Blog Migration

Posted by Jason Wong | 8:04 AM | , , | 0 comments »

Dear Readers and Fellow Bloggers,

We would like to inform you that we have migrated this blog on blogspot.com to a self-hosted blog with the following blog address,

We have migrated
to
www.gourmetgarden.com.my

Other than expecting new post on the new blog, you could also catch up on our previous postings that were posted on blogspot.com. We hope that we would be able enjoy your continuous support and get more constructive comments and feed backs to motivate and help us to improve in our actual and factual postings at our new blog site.

Again I would like thank to all those that have provided support
and encouragement at this blog.

Thank you
.

不知道从什么时候开始,人们将Christmas 写成X’mas。你一看Christmas,就明白这是有关耶稣基督的事情。因为Christ就是基督。那么,你看这一个X’mas,到底是指什么呢?它可以告诉你,现代人的圣旦观。

X代表什么?在数学方面,X是一个未知数的符号。所以,X’mas到底是什么节日?好像是在庆祝一个人的生日,但是这一个人是谁呢?圣旦节已经失去了焦点,

主耶稣已经不再是圣旦诞的主人翁。圣旦老人、圣旦树、圣旦礼物(图片)已经代替了主耶稣,难怪许多人已经搞不清楚,到底圣旦节是为了什么而庆祝。X这一个未知数,也表示现代人迷失了方向。

What is the meaning of X'mas Today? Party? Celebrations?
X = Unknown Numbers
M= Money for the celebration, presents, party, food.
A = Amusement - have fun
S = Self - self enjoyment

The Real Meaning of X'mas
X = Xpistos ( Xpirtor means Savior of man kind - in Greek Language)
M= Manifest
A = Agape (God's Love
- in Greek Language)
S = Soteria (Salvation)


Xmas means - is the fulfillment of the Salvation Plan.

Read more...

This was what we had for our diner tonight to celebrate the Dong Zhi this year.

Ho Si Fatt Choy

Hong Kong Kai Lan with Oyster Sauce

Stir Fried Prawns (Thanks to Lingzie)

Shao Xing Steam Chicken

HAPPY DONG ZHI TO ALL THE CHINESE READERS AND BLOGGERS.

For those who have a sweet tooth... Tāngyuán (湯圓) is a Chinese dessert made from glutinous rice flour. Glutinous rice flour is mixed with a small amount of water to form balls and is then cooked in boiling water and served with brown sugar sweet soup with a piece of ginger. Tangyuan can be either filled or unfilled with fillings. It is traditionally eaten during Yuanxiao (Chap Goh Meh 元宵), Lantern Festival (Tanglung Festival 中秋节) & Dōng Zhì (Winter Solstice 冬至). However, it has also come to be associated with the Winter Solstice and Chinese New Year. Today, the food is eaten all year round. Mass-produced tangyuan is commonly found in the frozen food section of supermarkets in Malaysia.
A little of bit of Tāngyuán history.

Historically, a number of different names were used to refer to the tangyuan. During the Yongle era of the Ming Dynasty, the name was then officially called as yuanxiao, a name derived from the Yuanxiao festival, also known as the Lantern Festival. This name literally means "first evening", being the first full moon or new moon after Chinese New Year. This name prevails in northern China.

In southern China, however, the prevailing names are tangyuan or tangtuan. Legend has it that during Yuan Shikai's rule (1912-1916), Yuan disliked the name Yuanxiao because it sounded identical to "remove Yuan" (袁消), and so mandated that the name Tangyuan be used instead. This name literally means "round balls in soup". Tangtuan similarly means "round dumplings in soup".

The Meaning of Dōng Zhì

The Chinese characters for Dōng Zhì are 冬至. The first character means “winter” and the second character means “arrival.”

In olden Chinese society, the arrival of winter meant that the farmers would lay down their tools and celebrate the harvest by coming home to their families. A feast would be prepared to mark the occasion.

These days, Dōng Zhì is still an important cultural holiday for Chinese all over the world. Even though it is not a formal holiday or sort, most Chinese families who still hold dear to the old culture and traditions, would try to make an effort to get together and savor tāng yuán as a complete family.

Celebrated on the longest night of the year, Dong Zhi is the day when sunshine is weakest and daylight shortest. The coming of winter is celebrated by families and is traditionally the time when farmers and fishermen gather food in preparation for the coming cold season. It is also a time for family reunions.

