to win these prizes:
1st prize – Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 Kit
2nd Prize – Olympus PEN mini E-PM1 Kit
3rd – 5th Prize – Olympus PEN Leather carry-all bag
A pretty awesome deal, yes? There is no purchase required to enter this contest. Do head to http://www.nuffnang.com.my/olympus2011/ to check out more details.
Olympus E-PL3 with the 40-150 kit lens and external flash
Some 1.5 years ago, I got my hands on an Olympus E-PL1 camera and did a review, the camera was small, responsive, and produces quality that rivals much bigger SLR cameras.
Now I got with me the latest iteration of the same line of Camera from Olympus – the Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3. Not only this camera spots a bigger 3.0 LCD that can tilt (very useful for events), full HD video recording, faster auto focus, more focus points, higher ISO, faster shutter speed… etc etc..
And the amazing thing is, they’ve made it even smaller!
Look at the photo above, I don’t have a big hand, and even then the PEN Lite with a telephoto lens and the external flash (included) sits comfortably in my palm. Technology is amazing.
more product information at http://www.olympusimage.com.my/products/dslr/epl3/
You know that this camera can be won by joining the Happy Photography contest right? 😀
pretty impressive output on low light condition – Haze at work
I took the camera for a bit of a test drive and these are some of the test shots. The PEN Lite is pretty easy to handle, and the autofocus is now much faster too. Compared to my old SLR rig, this baby is only some 1/3 in weight and I would have no trouble taking it everywhere (will work handsomely underwater, with the Olympus PT-EP05L housing)
Diorama art filter, outside Pavilion KL
The much loved ART filters is now expanded. There are six to choose from, with art effects to add composition effects as well as ability to do art filter bracketing too. With the art filter bracketing, you can generate multiple pictures with different Art Filters from a single shot, allowing you to experiment with different effects to see which one works the best. Pretty cool feature isn’t it?
The six filters are:
- Pop Art (i & ii)
- Soft focus
- Grainy Film (i & ii)
- Pin Hole (i/ii/iii)
- Dramatic Tone
Soft Focus art filter – how cute can a car get?
The photos on this post (except for the one with the PEN Lite in it, duh!) are all taken with the PEN Lite with no extra processing on the computer. I only re-sized them before posting.
If you haven’t seen one of these baby in real life, do try your hands on one at any camera shop carrying Olympus. It is amazing how technology has advanced and be able to pack so much in such a small body.
Pin Hole art filter – a street less traveled
Since I work with food photography quite a bit, I also took the PEN Lite for a test run on some food shots.
Penang Curry mee and Char Kuih Teow
The shot above showcase the advantage of the big sensor found in the PEN Lite, a compact camera will not be able to create that out of focus effect (bokeh) of the char kuih teow while focusing sharply on the curry mee. This was done with F/4.0, now imagine if you use a prime lens with bigger aperture. *slurps*
wine and dine at Favola, Le Meridien
The second picture is a simple shot of a glass of wine taken at 1/10s, ISO 1600, 58 mm at f/4.4. This again showcases the ability of the PEN Lite in handling very low light situation. The image stabilizing system works superbly, and the CMOS censor processes ISO 1600 without much (if any) noise at all. I’d have to use a tripod for this with an older DSLR, but this is done with my bare hands. 😀
Now I wish to have one complete with underwater housing and underwater flash, Happy Underwater Moment?
In the mean time, I have more candidate photos for “My Happiest Moment”.
Cendawan as my scarf
Before going to Sunway Pyramid, I was trying to wear Cendawan as a scarf, obviously the kitteh wasn’t very impressed with my fashion sense, but kitteh did not use claw attack. *phew*
Haze with gingerbread man
Hooo look there’s a gingerbread man! Haze actually had to line up to take this photo, who doesn’t love gingerbread man? 😀
Mr. Sunway Lagoon duck and me
This is a very very distant cousin to the more famous uncle, Donald, or is he? Niether of them wears pants that’s for sure.
specially decorated Olympus PEN Cameras
Olympus is also running roadshow at Midvalley Megamall from 26-30th Oct. If you want to get your hands on the PEN Lite or check out other Olympus PEN systems, this is the perfect time.
Furthermore, there’ll be specially decorated Olympus PEN Cameras on display at the roadshow too, so do check it out.
Of the various type of meat that is popular in Asian kitchen, duck is often considered a bit of an after thought in this country. While you can find pork, beef, chicken, and mutton in almost every supermarket, duck is usually a bit harder to obtain.
The fact is, duck is just not a very popular meat here, and my best guess is the “duck smell” that many dislike, and that it is also less versatile and at the same time, more expensive than chicken.
ingredients for stew duck
That being said, stew duck is one of my favorite poultry dishes. My mom used to make this a couple times a year during festive seasons, and most of the time we’d finish the whole duck rather quickly.
