Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas Roundup 2007 - Of Family Gatherings and A Very Retro Christmas


It is ironic that after over a month-long buildup to Christmas, everything's put away in boxes in anticipation of the next major festival here. Lucky bamboo plants are already up for sale, and gaily coloured boxes of yee sang (or at least what tries to pass off as yee sang in its colourful artificial glory) are displayed prominently in supermarkets. Hello! Chinese New Year is more than a month away. Give me back my Christmas! I'm not done yet.

nasi dagang IMG_3504

Before I get caught up with the CNY festivities and the feastings that follow, let's do a quick roundup of my Christmas week. When Bald Eagle and I are not traipsing the planet at year end, we normally spend our time at his parents' house in Kajang. Christmas dinner this year was with a difference. Recognising the family's roots in Kelantan, there were no turkeys or mince pies or plum puddings. This was a traditional Kelantanese Christmas dinner in all its juxtaposed imagery. We feasted on typical Kelantanese fare of steamed nasi dagang (a reddish brown glutinous rice) served with ikan tongkol (albacore tuna) in a creamy curry cooked so perfectly by my mother-in-law. To add to its authenticity, Bald Eagle spoke Kelantanese for a good 5 minutes. If I closed my eyes, I would have thought I married someone else. Well, sometimes, with all his impersonations, I am not quite sure of the man I married,'s too late now, isn't it? :-)


As a celebration of the traditions we hold dear, Bald Eagle presented us with a box of Goldilocks Polvorons which he brought back from Manila. His addiction to Goldilocks' Mamons (beautiful fluffy cakes) and Polvorons is a result of his 3-year stint in Manila several years back. I can understand his love for these confections. The Polvoron is made of toasted flour, butter, sugar and milk (and probably a whole host of unmentionables...err..I mean, secret ingredients) and has a powdery texture which means that if you don't pop the entire thing in your mouth, it will disintegrate in your hands. Quite a messy affair if you want to exercise decorum (i.e. taking ladylike bites). For Christmas, they coat these delicious biscuits with chocolate and decorate them with pretty shapes and colours.

A Very Retro Christmas

Christmas with the bloggers was more of a riot. The food bloggers booked the entire restaurant (My Elephant in Section 17) and as an added surprise, came up with a list of "awards" for those who were present. Some of my favourite awards are:

Masak-masak - most idolized blogger. Woohoo! (she received a "masak-masak" set to keep her occupied when her oven ever gets broken)
Precious Pea - with her obsession over crabs, it was obvious that she was going to be crowned Queen to King Crab. (prize: pepper crab flavoured instant noodles)
WMW - the Human Tripod blogger - see her photography skills with just a camera and her wrist! (prize: an empty box to replace the use of her limbs)
Kenny Mah - most flirtatious blogger (but of course) (prize: condoms - will come in handy, I'm sure)
Lianne - the enlightened blogger, for moving from an obscure blogsite to a mainstream blog this year! (prize: a lightbulb)
Teckiee - the blogger with a gender crisis. Not sure why, but some people think she's male. But seriously, she's sometimes confused as well with XX/XY chromosomes (prize: a pair of boxer shorts)
Jackson - the blogger most recognised in KL, Klang, Shah Alam, PJ and some say even in Bangkok. (prize: disguise sunglasses)
Jason - the blogger with the most kissable lips! (prize: lipbalm)
Joe - the blogger with the best nick earned - Nipples. (prize: a baby pacifier)
Tankiasu - the activist food blogger (prize: a "cert" of a certain political party)
Kampungboycitygal - sweetest blogging couple (prize: a packet of sugar)
Nic - most poetic blogger (prize: a childrens writing set)
SC - almost a vietnamese blogger - visit her blog and you'll know why! (prize: almost vietnamese coffee)
Kusahi Keat - best male cook blogger (prize: a spatula)
Paprika the Ravenous Rabbit - hungriest blogger (prize: a bunch of carrots) (Adly) - spiciest website (prize: a bunch of chillies)
Big Boys Oven - "One of the best bakers in town" blogger (Gardenia buns)
XiuLongBao - Former Malaysian Blogger now going down south (Prize: Malaysian flag)
Christine, Ai Wei, Yin and Jun - sweetest female bloggers (prize: sweets)
Ekeng and Riz - most handsome male bloggers (prize: sweets)

I almost fell on the floor laughing when they gave me the Celebrity Blogger of 2007 award. Well, I was touched too, as the girls (Precious Pea and WMW) had gone through the trouble of downloading a newspaper interview, printing and laminating the article. And Kenny Mah delivered a lovely speech to me. *blinking back tears* I do have the dearest blogging friends in the world!!

