Escape to Penang

Assam LaksaI have to say, and it’s not a case of extreme national pride or anything, but Malaysia has one of the best foods. I very much love cuisines such as Italian, French, and who can forget Japan or China? All these cuisines are much respected and I hope to jump into the learning pool of each cuisine. Though, due to our mixed ethnicity, Malaysia’s cuisine has grown very diverse in terms of flavor, which makes us have a lot of variety of food. Each state has their own specialty or version of how a dish is made and because, not to sound dramatic, it is made with love. Malaysian recipes have been passed down from mother to daughter, to sister, to their own daughters, and even to sons. There are no specific measurements, which is why Malaysian cook books are not the most reliable, because we cook according to our senses. We use the term agak-agak, or kut-kut, which basically means you add just enough based on what you know and feel how much it should be. I don’t know if you watched it, but check out Gordon Ramsay’s video where he learns how to make Malaysian Rendang from one of our locals. It’s pretty funny.

Anyway, I recently went to Penang, which is one of the states of Malaysia, which is surrounded by sea, considering it’s an island. It’s considered as one of the food haven for food enthusiasts in Malaysia and people actually go there just to eat. There are specialties like Rojak Penang, which is a mixed veggie and fruit salad with a thick dark prawn paste, sprinkled with roughly ground peanuts, as well as Penang Assam Laksa, which is a rice noodle with a thick and strong fish broth, along with pineapples, chiffon cabbage and cucumber as its condiments, and probably a few more. And chili of course. Who can forget chili? And another thing is the seafood. Very fresh, quite expensive, but worth the price because it’s pretty fresh. And Malaysians prefer the seafood to be served steamed or baked, to preserve it’s natural goodness, and there are many places you can eat all this by the seashore.

Though if you were to go to Penang, with the hustling and bustling, you have to be willing to explore on foot and try versions of the food by the hawkers and local food stalls. It’s better than going to some restaurant and paying more than you should, and as a bonus, you get into the feel and ambiance of the Malaysian way of much loved hobby of eating and their night life. That is if you go at night. Haha.

I don’t have pictures right now, but when I do have them, I’ll post them up here and show them to you. Though I will post a pic of Penang Assam Laksa, which credits to Bee Yinn Low (rasamalaysia.com). Better yet, I may go to Penang again with my mates and do a vlog or something. Who knows? My semester is starting soon, that means I have seven months left till I go for my internship! Yahoo! Anyone willing to take me? I’m a hard worker! Just a terrible blogger.

Heehee…Something To Chuckle About

Mash MarrowsThis is exactly the kind of thing people who are not Asian make fun about, and it’s totally fine with us. We know we have weird accents when speaking English, such as Ls being Rs and Rs being Ls. It’s cool, it’s cool. Though since my accent is pretty good, when I came across this during our buffet event last week, I couldn’t help but giggle. And it was AFTER the buffet was over, so the customers saw it like that when they came to the chocolate fountain bar during service. Must have been hilarious. They should really have gotten it checked before printing it out though. Anyway, I’m pretty sure you guys know what it’s supposed to say! Hahaha.

Just A Little Thank You

THANKSI know I’m not the best blogger, but I would like to give a Tom Hanks to those who decided to follow me. I’m very surprised that you are, to be honest. Anyway, I hope I don’t disappoint you and keep posting as many times as I can. And even though I haven’t done it yet, I’ll go to each and every one of your blogs and start following you!

THANK YOU.

Worst Blogger Ever!

I honestly should win an award for the worst blog keeper ever. It’s not the fact that I don’t want to write daily or at least weekly, it’s just I don’t have the godforsaken time to do so. If I’m not in the kitchen, I’m in theory class; if I’m not in class, then I’m at home, sleeping, which is my absolute next favorite thing to do.

Though, now that I will soon be on holiday, let’s just see how many posts I can write then. It would be a miracle if I’d write three at most. However, I’ll try my very best because there are loads of things I want to share with you all, such as my experience of making chocolates, like ones you see in Godiva chocolate boxes, my turkey roulade for our thanksgiving themed exam and even Black Forest cake of which I had to make three times this month. Though I’ve managed to make it within the three hours we had for exams and the recipe for it isn’t so bad and is surprisingly light. That is if you reduce the cream.