This celebration can be traced to the Chinese belief in yin and yang, which represent balance and harmony in life. It is believed that the yin qualities of darkness and cold are at their most powerful at this time, but it is also the turning point, giving way to the light and warmth of yang. For this reason, the Dong Zhi Festival is a time for optimism. Dong Zhi is celebrated in style. The longest night of the year is a time to put on brand new clothes, visit family with gifts and to laugh and drink deep into the long night.

In Chinese believes, it is also the day when everyone becomes one year older.

The Chinese Calendar

The traditional Chinese calendar is divided into 24 equal divisions each corresponding to 15 degrees of Celestial longitude.

The sun reaches 270 degrees sometime around December 21, the date set on most Western calendars as the winter solstice. Dōng Zhì, however, can fall on December 21, 22, or 23. In 2008, C falls on December 21.

How to confirm the date will fall into the above date? we've heard the culculation from radio FM988. here goes:

This year is 2008 and divided by 4 = 502 (even).Whenever you get an even number from the result, Dōng Zhì must have to fall on Odd dates like 21 or 23 of Dec. When the results are odd numbers, then Dōng Zhì will fall on Even date. Another way to confirm the date of Dōng Zhì is to refer the the Chinese Thong Su. Which is the manual for all Chinese cultural believes. This book is updated yearly.


How to prepare Tāng Yuán

You can buy frozen tāng yuán in the supermarket, but it’s not that difficult to make. You may get the semi prepared glutinous dough from the local's wet market when come to Dōng Zhì, and just make it into small balls or customise the sizes to your liking :P. If you wish to DIY in every steps, just simply mix glutinous rice flour with water to make a dough. Place it in the refrigerator for about half an hour, then take it out and form it into small balls.

The balls are boiled in water until they float, and the next step is to put into cool water awhile and drained. This is the tips from my parents, is to drain the stickiness from the balls and it will become springy. To be serve, put balls into hot/cool brown sugar syrup soup or savoury soup and bon appeti. There are various fillings, it can be either sweet or savoury.

Sweet fillings can be:

Sesame paste (ground black sesame seeds mixed with sugar and lard) - the most common filling;
  • Red bean paste
  • Chopped peanuts and sugar.
  • Savoury filling is usually a pork meat.


    Tang Yuan Receipy

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook Time: 10 minutes

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup glutinous rice flour
    • 4 ounces water
    • Brown sugar to taste
    • Food coloring (optional)
    • Fresh ginger (optional)

    Preparation:

    Pour the glutinous rice flour in a bowl and slowly add water until the mixture becomes the texture of dough. You may not need the entire 4 ounces of water to reach the proper consistency. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes. You can divide the dough in half and add food coloring to one half.

    Pinch off pieces of the dough and roll it into small balls.

    Drop the balls into boiling water and cook them until they float - about 5 to 10 minutes. Take out from the boiling water and put into cool or cold water for awhile and drained. This process will immediately freeze the outer surface and prevent the tang yuan from sticking to each other and also to firm up the dough.

    Prepare a sweet soup by boiling water and adding brown sugar. Fresh ginger can also be added to the soup.

    Put the cooked balls into the soup and serve.

    The following photos are pf the process of making the salty or soup type Tang Yuan. If you like to have the recipe, you may contact us for it.

    Last Wednesday we, the Penang Food Bloggers, had another small gathering, this time at The Sire. It was only a few of us enjoying the food, ambiance and company. We were exchanging ideas and skills, especially in the area of photography.


    The Sire is actually under the same management as Ferringghi Garden. Not only that! They also share some similarities in the decor, especially with the usage of the plants and water.

    The night started with some banquettes top with cheese. Quite cheesy and crunchy, but sprinkle with a pinch or two salt, it brought the taste some more.


    Then the appetizers or starters begin to come, they were the beef tenderloin sandwich, prawn tartare and portebello mushroom. The Beef Tenderloin Sandwich was out of my expectations, I was expecting moist and juicy beef meat or fillet sandwich in between soft fluffy bread laced with lots of vegetables, but what we got was something the direct opposite. The beef was dry and the bread is like your common bun from the bakery. The only thing that was good about this dish was the accompanying fries. They were fried golden to colour, crisp on the surface and moist in the centre. The aroma and taste of the fries led us to order another plate of fries, but with added toppings of cheese. I guess they only used cheddar, not mozzarella and parmesan as requested.