Unfortunately, I was too caught up in the fun to take any photographs, but do visit some of the links above to see what they have to say about the event - A Very Retro Christmas 2007!

Until my next post, ladies and gentlemen, I wish you a Blessed Christmas (yes, it's still Christmas in my heart and in my tummy) and a Very Joyful New Year 2008! God bless all of you!

Bald Eagle and niece, little Lydia

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Daily Grind, Bangsar Village - burgers extraordinaire


‘Delicious!’ I exclaimed, as I savoured the moist chicken patty in my mouth. I found out later that it was because they had used the whole chicken and not just chicken breast to make the patty. The thin sesame sprinkled buns were toasted to a slight crisp and liberally buttered. The pickles contrasted well with the burger. I was told that they made their own pickles. ‘Smoked salmon on chicken?’ I questioned. ‘What an unlikely combination!’ I was getting more and more mystified by the second. But this non-believer was soon shown the light. The cheesy sauce wrapped up all the flavours and made my burger encounter an out-of-body experience.


And that’s the thing. We’re talking burgers here. A meat patty sandwiched between two buns. As a teenager, it was a treat to eat a burger simply because mum and dad never let me near a burger joint. In university, it was a staple as far as fast food was concerned. From McDonald’s to Ramly and everything in between. I soon tired of it. I met my husband, a highly adventurous foodie, and we roamed the streets of KL in search of that elusive sashimi. The burger in its greasy shroud was soon a distant memory. It almost became a dirty word to me, and I’m not talking about those deliciously dirty words that I freely exclaim while driving along the Fed on my way to work.


She had a classic cheese burger. It was a thick juicy patty made of ground beef (yes, they freshly grind all their meat), homemade ketchup and their very own mustard mix. I half expected to see cows and chickens roam the hardwood floors, and I suspected that if I looked beyond the carpark of the concrete jungle of Bangsar, I might even catch a glimpse of their vegetable patch. A milkmaid and a shepherd would spell the beginning of my insanity. I digress. Two thick slices of cheddar cheese completed the experience.


I glanced at the tomato ketchup and chilli sauce bottles. ‘They’re all homemade,’ she said. No kidding. In my mind’s eye, I saw vines holding plump shiny tomatoes in that imaginary vegetable patch. The chilli sauce was wonderful, with a heady mix of ground chillies and mustard and other secret ingredients. The accompanying fries were merely a vehicle for me to savour the addictive sauce.


The man ordered a Down on the Farm burger. I glanced over my shoulder as I thought I heard a Moo. Only for those with a hearty appetite, this muscle flexing thick beef burger, barbeque basted and smokey grilled stacked with thick sliced onion rings was oozing masculinity. A corn cake made with whole corn kernels, crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside, made the man go limp with delight.


Avocadoes are a constant love interest, so my second experience at The Daily Grind was an affair with a chicken burger covered with creamy avocado sauce and topped with hot salsa. The play between sweet and savoury and spicy ensured that the burger was a winner. Again, I was bowled over by the smoothness of the chicken patty, and I couldn’t get enough of the buttery buns, my carb addiction.


If you pace yourself well, you’ll have enough room for dessert, and one dessert that is worth trying is the peanut butter and roasted banana pie. I’ll let the picture do the talking.


I never did quite explain why my sudden interest in burgers at a time when I crave foie gras more than hearty meat patties. (Incidentally, The Daily Grind is currently having a Christmas special consisting of a prawn cocktail, a Foie Gras *gasp* burger and a sherry trifle for just over RM60.) It took an hour long discussion with the husband to figure it out. ‘You’re enjoying it because you’re viewing it as a dining experience’, he looked at me sagely. ‘You’re eating with a fork and knife, cutting small pieces and savouring each mouthful like you’re enjoying a good steak.’ He was right, you know. How else could I explain why I was paying between RM23 and RM36 for a burger? Once dissected, it made sense to pay that amount. I was paying for an experience. Sometimes, revelations such as these can be quantified, and the question is, how much would you pay to see fireworks on your plate?