So yeah, if you’re interested, keep tuned on to my barely surviving blog.

Smiley face!

Here’s a picture I took of some of the chocolates made:

Chocolates

Fifty Shades of What? [Week 7, Sem.3]

Shades of White

And no, I’m not talking about the book! Unless some of you read it, then…good for you. [Insert smiley face here] My friend has read it, and she likes it…a lot. Maybe because for the most part, she has the same name as the protagonist and that she thinks Christian Grey is hot. Um…okay… I’ve only read a section of it only because curiosity killed the cat. And it definitely killed my innocence in terms of my reading imagination. It was…interesting but not something that is under my must read list. If you want something good to read, Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist” is a must.

Anyway! We’re going off in a tangent here! This isn’t about a book or anything of the sort. For our kitchen operation today, my group had to make dessert. A dessert that consisted shades of white. In fact, that’s what it was called on the menu: Shades of White. It technically consisted of white components such as white chocolate, longan fruit, coconut, and a vanilla foam. And oh! Some yogurt too. Thing is, it’s not exactly pure white, which is a little ironic. But the taste and textures were really nice, and although it was sweet, the yogurt played as its counterpart which blended the flavors of everything beautifully.

I’ll post up the recipe tomorrow if any of you are interested in making this really easy but impressive dessert. Smiley face!

Quick Tips: Buying Cookbooks

I’m pretty sure most of you are food enthusiasts therefore want to expand your cookbook collection. And that’s totally cool, because mine is growing too. Just this year, I’ve gotten six cookbooks, including one on Chef Gordon Ramsay, and an ingredients encyclopedia that I received for my birthday from a friend’s mother. What’s your cookbook count in a year? Leave a comment! It’d be interesting to see who is really cookbook crazed!

No doubt that you sometimes use recipes from the book on nights or days when you feel like trying something new. Awesome, because that’s what cookbooks are for! But are there times when you used a recipe and it didn’t seem to reach your expectations? It can be a little frustrating and if you’re anything like me, you’ll try over and over till you get something that you’re satisfied with. This is usually the case with sweet recipes, because you have to be exact in every measurement; it’s harder to improvise unlike cooking savory.

I remember a time that my aunt warned me not to buy recent Malaysian cookbooks, because the measurements given in the recipes were not  as accurate. She claims that it’s because Malay cooks didn’t want to share their recipe completely and definitely don’t want others to be able to replicate their dish. I have no say if this is in fact true or not. On the other hand, it’s quite hard to put Malay recipes on paper because everyone has their own style in cooking it. Even more so, we Malaysians like to cook our food in an improvising way in terms of measurements. We use our heart and guts to feel whether that particular ingredient has been added enough or not. You can call it passionate cooking, but seriously, that’s how we cook sometimes. The best way to learn a Malaysian recipe specifically, learn it from an elderly local. It’s like when Gordon Ramsay was taught how to make Malaysian rendang. Check out the video. It’s pretty funny.

Anyway, TIP!  This was given by one of my lecturers. When browsing through cookbooks and you’ve got one that you really want to buy. STOP! Check out the recipe. Take one in particular and jot the recipe down on paper, or snap a photo of it. In secret of course. This way, you get to try out the recipe and see if it’s to your liking. If it is, great! If it’s not, you’ve avoided an addition of having the cookbook sit on the shelf for all eternity. This tip is more towards sweets, desserts and cakes. And not only are the measurements important, it’s good to have the right technique.

This tip is optional of course. I’m not forcing you to do it. It’s simply a good practice to wanting and having reliable cookbooks with excellent recipes, that you can use any time to your liking.

Cheerio, my bros! (Yes, I’ve been watching way too much PewDiePie. If you like to game or watch people game, check out his youtube channel!)

Grilling with Sean Connolly

Sean ConnollyA few days ago, my college hosted Sean Connolly and his team on his ‘Grilled’ Asian tour which is sponsored by the AFC (Asian Food Channel) as well as my college (for Malaysia. I’m not sure about the others). They had two dinner functions where the first night was hosted by the college, and the second night hosted by the AFC. I was lucky enough to help out with the appetizer on the second night and it was an experience not to be forgotten. There was a moment when I was spreading the creme fraiche and he nudged me saying that I was doing a fantastic job. Where most girls would squeal at a One Direction concert, I got really ecstatic when he said that, making me want to do an even better job. It was amazing…We even got to see him in action with his demos along with when he dropped by to supervise and show us how to plate. His professionalism and wisdom was profound, considering he started when he was 12. And although he isn’t THE mentor I’d like to have, I still picked out the good qualities and techniques he offered to share, and my knowledge of food and being a chef is infinitely growing.