As it turned out, while the process takes quite some time, stew duck isn’t a particularly difficult dish to cook.
This recipe is one that I find pretty simple to follow, and yet yield a pretty good result.
first, boil the ingredients in a frying pan
The ingredients are simple enough to obtain, and this is for half a duck that should sufficiently feed up to 3 person.
- half a duck
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 star anise
- half a dozen cloves
- 3-4 slices of ginger
- 1 bulb of garlic
- 1 lemongrass
- 3 tablespoon of dark soya suace
- 2 tablespoon of sugar
- salt to taste
- 1 cup of water
stew the duck for about one hour, cut before serving
- rub salt all over the duck and let sit for at least 15-20 minutes
- in a frying pan large enough for the duck, heat up water & dark soya sauce
- add cinnamon, star anise, cloves, sugar, ginger, pepper, and lemongrass, bring to boil
- reduce fire to simmer, and add duck, garlic
- use a soup ladle, pour sauce over duck to cook the exposed portion
- turn the duck over every 15 minutes and cook for about an hour
- add water if it gets too dry
- cut and serve!
and here’s half a duck, cut and served
The duck will shrink a bit after cooking. I prefer to cut them into bite size before serving, but that can get a little tricky when it’s piping hot.
The stew duck goes well with white rice, and for those who loves garlic, you’ll also enjoy that bulb of garlic that is now soft and soaked with rich ducky flavor!
Haze, KY, and Vinn who is obviously enjoying herself!
Happy cooking! For those who doesn’t care about cooking, you can have some good stew duck at Fatty stew duck at restaurant Okay, or the stew duck stall at PJ State.
These are some of the not-so-brilliant costumes I managed to conjure up with for several parties over the years (ok, the one with surgeon’s headgear wasn’t even a party). I was a pirate, a hipster with fake glasses and fake mustache, and also RAIN (had a squirt bottle raining down on you, hohoho)
The last party involving any form of costumes for me was unfortunately, some 2 years ago, to be honest, I kinda missed it (and have a few pretty good idea since).
The good news is, there’s a Astro B.yond IPTV is throwing a party at the end of this month (29th Oct, 2011) with Hollywood & Celebrities theme!
Now maybe I can turn back clock and go as a super star pirate, now that would be something! (the costume above is photoshopped, but you get the idea).
The less creative minds can always go as Lady Gaga, 50 cent, or the easiest – Jet Li (just wear a kungfu shirt and squint a little).
To get yourself an invite, head to http://www.nuffnang.com.my/blog/2011/10/14/astro-b-yond-iptv-party/, leave a comment that shares If you could be a Hollywood star or Celebrity, who would you be, and how would you use the Astro B.yond IPTV services if you owned it. The best 70 comments get a pair of invites. It’s that simple.
The two dressed bloggers of the night gets an iPod Nano each and there’s a chance to win a home theatre system inclusive of a Blu-Ray player too.
Now since this party is hosted by Astro B.yond IPTV, lets talk a little bit about this service:
There are many things are essential in a home – a kitchen, a bathroom, electricity, water, a bed, and a dining table, to name a few.
Then there are these other things that we all want in a home to make live complete – high speed internet, flat screen TV with Astro HD services, Personal Video Recorder, Voice services, and even better still, a Video on Demand service.
While you can get the former from your kitchen cabinet supplier, renovation guy, furniture shop, TNB, and Syabas, the latter can now be obtained in one single package, in fact, via a single line that rules them all, and that is essentially what Astro B.yond IPTV offers.
For the geeks and technophiles, Astro B.yond IPTV service runs on fiber optic line that is capable of up to 100 Mbps, capable of supporting 2 HD channels concurrently, video on demand download, voice, and broadband speed of up to 30 Mbps. Now that’s technology worth mentioning.
The packages with Astro B.yond IPTV are pretty attractive too. For example, for a total of RM 248 you get unlimited broadband at 6 Mbps (with 30 hours of 10 Mbps speed boost) and unlimited download, 70+ SD channels and 15 HD channels (more to come), recording service, and video on demand.
More details at http://www.astro.com.my/iptv
And for those who prefer a brick and mortar presence, check out the Astro IPTV Concept Store at Mont Kiara, and you might as well get familiarized with the place cos the party is going to be there too.
Date: 29th October 2011 (Saturday)
Time: 6.30pm – 10.00pm
Venue: B.yond IPTV Concept Store
No.5, Jalan Solaris 2, Ground Floor, Solaris Mont Kiara
Good luck and see you there!