The Daily Grind
Bangsar Village
Kuala Lumpur.

Open daily until 12 midnight.

Open on Christmas day.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The True Meaning of Christmas

Xmas at Lyrical Lemongrass' home

I panicked momentarily as I assessed my workload and looked at the calendar. 10 days to Christmas. I had forgotten how close Christmas was. And my Christmas tree wasn't even up yet. I rushed out and bought lights to replace the faulty ones from the previous year.

xmas at LL's home

7 days to Christmas and my tree was finally up. I crossed the task off my list.

xmas at LL's home

The base of the tree was bare, save for a couple of gifts from friends. Gifts. Panic. I had not bought gifts yet! I let out a curse.

xmas at LL's home

Massive last-minute shopping. Traffic jams. Crowds. Bah humbug.

xmas at LL's home

Cookies. Check.

xmas at LL's home

And even now, 3 days before Christmas, there were things that I had not done yet. Calm down. Take a deep breath. Adrenaline pumping.

xmas at LL's home

Stop. Enough, I said. It's time to enjoy Christmas.

I let peace wash over me.

xmas at LL's home

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them,
and the glory of the Lord shone round about them:
and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto
them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good
tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David
a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall
be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped
in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly
there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly
host praising God, and saying,Glory to God in the
highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Have a blessed Christmas everyone, and cherish the true meaning of Christmas.

The good people of Abu Dhabi may view the pictures HERE.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Pick n Brew, Glenmarie

1. Old Friends.


When a Makan Club member gets married, we honour her. This is my pictorial tribute to my dear friend, Jo aka Pretty Pui, who married her childhood sweetheart on 15 December 2007.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. - 1 Corinthians 13 v 4 - 7.

2. And New Friends.

IMG_3119It was a jungle of sorts. A concrete jungle filled with homogenous looking structures. Gigantic mammoths spewing smoke in their imposing garments. As I sped along the grids of Glenmarie industrial area, I looked left and right, drinking in my surroundings, committing names to memory as that was the only way I would be able to escape this imposing looking place on my way back.

I hunted for a welcoming light, but I only saw white fluorescent lights illuminating coffinlike guardhouses at the entrance of each industrial building. After only one wrong turn, warm lights beckoned me from a distance. In the heart of this maze was a diamond in the rough, bearing the name "Pick n Brew". I was late, of course, even though Bukit Jelutong was only 10 minutes away. I barged into the private room with a very loud "Happy Birthday, Teckiee!!".

What I like about Pick n Brew is that it exudes warmth. From the cozy sofas to the huge glass panelled walls letting in sunshine during the day, it is the kind of place where I feel comfortable reading my newspapers with my daily cuppa.

Salmon Gravlax with Parmesan Tuile

Since Jackson was entertaining us as his special guests that evening, his chef whipped up two special appetisers for us. The Salmon Gravlax with Scallion Cream and Parmesan Tuile was very unique. The scallion cream went wonderfully with the smoked salmon, where it effectively downplayed the saltiness of the cured fish, and the parmesan basket was wonderful - chewy and full of flavour.

Chicken Consomme

Equally good was the chicken consomme, a clear broth with a pure, refined flavour that didn't reek of that dirty word, MSG. The sundried tomato and spinach gnocchi had an almost melt in the mouth texture which I reckon would be an acquired taste to those who prefer their dumplings with a little more bite.

Seafood Galore

My main course came from the Christmas menu, aptly named Seafood Galore on Feta Spinach. At RM40, it came with spinach baked mussels, prawn thermidor and grilled fish. The grilled fish lay on a bed of spinach and feta cheese. While some liked the flavour of the cheesy sauce on the grilled fish, I found that it slightly overpowered the delicate flavour of the fish. Then again, I prefer my fish with little dressing. The spinach baked mussels were brilliant; certainly no fishy smell there. And the prawn thermidor was excellent, thanks to its freshness. Definitely a recommended dish.