People and Our Limited Tolerance

You have to admit that everywhere you go, whether it’s for leisure, at school, or at work, we’re always given a challenge of our people skills. And it depends on their level of wits and depending on that, our tolerance and patience comes into play. It’s easy when you know or meet someone who’s just easy going and thinks almost the same as you, but when you come across someone who is, let’s just say a little different, no scratch that out, an ‘ass’ or a ‘scumbag steve/stacy’, you are honestly put to the test.

There’s no avoiding them because there is bound to have one, or two, or even a few at every place we go. Though, I don’t know the right away of handling them, it depends on the individual. I used to be patient with these kind of earthlings but after they have take advantage of my kindness, I’ve become somewhat of a rebel towards them and try to avoid them as much as possible. But I can’t. If I were animated in a cartoon, a scene where I have to deal with these people, I’d be the ticking clock, with steam slowly coming out of my ears, until I blow up and start ringing furiously.

I’m not saying all this for the sake of a rant, but tomorrow will be the assigning of our groups and leaders. It will officially be Day 1 of my third semester in culinary school. Don’t get me wrong, I’m hyped. I can’t wait. But I can wait for seeing my college mates. Most are nice, but the thing with the Malaysian school system here, is that everything is being spoon fed from primary to secondary. You are taught to memorize, not to apply it in such ways. Therefore, these lovely course mates of mine got quite a few shocks of their lives when they are finally told to apply whatever that is taught in college/university.

I found it most amusing when they complained to our lecturer about giving us a 1500 word assignment. I know anyone would complain, but I went to a different school where we had those kind of things almost once every two weeks. Besides, we’re pretty lucky, other unis would have assigned more.

On the other hand, we’re mostly graded under practical classes, and being a chef, it’s important to work in a group, no matter who makes up your team. It’s part of the job description.; – “Special Skills: Can tolerate people.” Haha. No seriously, it has to be that way, because without communication and unity between one’s team members, the kitchen cannot flow, therefore, the food would suck and we would lose customers, then the restaurant would close and we’d again have to try to find jobs. The circle of kitchen life, yo. Peace!

Starting Over…Again

Not that it’s important or it’s a life changer, but I’m restarting this whole blog. We all reach that one point in our lives to start fresh and take things into a new perspective. I’m not trying to go deep here but hey, I had the moment within reach.

I’ve started many blogs and not one have I really followed through to update frequently. I was actually doing pretty well with this one up to the point when I started attending culinary school. I thought I had the time to blog, at least occasionally, but to be honest I felt I had no time on my hands at all. Yeah, blogging takes time and dedication and I’m the type of person who carefully plans out what they’re going to say before actually writing them or verbally communicating them. I can’t really blabber my thoughts through improvising, because I realize that when I do, I don’t think I get my point across that well, unless I’m with my friends, that’s a whole different story. We always talk about the most random things with friends, don’t we, even though there’s no point in it.

But anyway, I’m starting again and this time, I’m not going to make an excuse that I have no time. I just have to make time. An adviser of mine from Leo Club told me that, and he happens to be one of the biggest fans of minions from Despicable Me. You heard that right; a 34 year-old man obsessed with minions. He even collects the models and stuffed toys every chance he gets. I could show you a picture if you want, though I’d have to blur out his face since he’ll maybe strangle me for that. Haha. I mean, I know they are adorable, and everyone loves them, but don’t you think it’s taking it a little overboard? I’m not dissing, just saying. I make peace! with you minion-ites, or minion-ers, or whatever you guys call yourselves. Anyway, that’s not the point.

The point is that instead of blogging for the sake of getting likes and wanting people to know my agenda, I’m doing this mainly for myself, to document my life throughout my experience in culinary school. It’s sort of like a diary…but a diary that other people can see. Hmm…that doesn’t sound right.

So! If by chance you come across this weird blog of mine, I do apologize it for being lame.

Cheerio!