    Beef Sandwich RM14.80

    The Prawn Tartare was actually prawn salad on greens with button mushroom minus the mayonnaise. The salad was light on the taste bud, good for a starter to cleanse the senses for the coming main course. The salad was dressed in olive oil, herbs, some light seasoning and may be some acidity from vinegar or lemon,. The dressing was light, thus it actually brought out the flavours of the freshness of the prawns and the sweetness of the greens.

    Prawn Tartare RM11.80

    The Portebello Mushroom was a must try for me because one of my specialties are mushrooms. It looked appetising when served, but the used of balsamic vinegar killed the taste. Mushroom seasoned lightly with just salt and pepper and dressed in either garlic compound butter or just plain old olive oil and herds would have been sufficient. The fungus has very little taste, thus too mush used of seasoning or heavy dressing would destroy sensitive nature of the mushroom.

    Portobello Mushroom RM12.80

    After the starters, the pastas were served. We ordered Seafood Carbonara Spaghetti, Golden Linguine and Prawn Macaroni. The Seafood Carbonara, the spaghetti was springy and firm just right for me, but Gill preferred it to be slightly more cooked so that it is smoother and softer. As for the cream sauce, it was rough and dry. It felt like the cream was made from powdered creamer or the egg yoke was not properly mixed. Gill said that she could see powdery substance in the sauce, like when we make milk from instant milk powder.

    Carbonara Spaghetti RM16.80

    The Golden Linguine, was a fusion of Western and Asian flavours. The sauce had the aroma and taste of lemon grass, Thai basil, curry and lime or something citrus. The flavour combination is for those who enjoy Asia in their food.

    Golden Linguine RM15.80


    The Prawn Macaroni, had the saltiness 'ham heong' and just the right creaminess, but it was a bit too oily for the liking. Texture wise, the pasta was a slightly undercooked, chewy and too firm to feel. I do not know about the comments from the other, to me the taste is something Chinese can relate to, especially the older generation due the 'hum heong' taste like fried noodles.

    Prawn Macaroni RM16.80

    The Tenderloin Medallion, two piece beef tenderloin well done served with mash potato, grilled aubergines and some sort vege, which I suspect is spinach. For the sauce or dressing, one could choose from either Bearnaise sauce or just butter. We tried both. The Bearnaise sauce is made of clarified butter and egg yolks flavored with tarragon, shallots, chervil and vinegar.Normally I like my steaks medium to medium-cooked, therefore this plate would be not to my liking. But the mash potato was nice, different from those found in fast food outlets like KFC and in TGI. The mash potato came with some chunks of potato rather than all mash up. Creamy and smooth texture with something to bite on, quite nice experience.

    Tenderloin Medallion RM49.80

    Lamb Loin Chop, was one of the dishes that did not let down. The lamp pieces were coated and season with spices, although slightly saltier, it was one of the better tasting dishes we had all night. The meat was still tender and juicy, the fats were caramelised under the cooking heat. Nice! It was good on its own without dipping into any of the accompanying sauces, the whole grain honey mustard and mint sauce.

    Roast Loin Chop RM32.80

    The lamb shank was recommended by CK, but the nights serving was different her previous visit. The kitchen add in tomato puree, that is why the sauce looks red. The sour taste did not go well with the lamb shank plus the meat was not tender. It was flaky and dry. Again it was the mash potato that save the day.


    Lamb Shank RM49.80

    Finally, time for desert! For desert we had Tiramisu and Green Mousse. The Tiramisu and the Mousse was very firm not hard. After some asking, we were told that both Tiramisu and mousse have not totally thored. Personally, to compensate for that mistake, I experiment with spooning a bit of everything on the plate, and that did help to take away the firm texture of the Tiramisu and mousse.

    Tiramisu RM15.80

    Green Mousse RM15.80

    Before the night was over, Ken had a glass of Bailey's coffee and I had Espresso with Vanilla Ice Cream. The Vanilla Ice was from Movenpick, it really hit the note for me.

    Bailey's Coffee RM 19.80
    On average, I would give this place:
    • 3/5 for value(Some of the dishes did not come up to expectation)
    • 3/5 for taste & texture(there were a few misses with some of the dishes)
    • 4/5 for service(we waited by the waiter the hole night but there were no interaction)
    • 4.5/5 for cleanliness
    • 4.5/5 for atmosphere(nice decor and furniture)

    After much talk by my father-in-law, we finally tried out this joint! This Koay Teow Th'ng with homemade fish balls is situated in this kopitiam along Jalan Burmah, just after the turn in from Penang Road. The kopitiam name is Hai Oan, which is also famous for its 'chu char' and Hainanese chicken chop.