And what did the others have? Like me, Boolicious also had the Seafood Xmas special, while her honey buns, Splashie Boy, went for Chicken Chimicangas (RM19), a tortilla filled with minced chicken and spices, which he pronounced better than any other Chicken Chimicangas in Malaysia. I had to agree with this non-blogging foodie who definitely knew his chicken chimicangas. WMW had the grilled medallion of beef (RM35) in a special sauce of infused oil and coffee bean mustard. Jason went Asian with his Lamb Tikka served with Pilaf Rice (RM17). I must say that the Lamb Tikka was very good and it's probably something I shall try on my next visit there. Precious Pea's Herb-Crusted Rack of Lamb (RM33) with apple mint yoghurt was enticing too. Birthday girl, Teckiee, had the Grenobloise Salmon Fillet (RM30) which came recommended by Jackson.


Jackson's Angel Hair Marinara (RM22) served with prawns, green mussels and squid in a tomato sauce was infused with the flavour of the seafood, and despite the fact that it was a little on the soft side, I'd vouch for the flavour of this dish.


A variety of desserts are also available, and believe me, these cakes taste wonderful. The most outstanding of these cakes is the apple crumble cheesecake, inspired by the Apple Crumble team's participation (consisting of Jackson, Teckiee, Precious Pea and WMW) in The Star's recent Drive For Food contest. Incidentally, this was the cake that was presented to Teckiee as we melodiously sang Happy Birthday to her! (Yes, food bloggers can sing.)


As a treat, we all got to create our own latte art. (Yes, food bloggers can draw.) Now that's money well spent, if you ask me!


Pick n Brew also has a great breakfast menu. All downed with a large cup of coffee.

banana walnut muffin

My American set (RM18) also came with a muffin. Yummy! Breakfast sets are priced from RM9 for a pancake to RM20 for a breakfast steak.

Pick n Brew,
Wisma CNI, No.2, Jalan U1/17,
Section U1, Hicom-Glenmarie Industrial Park,
40000 Shah Alam.

Tel: 03-5569 1216

I swiped the operating hours from Precious Pea's blog. (You can also read what she has to say HERE. For the birthday girl's account, click HERE):

Operating hours :
Monday - Friday : 8am - 8pm
Sunday : 8am - 3pm
Closed on Saturday and public holidays


The good people of Abu Dhabi may view the pictures HERE.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Party Cupcakes by Audrey

(Part 2) - Continuation of Pretty Pui's Surprise Party


I've always had a fascination for prettily decorated cupcakes. I'm not sure if it's a girly thing because I've seen guys look gleefully at them before. Perhaps it's the anticipation of bite-sized goodness in a gorgeously wrapped package.


I've tried loads of commercially produced cupcakes and felt that it was time for a change. So when I found out about Audrey and her delicious cupcakes, I sent her an email immediately. Her prompt reply accompanied by pictures of her works of art sealed the deal for me.


Since we had chosen a pink and white theme for Pretty Pui's party at My Elephant, it was only apt to have cupcakes with the same colour theme. A couple of emails flew back and forth and we finally decided on a garden theme with pink and white flowers and bits of pastel blue to provide some contrast. I didn't want it to be overly sweet, so I chose a dark chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream frosting. (For those who don't care much for the bitter edge, there is a milk chocolate option that goes very well with chocolate frosting for a rich chocolate cupcake experience.)


With Christmas around the corner, now would be a great time to try Audrey's cupcakes. Do note that she does this on a part-time basis, so she may not be able to accommodate all orders. You can reach Audrey at

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My Elephant, Section 17, PJ - A Whiff Of Lemongrass Like No Other

IMG_2896 "Where's the party?" she asked for the 249th time.

"Wait and see lah," I said.

"You mean it's a surprise? Your surprises normally backfire, don't they?" she sniggered.

Pretty Pui was right. It is not human nature to keep secrets. As Sam and I toiled on the floral arrangements for the party that afternoon (a pre-wedding party of sorts and a bon voyage party to a certain extent), someone out there, in all naivety, was spilling the beans to Pretty Pui. SIGH.

IMG_2378 My Elephant, a Thai restaurant in the middle of a residential area in Section 17, was the chosen location. It was perhaps an unlikely place, but I was drawn to the relaxed and unpretentious atmosphere at this simple and cozy restaurant. The term "less is more" is personified here. Sharp lines and stark walls in the wrong hands can easily spell disaster, but in this case, personal touches like candles and multicoloured cushions, a handful of quirky looking elephants, and personable employees tipped the scale, effectively turning it into a place akin to a home. Also, having tried the food here before, I could vouch for the tasty fare. The staff of the restaurant had done a great job in translating my requirements. We provided the floral arrangements and the candles, and they did the rest. From the circular pieces of fragrant banana leaves on the plates to the leaf-wrapped glasses with stems of chrysanthemum attached to each glass, the final result was a contrast of cemented walls and exposed bricks against the muted colours of the flowers and the mellow light from the pillar candles. IMG_2893

IMG_2890 The Nam Prik Kapi came out first to quell the hunger pangs while waiting for the last guests to arrive. I'm not sure if it succeeded in suppressing anything as the first thing I did was to reach for my refreshing pandan (screwpine leaf)cooler. The prawn paste chili dip for the long strips of vegetables was very good and also VERY HOT. And that's the thing about me. I love spicy food, but I cry buckets of tears because of my low tolerance for chili. A case of my roots gone wrong? (Mum, Dad, why why??)

Deep fried popiah

The deep fried popiah was stuffed with braised glass noodles, dried shrimp and an assortment of vegetables. This, I like, because of the thin and very crisp skin which meant that it was freshly made. Trust me, I can write volumes about tough soggy fried popiahs that would make War and Peace look like child's play. Ok, maybe not.

Tom Som What's Thai food without a soup? The Tom Som seafood soup infused with galangal, lemongrass and lime was a lesson in deception. Who would have thought a clear soup such as that could pack a punch in a tiny bowl. My pandan cooler came to the rescue again. But masochist that I am, no one could stop me from taking a second, and third, refill of the delicious soup.

Snow Fish

One of the house specialties is the Snow fish which is essentially a salt-baked fish served with a green chili sauce. Remove the hardened baked skin and see the very moist flesh revealed beneath. Just be careful not to let any of the salt fall into the fish or you'll have to reach for the pandan cooler (again). Also, instead of turning the fish over to reach the flesh beneath, gently pry away the centre bone to get to the part below. This is to prevent the salt from getting into the fish. There's only so much pandan cooler that one can consume.

Plah Nung Manow

We also got to try Plah Nung Manow, steamed fish in lime, garlic and chili padi dressing. I liked the sauce with shredded mango bits which added much needed texture. Very nice. Only a sense of decorum prevented me from sucking on the bones.

Gai Tod The Gai Tod was a bit puzzling as I couldn't quite figure out the meat inside. But then again, it was coated in flour so it could have just as easily been fried squid or fried prawns or fried chicken. Anyway, it was chicken. Chicken nuggets, to be specific. Fried with kaffir lime leaf, garlic and crushed peppercorn.

mixed vegetables The mixed vegetables with lotus roots made up the requisite quota for green stuff.

Yum Woon Sen I enjoyed eating the Yum Woon Sen (glass noodles with seafood). The noodles were springy and went wonderfully with the seafood in the slightly tangy sauce. The dish was rich with the flavours from the prawns, lime juice, fish sauce and chopped coriander. This is undoubtedly one of my favourite salads and it feels so healthy...almost like diet food! (Unfortunately, I can't vouch for the nutritional value of this dish, although it certainly passes the taste test.)

Duck curry

What I thought was effectively the best dish that night was the Duck Curry. Roast duck is used in this dish which is cooked in a red curry together with slices of avocado and whole rambutans. This was, not surprisingly, a good combination. The tender duck meat provided a contrast to the smooth and creamy texture of the avocado while the rambutans added a natural sweetness to the curry. If you'd like to try this dish, do call in advance to order it (preferably a day's notice) as preparing this dish is a time-consuming affair.


Was the party a success? I'd like to think that it was. Looking at the happy faces and how they talked about it (food and fun) for days on end, I suppose we achieved our objective. The smiles say it all. :-)

There is a Part 2. Look out for it. ;-)

If you'd like to know what others have been saying about My Elephant, click HERE and HERE and HERE. Note that prices are very VERY reasonable.



My Elephant

My Elephant
Block C-G4 Happy Mansion
Jalan 17/13, Section 17
46400 Petaling Jaya
Business Hours: Tuesday to Sunday (except Sunday lunch)
Lunch: 12.00 p.m. - 2.30 p.m.
Dinner: 6.00 p.m. - 10.00 p.m.
Tel: Patrick 012 328 5028