    The Koay Teow Th'ng(KTT) is actually a family business, that still sees the mother a her two sons still running this family trade. The main outlet is situated at the corner shop, Heng Seng Coffee Shop, off Lebuh Armenian and Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling(formerly known as Pitt Street). This outlet opens from 10:00am to 4:40pm daily except for Sunday and Monday.

    The outlet we visited was the one at Hai Oan, which is being run by the one of the sons and his wife. This outlet is open for business from 8:00AM to 2:00PM daily except Mondays. It was only last Sunday we visited this makan stall after Sunday Service. After having a light breakfast at Lorong Macalister, we were not satisfied with the quality of food there, thus we decided to go for a second round. Or you could had our lunch at breakfast time. Hahaha....

    What is so famous about this KTT business, is actually their homemade fish balls. But for Gill and me, their uniqueness doesn't stop there. As our usual self, we stood there for sometime and observed the goings of the business, then finally I asked the wife and sister what is their specialty there. To my surprise they told me not only the fish balls are their specialty, even their mince pork patties are hand made. This I must try, because I have been searching high and low for the kind of mince pork patties that have eluded me for so many years.

    When I was still living in Rifle Range, we use to get KTT from a stall opposite the Air Itam market for breakfast on certain Sundays. The stall was located next to the alley way, but during our recent food hunt last Monday, I found out that it has already disappeared. The taste and texture of the mince meat patties is still in my memories, juicy tender patties cooked to just the right with the optimum composition of fats and meat. The closes that I can get now is in Breikfeilds in KL, Peter Chu Yuk Fun.

    The KTT soup served at Hai Oan is very light, but with the condiments of fried garlic bits and pork lard it is immediately transformed. Even the soya sauce dip is specially concocted with raw garlic, chilies and a special type of soy. I know the brand of the soya sauce from their description, but I obliged not to reveal. We used to use it at home when my mom was still around with us. It was her favourite. The way to best try the bowl of KTT is to first take it as it come without dipping in the soya sauce, you will experience the sweetness and freshness contained in the fish balls and minced pork pattie. After a few mouthful, then you may take it with the special soya sauce. That will be another taste experience from the same bowl that you had. The garlic and chilly gives it an extra punch for those who enjoy heavier taste KTT.



    Other than KTT, they also serve 'Kon Lo Bihun' (dry rice vermicelli in dark soya sauce). We got to know that to maintain the quality or texture of the bihun, they have opted to use individually packed bihun rather than the commercial and cheaper packed bihun. Much care was put in preparing the bowl of 'Kon Lo Bihun', they poached and mixed the bihun in their sauce and left it to sit for while to let the bihun soaked up the sauces before serving to us. Every strain of the bihun was coated with their sauce. The texture was fine and aroma fragrant like fried bihun minus the frying. It is a must try also!

    Buy looking at the fried pork lard, you can also that the business owner really take pride in their business and work. They only used the centre piece of fats without the hard skin surface and the coarse part which is attached to the meaty part. Thus, is was crispy, smooth and fragrant without the bitter taste and rough texture. My favourite! The garlic bits were also fried to just the right consistancy. We did even found a bit burnt garlic. The garlic and lard provided the otherwise light soup, rich and smokey taste. Don't worry! Once in a while won't kill you!




    Why should they take pride of their business and food, is because everything is hand made. The fish balls are made from a species of eel that is found here.

    The fish balls starts from this fish.

    The fishes is pain stakingly being de-boned. Only the vertebrae is de-boned at this stage.


    Then the fish fillets are passed through this machine to separate the skin and small bones.

    After the fish fillets are de-boned and de-skinned, it put through and special blending machine to start the mashing process. After the fish meat is blended and starts to produce the sticky substance to make the fish mash hold up togather, it is then hand moulded to your every day fish balls.


    Even the minced pork meat are hand press to form the patties that are served there. Every individual piece shares the same thickness and consistency. Nice!

    On average, I would give this place:
    • 4.5/5 for value (hand made and much care is taken to prepare the fish balls and pork patties)
    • 4.2/5 for taste & texture
    • 4.5/5 for service
    • 4.1/5 for cleanliness
    • 3.5/5 for atmosphere
    GPS Coordinates: to be added!